The Power of No

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The Power of No

or read the notes below.

Philippians 1:6 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition
6 And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.

A great deal of human emotion arises in response to No.

What do we feel when God says no? I think most of us go through a series of emotions

  • We go through shock and denial. We can’t believe that God didn’t do the thing that we asked Him to do. Maybe our feelings get hurt. After we process those emotions for a while then we decide God was not saying no. The God that I serve is faithful to me because… We start to list all of the things that we do that complies with God’s wishes. We tell ourselves that this is a trick of the devil. Satan is just trying to fool us into thinking that we’re not going to get the thing that we’ve asked God for. As time goes on and it still doesn’t come our emotion about it changes
  • We start to feel pain, telling ourselves if God loved me, He would have done what I asked Him to do. Then the devil helps us dip into the guilt pool and we start to list all of the things that we should have done that God said do, that we could have done but chose not to. Our relationship with the Lord will dictate how much time we spend there. At some point you get past the feelings of pain and you get past the feelings of guilt.
  • Then we get angry. We began to think about friends or even people that are not our friends who prayed and asked God to do something for them and He did it. They’re no different than me. I love God just as much as they do. We even tell ourselves that some of them don’t even go to church. Again, our relationship with the Lord will dictate how much time we spend being angry. Then we start to bargain with God. If You just do this thing for me then I will do… and we fill in the blank with whatever amazing, fantastical, thing that we think will sway God’s hand. We may even go on a fast because somebody told us fasting moves the hand of God. When all of those things doesn’t work, and we still don’t have what we asked for. Our mood changes.
  • We may drift into a kind of depressive state. We may or may not continue to do the things that we need to do every day like going to work, going to church and fulfilling whatever duties or responsibilities we  have. But somehow that thing that God did not do is lingering.  We just can’t seem to let it go.

My purpose here today is to bring us all to the place where we change our view of NO. The Lord wants us to leave this time with an understanding that No has purpose in your lives. We have plenty of biblical examples of what happened when God said no. But the example He has given me to use today is the example of Jesus Christ left with us. I will call them Jesus’ Seven No’s.

What did Jesus do when He heard no?

The 1st No
No, you cannot remain in heaven I need a sacrifice I need someone who is willing to save the world that I created

Philippians 2:6 Amplified Bible
6 who, although He existed in the form and unchanging essence of God [as One with Him, possessing the fullness of all the divine attributes—the entire nature of deity], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped or asserted [as if He did not already possess it, or was afraid of losing it];

The 2nd No
No you cannot be my sacrifice and maintain your deity you have to take on the form of man and experience everything that they experience yet without sinning

Philippians 2:7 Amplified Bible
7 but emptied Himself [without renouncing or diminishing His deity, but only temporarily giving up the outward expression of divine equality and His rightful dignity] by assuming the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men [He became completely human but was without sin, being fully God and fully man].

The 3rd No
No, you cannot satisfy your flesh and do what feels right and good to you.

Matthew 4:3-4 Amplified Bible
3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But Jesus replied, “It is written and forever remains written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’”

The 4th No
No, you cannot be consumed with pride because of who you are and what you have done or can do. No you cannot give in to your emotions.  

Matthew 4:5-7 Amplified Bible
5 Then the devil took Him into the holy city [Jerusalem] and placed Him on the pinnacle (highest point) of the temple. 6 And he said [mockingly] to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You [to serve, care for, protect and watch over You]’; and ‘They will lift you up on their hands, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written and forever remains written, ‘You shall not test the Lord your God.’”

The 5th No
No, you are not here to amass wealth and power. That is what the world wants. You are here to do what I have designed for you.

Matthew 4:8-10 Amplified Bible
8 Again, the devil took Him up on a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory [splendor, magnificence, and excellence] of them; 9 and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written and forever remains written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”

The 6th No
No, I will not give you permission to forsake your purpose because it is difficult and painful

Luke 22:42, 44 Amplified Bible
42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup [of divine wrath] from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.” 44 And being in agony [deeply distressed and anguished; almost to the point of death], He prayed more intently; and His [b]sweat became like drops of blood, falling down on the ground.

