In November of last year, thousands of care workers up and down the UK were forced out of their jobs in a sector which as it stands is already facing a daunting shortage of more than 100,000 workers. The care sector is not alone in this crisis. The NHS is facing the same problem. According to the latest NHS figures, 85,000 of its staff have still not had a Covid vaccine and a further 40,000+ have only had the first of two required jabs. All face immediate dismissal on 31st March on this year, from a sector which is also facing at present, a 100,000 staff shortfall. But it’s not just healthcare. Last month, the Education Secretary, called for ex-teachers to come out of retirement to help bridge the gap of staff illnesses in schools across the UK. Staff shortages are spreading to almost every part of the economy, ranging from haulage to hospitality.
While this world’s workforce is in short supply, the Kingdom of Heaven’s workforce is also in the same. If God was to put out an advertisement, nailing it to every Church door across this land, do you want to know what it would say? Two words; “SHORT STAFFED”. Underneath the headline caption, would be the reference Mt. 9:37-38. “...The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest”.
We live in a world where we’re continually told that change is good. Whether it be the political sphere or the workplace environment; education or the arts — to remain constant and the same is deemed to be a failure. I remember as a teacher, working in secondary education, it was frowned upon if you stayed too long teaching in the same school. It was an unspoken rule that every five years or so you were supposed to move on by means of promotion — climbing the career ladder of success, jumping from one school to another. I thank God Brethren, that some things in life are constant and never changing. I thank God that He is unchanging in His nature and that His Holy Word is also unchanging.
In this sermon, we look at the four great unchanging pillars of the Church of Jesus Christ that ought to characterise its coming together in every generation – The Word of God, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers.
What soldier is armed with an ornamental sword, to take to the field of battle? Outwardly, it appears shiny behold, but when drawn from its sheath the soldier finds the blade is blunt! So many Christians, arm themselves with the great positional statements of Holy Scripture, and yet when asked to see the evidence of such truths in the life of their experience, they are unable to furnish the proof.
This sermon is a challenge calling for the rubber of our theology to meet the road of our experience!
2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Just this past week, I was enjoying a moment, reading a book when I came across a statement that beautifully ministered to my heart. It involves a Pastor and a particular lady who came forward in one of his meetings. I’ll allow the Pastor to tell it in his own words: “She was somewhat timid and quiet, and she brought with her another lady for moral support. She said, “Brother...would you please pray that I will be bold and confident? I answered her request by saying “No. I will not.” Oh, I said it in a loving and gentle way, and then I explained why. I said, “Listen, God has given you a gift, and you don’t realize what that gift is. The gift is weakness, and as long as you recognize your weakness, it will drive you to God. But if I pray, and all of a sudden you have confidence and boldness in yourself, you will not need God’s help anymore.” Two days later she came to me in that conference, took me by the hand, and said, “Brother...thank you. Nobody has ever told me that my weakness is a gift, and now that I understand it, I can honestly say it’s driven me to God”.
May God speak to your heart through this sermon!
God’s ways are never discernable by sight! So many desire that God would speak while the conditions appear favourable. But this is not how it works. While Sarah was yet barren, God said to Abraham, “I will make of thee a great nation” (Gen. 12:2). While Elizabeth was yet barren and past the age of childbearing, the angel said to Zachariah, “Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John” (Lk. 1:13).
This sermon is an encouragement and a call for the Body of Christ to place their trust in the God who cannot fail. Delay is inevitable, but if God has spoken, He will surely bring it to pass. Let us not lose heart, we serve a God of the suddenly. Let us trust Him and as we trust Him, let us wait in hope for that which we do not yet see. As we hope, let us also pray and prepare ourselves for the day of God’s sudden visitation!
We live in a generation where a growing disregard for basic manners is fast becoming the norm. One can teach a youngster the practice of good etiquette — “Don’t speak with your mouth full”, “Don’t interrupt a conversation”, “Knock before you enter” — the P’s and Q’s — yes please, no thank you, excuse me. All of these we can and should teach our children; yet I find, for all our instructing regarding the letter of etiquette, we cannot impart the spirit of it.
The children of God ought to be the most grateful people on planet earth; yet, if I was to ask how much time is spent, in us thanking God for the gracious benefits bestowed upon us, the answer would be sorrowful. This sermon is a teaching and exhortation to thanksgiving. May you be challenged, changed, and edified.
