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.
Which specialist army unit deploys an inconsistent marksman to take out an enemy target? Which coach puts forward an inconsistent striker to take the deciding penalty? Yet, if we’re honest with ourselves (and I’m speaking of things pertaining to our Christian walk), we leave far too much margin for error in our lives. Inconsistencies which ought to be consistencies, variables which ought to be constants; and yet, when I open the Word of God, I don’t see these margins of error being left us for waver. Instead, I see imperatives (instructional commands) where the expectation is for full compliance!
This sermon is an exhortation for believers to lay hold on God and to press through into a life of consistency.
2 Samuel 23:8-39
As one surveys the annals of history, down through the corridors of time, one will find that history polluted and stained by war. Bloodshed has left its indelible mark upon the human race, the horrors of battle recorded by those who never lived to tell their story in person. If there’s one thing that history bears witness to, it’s this, war is not a thing to be desired!! However, having said that, there is something about the environment of war that is able to accomplish something that a pre-war environment simply cannot do. Brothers and Sisters, it is in the climate of war where heroes are born!! A pre-war generation of peace is known by its cowards, and the generation of war, by its heroes!
This sermon is a heart cry for men to rise up in this critical hour and to give themselves to the fight!! A Church in retreat will never do. Is there one who would say with the shepherd boy David “Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine” (1 Sam. 17:32)? May the Lord see fit to do such a work of restoration in our day.
The question being asked in this sermon is a question that every Christian must answer honestly before God; Where lies the treasure of your heart? In just three words, our Lord would have us remember; “Remember Lot’s wife” (Lk. 17:32). Her heart was still at home in Sodom, and though her feet were going through the motions of exiting the confines of that wicked city, she brought Sodom out with her! Let me ask you, do you feel at home in this world or are you just passing through?
This sermon is a call for a people to rise up in this day of great evil, wherein it appears, the glory of God is departing from these shores. Is there a soul who of whom it could be said; the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up? Who will give themselves to the Father’s business in order that we might see the Kingdom of God advancing in our day? Even so, Lord may it be!
Here before us in the third chapter of the Book of Revelation, is a Church, to whom our Lord had nothing by way of rebuke to bring. That was of course, not the case for the vast majority of the Churches that He addressed in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. In my reckoning, there were only two out of the seven Churches addressed, for which our Lord had nothing bad to say and both these Churches shared something precious in common that I believe was key in contributing to this. You say, Brother, what was it? Both found themselves in the midst of persecution and tribulation, amidst great difficulty and affliction for representing the name of Jesus Christ. Both were WEAK in their own natural strength. Whatever we may think of persecution, and whatever discomfort we may feel at the thought of having to go through afflictions and trials —one thing is for sure...IT DOES US GOOD!!
Maybe you’re going through a particular trial of incredible difficulty and you feel as though you can’t go on. Be encouraged dear soul, the God we serve is the God of the little strength Christian. There is grace in abundance to help you through if you will but call upon the Lord.
1 Corinthians 10:1-14
Exhortation abound in the Word of God, calling believers to stand! “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13). “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1). “…my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord…” (Phil. 4:1), and so we could go on!
In this sermon, a great warning is given for the believers to stand guard against a mind inflated with pride. By looking at the example of Israel’s disobedience and the subsequent judgment that came as a result of this, the believer in Christ I warned so as not to follow suit. May the Lord speak to each one of us.
The saying goes; “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”, and to this, the Word of God agrees. What saith the Apostle Paul when instructing the Corinthian Church to forgive a brother who had once been caught in a grievous sin but had now been brought to true repentance and remorse over the same? “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor. 2:11). Ah, such a statement presupposes many things. In the first, it presupposes that there is such a being as Satan, and in the second, it presupposes the possibility that Satan can gain an advantage over us, though we name the name of Jesus Christ! Brothers and Sisters, there’s no two ways about it, we must be on guard and stand ready to overcome in the day of Satan’s special assault.
In this sermon, we take a look at the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, and in so doing, we learn valuable lessons that serve as aids to help us to overcome when we too shall be tempted by the devil.
Brothers and Sisters, I don’t know about you, but I carry in my heart a great burden as I witness first-hand the departing of a generation of Christian workers who in their day troubled the kingdom of darkness and wrought many mighty victories for the kingdom of light! These were men and women of commitment, sold to the cause of the advancement of the kingdom of God; men and women of sacrifice, men and women of faith and courage, who knew what it was to walk with their Lord. These were disciplined souls whose personal business mattered less to them than did the business of their Master who they served with wholeness of heart in sincerity, in obedience, and love. I know that they have gone ahead of us into glory—far better it is for them; but for us who are left behind and more importantly, for the Body of Christ as a whole; their passing is our great loss and we’re far the worse off for not having them still with us!! Now it ought to be that in the passing of a great soul, rising in their shadows are found others mounting up on eagles’ wings; seeking to build where one left off and to further to the work that they began. Yet, when I look to see the ones rising up to fill their shoes, I look in vain!
This sermon is a call and a cry, for Christian men and women to purpose in their hearts to give themselves wholly unto the Lord so as to live for Him in absolute devotion! When we do this, then I believe that we will witness again the sending forth of labourers in our day. Who will give themselves to the Master? Is there one?