There’s a season under heaven for every opportunity afforded unto man; an open door which for a moment remains open to him, before suddenly it closes. What was available on Sunday evening may no longer be available come Monday morning. There’s something about God-ordained moments for which there exists no rewind button and no command to undo. God happenstances that seem to come so sparsely—perhaps every half a decade or so, where all of heaven appears to go out of its way to assist the Almighty in orchestrating the perfect set-up, placing before us an open door and beckoning us to enter through.
Without a doubt, we are living in unprecedented times of change with Covid-19 in our midst. It is my earnest conviction that we the Church of Jesus Christ find ourselves on the earth for such a time as this. There has been afforded us in the providence of God, an open door through which to enter which shall not always be open to us. It’s time for the Church to wake up and to cast off the old garment of sin. It’s time for the Church to cloth itself in righteousness and to seek the Lord.
1 Chronicles 12:32
This week has been a week like no other I’ve ever witnessed in my forty years alive on planet earth. Coronavirus touched down and pandemonium struck. Media hype fueled mass panic buying, where every man and his family headed towards the supermarkets in an effort to stock their cupboards to overflowing. Stock markets across the world continue to be hammered with losses amounting to billions being slashed off the value of some of the world's most prestigious companies. Thursday saw the biggest one-day decline in the FTSE 100 since 1987 and Wednesday witnessed the pound plunge to its lowest level in 30 years!
Every day has seen escalating measures being announced by the UK government as it has tried desperately to stem the growth of this virus which has now claimed the lives of more than 200 British citizens and more than 10,000 globally. On Tuesday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a whopping £350 billion bailout and by Friday, he’d effectively put the whole British economy on life support. With fears that we’re just beginning to see the rise in coronavirus infections, at the start of the week the government introduced social distancing measures and by the end of the week pubs, bars, restaurants, and gyms were told to close. My dear Brothers and Sisters, all of this has shocked me and all of this has greatly moved my heart. However, I want to say with great sorrow and sadness; nothing that I’ve thus far mentioned has vexed and grieved my heart more than what I’ve witnessed take place this week by Church leaders in this country, as one after another closed the doors of their Churches until further notice!
This sermon is a desperate plea for the Pastors of Christ’s flock to seek the face of the Lord for a way forward in this hour of tremendous need. Where are the sons of Issachar who in their day, understood the right thing for Israel to do at the right time? Will the Church rise to its call or will it sleep through this present crisis only to awake to find that there’s nothing left?
J.C. Ryle said; "We may love money without having it, just as we may have money without loving it." Paul the apostle said; “…godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6). In a world that is ever pushing for greater material gain and status, as believers in Christ, we are warned not to make these things our pursuit. Paul bore record of those who beginning well in the faith, later erred from the faith, piercing themselves through with many sorrows on account of coveting after money.
This sermon is an encouragement, but also a word of warning. Let us be content in the circumstances which God has placed us. Let us not desire things which God has not apportioned for us. May we be able to learn the secret of contentment that we can say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13).
Knowing the Bible for Yourself (Pt. 2)
It will never do to be hearers of the word only and not doers of it; James makes this very clear (Jms 1:22). Yet at the same time, to be a doer of the word without first hearing what is being asked is to walk in ignorance. How many, armed with good intentions and loaded with zeal have gone out of the starting blocks with pace, only to be later disqualified because they were in breach of the rules. You cannot compete in a race without obeying the rules and you cannot obey the rules unless you first know what those rules are. Thus, it is incumbent upon us as students of the Word of God, to rightly divide (Grk. to cut straight) the word of truth that we might not be ashamed (2 Tim. 2:15).
If the Bible was a single book, composed by a single contemporary author, that would be one thing. If we had any questions or doubts about the meaning of what is written, we could simply ask the author. What happens when you have a book written by upwards of forty different authors, across a number of continents with the earliest of these writing some 3500 years ago? In this second teaching part, we explore the role of dictionaries and commentaries in serving to better aid our study of the Bible, especially when bridging the gulf of history and culture.
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2 Chronicles 18:31
When we speak of the grace of God - that kind and favourable disposition towards the undeserving to them good - is it any wonder that our minds run back so readily with ease, to the blood-stained cross of Calvary? There we beheld a demonstration of God’s love that forever shall resound! Yet, with that said, the grace of God cannot be relegated to 2000 years ago but MUST be brought into the here and now. When we speak of God’s grace, we’re speaking about an attribute that belongs to God — this is who He is!!
In this sermon, we offer a number of golden keys to answered prayer before asking the question; on what grounds does God answer prayer? In the final analysis, we are brought to the conclusion that it by HIS GRACE that He sees fit to grant the petition of our hearts! Oh, that we might come to God with this understanding, apart from human merit.
1 Corinthians 10:1-13
When God put to Satan the question, “Hast thou considered my servant Job” (Job 1:8), Satan did not say, who is he? Instead, he engaged with the question and responded by saying; “Doth Job fear God for nought?” (Job 1:9). It appears from this verse that this righteous man was well known to the prince of darkness. Have you ever considered that your name is also known to the armies of hell? This puts a whole new dimension on spiritual warfare. Having not just one scheme but many, Paul instructs us to “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). Satan’s wiles not only involve the planned assault of the individual believer but the planned assault of the Church body collectively. There is one particular weapon in Satan’s arsenal through which is able to destroy a local Church more quickly than we can ever know! The great deception of this sin lies in its seeming harmlessness. This vice comes so readily to us as humans and it appears so justified in its complaint. If Satan can find a willing vessel here, then he’s found a true ally to aid him in his assault against the Body of Christ. What is this sin to which I refer? It is the sin of murmuring.
Exhortation and warning sound aloud in this sermon; exposing the subtle danger of the sin of murmuring and calling the people of God to exercise restraint. When God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, they reasoned as they left their fleshpots behind that they were heading for a land flowing with milk and honey, and they were…but just not yet! First, they had to go on a journey into the desert so what was in their hearts might be exposed. Each and every time an apparent problem arose, the people murmured. They failed to see the loving hand of God guiding them, working in them a far greater weight of glory than merely satisfying their carnal appetites. Let us learn from Israel’s example so as not to murmur and let us not allow ourselves to be used of the devil to aid him in the destruction of the Church for which Christ died.