We are living in an age where Christians generally have no stomach for doctrine and consequently the great doctrines of the Christian faith which form the very bedrock of the gospel are being undermined in our day. The doctrine of atonement is one such pillar of the Christian faith towering above the landscape like a giant. As when a gem is held up to light it shines forth its many facets of beauty, so this great doctrine is full of like splendour.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they sought to clothe themselves with the leaves of figs. However, such a covering was not sufficient and it was God who later clothed them aright, not with fig leaves (speaking of human works) but the skins of dead animals!! This if you like, is the first insight into the doctrine of atonement, namely that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. The doctrine of the atonement comes under the theological umbrella of soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) and includes as part of this many other principle doctrines including the doctrine of justification, the doctrine of redemption and the doctrine of reconciliation. We shall in the course of this teaching, touch on all of these as we look at the wonders of atonement in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
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There is no middle road in Christianity; no middle ground upon which to stand. Any seeming appearance of such is an illusion and a figment of one’s imagination, a product of Westernised consumer Christianity which on the say so of Jesus Christ Himself is no Christianity at all!! ”I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:15-16). Now I know that such straightforward speaking is not very popular today and won’t win one many friends but Jesus knew of no double talk, and said point-blank, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Mk. 8:34).
This sermon is a call for wholehearted devotion to the God of the universe. This idea that we can bring our offering to God on Sunday and live as we please rest of the week is blown out of the water as soon as one is confronted with the person of Jesus Christ. My dear friends, the High and Lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; the One before whom angels veil their faces resting not day and night, saying “Holy, holy, holy” calls for more than a convenient Christianity. It is going to cost us to bring the sacrifice that God requires and I ask the question, are you willing to count the cost?
There are seasons in life’s journey where the calamities of this world come to visit the door of the righteous and the unrighteous alike. Sorrow and sickness, death and disease, trials and tribulations, all come at their appointed times and there seems to be no discrimination as to where they fall and come to rest. How does one explain the ‘why’s’ of how some of God’s godly Saints are taken home in the prime of their life and service; why some are left in sickness and are not healed? Is there injustice with God? Can we charge God with evil?
The truth of the matter is that we see only through a glass dimly, the reflection is poor and sketchy. Limited to our own fixed time and space dimension, we tend to view things with tunnel vision only ever having in focus our immediate need at a particular moment. Yet, has it ever occurred to you that God is aiming at the bigger picture, that may well not involve your deliverance in this present world for reasons known only to the Almighty “...who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph. 1:11)? There are some answers that perhaps we will never know this side of eternity and yet still we’re called to trust in the ever living God who never changes and who works all things for the good of His Saints.
Many Christians can make a mental recitation of their standing with God. They can shout and sing of the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, His atonement and their adoption as sons and daughters. Yet, for some, this is nothing more than a mental assent to facts that have yet to be fully realised in their Christian experience. Faith is the means and the only means by which the great truths of God are appropriated to our lives so as to become living realities in our experience.
There are many Christians who though they name the name of Jesus Christ are still bound by the lies of Satan which would convince them that he still has power and authority over their lives. So we’re told; if your father was a Freemason, then as a Christian you need to be delivered from the curse of Freemasonry; if you unsaved mother is a witch, then you need to be delivered from the curse of witchcraft! David shows from the Word of God that this is not Scriptural and that if we are in Christ then we have been delivered from the power of Satan and have been conveyed into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Col. 1:13) and that there is no sorcery against the child of God!!
Part 6 - The Doctrine of Man
Opinions abound today as to the purpose of man’s existence. Through evolutionary thought, man has been reduced to nothing more than a process of random mutations over millions of years. For some, man has no purpose except for the furtherance of future progeny; while for others man is making great leaps and bounds in his upward progression toward godhood! In a world where suggested theories as to the purpose and meaning of life abound, what sense if any are we to make of them all? Man finds himself, perhaps like never before, having to wrestle with the many competing voices and the Christian cannot take himself out of this struggle. However, where natural man is left to his own thoughts and devices, the Christian turns to the Word of God to find answers to the great questions of life.
We shall in this sixth teaching part seek to address the question of where we came from and who we are and shall conclude by answering the big question; what went wrong! When one looks at the world today, one is confronted with death, disease, suffering and evil. Is this how God created the earth? Is this how He intended everything to be? The answer to these questions is no side issue but is fundamental in laying the foundation upon which the gospel stands.
