The year was 1944 when the Communist party seized power in Romania. Literally overnight, a million Russian troops poured onto the soil of Romania. In what was heralded as the “freeing” of Romania, saw instead, women raped, shops looted, men robbed and murdered. Christians were imprisoned, tortured, kidnapped, and murdered for possessing the same faith as you and I. Romania, which had formerly been dubbed “the granary of Europe”, became a starvation camp. Yet despite this, in the years leading up to this brutal persecution, God in His faithfulness had been preparing His people for the horrors of the Communist Regime through the afflictions of the Nazi backed “Iron Guard” who too persecuted Christians in the run-up to the Communist takeover of Romania.
A Christian Pastor, writing of his experiences during this said this: “My wife and I were arrested several times, beaten, and hauled before Nazi judges. The Nazi terror was great, but only a taste of what was to come under the Communists. My son, Mihai, had to assume a non-Jewish name to prevent his death. But these Nazi times had one great advantage. They taught us that physical beatings could be endured, and that the human spirit with God's help can survive horrible tortures. They taught us the technique of secret Christian work, which was a preparation for a far worse ordeal to come; an ordeal that was just before us”. I want to tell you Brothers and Sisters; before God asks His people to sit the final exam, He first enters them for the mock. God prepares His people Saints of God — He prepares us for battle in the school of His training.
Horatio Spafford was a Presbyterian layman from Chicago and was a successful lawyer and businessman. Humanly speaking, this man had everything going for him. He loved the Lord and was happily married with five beautiful children. However, things were about to take a drastic and sudden turn, in a series of events reminiscent of the life of Job. Spafford had heavily invested in real estate along Lake Michigan’s shoreline but in the great Chicago Fire of 1871, he tragically lost everything! If that wasn’t bad enough, shortly before this, he lost his only son to scarlet fever at the tender age of four. With a grieving wife, Horatio Spafford decided to send her and their four daughters across to England where he planned imminently to join them. In 1873, his family boarded the S.S Ville du Havre and set sail for England; but as the ship crossed the Atlantic Ocean, tragedy struck when the ship collided with another sea vessel. Within just 12 minutes the ship had sunk taking the lives of 226 of her passengers. When survivors finally reached dry land, Horatio Spafford received a telegram from Cardiff, Wales. It was from his precious wife Anna; the first two words read; “Saved alone...”. As Horatio journeyed to meet his grieving wife, the captain, aware of the tragedy, invited Spafford to join him in the cockpit, pointing out to him the location where he believed the ship had sunk. With this, Horatio rushed off to his room where he penned the words to a poem by the name of “Ville du Havre”. We know the name of that poem today as the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul”.
So many I find are content to serve the Lord and to speak well in good times when the wind is blowing in a favourable direction. But woe if that wind should suddenly change course; as changes the wind so changes their speech. It is here perhaps most of us all, where the Lord wants to try the substance and quality of our hearts. Will we still be a people of one voice speaking the same things out of season as in season? Can we say in the midst of trial, it is well with my soul?
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
There is a war that has been raging for the last two-thousand years. On one side stand the Saints of God — the army of the Church of Jesus Christ; and on the other side, principalities, and powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places. If one was to stop the average person in the street and to tell them of this mighty conflict, they would most likely laugh you to scorn. Yet the child of God knows all too well, the reality of this mighty conflict.
In this sermon, we seek to expose the varying methods of the assaults of the devil, in particular, his lying slanders through which he wages war against our minds. I pray that this sermon will be of help to you in this battle.
I find increasingly of late that cardinal and principal doctrines of the Christian faith are being called into question, not (I might add) from those outside the fold, but on the contrary, from those who claim to be inside the fold. Long established doctrines of the most immanent importance are simply being brushed aside and labelled as questionable. One such doctrine that is being brushed aside as take it or leave it, is the doctrine of original sin. The increasing denial of this doctrine among professing Christians is increasing and as believers, we must be absolutely clear about what this doctrine is and why it is a fundamental and non-negotiable element to our faith.
2 Peter 3:1-15
From way back when and from days of old, there have been scoffers and mockers that have made it their duty of responsibility to poke fun at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. “You Christians have been saying that Jesus is coming back since supposedly He left the first time!!” “Two thousand years have passed and where is the promise of His coming?” “Grandad Mack said He was coming in his day and his relatives before him said exactly the same...where is He? All things continue as they have from the beginning of time!!” You’d think that such people had read the Second Epistle of Peter for that’s exactly what he said they’d say!
This sermon is an urgent call for preparation. Jesus is coming back. When He comes, will you be found of Him in peace?