You don’t need a neon sign pointing to the obvious fact that we’re living in what the Bible describes as the last days. All around us the signs abound! It is exactly as our Lord said; Spiritual deception on epidemic proportions; wars and rumours of wars; nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom; famines; pestilences and earthquakes in diverse places. If this be so then it is imperative in the hour in which we live to make sufficient preparation so as to stand in these last days.
This sermon is the second part of a two-part sermon series that serves to offer necessary imperatives that the Christian simply cannot afford to be without in this perilous hour. Having looked in part one at the responsibility we have as believers to maintain our vertical relationship towards God; in this second part, we turn our full attention now to our horizontal relationship towards the Brethren. In these last days, no man is going to be able to exist as a stand-alone island. The Church of Jesus Christ is God’s appointed means of safety and we are exhorted in this sermon in light of the times we’re living in, not to neglect the gathering of ourselves together!!
This sermon was preached at Court Farm Evangelical Church
You don’t need a neon sign pointing to the obvious fact that we’re living in what the Bible describes as the last days. All around us the signs abound! It is exactly as our Lord said; Spiritual deception on epidemic proportions; wars and rumours of wars; nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom; famines; pestilences and earthquakes in diverse places. If these things be so then it is crucial in the hour in which we live to make sufficient preparation so as to be able to stand.
This sermon is the first part of a two-part sermon series that serves to offer necessary imperatives that the Christian simply cannot afford to be without in this perilous hour. In this sermon, we seek to offer four practical points that relate to our vertical relationship towards God. Firstly the need to know the Word of God; secondly the need to apply the Word of God; thirdly the need for personal holiness and fourthly the need for spiritual discipline in the area of prayer. May the Lord see fit to challenge and stir His people so as to be prepared for the seasons that are fast coming upon us.
This sermon was preached at Court Farm Evangelical Church
Part 13 – How do I Interpret the Bible?
The claim of Holy Scripture is not that men wrote as it pleased their fancy but rather that “…holy men of God spake as they were moved (carried along) by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:20). This fact becomes the key in answering questions that often arise concerning the compilation of the Bible, for example; why 66 books and not 67? What about so-called missing books - the Gospel of Thomas or Psalm 151? Who determined what books went into the Bible and what books didn’t? These questions are easily answerable when one understands that the Bible claims not mere human authorship but divine authorship!
Then there is the matter of rightly dividing the Word of God. All too often, one will encounter Christians who have very little consistency when it comes to reading the Bible and even when they do read it, they do not really have any real method of approach to meaningful study. Often one will find that rather than studying the Bible, Christians will dabble with the text i.e. they will open it up and see which page it lands on and begin interpreting based on how they feel. In this thirteenth teaching part, we look in a very practical way at how to interpret the Bible by using multiple translations, cross-referencing, dictionaries and commentaries to first establish the true meaning of a passage (exegesis) so that the correct application might then be made (hermeneutics).
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In that most famous of books, the book of Ecclesiastes; Solomon the Son of David remarks; “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). These words are often heard at the funeral services of loved ones departed, as families come face to face with the stinging reality of death; yet it’s not death that I have in mind why I mention these verses. However, just as death marks the end of a legacy when one’s days on earth have run their course; so the verse before us in Joshua, marks an end of a legacy and an end of an era!! There’s something about this verse that upon reading it brings a strange sorrow into one’s heart. “And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year” (Josh. 5:12). For forty long years, God had been present amongst His people in their very midst. For forty long years God had led His people Israel in the wilderness with supernatural power and now this era had come to an end!
This sermon is an encouragement for all who find themselves in a wilderness journey. This journey shall not be forever; as chapters come together in a book to form the whole, so are the seasons in our life as chapters in a book. Looking back over these many trials there will be one common denominator that you’ll never forget, that which ought to be treasured above all else in this life…God in your very midst, leading, guiding and providing by mighty power!!
1 Corinthians 15:32
Christianity stands or falls on this one single fundamental claim; Jesus Christ rose from the dead. An empty tomb stands at the heart and centre of the greatest proclamation ever made, separating Christianity from bearing the same worn label of being just another mere religion. We preach first "...how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried..." (1 Cor. 15:3-4); but we don't stop there...we add also "...that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." Christ’s resurrection forms the very bedrock of the hope of all believers indeed as Paul wrote “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (vs. 20) Under the Law, the Israelites had to offer to God the “firstfruits” i.e. the first of all the harvest as a thanks giving offering to the LORD. Just as the firstfruits was the sure guarantee of a harvest to follow, so Christ has become the firstfruits of the resurrection harvest, the sure guarantee that we shall follow. Yet, his resurrection is fundamentally unique to any other being raised before Him. Paul writes…“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phil. 3:20-21).
