If I were to ask you to tell of the kind of man/woman who wins favour with God, I wonder what you’d say? I know full well of the kind that wins favour with the world — give a man a bit of money and prestige and see how rapidly his circle of friends increases. But can I say; that which catches the eye of the world and that which turns the head of God are not the same — they’re poles apart. Is not the answer in the text that is before us? “...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).
From the moment that I got saved, some 23 years ago, I had a God-given burden that I could not extinguish, for my life to be used by God!! I figured that for 20 years, I had given myself in full-time service to do the devil’s bidding; how now, that I’m a born-again Christian could I give the True and Living God anything less? Every fiber of my being cried forth, “Lord use me!! Get the glory of my life this side of eternity!
Yet in the face of a barren landscape the voice of my own reasoning would say, but how? There was nothing of any outward brilliance to commend itself to God, nothing to lend itself by way of encouragement. All I had was a burden that I could not rid myself of. Do you want to know what the balm was that soothed my soul in those early years? The means that God used to inject faith into my spiritual bloodstream? It was the examples given in this Book of the men that God used. Ah, man has his criteria of selection, but listen, those whom the world passes over are God’s chosen vessels; those whom men reject as unworthy are God’s unlikely candidates!
When the people of God begin to pray, God begins to move! This, my dear friends, is an indisputable fact of history to which the Scriptures provide undeniable testimony.
In this sermon, example after example is laid bare, demonstrating that God responds to the prayers of His people. Whether, Moses, Abraham, Hannah, Elisha, Hezekiah, or Elijah, they prayed unto God and were heard!! May this be an impetus to stir us to prayer so as to lay hold on God in this desperate hour and to see Him come through!!
1 Samuel 3:10
I would argue that the single greatest tool the Devil has used to pervert a whole generation in this century and the latter half of the last has been the power of mass media — Film, music, radio, television, and now the internet. What was previously confined to the abominable opera houses and disgusting theatre halls is now aired en-mass 24-7/365 click-and-demand across the world!! So immoral and harmful is the content, as a child of God, you daren’t cast your eyes upon it, not lend an ear to hear. Every value contrary to the Word of God is lauded and celebrated, promoted, and embraced, not only by the artists themselves but by their millions of fans and followers whom they’ve managed to hoodwink by the truckload!
My dear people, can I ask, what are you setting before your eyes in the name of entertainment? The films you sit down to watch? The dramas and the soaps? The women’s magazines? David purposed in his heart; “ I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes” (Ps. 101:3). Will you say the same?
1 Samuel 3:10
No man who upon hearing the voice of God, ever lived to regret the day He answered the call!! My phone rings all the time and sometimes I regret answering it. An unidentified number appears on the screen — it’s a local number, and you think, I’d better answer it, only to discover two seconds in that it’s a national telesales company masquerading behind a local area code!! WHY DID I ANSWER THE CALL? Brothers and Sisters, such words might indeed be uttered when man is calling, but never a soul lived to regret answering the call of God!! There are times that I have to say also, that I have lived to regret heeding the voice of man. Sometimes those voices are well intentioned — counsel that means me well, but it’s not God’s council and thus there’s only one inevitable outcome — disappointment and regret!! Ah, many a man upon hearing the voice of his closest kin regretted the day he ever gave heed, but no man — and I mean NO MAN — ever lived to regret the day He answered the call of God!!
This sermon in its simplest form is a call to obedience!
2 Kings 4:38-41
You’ve all heard the expression, “One bad apple spoils the barrel”; the origin of this idiom dates all the way back to the 1300’s. According to one source, the bad apple metaphor was first recorded in 1340 in the form of an English proverb, “A rotten apple quickly infects its neighbor”. There is a Biblical counterpart to this idiom which goes like this; “...a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (1 Cor. 5:6).
In this sermon, an urgent call goes forth for us to make search for any traces of leaven in our lives. With God’s help and grace, I pray that this sermon will be of help to your soul.
Do you have a quiet place with Jesus your Lord? You’ve placed priorities on things — they may be good things/noble things/godly things but have they become a distraction in your life? Are they taking you away from that one thing that is needful — sitting at the feet of Jesus? In the busyness and clutter of life, can you hear the Master calling you aside to spend time alone with Him? May God minister to your heart through this sermon.
For the third consecutive week, I have the privilege of ascending the stairs of this pulpit to bring a word in season on how to stand in the midst of trial!! Brothers and Sisters, believe me when I say, it was not my planned intention to labour this point, but as I waited upon the Lord as to what He would have me to say, I felt Him call to my remembrance another facet of suffering that I had been thinking hard upon but for the moment had forgotten.
Brothers and Sisters, God is speaking to His people!! Through the trials that we are passing through; God is at work, refining us so that we might be able to stand, not only in the present hour, but in the coming days ahead. But you say, Pastor, it’s hard and I’m weary!! The battle is fierce, the pressure intense, and the fire is hot; what am I to do? If I’m honest, I feel like I’m going under!! Brother/Sister, it is my heart’s desire to encourage you this morning — hold on!! You’re not going under!!!! The word of encouragement to your heart is — KEEP YOUR EYES ON JESUS!!!
1 Peter 3:3-7
As painful as it is to undergo trial — to be put into the furnace of affliction — It’s the only way by which one’s faith might be tried!! A man can boast all day about his faith; it is not until he is placed into the fire that one will see the quality of his faith! Far from diminishing faith, fire will always purify a man’s faith!
It was the Roman philosopher and historian, Pliny the Elder who wrote: “GOLD is the only thing that loses no substance by the action of fire. Indeed as a matter of fact it improves in quality the more often it is fired, and fire serves as a test of its goodness....”
“And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side” (Mk. 4:35). Note the circumstances of the hour. The evening had come upon them after what must have been a long drawn-out day. Jesus waits until the evening, when darkness is fast approaching, to put to His disciples His desire — “...Let us pass over unto the other side”. Jesus immediately takes His disciples from the classroom of academic learning to the classroom of application. First the theory then the practical!! Note, that the academic learning takes place close to shore, in a safe and controlled environment, but the practical lesson is going to take place out at sea, amidst the volatile atmosphere of a storm!!
Some of us want a trialless Christianity; a Christianity free from trouble, but listen, if the Lord while upon the earth led His disciples into conflict, how shall the risen ascended Saviour not even now, lead His people into the same? But fear not, the One who bids you pass over says “…Let us pass over”.