Which one of us doesn’t like to hear the words “well done”? Whether from a boss at work, or a family member in the home; those two simple words spoken in sincerity mean so much! Who doesn’t like to be encouraged? Children especially rejoice to hear the words “well done” — as a former teacher, I can vouch for that first-hand and as a daddy, I can say the same. When you tell a little one “well done”, and you say it with heartfelt meaning, watch their tiny faces respond as they beam from ear to ear like a Cheshire cat! There’s something about the human race, it matters not how old we are, there’s a God-given trait within our DNA, a desire deep inside to please others in a job well done.
This sermon is an appeal to Christian service—a call to faithfulness in the talents entrusted to us by the Lord.
2 Chronicles 20
The account contained in 2 Chronicles 20 concerns a certain king named Jehoshaphat; a godly king, who though not perfect, was a man of tremendous faith who feared the Lord and walked in the ways of his father David. Throughout his 25-year reign as the King of Judah, Jehoshaphat witnessed firsthand, the supernatural hand of God in delivering him out of a number of precarious situations in which his life was placed in great jeopardy. Here stands an account of one such deliverance that I trust shall be a challenge and an encouragement to you.
I want to present to you three lessons in faith. #1. FAITH’S TRIAL, #2. FAITH’S ANSWER, and #3. FAITH’S REWARD
2 Kings 5:13
If there’s one thing that I came to learn quickly as a newborn babe in Christ, it was this: it’s not everything that God asks of us, we’re going to understand. In fact, many times, what God asks seems foolish when brought to the bar of natural reasoning. There are many reasons why God sets things up this way, not least for the testing of faith and for the glory of His name. Faith forever stands diametrically opposed to sight as north stands opposed to south and east to west. Sight believes because it sees, but faith believes because God said it! “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5).
In this sermon, I endeavour to set before you, three accounts of where God’s people were instructed by God to do things that on face value seemed foolish and against all human logic. Their faith and obedience are an inspiration for us all and in every case, the Lord worked in miraculous power to bring to naught the wisdom of men.
1 John 2:15-17
They tell us, “...nothing’s built to last”. It’s not always that I agree with what “they” like to tell us, but in this instance, they’re spot on!! I like walking, and at odd times my path leads me into farming land. I love standing by the gate and looking out at the wheat fields, the ripened heads swaying in the wind. Upon my journey, I sometimes see an old clapped-out tractor with a rusty plough lying amidst the undergrowth. Immediately my mind begins to wonder, “...there was a day when this tractor ploughed these fields and this plough didn’t have a spot of rust upon it. One day when the tractor’s engine was started for the first time, its brand-new coat of paint shone with pride. I wonder how many sat in its seat? I wonder are they still alive?” You, know there’s something about history that fascinates me but there’s one thing about history that forever holds true — what was, no longer is, and what it shall one day no longer be.
This sermon is an appeal to flee from covetousness and to escape the spirit of materialism which plagues this generation. Jesus offers to give to all who would come to Him, water to drink, the likes of which a soul would never thirst again!!
If there were just two words that I would have you take away with you so as to keep in memory, it would be these two words, “BY FAITH”. No less than 16 times within the 40 verses that span the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews; the words, “By faith” appear. Beginning with Abel, the son of Adam, the names of men and women are chronicled and the mighty victories that they wrought by faith are held in review for our remembrance. Abel, Enoch and Noah. Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob. Joseph, Moses and the Gentile harlot Rehab. All had one thing in common, one thing that wrote their name in the book, they believed God!!
Brothers and Sisters, I can think of no greater experience as a Christian than when God asks you to stand this side of faith and to trust Him. Against all odds, against everything that the natural eye would say otherwise. To take God at His Word and to simply say, “God I believe you and I’m going to trust you”, is the story of the heroes and heroines of the faith!!
1 Thessalonians 4:1-7
If I was to ask the vast majority of professing believers, what it was that Jesus accomplished upon the cross. Without hesitation, the overwhelming response would be, “He died that sins might be forgiven”, to that I say amen!! But if I was to probe a little further by asking the second time, “what was it that Jesus accomplished upon the cross”, for the most part, I would be greeted by blank faces. The Church in our hour regrettably, has chosen to focus only on that one aspect of the cross — sins forgiven — and the conclusion that it has drawn from this, though it would never say it is this: “The only difference between the world and the Christian is this; the Christian has been forgiven of their sins whereas the world has not?” In other words, when it boils down to Christian living, there isn’t really any radical difference between the child of God and the child of wrath. But friends, the Bible that I hold in my hand rejects this darkened reasoning. What saith the Apostle? “...Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:1-2). Not only did Jesus die to save us from the penalty of sin, but He also died to save us from the power of sin.
In this sermon, we move from the category of sins general, to focus on sin specific, namely the sin of sexual immorality. Let us heed the warnings given to us in God’s Word.
2 Peter 1:1-12
Doctrine matters! Foundations matter! Everyone wants to build but if there are no foundations upon which to build, the building’s not going to stand. We must begin with foundational matters/those great positional truths of Scripture - they are anchors to our soul. But we must never allow ourselves to settle there. We must be poured out into the vessel of experience. Too many Christians have remained for too long settled on their lees, living in the realm of the positional and never coming down to the land of the experiential.
In this sermon, we look at the glorious truths that Peter furnishes for us and the exhortation which follows to live in the reality of this.
As nears our Lord’s return, the Word of God tells us that widespread deception will mark the generation that shall witness the Second Coming of Christ. When the disciples asked our Lord saying, “...Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Mt. 24:3). The first words out of Jesus’ mouth were, “Take heed that no man deceive you” (vs. 4). Of all the many things He could have said, and of all the many things He went ¬on to say; first thing’s first, He warns the disciples against deception; “Take heed that no man deceive you”.
As a Pastor/shepherd, I see so many of God’s people in this late hour, wandering hither and thither, “...scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd”. Brothers and Sisters, I want to be straight with you, this is no hour for wandering about, there are prowling wolves out there waiting for their dinner, and guess what’s on the menu? You got it...SHEEP!! If there’s one thing I’ve learned not to do as a Christian, that is to ignore the warnings given to me in the Word of God. When God warns us, He warns us for a reason and He says, "TAKE HEED" because there are genuine consequences for not doing so! Part of our being ready for when Christ comes is being found in truth. Not only must we be found abiding in holiness when He comes; but we must also be found abiding in the truth!
As one walks through this fallen world, it seems that pain and sorrows are the appointed lot of man. Sinners and Saint alike taste of these bitter waters, but the added comfort for the child of God is the knowledge, that whatever trials are traced upon his dial, they are done so by the Son of love. Be this as it may, God’s people do not always recognise it as so. In times of great calamity, rather than looking to the Lord, they can draw away from Him
This sermon is an encouragement to those enduring hardship to look to the Lord! “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Ps. 61:1-2).
2 Kings 5:1
There’s nothing like sitting before an open Bible, with an open heart, asking that the Lord might breathe upon the text and illuminate one’s understanding. Ah, to have those rhema moments where the text of Scripture seems to leap from the page, where the Word of God is comprehended from His Spirit to our spirit, there’s nothing that compares like unto it.
Fasten your seatbelt, as we go for a ride through chapter 5 of the Book of Second Kings to learn lessons from the life of Naaman the Syrian.