The 7th And Final No
No, I will not relieve you from the feeling that you have been forsaken  

Matthew 27:46 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition
46 And about the ninth hour (three o’clock) Jesus cried with a loud voice, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?—that is, My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me [leaving Me [a]helpless, forsaking and failing Me in My need]?

What did Jesus do in response to the No’s He heard?

Philippians 2:8 Amplified Bible
8 After He was found in [terms of His] outward appearance as a man [for a divinely-appointed time], He humbled Himself [still further] by becoming obedient [to the Father] to the point of death, even death on a cross.

1 Timothy 1:15-17 Amplified Bible
15 [a]This is a faithful and trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance and approval, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost [of sinners], Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example or pattern for those who [b]would believe in Him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King of the ages [eternal], immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

What do we do when God says no?

We grieve
Psalms 120:1 In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me.

When we are forced to let go of something we really long for — whether it’s taken away, or it seems it will never be given — grief is a natural response. The weight of disappointment is crushing. It can be overwhelming and take time to process.

He is not afraid of the pain we feel. His sovereignty is not dependent on our emotions. He will not try to invalidate our hurt with quick and temporary fixes. We are free to express a sense of lack and sorrow in the moment. He lets us feel the void so that he might satisfy us with himself. He wants to draw near.

We see what is in our hearts
Jeremiah 17:10a “I, the Lord, search and examine the mind, I test the heart,

Disappointment often reveals what captures our affections. Even though the disappointment is not always wrong, it does give us a gauge that shows us where we have invested our hope. Lamenting through our discontentment forces us to carry those desires back to God — even if just to question why he hasn’t given these things to us. It sheds light on the idols we have created in our lives. We dig up our biggest frustrations and unleash our rawest emotions.

We are forced to see He Knows best
Jeremiah 29:11 New King James Version
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

God always has our ultimate good in mind, He doesn’t say no because he is cruel or depriving us. He knows better than we do, and his “no” is always merciful, even when it hurts. He is for us, fighting against what will keep us from him (Romans 8:31). He knows our hearts can only be truly satisfied with himself (John 4:14). He will not tolerate being second in our lives, because he wants us to have something so much better than what the world can offer.

When God does not grant us something or takes something away, He creates space in our lives to fill us with more of Him and His blessings.

There are many reasons that God says no but accepting God’s “no” can be tough because we have the bible that seems to indicate that whatever we ask for in faith we receive (e.g., Mark 11:24; Matthew 21:22). If we isolate those verses and build a theology around them, we are shattered when things do not happen as we anticipated. We have to learn to step back and consider the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

GOD SAYS ‘NO’ WHEN HE HAS A BIGGER PERSPECTIVE
“He knows about everyone everywhere. Everything about us is bare and wide open to the all-seeing eyes of our living God; nothing can be hidden from Him . . .” Hebrews 4:13 (LB)

GOD SAYS ‘NO’ WHEN HE HAS A BETTER PLAN
God: “This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are My thoughts the same as yours! For My ways are higher than yours.”  Isaiah 55:8-9 (LB)

GOD SAYS ‘NO’ WHEN HE HAS A GREATER PURPOSE
“The purpose of these troubles is to test your faith as fire tests how genuine gold is. Your faith is more precious than gold.” 1 Peter 1:7 (GW)

What should we do when god says ‘no’?

TRUST THAT GOD DOES EVERYTHING OUT OF HIS GOODNESS AND LOVE
“All the ways of the Lord are loving . . .”  Psalm 25:10 (NIV)

EXPECT GOD TO GIVE HIS GRACE TO HANDLE HIS ANSWER
(Paul) “Three times I prayed to the Lord about this and asked him to take it away. But his answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” So, I gladly boast about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power can flow through me! . . . For when I am weak, then I am strong!”  2 Corinthians 12:8-10

ACTION PLAN: List or journal some past prayer requests in which God answered differently than you had hoped for. Think through what we have discussed and write about how God’s perspective, plan, and purpose may have been revealed through His answer.  

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