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To read the biographies of those who God has used down through the ages and how they first began is fascinating to say the least! Normal people like you and me, no trims, no frills, nothing spectacular to the outward eye; yet it seems that it pleases the Father, to take the nothings and the nobodies of this world and to make them ambassadors for Jesus Christ! As one looks to find the golden thread running through the accounts of the giants God has used throughout the centuries, one finds that rather than being golden, the thread is of lowly linen; one not of grand beginnings but of small beginnings, humble beginnings.
I believe wholeheartedly that God is wanting to work among His people in our day and is raising up labourers to labour in His harvest. The places where He is looking for labourers are the places He has always looked – not the high and lofty, but the lowly. This sermon is a challenge to all that would have the Lord use their lives for His glory; are you prepared to serve God in the lowly places? Oh, may it be and in so doing, in due season we shall hear the words “...go up higher.”
1 Cor. 6:9-11
As an off-road vehicle was designed and built for rough terrain, so the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ was designed to go into darkness!! Tasked with the mission of bringing such light to the heathen masses, the Apostle Paul came not with excellency of speech or of the wisdom of this world but rather preached Christ crucified and under the anointing of God, the power of God was unleashed upon a world of darkness and sin smitten men were born into the Kingdom of God! Ruined sinners forever reclaimed for Jesus Christ, their lives never being the same again!! Tell me dear soul, is this your experience; for the Bible knows of no other than men passing from darkness into light?
We need like never before, God anointed preaching to awaken blackened hearts under the conviction of God the Holy Spirit. The doctrine of regeneration needs like at no other time to be rekindled and shouted from the rooftops declaring the total ruin of the children of Adam and that ye must be born again!! “Man of sorrows, what a name; for the Son of God who came; Ruined sinner to reclaim! Hallelujah! What a Saviour!”
Every occasion warrants a disposition of some sort fitting for the moment. For the man appearing in the presence of royalty, he positions his heart’s attitude aright, from one of casualness and indifference to one of heightened sobriety and respect. For a child sitting an examination, a disposition of focus and attention; for an offender appearing before a magistrate, a disposition of sorrow and remorse; for a son or a daughter receiving honour, a disposition of gladness and joy! What then ought to be the disposition of a heart for prayer? “Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly” (Ps. 138:6).
This sermon is a challenge to God’s people to return again to prayer in the proper attitude of humility. It’s well been said that prayer moves the hand of God, but humility moves the heart of God!! “This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles” (Ps. 34:6). Oh, that we might be brought to a place where we truly know that we are nothing without God. Then, we shall see praying Christians and a praying Church!
Part 5 - The Doctrine of Demons
Demonology, is the theological term given to the biblical study of demons. One generally finds that when dealing with this particular area, one of two extremes tend to surface. On one extreme there are the liberals, which refuse to even acknowledge the existence of the demonic realm in any meaningful way whilst at the other extreme are the hyper-spiritualists who overplay the realm of the demonic to such an extent that the devil gets the blame for everything. All such extremes are to be avoided and highlight the importance of gaining a good solid foundation in this very important topic. Whilst many sound believers would shun such extremes, there are notwithstanding, Christians who are so terrified by the demonic realm that they can’t sleep at night without a light on.
In this fifth teaching part in our foundational series, we shall set ourselves the task of trying to gain a biblical understanding of demons; what they are and what their nature, function, and activity is in the world today. We shall seek to answer the question of who Satan is, how he fell from grace and what his final state shall be. In gaining such insight, we shall be emboldened to take a stand against the forces of darkness knowing who we are in Jesus Christ, the authority that He has given to us as believers and the victory that He has won for us at Calvary!
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A number of significant occurrences took place in the Bible at wells. At Beersheba (the well of an oath), Abraham entered into a covenant with Abimelech; at Beerlahairoi (the well of Him that liveth and seeth me), the Angel of the LORD visited Hagar in her distress. Who can forget Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, who at well was given a bride by God for his master's son Isaac? Fast forward some 2000 years and we have yet another encounter with a woman at a well, this time Jesus and the woman of Samaria. At this well, Jesus offers living water, that if a man drinks he shall never thirst again, an internal well springing up within him into everlasting life!
This sermon is a call for reality in the Christian life!! Just as in the days of Isaac when the Philistine enemies filled his father’s wells, many Christians sadly have allowed their wells to be filled with dirt and on account of this no longer sense and experience the vital reality of God the Holy Spirit within them bringing forth the fruit of joy and peace! Dry and dead religion has become their portion. My dear Brethren, there is some re-digging to be done so that once more we might sense the presence of God in our Christian experience. At all costs, we must maintain reality with God!