google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html

Archive for the 'Sermons' Category

sph.gif

 

The Story of Athaliah & Jehosheba (2 Chronicles 22-23)

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family of the house of Judah. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes who were about to be murdered and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Because Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of the priest Jehoiada, was Ahaziah's sister, she hid the child from Athaliah so that she could not kill him. He remained hidden with them at the temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled the land. (2 Chronicles 22:10-12)

Jehoiada and his sons brought out the king's son and put the crown on him; they presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king. They anointed him and shouted, 'Long live the king!' When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and cheering the king, she went to them at the temple of the Lord. She looked, and there was the king, standing by his pillar at the entrance. The officers and the trumpeters were beside the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and musicians with their instruments were leading the praises. Then Athaliah tore her robes and shouted, 'Treason! Treason!' Jehoiada the priest sent out the commanders of units of a hundred, who were in charge of the troops, and said to them: 'Bring her out between the ranks and put to the sword anyone who follows her.' For the priest had said, 'Do not put her to death at the temple of the Lord.' So they seized her as she reached the entrance of the Horse Gate on the palace grounds, and there they put her to death. Jehoiada then made a covenant that he, the people and the king would be the Lord's people. All the people went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars. (2 Chronicles 23:11-15)

 

This story has all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster! I can see Angelina Jolie playing the role of Athaliah and Julie Andrews as Jehosheba! What do you think? As hard as it is to believe, our two characters tonight are related! There is their family line. Clearly there is a lack of creative imagination in the naming of children though! Jehosheba had the same father as Ahaziah and was Athaliah's step-daughter! All very confusing! With that in mind, let us persevere together.

 

Right Mouse click or Tap here to save this as an audio mp3 file

You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Subscribe in podnovaI heart FeedBurneritunes_logo.giffacebook.giftwitter.gif
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

 sermon.jpg

Sermon - God, the Church and the Internet

(John 17:13-19 & Romans 12:3-13)

13 ‘I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. (John 17v13-19)

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practise hospitality. (Romans 12v3-13)


Introduction

We are, as I am sure you are aware, in the midst of the COVID19 global pandemic. All gatherings of Christians to gather in Churches has had to cease. How has the Church responded to this. They have gone online and using the internet! But why are they using it when before they largely eschewed it? Let's look together at the what, why and how Church can also fit in with a biblical world view.Not just accepting it but embracing it fully, taking advantages of all the opportunities it affords as well as being wary of any liabilities or warnings. Let's go!

Symptomatic of human history has been the development of different technologies. Each generation seems to have had a great leap forward in some way! Think of the wheel, the printing press, the wireless, the combustion engine and the silicon chip!

One of the developments that I am sure that you have noticed is the internet. Everything is on the internet now it seems – increasingly so at a government & banking level! Everybody here has used it – either directly or indirectly. The internet is here. It isn’t going to go away and it will continue to develop and expand.

Likewise, the church is here too. It also isn’t going to go away (at least at a universal level) and it also will develop and expand. So let’s tonight look at what this internet is, why the Church should be using it and lastly how the church can use it for the glory of God. By using it, I do mean more than just a website with the latest information, events and sermons on it!

1. What is the internet?
2 - Can God interact on the Internet?
3. Why should the Church be on the Internet?
3a. Go into the world but don’t be part of it (John 17:13-19)
3b. Go serve, you gifted people! (Romans 12:3-8)
3c. Love in action (Romans 12:9-13)
4. What are some of the benefits?
4a. Reach out to the world!
4b. Assisting Housebound & disabled people
4c. Assisting the Geographically Isolated


Conclusion

Tonight we have looked together very briefly at God, the Church and the Internet. I hope that you have been blessed by our time together. We saw how God can interact on the internet. We saw why we should be using the internet for God’s Glory as well as some suggested ways as to how to do this. We are on a mission. A mission to tell people the Good News of Jesus Christ and to disciple them.

Part of this mission is the use of our Spiritual Gifts, which each of us have. We are to use every opportunity to develop them, use them and enable others in the use of them. For this is God’s will for you and it reflects His love of you to a world that is dying to know Him. We are to use our Spiritual gifts with the aid of our God-given imagination and creativity. Just because you can’t think of a way to do something, doesn’t mean somebody else can’t think of a way! Just because we don’t understand something, does not mean it is wrong! Don’t limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination! What is more, don’t limit others because of your own limited imagination.

Let’s use the internet communities of Facebook etc to uplift, encourage and support each other. I personally get more encouragement from those outside the church, non-Christians, than I do Christians. They are usually always the first to notice if I am absent without telling them or to tell me some good news.

Let’s go! Let’s go and fulfil our mission – on the Internet as well as in our streets and roads. It will mean more than just having an internet website with the latest events and sermons on it, but we can do it! Are you willing? Let’s go!

To discover what more is said, please do download the audio to hear this sermon... Thank you!

 

To discover more about this topic, our book: "God, Internet Church and You" is available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon with this link

 

Right Mouse click or tap here to save this as an audio mp3 file

You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Subscribe in podnovaI heart FeedBurneritunes_logo.giffacebook.giftwitter.gif
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

 sermon.jpg

Sermon - Living in the joy of salvation (1 Peter 1:3-9)


1 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9)

Introduction

The Apostle Peter was writing to a group of people, followers of Jesus, spread throughout what we know as modern Turkey. These believing sojourners were undergoing trials, suffering & persecution. Peter instructs them toward Christian stability, and the proper expression of this stability and growth.

Throughout the letter, Peter stresses a hope so alive, so glorious and so very certain, that any persecution, trial and suffering can be endured. These people are sojourners or pilgrims on a spiritual journey! Last week we discovered that Peter reminds them of the God they worship and live for - a missional & relational God of salvation. A loving God who is Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God the Father has chosen and is calling all people to Himself, out of amazing love for them. God the Holy Spirit sanctifies and cleanses to allow people to enter God’s holy presence through the obedient sacrifice of God the Son.

Then we learnt together about how within the believer, that there is a battle. A spiritual battle – the old earthly human nature battling against the new nature of the believer given to them by God. Salvation is yours, Peter says, so go let the world know that this salvation can be theirs also, by living so devoted to God that it permeates every facet of your life. That people will know you are God’s possession and God lives through you! WOW! The believing sojourner is to live such a good life that they are good witnesses for the God in whom they believe! We also know that this group of people are undergoing various forms of suffering and grief. Not the least, sporadic events of persecution but also the possibility of systematic persecution to come.


