In last Sunday’s sermon, we learned about how we can draw closer to the Lord. We saw that we must draw closer to the Lord out of our humility. What will keep us close to the Lord is our genuine faith. The one question that some believers may have is, “what can keep us from God?”
This week, I had a really good friend mention something that I happen to catch online. Listen to this, she says, “I talk to God. I believe He listens. I probably get on His nerves.” (We have all probably felt like this before.) She finished by saying, “I asked for forgiveness.” I reminded her that God is going to bring her through as He has always done. Again, it’s always good when we can be a good Christian friend to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
However, there are many people who let what they are going through destroy them and even their relationship with God. The reason why this happens is because their faith is likely lacking. The one who is of genuine faith in the Lord should definitely not let anybody or anything come between them and their relationship with God.
Every now and then I love to preach a “pick-me-up” type of sermon because you never know what someone is going through. It seemed only fitting to preach a sermon about nothing being able to keep us from God after preaching a sermon on drawing close to Him. So, in today’s sermon, I want to focus
Who can keep us from God?
In my key verse for today’s sermon, the apostle Paul writes:
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?Romans 8:35 NKJV
This is a scripture that is very well known and much quoted in the church today. I want to point out that in this section of scripture that Paul speaks from personal experience. Paul, like many of us, knew a thing or two about going through tribulations, distress, and being persecuted. This was a man who had been arrested, jailed and had stones thrown at him while ministering the gospel. That is very important to know, but I want us to
The first question that Paul asks is, “who will separate us from the love of Christ? Let’s understand that it is the Lord’s love for us that draws Him nearer to us. On the flip side of that, it is our love that draws us near to Him. So, the question is, who has the power to break up such a connection? Let’s see if we can figure out who has the power to do such a thing.
Is the devil capable?
At the top of the list, I believe we would all list Satan. Satan, we remember, is a fallen angel. Scripture tells us (Ezekiel 28:14) that the devil held a high position as an anointed cherub. Satan was the first to rebel against the way of the Lord and became the great deceiver of the world. We have given him a lot of power in the world.
What I mean by this is that we have done the most to put Satan on the same plane as God. The truth is completely the opposite: Satan is not on the same plane as God. In other words, the devil is not equal to God! I often refer to the story of Job and how Satan had to ask permission from God to test Job (Job 1:9-12).
What I mean by this is, if you have to report to somebody, you are not their equal! The devil along with the other angels have to report to the Lord (Job 1:6-7). You see, if the devil was equal to God, he would not ever have to report to the Lord! If Satan was so powerful, he would not have to beg the Lord’s permission to try one of the Lord’s children.
Understand this: the devil is not as powerful as people like to believe he is. Often times I feel we merely like to use him as a excuse. The devil’s powers are limited to what the Lord allows. He does not have the power to keep us from God!
The devil’s minions and other men
Who else can we think of that we believe would have the power to keep us from God? I guess we could take into consideration the other fallen angels that Satan got to join him (Rev. 12:7-9). Honestly, if Satan cannot keep us from God, how would they fare any better? These are the angels who are under him, so that doesn’t make much sense.
If the devil nor his angels can keep us from God, how would another person fare? Sure, they may try to persuade with their beliefs but their beliefs do not have the power to keep us from God! I want you to see what God has to say about this matter.
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.John 10:27-29 NKJV
God laughs at the idea of someone trying to snatch the genuine believer out of His hands. There is no man that is capable of keeping us from God. Satan and none of his minions are able to keep us from the Lord. So, who can keep us from God? We, ourselves, are the only ones, outside of God, that has authority over what we choose to do! Are you choosing to keep yourself from the Lord?
What can keep us from God?
Let’s take a look at the second question that Paul poses to us. “Shall (will) tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” In this question, we notice that Paul tackles some of everything. I feel that many of us already believe that nobody can separate us from the Lord. However, it is seemingly everything else that gets to us.
Will tribulation keep you from God? Tribulation we consider to be our troubles and our struggles. Will distress keep you from God? We consider our distresses to be the things causes us to worry. Will persecutions keep you from God? Persecutions, we consider, is being tried and tested. Will famine and nakedness keep you from God? We would consider these things to be hunger and being without clothes (being less fortunate). These are all forms of perils that mankind face each and every day that we live.
Do all of these things have the power to kill our connection with the Lord? I want you to answer these questions honestly before we continue forward.
What does your faith say
If we answer this question honestly, I believe our answers would differ depending on our faith. Many people give these things the power to separate them from the Lord. Like the devil, his minions, and other people, these things only have the power that you choose to give to them. If our faith is not genuine, then it is definitely possible that we will allow these things to separate us from the Lord.
I want to share with you what God say about this as well:
11 ‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.Ezekiel 34:11-12 NKJV
God was calling Himself the Good Shepherd back in Old Testament times! Pay close attention to what God says in this scripture. God says, “I will search for My sheep and seek them out.” I talked about the characteristics of God as the Good Shepherd in a recent sermon that you might want to read – Staying Confident With Your Anointing.
Sheep, if they get lost, they would not know where to begin to find their shepherd. It is up to the shepherd to go out and find his sheep. The Lord’s statement reveals His closeness and His love of His sheep in that He will seek them out – not somebody else. God says that He will seek out His sheep on a cloudy and dark day! Not only will the Lord seek out His sheep but He will deliver them!
Remaining close through your faith
We must remember that God is always going to be close to us. It is what we choose to do that determines whether we are going to stay near to the Lord or be separated from Him. Could tribulations keep us from God? If we choose so. Could distress keep us from God? If we choose so. Could being persecuted keep us from God? If we choose so.
This same thing holds true when it comes to the devil, his devils, and other people. When the devil tempts us, we have the power to keep our hands in our pockets instead of reaching and out and grabbing a hold of that temptation. If his devils and other people try to persuade us away from the Lord, we have the power to turn from such persuasion! There is no way that I am going to let anybody or anything keep me from God!
This is very important for us to remember. In the
Paul even says this:
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:38-39 NKJV
We live in a time where we have to be wary of the things or the people who attempt to keep us from the Lord. If there is something or somebody trying to separate you from the love of God, remove it from your life! The genuine believer’s place is to be by their Savior.