1 Corinthians 15:58
On July 8th, 1741, a man by the name of Jonathan Edwards preached what has been dubbed, the greatest sermon to have ever been preached on American soil. The sermon was titled, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. Nothing was spared the hearers, as Edwards expounded to his sleepy listeners, the certain fiery punishment that awaited the unbelievers and their desperate need to flee to the Saviour for refuge! As believers in Christ, we rejoice in Christ for His saving grace wherewith we have been gloriously saved from such an end. However, in light of the coming resurrection when Christ shall burst the heavens and come back for His own, we are not to be found idle.
This sermon is an exhortation for us in Christ to be busy in the work of the Lord until He comes. For those unsure of their call, it’s time to seek the Lord. For those who know their call and yet are slumbering, it is a wake-up call to arise so as to set the hand to the plough!
Knowing the Bible for Yourself (Pt. 12)
It has often been said; “If it’s in the Bible, then I believe it!!” Whilst I understand the sentiments of what is seeking to expressed by such a statement, the statement is only as good as one’s interpretation of the text. If one misinterprets a portion of Scripture due to poor exegesis, then what one thinks they understand God to be saying, is not actually what He has said. To then apply this to one’s life to miss the mark and to end in error.
In this second part of a two-part teaching, we look at three unique books that have caused problems for some in their interpretation due to the difficult nature of their composition and structure. We endeavour by the grace of God to shed some light in these Books, namely Ecclesiastes, Job, and Song of Solomon.
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When we think of religion, we tend to have this idea in our minds that those who are the most zealous in their efforts to apply religious principles; these are they who love God the most. I want to say, nothing could be further from the truth! Some of the meanest and cruelest people down through millennia’s ages are those who were the most fanatical in their cause for religion! What we need is not more religion, but more love for the Saviour! May God so help us to love the Lord Jesus Christ with a greater affection.
As Christians, we must never tire of saying “No!” A decisive “No!” with firm conviction has delivered many a Christian pilgrim from the peril of danger and saved his soul from many a calamity. We must first and foremost say “No!” to sin!!! To deny the flesh its fill is never an easy thing. It has strong desires and burning passions that demand to be satisfied. It cries out in the daytime and the night seasons; “I’m hungry”! But the Christian who has walked for any length of time with the Lord knows that to yield to its demands is to play with fire. We MUST give due diligence here and watch over our souls. Is sin creeping in? Have we slackened? Have we loosened the reigns? It’s one thing to start out of the blocks, but it takes a different kind of athlete to stay the course and finish the race. God is calling us to finish well!!
It’s been well said, that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones (and how true this proverb is). There’s something about the fallen state of humanity whereby man finds it so easy (almost effortless) to point out the faults in others, and yet; finds it so hard to see those same faults in himself. No sooner than he points the finger, there are three fingers pointing back at him! How swift we are to dish out criticism, yet how slow we are to eat from that same plate! How skilled we are at murmuring and complaining about the hairline cracks we see in others when if the truth be told, we’ve crumbling joints in our own foundation but are too blind to see it because we’re always got our eyes on others people.
This sermon is a call and an exhortation for mercy in our judgment of one another in light of the judgment seat of Christ.
There are some proverbs that remain in our thinking more than others; some that seem to leave a greater lasting impression in our hearts than others. None perhaps have left their indelible mark upon the hearts of God’s people than Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths”.
In this sermon, we bring these verses to the forefront and endeavour to behold the treasures of this precious jewel. This world is full of care and trouble, but the child of God has been called to place their trust wholeheartedly in the Lord! Will we not see what God will do, if we but look to Him?
Knowing the Bible for Yourself (Pt. 11)
When one thinks of wisdom, what thoughts come to mind? What images fill the head? The response of the Christian to such questions will inevitably differ from those outside the faith. The most up-to-date entry in the Cambridge online dictionary defines wisdom as: “The ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments”. The Biblical definition of wisdom whilst not contradicting this, begins from an entirely different premise from where the world begins. The world begins from a worldview that excludes the God of Holy Scripture; whereas the Biblical definition of wisdom begins and ends with God (Prov. 9:10).
There are five books in the Bible that have been rightly identified as belonging to the Wisdom Literature. These include Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. In this first teaching part of two, we begin exploring this wisdom and endeavour to offer practical helps to enable one to better interpret the Book of Proverbs in order to understand the great wealth of wisdom that is contained in this precious book.
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J.C Ryle said of this parable; “The four kinds of hearts it describes are to be found in every assembly which hears the word. These circumstances should make us always read the parable with a deep sense of its importance. We should say to ourselves as we read it: “This concerns me. My heart is to be seen this parable. I, too, am here”. Well said, Brother Ryle!!
The child of God ever runs the dangerous possibility of becoming overfamiliar with those texts which he hears the most. The Parable of the Sower is perhaps at the forefront of this list. May we listen to this sermon with ears and eyes afresh and in so doing, may God grant us to see the soil condition of our hearts.
What woeful words greet us; what mournful landscape is hung before our eyes, sketched by the son of Hilkiah, otherwise known as the weeping prophet! “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. It’s one thing to pronounce judgment and it’s another thing to do so with streaming eyes. Jeremiah didn't earn his epithet without warrant; as goes the name, as goes the man! “Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!” (Jer. 9:1). The false prophets spoke words of flattering ease and comfort, but the true prophets called God’s people to repentance and foretold of coming judgment.
As we look across our nation and to the Church that is within it, will there not a voice arise to cry out to Living God if perhaps He might mercy and stand on God’s Word? “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chron. 7:14).
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” — coming from the pen of shepherd!! It is no coincidence that the latter words “...I shall not want” should follow fast on the heels of the former “The LORD is my shepherd”. The two are intrinsically linked together and the latter proceeds out of the former. It is because the LORD is a shepherd, that the sheep under His watchful care shall lack for nothing!! While the shepherd is near, the sheep have nothing to worry about!! You see, the shepherds of the middle east were different from those we’re perhaps accustomed to in the West. Here in England, we frequently see sheep grazing freely on the rolling hills with no shepherd in sight and without a seeming care in the world! But in Biblical times, in ancient Israel, this would have proven fatal! It was the shepherd’s chief duty to watch over his flock in order to protect them from predators.
In his sermon, we look at the Good Shepherd and take comfort from that 23rd Psalm which down through the ages has proven to be a balm of consolation for countless millions.