There are many things in life that a man seeks after, much by a way of desire that his soul longs for. Some seek after riches, while others seek fame; some seek after happiness, and others peace of mind; some seek after freedom and others find fulfilment in family. May I ask you, what it is that you seek after? What is that prized possession that your heart goes a longing for?
I think of a man by the name of King Solomon. If ever a man had riches, it was he, if ever a man had a reputation, he was unequalled! Yet, for all his many qualities, none were comparable to that one defining quality of wisdom that singularly set this king apart! Would you have the wisdom to know what to do in any given situation? Would you have the understanding to discern between good and evil? “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (Jms. 1:5)
Here we are again, revisiting a topic that I know each one of you are only too familiar with. You say, Preacher, isn’t there something else we can study besides this matter of love? Is there not some other treasure that you can unearth for us from Holy Writ? Brother, that’s like saying, we’ve had enough of you mining for gold, isn’t there something else you can unearth, like silver or tin, or a lump of iron or copper? Well, I can, but you do realise that these other metals whilst important are not to be compared with the precious worth of gold? As pertaining to that first commandment of importance, that “…royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Jms. 2:8), it has no equal...no rival by which to compare. It stands in a league of its own, chief among the metals!
Of all the many aspects of love, one could choose to look at, in this sermon we choose to look at the continuation of love seen in the exhortation given to the Hebrews, “Let brotherly love continue”.
1 Corinthians 1:1
In this sermon, three points are raised pertaining to the would-be Christian Worker that are indispensable if one would work for Jesus Christ. #1. The nature of the Christian worker, #2. The call of the Christian worker and #3. The labour of the Christian worker. May you prayerfully consider each of these points and examine your life in the light of them.
I’ll never forget the words of the late Vance Havner, that mighty prophet of a bygone era; though he hath since passed into glory, his witty words have been left unto us as gold and precious stones. He said this, “When the Lord's white sheep become dirty grey, all the black sheep feel more comfortable”. We are living in a day where sin is tolerated in the personal lives of God’s people and excused from the pulpit in every quarter.
Are you tolerating things in your life that you know you shouldn’t? Sins which God has shone light upon and yet you won’t put them out of your lives!! Have you let the Canaanites live in the land — the Hivite, and the Hittite, when the clear command of God was to destroy them!?
2 Timothy 2:20-21
As one looks within the Body of Christ today at large, no matter which direction one casts their sight to look, one thing very readily becomes apparent, namely this, want of vessels for the service of the King! Where are the vessels of honour? Where are the vessels of use? It’s not any vessel that is of use to God but, “...a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use”. Even the very standards of the world would allow for the same. What diplomat sitting at the table of royalty, has food served to them on paper plates? Why the best bone china is kept in reserve for such an occasion! Which guest attending a state banquet, is served wine in plastic beakers? Rather, the best glassware is brought out for such regal events.
Are you one such vessel of use? A vessel unto honour, meet for the Master’s use? May the Lord minister to your heart and prepare you as such for His glory!
The world today would tell us, that it is the lesser who serves the greater. Jesus takes the economy of the world and flips it on its head by saying, “For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth” (Lk. 22:27).
Have you a servant's heart? Have you a heart to serve? Do you count it a privilege to serve others, or is the privilege the other way around, when others serve you? When there is a need in front of you, what’s your response? Someone else will sort it, or do you count it your responsibility and privilege to try to meet that need? I see many within the Body of Christ at large clamouring for positions and gifts, but what for, if they have not first learnt the rudimentary ABCs of Christian service? Position in the Church is NOT for honour, but for SERVICE!!!
Concerning the Old Mosaic Covenant, Jewish tradition puts the total number of commandments at 613. 248 positive commandments to DO, and 365 negative commandments NOT to do. Although various Rabbinic scholars have sought to compile a list of these commands, there have been slight disagreements on their precise number due to technicalities.
When asked by a Scribe, which is the greatest commandment, our Lord did not begin with "do this and don’t do that", but on the contrary, He proceeded to give the Shema. “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord”. Having established the unity of God, what is to be our reasonable response to the worship of this One, True, Supreme Being? “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).
Before the invention of the engine, there were only two ways to power a sea vessel; by human power or by nature’s power. You could row a boat or sail a boat!! Without a doubt, rowing involves far more effort on the part of man than does sailing. Those oars must be pulled through the waters at speed enough to create a drag that propels the boat forward. Stop rowing and the boat stops with it! On the other hand, a sailing boat is oarless, and the means by which it is propelled is not by hand, but by the wind. The art of sailing is setting the sail to the wind!!
The Western Church functions today like a rowing boat. Its source of propulsion is based upon the principle of human power. Rowing strength is the model upon which it is founded. Oh, how we need a divine interruption into the mundane affairs of Churchianity! How we need so desperately to see the utter futility of our endless Church activities in the absence of the presence of God the Holy Ghost!!! Oh, how we need the fresh wind of revival to blow again amidst us that we might set our sails to the wind. Do it again Lord!
I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasurable experience of tracing the path of a river as it meanders through the iconic English countryside. It is a sight to behold. The ’S’ curved bends of the river as it winds its way round hill and gully. The flowing currents, sometimes gentle, sometimes fierce. The exposed banks of the river with their clayey substrate. All makes for a most tranquil experience amidst the dragonflies and bees! But with that said, this picturesque scene is not complete without mention of the mighty trees that hug the river's course. If you know anything about trees, you will know that beneath the surface of the soil there lies an extensive root system. Oftentimes, the tree’s roots will spread as wide as the tree is tall. It’s through these roots that the tree will absorb the vast majority of its water intake and it’s through these roots that stability is offered to the tree.
A tree with no roots is a dead tree! A tree with shallow roots is a vulnerable tree! But a tree with good strong roots is a healthy tree!! It is the will of God for all of His children to grow up unto maturity and to become as mighty oaks. May this sermon be of edification to you, to this end.
Part 1 of 2
Having asked the question last week, “Which Covenant?”, and having answered it conclusively with authority from the Word of God; I want now in this second teaching part, to go on to look at the nature of this New Covenant as it pertains to justification and sanctification.
When one understands the true nature of the Old Covenant as contrasted with that of the New, how could anyone ever want to go back? “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).