You’ve all heard the expression, “Patience is a virtue”. The studious school teacher reminds the student of this and the loving parent the child. So much truth is contained in this tiny phrase, and when we educate our young in this precious lesson, we’re really trying to teach them that being able to wait for something without becoming frustrated is a valuable character trait to have. Yet, as one grows in age, I find that one never seems to grow out of this so-called trait of adolescence, it’s just that we adults become more adept at hiding it. Let’s be honest; impatience plagues the human race and when we’ really set our hearts on something; not being able to realise the instant materialising of that desire, is a thing most vexing to us! “I WANT IT NOW!!” is the general sentiments of the many and when faced with the prospect of a hindering obstacle, two choices confront us; either we can seek to force the issue or we can humble ourselves and wait!!
As we trace the life of Abraham’s journeying, we see a God who has promised and a God who is faithful to perform that which He has spoken. Don’t lose heart Brethren, wait upon God and He shall bring His promise to pass!
1 Samuel 25:1-35
There are many things in this life which seem to come easier to us than others. Eating (for example) comes more readily to heart than cooking; spending than saving; resting than working. I well could add to this list another entry; obstinacy comes more readily to heart and easier to our sinful flesh that apologising to a Brother or Sister that we have wronged through our bad attitude! How naturally does it come to first justify ourselves along the lines of, “they deserved it!!”; how much the more enticing is it to allow offense and so-called “justified” anger to pump through our veins than we bow our stubborn hearts and turn to our Brother and say, “I’m sorry...I was wrong!”
As we enter a new year; this sermon is an exhortation for us where possible, to make things right with our fellow brother or sister. May we be the first to the mark to say; I’m sorry…I was wrong!
The world in which we live in is full of war and bloodshed. If history could count the total number of lives lost through this weapon of mass destruction, there would not be room on a conventional calculator to display all the digits! For all of fallen man’s efforts in trying to secure peace, history informs us that man is not able to live at peace with his neighbour!!
It’s one thing for the world to behave in this manner, but what are we to say when Christians behave like this? In the thirteenth verse of James chapter 3, a question is put; “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you?” The answer is given, “…let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom”. It is this wisdom that James describes as coming from above on account of its peaceable fruit that is contrasted with the wisdom descending from below which is earthly, sensual and devilish, tending to confusion and every evil work. May we be found in these last days walking in peace as the children of God!
2 Samuel 20:8-13
I wonder, how many of us as Christians live in light of the coming judgment. How many of us walk in the shadow of this reality. Paul a thoroughly saved and blood washed man, in light of the judgment seat of Christ, sought to live and labour in such a way so as to be blameless, commending himself in the sight of God and before the consciences of men. My Brother, my Sister, when I look today in the professing Church of Christ, I see so little fear of God in the hearts of His people. Where is the fear of God in light of the judgment seat of Christ? Take just one area...Look at the way in which Christians treat one another, the callousness, the skullduggery and treachery. The bitter envying and strife, the false slander and assignation of character which all has its origins from the Prince of darkness, ascending from the pit of hell!! Who will take stock and recall to mind the terrifying words of our Lord who said “...That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Mt. 12:36). Who will remember the words of Jesus who said, “...whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Mt. 18:6). These are serious words that we must give due consideration of!!
I tell you my Brother, there ought to be a holy fear and reverence for the fact that one day we are going to have to give a personal account to Jesus Christ as to how we have spent our lives. This must and has to filter down into the reality of how we treat one another for which we shall MOST certainly give account!! We look in this sermon at the life of Joab and conclude with this; YOUR SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT!
Though as Christians our citizenship is rooted firmly in heaven, we nonetheless for the time being have a dual residency, being found also with our feet on planet earth. It is for this reason that the New Testament is full exhortation, urging us on to personal holiness. “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). Drunkenness is a terrible blight upon any society that has given itself over to liquor; yet I want to suggest that there’s a far more subtle form of intoxication that is engulfing the masses in our day, namely that of the corrupting influences of modern media. How many sway under the spirit of this age, drunk with the propaganda of filth that’s literally flooded into our homes via the satellite airwaves. It’s time that we got sober, had an old fashioned cleanout and got rid of some of that old leaven from out of our homes!!
