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Guard Your Steps, Draw Near To Listen (Ecclesiastes 5:1)

Sermon Notes for Sunday Services on 19 Nov 2023 by Ps Gaius


Introduction


When our hearts are not in the right place, our worship will not please God. What kind of attitude should we bring when we come before God?


Message


Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. - Ecclesiastes 5:1


Why is this verse talking about guarding our steps, rather than our minds? Our legs take the whole body to where they go, along with our minds. Our legs are a useful tool. When our steps are right, our thoughts will also be right.


There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. - Proverbs 6:16-19


The devil is one that makes haste to do evil. Let us not use our steps to run to evil.


and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. - Ephesians 6:15


How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” - Isaiah 52:7


When we guard our steps, wherever we go, we bring peace, we bring the gospel. Even when we fall, the Lord will uphold us. We will not be cast headlong.


The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. - Psalms 37:23


When we dwell in the grace of God, we will never lack. Rather, we are generous. It is a blessing to have enough to be able to help others.


I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. - Psalms 37:25


We come to the house of the Lord to listen. Let us have faith to listen to God.


So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. - Romans 10:17


And when your people say, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?’ you shall say to them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.’” Declare this in the house of Jacob; proclaim it in Judah: “Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not. - Jeremiah 5:19-21


The Pharisees are familiar with the law of Moses; they have spent their lives studying the bible. However, they have eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear. They cannot recognise that Jesus is the one they have been waiting for.


Do you not fear me? declares the Lord. Do you not tremble before me? I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it. But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.’ Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have kept good from you. - Jeremiah 5:22-25


Sin represents us not being obedient to God. Our sins keep good away from us. The bible says that when we follow Jesus, our lives will have trials and tribulations. But we have hope in Jesus.


Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. - James 1:19-20


Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. - Philippians 2:3


When we are able to listen to others, this is a sign of humility.


Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. - James 4:7


When we submit to God and do His will, the devil will flee from us. This is because we have the authority from God.


Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. - James 4:8

Sometimes, we do not dare to draw close to God, if we are living in darkness. We may be aware that we are sinning, therefore we are afraid to come to God. Let us come back to the light. God’s presence is beautiful. If you want God to be close to you, you have to first draw near to Him.


Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:16


Closing


Let us always think about why we come before God. Let us live out our lives with the right heart. The road is narrow, and only this narrow path can bring us to eternal life (Matthew 7:14). So guard your steps and stay along this narrow path.


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