1 John 1:1-7
There exists a breed of Christian, who lives solely to have fellowship with God to the exclusion of fellowship with those begotten by Him!! Fond they are of repeating that all too familiar phrase, “it’s just me and the Lord”. Yet, if one were to ask such people what they think of other Christians, they would state their honest opinion plainly, namely that they cannot stand the sight of them! Yet, the Word of God tells us categorically that they that love God love those begotten of God!!
This sermon is a direct challenge to the individualised Christianity we see springing up across our land. True Koinonia (fellowship) with God and His Son has been made possible only by the indwelling Holy Spirit in the new birth; yet such Koinonia cannot be reserved between the child of God and God alone, but MUST have it’s true expression in the living out of Koinonia (fellowship) between the Brethren!!
We are living in a generation where the great prefix “self” rules!! Self-esteem, self-image, self-worth, self-sufficiency, self-help, self-knowledge, self-love, and so the list could go on...The Apostle Paul, writing some 2000 years ago under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit put it this way: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves…” (2 Tim. 3:1-2). To borrow from the great commentator Albert Barnes – “It shall be one of the characteristics of these times that men shall be eminently selfish”. The dilemma of our day is not that men have too low an opinion of themselves but rather that they have too high an opinion of themselves and se no need for God!!
This sermon is a vivid reminder of the need for the Church to abandon all self-reliance and self-dependency and instead to sense their great poverty of spirit and desperate need for the Saviour in the critical hour in which we live!! “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for there is the kingdom of heaven”.
2 Kings 18:1-6
Of King Hezekiah, it was said, “And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did”. Hezekiah was a very special king in that he loved the Lord his God and cleaved to Him with all is heart!! When ascending the throne of the Monarch, Hezekiah set his heart to rededicate the nation back to God. He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves. However, in the passage of Scripture before us in this sermon, reference is also made of him breaking in pieces the brazen serpent which Moses had made! For 800 years, no reference is made in the records of Scripture of this brazen serpent until now! What once had been a blessing to Israel and a means of their healing, had now turned to be a snare!
This sermon is a warning and a challenge to Christians not to lose sight of God in the midst of His blessings. How many Christians, Churches, denominations and ministries have known the blessing of God and over time have allowed that same blessing to become an idol of worship. Hezekiah saw in his day, the brazen serpent it for what it was – Nehushtan – a piece of brass!!
“All the way my Savior leads me; what have I to ask beside? Can I doubt His tender mercy, who through life has been my Guide? Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort, here by faith in Him to dwell! For I know, whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.” There are some hymns that when sung, cause a welling up within, an inner witness that is so strong on account of the truthfulness of the words being sung, meeting with one’s own personal experience!
Evermore does our blessed Saviour invite the sheep of His fold to follow Him! More and more He desires to take His sheep out of their comfort zone and in leading them into the wilderness, to show them, that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. Oh that we might bury our unbelief and come to realisation that where the good shepherd leads, the good shepherd will provide!!
When given opportunity by God to request anything his heart so desired, Solomon did not ask for long life, neither did he ask for riches, nor asked he for the life of his enemies. Rather, he spoke saying. “Give..thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad...” (1 Kg. 3:9). Oh! That we as Christians might more fervently seek the Lord for wisdom, to know which way the Lord would have us to walk in these troubling times. So many Christians walk in their own council and have not even considered, let alone entertained the idea of consulting the Lord and asking for wisdom.
In our hour of decision at life’s crossroads, we don’t have to walk in isolation. The Word of God would exhort us to seek godly council from wise and godly brothers and sisters. This sermon is a warning on two fronts; beware from whence you get your counsel and take heed that you turn not away from the counsel of the Lord!!
What is faith? There exists some confusion amongst Christians as to what constitutes true biblical faith. Due to the error of the so-called Word of Faith Movement, many have come to have an unbiblical view of faith. We’re told that whatever we desire we shall receive and if we don’t then it is because we lack the faith! However, when one takes the whole counsel of the New Testament, one quickly comes to realise that faith is not about bending the will of God in an attempt to get our own way but rather, faith is man’s response to what God has said!! God first speaks and we take Him at His Word and exercise obedience – this is biblical faith!!
In the troubling times in which we live, Christ is every calling His sheep to follow Him! My sheep, hear my voice…This sermon is an exhortation and a word of encouragement for the Body of Christ to live and walk again by faith "...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).
North Korea ranks first place in its relentless, systematic persecution of Christians via its communist dictator Kim Jong Un. Worship of the ruling Kim family is mandatory for all, and those failing to comply are imprisoned, tortured or killed. Across the Muslim world in countries such as Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Yemen; those daring to leave the ranks of Islam are martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ. The only thing that sets them apart from us in the West is mere location! Yet, we see in my own country of Great Britain, the storm clouds beginning to gather momentum and increased levels of persecution arising on the back of so called “British Values” and “Diversity”.
What is our response to be when persecution comes to our doorstep on account of our faith in Jesus Christ? Do we stay or do we go? Do we stand and remain or do we retreat and flee? This sermon seeks to bring a balanced and biblical answer to this question that will serve to help prepare the Body of Christ for the coming storm!
There are many traits that the world desires to see in a man – faithfulness, integrity, honesty, maturity – all good qualities, indeed commendable ones. Yet as one peruses the list of desirables, one looks in vain to find the one that God seeks for in a man, namely that of humility!! The world scoffs at such as weakness and a sure sign of femininity, the very opposite of masculinity which demands that a man – if he is a true man – excel in in the qualities of self-confidence, strength and security.
The word of God is clear, “God resisteth the proud but giveth grace to the humble” (Jms. 4:6). “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Ps. 51:17). This sermon is strong call for the Body of Christ to seek to walk in humility. Mechanical religion consisting in outward prayers and professions of faith, will never procure the favour of God if the heart is not set before Him humility. God calls His people to humble themselves and to put away sin. “…to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Is. 66:2).
2 Kings 6:24-33
How oft we are to lose sight of the One who sits on the throne of the universe! “Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle…who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory” (Ps. 24:8, 10). How easy it is, when the storms of life come rolling in, eclipsing His face from view and the clouds of trial drift in, veiling His mighty arm – how easy it is to lose sight of His majesty, of His omnipotence, of His unrivalled and unequalled power!!
At the heart of this sermon goes forth cry, do not despair…never say never!! Circumstances may look grim and desperate, but in a moment of time, in the most unexpected manner, at the least expected time, the wind can turn at the command of Him who sits on the circle of the earth!! Never say never!!
When demanded of the Pharisees, “when the kingdom of God should come”, Jesus responded by saying: “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For behold, the kingdom is within you” (Lk. 17:20-21). If indeed it be the case that the King of kings has come to establish His kingdom in the hearts of men and to take His seat upon the throne of our lives, what ought to be the response of the Christian? Well the words of our Lord come to mind: “Not my will, but thine be done”. Could it be that the root of the cause of so little growth in the lives of professing believers is that this very issue of the kingdom of God has not even been considered let alone embraced?
As a new year has dawned, this sermon is an exhortation and call for Christians to set in order, first things first for 2017. A divided heart given over to the riches and cares of this world, will always and forever be a stumbling block to the growth and expansion of the kingdom of God in the life of a Christian. At all costs a way must be cleared for the King to rule and reign!!