Brother, Sister, have you oil in your lamp? Are you filled with Holy Spirit? Show me a man yielded to God in absolute obedience; show me a woman that’s shut up with God in the closet in prayer and the study of His Word; show me one that is taking careful watch over their soul, cultivating holiness in the fear of God; and I’ll show you a man or a woman that is filled with the Spirit!!!! May God help us to light a fire in our bosom that will never go out!!
A sad reality that haunts our present day is that Christianity has been reduced to nothing more than a simple formula through which if a person can regurgitate a few words, giving mental assent to a few facts, then he’s admitted into this comfortable religion we call Christianity and promised the treasures of eternal life. What does this “comfortable” religion look like? Well...let’s just say, you’d never know that the people professing it were any different from the world if it were not for the fact that they went by the name of Christian!!!! Yet, here’s the thing...as we trace the history of the first century Church, they were not always called Christians; they were called Christians first in Antioch. What were they then known as before Antioch? “...the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch”. Hence we see, the name “Christian”, and the word “disciple” are synonymous!!
This sermon is a call for the rubber on the Christian wheels to meet the road. Who sits on the throne of your heart? Who is the supreme ruler of your life? Who’s pulling the strings? Who’s calling the shots? In short; are you a man under authority?
There’s a thought that so grips my heart, subconsciously hanging over my head like an appointment. What is this thought you ask? It’s this...my personal accountability to God for what I have done with the time He has given to me whilst on this earth. It is this...the purpose for which I expended my life; the reason for which I lived and moved and had my being; to what end and to whose glory did I spend this little passing moment called life.
This sermon is a challenge and an exhortation for the Body of Christ to press into the will of God. Who will enquire of the Lord and seek out His will for every area of their lives? May God grant us much grace that when our Lord appears, we would not stand before Him empty handed. May we be able to say that we were busy about our Masters business!
We are living in a post-modern generation where a new breed of thinking has invaded the imaginations of men's hearts and minds. Once upon a time, there existed something called objective truth which in turn set the parameters for objective morality. God was that objective truth and His Holy Word the moral standard which was brought to bear upon the consciences of men. God the creator dictated to man the created, what was right and what was wrong and the consciences of men bore testimony and approval. But now, we are seeing an altogether different scenario taking shape before our eyes, where man is fast becoming answerable to no one. science, we’re told has now explained away God and if there is no God and man is just an advanced ape with no God-given conscience, then it naturally follows that man is free on his upward journey of evolution to define his own truth and in turn his own morality without the baggage of accountability.
The call goes out in this sermon without reservation; REPENT!! God is one day going to judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom he hath appointed. In that day the secrets of men’s hearts will be laid bare and no stone will be left unturned. Justice cries aloud to have its fill and unrighteousness will not be left unpunished but mercy cries louder, DO NOT GIVE THEM WHAT THEY DESERVE!! Hell opens wide its mouth to receive you but the arms of God are open even wider to receive you if you are willing to first repent and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus that you might be saved!! What will you do?
Well, we could sum up, in just seven words, the weight of so many of our self-inflicted ills; “...ye have not, because ye ask not”. (Jms. 4:2). We find ourselves living in an age of tremendous prosperity; of comfort and ease; a season where it appears that in the Western world no one lacks for anything. Outwardly; materially, we are filthy rich, yet inwardly; spiritually, we are poverty stricken! Such is the temptation to find our comfort and take our ease in this world. Where is our confidence truly found? Is it found in God or in our material surroundings?
This sermon is a heartfelt call for the people of God to sense again their pressing need for God in everything and to cry out to the only one who can sustain His people in this critical hour. Oh, that we might discover again the secret place of prayer!
There’s a testimony to be had in the midst of trial and sufferings that attests wholeheartedly to the faithfulness of a God who honours His Word!! “...for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Heb. 13:5-6). This is the testimony of David, you can’t argue with it!! But for some of us perhaps, if we’re being perfectly honest with ourselves and more importantly, if we’re being honest before God, we have to confess that this is not our present testimony. We cannot confidently say as the writer of Hebrews; “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear…” The plain truth of the matter is that we are fearful and do not know in our current experience, the authenticity of David’s testimony and on account of this, instead of these words bringing peace and comfort to your soul, the words of the Psalmist are a source of agitation to you. The great challenge for the Christian in the midst of any hardship is to bring into living experience, that which is written!!! There is an experience to be had Brethren that can only be laid hold of by faith. Will we not put our trust in the Lord, that in our present day, we might live to see the goodness of God in the land of the living?