1. God the Joy Giver!

  • Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (v3)
  • His great mercy he has given (v3)
  • Resurrection of Jesus Christ (v3)
  • Jesus Christ is revealed (v7)

2. Living Out Joy!

  • New birth (v3)
  • Living hope (v3)
  • Inheritance (v4)
  • Shielded by God’s power (v5)
  • Salvation – future (v5)


3. Rejoice! (v6

  • Faith’s genuineness (v7)
  • Faith’s love (v8)
  • Faith’s belief (v8)
  • Faith’s joy (v8)
  • Faith’s outcome (v9)


Conclusion

For those of us who would call ourselves a Christian - a sojourner of Jesus Christ – you believe in Him and have placed your faith in Him for new hope, new life and salvation of your soul.

I wonder what trials including alienation and persecution you have undergone in the past, are undergoing at the moment or will persevere through in the future. I don’t even know how I will suffer and grieve in the future. But I do know who has the answers to our trials and testing. It is my God and your God. Our God of love – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He knows the answers and I have to trust in Him. Are you currently undergoing any sort of trial - run to God! He will listen! He is your protector, your guard and your empowerer! Remember He lives within you! He loves you! He cares for you! He is a personal God who has your best interests at heart!

As Christians we worship and serve a God who knows intimately about personal suffering. Our God isn’t an inanimate and passive carving, to be placed on a shelf or a wall which is immune to the suffering of the world. No! Our God is a personal, dynamic and active God who knows the suffering we ourselves endure – because He Himself has suffered. He is an intimate, dynamic, responsive and living personal being who has shared in our sufferings through Jesus when He died on a cross 2000 years ago. This same Jesus who was resurrected and raised to new life and witnessed by our author - the Apostle Peter! WOW! The ineffable God made known to humanity in the man Jesus Christ.

As part of our new hope and new life as Christians, as sojourners of Jesus Christ, we await that glorious day in the future when He has come again. That day when Jesus Christ will take your face in his scarred hands, and wipe away your tears. Wipe away your tears – tears of pain released and tears of ineffable and inexplicable joy! WOW! You and I will know then, that it was all worth it – the sufferings and trials that we have endured in this life, in order to enter the new life to come. Amazing! WOW!

On that final day, when your faith is tested, will it be proven to be genuine? Let this faith of yours always seek to give praise, honour and glory to Jesus and Him alone. May it be a faith being worked out by you living a life which is worthy of Him alone – which is seen by those currently not in the faith. Your genuine faith being expressed with inexplicable joy to those outside.

As Christians here, just as it was last week, it is an imperative that we go and show our new life, new hope, empowered and safeguarded by God’s power alone. Persecution may come and we will in some quarters even now be rejected. But we persevere. As Christians, we have good news for the world – it is up to us to go out living in the joy of salvation. We will be alienated by some, but also embraced by others. God is for us – who then shall we fear? God is a mission God – Peter clearly knows that – and because He is a mission God, we too are also on a mission. We have to take risks in order to continue this mission. History is filled with churches that failed to adapt and take the mission opportunities available to them. Will we be like that? I for one certainly do not hope so. We need to be reaching out, including those forgotten people – the people who cannot get out of their own homes for what ever reason. Helping those people who are already Christians and helping those who are not yet Christian, to find this living hope in God.

God is a tri-unity of Love... The Father loves the Son and the Spirit. The Son loves the Father and the Spirit. The Spirit loves the Father and the Son. We as a church are also to be a community of love. A love which mirrors that of the God of love... A love which looks not to its own interests but to the interests of others... Let's go love... Encourage others - not just your friends or those you like... Let's go encourage others enduring all sorts of tests and trials, just as Peter has done to this group of spiritual sojourners... God loves you... Let's reflect the God we claim to love, follow and obey...

To discover what more is said, please do download the audio to hear this sermon... Thank you!

Right Mouse click or tap here to save this as an audio mp3 file

You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Subscribe in podnovaI heart FeedBurneritunes_logo.giffacebook.giftwitter.gif
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

 sermon.jpg

Sermon - Living in the face of alienation and its cure


1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles, scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance. (1 Peter 1:1-2)

11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (2 Peter 2:11-12)

 

Introduction

  • The author
  • Who is Peter?
  • What is the letter all about?
  • Who is the letter to?

1. God

  • God is Trinity
  • Trinity is Love Indivisible
  • Trinity is a Love Relationship
  • God the Father foreknew!
  • God the Spirit sanctifies!
  • God the Son sacrifices.

2. Therefore!

  • You are chosen by the Father out of His great love for them, cleansed by the Spirit to enable them to enter God’s Holy presence through the sacrificial obedience of the Son.
  • God’s dear children – beloved of God
  • They are in exile, travelling towards the heavenly city.
  • They are to abstain from sinful desires!

3. Why are they to do this?

To discover what more is said, please do download the audio to hear this sermon... Thank you!

Right Mouse click or tap here to save this as an audio mp3 file

You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Subscribe in podnovaI heart FeedBurneritunes_logo.giffacebook.giftwitter.gif
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

sermon.jpg

Psalm 66 - A Prayer of True Joy

 

Tonight we are to study Psalm 66, which is a prayer of joy. The reason for this is, because where ever hope can be found, there is always joy. This is particularly true of the Christian life. As christians, our great hope is knowing that through the Lord Jesus Christ we will have salvation. Salvation is freedom. Freedom from injustice, freedom from sin. It is freedom from our prison of looking after our self, to a new life of entrance into self-forgetful worship & service to God. It is freedom from the limits of pain, decay, death, and entrance into a new world of life, immortality, beauty and joy without end. That is the hope of the Christian, and that is why we can have joy as Christians. But joy, is not just for the future. Joy is also for the present, for the here and now. But, what is joy, and what place should joy take in our life today. But first we will look at Psalm 66, and see where joy fitted into the life of the Psalmist.

1. Psalm 66 and joy

a. Joy and the Earth (vs. 1-4) Listen again from another translation to that beginning! " Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing to the glory of his name! Offer glory and praise! ". The majority of scribes and leaders of Israel normally only gave praise to God silently and in meditation. This was of course acceptable to God. But here among a great number of peoples the whole earth is encouraged to shout with great joy to God. This also was acceptable to God, and it is quite natural for great crowds of people to shout in harmony. If praise is to be widespread, it must be vocal; joyful sounds stir the soul and cause great thanksgiving spread throughout the people. God is to be praised with both the voice and the heart.

