It appears that sermons on sin are about as popular as snails on toast! Yet Brethren, it ought not to be; a simple shift in geographical locale make’s a world of difference. You see...snails for the French are what Yorkshire Puddings are for us Brits; they love the former and we love the latter. Had we been bought up in the suburbs of Lyon or Paris, then we too most likely would have been eating those slippery fellows and loving every minute of it! The place of our birth matters!! What used to be our finest delicacy by reason of us being born into this world, is now our most detested by reason of us being born-again. That which we once detested, we now love. Light and darkness; good and evil; righteousness and sin. Sin ought to be for the Christian what snails are to the Brits; disgusting, vulgar; sickening!!
As Christians, we cannot have it both ways; either we are Christians given to holiness or sinners given to sin!! This idea that a Christian is a sinning Saint in limbo cannot be found in the New Testament and is a great deception that has served to comfort many a professor of religion in their sin and give impetus for them to continue in this way untroubled. However, when one opens the New Testament, such faulty reasoning is blown to smithereens and the safety net of false hope is cut down. Will we not face this verse honestly and ask ourselves this questions; what door of sin have we left open in our lives? What besetting sin are we still making allowances for?
In the opening of what has been termed, the second general epistle of Peter; Peter the servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, writes exhorting the Body of Christ, calling them unto a faith that is practical!! The great challenge that comes to mind at recurring intervals in my life is this; how much of what I walked in yesterday, am I still walking in today? Or upon reflection in looking back, can I pinpoint a period of time when my faith was stronger; my love more earnest; my life more pure; my mind more singularly focussed? I don’t know about you, but there’s one thing that terrifies me, and it’s this...to live on the back of a reputation that is no longer an actuality in my present life!! Is my faith living today? Is my love fervent and burning today? Am I walking in forgiveness today? Am I winning in the battle against sin and temptation today? Am reflecting the mind and character of Christ today?
Brethren, we cannot rest in yesterday’s victories; today is a new day and another new day called tomorrow dawns upon us!! The crowning jewel in the fruit that ought to be found in us and abounding is that of love!! God help us to this end, that we might consider one another.
The Church of Jesus Christ in every age and in every generation is called to be salt and light to a perishing world! When it ceases in its function to be either one, by default it has disqualified itself from heralding a gospel that has failed in the first instance to transform the lives of those who profess it!! When the people of God give the green light to what God calls filthy and wicked, then there’s only one place for such to be thrown; out onto the walkways to be trodden under foot of men!!
What temperature are you displaying amidst the current tide of immorality that has swept into our nation? Has your lamp has gone out? Have you ceased to register to a fallen world a standard which decries its moral depravity? God is wanting to raise a standard but, it is going to cost you everything to stand in these last days!! A half-heartedness, one foot in, and one-foot out approach will never do!! God is bringing His people to a simple decision; it’s all or nothing!!!
Within the Evangelical Church, I tend to find one of two extremes often at play; on one extreme there are those who abandon theology in pursuit of experience and at the other extreme, those who abandon experience in the pursuit of theology. Both extremes, I believe to be in error! To have an experience of God, without the solid theological ground upon which to rest it, is highly subjective and for that cause potentially very dangerous. We are exhorted, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 Jn. 4:1). Yet, on the other hand, to have a theological foundation that does not allow for God to be really experienced is to grieve the Holy Spirit and to deny Him His rightful place in our midst; “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings” (1 Thess. 5:19-20).
This sermon is a challenge and an exhortation, calling God’s people to a true and authentic Biblical experience. The simple fact of the matter is, our God is a God of personal experience!! I understand full-well that such a phrase throws up so much baggage in light of the abuses at the extreme ends of the Charismatic/Pentecostal movements, but that doesn’t negate the truth of Scripture!! Emotionally driven, hyper-experienced based Christianity must be avoided at all costs; but equally, so must also, dry/dead religion. Without a doubt, theology matters!! But once the solid ground of theology has been laid, it must then prepare the way for a personal experience of Jesus Christ.
Jude vs. 3-4
It is one thing to contend earnestly for the faith theologically, contending for the purity of doctrine; and quite another to contend earnestly for the faith, contending for the purity of conduct! There are many who with glee shoot down false prophets and expose false teachers and yet, their own lives are compromised in the area of holiness. This my friends will never do! Knowledge of God’s Word alone simply is not enough to prevent a man/woman from being led astray in the desperate days in which we live. Correct doctrine alone, intellectually speaking, will never promise those holding to it the safety they think they have. If our hearts are still found in this world and unwilling to yield to God, then the sad reality is that we’re already deceived and the embracing of false doctrine will be the next logical step.