This world that we presently call home; this fading temporary abode, is a world that stands fiercely divided. Now, of course, I don’t refer to the physical landmass we call planet earth, I speak of the people who populate it. On every hand as one beholds, one sees division and schism — person against person, tribe against tribe, kingdom against kingdom and, nation against nation. Despite the efforts of global diplomacy and political treaties, there’s one thing that man will never legislate, and that is true lasting peace.
While a world stands divided, the Church of Jesus Christ is called to be united!! For what did our Lord Jesus pray in that great high priestly prayer on the eve of His crucifixion? “That they all may be divided?” No!! “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (Jn. 17:21).
The year was 1944 when the Communist party seized power in Romania. Literally overnight, a million Russian troops poured onto the soil of Romania. In what was heralded as the “freeing” of Romania, saw instead, women raped, shops looted, men robbed and murdered. Christians were imprisoned, tortured, kidnapped, and murdered for possessing the same faith as you and I. Romania, which had formerly been dubbed “the granary of Europe”, became a starvation camp. Yet despite this, in the years leading up to this brutal persecution, God in His faithfulness had been preparing His people for the horrors of the Communist Regime through the afflictions of the Nazi backed “Iron Guard” who too persecuted Christians in the run-up to the Communist takeover of Romania.
A Christian Pastor, writing of his experiences during this said this: “My wife and I were arrested several times, beaten, and hauled before Nazi judges. The Nazi terror was great, but only a taste of what was to come under the Communists. My son, Mihai, had to assume a non-Jewish name to prevent his death. But these Nazi times had one great advantage. They taught us that physical beatings could be endured, and that the human spirit with God's help can survive horrible tortures. They taught us the technique of secret Christian work, which was a preparation for a far worse ordeal to come; an ordeal that was just before us”. I want to tell you Brothers and Sisters; before God asks His people to sit the final exam, He first enters them for the mock. God prepares His people Saints of God — He prepares us for battle in the school of His training.
Horatio Spafford was a Presbyterian layman from Chicago and was a successful lawyer and businessman. Humanly speaking, this man had everything going for him. He loved the Lord and was happily married with five beautiful children. However, things were about to take a drastic and sudden turn, in a series of events reminiscent of the life of Job. Spafford had heavily invested in real estate along Lake Michigan’s shoreline but in the great Chicago Fire of 1871, he tragically lost everything! If that wasn’t bad enough, shortly before this, he lost his only son to scarlet fever at the tender age of four. With a grieving wife, Horatio Spafford decided to send her and their four daughters across to England where he planned imminently to join them. In 1873, his family boarded the S.S Ville du Havre and set sail for England; but as the ship crossed the Atlantic Ocean, tragedy struck when the ship collided with another sea vessel. Within just 12 minutes the ship had sunk taking the lives of 226 of her passengers. When survivors finally reached dry land, Horatio Spafford received a telegram from Cardiff, Wales. It was from his precious wife Anna; the first two words read; “Saved alone...”. As Horatio journeyed to meet his grieving wife, the captain, aware of the tragedy, invited Spafford to join him in the cockpit, pointing out to him the location where he believed the ship had sunk. With this, Horatio rushed off to his room where he penned the words to a poem by the name of “Ville du Havre”. We know the name of that poem today as the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul”.
So many I find are content to serve the Lord and to speak well in good times when the wind is blowing in a favourable direction. But woe if that wind should suddenly change course; as changes the wind so changes their speech. It is here perhaps most of us all, where the Lord wants to try the substance and quality of our hearts. Will we still be a people of one voice speaking the same things out of season as in season? Can we say in the midst of trial, it is well with my soul?
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
There is a war that has been raging for the last two-thousand years. On one side stand the Saints of God — the army of the Church of Jesus Christ; and on the other side, principalities, and powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places. If one was to stop the average person in the street and to tell them of this mighty conflict, they would most likely laugh you to scorn. Yet the child of God knows all too well, the reality of this mighty conflict.
In this sermon, we seek to expose the varying methods of the assaults of the devil, in particular, his lying slanders through which he wages war against our minds. I pray that this sermon will be of help to you in this battle.