Oh, great joy when all the earth will worship God in joyful harmony. One day, all the earth will sing the praises of God, in every language. The whole earth, everyone, is encouraged to sing of the glory and power of God. The psalmist encourages the worshippers to turn their praises to God. The honour of God should be the focus of our praises. It is our glory to give God glory. We turn in joy and admiration to a God who one day will cause all the earth to fear and tremble before him. One day all the earth will bow down to worship God. For those who are enemies of God, who have never believed in him, they too will be forced into submitting worship to Him They are forced to worship Him out of His power and submission, not because they choose to. But their worship will not be like the saints. The worship of the saints, of those who truly believe in Him, will be of truth, love and pure joy and service. The joy of the earth will be to praise God.

b. Joy and the nation of Israel (vs. 5-12). After the selah, possibly a brief pause in the song, the psalmist now exhorts joy because of what God has done for Israel. He has done mighty works for his people the nation of Israel. Did not God start the nation from Genesis 12 and Abraham? Did not God lead His people out of the Egyptian exile by parting the Red Sea with His mighty hand so that his people could walk to freedom? Does not God rule forever by his mighty power? God watched over that nation of Israel, making covenants with Abraham, Moses and David promising that He will be their God and they will be His people. The people of Israel were people of joy, because they could look and see what God had done for them, and have a sure hope of what He will do for them in the future. God took Israel through hard trials and exiles.

The psalmist here continues to encourage the people to loud praise and joyful noise of God because silver and gold do not become pure without some refining, without being put through fire. God kept the feet of Israel from slipping, even though they turned their back on him. God always kept a remnant of believers for himself. In Israel, God sent them into exile to their enemies for punishment of their rebellion against him, but finally He led them into the promised land, flowing with milk and honey (v 12). That is why Israel could have joy, because of the hope they had in their God.

c. Joy and the psalmist (vs. 13 -20) The psalmist's joy starts with a sacrifice. Something that cost him. A sacrifice of vows and burnt offerings. What he said he would do, he will do. He gave God promises, and he wants to fulfil his promises before God. Because of his great joy, the psalmist tells others of the source of his joy. He gives testimony to the love of God: how he confessed his sins to God, and how God had listened to him and answered his prayers. The Psalmist told the people to come and hear his story. Listen to what God has done for me. They had all seen God's work, but they also needed to hear that He was a gracious god, So the joy of the psalmist involves sacrifice, testimony and praise,

2. Applying it to ourselves.

As we have just seen the psalmist's joy involved sacrifice, testimony and praise, So how can we apply these things to ourselves.

a. Sacrifice - As christians we should always give our best to God. The psalmist never presents a starving goat to God as a sacrifice, but well fed animals (v 15) of the best fields, Of all we have, whether small or large, we are actively encouraged to give God the best of it. It was not a waste to burn the fat upon the altar of God, nor to pour out the precious ointment upon the head of Jesus. Sacrifices show our heart love to God. Making sacrifices, shows gratitude to God in action, Joy comes from giving to God.

b. Testimony, - Giving our testimony to people should cause us to have great joy. Telling people what God has done for us, should cause everyone of us to have even greater joy than we have already. Telling others of God's mercy, grace and love is all part of our joy. When we lead someone to Jesus for the very first time, not only do they feel great joy and peace in their heart, but we feel great joy inside of us. The joy of God bubbles up inside of us and demands that we praise our God the Father.

c. Praise, - Praising God lifts our heart, soul and spirit when we are feeling down. The whole earth one day will praise Him and have great joy; the nation of Israel praised Him for the things He had done for them and had given them much joy, The psalmist praised God, and there was great joy in his heart. He had many reasons to praise God, God listened to His prayers, took his sacrifices and worship, forgave him when he had confessed his sins, God had not withheld his love from him. Surely the praise of God's people causes great joy to be spread amongst them. Now that is all very well you may be thinking, but just what is joy? Is joy happiness, or is it more? Here are what some people have said of joy.

"We are all strings in the concert of God's joy" - Leon Bloy.

"The joy that Jesus gives is the result of our being at one with Him" - Oswald Chambers.

Many people, including some Christians confuse joy with happiness, however there is a vast difference. As C.S. Lewis once wrote: "Joy is never in our power, and pleasure is. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted joy would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasure in the world." As humans we only feel happiness or pleasure depending on our circumstances, while joy is always separate from our circumstances. Happiness is a surface emotional response to good things; while joy is a deep-down heartfelt response that endures whether good or bad things happen to us. The world says happiness is looking out for number one and negotiating your personal good in all you do.

The greatest good is their own happiness, however the happiness doesn't last long so the search for happiness continues in its circle. Joy however, is the result of sacrificial love. It is for the good of others, not for ourselves, which is to be our judge of joy. When we give away our will, for the sake of others, we receive the joy that Jesus desired for us. Happiness and joy are radically different.

In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis described his pursuit of joy. He tried to find it in humanism, communism, eroticism, and lots of other human philosophies and searches. But they only led him to places where joy had already been. He did not find joy for himself until he realised that joy would come only as a result of putting Christ first in his life. Joy, unlike happiness, is never an end in itself. It is only as we make Christ our overwhelming first priority that joy, almost without our knowing it, comes. If we seek joy, we will lose it, because it cannot be caught. People of the world seeks happiness not joy. Joy is given only by Christ and serving him.

Hebrews 12:2 says, "Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Jesus had the endurance to go through the pain and suffering because he had the end in view. He was affirming his purpose for the redemption of the world, and so he never lost sight of the joy that was set before him. Joy would come to him out of suffering because he gave himself for the redemption of mankind. Jesus prayed that his disciples would have joy: "I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they (his disciples) may have the full measure of my joy within them." (John 17:13).

The joy of Christ is transferred to us as we go about the task of serving him in this world. Joy is the second fruit of the Spirit. Joy is to be a quality about us just as it was a quality of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, sometimes we don't feel as if joy is part of us. We begin to ask ourselves if we have lost the joy of our Christian lives. We look around at the world we live in and see all the misery and injustices; we see the waste of human life in cancer and HIV Aids, and we don't feel very joyful. But when we do that, we are confusing happiness and joy. If we have lost the joy of our Christian life, we need to put back into perspective what God is calling us to do and consider if Christ is still truly first in our lives.

Joy is Jesus Over Yourself. We can never truly lose joy, but we can misplace it if our priorities get out of line. Joy is not something to be worked at or toward. It is not a goal to be reached, nor is it an end in itself. Joy is the result of our relationship with Christ. A relationship of Jesus Over Yourself. Joy was sacrifice, testimony and praise to the Psalmist. It is for us too in the last days before His coming again.

As this is now the night before Easter week, let us end with that comment from the writer to the book of Hebrews in regards to Jesus and joy. "Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." As E. Underhill said: "This is the secret and meaning of joy, We shall no longer strive for our own way; but commit ourselves, to God's way, submit to His will, and in doing so find joy and peace, -. Go out with joy, today!

Right mouse click or tap here to download and save this Podcast as a MP3.

You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Subscribe in podnovaI heart FeedBurneritunes_logo.giffacebook.giftwitter.gif
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

sermon.jpg

Colossians 3v1-4

“Remember Who You Are!”

