The Christian soldier is never stationary in His efforts to hold the ground of victory taken for Christ in His life. He knows full well, that yesterday’s victories could well turn to tomorrow’s defeat. We are in a war and this is no time for lightness, nor is it time to be found sleeping at the post of duty. The Word of God charges us to take to arm us for the fight, the whole armour of God that we might be able to withstand in the evil day of Satan’s special assault! Of all the armoury listed in that great chapter of the epistle to the Ephesians, there’s one piece of the armour that is distinguished from the rest “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Eph. 6:16).
This sermon is an exhortation to faith! An exhortation to not allow the lies of the enemy to penetrate our minds. God has promised to keep those in perfect peace, whose mind are stayed on Him, because they have placed their trust in the Lord!!
1 Corinthians 13
Of all the many attributes of love, the one element that I have chosen to focus on in this sermon is the selflessness of love!! Well, I could have picked any one of the other colossal pinnacles to climb—the longsuffering of love or the kindness of love; the courtesy of love or the humility of love—any one of these would have been more than a well-served meal and would have satisfied to the full our spiritual appetites. Yet, it is this one aspect of love; this one pinnacle amongst the mountain range, that I want in this sermon to explore. “Charity...seeketh not her own”.
“Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen”. The thought of it!! The unthinkable has taken place!! In one hour, her judgment has come and the great city which once ruled over nations has fallen from her height of prominence and now has become the habitation of devils and every foul spirit.
In this eighteenth chapter, we explore the fall of this great city and reflect upon its sudden ruin.
When we first came to the Lord, we didn’t understand everything, but what we did know was that we were being drawn by the Holy Spirit to Jesus Christ, to place our utter dependence and trust in Him; no more to live for self and sin, but instead to live for Christ in righteousness The though was paralyzing—all we’d ever lived and known, in one moment was to be forsaken! Ah, but the time came when you crossed the bridge and found it to be a solid one!! You met with the Lord and tasted of His goodness and faithfulness! This was the beginning of a journey; one of faith and trust, and as you trace the years that you’ve now walked with the Saviour; there have been seasons since when God has brought you to the valley of seeming impossibility, and has said again, will you trust me?
There’s much emphasis in our day amongst certain circles regarding the observance of weekly sabbath. In the first half of this sermon, we address this issue and ask the question; are Christians obliged to keep the Law?
In the second half of this sermon, we turn to place our focus on the title, “God’s Provision in Man’s Obedience”. For six years God said for the Israelites to work the land – to sow, to reap, to gather and to prune. But in the seventh year, God said that they were to cease from their labour and allow the land a sabbath’s year of rest. Naturally, this flags up the question, if they were not allowed to sow or to reap, then what would they eat? Besides eating the produce that grew naturally of itself, God told the Israelites that if they would obey Him, then on the sixth year, He would bring produce in such abundance, that it would last them for three years!!! Brethren, this speaks to us today. If we will obey God in that which He has spoken, then He will meet our needs in supplying to us in abundance, blessings from His hands.
We have mention made for the first time in Revelation, of a great whore who sits upon many waters. Arrayed in purple and scarlet, decked with gold, precious stones and pearls, she is being carried along by the beast of Revelation 13. Written upon her forehead is a number of names and John saw the woman drunk with the blood of the Saints. Who is this woman and why is she depicted in this way? What is her relationship to the beast and why is she counted as a harlot? All of these questions and others besides, we endeavour to answer in this teaching part as we look at the imagery of the woman and the beast she is sat upon.
There are many ways to look upon a masterpiece of art. Each angle seems to shed a new perspective, as differing tones and hews are brought into fresh view with every studious stare. Far greater than any piece of art is the splendour of Almighty God—His many attributes leave a pause for wonder as man tries with his finite mind, to grasp after Him who is eternal!
Of all the attributes, there’s one attribute that holds a special place in my heart, for I know what manner of man I was, and even now after tasting of eternal life, how great a debtor daily I still am! What is this attribute? It is the mercy of God! “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” Having been shown such great mercy by God, what manner of people ought we the children of God now to be? A people full of mercy towards others! How ready are you to forgive another who has wronged you? How willing are you to extend mercy? In the passing of judgment upon others, how much of it is mixed with mercy? May the Lord search all our hearts and bring us to place of greater mercy.
Jesus was clear when he said, that one of the characteristics of the last days is that the love of the most is going to wax cold on account of the increase in evil. What temperature is your heart registering in the measure of love? In the measure of kindness? In the measure of mercy? In the measure of compassion? In the measure of forgiveness? How soft are our hearts — are they like a tender piece of fresh chicken or are like a hardened piece of steak that has been left out in the sun? What a challenge, to keep them soft and tender in the days in which we’re living.
My precious Brethren, I want to exhort you as much as I want to exhort myself this morning; “...brethren, be not weary in well doing” (2 Thess. 2:13) —do not lose heart, do not lose courage, do not become faint in doing well!! “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9).
I believe that key to rightly dividing the book of Revelation, is to recognise that the events recorded in this book can be broadly divided into two parallel blocks — chapters 4 through to 11 forming the first block, and chapters 12 through to 20 forming the second block. When one understands that these two blocks of Scripture are complementary in nature—that is, they run parallel to one another covering the same period of time in the Tribulation—one is then able to rightly divide the book of Revelation making sense of its chronology and the events that happen within it.
In this teaching, we endeavour to compare side-by-side, the trumpet judgments of Revelation 8, 9 and 11, with the vial judgments of chapter 16. In doing this, we discover that whilst there are slight discrepancies between the two accounts, the overwhelming similarities between the two necessitate that they are referring to the same event. Take a listen and decide for yourself.
The conscience of man has been likened by some to a living organ. Like all organs, the conscience has a primary function; the primary function of the heart is to pump blood around the body, the kidneys remove waste products and excess fluids from the body; the liver helps break down food in digestion and rids the body of toxins. The primary function of the conscience is to sound to man objective and unaltering morality so as to point him in the way of righteousness. There are many similarities between a conscience and an organ, and perhaps chief among them is the ability to render corrupt and ineffective, that once-living organ through repeated abuse! Paul referred to a people who had seared their consciences. You say, how does one sear their conscience? Simple, just keep sinning against your better conscience, keep on ignoring its accusing voice and it will eventually cease to work!!
It’s one thing to harden one’s heart against his conscience, but what happens when a man hardens his heart against the voice of God! What happens, when God the Holy Spirit brings conviction to bear in such a palpable and overwhelming manner such that you know that you know this is the voice of God and yet you choose to continue on in the sin God’s convicting you of? What happens, when God brings His written Word to bear in your hearts shedding revelatory light such that the cloak of sin is blown away and your sin is laid bare before you, and yet, you make excuses and take again the cloak of sin? I tell you what happens...God the Holy Spirit is grieved; the conscience is wounded and the heart is hardened. A word of warning goes out in this sermon, “Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts…”.