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.
I find increasingly of late that cardinal and principal doctrines of the Christian faith are being called into question, not (I might add) from those outside the fold, but on the contrary, from those who claim to be inside the fold. Long established doctrines of the most immanent importance are simply being brushed aside and labelled as questionable. One such doctrine that is being brushed aside as take it or leave it, is the doctrine of original sin. The increasing denial of this doctrine among professing Christians is increasing and as believers, we must be absolutely clear about what this doctrine is and why it is a fundamental and non-negotiable element to our faith.
2 Peter 3:1-15
From way back when and from days of old, there have been scoffers and mockers that have made it their duty of responsibility to poke fun at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. “You Christians have been saying that Jesus is coming back since supposedly He left the first time!!” “Two thousand years have passed and where is the promise of His coming?” “Grandad Mack said He was coming in his day and his relatives before him said exactly the same...where is He? All things continue as they have from the beginning of time!!” You’d think that such people had read the Second Epistle of Peter for that’s exactly what he said they’d say!
This sermon is an urgent call for preparation. Jesus is coming back. When He comes, will you be found of Him in peace?
1 Peter 5:7
In 1740, Charles Wesley penned the words to the timeless hymn, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”. Without question, he had in his mind the words of the sweet psalmist David when he fled from Saul in the cave. “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast” (Ps. 57:1). The first two verses of Wesley’s hymn read as follows:
1. Jesus, lover of my soul,
let me to thy bosom fly,
while the nearer waters roll,
while the tempest still is high;
hide me, O my Savior, hide,
till the storm of life is past;
safe into the haven guide,
O receive my soul at last!
2. Other refuge have I none;
hangs my helpless soul on thee;
leave, ah! leave me not alone,
still support and comfort me.
All my trust on thee is stayed,
all my help from thee I bring;
cover my defenseless head
with the shadow of thy wing.
We are living in an age of mounting pressure, not least for the Christian. All around we are beset with many cares and vexing thoughts. How are we to bear up under this pressure? What are we to do with all our cares and anxieties? Peter instructs us: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you”. I trust that this sermon will offer to you much comfort and encouragement, as you set your heart to serve the Lord amidst a troubled world.