Today, our sermon comes from Paul's letter to the city of Colossae! It has relevance to us today and our Christian lives.

 

If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

Click or Tap here to listen to or save this as an audio mp3 file

 

You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Subscribe in podnovaI heart FeedBurneritunes_logo.giffacebook.giftwitter.gif
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

sermon.jpg

Dedication of the Temple

2 Chronicles 6v1-21

Tonight as you may have gathered, we go back to looking at the prayers of Solomon in 2 Chronicles 6. Not in an exhaustive way, but to discover together what we can learn about God and His relationship with those who are His and seeing how this is relevant to us some 3 millennia later. During the intervening period, I wonder if Solomon had wrestled in his mind over what he prayed… Let us wrestle together now, in these prayers of his, albeit briefly. This is a key passage, a link if you like, between the Covenant that God made with Solomon’s father, David, including the building of a House for God, the Temple, and the glory of the Lord filling the Temple in 2 Chronicles 7. This reflects I think, the necessity and vitality of prayer in the unfolding of God’s will for humanity. The story is also regaled in 1 Kings 8 but with some nuance as you may expect.

Right mouse click or tap here to save this Podcast as a MP3.

A Covenant Making God

Down through history, the Bible reveals that God has made Covenants with humanity. A covenant is an important way to describe the progress of the relationship between God and humanity through the Biblical story. A covenant at the time of the Old Testament was a solemn commitment between the two covenanting parties to fulfil all the promises and obligations of the covenant. Covenants were common in all kinds of life, and not just between God and humanity. The idea comes from the sort of agreement commonly entered into in the ancient area round Israel between a high king, and a sub king or clan chief.

It is easy to see how a covenant is a good way to describe the relationship between God and humanity. God, who promises to protect and help the human with faithfulness, and the human who promises to worship and honour God with faith. The Covenants between God and humanity have several things about them regarding the relationship.

In these Covenants between God and humanity, God always took the initiative – sometimes by complete surprise. God has made certain commitments and has given His solemn promise to fulfil His end of the bargain. God waits for a response from humanity. God does not coerce or force but waits for humanity to take the responsibility of replying and acquiescing to God's covenantal promises through obedience, faithfulness and worship.

There are Covenants made in the Garden of Eden, Covenants made in history with Adam, Noah and Abraham, but we will fast forward to the Covenant between God and Moses before going onto His covenant with Solomon’s father, David.

The Mosaic Covenant

Why look at the Covenant made between God and Moses? We do so because there is a connection between that Covenant and the prayer of Solomon we are looking at tonight. Indeed the very Ark of the Covenant contained a gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and two tablets of stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed. Charles Spurgeon commented “One is struck, with the fact that the language of Solomon is far from new, and is full of quotations from the Pentateuch (where the Mosaic Covenant is fully explained), some of which are almost word for word.”

This covenant is between God and humanity, in this case with the particular nation of Israel. It commences with the stipulation “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine” (Exodus 19:5). This covenant was to Israel in order that those who believed God’s promise, could know how to live righteously. Israel’s task was to bring the knowledge of God to all the world so that blessing might come to all humanity. In this, however, they were to fail and only when Jesus came as the perfectly obedient Israelite was it to become possible that all the world should be blessed.

This Mosaic covenant covered the three areas of life:

  • The commandments were given so they would know how to relate socially to God correctly (Exodus 20:1-17)
  • The judgments were given in order that they could relate socially to each other properly (Exodus 21:1 - 24:11 and in Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy)
  • The decrees dictate their religious life so that God could be approached by humanity on His terms (Exodus 24:12 - 31:18, and in Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy).


The Mosaic Covenant was never meant as a means by which humanity could achieve salvation with God. It was given so that they could realize the helplessness of their own efforts, and their need of God's help as well as expressing their devotion to the Lord. Yet they still failed to bring blessing to other peoples. Galatians 3:22-24 explains that the Law was only a protective fence until through the promised Messiah, when humanity could be made right with God through faith. That Messiah we know to be the man Jesus Christ. More later though.

The Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:4-17)

Now we fast forward to the Covenant which was in place as Solomon dedicates the Temple to God and is mentioned here. This covenant that God made with David, Solomon’s father. Three great things were promised:

  • A land forever (2 Samuel 7:10);
  • A dynasty without end (2 Samuel 7:11, 16)
  • A perpetual kingdom (2 Samuel 7:13, 16)


Through the Covenants we see a God who is willing to interact with His creation and bless it. When first century Christians such as the Apostles Paul, Peter and John checked and thought over all the events surrounding the life of Jesus Christ, they searched their Scriptures (our Old Testament). It was as God the Holy Spirit illuminated their minds, that they wrote down and passed on the whole range of Old Testament promises which were fulfilled in God's Messiah and the world's hope - Jesus Christ and Him alone. That is why it is important for us as twenty-first century Christian Disciples to read our Old Testament as well as the New Testament. For by reading the Old Testament, new light is shed upon our own understanding of the New Testament. One of the fundamentals of understanding the Bible, is to let the Bible interpret the Bible.

There is one more Covenant of God which we are to look at tonight, but we will see that shortly! We press on with these prayers of Solomon.

There are 3 prayers here.

  • v1-2 are opening words of praise to God
  • v4-11 are the 2nd prayer
  • v16-41 are the 3rd prayer.


We won’t go into any great detail tonight, you will no doubt be glad to know. We will get to about verse 21 I think. But with a very general overview, let’s look together and see what we can learn together from the wise man Solomon about God and about prayer. Charles Spurgeon said that “It is worthy of remark concerning this prayer that it is as full and comprehensive as if it were meant to be the summary of all future prayers offered in the temple.”

Right mouse click or tap here to save this Podcast as a MP3.

Part 1


1. Verses 1 & 2 - Solomon acknowledges God’s presence in the cloud

Here we see that Solomon acknowledges God’s presence in the cloud. The cloud of God’s glory has a long association with His presence. Solomon knew that the presence of the cloud meant that God dwelt in the temple in a special way. It was to be a special place to come and meet with God. It was symbolic of God living with His people.

2.Verses 3 to 9 – Solomon blessed the people and blesses God.

Here we see that Solomon blessed the people and blesses God. Solomon knew, affirmed and recognized that the completion of the Temple was the fulfilment of the plan of God and not of Solomon himself or indeed of his father David. God’s plan. David and Solomon were merely the human instruments, they were God’s arms and legs, but the work was affirmed to be God’s alone! God’s actions or work have confirmed His words, His promises! God’s hands were at work building the Temple as He guided and strengthened the human workers who contributed themselves to its construction.

