As a believer in Jesus Christ, do you still possess the sweetness of the Lord? You’ll note, I said “still”, and that’s because every one of us that are truly Christian have a day and an hour when we were born the second time from above. Just as a certain day marks our physical birth, so a certain day marks our spiritual birth. Do you remember that glad moment, in the hour of your coming to Christ when the light of heavens glory filled your heart? When the love of Christ melted your being, and the love of God was shed abroad in your hearts? What went wrong, from whence did you begin to lose the sweet aroma of His being? I trust that this message will be of help in returning you to your first love.
It takes just as much physical strength to speak a word in kindness as it does to speak a word in spite; just as much physical effort, to utter a word of encouragement as it does a word of discouragement. The same duration of time is taken, the same linguistical abilities employed, and yet, if we were to take a tally — I fear that there would perhaps be more marks on the side of negative than on the side of positive; more “For’s” on the side of discouragement, than there would be on the side of encouragement. Oh, my dear Brothers and Sisters, this ought not to be!! The cry of the heart of this sermon is, “Lord, make me an encourager!”
In the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry, not everyone welcomed Him. The religious leaders despised Him and could not understand why He would eat with sinners and dine with the publicans. They were of far greater purity to condescend to men of such disrepute. But you see, it was these for whom Christ came. Not for the righteous (those who are well) — they have no need of a doctor and hence do not seek for one. But He came for sinners that they might be made whole!!
Pastor John bears his heart with tears for the sad state of the nation and the desperate need for a sovereign move of God in our day. By drawing on the principles laid forth in Nehemiah, John sets before us precious nuggets of truth that we would do well to ponder and apply. May God see fir to richly use this timely and prophetic word for the glory of His holy name and for the blessing of His people.
Shared at the Dedication of Bethesda Shalom – 24/07/21
As we witness first-hand in our day, the grievous state of decline in this nation of Great Britain is a state most sorry to behold. The speed at which morality is crumbling away before our very eyes leave us without words to fully articulate the peril of the present hour. I find that in life, it’s far easier and quicker to destroy than it is to erect; to pull down than it is to build up!! Spiritually, we’re sliding into Sodom and plunging into Gomorrah; and while the world travails the broad road to destruction, the professing Church of Jesus Christ has veered off the narrow path and has found its way down to vanity fair! Oh!! do some decry this sad state of affairs and I not join them in lifting up my voice? Do others lament this midnight hour and I not also grieve with them! The hour is late, and the need is desperate.
A heart cry goes forth for God to visit His people in revival. There’s simply no other alternative. God…in wrath, remember mercy!!
There are a number of passages in the Book of Isaiah that have come to be known as the “servant passages”. Some scholars put the number at four, others at five; but what binds each of them together, is their description of Messiah in His lowly mission. There are many titles given to our Lord Jesus in the Bible that speak of His glory and majesty, titles that speak of His power and dominion. Yet, the focus of this sermon is not found in these descriptions, but rather is found in that title which serves well to depict the lowly Lord, namely that of a servant!
Ezra was a man of great influence in his day and one who possessed great knowledge of the Word of God. Talk about knowledge? Look no further than the man Ezra, he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses! Talk about pedigree and class? Look no further than the man Ezra, he was a priest of the sons of Aaron! Talk about honour and esteem? The glories of the scribe in his day eclipsed those of the priest! Yet…there was one distinguishing factor that singled this scribe out from among all the other scribes of his day. Not only was Ezra a ready scribe who prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord so as to teach in Israel its statutes and judgments. Ezra set his heart to do it!!!
In John 17, Jesus prayed that “…they all may be one”. He was of course referring to the true Church - those who would come to believe in Him through the Word of the Apostles. This reality has been made possible via the new birth. When one is born again of the Spirit of God, they are grafted into the spiritual Body of Jesus Christ. This is a concrete fact that cannot be disputed. Yet, the great challenge that faces every one of us who names the name of Jesus Christ, is the practical outworking of this reality in a functional, living experience. How does the Body of Christ bring the abstract in line with the concrete? All is brought to light in God’s precious Word!
No soldier goes to the field of battle not knowing the enemy against which he must fight. The Christian wears the badge of many titles—the badge of a son, the badge of a servant; the badge of a disciple and the badge of a friend. The badge of priest and king, yea also of saint and elect. Yet, amidst this decoration of honorary attire, there’s one badge that I left off to mention, which without, his uniform would be incomplete. What badge is this to which I refer? It is the badge of a soldier — a soldier of Jesus Christ!!
Tell me of the foe against which you war? Tell me of the hardships endured on account of this warfare? Where are your scars, where are your victories? Where are our medals of honour...where are your stripes? What is the foe to which I refer? “...sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him” (Gen. 4:7).
No true move of God has ever begun without it first being preceded by prayer. Yet, a praying people prevailed with God in prayer because they were a sanctified people! This message is a clarion call to the Church of Jesus Christ. God is calling for a holy people. It’s time now for God’s children, to put away sin from their midst and prepare their hearts to seek the Lord!! “Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you” (Josh. 3:5).
Note: This is the first sermon ever preached in Bethesda Shalom, formerly known as Providence Baptist Chapel.