This sermon was preached at Victory Baptist Church, Blackpool.
Jude vs. 3-4
For two thousand years, a perpetual war has been raging against the Church of Jesus Christ. In the first century alone, in as little as two decades from Pentecost, within the very lifetimes of the apostles themselves, false teachers prowled the perimeter of Christ’s spiritual flock seeking a way to infiltrate their ranks.
Two thousand years on, not much has changed. Both from within and without, those preaching another gospel have risen up to turn many from the faith. This sermon is a warning and an exhortation, to contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints!
This sermon was preached at Victory Baptist Church, Blackpool.
Man has become an expert at meeting the many perceived needs that lie all around him, encouraging himself that anything is better than nothing; that some help is better than no help! Perhaps nowhere is this attitude more sadly seen than it is in today’s modern Evangelical Church. Spare bodies generally mean vacancies and vacancies, new appointments; youth pastor, choir director, Sunday school teacher, children’s minister…the rational? Where there is a need it must be met!! No worship leader? Appoint one! No deacon? Appoint one! No associate pastor? Appoint one! This may seem perfectly logical to some and perfectly reasonable for others, and for this reason the professing Church of Jesus Christ, for the most part, goes right on in good faith, building its man-made edifices in the hope that God will crown them with success! Yet God is not in the business of crowning our man-made structures and neither does He care for all our well thought out plans and good intentions. "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain” (Ps. 127:1).
1 Timothy 6:6-12
All around us, we are confronted with the overwhelming reality that we are living in a culture that is consumed by the love of money and the pursuit of pleasure. The common man has never known such abundance of wealth; goods which once upon a time only the rich could once afford, the average Joe now owns in no small measure. Via the cheap manufacturing and exporting of goods from the East, and the boom in the technology industry, every man, and his dog now own a smartphone of some description, not to mention besides, a flat screen television, a laptop/tablet computer and the like. As Christians, we must ever be on guard to ensure that we have not found for ourselves an abiding home in this world.
Tell me, dear friend, what does this world mean to you? Does its sparkle still attract? Does its charm still pull at the strings of your heart? Does its promise of happiness, security, prosperity, pleasure, and peace still entice you to come and enquire at its gates? This sermon is an exhortation to godliness, coupled with contentment, which is of tremendous gain. In light of the coming great tribulation and the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, we must see to it that our hearts are not be found in this world; in the words of Christ…“Remember Lot’s wife” (Lk. 17:32).
There’s a familiar saying; “what you don’t know can’t hurt you”. As with any proverb, there’s always a smattering of truth contained within it, and though this proverb is not found among those of Solomon’s, it nonetheless when run through the filter of God’s Word has significant meaning to what is being shared in this sermon. Whilst the world shuts its ears to facts and closes its eyes to reason in the hope that truth might go away; it doesn’t change reality!! If a man has a terminal disease, he can wish as much as he likes to not have it discussed in his hearing, but the fact that he chooses not to talk about it, doesn’t take the disease away! And you know...there’s some Christians that are just like this; practicing in the dark, things that they know deep down to be wrong and all the while unwilling to have those sins brought into the light!!!
This sermon is a call for all who name the name of Christ as Lord and Saviour to come from under the cover of shade and to allow the light of God’s searching rays to shine into their heart. Beware how you hear dear soul, for hearing not only has to do with perceiving, but also a heeding! How do you intend to respond?
We are exhorted in Hebrews 10:22 to draw near to God. This command is not written to unbelievers but to believers! The ground upon which such an exhortation rests is the person of the risen Lord and His finished work upon the cross on which He shed His precious blood. What a High Priest is ours!! What a hope and what a confidence! Yet; as one looks closer at the verse in question; we are exhorted to draw near to God with a true (sincere) heart free from hypocrisy so as to be able to draw near in full assurance (entire confidence) of faith.
Sadly, there are many who through consciences defiled by sin; are not able to draw near to God with a true heart and in full assurance of faith. This sermon is a challenge to such to forsake that which they know to be wrong in their lives so as to be able to exercise a good conscience towards God, holding faith unswerving without which we cannot ever draw near to our God; For, “…without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6).