Solomon recounts how their ancestors had escaped from Egypt in the Exodus 500 years hence. This shows its importance to the people of Israel at the time! Their minds were singing “If the Lord can bring us out of Egypt and rescue us, He will help us establish ourselves as a nation and build this Temple in order to worship Him. “

God is faithful to His promises. Down through the ages God has been faithful and keeping His part of the Covenant that He made with people. Later when we come to conclude we will see together briefly the promises of God for the Christian, including us today almost 3 millennia later.

Solomon now issues a statement concerning his father, David! Why David was not to build it. Though David, the mighty King had done extensive preparations for it, he didn’t actually complete it. The completion was left for his son, Solomon. Why? Because of God’s ideal of rest for his King and for his people. David had fought many wars and battles. It was part of his rest in God not to build the Temple. Solomon was spared the emotional turmoil of war, so could dedicate his energies to building the Temple – the House of God.

3. Verses 10-11 - Solomon presents the finished temple unto God.

And with verses 10 to 11, we see that Solomon presents the finished Temple to God. Solomon recognized that being the successor of his father David to the throne of Israel was significant. He then places the Ark of the Covenant, in its resting place in the Temple. The Ark of the Covenant was a physical representation of God’s promised presence with His people, the nation of Israel. It was a wooden chest clad with gold containing a gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. Solomon speaks of a God who fulfilled with His hands what He had spoken with His mouth. God had said what He was going to do, and then went and did it.

How are we doing at worshipping as we work for the Lord? Are we workers primarily and then click a switch to engage worship mode as we come here on a Sunday? Or do we consider ourselves God worshippers as we work? God wants worshippers before workers. In God’s mind, the only acceptable workers are those who have learnt the art of worship. Do you consider all you do as acts of worship to God? Everything you do as acts of worship to God? Because that is the kind of people God wants and desires, the kind of people who worship Him in Spirit and in truth and in all aspects of life – not just for a couple of hours on a Sunday.

Part 2. Solomon’s prayer.

Verses 12-14 - Humility before and praise unto God.

.Here in verses 12 to 14 we see that Solomon stands before the altar of the Lord. Solomon did not dedicate the Temple from within the Temple itself because that would have been the wrong place. That was where only the Priest could go, so Solomon stands outside, raised up so that the throngs of people could see him. Before the altar, spreading out his hands in an act of symbolism - reaching out toward heaven in a gesture of surrender, openness, and ready reception.

Here Solomon recognizes that God was and is completely unique in all facets of being and expresses it. The false and pretend gods of the nations around Israel could not compare to Him in any way.

Verses 15-17 - Solomon recognizes God as the maker and keeper of promises.

Solomon commences now to thankfully praise God, because God has kept all His promises that He had mad in the past. Have you done that in your prayer life? Speaking out thanks for what God has done for you in the past?

He continues and calls upon God to keep the promises that He has now made. We are, as His people, to take on board God’s promises, take them to heart in faith, and then boldly and reverently call upon Him to fulfil the promises. Again, is that part of your prayer life? God promises and we are to appropriate, take hold of them and proclaim them, taking them on board in our life by faith, knowing that God fulfils the promises that He makes to people.

Verses 18-21 - Solomon asks God to dwell in this place and honour those who seek Him here.

Solomon now asks a question in this prayer! How often have you and I asked God questions as we pray, rather than just listing off our demands. God would reside in the Temple but not to the exclusion of other places. While God would have a special presence in the Temple, He would not be restricted to it. Solomon asks God to listen to His people as they pray and worship in this Temple dedicated to Him. When God hears the prayers made in the Tempe, Solomon implores that He would forgive His people and probably the greatest answer to prayer that they could expect.

Right mouse click or tap here to save this Podcast as a MP3.

Conclusion - Promises of God for the Christian

After such a prayer, how can we conclude? What are the challenges and comforts we have seen from this passage of Scripture? This Temple was destroyed about 400 years later by the Babylonians. It is long gone. What about David’s Covenant though? Was that ever fulfilled?

Remember David’s Covenant which we looked at briefly earlier on? Was that ever fulfilled? We can say that it has been! It was fulfilled gloriously in the coming of God, in the man Jesus Christ. When the great God did indeed come as a human being in the person we know as Jesus Christ. It is historical fact.

2 Samuel 7:12 predicted the birth of Solomon as David's successor to the throne, with his role being to establish David's throne forever (2 Samuel 7:13). We see this link to the man Jesus Christ, through the genealogies to both Joseph: who had a legal right to King David's throne (Matthew 1:1-17) and to Mary: who had a blood right to King David's throne (Luke 3:23-38). The land is the whole world, now potentially the sphere of the rule of Jesus (Romans 4:13); the dynasty was, through Solomon, eventually to be the eternal son, Jesus (Matthew 1:1, 6, 16; Luke 3:23, 31); the Kingdom is the kingdom of God, now established, and ever growing in the world in which we live. (Matthew 11:12)

All of which were fulfilled gloriously in the coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus the Messiah, the Saviour. Jesus Christ – fully God and fully human. Not just for the Jews but for all people of every race and language. Really that should make us go WOW in awe of our God. Our God is the God of history and has stepped into history as a human being.

The New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Luke 22:15-20)

We see all this in what is called the New Covenant. Four features of this covenant are:

  • Regeneration – God will write His law on the hearts of people. (Jeremiah 31:33)
  • Restoration - God will be their God, and they will be God's people. (Jeremiah 31:33)
  • Promised Holy Spirit – God will indwell people and they will be led by Him (Jeremiah 31:34)
  • Justification – Sins will be forgiven, removed and remembered no more (Jeremiah 31:34)


This new covenant is sealed only through the perfect sacrifice of the God-Man Jesus on the cross. His death ensures the truth of this New Covenant. His death pays the penalty for the sins of all people. That is why we are to say yes to God and His New Covenant. This New Covenant can be contrasted with the Old Covenant, the Mosaic covenant that we looked at earlier, (Jeremiah 31:32; Hebrews 8:6-13) because this New Covenant finalizes and makes possible what the Mosaic Covenant could only point to: the follower of God living in a righteous life conforming to God's holy character.

Solomon asks in verse 18 “But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple that I have built!” In Solomon’s direct context, he was talking about the Temple which he was dedicating to God. In the overall context of the Bible, however, God did indeed come and dwell on earth. Not just with humans, but to be a human. Jesus Christ, the God-man. God keeps His promises and Jesus Christ is evidence of that. Oh that is so easy to forget when we are undergoing the trials of life. In what way does God keep His promises to us today?

Five quick statements.

