Some view the Christian race as a 100 m dash. On your marks…get set…go!!! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and it's over! However, as one looks in the text of Holy Scripture, one quickly discovers that the Christian race is no 100m dash, but a marathon of lasting endurance! In this sermon, we look at two indispensables that are necessary for Christian perseverance. There’s a race to run dear Christian; let us run the race with endurance so as to finish!
1 John 2:12-14
What man plants a sapling, who upon his return ten years later, does not expect to find a fruit-yielding tree? Imagine the horror at discovering that the bendy sapling is no further on in its progression as in the day it was first planted. If it is an apple tree or a pear tree, we’d expect that tree to have come to maturity, and the sign of its maturity would be the beautiful fruit hanging from every branch. As it is in the natural, so it also ought to be in the spiritual!! Tell me, is the maturing of your spiritual man in proportion to the length of years you’ve walked with the Lord? It is the heart of our Lord to see His children go on to spiritual maturity, growing from little children to young men, to fathers.
Let us prepare our hearts as to what we will do with what is said in this heart-searching sermon.
1 John 1:5-7
There’s something about light — its piercing rays of glory, its all-pervading brilliance, is no match for the darkened shadows cast by nature's night. I find that for so many, though they name the name of Christ, they are content to live in the bluey shades of the twilight hours when Christ is calling them into the brightness of daylight. Neither hot nor cold, neither wicked nor good — they’re content to pitch their tent in no man's land between the borders of heaven and hell. As I look at the Bible, I don’t see any shades of grey, just life, and death, light, and darkness, day and night. If this is so, why then do we allow for shades of grey in our lives? This is a call to walk in the light!!
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
The athlete on the field of games is not passive. There’s no passivity about him — see him on the starting line, he’s not passive; he is thinking through the race before him, he’s focussed. Everything about the life of an athlete is disciplined. You name the sport, and I’ll show you an Olympian that’s under the rule of discipline. What he eats, what he drinks, what time he lies down to sleep, what time he rises up again; the intense training schedule for the space of four years, in season and out of season. The Apostle Paul draws on this powerful and well-known imagery to make his point. How run ye, O Christian?
2 Chronicles 26:1-5
When God brings His people from one season into another, they must give careful attention and purposeful thought as to how they intend to meet this new environment. I’ve come to learn over the years that change for some, while it ought to have been the best thing to have ever come their way; proved at last to be their undoing!
A man can begin in the lowly shadows of obscurity, and behold as he rises through the ranks of success, he can find at last, he’s not the man he was at the first. Success has gotten to his head; prosperity has clouded his vision, fogged his thinking, and corrupted his mind. I find that a man needs to be on guard at all times, but none more so than in the midst of blessing.
Many are waiting upon God in the place of prayer, and one day, God is going to answer. On the day of His answering, the day of waiting has come to end, and the time for action has now come! Play the man Christian soldier, God shall not fail thee!! When God says GO, it’s no time to procrastinate, it’s time to act!
When you’re standing at the crossroads of life and you don’t know what to do. Far from being at a place of loss, the child of God is afforded an opportunity to enquire of the Lord. “If any man lacks wisdom (James says), let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him”. Brothers and Sisters, in the presence of fear and uncertainty, will you enquire at the mouth of the Lord? He has something to say about your circumstance if you would but seek Him, and when He speaks, be sure to obey, and He will lead you through!
In November of last year, thousands of care workers up and down the UK were forced out of their jobs in a sector which as it stands is already facing a daunting shortage of more than 100,000 workers. The care sector is not alone in this crisis. The NHS is facing the same problem. According to the latest NHS figures, 85,000 of its staff have still not had a Covid vaccine and a further 40,000+ have only had the first of two required jabs. All face immediate dismissal on 31st March on this year, from a sector which is also facing at present, a 100,000 staff shortfall. But it’s not just healthcare. Last month, the Education Secretary, called for ex-teachers to come out of retirement to help bridge the gap of staff illnesses in schools across the UK. Staff shortages are spreading to almost every part of the economy, ranging from haulage to hospitality.
While this world’s workforce is in short supply, the Kingdom of Heaven’s workforce is also in the same. If God was to put out an advertisement, nailing it to every Church door across this land, do you want to know what it would say? Two words; “SHORT STAFFED”. Underneath the headline caption, would be the reference Mt. 9:37-38. “...The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest”.
We live in a world where we’re continually told that change is good. Whether it be the political sphere or the workplace environment; education or the arts — to remain constant and the same is deemed to be a failure. I remember as a teacher, working in secondary education, it was frowned upon if you stayed too long teaching in the same school. It was an unspoken rule that every five years or so you were supposed to move on by means of promotion — climbing the career ladder of success, jumping from one school to another. I thank God Brethren, that some things in life are constant and never changing. I thank God that He is unchanging in His nature and that His Holy Word is also unchanging.
In this sermon, we look at the four great unchanging pillars of the Church of Jesus Christ that ought to characterise its coming together in every generation – The Word of God, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers.
What soldier is armed with an ornamental sword, to take to the field of battle? Outwardly, it appears shiny behold, but when drawn from its sheath the soldier finds the blade is blunt! So many Christians, arm themselves with the great positional statements of Holy Scripture, and yet when asked to see the evidence of such truths in the life of their experience, they are unable to furnish the proof.
This sermon is a challenge calling for the rubber of our theology to meet the road of our experience!