In this sermon we take a closer look at the nature of the future resurrection of the believer in Christ and in so doing set firmly in view the blessed hope of all who trust in Christ from whom death shall never sever!
Part 12 – The Doctrine of the Eternal States
The doctrine of the eternal states is rightly classed as a sub-division of eschatology - the study of the end times. Where eschatology has a broader overview of all that is contained in the heading of the last days, the doctrine of eternal states hones in on what will be the final state or eternal existence of man at the end of the world following the Second Coming of Christ and the Millennium.
The Bible is conclusive in what it has to say about the final states of the righteous and the wicked; those whose names are written in the book of life and those whose names are not. There is a growing movement today amidst the ranks of so-called Evangelicals that denies the conscious eternal suffering of the wicked in a place called hell and instead teaches that the wicked upon being raised from the dead shall be annihilated so as to cease to exist. As we shall see in this twelfth teaching part, nothing could be further from the truth. Just as the final state of the righteous shall be an existence of eternal bliss in the new heavens and new earth, so shall the existence of the wicked be an existence of eternal torment in the lake of fire.
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If we were gathered in certain quarters and I was to mention this sermon title, I’m sure many us would have a good idea what might follow. “You’ve got a problem with insecurity? Just take a look in the mirror and realise how great you are! Your self-esteem needs a face-lift! Stop doubting yourself and start believing in yourself! Com’on you’re worth it!” Such is the rhetoric of popular psychology and sadly even the mentality of many professing Christians. That said, are we to just write off as erroneous and ignore the fact that there are multitudes of Christians who struggle daily with very real feelings of insecurity which hinder them greatly from moving forward into the call of God for their lives?
Brothers and Sisters, it matters not how you feel nor what the world census says. What does God have to say? The very opposite of pop psychology!! Not, develop your self-esteem, but, turn your eyes upon Me! In Christ it is all flipped on its head! Our perceived weakness and insecurity is the means by which God shall get glory for Himself!!! “...God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence” (1 Cor. 1:27-29). Do you believe this? Why then do you seek to rob God of His glory by strengthening your cause? That thorn has been given you and I by God and if properly acted upon shall be the means of God glorifying Himself in and through your weakness.
Modern 21st-century man well makes a fitting boast on account of the vast array of his accomplishments; they’re admittedly very impressive! In this century and the last alone, the world has witnessed staggering and unprecedented breakthroughs in every field of expertise, from medicine to engineering. Western civilization has never known such affluence, such protracted periods of peace and prosperity; have never known such high standards of health and living and yet it’s into this period of history and into this geographical locale that each of us finds our present existence, and it’s into this reality that the gospel of Jesus Christ has shone its dazzling light, even into your heart and mine! Undeterred by the leavening influence of a society dripping with riches, the power of Christ is seen in that He has a people though in this world remain untouched by it!
This sermon is an exhortation for believers to fix their mind, not on the things of this earth but the things belonging to heaven. The reason for such an exhortation? For we are buried with Christ and risen with him and our life is now hid with Christ in God. Oh, that we come to fully comprehend this mystery and in so doing set our gaze heavenward from whence our Lord shall soon return!
Part 11 – Understanding Eschatology
Without question, the foremost claim to the Bible being inspired and thus coming from God is the sheer volume of material contained within its pages given over to prophecy. In fact, a staggering 27% of the Bible (just over a ¼) is comprised of such. God goes down on record, declaring the future before it comes into existence so that when it does all will know that the Living God has spoken! These predictions are not vague random predictions relating to non-connected matter but rather are specific, exact, calculating, precise in nature and content. They concern themselves with a particular nation and a particular person, namely Israel and her Messiah, after which they then branch out to encompass the nations in immediate proximity to Israel and finally to the whole world.
The subject matter of this eleventh teaching is narrowed down to a specific field of Bible prophecy called eschatology. Eschatology comes from the Greek word “eschatos” meaning last and “ology” meaning the study of; hence eschatology means the study of the last days or final events. These final events include the Second Coming of Christ, the Great Tribulation, the rapture/resurrection of believers, the restoration of Israel, the millennium, the great white throne judgment and eternal states. In this teaching part, we first examine the different schools of understanding relating to the study of end times before turning our attention to understanding the prophetic timetable of the last days which shall see the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His Millennium Kingdom on the earth.
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Religion has always produced its lion’s share of the world’s hypocrites, those whose devotion to God consists largely of public show! Seeking the applause and affirmation of men, they do their religious acts before the same and in so doing they receive their reward of the same! Dear Christian, how fare’s your devotional life with the Lord in private?
A call goes forth in this sermon for all to do away with the feigned folly of a counterfeit Christianity; away with such insults against Deity; be gone with such mockery! Its time again to seek the Lord in truth and sincerity that we might serve Him in authenticity!
This sermon was shared in May at a CMFI fellowship day.