  • By faith, He is praying for us. God the Son, Jesus Christ is making intercessions for Christians (Romans 8:34). He knows our troubles and He feels our cares and knows what we are going through (Hebrews 4:14-16). Isn’t that simply amazing and oh how easily we forget.
  • By faith - He will come to us. Have you ever felt like God is far away? Well you aren’t alone! Solomon’s father, David, often felt that God was far away and unconcerned with his life. Just a cursory look in the Psalms will reveal that. However he also knew that God would ultimately rescue him. Jesus always comes to us through difficult times. Although He may not come in the time we think He should come, because He knows when we need Him most.
  • By faith - He will help us grow - Once, when His disciples were in the storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus came to them walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). The purpose of this incident was to show that Jesus would be leaving them soon, so they had to learn to trust in Him when He wasn’t physically present. One of those disciples, Peter, wrote later on in his life, “for the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers” (1 Peter 3:12). How are you growing as a follower of Jesus? Not only in your knowledge but also in your transformation and development? As we are being transformed by the power of God the Holy Spirit into the image of God the Son, Jesus Christ, it is to the praise and glory of God the Father. Our transformation reveals God at work.
  • By faith, He will see us through - Again, when the disciples were in the storm, Jesus said “Come” and Peter went with Him. This must have encouraged the other disciples, for upon seeing Jesus’ power they worshipped him. Whatever troubles you are undergoing are temporary, and Jesus will see you through. For various reasons 2015 for Youngmi and I started out as if it could be our annus horribilus. Yet it became our annus mirabilis instead as we saw God at work each day throughout the year.
  • By faith, you have salvation - if you are trusting in Jesus alone for your salvation. By faith Jesus is praying for you, will come to you, grow you and help you through troubles. By being obedient to God, you and I are showing others our salvation and showing that faith, is not blind, but active. We can be obedient to Him by relying on His strength and wisdom. We are to be faithful to God and show it by being obedient to Him and getting on with the work we have been given, just as Solomon was in getting the Temple competed. Is your work worship or your worship work?


As we go out tonight, let us remember that God keeps His promises, He is listening to your prayers and He wants us to be in a dynamic moment by moment relationship with Himself. This great God wants you and I to be actively obedient to Him in all facets of our lives – our work, our play, our conversations, our worship and our relationships. If you are struggling in a particular area, get trusted others to pray for you and to hold you accountable – that is part of discipleship – part of following and loving God.

Our verse for the year as a Church is Psalm 105:4 “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” That was what Solomon did in the building of the Temple. That is what we are to do as well, as I am sure you are aware. Not only the Church here as a whole, but as individual followers of Jesus Christ. If we try to do it in our own strength we will fail. If we do it in the strength of the God we proclaim to love, worship, serve and glorify then we can – because all glory and honour will go to Him and Him alone.

As we go, are we ready in some way to tell others about this great God we claim is great and sing here in this fabulous building of our love and service? Are we ready to enable and encourage each other in the faith, and not just our friends and favourites, in some way as we see need? Are we actively engaging with the great God throughout each day, worshipping Him in all aspects of life and letting Him have dominion over every aspect of our lives as we put our trust fully in Him and in all aspects of life?

We are to be faithful to God and show it by being obedient to Him and getting on with the work we have been given, just as Solomon was in getting the job done.

As a general observation, most of the Church is scared of that word evangelism. We are not all to be evangelists like the Billy Grahams or Bruce Kitchings of this world, but we are to tell and show others about the God we claim to love and are in covenant with. Let’s go WOW the world, all of it, including our little corner here for God with the news of our God – the God who is outside of time who stepped down into time, into human history, in order that humanity could choose to follow Him or not - to be His children or not. Let’s keep our eyes fixed firmly on our God as we seek to enable and encourage – not just as a church body but also as individuals to all others that we meet. We are the Church on the hill. Let us, both as a church and as individuals, “Look to the LORD and his strength; seeking his face always.” Let’s go WOW for God together, heeding His advice and worshipping Him alone in all facets of life.

Are you tired and in need of comfort from all the challenges you are having to endure? Keep your eyes on God and allow Him to embrace you, comfort and lift you up. Remember that He is for you, He lives within you and you are His child.

Are you too comfortable? In need of a challenge to stop you becoming complacent? Ask God to help you overcome, to empower you and seek His face and wisdom. Ask for His strength to help you do what He has asked you to do?

The God we have comforts us in our challenges and challenges us in our comfort. We have an amazingly glorious God!

Let’s have a minute or two to bring ourselves before God and ask God to help you as only He can. Then I will close with a prayer before we go on to have our final song together.

Right mouse click or tap here to save this Podcast as a MP3.

You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Subscribe in podnovaI heart FeedBurneritunes_logo.giffacebook.giftwitter.gif
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

Sermon - Romans 5:1-11

sermon.jpg

 

Count Your Blessings, Christian!

Romans 5:1-11 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, let us have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
Not only so, but let us also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Introduction

Part 1

1. We have peace with God.
2. We have access to God.
3. We have a glorious hope.


Steve Testimony

Part 2

4. We develop Godly character.
5. We have God's love.
6. We have the Holy Spirit.
7. We have salvation from future wrath of God.
8. We have reconciliation with God.

Part 3 - Recap and Conclusion


What are we to do with these blessings? Download or listen to the mp3 now to see and hear what I said!!

Right mouse click to save the audio in MP3 format.

Click on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Subscribe in podnovaI heart FeedBurneritunes_logo.giffacebook.giftwitter.gifAdd to Google Reader or Homepage
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

Ezekiel - God? So what?

sermon.jpg

God - so what?

Ezekiel 36v22-28

 

God - so what? Ezekiel 36:22-28

Right mouse click and save to download the MP3 file of this sermon.

The Context - Story of Ezekiel from Chapter 2 onwards... a. Symbolic Actions (Ezekiel 4:1-5v17)

  • Lying down facing a map (4v1-8)
  • Eating siege rations cooked on cow's dung (4v9-17)
  • Cutting off hair and destroying it (5v1-17)

b. Vision of Jerusalem (8v1-11v25)

  • Idolatry in Temple (8v1-18)
  • Unfaithful in Jerusalem are killed (9v1-11)
  • Actions of the cherubim (10v1-22)
  • Exile and restoration announced (11v1-21)
  • Glory of God leaves Jerusalem (11v22-25)

c. Symbolic Actions (12v1-20)

  • Digging through wall of his house (12v1-16)
  • Eating in fear (12v17-20)

d. Prophecy Concerning Israel (12v21-24v27)

  • Judgment is very near (12v21-28)
  • Against false prophets (13v1-23)
  • Against idolatry (14v1-8)
  • Against false prophets (14v9-11)
  • Israel's sin history (20v1-44)
  • Death of Ezekiel's wife (24v15-27) and he isn't allowed to show any public mourning.

e. Prophecy Concerning Foreign Nations (25v1-32v32)

 
f. Salvation for Israel (33v1-39v29)

  • Ezekiel, the watchman (33v1-9)
  • Call to repent (33v10-20)
  • Jerusalem falls and God allows Ezekiel to speak (33v21-22)
  • Trust only in God (33v23-33)
  • Work of the Good Shepherd (34v1-31)
    • Prophecy against bad shepherds (34v1-10)
    • God will shepherd his flock (34v11-16)
    • God will judge sheep (34v17-22)
    • God will care for His flock (34v23-31)
  • Prophecy against Mount Seir (35v1-15)
  • Restoration of Israel (36v1-38)
  • Vision of dry bones (37v1-14)

Right mouse click and save to download the MP3 file of this sermon.

