Jim Cottington Pastors a Church in West Sussex and is a council elder for Christian Ministerial Fellowship International (CMFI). In this sermon, Jim gives great encouragement and an exhortation to believers to stand fast and firm in the last days in which we find ourselves. May the Lord minister to you through this sermon and provoke your heart to seek His face of the Lord in these difficult times! Be encouraged dear Saints!!
1 Corinthians 16:22
We have all heard of the idiom "no strings attached"; that is where we do something for someone without asking anything in return. So much of what we do is governed by the principle of cause and effect; we do something in order to gain something back in return. There is however one virtue that knows nothing of such a concept, namely that of love!! Sadly, much of today's self-centred gospel invites men to come to Jesus because of what they might get in exchange! Yet the true gospel invites men to come to Jesus in order to love and adore Him for naught!
A cry goes forth in this sermon calling all men back into a simple child-like relationship with Jesus Christ grounded and rooted in a love without strings!!
Behold the disciples, in a boat alone in the midst of the Sea of Galilee. I ask the question...what were they doing there? The answer...Jesus had compelled the to get in the boat and to go across to the other side. Four miles out to sea in the midst of night, a vicious storm breaks out and the disciples hit troubled waters, the Lord Jesus is no where in sight! Yet Mark tells us that from His trysting place of prayer, "he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them" (Mk. 6:48). "And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea" (Mt. 14:25).
Dear soul, you may be in troubled waters, you may be pressed sore with no one at hand to help; you may even feel that the Lord Himself has cast you off. Be of good cheer, "Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep" (Ps. 121:4). Though it may be as late as the fourth watch, behold your redeemer cometh!!
Brothers and Sisters...are you living off the fuel of yesterdays reality? When you walked with God in closeness, when your heart was full of songs to Him, when He was your cup and portion, when your talk was of Him and your love burned towards Him. Many talk of what was once upon a time...but the question must be what about now!! Before us in this sermon lies a Church that once knew the realities of spiritual vitality and had a reputation before men that they were alive. Yet the Lord Jesus said to them, "I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead" (Rev 3:1).
Dear soul, at all costs we must examine ourselves to see if the things of past years continue to be our present reality. He who searches the hearts of men stands at the door; let us labour to hold fast to true righteousness without hypocrisy and true love that we might be found among those who have not defiled their garments. May God help us all!!
1 Peter 1:13
The great commentator Albert Barnes in commenting upon the Christian's war against the prince of this world, wrote:
"Satan does not carry on an open warfare. He does not meet the Christian soldier face to face. He advances covertly; makes his approaches in darkness; employs cunning rather than power, and seeks rather to delude and betray than to vanquish by mere force. Hence, the necessity of being constantly armed to meet him whenever the attack is made. A man who has to contend with a visible enemy, may feel safe if he only prepares to meet him in the open field. But far different is the case if the enemy is invisible; if he steals upon us slyly and stealthily; if he practices war only by ambushes and by surprises. Such is the foe that we have to contend with - and almost all the Christian struggle is a warfare against stratagems and wiles."
On of Satan's master stratagems as a deceiver and a lier, is to trick us into thinking that the thoughts he plants into our minds are really our own thoughts so that the lie becomes the truth!! If ever there was a need to gird up the loins of our minds and to be sober in our thinking so as to discern the thoughts of the wicked one it is now!! This sermon brings out three chief areas where this great battle for the mind is fought; in discouragement; by distraction and by division!! May God give us the grace to war so as to win, through the strength and grace of Jesus Christ!