 

1. A God who is holy (Ezekiel 36v22-23)

22 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. 23 I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.

God is holy!  God's holy name is set apart because of its uniqueness, distinctiveness and power!  The nation of Israel was to be God's representative to the pagan nations and to the world! But, Israel had disobeyed and now God's name was a laughing stock amongst the nations!  So God was going to act, so that all nations of the world would recognize his sovereign power because of what He would do in them and for them. This illustrates how bad a job, Israel as a nation had done at being God's chosen representative. 

So God Himself would perform the function Himself by revealing Himself so that the world would know that He is the sovereign God over all.  He would do this for the sake of His name. They, and we, deserved nothing. They had failed Him in every direction, and they had failed themselves. But far more important than them, and us, is that God should be known and revealed to the world. Without that there could be no salvation, no deliverance. Without that the saving purposes of God would fail. So by their own folly Israel had ceased to be important except as a means by which the world could see the glory and love of God, for they had forfeited their right to any privilege. That is why the concentration had now to be on redeeming the situation by using them as a means to reveal that love and glory.

2. A God who gathers (Ezekiel 36v24)

36v24 "For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you to your own land."

This gathering of the people of Israel back to the land began as a relative trickle on the decree of Cyrus (Ezra 1), and continued over a long period, with more and more people returning from all over the known world, until Israel was a recognised nation again established in its own land with its own capital city, relatively free from idolatry and worshipping in its own way

3. A God who cleanses (Ezekiel 36v25) and operates (Ezekiel 36v26)

25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel would have had images of Leviticus in his mind at this point. So when the priestly Ezekiel spoke of ‘clean water' he had in mind water that had been cleansed by sacrifice. And indeed this was the only kind of water that was ever sprinkled. In Leviticus the cleansing of a defiled house required sprinkling with a mixture of blood and ‘living' water, the bird having been slain over the water (Leviticus 14.51), and in Numbers 8.7 and 19.2-22 the ‘water of separation' (19.9, 20 - this was also called ‘living water' - 9.17) is mentioned. It was water that had been sprinkled with the ashes of a red heifer (Numbers 19.2), and was kept aside for the purifying by sprinkling of those who had touched a dead body. Thus in both cases the water had been cleansed by sacrifice and the shedding of blood. The cleansing was to be through the blood of sacrifice, applied through the sprinkled water.

But this water was here to be sprinkled by God Himself acting as the high priest. Before anything else the people need to be cleansed, by the divine water of separation sprinkled on them by God, from their defilement brought on them by their sinful ways and their idolatry. There is no cleansing without the shedding of blood. This pointed forward to the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness (Zechariah 13.1), and its efficacy depended on the One Who would be slain as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, Whose benefit reached backwards to ‘sins done aforetime' (Romans 3.25). Then they were to receive a new heart and a new spirit, indeed God's Spirit (verse 27). The heart included the mind, the will and the emotions, it was the whole of the inner man. The spirit was the life principle within, the inner impulse, and while it could include the activities of heart, mind and will, it was also that which was Godward (Ecclesiastes 3.21; 12.7), and was affected by God's Spirit.

So the idea here is of the renewing of the whole inner man, and of awakening towards God. Its effect is then described. ‘And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.' Instead of hardness there would be tenderness, instead of obduracy there would be yielding, instead of coldness there would be warmth; instead of disobedience there would be obedience. The law would be put in their inward parts and in their hearts, and they would ‘know Yahweh' individually through the new covenant.

This process of cleaning we know now as Sanctification or cleansing!  We have been sanctified (Hebrews 10v10); washed clean (1 Corinthians 6v11) and have perfect holiness (2 Corinthians 7v1) and are being transformed into the very image of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3v18) and conformed to His likeness (Romans 8v28-29).  We are to be living sacrifices, transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12v1-2). 

This holiness is the pursuit of moral excellence, not just obeying the law, and is by necessity a high standard (1 Thessalonians 4:3) This process of sanctification is where God the Holy Spirit transforms us into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 7-18).  As we walk and live in the Spirit, led by the Spirit (Galatians. 5:16; Romans 8:13), the fruit of the Spirit, "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control", is produced in the life of the Christian Disciple (Galatians. 5:22-23). Our condition before God if we are His follower is now:

  • Set apart - separated from sin.
  • The attainment of moral holiness.

In principal, we are saints, and God has already declared all Christian Disciples sanctified:

  • We have been made holy (Hebrews 10:10)
  • We are washed and sanctified (1 Corinthians 6:11)

In practice, as growing Christians, we should be:

  • Perfecting holiness, freed from the contamination of sin (2 Corinthians 7:1)
  • Process of becoming Christ-like (Romans 8v29; 2 Corinthians 3:18)
  • Transforming of character by renewal of our minds (Romans 12:1-2)

The standard all Christian Disciples are to attain and maintain is "Be holy, as I am holy" (1 Peter 1v16; 1 Thessalonians 4v3).  The Process by which this is achieved is by the Christian Disciple devoting them self to righteousness (Romans 6v19) with a desire and choosing to be holy, submitted and consecrated to God.  Christian Disciples are to put off the old nature - crucify the passions and desires (Ephesians 4:22; Galatians 5:24) and put on the new nature created to be like God (Ephesians 4:24). This is done by a work of God (1 Thessalonians. 5:23, Philippians 2:13).

4. A God who indwells (v27)

27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

How can all this come about?  It can only be through the work of God Himself.  If it was by our own efforts, we would fail continually! No, it was to be through God's Spirit that this great work would come about. It is He who would cause His people to walk in His statutes and keep His judgments in their hearts and in their lives. The Holy Spirit is God, and a member of the Trinitarian Godhead.  He is spoken of as God (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16).  The attributes of God are ascribed to the Holy Spirit life (Romans 8:2), truth (John 16:13) and love (Romans 15:30).  It was He who spoke through the Old Testament prophets and induced godliness (Ezekiel 36), and equipped God's leaders for service (Judges 13:25; Zechariah 4:6).

The Holy Spirit is also a Person. Some people refer to the Holy Spirit as "It", but they are clearly wrong and in error! The Holy Spirit is always referred to as ‘He' in the New Testament (John 16v14).  He relates to us as a person for He is comforter, guide and teacher (John 14).  He can be blasphemed against and be grieved (Ephesians 4v30), and wherever the Holy Spirit is, the Father and Son are also present because they are one. (John 14v18-23). God lives inside each Christian through the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, a person cannot be a Christian Disciple (Romans 8v9; Gal 2v20; Colossians 1v25-27).  The Holy Spirit indwelling the Christian Disciple is assured proof of being God's possession (2 Corinthians 1v22; Ephesians 1v3).  The Holy Spirit is a deposit, guaranteeing our future redemption, salvation and inheritance (Ephesians 1v13; 2 Corinthians 1v22). This indwelling Holy Spirit, seeks  control or domination of our lives. This is being filled with the Spirit, and it is a continuous thing, not a one off process. It also signifies how much the Holy Spirit has of the life of a Christian! As Christian Disciples, we are to be continually filled (Ephesians 5v18), and this is meant to be our normal state Being indwelt by God the Holy Spirit from the moment of conversions, Christian Disciples are also to  ‘walk in the spirit' ((Galatians 5v16). This is done by:

  • Desiring holiness, feed the new nature with God's Word in order to renew our mind.
  • Communicating with God. Talk to Him!! By doing this sin will be starved.

Confess known sin immediately, consciously allowing Christ total control in all circumstances All this will gives a desire to live totally for God!

5. A God to live for (v28) 28 You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.

This confirms that this work of the Spirit was to begin when the exiles returned in faith to the land of their inheritance. The words were spoken to the true Israel, the Israel within Israel, as Paul explains (Romans 9-11). Those whose hearts were true would be truly His and He would be their God.

It also has application to all Christians in that they have become citizens of Heaven (Philippians 3.20), residents in a better land, God's greater land, being His people and knowing Him as their God, something beyond the conception of Ezekiel and therefore having to be prophesied pictorially in the form of an idea (see on 37.26-28). He could not know then that the land of God's inheritance would become a heavenly land. That would be revealed in the future, and the final words are specifically applied in Revelation 21.3 to the new Heaven and the new earth

Conclusion - What about you?
 
What about you? If you are already a Christian here tonight, then it is not because of anything you have done.  It is because of the events at Easter that you are a Christian, when God took the necessary steps so that all people could have the choice to either follow Him or not. We are primarily Christians, not because we come to church services or just happened to have been born in a supposedly Christian country.  We are primarily Christians, because God first chased and harried us into His arms.  We are Christians, if you are one, because God first loved you.  And as a tremendous lover, He beckons and calls people all the time to respond to His call, and back to Him.

When I was younger, in my more smug moments I used to congratulate myself for being a Christian.  How proud I was that I, Dave Roberts, was a Christian and that God was a jolly lucky God that I had decided to follow Him.  It was during one of my less self-deluded moments, that I examined myself and I found God pricking my conscience and correcting me, and I read the New Testament "For the Son of Man came, not to serve but to give His life as a ransom for many" (Mk10v45). So... If you are a Christian here tonight, go show and tell the transformation that the all-powerful living God has performed in you. If like me, you are a Christian today, our sins were forgiven through Jesus' death on the Cross. That is when we had our "bath" as it were. That is the point when we were justified before God and we are declared His child. Having been justified already, we don't need a bath any more! But we do need the equivalent of a foot-washing daily and or every time we take Holy Communion and a cleansing of our sin when we confess it before our God and repent.

And if you are not a Christian here today, then God is actively pursuing you.  I, of course, don't know the circumstances in which He is, but I do know that He is. He wants all people to be followers of Him. That is why He is gathering, cleansing, and indwelling His people.  If you would like to know more about the Christian faith, then please don't leave here tonight without talking to somebody about it.

 

Right mouse click and save to download the MP3 file of this sermon.

You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Subscribe in podnovaI heart FeedBurneritunes_logo.giffacebook.giftwitter.gif
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

sermon.jpg

Exodus 5-6

Obedience to God leads to Intimacy with God

I am an old man now as I continue telling you our story. The story of how God, our God, created the heavens and the earth. Created the billions of stars. Created the planets including our planet, Earth. The God of our father Abraham. God who called out Abraham and said that he was going to bless Abraham and made promises to him, with him and for him! Little old Abraham of the Chaldees! Our father, Abraham. The God who told Abraham specifically and with authority that:

  • Abraham would be the father of a great nation
  • Abraham would receive personal blessing
  • Abraham would receive personal honour and a grand status
  • Abraham would be a source of blessing to others.

Father Abraham had been called personally and explicitly – to follow God and allow God to be his God. God is continuing to raise that family, to raise that nation unto Himself. Centuries later, I, Moses have also been called by God. Personally, and explicitly. I have related that to you earlier in this book of Exodus. Of that family which God is raising, you and I, my friends, are of that family – the nation of Israel. The great God of Abraham and also of such amazing people, those wonderful servants of God, Jacob and Joseph.

I, am of that family. As a child, under threat of national male infanticide, I was placed by my parents into a basket, who proceeded to put it into reeds on the bank of the river Nile. There I was found by the Pharaoh’s daughter who took me back to the palace and gave me the name, Moses. When they decided I needed a nursemaid, they went out to find one for me. Do you know who the Egyptian princess unknowingly got for me? My own mother! WOW! God was taking care of me, even at that tender age. Isn’t our God amazing and almighty?

I have had many scraps and scrapes as you know from the beginning of this book. Yet, God has honoured me and called me. He spoke to me from a burning bush! Me! Moses! WOW! There are more adventures to come, through which you will hear about my life of following God and being a disciple of God. But for now let me continue our story of this book of Exodus, and tell you what happened when Aaron, my brother, and I, went to Pharaoh in obedience to a command from the Lord our God. We were commanded by God to tell Pharaoh, to let all the captive people of Israel, the chosen people of God, to go. Where were we to go and why? We were to go on a 3 day journey, in order to host a festival in the wilderness where the Lord our God would be worshipped with sacrifice. An Almighty God being worshipped by His peculiar people, His special nation. Where God would be honoured, glorified and lifted up by His people in sacrificial worship. As commanded by our God, we went to Pharaoh and made the request. just as our God had said to do. How did Pharaoh react?

This is the introduction. Please use this link to download the full episode as a mp3 file.

Click or Tap here to listen to or save this as an audio mp3 file

 

You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Subscribe in podnovaI heart FeedBurneritunes_logo.giffacebook.giftwitter.gif
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »