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SERMONS


1.                  SIX PROMISES OF THE LORD TO THE CHRISTIAN

Psalm 91

“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, 1 because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him. and honour him. With long life will I satisfy: him, and shew him my salvation”. Psalm 91:14-16

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. 0 LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee”. Psalm 84: 11-12

The Lord wants to bless us in many ways and give to us spiritual and material blessings. In 91 we find at least six things the Lord does for us as Christians.

1. “I will deliver him . . .” Vs. 14

When we are saved the Lord delivers us from the penalty of sin and eternal condemnation.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed”. John 8:35

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death”. Romans 8:1-2

It is a wonderful thing to know that as a Christian, Jesus has delivered us from the penalty of sin, is delivering us from the power of sin and one day will deliver us from the presence of sin.

2. “I will set him on high . . .” Vs. 14

“But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus”. Galatians 3:25-25

Before we were saved, Paul says we were like students under the authority of a teacher. A person before he is saved is under the influence of Satan and this evil world.

“Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ”. Galatians 4:7

This lost world is the servant of sin and it’s evil influence, but after we are saved we are elevated to a son of God and joint heir with Christ of the eternal riches of Glory.

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together”.  Romans 8:16-17

3.  “He shall call upon me, and 1 will answer him. . .” Vs.15

There are over 3,000 promises in the Bible for Christians. Many of these are promises that the Lord will hear and answer our prayers.

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not”. Jeremiah 33:3

“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”. Luke 11:9

Someone has said that prayer is the key to the storehouse of heaven.

A young widow and her crippled son had moved to a poor part of London because of the death of her husband and loss of income. Before they had lived in a nicer part of the city but now lived in one small room. A neighbor visited the new family and invited them to her church where the young widow was saved and soon began to live by faith in God's promises. She didn't share with the church her needs but prayed to the Lord for help. A few weeks later all the money was gone and the cupboard was empty. Trusting in God's promises the mother put her son to bed and prayed to the Lord for the needs they had. The very next morning the mailman delivered a letter that had come from New Zealand. It contained a check with enough for all their needs. When she looked at the envelope she saw it had gone to her former address and then finally to where she now lived. It was from a former friend of her husbands who had heard of his death and wanted to help his family. Yes, God does hear when we call upon Him.

4. “I will be with him in trouble; 1 will deliver him, and honour him. . .” Vs. 15

What a wonderful God we have that has promised to be with us in every circumstance

“When thou passes! through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee”. Isaiah 43:2

Many times in this life we pass through difficult times of sickness or other difficulties, but the Lord has promised to help us.

“There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee”. Joshua 1:5

5. “With long life will 1 satisfy him. . .” Vs. 16

Long life seems to be the desire of every human being. People spend thousands of dollars to try and live a few more months or years. In the hospitals there is every kind of sickness because of the sin nature that we inherited from Adam.

This lost world is the servant of sin and it's evil influence, but after we are saved we are elevated to a son of God and joint heir with Christ of the eternal riches of glory.

If people would just read the Bible they would find the secret to a long life.

“Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee”. Deuteronomy 5: 16

“My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee”. Proverbs 3: 1-2

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased”. Proverbs 9:10-11

6. “and shew him my salvation. . .”. Vs. 15

It is a wonderful thing to know that one day we will see the Lord face to face and see our wonderful Saviour.

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known”. I Corinthians 13:12

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever”. Psalm 23:6

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him”. I Corinthians 2:9

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord”. 2 Corinthians 5:8

 

2.                                                CARRYING OUR CROSS

 

“And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross”.   Matthew 27:32

“And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross”.  Mark 15:21

Who was Simon?  Very little is known about this person who was compelled to carry the cross of Christ.  Mark tells us he was from Cyrene, a capital city of the roman district in northern Africa during New Testament times.

Why did Simon have to carry the cross for our Saviour?  Maybe Jesus was exhausted after passing the night in judgment and beatings by the roman soldiers.

There are many lessons we can learn from this story.

1.       THERE ARE CROSSES TO CARRY

Simon carrying the cross shows us that there are crosses that we are sometimes required to carry.

A.  The cross of suffering. 

Many times this cross comes in the form of sickness. 

Fanny Crosby who wrote over 5,000 hymns was blinded by the mistake of a Dr. when she was six weeks old.  She once said she probably would not have had the spiritual insight she had if it had not been for this cross of blindness.

Charles Spurgeon suffered greatly during the last years of his ministry.   He suffered from gout in his knee joints and finally was confined to a wheel chair but continued preaching until a few days before he died.

The apostle Paul suffered physically and ask the Lord to heal him, but the Lord answered that his grace was sufficient to sustain him through this sickness.

“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”.  2 Corinthians 12:8-9

B.  Another cross that many are called upon to carry is the cross of misunderstanding or disagreement.

Moses was misunderstood by his own people when he tried to help them.

“For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not”.  Acts 7:25

Our Saviour was misunderstood by his own nation and rejected.

“He came unto his own, and his own received him not”.  John 1:11

Charles Weigel who wrote the famous song “No One Ever Cared for me Like Jesus” carried this cross for most of his life of service for our Saviour.  He married but his wife failed to understand his call to the ministry and soon left him.   He continued his ministry as an effective evangelist and bible teacher until he died at 97 years of age.

C.  The cross of loneliness.  Our Saviour carried this cross.

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not”.  Isaiah 53:3

Several years ago during the communist reign in the Soviet Union, a Lutheran pastor by the name of Richard Wurmbrandt was imprisoned for preaching and spent 14 years in a communist prison.  

Henry Knott and his wife worked on the island of Tahiti. After all their fellow missionaries died or left they spent nearly 14 years alone.  A ship finally came from England with supplies and news but no one stayed to help them.

 

2.  SIMON CARRYING THE CROSS SHOWS US THAT THERE IS SOMETHING WE CAN ALL DO TO HELP OUR SAVIOUR IF WE ARE WILLING.

We know little about Simon, but because he helped carry the cross of Jesus, his name is engraved in the pages of history.

In the Lord’s work there is something we can all do.  There is a cross for everyone to carry if we are willing to take it.  It is said of Mary.

“She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying”.   Mark 14:8

Mary probably had little formal education but did what she could for the cause of Christ.

Jesus said that giving a cup of cold water to a needy person will not go unrewarded.

“And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward”.   Matthew 10:42

 

3.  WHAT SHOULD BE OUR ATTITUDE WHILE CARRYING A CROSS

As a preacher and pastor I have found that there are many different attitudes that people have about the cross they are given.

A.  Many people are unwilling to carry a cross and throw off their cross by committing suicide.  They are unwilling to ask the Lord for help.  Judas threw off his cross in this manner.

B.  Many have a cross to carry but are always complaining.  Some think others have a lighter cross to carry or they think if they had another cross to carry it would be better.

“And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me”.   Matthew 10:38

C.  The right attitude in carrying our cross is the one our Saviour had. The Bible says: “he opened not his mouth   ”  Isaiah 53:3

We should carry our cross willingly and joyfully, know that the Lord is with us and has promised to help us in all our needs.

 

4.  IT TAKES COURAGE TO CARRY A CROSS FOR JESUS

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it”.  Matthew 16:24-25

Simon was compelled to carry the cross for Jesus because no one volunteered to help.  The apostles all lost there courage in this hour of our Saviour’s need.

A.  We should have courage to be identified with Christ and his church.

“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels”.  Mark 8:38

B.  We should be willing to feel the weight of the cross on our shoulders, let others know that we are followers of our Saviour.

Story of two men who were given crosses to carry.  The first man boldly put his cross on his shoulder and carried it faithfully through many difficult situations during his life.  The other man took his cross but soon felt the ridicule of others who saw his cross.   He thought to himself, “If I cut off a little it won’t be so heavy and visible”.  Little by little as he passed through life he cup to part of his cross and finally it was so small he could put it in his pocket and no one knew he had it.   Finally the two reached a large river and looked for a way to cross it.  The first man with his cross still intact threw it across the river and passed safely over to his final destination.   When the second man thought to do the same he took his cross out of his pocket and saw that it was too small and perished trying to cross this river.

“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia”.  2 Timothy 4:10

Jesus said these words.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul”?   Mark 8:36

C.  We should have courage to testify about our Saviour and willingly carry the cross we are given.  Maybe Simon who was from the Roman province of Cyrene went home and won his son Rufus to the Saviour when he told the story of helping Jesus carry his cross.

There is only one other mention of the name Rufus in the Bible.  When Paul wrote to the church in Rome he mentioned Rufus.

“Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine”.  Romans 16:13

 

3.                              CLIMBING SOME BIBLE MOUNTAINS

 

“Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD”.   Haggai 1:8

What is a mountain?  It is usually high and hard to climb.  Guatemala is a land of mountains and volcanoes.  Many are quite high and it is difficult for mountain climbers to reach the summit.  But when one reaches the top the air is pure and the view very spectacular.

The word mountain in one form or another appears more than 467 times in the Bible.  Palestine is known for it’s many hills and mountains.  Jesus was familiar with many of these and had many experiences on them during his ministry here on earth.  Today we will talk about five of the mountains that our Saviour went up.

1.  The mountain of Temptation . . .

“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them”.  Matthew 4:8

This was the first mountain that Christ went up before beginning his public ministry.  Here he spent forty days and then was tempted of the Devil three times but was victorious over these temptations.

“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin”.  Hebrews 4:15

The Bible has a lot to say about temptation.

1.  Temptations are sometimes a test of our faith -

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed”.  James 1:12-14

2.  Jesus was victorious in this mountain and stands ready to help us -

“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things [pertaining] to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted”.  Hebrews 2:17-18

3.  The Lord knows what we can bear -

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it”.  1 Corinthians 10:13

Story of mother and boy in store.

2.  The mountain of prayer . . .

Jesus was familiar with this mountain with and spent many nights upon it.

“And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray”.  Mark 6:46

This is not an easy mountain to scale as the disciples found out.

“And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?  Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak”. Mark 14:37-38

Prayer is very important in the Christian life.  Jesus exhorted the disciples to pray.  Paul also had much to say about prayer.  He told the Thessalonians to:

“Pray without ceasing”.  1 Thessalonians 5:17

And he told the church at Philippi these words about prayer:

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God”.  Philippians 4:6

3.  The mountain of transfiguration . . .

“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light”.  Matthew 17:1-2

On this mountain Jesus took his three closest disciples, Peter, James and John and was transfigured before them.  Hear they heard Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus and then they heard the voice of God exhorting them to hear the voice of Christ. 

 

4            LOVING THE THINGS THAT JESUS LOVED

 

Ilus.  Pastor whose little boy died just before Christmas.  About a month later he said he would preach again.  The church was full and when he got up to preach he showed some his child’s toys and said that they reminded him of his little son because they were things he loved and played with.

In the same manner there were many things that Jesus loved and if we really love the Lord we will love these things also.

1.  JESUS LOVED THE HEAVENLY FATHER . . .

“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” Matthew 22:36-38

Jesus was a perfect example of obedience and love for his heavenly Father.  He came not to do his will but the will of him who sent him into this world.  .

“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me”.  John 6:38

One way to show our love for the heavenly Father is by keeping his commandments.  Doing what pleases Him.  Being obedient to what the Bible teaches.

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  John 14:15

2.  JESUS LOVED THE WORD OF GOD, THE BIBLE . . .

To Him the Bible was a letter from heaven.  Jesus had no formal training but knew God’s word and astounded the scholars in the temple when he was only 12 years old. 

When someone is away we anxiously await word from them, and when we receive a letter we read it with great interest.  Many letters from famous people have been preserved because of the value of their words.

Just having a Bible is not enough.  It must be opened and read if we are to benefit from it’s message.

A prisoner in Japan who caused much trouble among the prisoners was finally put in a cell by himself.  At first he walked around the cell cursing all the guards and other prisoners.  All there was in the cell was a cot fastened to the wall and a small shelf overhead with a few books.  He finally sat down and when he did a book fell off the shelf and hit him in the head.  More foul language came from his mouth and after about half an hour he looked at the book on the floor and wondered what it was.  It was a Bible and with nothing else to do he decided to read a few pages.  In less than a week he was converted and soon became a model prisoner.   Later he was released and became a very effective evangelist among the youth of Japan.

David said these words about God’s word.

“O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day”.  Psalm 119:97

3.  JESUS LOVED TO PRAY . . .

From the time he began his public ministry, his was a life of prayer.

At his baptism he prayed, before feeding the multitudes he prayed, at the raising of Lazarus he prayed and on the cross he prayed for his enemies.

It was nothing uncommon for him to spend the entire night in prayer.

“And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God”.  Luke 6:12

If we really love the Lord, we should take time to talk to him daily.   Daniel prayed three times a day.

“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime”.  Daniel 6:10

One of God’s greatest missionaries, David Livingston died on his knees in the jungle of Africa praying.

4.  JESUS LOVED LOST SOULS . . .

This is the reason he came from heaven.

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”.  Luke 19:10

Everywhere he went he saw the hunger in men’s hearts for a better life and the peace that only comes from having our sins forgiven.

“And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee”.  Matthew 9:2

We should love lost souls and do what we can to help reach them for Christ.

Several years ago a group of men went on a hunting trip in the far north of Canada.   It was a remote area that took them several days of hiking to reach with the help of an Indian guide.  One of them fell into a deep crevice and died.  The men knew there was no way to take his body back so they decided to bury him there.  At the graveside the men all looked at each other wondering what kind of service they could have for him.  All said they were not Christians and could find nothing to say.  The Indian guide seeing there lack of hope in eternal things said he was a Christian and would be glad to read some scripture and say a few words.  He gave his testimony of faith in Christ and read from the Gospel of John chapter 14.  One of the men was greatly moved and accepted Christ as his Saviour.  A few months later this man related the story to his mother who was a devout Christian.  When he told her where they had gone and about the Indian leading him to Christ the mother cried out, “I gave an offering to a missionary who went to that part of Canada and worked among those Indians”.  

There are many ways we can show our love for the lost souls of this world.

5.  JESUS LOVED THE CHURCH . . .

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it”.  Ephesians 5:25

During his earthly ministry he was preparing this church for the work he had for it to do.   The Bible tells us he loved his disciples unto the end.

“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end”.  John 13:1

Jesus made the supreme sacrifice for his church, his friends.

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.  John 15:12-13

Do we really love the things that Jesus loved?  Are we willing to show our love for these things by our actions?

“For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.   Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them”.   John 13:15-17

 

5                   FIVE THINGS WE SHOULD DO WITH THE WORD OF GOD

 

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”.  Hebrews 4:12

The Word of God is more than  just another book to be read.  It is the message of God to this world and the guide book of the Christian.

King David said this about the Bible:  “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”.  Psalm 119:105

The Bible should be more than just a decoration on the coffee table in the living room.  There are at least five things we should do with God’s word.

1.  HEAR the word of the Lord  

Twenty four times we are exhorted “hear the Word of the Lord”.  Every Christian should listen to what the Lord has to say in his word.

“And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the LORD your God”.  Joshua 3:9

“And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD”.  2 Kings 20:16

We should be like Sergius Paulus who desired to hear the message of the Bible.

“Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God”.  Acts 13:7

There is great value in hearing the Word of God.  It will produce faith and bring salvation to a lost soul.

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”.  Romans 10:17

We should all be like David who listened to hear what God had to tell him through His word. 

“I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly”.  Psalm 85:8

2.  SEARCH God’s word.

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me”.  John 5:39

The Bible is like a gold mine, it is full of great riches but they must be sought after.  If every Christian realized the value of God’s word they would have no trouble reading and searching for the nuggets of gold it contains.

In the years 1848 and 1849 the California gold rush took place.  When stories were told of the abundance of gold many men sold all they had and went west hoping to return rich.  Many went with their families and brought about the settling of California which became a state in 1850.   Men searched everywhere for gold,  some found it but many others had to turn to other means of work and this helped settle California and the western states.

The Bible is a gold mine waiting to be discovered, but how sad that so few people realize the value of the precious truths it contains.

When Paul came to Berea the people had a desire know whether the Gospel he was preaching was the truth and they began searching the Old Testament to see if it was true.

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so”.  Acts 17:11

Every Christian should have a daily time to search and examine the Scriptures.

3.  STUDY the Bible

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”.  2 Timothy 2:15

We should all have a devotional time each day to read and pray, but we should also from time to time study the Bible so that we will know and understand the great truths of salvation and what the Lord has in store for this world. 

The apostle Peter told the Christians to be ready to answer anyone who might ask them about their faith in Christ and his word.

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”.  1 Peter 3:15

4.  BELIEVE what the Lord has said in His word

“Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent”.  John 6:29

After Peter preached to the multitudes that had gathered to see the crippled man who had been healed, the people believed the message many were saved.

“Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand”.  Acts 4:4

Philip the Evangelist told the Ethiopian eunuch to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved.

“And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”.  Acts 8:37

For the believer we must believe the promises of God’s word.  There is great reward in believing what the Lord says in His word.  There are spiritual and well as material blessings for every Christian who believes what the Bible says.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”.  Hebrews 11:6

5. OBEY the Bible

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day”.  Deuteronomy 11:26-27

The Lord promises over and over again in his word that he will bless his people when obey His word.

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams”.  1 Samuel 15:22

The Lord not only wants us to take the name Christian, but to be obedient to His teachings.  Some say it is not important to attend church regularly, but the Bible says not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together.  Hebrews 10:25

Others say it is not important to obey the Lord’s teaching about giving.  The prophet Malachi tells us the Lord has ways of supplying the needs of His church and that many Christians have needs because they do not obey the teaching of the Bible about giving.

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men”.  Acts 5:29

When we are obedient to what God says and not to what men man say, we will experience the blessing of God on our lives.

 

 

6                                                     JESUS AT THE DOOR

 

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with me."  Rev. 3:20

              The context for this verse places it at the end of the church age, a picture of the relationship of Jesus to the professing church, shut out by social events, modernism, formalism and many other things including the world.

              But the text has a practical application, it is a picture of the natural man's heart.  Christ is seen shut out of the human life; He knocks, desiring to enter in, He calls, He promises.

1. Christ's Sobering Position . . .

 Outside, standing and knocking; desiring to enter in.

From the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve shut God out, and tried to hide from Him, man has been alienated from God.

"That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of  Israel, and strangers from the covenants  of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world."  Ephesians 2:12

Our sins separate us from God as a door separates those on the outside from those within.

"But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear".  Isaiah 59:2

Sin shuts God out of our lives, and shuts us out of Heaven.

2. Christ's Simple Plea . . .

"If any man hear my  voice"

"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost." Luke 19:10

"Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  Matt. 11:28

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."  John 14:6

3. Christ's Sure Promise . . .

"If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him"

1. He promises to save -

              Jesus said: "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."  John 10:9

2. He promises communion - "I will sup with him and he with me"

              "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world"  Matt. 28:20

3. His promise is secure -

              "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of  God, even to them that believe on his name."  John 1:12

4. Your Decision . . .

"If any man open the door"

Many years ago an artist painted a beautiful picture of Christ which today hangs in St. Paul's Cathedral in London.  The picture is entitled, The Light of the Word.  It depicts Christ standing outside a fast-closed door, a door all overgrown with weeds.  Christ is seen knocking, patiently waiting and for admission.  When this picture was first displayed the critics came to review it.  One of them said to the artist, Holman Hunt, "Mr. Hunt, you have painted a magnificent picture.  But you have made a terrible mistake.  You have painted no handle on the door" The artist replied,  "That is no mistake my friend, the handle is on the inside".

Only you can open the door of Salvation,  Jesus has done all he can to save you.  You must open your heart to him and let him enter in.

"That if thou shalt confess with they mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."  Romans 10:9-10

 

7                                                     FIVE PROMESAS OF DAVID IN PSALM 116

 

David was the king of Israel and a very courageous leader who led the armies of Israel to many great victories.  He was a man of resolution and had great confidence in the Lord and his power.  When he fought against the giant Goliath he had confidence that God was with him and that he would give him the victory.  He said in one of the Psalms: 

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God”.  Psalm 20:7

In this Psalm we find at least five promises that David made to the Lord.

1.  “I love the Lord . . .” Vs. 1

“I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications,  Because he hath inclined his ear unto me”.  Vs. 1-2a

Jesus said that to love the Lord is the first and great commandment.

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment”.  Matthew 22:37-38

Seventeen times we find this phrase, “love the Lord” in the word of God.

“O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer”.  Psalm 31:33

When we love the Lord because of his salvation and goodness to us, He has promised to hear our prayers and reward us according to His mercies. 

2.  “I will call upon Him . . .”  Vs. 2b-8

“therefore will I call upon him as long as I live”.  Vs. 2-b

David was a man of prayer and knew how to talk to God. 

“As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice”. Psalm 55:16-17

As a Christian we should always be praying to the Lord.  Paul said to the church in Thessalonica:

“Pray without ceasing”.  1 Thessalonians 5:17

We should pray about everything.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God”. Philippians 4:6

As a Christian the Lord has promised to answer our prayers when we call upon Him.

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not”.  Jeremiah 33:3

 3.  “I will walk before the Lord . . .” Vs. 9-11

“I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living”.  Vs. 9

This verse speaks of our walk before the Lord in this world.  It is our consecration and dedication, the way we live each day and we pass through this world.  It is our manner of life before a lost world.

It is one thing to say we are a Christian, but quite another to thing to honor the Lord in all that we do each day.

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”.  1 Corinthians 10:31

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him”.  Colossians 2:6

Someone said: “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.”

“Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof”.

 Romans 13:13-14

As a Christian we should show the world our faith by our daily walk and life.

4.  “I will take the cup of salvation . . .” Vs. 13

“I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD”.  Vs. 13

This speaks of our salvation, we must receive Christ as our Saviour by calling upon Him.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”.  Romans 10:13

We must receive the gift of eternal life by taking what the Lord offers us freely.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”.  John 1:12

  • “I will pay my vows unto the Lord . . .”  Vs. 14-19

“I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people”.  Vs. 14

This phrase is repeated twice in this Psalm.  Here in verse 14 and again in verse 18.  When the Lord repeats something in his word, it must be important.

We don’t owe the Lord anything for our Salvation, but we owe a lost world a debt to tell them about our Saviour and his salvation.

“I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also”.  Romans 1:14-15

There are two vows we can keep according to these two verses.  In verse 14 he says he will keep his vows in the presence of all his people.

This is our debt to a lost world. It is our job and obligation to witness to those who are lost. This is our public testimony.  Jesus said in Acts 1:8:

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”.  Acts 1:8

In verse 18-19 David says he will pay his vows in the courts of the Lord’s house. 

As Christians we have an obligation to keep our promises to the church that Jesus loved and died for. 

The first promise that we should keep to the church that Jesus loved is to give or our means to help support it’s work.  The Bible says in Malachi 3:10:

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it”.

The second promise that we should make and keep is to attend the church faithfully.

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD”.  Psalm 122:1

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”.  Hebrews 10:25

Another way we can show our love to the Lord’s house and work is by asking the question Paul asked as soon as he met the Lord:

“And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do”.  Acts 9:6

I have never heard a pastor say that he has all the workers he needs in the church.  There is always room to teach or help in a class, to help clean the church when needed or to visit a sick member or lost person that has visited the church.

Have you asked the question and done what the Lord has shown you to do?  Paul answered God’s call and first was baptized and then actively served the Lord in the church at Antioch.  Later he heard the call of God to be a missionary and spent the rest of his life starting churches and serving them until his death.

 

 

8                                                             "ONE THING"

 

1. One Thing I know . . .

"He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." John 9:25

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God”.  1 John 5:13

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day”.  2 Timothy 1:12

Story of poor sinful man who came to Christ and the atheist.

2. One Thing is needful . . .

"But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."  Luke 10:42

What was the one thing that was needful?  It was sitting at Jesus feet and hearing his word.  Vs. 39

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”.  Psalm 119:105

“And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred”.   Mark 4:20

Men can only be saved by hearing the Word of God and believing the promises of God. 

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. Romans 10:17

3. One Thing I Have Desired . . .

"One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple." Psalm 27:4 

The desire of every Christian should be to attend the house of God at every opportunity he has.

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”.  Hebrews 10:25

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD”.  Psalm 122:1

4. One Thing I Do . . .

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."  Philip. 3:13-14

Every Christian should have a goal in his life, an ambition and desire to do his best for the Lord and his work.  The word “press” here means to exert an effort, work at our goal.

“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway”.  2 Cor. 9:25-27

5. Not One Thing Hath Failed . . .

"And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof."  Joshua 23:14

“It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness”. Lamentations 3:22-23

God’s word is sure because every promise in it has come to pass. 

“So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word”.  Psalm 119:142

6.  Be Not Ignorant of this one thing . . .

"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. " 2 Peter 3:8

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation”.   2 Peter 3:3-4

7. One Thing Lacking . . .

"Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me."    Mark 10:21

Money won’t buy your way to heaven but it can keep you out of this wonderful place.  Money is not evil in itself, but when our love for it is more than our love for the Lord, it can blind our eyes to the truth of God’s word.

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness”.  1 Timothy 6:10-11

 

9                                           THREE STORMS ON THE SEA

 

Palestine is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea and also contains two seas, the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee.  Travel by boat was common in the days of the Bible since there were few roads and certainly no public means of transportation.  Fishing was also very common in Bible days so many people were accustomed to traveling by sea and knew the dangers of a storm arising while traveling.  In our message today we will look at three storms that three different people encountered while traveling in a boat.

1.  THE STORM OF JONAH . . . Jonas Cap. 1

This storm was a direct result of the disobedience of the prophet Jonah.  Jonah sinned against the Lord by directly disobeying his orders.  He had received a call from God to go to the city of Nineveh, but he refused to go and thought he could hide from the presence of the Lord.

“Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,   Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD”.  Jonah 1:1-3

It is impossible for a Christian to leave the presence and watchcare of the Lord.  King David said these words:

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me”.   Psalm 139:7-10

Many times, but not always in the life of a Christian difficulties and problems come because of our disobedience and sin against the Lord and his word, the Bible.  Sin has it’s price.  We read that Jonah “paid the fare thereof” (Vs. 3).

The law of the Bible is that which we sow, we shall also reap.  Sin has it’s price.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”.   Galatians 6:7

The sin of Jonah didn’t just affect his life, but also the lives of those around him.  The ship and the sailors were in danger because of Jonah’s disobedience. 

“But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken”.  Vs. 4

What we do affects others. A father that is not willing to obey the Lord can cause much harm to his family.  A mother who is not willing to obey and work with her husband can cause much turmoil and heartache in a home. Many times children follow in the footsteps of their parents, for good or bad.

But the Bible has a solution for calming this storm.

“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world”.  1 Corinthians 11:31-32

Jonah repented of his rebellious spirit and was greatly blessed when he preached in Nineveh. 

“So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them”.  Jonah 3:5

The only way to calm this storm in our lives is by repenting of our sins and renewing our vows to the Lord.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.   1 John 1:9

2.  THE STORM OF THE APOSTLE PAUL . . . Acts 27:13-44

This storm didn’t come because of sin or rebellion.  Paul was desirous to go to Rome and preach there the Gospel of Christ.  The Lord had even arranged for the Roman Government to pay his passage. 

This time the storm didn’t cease, but the Lord was with them in the midst of it. Paul and the sailors didn’t see the sun or moon for 14 days and thought there was no hope of being saved.  Paul didn’t give up and the Lord sent an angel to tell him the good news.

“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me”.  Acts 27:22-25

Many times in the Christian life storms and troubles come, but the Lord has promised to be with us in the midst of them.

“. . . I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen”.  Matthew 28:20

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: 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”.   Hebrews 13:5-6

Many times in the Christian life storms will come.  Many times they may come in the form of sickness or a tragedy in our family. Charles Spurgeon was pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England which grew to be the largest Baptist Church in the world under his ministry.  For more than 38 years more than 5,000 people filled the church three times each week to hear him speak.  He was known as “The Prince of Preachers”.  During the last 15 yeas of his ministry he suffered greatly with gout, a very painful sickness in his knee joints.  Finally for the last couple years of his pastorate he was confined to a wheel chair, but managed to stand and hold on to the sides of the pulpit when he preached.  He preached his last sermon on Sunday night, the 7th of June in the year 1891.  The next day he fell gravely ill and died a few weeks later.

Suzana, his wife suffered greatly for the best part of her life.  After the birth of their twin sons, she was stricken with a paralysis and confined to a bed for the rest of her life.  Only twice did she enter the church again, once when Charles Spurgeon celebrated 25 years as pastor and for his funeral.  But she was never discouraged and from her bed founded and ran a literature ministry that distributed thousand of books and Bibles throughout Europe.

John Bunyan also suffered greatly and was imprisoned for 12 years for preaching the Gospel and denouncing the sins of the Church of England.  But he didn’t get discourage and on Sundays preached from the jail in Bedford, England to thousands who gathered outside.   During this time he wrote the famous book, “Pilgrims Progress” which for more than 150 years was second best sold book after the Bible.

If you are passing through a storm in your life, take courage and say as the apostle Paul said, “I believe God”.

3.  THE STORM OF MATTHEW CHAPTER 14 . . .

“But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary”.  Matthew 14:24

We will let this storm represent a lost world, men passing the sea of life without the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives.  It is a picture of what happens when Christ enters into our lives and calms the storm.

The ship left without Jesus and the disciples were alone in the sea.

The Bible clearly teaches that every person without Christ is lost on the sea of life. 

“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world”.  Ephesians 2:12

The only way to calm this storm is by receiving Christ into our boat, our lives.

We read that Jesus came to them in the hour of need.

“And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea”.  Vrs. 25

Jesus came to the disciples to save them just as he came into this world to save the lost from the wages of sin which is eternal damnation in hell.

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”.  Luke 19:10

When Adam and Eve sinned against the Lord in the Garden of Eden,  the Lord came to them and offered them a ransom for their sin. 

TODAY I DON’T KNOW WHAT STORM YOU MAY BE PASSING THROUGH,  BUT I CAN OFFER YOU A WAY TO CALM THIS STORM.

If you have been a disobedient Christian as Jonah was, there is forgiveness if you come to Christ and ask forgiveness. Jesus said:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”.  Matthew 11:28

If you are a faithful Christian passing through the storm of sickness or suffering, take courage in the promise of Isaiah 43:2-3

“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: . . .”.

If you are a lost person with hope of eternal life why don’t you receive Christ as your personal Saviour.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”.   John 1:12

 

10                                   FIVE THINGS OPENED BY THE LORD

 

There are things that are sealed and hidden from our sight.  When a package is delivered to your house you may not know what is in it until it is opened.  Usually the person whose name is on the package is the one who can open it.  In this world there are things that only the Lord can open by His Holy Spirit.   We will look at five of these things that the only the Lord can open.

1. Blind Eyes . . .

“I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” Isaiah 42:6-7

The bible tells us that mankind is blinded by Satan and is not able to see the wonderful blessing of Salvation that the Lord offers to a lost world.

“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”  2 Corinthians 4:4

It is a sad thing for a person to be blind physically, but it is far worse to be blind spiritually.

Fanny Crosby lost her sight when she was weeks old and was never able to see again, but o how the Lord opened her spiritual eyes.   She came to know the Lord at an early age and accepted her blindness as from the Lord.  She wrote over 5,000 gospel hymns and many are still favorites of the church.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 9 we have the wonderful story of a man who was born blind and how he received his sight at the hands of Jesus.

“When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, which is by interpretation, Sent. He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”  John 9:6-7

What a great miracle was this healing of the blind eyes, but even a greater miracle was done when this man believed on Christ and was saved.

“Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?  He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?  And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.  And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.”  John 9:35-38

Have your spiritual eyes been opened by the Lord?  Your eyes can be opened today if you will do what the apostle Paul told the Philippian jailer to do.

“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”  Acts 16:31

2. Deaf Ears . . .

“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.”  Isaiah 35:5

What a wonderful prophesy was this.  Men’s ears are closed to the things of the Lord, but the Lord can open them. 

“Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.”  Psalm 40:6

“And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.”  John 1:37

Andrew and Simon Peter heard the testimony of John the Baptist and became followers of Jesus and later were chosen as apostles, all because they opened their ears to the message of salvation.

3. A Lost Heart . . .

“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyratira, which worshipped God, heard us; whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”  Acts 16:13

Lydia listened to the words of Paul as he proclaimed the message of salvation and opened her heart and was saved.  She not only heard and believed but showed her faith by being baptized by Paul.

A person must not only hear but believe with the heart to be saved.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  Romans 10:9-10

4. Lips to Praise Him . . .

“O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.”  Psalm 51:15

How sad that many Christians have silent tongues and rarely praise and thank the Lord for all his blessings.

We know that the Lord answered his prayer to open his lips in praise.  David is considered the writer of the majority of the Psalms and almost all are Psalms of Praise to the Lord.

If your lips are closed, ask the Lord to open them so you too can praise the Lord for all his blessings and goodness to you.

5. The Scriptures . . .

“And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures.”  Luke 24:32

God’s word is a spiritual book and only those who have been saved can really understand the meaning of this wonderful book.

“Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.”  Luke 24:45

Many people may know many facts about the Bible and know many Bible stories, but until their spiritual discernment has been opened by the Lord they will never understand how a perfect man could be punished for the sins of ungodly men and give his life a ransom for their sins.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”  1 Corinthians 2:14

If you are here today and do not know the Lord, come to Christ and let him open the scriptures to your heart.

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” Ephesians 1:17-18

If you are here today without Christ, come to the Saviour and he will open your spiritual eyes and give you the power to become a son of God.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”  John 1:12

 

11                                     “HE WILL KEEP THE SAINTS FEET”

 

“He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail”.  1 Samuel 2:9

In the Bible the feet represent our walk as a Christian. 

“Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him”.  Deuteronomy 13:4

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God”.  Colossians 1:10   

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him”. Colossians 2:6

In our walk with the Lord, he has promised eight things he will do for our feet that we might be better able to serve Him and walk worthy of our high calling in Christ Jesus.

1.  He will keep them shod . .

“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”.  Ephesians 6:14-15

The word shod has reference to putting a horseshoe on a horse’s foot for protection and to give him the ability to withstand walking on a hard surface. 

The horseshoe that every person needs is the horseshoe of Salvation.  This will keep us out to hell and protect us in our journey toward the Heavenly City.

2.  He will keep them from falling . . .

“For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling”.  Psalm 116:8

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy”.  Jude 24

This speaks of our eternal salvation.  Once we are saved we can never fall out of salvation.  We may stumble along this earthly walk toward the new Jerusalem, but we never can lose what the Lord has given to us by his grace.

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand”.  John 10:28

 

3.  He will keep them clean . . .

“After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.  Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet”?  John 13:5-6

“Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all”.   John 13:10

The cleansing of our feet speaks of our daily spiritual cleansing.  Once we are saved our soul is eternally cleansed for all sin and it’s penalty, but we still have the same body with it’s old nature that is prone to sin.  While we are in this body we need a daily cleansing.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. 1 John 1:9

4.  He will guide them in the way of peace . . .

“Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace”.  Luke 1:78-79

God’s desire is that every Christian live in peace with his Saviour and also in peace with his fellow man. 

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men”.  Romans 12:18

5.  He will pluck them out of the net . . .

“Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net”.  Psalm 25:15

In our walk through this world there are many snares and obstacles in our path, but the Lord has promised to help us when we walk according to His will.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it”.  1 Corinthians 10:13

6.  He will set them on a rock . . .

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.  He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings”.  Psalm 40:1-2

In the Bible the Lord is referred to as The Rock, the Rock of our Salvation.  Jesus also is referred to as a rock or stone.

“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone”.  Ephesians 2:20

“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he”.  Deuteronomy 32:4

“He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved.  In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.”.  Psalm 62:6-7

7.  He will lighten the path they trod . . .

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”.  Psalm 119:105

In this dark world of sin we need a guiding light to show us the way we should walk and to keep us from stumbling over the rocks the devil puts in our path.

“That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

“Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,  To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace”.  Luke 1:79

8.  He will bring our feet within the Gate . . .

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem”.  Psalm 122:1-2

I am glad that getting to Heaven doesn’t depend on our good works, but on the tender mercy of the Lord and his power.

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy”.  Jude 1:24

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord”.   2 Corinthians 5:8

 

 

12.                                    THE BIBLE – A LETTER FROM HEAVEN

 

What is a letter?  It is a written message from one person to another.  In the Bible there are more than 50 references to letters.

“And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy”.   2 Kings 5:5-6

Let’s look as some lessons about letters and God’s letter to us, the Holy Bible.

1.  A LETTER MUST BE RECEIVED . . .

When the mailman comes to your home with a letter it must be received or it is sent back.  It is the same with the Bible, it’s message must be received if it is to be of benefit to us.

“Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John”.  Acts 8:14

Many of the Samaritans received God’s word and many were saved.

“And many more believed because of his own word”.  John 4:16

Many times people fail to realize the value of the Word of God and refuse to receive it.

“The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver”.  Psalm 119:12

Story of rich farmer offering a copy of God’s word or a gold coin to his workers one Christmas.

The gardener said: “I don’t read good, I’d rather have the money”.

The chauffeur said:  “My wife is not too well, I’ll take the money”.

Mary, the cook answered:  I don’t have time to read and I need a new dress to go to town Saturday night.  I’d rather have the money”.

All the other workers replied the same way, desiring the money instead of God’s word.

At last the farmer asked a young boy who ran errands around the farm and he answered:  “My mother taught me that the Bible is worth more than gold or silver, I’d rather have the Bible.

He was called to the front and received the Bible.  As he returned to his seat a gold coin fell from the Bible and as he looked through it’s pages he found many more gold coins.

The other workers realizing their wrong choice left the room ashamed for having chosen material wealth instead of God’s word.

2.  A LETTER MUST BE OPENED AND READ . . .

The apostle Paul tells us in Romans that if we are to have faith to believe God’s message of salvation, we must hear God’s word.

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”.  Romans 10:17

A closed Bible will be of little help in the time of need.

King David realized the value of reading the Bible.

“Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word”.  Psalm 119:148

Story of Elizabeth Barrett, the wife of the famous poet Robert Browning.

She was the wife of the famous poet, Robert Browning.  When she was young her and Robert decided to get married.  He was young and working at an immigration office and had a very small salary.  Her parents disapproved of the wedding and told her that if she married they would have nothing more to do with her.  At the wedding her parents didn’t attend and they moved to another city some distance away.  For more than ten years she wrote to her parents telling of her love for them and her desire to be reconciled with them.  Finally one day a large box arrived in the mail.  When she opened it she found all the letters she had written to her parents and not one had ever been opened.  These letters are now in a museum and considered some of the finest examples of classical English ever written.  

How sad that many refuse to hear God’s message of love for them by failing to read or listen to the message of the Bible.

3.  A LETTER REQUIRES A RESPONSE, AN ANSWER . . .

There are many ways to answer a letter.  In the book of Jeremiah we read about a letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent to the King of Israel, Jehoiakim.

“Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.  And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth”.  Jeremiah 36:22-23

The king failed to receive the letter sent to him and cut it with a knife and through it into the fire.  What a sad way to receive God’s word.

During the history of the church many have thought they could destroy God’s word in the same manner.

Robert Ingersol the famous English atheist once said in a speech that in ten years the Bible would be a forgotten book.   But he was wrong, twenty years after his death his house and printing equipment were sold to the Bible Society and for many years printed the very book he sought to destroy.

The Catholic church for many years sought to destroy the Bible because they knew that when men began to read God’s word their lives would be changed and they would see the false doctrine of this church.  This church burned and martyred many of God’s servants, and burned thousands of copies of the Bible, but it was all in vain.

From the invention of the printing press the Bible has continued to be the world’s best seller.

Another way to receive God’s word is by believing it’s message of salvation through our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”.  John 1:12

When we receive the message of salvation we become a child of God and a part of the body of Christ, the true church.

“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls”.  Acts 2:41

 

13                                                    A SWARM OF BEES

 

When we think of bees, we usually think of a beehive, a swarm, many hundreds of bees.  Bees always live together, and work for a common purpose, to make honey for the preservation of the beehive.

This sermon has a lot of bees too, but I'll try to be brief and only say a little about each bee.

1. Be Converted...

"Repent ye therefore, and BE CONVERTED, that your sins may be  blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord."  Acts 3:19

2. Be Renewed...

"And BE RENEWED in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."  Eph. 4:22-23

3. Be Content...

"let your conversation be without covetousness; and BE CONTENT with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."  Heb. 13:5

4. Be Obedient...

"And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and BE OBEDIENT."  Exodus 24:7

5. Be ye Holy...

"But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."  1 Peter 1:15-16

6. Be ye all of one mind, be pitiful, be courteous...

"Finally, BE YE ALL OF ONE MIND, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, BE PITIFUL, BE COURTEOUS." 1 Peter 3:8

7. Be Ready Always...

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and BE READY ALWAYS to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." 1 Peter 3:15

8. Be Glad...

"But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may BE GLAD also with exceeding joy, If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."  1 Peter 3:13-14

9. Be Sober, Be Vigilant...

"BE SOBER, BE VIGILANT; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour." l Peter 5:8

10.   Be Thankful...

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: BE THANKFUL unto him, and bless his name." Psalm 100:4

11.   Be Gentle...

"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but BE GENTLE unto all men, apt to teach." 2 Timothy 2:24

12.   Be Wise...

"Let no man deceive himself.  If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may BE WISE."  1 Cor. 3:18

13. Be Good...

"For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it BE GOOD or bad." 2 Cor. 5:10

14.   Be Perfect, Be of good Comfort, Be of one Mind...

"Finally, brethren, farewell. BE PERFECT, BE OF GOOD COMFORT, BE OF ONE MIND, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you." 1 Cor. 13:11

"That the man of God may BE PERFECT, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."  2 Timothy 3:17

15.   Be Christ's...

"And if ye BE CHRIST'S, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Galatians 3:29

16.   Be Thou Faithful...

"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."  Rev. 2:10

There are many other be's in the Bible, but these are the most important ones.  Are you willing to be a Bee for Christ?  Are you willing to be a Child of God, to be faithful in the work of our Saviour wherever you may be?  Consider these Bees and be a faithful follower of Christ.

 

14                                             SEVEN "ONE ANOTHERS"

1. Receive one Another . . .

“Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:  That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

Romans 15:5-7

The word receive means to accept something or someone.  There may be some things we don’t like, but because someone gives it to us we accept it.  There have been some things people have given me to eat that I didn’t like, but I have eaten it to not offend the person offering it to me. 

In the Christian life there may be some people we don’t like, but we should receive them into our home or church, and welcome an opportunity to witness to them about our Saviour. 

 "Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him." Luke 17:3-4

2. Esteem one Another . . .

"Let nothing be done through strife, or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."  Philippians 2:3

The word esteem means to have a feeling of respectful appreciation and affection: admiration, consideration, regard, respect, approval and honor.

"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine."  1 Tim. 5:17 

In the church we should recognize the gifts and talents of others and even though they may not do things exactly the way we do them, we should respect them for the talents they have and their desire to serve the Lord.

3. Consider one Another . . .

"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works."  Hebrews 10:24 

"Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble."  Psalm 41:1

The word consider has the thought of looking at another person in an appraising way. To see what good qualities you can find in the other person.  We should give thought to what others say.  My father used to say; “two heads are better than one”. 

4. Edifify one Another . . .

“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”   Romans 14:19

“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do”.   1 Thessalonians 5:11

The word edify means to build up, by instruction and example.  We are to help weaker Christians grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.

“But  grow   in   grace , and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen”. 1 Peter 3:18

“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification”.   Romans 15:1-2

5. Admonish one Another . . .

"And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethern, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able to admonish one another."  Romans 15:14

The word admonish means to notify of imminent danger or risk. to warn, to sound an alarm, to tell the person to be careful,  to forewarn, to tip off.

6. Submit one to Another . . .

"Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." Eph. 5:21 

To submit to another persons wishes is not easy.  Many times we think we are better qualified than the other person and pride keeps us from submitting to accepting his advise.

"I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."    Luke 18:14

7. Love one Another . . .

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”.   John 13:34-35

Twelve times in the New Testament we are exhorted to “love one another”

Jesus, the apostles John, Peter and Paul all tell us in their books that we should love one another. 

Paul tells us to love one another.

“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another”.  1 Thessalonians 4:9

Peter said these words to his followers.

“Seeing ye have purified your souls  in  obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently”.   1 Peter 1:22

The apostle John gave us these words.

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love”.  1 John 4:7-8

 

15                                                     PATIENCE

 

“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.  Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy”.  James 5:7-11

1. When to be Patient . . .

A.  When circumstances are uncontrollable – Vs. 7

A farm crop is planted and then the result requires patience.  The farmer cannot change the circumstances or rain or the climate.  He must have patience and wait for the harvest.

Yolanda’s broken let

  • When people are unchangeable – Vs. 10  The prophet Jeremiah

For 18 chapters Jeremiah denounced the sin of his nation but the people failed to respond to his message.

The answer finally came in chapter 18:18 and 20:2.  The prophet was punished and imprisoned and he had to have patience.  He was later released and continued to denounce the sin of the King and his people.  His message was rejected again Vs. 36:23 and he was imprisoned the second time.  Vs. 37:15-16

  • When problems are unexplainable – Vs. 11  Job’s sufferings

Job lost all his earthly possessions and then his health, but he waited patiently and trusted in the Lord.  In the end he was greatly blessed and had more children and his cattle and wealth were restored.

Waiting for visa to go to Brazil.

2.   Why be Patient . . .

A.  Because God is in control . . . Vs. 8 “the coming of the Lord”

The Lord always comes to us when there is a need.  He always comes at just the right time.

When the disciples were in the midst of the sea and a storm arose Jesus came to then and calmed the angry waves.

“And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea”.  Matthew 14:25

King David knew what it was to wait upon the Lord.

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.  He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see [it], and fear, and shall trust in the LORD”.  Psalm 40:1-3

B.  Because God will reward our Patience . . . Vs. 11  “which endure”

Job endured the testing that God allowed Satan to use and was richly rewarded by the Lord.  Many missionaries have had to have patience as they sow the seed of the God’s word.  Many have had to wait years before the harvest came.

Henry Knott on the island of Tahatti in the south Pacific.

C.  Because God is working things out . . . Vs. 11  “the end of the Lord”

Job received a double portion from the Lord after waiting patiently through the trials that came his way.

Many times if we wait patiently for the Lord he has a greater blessing for us.

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him . . .” Psalm 37:7

3.  How to be Patient . . .

What should we do while waiting on the Lord?  How do we wait?  Three times in this passage we read the phrase, “the coming of  the Lord”.

A.  We should wait expectantly . . . Vs. 7

After a farmer sows the seed he expects the crop to grow. Many times he will check his machinery and clean his barns to be ready for the harvest he expects to reap.

“I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning”.  Psalm 130:5-6

Story of sailors wives waiting for their husbands to return. The house is ready and a hot meal prepared for the tired and hungry fishermen.

B.  We should wait quietly . . . Vs. 9 “grudge not” not complaining

Sometimes when things don’t go as fast as we think they should we should wait quietly on the Lord and not complain as many times we do.

“It is good that [a man] should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD”.  Lamentations 3:26

When the Israelites were in the wilderness on their way to Canaan some of them got tired of the Manna that God had provided for them to eat and they began to complain.

“Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer”. I Corinthians 10:10

C.  Wait confidently . . . Vs. 11 “the patience of Job”

Job never lost hope even though his wife didn’t understand his situation and his three friends that came to comfort him gave many wrong reasons for his sufferings.

“Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me”. Micah 7:7

The Lord does answer prayer, but not always the way we want Him too.

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me”. Psalm 56:3-4

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.  Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation”.  Isaiah 12:2-3

 

16                                          ENTERING INTO THE NEW YEAR

 

This year is coming to an end and a New Year is before us.   We cannot know what it may hold for us, but we can trust the Lord and enter into it knowing that the Lord will go with us.

Many years ago in the year 1939 in England it was the custom for the official poet to write some words to say to the King at the end of each year.  The poet for that year was Louise Haskins and he wrote and spoke these words to King George VI:

“I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, "Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown,” and he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

We may not know what the coming year holds for us, but we can remember and look over the past year and see if there is anything we can do better this coming year.

“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup”.  1 Corinthians 11:28

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates”?   2 Corinthians 13:5

The word examine means to look over something, to check and see if it is genuine, if it is what it is supposed to be.   It is to scrutinize an object for any imperfection.  In the same way as Christians we should examine our lives to see if there is anything in them that is displeasing to the Lord.  There are several things that we should examine.

1.  EXAMINE OUR COMPANY . . . our friends, companions and those that we associate with on a regular basis.

In Psalm 1 we read what David had to say about our companions. 

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful”.  Psalm 1:1

We should be friends with those who are lost but our greatest desire should be to walk and have fellowship with the Lord and His people.

 “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him”.  Genesis 5:24.

The Bible exhorts us to seek the company of those who are wise.

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed”.   Proverbs 13:20

There is an old saying that says:  “Birds of a feather flock together”.

Those with whom we spend the most time are sometimes an indication of who we really are.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel”?   2 Corinthians 6:14-15

2.  WE SHOULD EXAMINE OUR HABITS . . .

The word habit means our ordinary course of conduct, what we do without thinking, what we do over and over.

Jesus had many good habits and we should have them also.

Jesus had a place and time where he prayed.

“And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him, And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.  And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed.”  Luke 22:39-41

The prophet Daniel also was in the habit of praying.

“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime”.   Daniel 6:10

Jesus also had the habit of going to church.

“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read”.  Luke 4:16

Every Christian should be in the habit of reading his Bible everyday and praying to our Heavenly Father.  Going to church should be something we do because it is what we do regularly.

There are many other good habits that every Christian should have and cultivate. We should have the habit or reading God’s word everyday and seeking to share our testimony with this lost world whenever we have opportunity.

3.  EXAMINE OUR THOUGHTS . . . what do we think about most.

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: . . .”  Proverbs 23:7

If we meditate and think about the things of this world, the world will soon enter into lives and influence what we do.

We should be careful what we think because the Lord knows our thoughts.

“The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity”.  Psalm 94:11

We may not know what our friends are thinking, but the Lord knows our every thought.

Someone has said evil thoughts are like birds, they may fly overhead, but we can keep them from making a nest in our hair.

As Christians we should seek to think on the things of the Lord and not on the things of this world.  It is little wonder that many Christians can tell you more about the latest programs on television than the wonderful teachings of the Bible.

4.  EXAMINE HIS AFFECTIONS . . . our display of love, what we love most.

We should examine carefully what we love to do most, what we spend the most time doing. 

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth”. Colossians 3:2

For many Christians they love the TV more than going to church or school, for others it is their clothes, and for others it might be their job or car or house.

All of these things are good but our greatest desire should be to love the Lord with all our heart and then to take time for these other things.

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”.  Matthew 22:37-39

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.   And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever”.  1 John 2:15-17

4.  EXAMINE OUR MOTIVE . . .

The word motive means what is our purpose or reason for doing something.

Why do we eat?   Most people eat because they are hungry, but others because they cannot resist all the good tasting sweets that they see.

 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”.  1 Corinthians 10:31

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men”.  Colossians 3:23

Our motive for praying ought to be to give thanks to the Lord for His many blessings, our motive for reading the Bible should be to learn more about our wonderful Saviour and our motive for going to church should be in obedience to the Lord’s teachings.

What should be our purpose or motive for going to church?  A little poem with the title “Reasons for going to church” says:

Some go to church to take a walk.

Some go there to laugh and talk.

 

Some go there to meet a friend.

Some go there, their time to spend.

 

Some go there to meet a lover.

Some go there, a fault to cover.

 

Some go there for speculation.

Some go there for observation.

 

Some go there to doze and nod.

But the wise go there to worship God.

 

The Bible tells us to look at ourselves, not to examine others to find their faults.  Paul said, “examine yourselves”.  As we enter this New Year we should look in the mirror at our selves and not go to the window to look at others.

If we want to see how we really are we should read God’s word.  It is like a mirror and will show us what we need to improve in our Christian life.

As we enter this New Year tomorrow night we should examine what we have done this past year and see how we can do it better in this New Year.  We should resolve to pray more, spend more time in God’s word, be more faithful in church and then seek to do what is pleasing to the Lord by our words and actions.

Someone has made a list of New Years resolutions.  We should resolve to:

Be like Paul who said, “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before”  Philippians 3:13

Be like David who said: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth”.  Psalm 121:1

Be like Matthew who: “And he left all, rose up, and followed him”.  Luke 5:28

Be like Enoch who: “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him”.  Genesis 5:24

Be like Moses who: “Chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season”.  Hebrews 11:25

Be like Job who said: “. . .the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD”.  Job 1:21

Be like Joseph who resisted temptation: “. . .and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out”.  Genesis 39:12

Be like Gideon who won the battle even when his companions were few:  “And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you”.  Judges 7:4

Be like Andrew who: “He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.  And he brought him to Jesus”.  John 1:41-42

 

17                                    THE CHURCH THAT JESUS ESTABLISHED

Acts 4:31-33

The church that Jesus began during his ministry here on earth was a church that was warm hearted and full of the love of Christ.  For more than three and a half years Christ was preparing and training the leaders for this new church by his teaching and example.

“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. Matthew 16:16-18

From the twelve apostles that Christ prepared during his earthly ministry, the number had grown to 120 in the upper room that were waiting and ready for the fulfillment of the promise of Acts 1:8. 

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”.

This church had few of the things that we think are necessary for a growing church today.  They didn’t have newspapers or radios or television stations to help spread the Gospel.  In the beginning they didn’t have beautiful buildings with their ornate altars of gold as many churches have today.  Many times they met in homes or borrowed buildings. 

But this early church far excelled us in their efforts to spread the Gospel to a lost world.  What did this church have and what did they do that we need to do today?  After Peter and John healed a lame man in chapter 3 and then were imprisoned because of their bold witness for the Lord in chapter 4, they were released and called the church together.  Here we have an example of why the early church had such great power and success in their efforts to spread the Gospel to a lost world.

1.  IT WAS A CHURCH THAT PRAYED . . . Vs. 31 “And when they had prayed”.

This church was born on the Day of Pentecost after a ten day prayer meeting.  Among the participants were the apostles and men and women including Mary the mother of Jesus.  They prayed with her, not to her as some churches teach.  They all prayed with one accord.  Acts 1:14

“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren”. Acts 1:14

2.   After this prayer meeting they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, the same as the disciples were on the Day of Pentecost. 

“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost”.  Acts 4:31

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not the same as the filling of the Holy Spirit.  We are baptized only one time by the Holy Spirit when we are saved.

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit”.  1 Corinthians 12:13

The filling of the Holy Spirit is an experience that every Christian should desire to have.  This comes only when we are fully dedicated and yielded to the will of God.

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit”.  Ephesians 5:18

3.      This church received answers to their prayers as when Peter was cast into prison.

“Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him”.  Acts 12:5

“But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place”.  Acts 12:17

In this book of Acts prayer is mentioned 35 times.  Prayer was very important to this early church.

If Jesus who was the founder of this church felt the need for prayer, certainly his church should follow his example and pray.

Jesus spent many whole nights in prayer, he prayed when he ate, before performing miracles and on many other occasions.

We need to realize the power and importance of prayer if we are going to reach a lost world with the Gospel.

Paul exhorted the Christians in the church in Thessalonica to “pray without ceasing”.  1 Thessalonians 5:17

Paul also wrote to the church in Philipi about the need to pray.  He said these words:

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God”. Philippians 4:6

2. THIS WAS A CHURCH WHERE THE PEOPLE LOVED ONE ANOTHER . . .  “but they had all things common”.  Verse 32

“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another”.  1 John 3:11

One of the main characteristics of this new church was their love for the Lord and then their love for one another.  Many of the people were from other nations and spoke strange languages, but their love for the Lord gave them the capacity to love one another and share with each other their needs.  This love gave them the ability to do at least four things.

This love gave them the capacity to share what was theirs with others.

     “Neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common”.  Vs.  32

This love gave them the ability to share with those in need.

      “And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need”.  Vs. 35

This divine love gave them the ability to put aside their individual differences. 

     “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul”.  Vs. 32

This love in the early church brought a real revival and harvest of souls added to the Kingdom of God.  On the Day of Pentecost three thousand souls were saved and baptized.  A few weeks later when Peter and John went up the temple to pray and healed a crippled man five thousand more souls were saved Acts 4:4.

3.   THIS WAS A CHURCH THAT WITTNESSED . . . “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus . . . Vs. 33

Seven times in this book of Acts we read about the boldness of the disciples to testify for Christ.   “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John . . .” Vs. 13

     To be a real witness for Christ we need courage and boldness.

These early disciples of Christ believed the promise Acts 1:8 and used what they had at their disposal, the power of the Holy Spirit.  “with great power gave the apostles witness ”.  Vs. 33

A pastor by the name of David Dawson wrote in a book that the curse of the church today is “the silent pew and closed lips”.

Every Christian should be an active witness of their faith in the Lord.  It is not just the job of the pastor to witness.

They testified because the last words of the Lord Jesus were fresh in their minds and hearts.  They were trying to follow his orders when he said:

 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”.  Mark 16:15

This church testified and witnessed because they had believed in Jesus Christ and knew Him as their personal Saviour.  They were convinced that their Lord and Saviour was alive and was present in their lives.

“We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak”.   2 Corinthians 4:13

This church was started with the twelve apostles, but at the end of third century it was estimated to have had 10 million members.  Today the church that Jesus started is considered to be the largest religious organization with churches on all of the five continents with an estimated 1.7 billion members.  We know that not all of these are truly born again and part of the “body of Christ”.

And our church, are we praying as we should, are we loving one another as this early church did and are we witnessing to a lost world of the love of Christ for their souls?

The apostle Paul exhorted the church at Corinth to examine their own selves to see if they were really in the faith.

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

Today we should do the same thing and examine our own lives and see if we are really living for the Lord as this early church did.

 

18                                          FIVE GREAT PRAYER PROMISES

 

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not”.  Jeremiah 33:3

Someone has said that there are over 3,000 prayer promises in the Bible.  How many there are may be hard to know exactly, but we can be assured that when we call upon the Lord he will hear our prayer.

George Mueller’s favorite prayer verse was Psalm 81:10.  “I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it”.

We certainly know that God heard and answered the prayers of George Mueller who never told anyone what his needs were but put his faith in the one who answers prayer.  When he died at age 95 he was feeding more than five thousand orphans in his orphanage in Bristol, England.  His milk bill alone totaled more than $10,000 a year.

1.  He has promised to reward us openly . . .

 “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly”.  Matthew 6:6

To me this means that the Lord will reward and answer our prayers in a way that His name will be glorified in a public way.  People will recognize that our needs have been met in a supernatural way.

When we went to Brazil we had many needs and had to trust in the Lord for that which we needed.  On one occasion we wanted to buy some Bibles and ask the Lord to supply the need.  In a few weeks a well known pastor, Dr. Lee Roberson wrote and said he wanted to help and would double our support so we could keep on buying Bibles.  On another occasion we needed a car after we had arrived in Brazil but didn’t have the necessary funds.  Again after a few weeks a pastor in Tyler, Texas read our prayer letter in a prayer meeting service and after the service one of the men told the pastor he wanted to send us $800 to help buy a car.  The pastor was very excited and called the church back in and they voted to add $500. more and so the car was bought.

2.  Our Heavenly Father knows what we need . . .

“Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him”.  Matthew 6:8

Just as an earthly father knows that his children need food to eat and clothes to wear, so it is with our Heavenly Father.  He wants to meet our every need if we will just believe his promises.

“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith?  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”.  Matthew 6:30-33

3.  The promise that when we ask He will answer . . .

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened”. Matthew 6:7-8

During my more than 50 years as a pastor and missionary I have knocked on many doors.  Many times you heard voices on the inside but they failed to answer our knock on the door.  Some because they knew it was the pastor and they weren’t dressed properly, others because they didn’t want to be bothered by someone telling them about the Gospel.

But God has never failed to answer when I have knocked on the door of Heaven in prayer.   One one occasion after arriving in Guatemala another missionary whose name was Daniel Martin asked us to help him with his literature and correspondence ministry.  We wanted to buy a printing press and  after about hearing about one for sale we went to look at it.  The price was $1,000.  Neither one of us had that amount of money so we prayed about it.  The very next day a check came in the mail for $1,000. from someone who didn’t know about this need.  Yes, God does answer prayer.

4.  The promise to give us daily what we need . . .

“Give us this day our daily bread”.  Matthew 6:11

Many times the cupboard may get a little empty, but the Lord has promised to supply our every need, and many times at just the right time. 

Many years ago there was a country preacher and his wife who pastured a small church. The offerings had been small for several weeks and they only had enough food for one more meal and were reading Psalm 3 before preparing their last meal.  Just as they got to verse 5 they heard a knock on the door.  It was a rainy day and the stranger told them he was traveling and was wondering if he could rest awhile until the rain passed.  Since the pastor had few visitors he was glad to have someone to talk too while his wife prepared the little that they had for lunch.  When they had finished eating the rain had stopped and the stranger said he had better be on his way.  He asked if they had a piece of paper as he said he wanted to write down the directions to where he was going. They all went to the living room for a few minutes and then the stranger left.  When the wife was removing the dishes from the table she found the paper they had given the stranger under his plate.  It was folded and when she opened it she found written on the paper Psalm 3:5 and a $50. bill.  Yes, the Lord knows how to supply our needs at just the right time.

5.  The promise to do the impossible if we have faith . . .

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you”.  Matthew 17:20

“And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible”.  Mark 10:27

“For with God nothing shall be impossible”.  Luke 1:37

“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive”.  Matthew 21:22

 

19                                                         GOD, OUR ROCK

 

1. The Rock of our Salvation...

There are many rocks in this world and many are used for the foundation of houses and buildings. The largest rock in the world is the Rock of Gibraltar that is part of England’s possessions.  It is considered one of the most stable places on earth because of its size and hardness.

The Lord compares the foundation of our salvation to a rock.  This rock is the Lord Himself.

"The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my Salvation."  2 Samuel 22:47

This world with its snares and temptations is compared to a pit of miry clay where the devil has snared the unbeliever.

"I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.  He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings."  Psalm 40:1-2

2. The Rock of Safety and Stability. . .

"And I say unto thee, that thou at Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18

We know Peter is not the rock of our salvation, but his testimony in verse 16.

“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”.

Jesus gave a parable of how to have real stability and safety from the storms of life.

The only sure foundation is to do the will of God.

‘Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock”.  Matthew 7:24-25

3. The Rock of our Defense and Refuge . . .

“But the Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refugh.”  Psalm 94:22

Caves have always been places of refuge and safety.  Caves are formed by rock formations in the earth and many go many miles beneath the earth’s surface.

“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy”.  Psalm 61:2-3

David prayed that the Lord would lead him to this rock for protection.

4. The Rock that Satisfies . . .

While the children of Israel were 40 years in the wilderness they experienced the blessings of God and the wonderful provision of water and manna.  Paul tells us that this experience was a picture of Christ, the true water and bread of life.

“And all did drink the same spiritual drink, for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ”.  1 Corinthians 10:4

5. The Rock of our Strength . . .

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower”.  Psalm 18:2

“In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.  Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defense to save me.  For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.”  Psalm 31:1-4

 

20                                                      "I WILL" (The Lord Speaking)

 

He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should be saved.

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

In the scriptures we find many times that God says, "I Will".  He is ever ready to save and help us as Christians if we will only hear and accept HIS “I will”.

1. Invitation . . .

An invitation can come in many forms.  A wedding invitation is usually a card sent to individuals inviting them to the ceremony of uniting two people into marriage.  Stores invite people to buy their products by advertising in the paper.  Many times we receive an invitation by a call or personal invitation by word of mouth to visit a home.

The Lord in his word gives us many invitations and promises.

Come unto me all, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I WILL give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light”.   Matthew 11:28-30

The Lord invites all to come unto Him, he is the only true source of rest for weary souls.  The invitation is for all, but how sad that many refuse to accept His invitation to come.  Many try to find rest in strong drink, cigarettes, drugs or the pleasures of this world, but none of these can bring true rest to our souls and bodies. 

Jesus says, "Come unto me..."

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”.  Acts 4:12

Jesus is the only one who can give real peace and rest.  His promise is sure and he stands at your hearts door inviting you to open it His love and salvation.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me”.  Revelation 3:20

Yes, Christ is still standing at your hearts door, inviting you to open it to Him.

2. Reception . . .

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I WILL in no wise cast out”.  John 6:37

Any man that comes to Jesus can be assured that he is standing and waiting with open arms to receive us into his kingdom.

“And he arose, and came to his father.  But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him”.  Luke 15:20

The prodigal son had left home, wasted all his substance in riotous living and was at the end of his resources, but when he came to his father, he was received with open arms and forgiven.

3. Healing . . .

"When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.  And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.  And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I WILL; be thou clean.  And immediately his leprosy was cleansed."  Matthew 8:1-3

Many times when it is his will the Lord heals our bodies from physical illness, but more important than this type of healing is the need for spiritual healing.

Many times when the Lord healed a sick body, he told the person to go and sin no more.  He was interested in the person receiving Him as his personal Saviour and having a new life in Him.

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold all things are become new."  2 Cor. 5:17

Jesus said, "I WILL, be thou clean" in body and heart.

4. Confession . . .

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him WILL I confess before my Father which is in heaven.  But shosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."  Matthew 11:32-33

It is wonderful to know that we have a Saviour in heaven that is interceding for us before our Heavenly Father.

"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."  Hebrews 7:25

5. Service . . .

"And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."  Matthew 4:19

 There is a great work to be done, and the laborers are few.  When we answer the call to go we have the promise that He will go with us and be with us until the end.

 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:19-20

 6. Comfort . . .

 "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." John 14:18

 "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." 2 Cor. 1:3-4

 7. Subjection . . .

 "And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Matthew 26:39

 Jesus sought to know and do the will of his heavenly Father, and be in subjection to it.

 As Christians we should desire and seek to do the will of our Lord.

 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:1-2

 8. Glorification . . .

 "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." John 17:24

 "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Cor. 15:19-22

 "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."  1 Cor. 15:51-52

 "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words."  1 Thes. 4:13-18

 "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."  2 Cor. 5:8

 

21                                            THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN

 

"But there is a God in Heaven that revealeth secrets..." Daniel 2:28

HOW DO WE KNOW IT?  Many people say they have never seen God, or others say, "If there is a God, why is there so much evil in the world?"  There are many reasons why we know there is a God in Heaven, but I will give you just three in this message.

1.  BECAUSE GOD IS ALIVE and speaks and talks to his children, even to the unsaved. 

1. God talked to Joseph – In Genesis 37 He revealed his future plans to him.

2. Moses heard the voice of the Lord - Exodus 3

“And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I”.  Vs. 4

3. Samuel - 1 Samuel 3:19

“And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground”.  1 Samuel

4. Isaiah heard the Lord calling unto him - Isaiah 6

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me”.  Isaiah 6:8 

5. Paul heard God calling to him - Acts 16

“And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them”.  Acts 16:10

6. Our call to Brazil and to Guatemala

2.   Because of What he Does, His works

1. He stopped the Jordan River - Joshua 3:13-17

2. His signs and judgments on Pharoah - Exodus 5:

3. He protected in the fiery furnace - Daniel 3:

4. By supernatural acts - 2 Kings 6:17-18

5. Our own experiences -

3.   By Taking People to Heaven

1. Enoch - Genesis 5:21-24

2. Elijah - 2 Kings 2:11

3. Stephen, praying as he went, Jesus stood up to receive him into his presence - Acts 7:54-60

4. D.L. Moody, Jimmy Davis

5. In Brazil, Betty Head, Bobby Powell, Catarina's Mother, Candido das Neves.

Only a fool would say there is no God.  In Psalm 19 the Lord tells us that "the Heavens declare the glory of God" and all that he has made shows us his existence. 

Yes there is a God in Heaven and you can know him.

 

22                                                FIVE CERTAINITIES IN LIFE

 

In this life there are many uncertainties,  we may not have a job tomorrow,  our car may not run, our health may be gone or our house may be destroyed by a natural disaster.  There are many uncertainties in life, but according to the Bible their are some things that are sure and certain.

1. The Certainty of Being Discovered

Many times we think no one sees what we do, but God sees all.  Every secret will be revealed one day, if not in this life certainly in the life to come.

"For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad."  Mark 4:22

"For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings."  Prov. 5:21

Some years ago a man was driving along a country road with his young son.  The man saw a field of ripe watermelons and stopped the car to get one.  He looked around to see if anyone was watching, and then told his son to watch and tell him if he saw anybody coming.  The father began to cross the fence when his son said,  "father, there is someone watching".  The father looked around again and didn't see anyone and asked who was looking.  His son said, "father, you forgot to look up."

"But if ye will not do so, behold ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out."  Numbers 32:23

A farmer who was very busy one day told his son to go and plant corn in one of his fields.  It was a hot day and some of the boy’s friends said they were going fishing and asked him to go along also.  His father told him that when he finished planting the corn, he could join his friends at the fishing hole.  He began planting the corn and every row seemed to get longer as he went along. The sun was hot and fish began to call him louder and louder and the boys impatience grew short.  Finally he began putting more and more grains of corn into each hole so he could finish quicker.  In a final effort he dumped all the corn into one hole and went on his way.  The time passed and soon the corn began to come up.  One day his father went to the field to see how it was doing.  On one side of the field the corn seemed to be coming up normally, but he noticed that on the other side several stocks of corn were coming up together and then at the end of one row more than twenty plants were trying to grow from one whole.  He knew what had happened and when he confronted his son the truth came out.

On day in England a carrier pigeon flew into the home of an elderly lady with a note attached to it's leg.  The lady read the note and it told her if she didn't pay a ransom of $500. her house would be burned down that night.  She immediately called the police and a wise detective was put on the case.  Before the pigeon was released a police helicopter was called in and it followed the pigeon to an abandoned barn where the thief was apprehended.  He said he knew nothing about the pigeon and so the police took the bird back and again released it.  Again it returned to the same barn and this time the man confessed to his crime.

2. The Certainty of Deception . . .

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."  Galatians 6:7

"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." 2 Cor. 11:14

Sin is deceiving.  Strong drink, cigarettes and drugs all seem very innocent in the beginning.  The pleasures of this world all look very pleasing to the eyes and the flesh, but their end is many times a ruined life.

Some years ago in Birmingham, Alabama a man worked in a large steel factory.  One day a drop of acid fell on his arm and he went immediately to the factory clinic and the Dr. put some salve on the spot and told him there would be no ill effects.  But that night the man noticed the spot was red and he felt uneasy and called the Dr. who told him to go to the hospital.  He was checked and they said the poison from the acid was in his blood stream.  That night they did all they could to stop the infection from spreading.  The next day his whole arm was red and in less than three days he was dead.

3. The Certainty of Leaving Your Riches Behind . . .

"For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out."  2 Timothy 6:7

Many people live for this life only, they build houses as if they were going live in them forever.  They make every preparation for this life, but no preparation for the life to come.

The Pharaohs of Egypt were buried with great riches and many times their wives were murdered and buried near them.  They thought they could carry their riches to the next world, but when their tombs were opened thousands of years later, all they had hoped to carry to the next world was still there with their dead bodies.

On the night of April 15th, 1912 the ship Titanic was on her maiden voyage from  London to New York.  This was the largest ship that had ever been built and had all the latest technology.  The experts said the ship was unsinkable, but a little after midnight the ship struck an iceberg and in a few hours was at the bottom of the sea.  On board that ship were six millionaires, including the richest man in the world, John Jacob Aster.  They all perished and their money was left to others.

4. The Certainty of Death . . .

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment." Heb. 9:27

"There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit to retain  spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death:  and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it."  Ecles. 8:8

Man has done all to try and prolong his life,  exercise, medicine, vitamins; but no one has succeeded.  The cemeteries continue to receive those who have departed this life. 

Ponce de Leon looked for the Fountain of Youth for many years but died like all others when the time came.  Death is ordained of God and no man can avoid it.

5. The Certainty of Judgement . . .

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Heb. 9:27

"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him." Heb. 2:3

Many times in this life people are able to escape the judgment of men because of their position in society, or their wealth or because of loop holes in the law.  The justice of men is many times unequal, condemned murderers walk our streets while people serve many years for lesser crimes.  But the judgment of God is sure and no one will escape his condemnation in the final day.

"Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: who shall give  account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead."  1 Peter 4:4-5

"For it is written, As I live saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  So then every of us shall give account of himself to God."  Romans 14:11-12

One day at the Great White Throne judgment when all the lost of all the ages will stand before God to be judged for their works, not salvation for they are already lost without hope, dead in their sins.

"And I saw a Great White Throne and him that sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw  the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." Rev. 20:11-12

In years gone by there lived in England a wealthy woman by the name of Anne Grimstone who was an atheist.  She had never attended church and said no God would ever tell her what to do.  Before she died she had an enormous marble tomb to be built and when it was finished she boasted, "No one will take me out of this grave, no not even God."  When she died she her body was placed in the tomb and the great marble were tied together with strong bands of steel as she had instructed.  But in less than 50 years a little seed blown by the wind entered a crack in the marble slabs and slowly began to grow.  Soon a sapling sprang forth and in a few years a tree began to grow.  Finally the hugh slabs of marble gave way and her coffin had to be removed and put in a grave.  She had not escaped the judgement of God, and her soul will one day be judged by her creator.

 

23                                                   I WILL" (Of the Christian)

 

Here we have seven "I wills" that every Christian should be ready and willing to say.  Determination is an important quality in the life of a Christian.  We should be willing to assume our responsibility as a Christian and determine to do what God’s word exhorts us to do.  Paul was a person of determination and that is one of the reasons that God used him in a great way. 

“For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified”.  1 Corinthians 2:2

“For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost”.  Acts 20:16

When Paul was nearing the end of his ministry he said these words:

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God”.  Acts 20:24

1. I Will Trust . . .

"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation."  Isaiah 12:2

We need to trust the Lord at all times.  Many times we cannot understand why He is leading us in a certain way, but we must trust his leadership. 

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths”.  Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed”.  Psalm 37:3

2. I Will Bless the Lord . . .

"I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth."  Psalm 34:1

One way to bless the Lord is to give thanks to Him for all he has done for us.

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Another way to bless the Lord is to be in His house every time that we can.

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD”.  Psalm 122:1

Another way to bless the Lord is to thank Him for the material blessing of this life.

“When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee”.  Deuteronomy 8:10

3. I Will Love the Lord . . .

"I will love thee, O Lord, my strength."  Psalm 18:1

Jesus said that the greatest of all commandments was to love the Lord our God with all our heart.

“And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 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”.  Mark 12:29-30

One way to show our love to the Lord is by keeping his laws and obeying His word.

“Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, always”. Deut. 11:1

4. I Will Keep thy Statutes . . .

"I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord: I will keep thy statutes."  Psalm 119:145

Obedience is one quality that is hard for a Christian to practice.  Eve failed to obey the commandment of the Lord and brought condemnation to Adam and the human race because of her failure to keep the law of the Lord.

After King Saul had disobeyed the word of the Lord, the prophet Samuel said these words to him.

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams”.  1 Samuel 15:22

5. I Will Walk Before the Lord . . .

"I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living."  Psalm 116:9

When we walk with the Lord we are giving a testimony of our faith before the world.  The “land of the living” means this world in which we live in.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth”.  3 John 1:4

When we walk and live in a manner that honors the Lord we bring joy to our heavenly Father.

“These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God”.  Genesis 6:9

God spared the life of Noah and his family because he walked with the Lord and obeyed his commandments.  As Christians we should follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus walked about this earth doing good and living a spotless life before men.

“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked”.  1 John 2:6  

6. I Will Praise Thee . . .

"I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."  Psalm 139:14

There is a difference between bless and praise.  The word bless has the meaning to express gratitude, to be thankful, to show appreciation, show gratitude. It also means to honor the Lord in religious worship.

The word praise has a little different meaning.  It is an expression of warm admiration or approval: acclaim, acclamation, accolade, applause, approbation, commendation, compliment. The act of praying: supplication, devotion, thanksgiving, worship, and to express warm approval of the Lord’s dealings with us.

When we praise the Lord we are giving thanks for all his benefits to us.

“O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth”.  Isaiah 25:1

7. I Will Behave Myself Wisely . . .

"I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way.  O when wilt thou come unto me?  I will walk within my house with a perfect heart."  Psalm 101:2

As a Christian we need to guide our steps and walk in the ways of the Lord.

“Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee”.  Psalm 143:8

Paul told the Christians in the church at Ephesus to walk worthy of their name Christian.

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”.  Ephesians 4:1

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God”.  Colosians 1:10

We should be willing to say King David said,  “I will behave myself wisely”.

 

 

24                                      “For This God is our God”

 

"For this God is our God forever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death."  Psalm 48:14

The Lord God of heaven, Jehovah, the one true God is the one who David knew personally and talked about in Psalm 23.  In this verse David shows his confidence in the one whom he had committed his life too,  in whose hands he was trusting his eternal destiny.

The God of the Old Testament is the same God that we are trusting in today.  We can know Him as David knew Him.  In the Old and New Testaments we learn many wonderful things about the Lord through His word, the Holy Bible.

1.   The God of Salvation . . .

"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation."  Isaiah 12:2

"The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."   Psalm 18:2

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."  Acts 4:12

2. The God of Pardon and Forgiveness . . .

"And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed  a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not."  Nehemiah 9:17

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Isaiah 55:7  

"To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive for-giveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."  Acts 26:18

  3. The God of Love and Peace . . .

"Finally, brethern, farewell, Be perfect. be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of Love and peace shall be with you."  2 Cor. 13:11

"He that loveth not, knoweth not God,; for God is love." 1 John 4:8

"Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."  Philippians 4:9  

"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Hebrews 13:20-21

 4. The God of Hope . . .

"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."  Romans 15:13

 "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."   Philippians 1:6

5. The God of all Comfort . . .

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.    Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." 2 Cor. 1:3-4

6. The God of Patience and Consolation . . .

"Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus."  Romans 15:5  

"Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."   1 Peter 3:20

7. The God of all Grace . . .

"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, and settle you." 1 Peter 5:10 

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."  Ephesians. 2:8-9

8. The God of Glory . . .

"And he said, Men, brethern. and fathers, hearken; the God of Gory appeared unto our father Abraham when he was in Mesopo-tamia, before he dwelt in Charran."  Acts 7:2

"The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters." Psalm 29:3

 "And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth."   Deut. 5:24

This God of the Bible can be your God,  you can know Him as David knew him.  Through the Bible God speaks to us and we can have everlasting life if we take heed to His words.

"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."  Isaiah 45:22

 

25                                              KEEP THE GATE OR DOOR SHUT

 

Gates and doors are very important in the country and in any house or building.  Gates keep cattle in and protect them from the enemy.  A door is a protection from the weather.  There is an old expression that says:  “It is too late to close the gate when the horse is already gone”.  There are several doors that we should keep closed in our homes if we want to keep the devil out and have the blessings of God in our home.

1.  THE HOME GATE -

       Most homes have a door and lock because it is dangerous to leave the door open, especially in this day and time.  The wrong person may enter in, a thief or uninvited guest.  The home is one of the most important institutions on earth and should be well guarded so that nothing that would hinder or harm it's occupants can get in.  Many times in this day and time something that is already in brings untold harm to our young people and families through it's programs.  Many times parents allow their young people to bring in things that are detrimental to their character and harmful to their lives.  Worldly music, magazines, even the internet today has practically been taken over by Satan.  We must do everything we can to protect our homes.

One of the best doors against the devil is to do what Solomon said his father David did when he was young.

“For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.  He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live”.  Proverbs 4:4

2.   THE SIN GATE -

       This gate cannot have too many padlocks.  Temptation comes without invitation and it is hard to make it leave.

3.   THE MOUTH GATE -

       Keep it shut and open it when it is absolutely necessary.  A friend Jimmy Davis now in heaven had this on his wall near the door.  Be sure mind is in gear before releasing the tongue.  As we are careful what enters our bodies in the way of wholesome food, so we should be very careful what comes from our mouth in the way of wholesome and kind words for others.  Someone has said the Lord gave us two eyes and two ears, but only one mouth so we can hear more and see more, and speak less.  We should be very careful what enters our mouth,  smoking, drinking, drugs and anything else that would harm our bodies which are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

4.   THE EAR GATE -

       We should never listen to that which dishonors God or his saints.  Bad music, gossip, slander, shady stories or any thing you would not want your children or wife to hear.  Remember, God hears everything, even the thoughts of our hearts.

       This gate should always be kept open to hear the voice of God.  David said:  "I will hear what the Lord God will speak...."  Psalm

       What we need are ears to hear the voice of God like Isaiah did, or Samuel or Paul who said:  "Lord, what will thou have me to do".

 

26                                                    “That Ye May Know”

I John 5:13

This has been called the “know” epistle because John uses the word know so many times.  The word know appears 22 times in this little book of 1 John. He tells us of many things we can know for sure.  Some of them are:

1. That our sins are forgiven . . . 3:5   

As Christians we have the promise of 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.        

For the sinner without Christ there is the promise of the forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus.  “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Acts 13:38

2. That we have passed from death unto life . . . 3:14

When a person is truly born again one of the ways we can know for sure that we are saved is by the love the Lord puts into our hearts for our fellow Christians. 

3. That we are of the Truth ... 3:19

There are many false teachings today and as a Christian we should seek to know Christ who is the real Truth.   Jesus said in John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”.

 4. That He is in us . . . 4:13

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world”.  4:4

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you”.  John 14:16:17

 5. That we have eternal life . . . 5:11-13

30 times in the New Testament we find these words “eternal life”

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand”.  John 10:28-29

How wonderful it is to know that when this physical life ends, as Christians we have the promise of everlasting life in the presence of the Lord.  Paul said:

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord”.  2 Corinthians 5:8

6.  That He answers prayer . . . 5:14-15

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not”.  Jeremiah 33:3

“And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear”.  Isaiah 65:24

7. That we have a new nature . . . 5:18

The English translation of this verse doesn’t give the real meaning of what John is saying in the Greek language.  We know from experience that it is impossible to quit sinning while we are in this body of sin.  What John is saying is that a real Christian will not continually live in sin. 

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”.  2 Corinthians 5:17

8. That the whole world lieth in wickedness . . . 5:19

The reason there are so many wars and turmoil in the world today is because the devil is doing all he can to destroy the souls of men and hinder the work of God.

Sin is universal and that is why missionaries are needed.

9. That the Son of God is come . . . 5:20

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”.  John 10:10

Jesus came to die in our place that we might have everlasting life, eternal life; life beyond the grave.

10. When He shall appear . . . 3:2

The last great truth that we can know is that Jesus is coming again.  Some have written books saying God is dead, and others have denied that Christ arose and is alive; but we know that our Saviour lives and his promises of coming again are true.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also”.  John 14:3

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first”. 1 Tess. 4:16

 

27                                           THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST

 

1.  THE CERTAINITY OF HIS COMING

The coming of Christ is not when we are saved, or at death as some say.  It was not on the Day of Pentecost, but is a real, literal, personal and future event.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  John 14:3

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Heb. 9:28

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you.”  Acts 3:19-20   

The coming of Christ is as sure as the rising of the sun, it will happen.

2.  THE MANNER OF HIS COMING

How will Jesus return to earth?  It will be a literal event.  The Bible describes it in various ways.

It will be personal and literal, Jesus himself is coming.

“Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”  Acts 1:11

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  John 14:3

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.”  1 Thess. 4:16

2.  It will be bodily and visible.

“Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”  Acts 1:11

 “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”  Revelation 1:7

“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”  Matthew 24:27

3.  With power and great glory.

“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”  Matthew 24:30

 “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Matt. 16:27

4.  He will return suddenly and unexpectedly as a thief in the night.

“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”  Matthew 24:42-44

3.  THE PURPOSE OF HIS COMING

Why is Jesus coming back to this earth after having been crucified and rejected by mankind? 

To receive his own, his redeemed church, every person who has accepted Christ as their saviour.  He is coming to take us to a place in heaven he has prepared for us.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  John 14:3

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”  1 Thessalonians 4:14-17

To give us a new body and deliver us from the bondage of sin.

       “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Philippians 3:20-21

3.  To conform us to his image, be like him.

       “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”  1 John 3:1-3

4.  To reward his faithful servants.

         “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27

         “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”  Revelation 22:12

5.  To be glorified in his saints and admired by them.

         “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe because our testimony among you was believed in that day.”  2 Thessalonians 1:10

6.  To deliver Israel from her enemies – during the tribulation period.

         “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Romans 11:26

7.  To execute judgment on the lost.

         “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard [speeches] which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”  Jude Vrs. 13-14

8.   To sit upon his throne and rule and reign for a thousand years on earth.

         “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison.” Revelation 20:6

4.  THE TIME OF HIS COMING . . .

The nation of Israel has always been God’s time clock in relation to his divine purpose for this world. 

Jesus who was a Jew was born as just the right time in history.

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law”.  Galatians 4:4

In the same manner Jesus will come again at just the right time.  No one knows the exact date.

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only”.  Matthew 24:36

Illustration of pastor who set a date in 1954.  He was wrong because no one can know the exact date but we can tell when it is getting close.

“And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand”.  Luke 21:29-31

On 14th day May 1948 the nation of Israel was reborn and declared their Independence as a nation just as our nation did on July 4th 1776. 

“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”.  Luke 21:24

The Arab nations still control part of Jerusalem, but the desire of the Jewish nation is for them to have complete control to be able to rebuild the Temple where an Arab mosque now stands.

There are many other signs in the natural world; climate change, floods, more frequent earthquakes and the rampage of crime and political unrest in the world.   Jesus said when you see these things to look up.

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”  Luke 21:28

Just something to think about.  Noah was 600 years old (six thousand years of history) when he entered into the ark and the flood came.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus took out two coins (two thousand years) and gave to the inn keeper (the church) until he returned. 

“And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

The second coming of Christ is very near and as Christians we should be ready for his coming at any moment.

 

 

28                                                               FIVE ROCKS IN THE BAG

1 Samuel 17:38-51  Vs. 40

 

“And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand:  and he drew near to the Philistine.”  Vs. 40

David wasn’t the king or a great leader, he was just a humble shepherd, a servant of his father. 

Many years ago at the graduation of the Northwest Baptist Seminary the speaker said at the end of his message that he was going to give every graduate something that would help them in their future ministry.  As the students passed by the front they wondered what they would receive.  Each one received from the speaker a small square of terry cloth, what most towels are made from.  He explained that this represented that they were to be servants to the churches they would serve in and that they should be like their Master who washed the apostles feet.  David was a servant of the Lord.

1.  Confidence in the Name of the Lord . . .

“Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield:  but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.”  Vs. 45

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”  Proverbs18:10

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses:  but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.”  Psalm 20:7

2.  Confidence in the Word of God . . .

David loved the Word of God and spent many hours in communion with God.  In Psalm 119 we read many things he had to say about the Word of God.

“Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”  Vs. 11

“So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.”  Vs.42

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  Vs.105

Someone has said that there are over 3,000 promises to the Christians in the Bible.  The Word of God is alive and is quick and powerful.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”.  Hebrews 4:12

Jesus used the promises in God’s word to defeat the devil when he was temped.

 

3.  Confidence in the Power of Prayer . . .

“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”  Psalm 5:3

“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”  Daniel 6:10

“I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”  Psalm 81:10

Abraham had a place where he stood before the Lord each day.

“And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD”. Genesis 19:27

Illustration:  Mr. Thomas Tatum

4.  Confidence in the Will of God . . .

“David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.  And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.”  Vs. 37

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he deligheth in his way.”  Psalm 37:23

John G. Patton, on islands in South Sea, lost wife and children, but never lost sight of his calling.

“I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.” Psalm 119:168

5.  Confidence in the Value of Communion with God and his Children . . .

“I was glad when the said into me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.”  Psalm 122:1

“I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.”  Psalm 119:63

“And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:12

Illustration:  Sundar Sing who gave his life for Christ in India.

 

 

308                                                                 A LOOK AT “I”

 

2 Corinthians 13:5

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”  2 Corinthians 13:5

I is one of the most used and important letters in the alphabet.    I is the person you see in the mirror.   I is responsible for your every action and thought.  I is what you are.

Something else about I.   It is the center of three impor­tant words. SIN, PRIDE and  SAVIOUR.

1.  SIN - the transgressing and breaking of God's law.

A.  It defiles man and robs him of God's blessing.

“And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”   Mark 7:20-23

B. Separates man from God. 

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.”   Isaiah 59:2

C. It hinders prayer. 

 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”   Psalm 66:18

D. Excludes from Heaven.   

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”  1 Cor.  6:9-10

2.    PRIDE – The word pride has the meaning self-esteem, lofty, boastful.  It is usually a person who thinks he is better than others.

When we think of pride we think of the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican praying.  Luke 18:9-14

A.  Pride leads to self destruction. 

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”   Prov.  16:18

B.  Pride almost cost Naaman his life.  II Kings  5:1-14

C.  Satan's pride was the cause of his fall.  Isaiah 14:12-14

3.   SAVIOUR - The Lord Jesus Christ.

When we think of the Saviour we think of five things.

A.   His Birth – Jesus was born in a manger.  The Bible tells us that there was no room for Joseph and Mary in the inn.  The King of kings was born in a very humble manner.  Luke 2:8-11

B.   His    Work

 “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”  John 9:4,  

 “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  Luke 19:10

C.   His Death

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.:  Romans  5:6-8

D.  His- Resurrection

“And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee” Luke 24:5-6

E.   His Everlasting Work -

“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”  Hebrews   7:25

 Where is your “I” today?    Is it in the center of sin, pride or the Saviour.  

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”   2 Timothy 1:12   

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

 

30                                                WORKING TOGETHER WITH GOD

 

“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.”  1 Corinthians 3:6-9

“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”.  Philippians 1:27

1.  Bible Examples of Cooperation . . .

1.  The hands of Moses – Exodus 17:8-13

While Israel was on their way to the promised land they had many obstacles and encounters with those who didn’t want them to pass through their land. On this occasion it was Amalek and his people who fought against Moses and his people.  Moses went to the top of a hill and when he raised his hands the people prevailed in the battle.  After awhile his arms grew tired and when he let down his hands the enemy prevailed.  Aaron and Hur who were with him put a stone for him to sit on and then they helped by holding up his arms until Israel defeated the enemy.  The three of them working together brought the blessing of God and victory for Israel.

2.  When Nehemiah was rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem – Nehemiah 4:1-23

Sanballat tried to hinder the work by mocking the Jews as they worked, but  Nehemiah encouraged the people as we read in verse 6:

“So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work”.  Vs. 6

“And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work.  And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah”.  Vs. 15-16

When the people worked together the walls were finished.  Vs. 6:1

3.   Another example of God’s blessing when we work together is in Mark 2:1-5

Here was a man crippled by sickness and unable to get to Christ by himself.  When his friends saw the crowd and knew that they too would not be able to approach the Saviour, these four men devised a very unusual method of bringing the sick man to Christ.  They opened a hole in the roof and let him down by a rope to the feet of Jesus.  These four men working together helped their friend find healing for his body and also salvation for his soul as Jesus forgave him his sins.

“When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee”.  Vs. 5

2Some ways we can cooperate in the work of the Lord . . .

1.  By our presence in the services of our church.

When we are present in church, we are saying to the pastor and to the other members that we are supporting their efforts to spread the Gospel.

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”.  Hebrews 10:25

It is pretty hard for the pastor to tell a lost world that Christ loves them when God’s people don’t stand behind him with their presence at church.  It would be very strange for a man who says he loves his wife and family to only come home once or twice a week, unless he is working in another city.

2.   By your prayers for the church and it’s leaders . . .

“Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf”.  2 Corinthians 1:11

The apostle Paul knew the value of prayer and the power it could bring to his ministry.  He passed through many dangerous situations and knew that the prayers of the churches brought him through.

“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith”.  2 Thessalonians 3:1-2

3.  Another way we can work together with our church is by our financial support. It would be very difficult for one family to pay all the needs of any church, but when all the members give their tithes and offerings, the needs can be easily met.

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it”.  Malachi 3:10

3.  The results of cooperation . . .

1.  Souls will be saved when we work together . . .

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place”.  Acts 2:1

“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls”.  Acts 2:41

    2.  When we labor together God will give the increase.

“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.  So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.  Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.  For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building”. 1 Corinthians 3:6-9

When the four men worked together in bringing their friend to Christ, he was saved and healed.

“But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, he saith to the sick of the palsy, I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.  And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion”.  Mark 2:10-12

C.  The work of the Lord will get done.

So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days. And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God”.  Nehemiah 6:15-16

 

31                                             THE MOUNTAIN OF PRAYER

 

“And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray”.    Mark 6:46

Prayer is very important in the life of a Christian.  If we want to be victorious in our life and service for our Saviour we need to realize the power of prayer.

When we pray we scale the heavenly mountains and enter into the presence of almighty God. 

Real prayer takes time, energy and determination.

“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground”.  Luke 22:44

“And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God”.  Luke 6:12

In this message we are going to look at several lessons about prayer.

1.  WE SHOULD PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING . . .

Nothing is too little or too large to pray about.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”.   Philippians 4:6-7

“Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son”.  Genesis 18:14

Jesus taught his disciples that they should daily for their needs.

“Give us day by day our daily bread”.  Luke 11:3

2.  WE SHOULD PRAY WITH A FORGIVING SPIRIT . . .

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift”.  Matthew 5:23-24

If we are not able to have communion with our fellow Christians the bible teaches that it hinders our fellowship with our Lord.

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”  1 John 4:20

3.  WE SHOULD PRAY WITH FAITH AND CONFIDENCE . . .

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him”.  1 John 5:14-15

The Lord hears every prayer that a Christian prays and when we ask for that which is according to his Word and will, He will answer our prayers.

“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.  For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith”.  Mark 11:22-23

Many times we need to ask God to help our unbelief and give us believing faith.

“And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief”.  Mark 9:24

4.  WE SHOULD PERSEVERE IN PRAYER . . .

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”.  Ephesians 6:18

Prayer is not something that we should practice only in time of need or when we feel like it.   Prayer ought to be a part of our daily routine.  The Bible says of Abraham that he had a time and place where he met the Lord each day.

“And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD”.  Genesis 19:27

When there is a real need and we believe that it is God’s will we should continue in prayer until the Lord gives us an answer.

5.  WE SHOULD PRAY WITH OUT CEASING . . .

Prayer is not something just for the church, or when there is a special need.  We should be constantly in the spirit of prayer and when a need arises we can express that need to the Lord as Nehemiah did.

“Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven”.   Nehemiah 2:4

Someone said this is the shortest prayer in the Bible.

Paul told the church in Thessalonica to:   “Pray without ceasing”.  I Thessalonians 5:17

When Peter was imprisoned the church prayed without ceasing until the answer came.

“Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him”.  Acts 12:5

6.  WE SHOULD PRAY WITH A HUMBLE SPIRIT  . . .

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”.  2 Chronicles 7:14

There are many ways to humble ourselves before the Lord.  King Solomon bowed on his knees in public when he prayed the dedication prayer for temple in Jerusalem.

“And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven”.  1 Kings 8:54

The great apostle Paul many times bowed his knees in prayer and humility.

“And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all”.  Acts 20:28

Conclusion:

As we pray our wonderful Lord has great joy in answering our prayers and many times answering them in unusual ways.  Prayer is the key that opens heavens storehouse to supply our needs. 

Many years ago in Germany there was a pastor whose name was Augusto Francke.  He has founded an orphanage for the abandoned children on the streets of the town where he lived called Halle.  One day when the supplies of food grew very short he heard a knock on his door.  It was a poor widow asking for help and when he pastor told her of his situation and his inability to help her, she began to cry.  The pastor had a desire to do something and asked to wait a minute.  He entered into his study and prayed for direction from the Lord.  He had only one dollar (ducal in German money) and he heard the Lord tell him to give her half the money which he promptly did.  Two days later he received a letter from the widow thanking him for the provision. She said she was a Christian and was praying for the Lord to open the windows of heaven and supply his every need for the orphanage.  A few hours later another letter arrived with a check for 12 dollars from a rich lady in the city.  He later went to check his mail in the post office and found another letter with 2 dollars from a friend in Sweden.  Thinking that he had been greatly blessed for helping the poor widow he thanked the Lord for his provision.   After two more days he received news that Prince Lodeqke Van Wurtenburg had died and in his will left 500 dollars for the work of the orphanage.  Once again the pastor fell on his knees and thanked the Lord for his rich provision and reward for having given to the widow in her need. 

Yes, God does value our prayers and always hears us when we turn to Him and when we are obedient to his voice he many times rewards us in very unusual ways.

 

32                                                                   THE MASTER IS COME

John 11:20-29  Vs. 28

 

“And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee”.  John 11:28

 1.  WHO CAME . . .  the Master

Jesus, the Master of all the universe, The King of kings, The Lord of lords, the beloved Son of God.

Who was this extraordinary person that had come to the house of Martha and Mary?

According to the Bible he is the creator of this Universe John 1:3:

The Way, the Truth and the life John 14:6

The Morning Star Numbers 24:17

The Messiah John 1:41

The Bread and Water of Life John 6:35 

The Prince of Peace Isaiah 9:6

The Rose of Sharon Song of Solomon 2:1 and known by many other titles and names.

The one who had come to the house of Martha and Mary was the almighty God in the person of Christ.

2.  HOW HE CAME . . .

Jesus came in a body like ours, he was born in the darkness of night and in a manger in the humblest of settings.

“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”.  Philippians 2:6-9

The Jews failed to recognize Jesus because they were looking for a royal birth in a palace, they had failed to believe the Old Testament prophesies about his coming.

“He came unto his own, and his own received him not”.  John 1:10

When Jesus came to the house of Martha and Mary, he met them outside and they went there to meet him.

“Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him”.  John 11:30

Today if you want to find Jesus, you will have to go where he is.  Jesus is not in a lot of churches, but is close by.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”  Revelation 3:20

To really find Christ and the salvation he offers it is sometimes necessary to leave your social position, or religion and sometimes even your home.  Martha and Mary went out of their house to meet Jesus.

When Matthew heard the call of Christ to follow him, he left his work, his family and all to follow Jesus.  “And he left all, rose up, and followed him” Luke 5:28.

Jesus came in the form of a servant, dressed in common clothes and mingled with the people. 

Several years ago King Henry II who was king of England dressed in common clothes and took a walk with the queen near the Royal Palace.  The queen twisted her foot and they knocked on the door of a house nearby so she could rest.  The lady that opened the door failed to recognize them and said they could sit on her porch in an old chair.   Later the queen felt better and they returned to the palace.   A few days later at the house where they had stopped a royal soldier knocked on the door and handed the lady a letter with the seal of the queen.  The queen thanked the lady for allowing them to sit on her porch in the old chair.  The lady was very humiliated and sad that she had not invited the queen into her house and treated her with the respect she deserved.

Many people today fail to recognize Christ as the Son of God and their Saviour, and fail to invite Him into their hearts and lives.

3.  WHEN DID JESUS COME . . .

Jesus came after Lazarus had been dead for four days and already in the grave.  For the people who had come to comfort Martha and Mary he came too late.

“And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?”  John 11:37

King Saul missed the blessing of Go when he grew inpatient instead of waiting for Samuel to arrive.  The Lord always comes at just the right time.  The battery never runs out in God’s timeclock. 

“And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever”.  1 Samuel 13:13

Jesus came at just the right time into this world to be our Saviour.

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons”.  Galatians 4:4-5

After Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, the Lord came to them and offered pardon and salvation.

“And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” Genesis 3:9

4.  WHY DID JESUS COME . . .

Jesus came into this world to give life to those who were dead in trespasses and sins.

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins”.  Ephesians 2:1

Jesus came to the house of Martha and Mary to raise Lazarus from the dead, to show his power over the death and the grave.

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”.  Luke 19:10

Jesus came to give life to all who will receive Him as their Saviour.

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”.  John 10:10

Jesus came to give us the power to become the sons of God and have eternal life in Heaven.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”.  John 1:12

“These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep”.  John 11:11

Jesus came to give new life to Lazarus, to raise him from the dead just as He wants to give eternal life to all who hear is voice and come out of the grave of sin and death.

5.  TO WHOM DID JESUS COME . . .

Salvation is an individual choice, Jesus came to Martha and then called for Mary.  After that he went to the tomb and called for Lazarus to come forth.

The salvation that Christ offers is an individual choice, He calls to all who will hear his voice, but only those who respond to the Heavenly call have eternal life.

It is one thing to know that Christ is near and calling, but quite another thing to know that he is calling for you and to respond to that call.

Many times people are afraid to accept Christ as their Saviour because of fear of what others will think, or what their family may say to them.

When Christ passed through Jericho he called to an individual who had climbed up a tree to see him.  Jesus called Zaccaeus by name and he answered the call of God and was saved.

“And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully”.  Luke 19:5-6

Salvation is an individual matter.  Jesus is calling today, will you hear His voice?

When Martha told Mary that Jesus was calling for her, she got up quickly and went to him.

“As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him”.  John 11:29

Today, if you are not a Christian, would you respond to the call of Christ and come to Him for salvation. 

 

 

33                                                            THE     HEALING     TREE

Exodus 15:22-25

Israel had just passed through the Red Sea and witnessed the miraculous deliverance of God from the Egyptians, but only a few days later they began to murmur because there was no water to drink. Sometimes between our songs of victory and our sorrows of distress there is a short distance.

In verse 24 they began to murmur against the Lord.

“And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?” 

Right after Jesus had been baptized and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him he was assailed by the Devil and temped for 40 days. Many times our faith will be tried when we follow the Lord. God forbid that bitter things in our lives stir up murmuring and a heart of unbelief.

There is power in the “The Healing Tree”, a picture of the Cross of Christ that is sufficient to transform any bitter Marah into a spring of pure and sweet water.

But here in the desert there was a very great and real need, for the waters were bitter and the people were thirsty.

“And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah”. V. 23.

The people murmured and complained because the waters did not satisfy, like the pleasures of sin. But Moses did not grumble like the people, but prayed to the Lord.

“And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree . . .”  Vs. 25

Now we see the remedy provided, God in his wisdom let’s us pass through a dry and barren land sometimes to prove us. He had a plan to show His power and provide for his children, turning the bitter waters to sweet. Here we have a type of the Gospel, a type of the cross where Christ died for our sins, a tree that can bring sweet peace to a thirsty soul. This tree that God showed Moses has many lessons for us.

1.  THE TREE - "The Lord showed him a tree" v 25.

In the Garden of Eden there was a tree of life for man to eat until he sinned against God's commandments and was driven from the garden and forbidden to eat of it any more. Death came upon mankind but God in His love for mankind provided another tree that brought life to mankind. This tree that the Lord showed Moses was a type of the tree on which Jesus died, a picture of the Cross of Calvary, a tree known by God before the foundation of the world.

 “. . . the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”.  Rev. 13:8.

Jesus bore our sins on a tree.

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” 1 Peter2:24.

This tree had to be cut down, killed before it could provide sweet water for the people.

“And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters were made sweet”.  Vs. 25

“But denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead”.  Acts 13:14-15

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”.   Romans 5:8

2. A TREE POINTED OUT BY THE LORD  “The Lord showed him a tree” v 25.

The tree evidently looked like the others, but was very different within.

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."  Philippians 2:5-8

This tree was set forth, designated for the work of healing the bitter waters, just as Jesus came to do the work of His Father.

“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me”.  John 6:38

This tree was revealed to Moses by the Lord.

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit into the world to show us our need of salvation, and to convict us of our sin and our need of a Saviour.

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him...” John 16:8

3. A TREE REVEALED IN ANSWER TO PRAYER. "Moses cried unto the Lord, and He showed him a tree" V 25.

Everyone saw the trees but only Moses as he prayed knew which one could make the bitter waters sweet.

God only reveals Himself to those who cry out to Him in prayer. Only when we come to the end of ourselves and cry out in desperation will we see the cross of Calvary, the tree where Jesus died for our sins.

When Hagar came to the end of her resources the Lord heard the cry of Ismael.  The Lord opened her eyes and she saw a spring of water that saved their lives.  Genesis 21:15-19.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”.  Romans 10:13

4.   A TREE NEAR AT HAND

From these verses we can that the tree that provided life to the people was evidently near at hand. The Tree of Life is not far from any of us.

"But what saith it? The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith, which we preach."  Rom. 10:8

The presence of the Lord is everywhere, ever ready to reveal the Lord Jesus to a hungry heart. Many times Jesus is in our midst, trying to speak to us through an event, sometimes a death, a blessing that comes our way or an accident. But many times we fail to recognize Him as Mary did in the garden.

“And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus . . .”  John 20:14

Today nearly every home has a Bible, there are many churches in every city and many Christian programs on the radio and television, and yet many fail to recognize that the Lord is near at hand.  The message of Salvation and the Tree of Life are nearby, but many fail to avail themselves of this opportunity to find salvation and have eternal life.

5. A TREE ACCEPTED AND APPLIED. Moses took the tree and “cast it into the waters”  Vs. 25

The divine remedy for sin must be brought into contact with the polluted and muddy waters of sin. Man does not have to provide the cure, but merely take it and apply it. The woman who had spent all and had no hope, only touched the hem of Jesus garment by faith, and was made whole. The healing power was in Jesus. We must do what God says in His word.

The Philippians jailer ask Paul what he must do to be saved and Paul answered.

“And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house”.  Acts 16:30-31

To be saved one must accept the healing power of this Tree, the Lord Jesus Christ.

“But as many as received Him, to them gave the power to become son of God, even to them that believe on His name”.  John 1:12

6 A TREE THAT TURNED THE BITTER WATER INTO SWEET    “And the waters were made sweet”. V 25

When the divine remedy was applied, the polluted, bitter waters were transformed and they became sweet and useful. When a sinner applies the sweet story of the Cross to his heart, it will sweeten his life he will be transformed by the power of God and made a new creature.

 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”.   2 Corinthians 5:17

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God”.  1 Corinthians 1:18

Story of conversion - God's transforming power. Mel Trotter, Billy Sunday, and many others.

 

34                            SIX PROMISES OF THE LORD TO THE CHRISTIAN

Psalm 91

"Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high. because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: 1 will be with him in trouble: I will deliver faun, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him. and shew him mv salvation". Psalm 91:14-16

"For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee" Psalm 84;11-12

The Lord wants to bless us in many ways and give to us spiritual and material blessings. In Psalm 91 we find at least six things the Lord does for us as Christians.

1. "I will deliver him..." Vs. 14

When we are saved the Lord delivers us from the penalty of sin and eternal condemnation.

"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed". John 8:35

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For 1he law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death". Romans 8:1-2

It is a wonderful thing to know that as a Christian, Jesus has delivered us from the penalty of sin, is delivering us from the power of sin and one day will deliver us from the presence of sin.

2. "I will set him on high"... Vs. 14

"But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus". Galatians 3:25-25

Before we were saved, Paul says we were like students under the authority of a teacher. A person before he is saved is under the influence of Satan and this evil world.

"Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ". Galatians 4:7

This lost world is the servant of sin and it's evil influence, but after we are saved we are elevated to a son of God and joint heir with Christ of the eternal riches of glory.

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together".   Romans 8:16-17

3. "He shall call upon me, and I will answer him"... Vs. 15

There are over 3,000 promises in the Bible for Christians. Many of these are promises that the Lord will hear and answer our prayers.

"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not". Jeremiah 33:3

"And 1 say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you". Luke 11:9

Someone has said that prayer is the key to the storehouse of heaven.

A young widow and her crippled son had moved to a poor part of London because of the death of her husband and loss of income. Before they had lived in a nicer part of the city but now lived in one small room. A neighbor visited the new family and invited them to her church where the young widow was saved and soon began to live by faith in God's promises. She didn't share with the church her needs but prayed to the Lord for help. A few weeks later all the money was gone and the cupboard was empty. Trusting in God's promises the mother put her son to bed and prayed to the Lord for the needs they had. The very next morning the mailman delivered a letter that had come from New Zealand. It contained a check with enough for all their needs. When she looked at the envelope she saw it had gone to her former address and then finally to where she now lived. It was from a former friend of her husbands who had heard of his death and wanted to help his family. Yes, God does hear when we call upon Him.

4. "I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him"... Vs. 15

What a wonderful God we have that has promised to be with us in every circumstance of life.

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee". Isaiah 43:2

Many times in this life we pass through difficult times of sickness or other difficulties, but the Lord has promised to help us.

"There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee". Joshua 1:5

5. "With long life will I satisfy him ..."   Vs. 16

Long life seems to be the desire of every human being. People spend thousands of dollars to try and live a few more months or years. In the hospitals there is every kind of machine to prolong life a little more.

If people would just read the Bible they would find the secret to a long life.

"Honour thy father and Ihy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee". Deuteronomy 5:16

"My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall Ihey add to thee". Proverbs 3:1-2

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased". Proverbs 9:10-11

6. "and shew him my salvation ...". Vs. 15

It is a wonderful thing to know that one day we will see the Lord face to face and see our wonderful Saviour.

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known". 1 Corinthians 13:12

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever". Psalm 23:6

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him". 1 Corinthians 2:9

"We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord". 2 Corinthians 5:8

 

35                    FIVE THINGS THAT EVERY PERSON SHOULD KNOW

 

From the moment one is born we begin to learn.   Someone has said that we learn half of all we will learn during our first five years in this world.   We learn many things but to really know something is very different.  There are at least five things that every person needs to know if he wants to enter Heaven at the end of life’s journey.

1.  KNOW CHRIST . . .

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death”.  Philippians 3:7-10

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day”.  2 Timothy 1:12

The most important person to know is the Lord Jesus Christ.  You may know a lot of very important persons in this world but they are of very little help when your time on earth draws near.  The apostle Paul knew that he was saved.

There is a big difference between meeting someone and really knowing that person.  I met Lyndon B. Johnson once when he was vice president but I never knew him personally.  Just about everyone has heard about the Lord Jesus Christ, but to know Him as your personal Saviour is quite different.  Do you know Him today?

2.  KNOW THE CALL OF CHRIST FOR YOU . . .

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.  Philippians 3:14

There is no greater call than the call of Christ.  Every Christian should be listening for his call and be obedient to what He tells them to do.

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”.  2 Timothy 1:9

The Lord doesn’t call every Christian to be a pastor or missionary, but we are all called to witness for Him.

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”.  Acts 1:8

Some are called to a specific ministry such as to preach, or to be a missionary or to simply be a laymen faithful to serve in the church where God has put him.

Paul and Barnabas were called of the Lord to be the first missionaries sent out by the church in Antioch.

Peter was called to go the house of Cornelius and win him and his family and friends to the Lord.

Philip was called to go and minister to one man in the desert, but what a wonderful blessing he got by being in the place where God had called him.

Are you willing to hear the call of Christ? Story of young men studying for the ministry and wouldn’t attend a missions conference for fear the Lord might call them to a foreign land.  

Isaiah said:  “I heard the voce of the Lord”.   He heard God’s voice because he was in the right place, the Temple of the Lord.  He was listening and God called him to be a prophet.   Are you listening if God should call you today?

3.  KNOW THE NEEDS OF THE WORLD . . .

“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.  I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.”.  John 4:34-38

We all know the story of Willian Carey who opened the Gospel door to India.  They say when he was young working as a shoe cobbler he made a rough globe of the world out of left over pieces of leather and prayed every day for spiritual needs of these countries.  It is no surprise that the Lord called him to be a missionary and he was obedient to that call.

Many believe that 95 persent of the worlds population are outside the fold of Christianity.  This would mean with the present world population that         people are without the hope of eternal life in Christ.

The Roman Catholic church outnumbers the protestant church two to one, the Muslims two and a half to one,  Hinduism, Confucism, Buddasism, and all the other false isms of this world comprise the rest of the people without hope or knowledge of how to find peace for their souls.

4.  KNOW GOD’S WORD . . .

The apostle Paul told Timothy to:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”.  2 Timothy 2:15

Every Christian should have a desire to know the teachings of the Bible.   Someone has said God’s word is like a roadmap, it is a guide in our journey to the Heavenly City.  If you want to enter Heaven at the end of life’s journey you must follow the only infallible guide to this wonderful place called “The House of the Lord” Psalm 23:6.

King David said in Psalm 119:

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”.  Psalm 119:105

In this world of darkness and sin we need to know what God’s word teaches about our daily walk and how to reach Heaven.  The Bible tells us that the only Way to this paradise is by the way of the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”.  John 14:6

4.  KNOW YOURSELF . . .

“I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway”.  1 Corinthians 9:26-27

You are the only one who can really know your weakness and your desires.  Paul knew that there were many enemies to face as a Christian.   When the Israelites left Egypt and journeyed toward the “Promised Land” they faced many enemies.

“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it”.  1 Corinthians 10:10-13

Every Christian should know what the Bible says about our human nature, about this flesh and body where the real you lives in. 

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  Jeremiah 17:9

Men are deceived many times by the desires of their evil heart, sin can be very enticing by it’s appearance, but the end thereof is death.

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death”.   Proverbs 14:12

The greatest desire of the Devil is to deceive a Christian by causing him to sin and fall by the wayside.   We should be vigilant and not be deceived by Satan and his evil tricks.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”.  1 Peter 5:8

36                                                                FAITH

                                                                Hebrews 11

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good report”.  Vs. 1

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”.  Vs. 6

1.  WHAT IS FAITH . . .

It is invisible like electricity, but it's effects can be seen and felt in the form of what it produces, like light and heat.  It is like the wind that cannot be seen, but can be felt and heard.

It is SUBSTANCE  v-1,   EVIDENCE.  It is more than just a thought of the mind, it moves men to do great things for God.

2.    HOW FAITH SHOWS ITSELF . . .

1.   It shows itself when believe unwaveringly what God says about Creation, Heaven,   Hell and Salvation.   

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear’.  Vs. 3

It needs no explanation but requires only that we simply believe the Bible.

2.   Faith is also revealed when we do what God says in his word, Action reveals our faith.

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh”. Vs. 4

3.   Faith shows itself again when we cheerfully suffer affliction with the children of God.

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;  Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward”.  Vs. 24-26

4.   Faith is revealed when we are willing to make any sacrifice that God demands.

“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure”.    vs   17-19

3.  WHAT FAITH OBTAINS . . .

1.   Faith receives testimony from God that the believer is righteous in His sight.

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh”.   Vs. 4

2. Faith receives divine protection.

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith”.     Vs. 7

3. Faith obtains Salvation.

“By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace”.   Vs. 31

4. Faith gives us power to bring forth children for God.

“Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised”. Vs. 11    

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. Prov. 11:30

5. Faith obtains a heavenly and eternal home

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city”.     Vs  13-16

4.   WHAT FAITH ACCOMPLISHES . . .

1.   Faith overcomes difficulties that seem insurmountable.

“By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned”.   Vs. 29

2.   Faith wins victories over enemies that seem fortified behind impreg­nable walls.

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days”.    Vs. 30

3.   Faith gives victory arid peace in any circumstance.  Here we have a list of many things that people suffered and how they overcame the obstacles by faith.   Vs  32-40     

5.  HOW TO OBTAIN FAITH . . .

“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”.   Romans 10:17

1.   Have a regular time to read and meditate upon the Word.   Reading this chapter frequently will inspire your faith.

 Abraham had a place where he stood before the Lord each day.

“And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD”.  Genesis 19:27

2.   Attend church regularly.     Hearing the preached Word will greatly help your faith.  One of the best places to hear the voice of God is in his house.  The prophet Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord in the temple.

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me”.  Isaiah 6:8

3.   Practice living by faith, believe God's promises,   D.L.   Moody said, "Attempt great things for God, expect great things from God".

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith”.  Romans 1:17

 

37                                                                           THE GOSPEL

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

 

The word Gospel means “good news or glad tidings” It is authoritative and true news.  It is used in connection with the salvation that God offers us through Jesus Christ.  Other religions have dogmas and teachings but they are not good news.  Some in India say sacrifice your baby to a crocodile or throw them into a volcano to find peace for your soul.  In Latin America some churches tell you to crawl on your knees until they are bleeding.  In the Philippines many believe that by cutting their bodies until the blood flows freely they will gain God’s favor.  There is nothing good about this kind of religion.  The Gospel of Christ is good news because it tells us of something someone did for us 2,000 years ago so that we don’t need to do these things to find peace with God.

In this message we will consider four things about the Gospel.

1.  THE ORIGINATOR OF THE GOSPEL . . .

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God”.  Romans 1:1

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden it was God who had already originated a plan of redemption.

“. . . the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”.  Revelation 13:8

The apostle Paul certified that the Gospel he preached was not from any man.

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ”.  Galatians 1:11-12

Yes this wonderful Gospel of Grace was planned by God.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”.  Hebrews 12:2

ONLY GOD COULD DEVISE A PLAN SO SIMPLE, YET SO COMPLETE AS THE “GOSPEL OF GOD”.

2.  THE PRINCIPLE OF THE GOSPEL . . .

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God”.  Acts 20:24

The operating principle is that by which something operates.  In our home we all have stoves and the operating principle is either gas or electricity.  In our refrigerators the thing that makes them work is electricity.  Gasoline is what makes a car run.  It is the operating principle.   The operating principle of the Gospel is God’s grace.

Many believe that they must do something to obtain salvation.

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified”.  Galatians 2:16

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”. John 1:17

The operating principle of Law is works.  You must obey them.

The operating principle of Grace is faith.  You must simply trust in it.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast”.  Ephesians 2:8-9

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost”.  Titus 3:5

When we put our faith and trust in the Gospel, we receive the free gift of salvation.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”.  Romans 6:23

Faith in the message of the Bible will make the Gospel work in your life.  God’s word says:  “The just shall live by faith”.  Habakuk 2:4

3.  THE PERSON OF THE GOSPEL . . .

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek”.  Romans 1:16

It was Jesus who died for our sins and rose again from the dead and is alive for evermore. Without Christ there would be no Gospel (good news). Without the resurrection Christianity would be just another religion founded by a man still buried in a cemetery somewhere.

It was Christ who died for sinners.

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly”. Romans 5:6

Jesus is the only mediator between us and God who demands justice for our sins.

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time”.  1 Timothy 2:5-6

It was Jesus who died for our sins by whose stripes we are healed.

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed”.  1 Peter 2:24

Story of sailing ship that encounters a storm at sea.  The captains only son put his arm in the whole and saved the ship.

More than six thousand years ago this old world sprang a leak and sin entered in, but the Son of God put his arm in the hole and died that we might have everlasting life.

4.  THE RESULT OF THE GOSPEL . . .

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise”.  Ephesians 1:13

Just because Jesus died for your sins does not guarantee you a place in Heaven.  You must accept and apply the remedy for your sin. 

A doctor may prescribe medicine for an illness that will heal your body, but if you fail to accept it you will continue sick and be in danger of dying.

Salvation is an individual decision, I cannot do it for you, your mother cannot be saved in your place, you must receive Christ yourself. 

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”.  John 1:12

Story of home on fire, two girls on second floor at a window.  Two men passing by saw the fire and went to do what they could.  The fire had destroyed the staircase and the only way out was for them to jump.  Several of the people got a large blanket and told the girls to jump into it.  One girl jumped and was saved.  The other said she was afraid and hesitated and within minutes the fire and smoke engulfed her and she died in the fire.  You must be willing to jump into the arms of Jesus if you want to be saved.

Will you do it today?

 

38                                                   THERE IS A GOD IN BEAVEN

 

But there is a God in Heaven that revealeth secrets...” Daniel 2:28

Some years ago a modernist pastor wrote a book entitled “God is Dead”.  His idea was that with modern science and all the knowledge that man has gained he no longer needs a supernatural God.  He was quite wrong because our God is alive and well.

HOW DO WE KNOW IT? Many people say they have never seen God, or others say, “If there is a God, why is there so much evil in the world?”  There are many reasons why we know there is a God in Heaven, but I will give you just one in this message.

BECAUSE GOD IS ALIVE and speaks and talks to his children, even to the unsaved.

In the Old Testament before we had the written word as we have it today God spoke many times directly to his people in different ways.

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds”.  Hebrews 12:1-2

This verse tells us that God talked to men in the Old Testament at different times and in various ways. 

1.  The first time we see God talking to man was in Genesis chapter three.

“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden”.  Genesis 3:8

2.  The Lord talked many times to Abraham.

“And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying”.  Genesis 17:3 

“And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?”  Genesis 18:13

Many other times God talked to Abraham and promised to give to him and his descendents the land of Palestine.  On May 14, 1948 Israel became a nation once again and claimed the land of Palestine as their homeland.  The promise that God made to Abraham is being fulfilled before our eyes today.

3. God talked to Joseph –

In Genesis 37 He revealed his future plans to him.  This time God talked to Joseph through his dreams.  It was later through the dreams of Pharaoh that his interpretations delivered him from prison to a position of authority in Egypt.

4. Moses heard the voice of the Lord -

“And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I”. Exodus 3:4

“And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses”.  Genesis 33:9

5. Samuel THE JUDGE AND LEADER OF ISRAEL HEARD GOD ALSO –

“And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth”.  1 Samuel 3:10

“And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground”. 1 Samuel 3:19

6. Isaiah heard the Lord calling unto him - Isaiah 6

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me”. Isaiah 6:8

It is always good to be in church as Isaiah was.  He was in the Temple of the Lord and heard God calling unto him.  God can talk to us anywhere and at any time but the church is a good place to listen for his voice.

7. Paul heard God calling to him - Acts 16

“And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them”. Acts 16:10

This time God spoke to Paul through a vision.

“It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord”.  2 Corinthians 12:1

Many believe that the Lord no longer speaks to his people in this manner and the Bible tells us to try the spirits whether they are of God.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world”.  1 John 4:1

We need to be very careful today and be sure if the Lord speaks to us through a dream or vision that it is of the Lord.   The Lord will never tell us to do anything that is contrary to His written word.

8. Our call to Brazil and to Guatemala.

On the first Sunday of January, 1968 God spoke to me about going to Brazil.  Just as Paul said:  “assuredly gathering that the Lord had called” I began to pray if this was from the Lord.  That very day I heard on the radio a missionary telling that the only country in South America that spoke Portuguese was Brazil.   After several months of prayer we knew that God had called us and in less than ten months we were in Brazil. 

 

39                                              THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN

 

"But there is a God in Heaven that revealeth secrets..." Daniel 2:28

HOW DO WE KNOW IT?  Many people say they have never seen God, or others say, "If there is a God, why is there so much evil in the world?"  There are many reasons why we know there is a God in Heaven, but I will give you just three in this message.

By Taking People to Heaven

The apostle Paul said these words:  “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord”.  2 Corinthians 5:8

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God”.  Job 19:25-26

1.  Able  –

“And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?”  Genesis 4:8-9

We could ask the same question, “Where is Able?”  We know where he is because the Bible tells us that he pleased the Lord and was accepted.  Able was the first person to enter heaven after the creation.

“And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering”.  Genesis 4:4

2. Enoch –

“And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:  And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:  And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him”.    Genesis 5:22-24

Enoch was the first person to enter Heaven directly from this life.  He was alive and walking with the Lord and went directly to Heaven.

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God”.  Hebrews 11:5

Enoch was saved just like us, by faith.  Faith in the promises of God is the only way to heaven.

3. Elijah –

“And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.   2 Kings 2:11

What a wonderful way to go to Heaven.  Elijah went up in a Chariot of fire that God sent to take him there.

4. Stephen –

Stephen was the first martyr in the New Testament.  He was one of the first deacons and a man filled with the Holy Spirit.

“And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:  Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid [their] hands on them”.  Acts 6:5-6

Stephen was not only a deacon but a real witness for the Lord and the people were convicted in their hearts of their sin and stoned Stephen to death.

“And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.   And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep”.  Acts 7:56-60

What a wonderful way to die, praying as he went to be with the Lord.  Jesus stood up to receive him into his presence.

5. D.L. Moody, Jimmy Davis

6. In Brazil, Betty Head, Bobby Powell, Catarina's Mother, Candido das Neves.

Only a fool would say there is no God.  In Psalm 19 the Lord tells us that "the Heavens declare the glory of God" and all that he has made shows us his existence. 

Yes there is a God in Heaven and you can know him.

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day”.  2 Timothy 1:12

 

40                                     BLESSINGS OF GOD IN THE BOOK OF PSALMS

 

In the book of Psalms written by King David and others we find the word blessed or bless 92 times.  In this book we find many wonderful and precious blessings promised to the Christian.  We will look at just a few today.

What is a blessing, what does it mean to be blessed by the Lord?

A blessing is a special favor bestowed upon a person either by the Lord or another person.  To be blessed means to experience the favor of God.  The Lord has something special for those who are His children and are obedient to His word.

1.  HE BLESSING OF A SEPARATED LIFE

This book opens with the promise of a blessing to those who live a separated life from the world and its ways and customs.

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night”.  Psalm 1:1-2

We are in the world but as Christians we should not let the world’s values influence our walk with the Lord.  

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world”.  1 John 2:15-16

2.  THE BLESSING OF TrustING in the Lord

“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him”.  Psalm 34:8

“The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate”.  Psalm 34:22

When we trust in the Lord we have the promise that He will be with us and fight our battles for us.

“Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah”.  2 Chronicles 32:7-8

3. THE BLESSING OF SALVATION

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile”.  Psalm 32:1-2

There is no greater blessing than to know that our sins are forgiven and that Heaven will be our home at the end of the life.

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day”.  2 Timothy 1:12

4.  The Blessing of Helping the Poor

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.”  Psalm 41:1

As Christians we should be glad when we have an opportunity to help someone in need.  It is like putting money into the bank of Heaven.  When we have a need the Lord has promised to deliver us in time of trouble.

“For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.”  Deuteronomy15:11

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Acts 20:35

5.  The Blessing of Dwelling in God’s House

“Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.  Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.”  Psalm 84:4-5

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.”  Psalm 122:1

This doesn’t necessarily mean we should move into the church and live, but that we should rejoice and be glad whenever we have an opportunity to be in the Lord’s house.

6.  The Blessing of Walking in the Lord’s Ways

 “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.  Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.  They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.”  Psalm 119:1-3

There is no greater joy than to walk with the Lord according to His teachings in the Bible.

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”  Colossians 1:10

“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”  1 John 2:6

 

41                          SOME PROMISED BLESSINGS IN THE BOOK OF PSALMS

 

In the Book of Psalms we find the word bless or blessed 92 times.  The Lord wants to bless his people and we will look at just a few of these blessings for the Christian that we find in this book.

1.  The Blessing of a Separated Life . . .

This book opens with the promise of a blessing to those who live a separated life from the world and its ways and customs.

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”  Psalm 1:1

Demas is known for having forsaken the Lord for the ways of this world.

“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.”  2 Timothy 4:10

2.  The blessing of Salvation . . .

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”  Psalm 32:1-2

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”  1 John 5:11-12

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”  2 Timothy 1:12

3.  The Blessing of Helping the Poor . . .

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.”  Psalm 41:1

“For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.”  Deuteronomy15:11

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Acts 20:35

4.  The Blessing of Dwelling in God’s House . . .

“Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.  Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.”  Psalm 84:4-5

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.”  Psalm 122:1

This doesn’t necessarily mean we should move into the church and live, but that we should rejoice and be glad whenever we have an opportunity to be in the Lord’s house.

5.  The Blessing of Walking in the Lord’s Ways . . .

There is no greater joy than to walk with the Lord according to His teachings in the Bible.

“Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.  Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.  They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.”  Psalm 119:1-3

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”  Colossians 1:10

“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”  1 John 2:6

 

42                                                                      LIFE

 

“Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that”.  James 4:13-15

Life has been compared to many different things.  James says life is like a vapor.  Someone else said life is like a three act play.  The first act represents our past, the second act our present state of being and the third act our future.  For someone in this world the scenes are very similar, but for the child of God they are very different.  Let’s think about these three acts or scenes in the life of a Christian.

1.  OUR PAST . . . What we were before we came to Christ.

1.  We were dead in trespasses and sins.

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins”.  Ephesians 2:1

2.  We were without hope, condemned to an eternal punishment in hell and unable to save ourselves because we were dead.

3.  We were walking according to the course of this world.  We were slaves to sin and controlled by evil passions and desires of the flesh.

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others”.  Ephesians 2:2-3

4.  We were without spiritual understanding, unable to see our need for salvation.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”.  1 Cor. 2:14

2.  OUR PRESENT . . . what we have in Christ at this moment, in this life

1.  When a person comes to Christ receives many spiritual blessings and becomes a child of God and joint heir with Christ of heavens blessings.

“Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ”.  Galatians 4:7

What a wonderful blessing to become a son of God, the creator of this world and all its riches.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”.  John 1:12

2.  Another blessing that a Christian received when he comes to Christ is a new nature.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”.  2 Corinthians 5:17

3.  When we are saved the Holy Spirit comes to live within our bodies and wants to bless and help us while we continue in this world.

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”  1 Corinthians 6:19

4. In this present life we have the promise of God to be with us and provide for all our needs.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: 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”.  Hebrews 13:5-6

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”.  Philippians 4:19

3.  OUR FUTURE . . . what the Lord has prepared for his children

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God”.  1 Corinthians 2:9-10

What are some of these things the Lord is preparing for us in heaven.

1.  The Lord is preparing for us an eternal home in heaven.

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”.  2 Corinthians 5:1

“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you”.  John 14:2

2.  God is reserving us an eternal inheritance

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you”.  1 Peter 1:3-4

3. There are five crowns mentioned in the New Testament that the Lord will give to those who have been faithful in his service in this life.

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing”.  2 Timothy 4:8

“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be”.  Revelation 22:12

 

43                                      FOUR ROADS IN THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN

 

When we read the Bible we find that a person can come to Christ at any time and at any place. 

Lydia found Christ by a river near the city of Philippi.  The Ethiopian eunuch came to Christ on the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza.  Cornelio, the roman centurion was saved in his home after a meeting with Peter and was baptized with his family and friends and the Philippian jailer opened his heart to the Lord at midnight in a jail and was baptized with his family by the apostle Paul.

There are four roads that every Christian should be willing to travel.

1.  THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS . . . Salvation Acts 9

The apostle Paul found Christ on this road near the city of Damascus.  He had an encounter with the Lord that transformed his life completely.  Acts 9:1-6

To be able to enter heaven a person must first travel this road.  There is no other way to heaven.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”.  John 14:6

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”.  John 3:3

There are many roads in this world and false religions have existed since the days of Cain who killed his brother Able because he wanted to get to heaven his way and did not do what the Lord told him to do to have his sins forgiven.  Genesis 4

Jesus told us to beware of false prophets that sometimes come to us disguised as sheep.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves”.  Matthew 7:15

2. THE ROAD TO EMAUS . . . fellowship with the Lord   Lucas 24:13-35

The first thing a person should do after coming to know Christ as their Saviour is to seek the fellowship of the Lord through prayer and Bible study every day.  When we read God’s word we will find that Christ is in every chapter and desires to speak to us.  When we pray it is talking to the Lord to thank Him for his salvation and asking Him for our daily needs.

In this chapter the two disciples had a wonderful encounter with the Lord that day as they walked along and experienced a fellowship beyond description with Christ and their hearts were filled with great joy.

The Word of God teaches us that it is very important for every Christian to take time every day to meditate on God’s word because it is like food to our souls. Just as eating is necessary for a healthy body so God’s word is necessary for a healthy soul and spirit. Jesus told us this in Matthew 4:4

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”. 

Fellowship with the Lord is indispensable for the Christian that wants to maintain a healthy spiritual life.

We should desire God’s word like a newborn baby desires milk to satisfy his hunger and grow.

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby”.  1 Peter 2:2

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God”.  Philippians 4:6

We should walk on this road to Emaus every day, seeking the presence of the Lord and his direction for our lives.

3. THE ROAD TO JERICHO . . . the soul winning road   Luke 10:30-37

In this parable given by Jesus we see the compassion of Christ for a lost world, a world fallen in sin and rejected by the society and the human religions of this world.  In this story we can see every single person represented.

“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho” Verse 30

Here we see Adam who represents every one of us.  Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden and passed that sin nature to every living creature.  We are sinners by nature and by choice.  Romans 5:12

This certain man represents every one of us who are who have been born half dead in trespasses and sins.  Ephesians 2:1

We are all going down from Jerusalem (the place of blessing) to Jericho (the city of destruction).

Verse 30 “and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead”.

The human race fell into the hands of Satan and his angels and they left us half dead, alive physically but dead spiritually.

Verses 31-32 “And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side”.

These two, the priest and the Levite both were in the same condition as the fallen man, they were both going down to Jericho.  They both saw the need of the man but did nothing to help him and went on their way to Jericho, a cursed city.

The false religions of this world have little interest in the condition of mankind.  The two richest churches in the world have beautiful buildings and millions of dollars in the bank but do nothing to help mankind reach heaven. 

Verse 32 “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him”

Jesus came into this world and entered into a human body like ours, He came where we were.  After thirty three years of living among us and seeing of the needs of this world personally and inability of man to find peace with God, He gave himself a sacrifice for our sins on Calvary, dying that we might live and with his stripes we are healed.  Isaiah 53:5

Verse 34 “And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him”

What a wonderful picture of our Saviour who bore our sins in his own body so that he could lift us out of our state of death.  Jesus lifted up this man who was half dead and took him to the inn (which is the church) and took care of him.  This certain man represents every lost person who yields his life to Christ for salvation.

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed”.  1 Peter 2:24

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”.  Luke 19:10

When we go to a lost soul and lead him to Christ it will be a blessing to him and to us also.

The story is told of Sundar Singh who was an evangelist in India.  One day while he was going to another remote village to preach in the mountains he saw a man who had fallen in the road because of the cold and snow.  Another man came along about that time and he asked him to help him lift up the fallen man and help take him to the next village.  The man replied that he didn’t have time and went on his way.  Sunday Singh helped the man to his feet and they both went on in the snow.  The fell down several times but Sunday Singh kept on helping the man to stumble along.  The extra force began to heat there two bodies in the cold and finally the fallen man could walk once again.  After a little while they came upon a heap covered by the snow and when they checked closer it was the body of the man who had refused to help them earlier.  He had frozen to death in the cold.  The force that Sunday Singh had exercised warmed both his body and the body of the fallen man and soon the arrived at a nearby town.  Later when thinking about this experience he remembered the parable of the Good Samaritan.

There are many wonderful stories in the four Gospels.  Stories of lost souls who were saved because of Jesus love for them while he traveled this world for 33 years.  

Verse 37  “Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise”.

We should follow the example of our Saviour and seek to win the lost to Him.

The last words of our Saviour to His church were these.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”. Mark 16:15

4.  THE ROAD TO JERUSALEM . . . dedication and commitment Luke 9:51-62

Jesus knew that his mission was to give his life a ransom for our sins, dying on the cross to pay our debt of sin.  Jesus didn’t refuse to finish the work he had come to do and was faithful until death.

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”.  Philippians 2:8

What is lacking in the work of the Lord are Christians dedicated to the Lord’s work, men and women who are willing to present their bodies to the Lord and do His work until their time is done on this earth.

“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”.  Luke 9:62

“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it”.  Mark 8:34-35

The city of Jerusalem was on top of a mountain and the road to there was a winding and difficult road to travel.

The apostle Paul was ready and willing to go up to Jerusalem.

“Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.  And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem.”  Acts 21:13-15

We know that Paul was faithful until death received the crown of life for having given his life for the Saviour.

“. . . be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life”.  Revelation 2:10

And you, have you passed on these four roads or have you stopped on one of them?  May the Lord help us to travel the road to Damascus and then continue on the other roads until the Lord calls us home.

 

44                                 COMPARISONS OF CHRISTIANS IN 1 PETER

 

In this book of 1 Peter we find six things that the apostle Peter compares Christians too. He didn’t say we are these things, but that we should be like them.

1.  “AS OBEDIENT CHILDREN . . .” 1:14-16

As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

Nothing pleases the Lord more than when we obey His word, the Bible.  When we are obedient to his teachings we will have a life that is holy and consecrated.  Our fleshly desires should be conquered and our life should show the world that we are new creatures in Christ.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”  2 Corinthians 5:17

The Lord has promised us a blessing if we obey his word.

“A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:  And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.”  Deuteronomy 11:27-28

Nothing pleases a parent more than when his children obey his voice.

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”  1 Samuel 15:22

2.  “AS NEWBORN BABES . . .”

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” I Peter 2:2

The Bible teaches that we are not to be baby Christians all our lives, but to have the same desires as babies.  If you have ever had a baby in your home, you know something about their habits and desires.  Babies seem like they are hungry all the time and take their milk many times during the day or night.  There desire is normally to be with the mother as she is the one who takes care and feeds them most of the time.   As Christians we should be like babies and desire the sincere milk of the Word everyday, we should be hungry for spiritual food and desire to talk constantly to our Heavenly Father in prayer.

When a child is healthy he will grow rapidly.   If a child should fail to grow we would take him to a Dr. to find out the reason.  It is the same in the Christian life, we should be growing spiritually.

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”  2 Peter 3:18

The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that there are Christians who fail to grow spiritually.

“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.  For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.”   Hebrews 5:12-13

3.  “AS LIVELY (living) STONES . . .”

“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”  1 Peter 2:5

What is a stone or rock?  It is made of a very hard and durable material that can withstand storms and is not affected by the heat or cold.   Almost all houses and buildings have a foundation made of  rocks and cement mixed together.

As Christians we should be like rocks, strong and resistant, able to face the storms and obstacles in our Christian life. 

We should be ready to present our lives and bodies for the service of our Lord like living stones. 

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1

In the book of Daniel we have a wonderful story of three young men who were willing to sacrifice their bodies if need be to stand firm against the false command of the king.  They stood like rocks and when the fire came they were not were able to withstand the heat and won a great victory for the Lord.

“Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.”  Daniel 3:28

4.  “AS STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS . . .”

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”  1 Peter 2:11

What a wonderful thought, we are strangers and pilgrims in this world because our citizenship is in heaven.

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.”  Ephesians 2:19

When Jesus left this world and went back to Heaven he promised to make a place for us there.

“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”  John 14:2

The final destination of the Christian is not the cemetery but that celestial city that Abraham was seeking.  Like Abraham we should be anxious to get to that city that waits us at the end of our journey here on earth.

“For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”  Hebrews 11:10

5.  “AS SHEEP GOING ASTRAY . . .”

“For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”  1 Peter 2:25

Before we came to know Christ as our Saviour Peter tells us that we were like sheep that had gone astray.  We were like sheep without a pastor to guide them.  We were like sheep following their own ways and not the ways of the Lord.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”  Isaiah 53:6

But after we received Christ as our Saviour, we have a divine guide that will lead us into green pastures and paths of righteousness.

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.”  Psalm 23:1-3

“For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.”  Psalm 48:14

How wonderful it is to know that we have a divine Shepherd to guide us through the dark paths of this life.

6.  “AS GOOD STEWARDS . . .”

“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”  1 Peter 4:10-11

A steward is a person whose job it is to manage that which has been entrusted to him.  It may be money or business affairs.   As Christians God has entrusted us with material and spiritual blessings and expects to make good use of our talents and time.

Christians have an inheritance given by God, “received a gift” and He expects us to manage it well.  We should take good care of that which the Lord has given to us.  Our material possessions and the time the Lord has given to us are precious.  Many Christians have suffered because they have not used wisely that which the Lord gave to them. 

“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”  Matthew 10:16

Whatever the Lord gives to us we should be diligent in taking care of it.

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might . . .” Ecclesiastes 9:10

Whatever we do as Christians we should do it the best we can.  There is a saying that says: “A job worth doing is worth doing right.”  Jesus told us to think and do things in a wise fashion that they might bring glory to the Lord.

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?  Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.”  Luke 14:28-30

The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is the most important institution in this world and we should manage it well.  Our home, our work and whatever we do should be managed to the best of our ability with the help of the Lord.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”  2 Corinthians 5:10

 

45                                                      WHAT GOD CAN DO

 

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”  Luke 1:37

“Is any thing too hard for the LORD?”  Genesis 18:14

“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”     Romans 8:31-32

1.  GOD ANSWERS PRAYER . . .

“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”  Philippians 4:6

We need to learn to pray and trust in the Lord.  He has promised to help us in all that we need.

We should pray about everything we do each day.  Young people should pray about their studies and the one the Lord has for them to marry,

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?  Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?  Matthew 7:7-11

Some years ago a young man felt the call of God to preach.  After he finished school he went with his wife to a small town and pastored a small church.  The people were very poor but several soon accepted Christ as their Saviour.  The offerings were small and one day the wife went to the cupboard and it was empty.  There was a bowl of soup left over from the day before and when she told her husband the news he said we will eat the soup and pray for the Lord to provide for our next meal.  They ate the soup and asked the Lord to meet their needs.  Since there was no money to buy anything, he spent the afternoon preparing his sermon for the next service.  When supper time came they sat down and read the Bible and prayed.

Just as they finished their prayer they heard a knock on the door and the wife opened it to see a lady from the church.  She had a large plate of food ready to eat and gave it to them.  They thanked her and asked why she had come.  She told them that her husband had been a drunkard and rarely brought home anything for the family.  She then said that her husband had been saved after hearing the pastor preach and now there was joy in their home and lot’s of food.   While she was cooking the evening meal she thought about the pastor and his wife and prepared extra food for them.

The pastor and wife sat down again and gave thanks for the wonderful answer to prayer and the provision for their needs just when they needed it.

2.  THE LORD CAN GIVE PEACE . . .

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6

In this world there are many wars and conflicts.  In the political world there are wars between nations and many times internal wars among the people of a country.

In this world there is much unrest and discontentment.  Many people worry about their job, others about their families and other about their health. 

Christians should know that there is a peace that the world doesn’t know and when problems come along they should rest in the peace of God.

“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.”  Psalm 4:8

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”  Isaiah 26:3

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:23

Some years ago a ship was approaching the shores of England when it encountered a terrible storm and soon began to sink.  It was at night and in the darkness 12 women were placed in a life boat but in the confusion and darkness no man was with them and they had no oars.   Soon they were at the mercy of the angry waves and some thought they would sink and be lost.  One lady began to scream and almost caused the boat to turn over.  But another lady said she was a Christian and would pray.  Some laughed but after her prayer she began to sing Christian hymns and soon things were calm in the boat.  The singer said she had been a famous opera singer but had been saved and now sang only at churches and other Christian gatherings.  Her name was Margaret Williams.  She continued singing through the night and when it began to dawn the fog was so dense that you could only see for a short distance.  Soon they heard voices and then saw another boat approaching them.  After they were all safe on a larger boat someone asked how they knew where they were in the dense fog.  One sailor said he heard singing and so went in that direction until he saw the life boat.

3.  THE LORD CAN MEET ALL OUR NEEDS . . .

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:13

One day we may be without our father or mother to help us.  As Christians we need to learn to depend upon the Lord to supply all our needs.  When we do what it says in Mathew we can be assured that our needs will be met.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Matthew 6:33

When we do what the Lord teaches in his word about our giving to the church, we can be assured that all our needs will be met.

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”  Malachi 3:10

Some years ago in a town near Warsaw, Poland there lived a humble farmer whose name was Dorby.  One year he had a small crop and the snow came early and he could hardly do anything to earn a living.  One day the landlord came and said they would have to move because he couldn’t pay the rent.  All his appeals for more time were not heeded and soon they were put out of the house with all their belongings in the snow.

With his wife and children cold and hungry he didn’t know what to do.  He then heard the bells of a nearby church ringing and decided to go to it to get out of the cold.  They sat down and prayed.  Then they stood up they sang an old hymn.  As soon as they finished singing they heard a loud knocking on a nearby window.  When it was opened he saw a large bird that his uncle had for a pet many years before.  In it’s beak was a large purse and when it was opened it contained a large number of precious stones worth a great deal of money.  Dorby went to the nearby town and soon heard that the King has passed that way the day before and had lost the purse.  He sent word that he had the purse and wanted to give it back to the king.  The king was very grateful and gave Darby a large sum of money for his honesty. It was enough to buy a house and take care of his needs until he could find work.  He was grateful to the Lord for his provision and over the door of the new house he made a plaque with the bird and the purse in its beak and the hymn they had sung.

.4.  THE LORD CAN GUIDE US . . .

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”  Psalm 32:8

“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  Proverbs 3:6

If we seek the direction of the Lord we can expect to be successful in this life and all that we do will be blessed of the Lord.

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8

God’s word is the best guide book there is in this world and when we take time to read it’s instructions we will know the way wherein we should go.

 

 

46                                       GIVING THANKS TO THE LORD

                                                       Psalm 100

 

“Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Vs. 4-6

We should be thankful to the Lord for all that he has done for us.  In verse 4 it tells us to be “thankful unto Him” because “the Lord is good”.

In Ezra we read that the people gave thanks to the Lord for his mercy.

“And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.”  Ezra 3:11

We should be abounding in thanksgiving for the help the Lord has given to us in establishing us in the faith and the victories he gives to us.

“Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”  Colossians 2:7

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Corinthians 15:57

“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.”  2 Corinthians 2:14

In conclusion we should give thanks to the Lord for everything that he has done for us.

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Ephesians 5:20

THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS WE SHOULD GIVE THANKS FOR

1.  FOR OUR SAVIOUR, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST . . .

Our heavenly Father sent his Son to this world to be our redeemer and we should give thanks for this

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”  John 17:3

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

2.  FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT . . .

When Jesus left this world he promised his disciples that he wouldn’t leave them as orphans, but that he would send the Holy Spirit to take his place.

 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. John 14:16-18

When we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit.  It is our guarantee of eternal life.

 “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.”  Ephesians 1:13

The Holy Spirit will be our guide to understand the truth of the Bible and to teach us how to live in this world.

 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”  John 16:13

3.  THE WORD OF GOD, THE BIBLE . . .

We should be thankful to the Lord for his word to guide and instruct us in the way we should go.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  Psalm 119:105

We should be thankful for the Bible because it is a permanent and reliable.

“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” Isaiah 40:8

“For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”  Psalm 119:89

God’s word should be our daily food to feed our souls so that we can grow spiritually.

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” 1 Peter 2:2

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but  by   every   word  that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”  Matthew 4:4

We should be thankful for the Bible because it is like seed, when it is planted it will produce salvation and eternal life.

 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”  1 Peter 1:23

4.  FOR THE PROVISIONS OF THIS LIFE . . .

We should be thankful for all that we have, our home and the bed we sleep in, the clothes that we have and the food that the Lord provides every day.

The Lord has promised to supply all our needs when we put Him first in our lives.

“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Matthew 6:30-33

Our heavenly Father has promised to supply all our needs according to his riches in Heaven.

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:19

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”  Matthew 7:11

5. HEAVEN, PARADISE AND THE PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE 

Many times in this life we may not have a permanent house or the material wealth that others may have, but as Christians we know that we have an eternal home in heaven.

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”  2 Corinthians 5:1

What a wonderful thought it is to know that our Saviour is preparing us a place in heaven.

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”  John 10:28

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”  Titus 1:2

 

47                           SEVEN WALKS OF THE CHIRISTIAN IN THE

                                                BOOK OF EPHESIANS

1.   OUR PAST WALK . . . 

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”  2:2-3

Before we came to know the Lord as our Saviour we lived and walked according to the desires of the flesh.  We were lost and controlled by Satan and his evil desire to keep us that way.

“Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.”  Acts 14:16

The apostle Peter describes to us some of these evil ways, the way the flesh led us to live before we came to Christ for salvation.

“For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.”  1 Peter 4:3

2.  OUR WALK IN GOOD WORKS . . .

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  2:10

The second walk of the Christian that we find is the walk of good works.  Walking speaks of our daily testimony as we travel through this world.

“Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.”  Acts 9:36   

Dorcas was a Christian that showed her faith by her good works.  Almsdeeds has reference to helping those in need.

We should be zealous and have enthusiasm to do good works.

“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”  Titus 2:14

3.  OUR WALK AS A CHRISTIAN . . .  

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.”   4:1

When we become Christians we become part of the family of God and the Lord expects us to walk worthy of our new family.

We are God’s ambassadors, representatives to a lost world.  An ambassador is a person who represents his country in a foreign country.

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.”  2 Corinthians 5:20

4.  OUR WALK IN LOVE . . .

“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”  5:2

The real test of our faith is how much love we have for our fellow man and the Lord.  Many people say they love the Lord but disobey the clear teachings of the Bible. 

“And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.”  2 John 1:6

 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  John 13:34-35

When the members of a church show real love one for another the world will want to find out what they have.  We are to love one another following the example of our Saviour who prayed for his enemies.

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”  John 15:12

6. OUR WALK AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT . . .

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.”

It is very difficult to walk in the darkness without a light.  You have to feel your way around and hope you don’t bump into something.  It can also be dangerous.  As Christians we have a light to guide us.

 “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.”   Psalm 89:15

Our Saviour is the Light of this World and when we walk close to him our path will be illuminated by his countenance.  If we are walking too far from his presence and light our path will be dark.

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”   John 8:12

7.  WALKING CIRCUMSPECTLY . . .  cautiously, warily, vigilantly, watchfully

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”  5:15-17

What does the word circumspectly mean?  What does it mean to walk circumspectly? 

It means to walk cautiously, being careful where we put our feet.  Spiritually speaking it means to be careful how we walk as Christians.  We should be careful how we speak and act.  We should be careful where we go and what we do so that we will not bring reproach on the name of Christ.

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”  1Corinthians 10:31

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”  1 Timothy 4:12

The word also means to walk warily, vigilantly and watchfully. The Bible also tells us to keep a watchful eye out for the tricks of the Devil.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”  1 Peter 5:8

The Lord has promised a blessing for those that walk in His ways.

“Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.”  Psalm 128:1

 

48                                                   SOME BIBLE KNEES

 

Knees in the Bible refer to prayer, our humility and confidence in the Lord.

“And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.”  1 Kings 8:54

“And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him.”  Acts 20:36-37

Today we will look at the knees of seven people in the Bible who were victorious in prayer, people who overcame difficult obstacles.

1.  THE KNEES OF ELIJAH . . .

 “So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees.”  1 Kings 18:42

“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”  James 5:17-18

After Elijah had defeated the false prophets of Baal he prayed three times for it to rain after the drought of three and a half years.  The prophet prayed fervently and God answered his prayers with an abundance of rain.

Elijah knew how to pray.  On one occasion Elijah prayed for the widows son who had died and he was restored to life.

“And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again. And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.”  1 Kings 17:21-22

How often does the Lord hear our voices in prayer as he heard the voice of Elijah?

King David said these word about prayer.

“Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.”   Psalm 55:17

2.  THE KNEES OF DANIEL . . .

“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”  Daniel 6:10

After Daniel heard that the king’s decree had been signed and he knew it meant death if he prayed to the Lord, he took courage and prayed as his custom was and even opened the windows so his enemies could see and hear.  We know the story of how he was thrown into the lions den and came out victorious. 

Dr. C. I. Scofield who was a great Bible teacher and editor of the Scofield Bible told how when he had been recently converted from a life of sin and drinking that one day he saw a picture of Daniel in the lions den.   He didn’t see the lions devouring Daniel, but saw Daniel on his knees looking up to heaven in prayer.  Dr. Scofield said that from that day forward he never drank again but prayed whenever the temptation to do wrong came his way as Daniel did in the lions den.

In this world there are many enemies seeking to devour our lives and testimony, but if we will fall on our knees as Daniel did, we will win the victory.

3.  THE KNEES OF EZRA . . .

“And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God.”  Ezra 9:5

Ezra had returned from exile in Persia to Jerusalem to help rebuild the Temple and the walls of the city.  The Lord had promised that after 70 years of captivity the people would be able to return to Israel.  Cyrus who was king of Persia whose nation had conquered the Babylonians sent Ezra back with his blessing to help in the work of restoration.

When Ezra saw that many of the people had disobeyed the Lord by marrying wives from among the people he fell on his knees in prayer to know what the Lord would say about this disobedience to the Lord’s command in the Law of Moses.

When we need wisdom we should fall on our knees as Ezra did and the Lord will send the answer.

4.  THE KNEES OF A LEPER . . .

“And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.  And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.”  Mark 1:40-42

This man had an incurable disease but when he came to Jesus with his problem and asked the Lord if it was His will to make him whole, he was cured.

We must have faith in the power of God to heal when it is his will.  On another occasion after Jesus had cured 10 lepers he said these words.

“And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.”  Luke 17:19

If we want God to answer our prayers we must have faith in the power of God.

“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”  Mark 11:22-23

As Christians we need to believe the promises of God.  God’s power is unlimited.

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”  Luke 1:37

5.  THE KNEES OF STEPHEN . . .

“And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”  Acts 7:60

In the hour of need Stephen called upon the name of the Lord on his knees.  He knew that death was very near and that his enemies would stone him to death, but even then he prayed for them.   His life ended on his knees.

There are many ways to die, but what a wonderful way Stephen died, on his knees praying.

One preacher told me he wanted to die while he was preaching.  I think I would rather die talking to the Lord.  The famous missionary David Livingston died on his knees in the heart of Africa praying for lost of that continent.

6.  THE KNEES OF PETER . . .

“But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.  And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.”  Acts 9:4

Here was a very difficult case, Dorcas had died but the people asked for Peter to come see what he could do.  What a miracle, after he fell on his knees and prayed she was restored to life.

Peter knew what it was to kneel down at Jesus feet.  After he saw the miracle of the fishes he fell down at the feet of Jesus and then the Lord told him he would become a fisher of men.

“When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.  . . . And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.”  Luke 5:8, 10

If we fall on our knees as Peter did and have an open heart the Lord may call you into his service as He did to me on the first Sunday of 1968. 

7.  THE KNEES OF PAUL . . .

Many times we read in the Bible of Paul on his knees in prayer to God.

When the Lord spoke to him on the Damascus road and he fell to the ground on his knees and asked the Lord, “what will thou have me to do?”

“And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”   Acts 9:3-4

“Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”  Acts 9:6

When Paul knew that his ministry was coming to an end he called for the elders and leaders of the church at Ephesus and told them of his plans to go to Jerusalem and warned them of false teachers and exhorted them to be faithful.  After this he prayed with them.

“And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.”  Acts 20:36

When Paul was on his way to Jerusalem the ship passed by Tyre and there the people from the church came to tell him good by and they all kneeled down in prayer.

“And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed.”  Acts 21:5

In many of his letters to the churches he had started he told the people he was praying for them.

“Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.  For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”  Ephesians 3:13-15

 

49                                                                 THE GREATEST PROMISE

John 14:1-6

 

In this passage of the Bible we have several promises that Jesus made to his followers while he was here in this world.  They are promises of hope and comfort for everyone that knows the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.

Today we will look at some of these promises and learn something about them.

1.  THEY WERE MADE BY THE GREATEST PERSON WHO EVER LIVED

Someone has said that a promise is only as good as the person making it.

The one who is speaking in this passage is the Son of God, the Saviour of this world, the creator of heaven and earth, the all powerful and the one who has all knowledge and wisdom.  Jesus is the one giving us this great promise of everlasting life.

When Jesus was here on this earth he had all power over the laws of nature.  Jesus healed the sick, opened the blind eyes and deaf ears and restored to life those who were dead.  Jesus not only had power over the natural laws but also over the spiritual laws.  Hundreds were saved from their sins and transformed into useful citizens of the kingdom of God.  They had their sins forgiven by Jesus and lived transformed lives.  Mary Magdalen out of whom Jesus cast seven demons became a devout follower of our Saviour.

2.  IT SPEAKS OF THE MOST WONDERFUL PLACE . . .

“In my Father's house are many mansions . . .” Vs 2

The largest and most expensive mansion in this world is nothing compared to the Fathers house in Heaven.  Jesus said he is preparing for every Christian an individual mansion it this eternal city called the New Jerusalem.  In the book of Revelation 21:10-23 we have description of what it is like.  The streets are made of gold, the gates of pearls and every house will be adorned with precious jewels.  It is a city where there will be no tears because there will be no more death and no cemeteries. It will be city of eternal light because Jesus himself will be the light of this city.  It is called the Paradise of God.

The phrase that says: “There is no place like home” is certainly true in the life of a Christian.  The song says, “This world it not my home, I’m just passing thru.”  What a wonderful thought to know as Christians we have a celestial home waiting for us.

3.  THE PURPOSE OF THIS PROMISE IS FOR OUR ETERNAL COMFORT

Jesus said in verse 1 “Let not your heart be troubled . . .”

Jesus knew that he would die but he also knew that he would come back to life to live for ever.  

“Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.”  John 14:19

We can find comfort in these words because we know that our Saviour is alive and will give eternal life to as many a put their trust in Him as their Saviour.

Jesus gave this promise to a lost world.

 “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  John 14:3

What a comforting promise to know that our Saviour is coming again to this world just as He was resurrected from the grave one day every tomb and cemetery will be empty when we receive our eternal body to live forever in Heaven with our Saviour.

The cemetery is not the end for a Christian, it is only the beginning of our journey to eternal life.

4.  THE PROMISE CAN BE HAD BY ALL WITHOUT COST . . .

“. . . ye believe in God, believe also in me.”  John 14:1

After Jesus had given this promise of eternal life, Thomas still didn’t understand if fully and so Jesus told him in verses 5-6 how to have eternal life.

“Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  John 14:5-6

The apostle Paul said it this way.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9

The way to Heaven is the easiest thing in this world. You don’t have to pay for it or work to get it. Jesus paid it all and offers His pardon and peace to all who will come to Him for salvation.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”  John 1:12

5.  THIS PROMISE DEMANDED THE GREATEST PREPARATION . . .

A man may say he will give you a million dollars, but if he doesn’t have any money in the bank, the promise will have little value.

Jesus could offer us eternal life because of what he did for us.

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”  Romans 5:8-10

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

 If we want to enter heaven we must be prepared by receiving Christ as our personal Saviour.

6.  THE PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE . . .

“I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  John 14:3

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”  1 Corinthians 15:19-22

There is no greater promise in the Bible but this, that we can have eternal life and be united with our loved ones again.

King David knew that he had eternal life and when his baby died he said these words.

“But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”  1 Samuel 12:19

One day we will be go to where our loved ones have gone if they were Christians.  Yes, there is hope when we know Christ as our Saviour and believe what he told us in this passage.

 

50                                                               PSALM 105

 

This Psalm was written by David to give thanks to the Lord when the “Ark of the Covenant” was brought to Jerusalem.

“Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren”.  1 Chronicles 16:7

 We read this story in 1 Chronicles 15:1 to 16:43.  We won’t take time to read this story as it is rather long, but we will look at this Psalm written by David for this occasion.

1.  Give Thanks . . .

“O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.  Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.   Vs. 1-2

In these two verses David tells us first of all to “Give Thanks” The word here is the same word found in the New Testament about how we should give.

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver”.  2 Corinthians 9:7

The word cheerful here has the meaning as happy or hilarious.  When the ark entered the city the Bible tells us that David was so excited that he danced before it.

“And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod”.  2 Samuel 6:14

2.  Seek . . .

“Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore”. Vs. 3-4

Three times in these two verses we find the work “seek”.

Every Christian should be seeking the Lord.  Twenty nine times we find this exhortation in the Bible.

“Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually”.  1 Chronicles 16:11

The desire of every Christian should be to seek the Lord at all times and with all his heart.    “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”.   Matthew 6:33

3.  Remember . . .

Remember his marvelous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen”. Vs. 5-6

One of David’s purposes in writing this Psalm was to remind the people that they were God’s chosen people to represent them to a lost world.  David tells them to remember Abraham and Jacob.  These two men experienced the wonderful blessing of God because of their obedience to His calling.

This word appears 144 times in the Bible.  As Christians we should remember the blessings and promises of God when we are discouraged or have a need.

4.  His Judgments . . .

“He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earthVs. 7

Every man is accountable to God and will one day give an account to the Lord.  Christians will appear at the “Judgment Seat of Christ” to be rewarded for what they have done for the Saviour. 

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad”.  2 Corinthians 5:10

The lost will be judged at the second resurrection when they stand before the “Great White Throne” as found in Revelation 20:11-13.

The Bible tells us that death is the result of sin and it is a judgment that every person will face one day. 

5.  His Covenant . . .

“He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:  Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance” Vs. 8-11

The word Covenant means “A pact, treaty, alliance, agreement between two parties or a contract.  It is a promise that a person makes.  God made a covenant with Israel to give them the land of Palestine forever.  Many people thought God had forgotten his promise or was not able to keep it, but on May 14, 1948 God showed to the world that he was able to fulfill his promise to the nation of Israel by restoring them again to the land promised to Abraham.

In verses 12-45 the Lord reminds them of how he kept his promise to deliver them from bondage after 400 years and how he brought them into the Land promised to them.

6.  In Conclusion . . .

“And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness: And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people; That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD”.  Vs. 43-45.

Here David tells us of two great truths. 

1.  Salvation - “He brought forth” He tells how they came forth with joy and gladness when he delivered them from the bondage of the Egyptians.  This is a type of Salvation.  Egypt is referred to as a type of the world and pharaoh as a type of Satan. 

2.  Christian life - “That they might observe his statutes and keep his laws” The desire of every Christian ought to be to observe and keep the laws of the Lord.  There is no better way to give thanks to the Lord than to be obedient to His teachings.

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men”.  Acts 5:29

 

51                                                     SIX ASPECTS OF PRAYER

 

“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples”.  Luke 11:1

I have a book titled “The School of Prayer”.   Prayer is not a ritual that must be learned or a rosary that must be repeated over and over again.  Prayer is simply talking to God, but just as a child learns to talk, so it is in the prayer life of a Christian.  The Bible tells us that many times our prayers are not answered because we fail to follow the simple steps in the Word of God.  Sometimes our prayers are not answered because we simply do not pray. 

“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts”.  James 4:3

In this message we will try to learn a little about prayer according to the Word of God.

1.  THE PLACE OF PRAYER . . .

“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly”.  Matthew 6:6

There are times for public prayer, but most of our prayers will be between us and the Lord.

“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed”.  Mark 1:35

“And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD”.  Genesis 19:27

2.  THE TIME OF PRAYER . . .

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint”.  Luke 18:1

“Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice”.  Psalm 55:17

Prayer ought to be like breathing, something that we do continually.  Our prayer closet could be a solitary walk in a quiet place or alone in our room.

3.  THE PERSON OF PRAYER . . .

“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth”.  Luke 11:2

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not”.  Jeremiah 33:3

Our prayers should be addressed to our Heavenly Father.  He is the one who created us and sustains us by his power.

4.  THE PURPOSE OF PRAYER . . .

“Give us day by day our daily bread”.  Luke 11:3

We should pray specifically for what we need. 

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”.  Matthew 26:41

5.  THE PRIVILEDGE OF PRAYER . . .

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”.  Matthew 11:28

It is a wonderful truth to know that we can call upon the Lord at any time and in any place.  We don’t have to go through another man to reach God.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”.  Hebrews 4:16

 6.  THE PROMISE OF PRAYER  . . .

“I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it”.  Psalm 81:10

“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly”.  Matthew 6:6

“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive”.  Matthew 21:22

 “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not”.  Jeremiah 33:3

 

52                                               “AND THE LORD . . .”

 

This phrase “and the Lord” appears 559 times in the Bible.  Today it is very common for science and many people to try and discredit the Lord and His workings in this world.   The first time we find this phrase in the Word of God is in Genesis 2:7

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”.

Many supposedly educated people try to tell us that man just happened or that he came from a Monkey.  It is like trying to say that a watch just happened, that all the intricate pieces formed by themselves and then came together in just the right way to form a timepiece.

Today we will study God’s plan for delivering this world from the penalty of sin through our Lord Jesus Christ using Noah’s deliverance from the flood of judgment that destroyed the world because of their wickedness.

TEXT:

“And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.”  Genesis 7:16

Here we see hand of the Lord in the deliverance and preservation of Noah and his family through the flood that points us to the salvation we have in the Lord Jesus Christ.  It was Noah’s obedience to the commands of the Lord that brought deliverance.

1.  The Call to Safety . . . Genesis 7:1-15

And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.”  Vs. 1  Noah was invited to come in just like people today.  Revelation 3:20

     1.  Because of his righteousness of - Hebrews 11:7

     2.  Because of God’s love – John 3:16

     3.  Because of the impending judgment – Genesis 6:17

2.  The Protection of God . . .  Genesis 7:16-24

“And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.  Genesis 7:16

When the Lord shuts us in His hand of Salvation no man can open the door.  We are saved eternally.  John 10:29

     1.  The security of Noah - Genesis 7:16

     2.  The world was lost but Noah saved – Genesis 7:23A

     3.  The deliverance of Noah – Genesis 7:23B

3.  The Memory of God . . . Genesis 8:1-14

And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, . . .”  Genesis 8:1

     1.  God is mindful of those who obey Him.  Vs. 1

     2.  God  removes  barriers  for  those  who  obey  him  Vs. 2-3                                   

     3. God remembers the good that we do.  1 Cor.  3:14

4.  The Command of God . . . Genesis 8:15-19

“And God spake unto Noah, saying, . . .”  Genesis 8:15

After we are saved we should listen to the Lord and do what He says.  1 Samuel 15:22

     1.God told Noah to leave the ark   Vs. 16  – our service

     2.God told Noah to multiply  Vs. 9:1 – making disciples

5.  The Mercy of God . . . Genesis 8:20-22

“And the Lord smelled . . .”  Vs. 21  

The Lord is aware of what we do and will reward us for our service and faithfulness to His work. 

     1. The promise to never curse the ground again – Vs. 21

     2. The promise to never destroy the earth again in that manner - Vs. 21  

 

53                                              AFTER YOU HAVE CROSSED OVER JORDAN

(Life after receiving Christ as your Saviour)

In the book of Deuteronomy

Our life as a Christian begins the moment we receive Christ as our Saviour.  The Bible tells us that what happened to Israel was an example to us, an illustration of our walk with the Lord.

“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall”.  1 Corinthians 10:11-12

In this last book of  Moses we have his last words to the nation of Israel before they crossed over the Jordan River and settled in the land of Palestine.  He warns them to be careful after they enter the Promised Land just as Christians are to walk circumspectly,  that is, to walk carefully.

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:14-17

1.  Moses first warning to the people is in 4:15-24

Here he warns them against making idols to worship.  An idol can be a physical object made into the appearance of a man or woman.  It can also be something made to look like a bird or animal.  He also warns them against worshiping the sun or moon or the stars. 

This was one of the Ten Commandments.

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”  Exodus 20:4

An idol in the life of a Christians may not be an image in his home or church.  A car can become an idol to a Christian.   Our family, our house, or our work can also become an idol if we are not careful.

2.  Moses second warning to the people was to marry only Christians 7:1-6

Vs. 3-4  makes this very clear and tells us why we should avoid this.

How sad that many Christians young people make this mistake and think they can change their husband or wife after they are married.  If a person refuses to follow Christ before they are married it is very unlikely they will be saved later on.  It is not impossible for a husband or wife to be saved after marriage, but is very unlikely.

The apostle Paul gives us the same warning in the New Testament.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”  2 Corinthians 6:14

This principle of separation applies not only to marriage, but to all aspects of our Christian life.  How sad that many people have lost their money in an unequal yoke with a lost business partner.  Give example.

3.  Moses third warning was to beware of pride, self-confidence  Vs. 8:11-18

Many times when we have little of this world’s wealth and what if brings,  we are closer to the Lord and trust in Him for our needs. 

Having money is not the problem,  but our love for it that is the root of all evil.

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”.  1 Timothy 6:10

Story of humble man asking the pastor to pray for a better job.  He was advised to start tithing and the Lord would bless him.  Several years later after he had become a prosperous businessman and his company was making millions of dollars and came to the pastor again.  He asked if it might be okay to give less than the tithe as it now amounted to thousands of dollars each week.  The pastor prayed and the man heard these words in the pastors prayer, “Lord, please take away some of his wealth so he can continue to tithe.”  The man got the message and soon gave even to the Lord’s work.

4.  Moses fourth warning was against following the customs of this world  Vs. 18:9-14

The Bible tells us we are in the world, but not of this world.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”.  Romans 12:1-2

The apostle John also warns us about being too close to this world and it’s unholy manners and customs.

“Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world”.  1 John 2:15-16

As Christians we are to love this world and do our best to warn the people of the coming judgment of God.  God so loved the world that He sent his Son to die for their sins.  We should love in this same way and show them God’s love by our good works and separation from their evil ways and customs.

5.  Moses fifth warning to the people was to be courageous and realize that it is the Lord’s battle and He will be with them in the battles they have to fight.  Vs. 20:1-4

This last warning is more of an exhortation for the people to be courageous and trust in the Lord.

The Christian life is full of battles, both physical and spiritual.  Our Saviour was tempted and suffered, but was victorious over the Devil and his evil ways.

The apostle Paul suffered and fought many battles as he took the Gospel message to a lost world. 

Paul never quit and when his life was nearing the end he could say these words of victory.

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing”.  2 Timothy 4:7-8

“For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee”.  Isaiah 41:13

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies”.  Psalm 18:2-3

It is wonderful to know we serve an all powerful God and that He is with us in every battle that we must fight as Christians.

 

54                                                    THE LORD IS LOOKING FOR

1.  A HIDDEN TREASURE . . .

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:  Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”   Matthew 11:45-46

The pearl of great price is the human soul.   The Lord is seeking for those who are lost in sin.

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  Luke 19:10

The Lord gave his only Son to pay the price of our sin by dying in our place.

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

2.  A LOST SHEEP . . .

“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” Luke 15:4-5

Many times we use this parable to represent a lost soul, and surely it does speak of this, but it can also represent a wayward Christian, who has strayed from the way of truth for the pleasures of this world. 

There are many examples of Christians in the Bible who strayed from the ways of the Lord and were punished.  Some repented of their sins and were restored to fellowship with the Lord.

Israel’s first King, Saul rebelled against the commandment of the Lord and went to an early death.  I Kings 15:

Demas also left the Lord.  “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, . . .”  2 Timothy 4:10

But there are those who when the Great Shepherd came looking for them repented of their sins and returned to the ways of the Lord.

“And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man . . .” 2 Samuel 12:7

When the prophet Nathan came to David and rebuked him for his sin of adultery, David repented and was forgiven.

“And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.”  2 Samuel 12:13  

In Psalm 51 we read of David’s repentance and prayer for restoration.

3.  WORRIED DISCIPLES . . .

“And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?  And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”  Mark 4:38-41

Many times the Lord let’s difficulties come into our lives so He can demonstrate his power to provide for what we need.

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”  1 Peter 5:7

Many times we may think the Lord is sleeping when we are in difficulty, but he always has one eye and ear open to answer our prayers when we call upon Him.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

4.  A REJECTED MAN . . .

“Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?  He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?  And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.  And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” John 9:35-38

Many times society rejects a person because of his condition.  It is always more desirous to witness to a person of some education and good position in this life, but the Lord is interested in the down and out also.  This man had been rejected and cast out of the temple by those who should have loved him most. 

Our Saviour sought this man and when he learned who it was that had healed him, he worship Him, demonstrating his faith. 

Mel Trotter was a drunkard in the city of Chicago and after his little baby had died soon after birth and his wife had left him, he decided to take his own life.  He had bought all the liquor his money would buy and was walking toward Lake Michigan to drown himself.   It was a cold night and he saw a light on the outside of a building and when he drew near a man invited him.  It was the Pacific Garden Rescue Mission and soon he heard a Gospel message and spent the night there.  The next morning when he was sober he heard the message of Salvation in Christ and was saved.  His life was changed completely and soon he began preaching and later became director of the mission.   Many years later when he died it took two days for the people to pay their tributes to this man who had been found by Christ and transformed into a person the Lord could use greatly in His service. 

 

55                                                               HEBREWS  7

 

Vs. 1   “For this Melchisedec”  -  Who was he?  Three theories but only fit’s the Scriptural definition of who he was.

 Some say he was a descendent of Shem but there is no evidence or mention of this in the Bible.

 Other writers had said that he was Christ himself or an angelic being but this too has no scriptural backing and would not fit Christ being a type of himself.

 He is called King of Salem which was Jerusalem (Psalm 76:2).  This was a literal city since ancient times and later became the capital of Israel when David conquered the city and made it his capital (2 Samuel 5:6-7).  This city is mentioned 767 times in the Bible, more than any other city.

 Melchisedec is called both a king and a priest.  No other king or priest in Israel had these two titles.   Only our Saviour is called both a king and a priest.

 Vs. 2  Abraham evidently knew or had heard of him and recognized him as a true priest and king and paid tithes to him.

 He is called “King of righteousness”.  This name signifies the righteous king. Jesus Christ is a rightful and a righteous king - rightful in his title and righteous in his government. He is “the Lord our righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6); he has fulfilled all righteousness (Matthew 3:15), and brought in an everlasting righteousness (Psalm 119:142), and he loves righteousness and righteous persons, and hates iniquity.

 “King of Salem” which is “King of Peace”.   Melchisedec was the king of this city and ruled it just as our Saviour will rule and reign from this same city in the future for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:6).  Many believe the name Salem comes from the Jewish greeting Shalom which translated means peace (Isaiah 9:6).

 Vs. 3  Like unto the Son of God”.  He was not divine as our Saviour is, but similar or like him.  He had no known linage or descendents.  He was not as the priests in Israel that were constantly changing because of age and death, but he continually served as priest and king in the city of Salem.  Jesus continually is our high priest because he will never die again (Vs. 25).

 Vs. 4  “how great this man was”   Melchisedec was known as a great king and known throughout the land for his great leadership and worship of Jehovah.

 Vs. 5-6  Melchisedec lived 430 years before Moses and the Levites.  The laws given to Israel permitted the priests to take tithes of the people for their support.  Abraham had left his home by faith and moved to Palestine under the leadership of God.  He had the promises of God just as we have them today and should live by them.  “blessed him who had the promises”, that is Abraham.  We aslo have the promises of God  (2 Peter 1:4).

 Vs. 7  Abraham considered himself less than Melchisedec and was blessed by him.

 “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted”.  Matthew 23:12

 Vs. 8  “but there he receiveth them”  When we give to the Lord’s work we are giving to Christ who is in heaven. 

 “Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me”.  Matthew 25:45

 “ Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal”.   Matthew 6:19-20

 Vs. 9-13  In these verses the writer tells us that the system of laws given to Israel was imperfect.  Verse 12 tells us there was “a change also of the law”. 

  “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it”.   Luke 16:16

 The laws of the Old Testament came to an end with John the Baptist and we are now governed by the New Testament and the laws of Grace.

 “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”.  John 1:17

 “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace”.  Romans 6:14

 Several false churches teach that we are still under the “laws of Moses” and we should keep many of them.  Some go to church on Saturday.  Others don’t eat certain kinds of meat.

 Vs. 13-14 Jesus was not a descendent of the tribe of Levi from which all the Old Testament priests and servants of the temple were from.  Our Saviour was from the tribe of Judah.

 Vs. 15-17 Jesus was a priest after the similitude of Melchisedec.  Our Saviour is a priest who has an “endless life” Vs. 16 and whose priesthood continues “forever” Vs. 17, 25.

Vs. 18-19  The Old Testament laws ended and were disannuled.  There is absolutely no where in the Bible where we are commanded to keep these laws today.

 “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace”.  Romans 6:14

 Vs. 20-21 “without an oath”  The law instructed that the office of priest should descend, upon the death of the father, to his eldest son, according to the order of carnal or natural generation; for none of the high priests under the law were without father or mother, or without descent: they had not life and immortality in themselves. They had both beginning of days and end of life; and so the carnal commandment, or law of primogeniture, directed their succession, as it did in matters of civil right and inheritance.

 The new priest did not need to take an oath as our leaders do when they take office.

 Vs. 22-25 “a better testament” The New Testament” is far better than the Old Testament because we have an high priest that will never die.  Jesus is able to “save them to the uttermost”.  Our Great High Priest, Jesus will never die again and is ever ready to hear the cry of a lost sinner who repents of his sin and asks for salvation.

 Vs. 26-28  Here we have a description of our Saviour and how superior he is to the priests of the Old Testament.  Jesus became like unto us when he assumed a human form, but lived a perfect and sinless life.

 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin”.  Hebrews 4:15

 

56                                                             A FAITHFUL LABOURERER

2 Timothy 2:1-7

 

Vs. 1-2  In this letter Paul is telling Timothy that he would face opposition and suffering, but that he should be strong and endure, knowing that there is a reward for our labor as Christians.

“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be”.  Revelation 22:12

Paul compared the work of a Christian worker to that of a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer.  Each one must discipline himself and be willing to sacrifice to achieve the results they want.

Vs. 3-5  Like soldiers, we have to give up worldly security and endure rigorous discipline. The life of a soldier is sometimes very rigorous and difficult, but a good soldier will endure.  A soldier’s first duty is to the Army and country he is serving.  He cannot become entangled with the affairs of this life, that is to engage in activities that would distract him from his main duty of serving in the Army.

Vs. 5  Like athletes, we must train hard and follow the rules if we are to win the contest. In the first Olympic Games in Greece each athlete had to sing a statement saying he had trained for ten months prior to the contest.  If one is to receive a crown for his labour for the Saviour, he must do it according to the rules of the Bible.  Many times someone crosses the finish line first, only to be disqualified because he broke the rules of the contest.

“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway”.  1 Corinthians 9:27

Vs. 6  Like farmers, we must work extremely hard and be patient until the harvest comes.  A farmer plants the seed in the field by faith.  He expects the seed to grow and to reap crop in the time of harvest. 

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not”.  Galatians 6:9

A true soldier of the cross will keep going despite suffering because of the thought of victory, the vision of winning, and the hope of harvest. We will see that our suffering is worthwhile when we achieve our goal of glorifying God, winning people to Christ, and one day living eternally with him.

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him”.  James 1:12

 

                   * MISSIONARY  SERMONS *

 

1.                                                      EVANGELIZE

 

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."  Mark 16:15

Among the orders given by Jesus, none is more important as this one.  These were his last words to his church before he returned to Heaven.  The success of a church or lack of success depends on the obedience of this command of Jesus.  This is a missionary order, "into all the world", not just the U.S.

Someone has said that the church that is not interested in missions is a mission field itself.

We are not just sit and wait for the world to come to us and our church.  We must do something if the world is going to be reached for Christ.  Some churches have an imaginary sign on them that says, “Any sheep found in here on Sunday will be fed”.

1. Why We Should Go . . .

A. Because all are sinners: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” Rom. 3:23 and because of this all are separated from God: “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” Isaiah 59:2 and as a result are condemned to hell: “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments” Luke 16:23 

B. To tell of the only way to Heaven: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” John 14:6; the only Mediator: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” 1Timothy 2:5 and the only Name under Heaven that can bring salvation: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”  Acts 4:12.

C. To tell of God's love for sinners: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” John 3:16;  “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”. Luke 19:10.

We should go because it is the only plan God has for reaching the lost.

2. Who Should Go . . .

Every Christian is to be a witness for Christ: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” Acts 1:8.  The church wherever it is should be preaching Christ “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them” Acts 8:4-5.  It is not just the job of the pastor or Sunday School teacher to witness for Christ. Every Christian should be always ready to give a testimony of his faith in Christ;  “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” 1 Peter 3:15.

When Christ gave us the Last Commission in Matthew 28:19 it was to all of his followers, not just the apostles.   Many believe there were at least 500 present when he went to the Mount of Olives and ascended up to heaven.  1 Corinthians 15:6

3. Where Should we Go . . .

Jesus said: “The field is the world” Matthew 13:38, He also said: “into all the world” Matthew 28:19-20.  We should go both at home and abroad at the same time as read in Acts 1:8.

In many parts of this world Christ is not known as in the U.S.  In America there are churches on nearly every corner.  In Houston, Texas there are over 4,000 Baptist churches and yet in many other countries there are entire cities without a single Baptist church.  It is true that America needs the gospel, but there are few people who could honestly say that they have never heard of Christ or don't have a Bible in their home.  In many other countries multitudes have never even seen a Bible, let alone know of the message of Salvation that it contains.

4. What Should be The Aim of Our Going . . .

The true aim of any pastor or missionary ought to be the desire the apostle Paul had.

"Brethern, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved." Romans 10:1

God’s word tells us that Jesus came to “seek and to save that which was lost” Luke 19:10

Certainly as we look around we can see that many have gone forth to make name for themselves. Many have founded Christian universities with their names, while others have tried to build the largest churches.  Many missionaries have gone forth to make a name for their denomination and their aim seems to be to build buildings that many times are not effective in reaching the lost.

 

2                                                           THE CHALLENGE OF MISSIONS

2 Timothy 2:1-7

 

What ought to be our goal and purpose as a missionary?  Certainly the establishing of churches ought to be our ultimate goal.  But this can only be accomplished after much groundwork and preparation.  It is easy to rent a building and put up a sign, Baptist Church, but this is not establishing and organizing a church that will last.  Paul told Timothy to commit the things that he had taught him to faithful men who were able to teach others also the things they had learned from Timothy Vs. 2.

To be successful as a missionary there are three things that we need to have and do.

1.  A Plan – Luke 14:28-30

Before a building is built, surveys are made to see if the location will support a new business.  Then the ground is tested to see if it is firm enough to support a large structure and finally an estimate is made of the cost.  When this has been done plans are drawn up and then approved by those who have experience in building.  Now you are ready to begin the work of building.  It is the same in starting a new church.  We have always tried to start churches where there not others nearby. 

Every missionary should have a definite plan of what he is going to try and accomplish before and after he arrives on the mission field.  His first plan should be to try and learn the language and customs of the people.  Studying in an organized language school for at least a year is always better than trying to learn with a private teacher or just mingling with the people.  Satan is going to do all he can to distract us from carrying out your plans.  Following are a few suggestions that can help us to carry out our plans.

A.  Don’t be discouraged by obstacles, but look to the Lord for help. 

When the Israelites faced there first great obstacle at the Red Sea the Lord said these words.  Exodus 14:13-16.

“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.  And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea”.

When we are willing to face the obstacles and conquer them with the Lord’s help we have the promise of  Deut. 31:6 

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee”.

During these past 38 years since the Lord called us to be missionaries we have faced many obstacles, but the Lord has never failed and until this day every obstacle has been conquered with the Lord’s help.

Our first obstacle was raising support and getting to the field.  In less than a year we visited all the churches we knew and then set a date to leave, Nov. 6, 1969.  We had less than $500. a month and three children, but the Lord has taken care of us for these past 38 years.  Our next obstacle was arriving on the field, to a strange country where we had never been before and had never met a single person there.  One man had offered to meet us but he never answered our letters when we were ready to leave.  At the last minute I wrote to a missionary who had written and offered to help us.  His name was Jimmy Rose and he wrote saying he would be at the airport when we arrived.  We later learned he lived about five hours from the airport and drove all night to meet us at 7:00 A,M when our plane landed.   He helped us find a house in the city of Sao Paulo and introduced us to some other missionaries that lived there.  Our next obstacle was getting a car to get to the language school what we near the downtown area of this city of over 10 million people.  With only enough money to buy a stove and refrigerator and beds the first month, we didn’t have any left for a car.  We mentioned the need in a prayer letter and a church in Tyler, Texas sent us a check for $1,000. to help us get one.  Our first table was a door we took off the hinges and put on some boxes for a month.  Some churches began helping us and we soon were able to purchase what we needed.

After finishing language school our next obstacle was knowing where the Lord wanted us to work.  After visiting several towns we moved to the city of Franca that had a population of 80 thousand people.  Our first church began in a part of the city where there was no church of any kind.  We later learned that this area was where a lot of robbers and other undesirable people lived.  We faced many obstacles but we saw a church started and baptized many people.  When we left the church had a national pastor and had been able to build a simple building to meet in.

B.  Don’t try to have all the answers yourself.  Few buildings have ever been built by one man.  Many missionaries have failed and left the field because they were not willing to learn from others.

Every new missionary should learn that other missionaries on the field and many national pastors can be a help to them.  Many missionaries arrive on the field thinking they have all the experience they need and can do things the way they may have seen them done in America.  Paul knew what it was to have others help him in the work.  At least nine different people are mentioned as having helped and traveled with him in his work of establishing churches. 

A wise pastor and missionary will realize the power there is in allowing others to give advise and learn from the experiences of others.  Proverbs 24:5-6 says:

“A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety”.

C.  Another obstacle to carrying out your plan is that many times we forget the promises of God.  When you arrive on the mission field there may be other missionaries nearby, but these may move to other areas and many times leave the field.  After Moses had died and left Joshua in charge, the Lord said these words to him.  Joshua 1:9

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest”.

And again we have the words of Jesus:

“. . . and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen”.

D. Don’t forget to spend time in God’s word.  Feed your own soul with fresh nourishment from heaven everyday. George Mueller once said, “If you are gong to feed the souls of others, you must first feed your own soul”.  We should never forget the words of David in Psalm 1:1-2

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night”.

E.  Carry out your plan with the aid and power of the Holy Spirit.  The Bible says in Ephesians 5:18 “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit’.

We need God’s power in carrying out the plan he has given to us.  If any lasting work is going to be done, it must be done by the Spirit of God.

“Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts”.  Zechariah 4:6

F.  Wait on the Lord.  Many missionaries have not been able to finish their work because of impatience.  On the mission field things may take time and move very slowly.  Psalm 27:13-14

“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD”.

Getting paper work done, buying needed things and getting a new work started take time.  Henry Knott waited 19 years and 6 months before he reaped the harvest of his work on the Island of Tahatti.

2.  Be Prepared . . .

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”.  2 Corinthians 10:3-5

We are in a warfare against Satan and we need the very best weapons if we are going to win.

A.  Get the very best training.  If would not hurt anyone to study in a Bible School or College.  The discipline of this can be a big help on the mission field.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”.  2 Timothy 2:15

B.  Resist the lies of  the Devil.   From the beginning of time the devils main trick has been to lie and try to deceive Christians. 

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it”.  John 8:44

We should be prepared to resist temptation, keep a clean life.  Many missionaries have failed to carry out God’s plan because they have succumbed to carnal desires and fallen into sin.  We should be prepared to abstain from all appearance of evil as it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:22.

C.  Submit to God’s authority. Be willing to humble yourselves.  You may have to do some things you would never do in America.  You might have to eat some simple food, dress in a simple manner and be willing to associate with the people you are trying to reach. 

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up”.  James 4:7-10

3.  Perform, do something . . .

“And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people, And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them;  For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you”.  Deuteronomy 20:2-4

There is an old Chinese proverb that says:  “To finish you must begin”.  It is very sad that many missionaries quit before they ever begin their work.  Some have spent years raising support, then studying the language and have quit when they were ready to leave for the field.  Some have stayed only a couple weeks and then gone back home. 

Jesus said of Mary, “She hath done what she could”.  Mark 14:8

You may not be able to do the great work that Adionarm Judson did in Burma.  They say that when he died he left over 50 established Baptist churches in that land.  If God has called you, you can do something. 

Joshua led the people of Israel to victory at Jericho and then went on to conquer the land and give each tribe their place to live in.

Daniel after he knew that a decree had been signed that anyone who prayed to the real God of Heaven would be put to death, bowed down three times a day and trusted the Lord for deliverance.

Elijah won a great victory on Mount Carmel because he had been willing to camp out near a stream of water and later live in a simple house with a widow and her son for three and a half years.

Since the Lord has called us into his service we have lived in many different houses, some with indoor plumbing and some without.  In one of these houses where we lived for a time, there is now an organized Baptist church. 

The apostle Paul could say when he was near death in his last letter to Timothy these words:

“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing”.  2 Timothy 4:6-8

Every missionary that has been called of God can do something if he has a plan, and is prepared and then will perform,  be willing to do what God has called him to do, whatever the cost may be.

Paul when he knew his time of work here on earth said these words:

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God”.  Acts 20:24

 

3                                                                        OPEN  EYES

 

Israel was at war with Syria and each time the Syrian king sent his armies to war with Israel they were defeated because Elisha the prophet revealed to the king of Israel his plans.  Finally the Syrian king sent his army by night and surrounded the mountain where Elisha was staying.  The next morning the servant of Elisha went out and saw the mountain surrounded by the enemy army and was fearful.  When the prophet heard the news he knew God was in command and prayed for his servants eyes to be opened that he might have a supernatural vision and see the angels of God who were there to protect them.

2 Kings 6:17 “And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see.  And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”

If we are to reach a lost world for Christ we need a supernatural opening, not only of our spiritual eyes, but also an opening of our hearts, our lips and our ears.

1.  OPEN EYES

As Christians we need to have our eyes opened by the Lord to see as He sees, to be moved with compassion as Jesus was when he was here on earth.

Matthew 9:36 “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.”

John 4:35 “Say not ye, There are yet four months and then cometh harvest, behold I say unto you, Lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already unto harvest.”

When David Livingston was 25 he went to London to apply for missionary service and talked to Robert Moffit, a missionary to Africa who was there on furlough.  Robert Moffit said these words, "Do not sit down in lazy contentment, do not choose an old station.  Push on to the vast unoccupied and unknown district of the north.  In that direction on a clear morning I have seen the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever gone, there sir, is your field."   David Livingston later said, “those words lit a fire in my heart that never went out”.  He had caught a vision of a lost continent that needed Christ and gave his life to reach those people for the Saviour.

2.  OPEN HEARTS

Many times we see the needs and know that multitudes in many parts of the world are lost.  Many churches claim to have an interest in missions and many Christians know of the needs of missionaries, but do little to help get the Gospel to the ends of the earth as Jesus commanded us to do.

Jesus not only saw the multitudes without a shepherd, but he was moved with compassion and tried to share with them the message of salvation.  His heart was moved and broken when he saw the people in their sin.

We need hearts that are sensitive to the needs of people and can be opened by the Lord to do His will.

Acts 16:14 “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyratira. which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul”.

Lydia heard the Gospel and was baptized confessing her faith in Christ.  Later she opened her home to Paul and a church was started there.  She not only saw the need to share the Gospel with others but did something to help meet the need because her heart had been opened by the Lord.

Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, o God, thou wilt not despise”.

1 Samuel 12:24 “Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you”.

1 Samuel 10:26 “And Saul went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched”.

3.  OPEN LIPS

Psalm 51:15 “O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise”.

Psalm 81:10 “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it”.

One of the greatest needs in missions today is the need of prayer.  Many times we fail to realize the power of prayer and what a benefit it can be to missionaries.  Jesus spent many hours in prayer and many times entire nights praying to his heavenly Father.

James 5:16 “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”.

2 Corinthians 1:11  “Ye also helping together by prayer for us...”

As we think about prayer and it's relation to missions, there are three areas that every Christian and church should consider as they pray for missionaries and their work in other lands.

MORE LABORERS...Matthew 9:37-38 “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few, pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth  laborers into his harvest”.

SAFETY OF MISSIONARIES...Ephesians 6:10-12, 18 “Finally,  my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”.

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and waiting thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”.  Ephesians 6:18

Missionaries face many times difficulties and dangers that we don't face here at home.  Someone has said that a missionary is like a soldier on the front line, many times just a short distance from the enemy.

John and Betty Stam who went to China and in less than a year lost their lives for Christ.  Ann Judson, the wife of Adionaram Judson, missionary to Burma.  Soon after arriving on the field, Adionaram Judson was imprisoned because of the political unrest and his wife faced untold hardships with her new born baby.  Bobby Powel, Betty Head in Brazil gave their lives for our Saviour.

PRAYER FOR THE LOST...Psalm 146:8 “The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind, the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous”.

Romans 10:1  “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved”.

David Brainerd prayed with great fervency for the conversion of the American Indians, and had great results against untold obstacles.

4.  OPEN EARS

Psalm 85:8 “I will hear what the Lord God will speak . . .”

Isaiah 6:8-9 “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?  Then said I, here am I, send me.  And he said, GO”.

We not only need to see the needs of a lost world, and have open hearts to do the Lord's will at home, and pray for those who have answered the call to go, but we need to be open and listening if the Lord should call us to labor in a special way.

The fields are many and the labours few, answer God's call today.

 

4 – 2                                                    OPEN  EYES

Israel was at war with Syria and each time the Syrian king sent his armies to war with Israel they were defeated because Elisha the prophet revealed to the king of Israel his plans.  Finally the Syrian king sent his army by night and surrounded the mountain where Elisha was staying.  The next morning the servant of Elisha went out and saw the mountain surrounded by the enemy army and was fearful.  When the prophet heard the news he knew God was in command and prayed for his servants eyes to be opened that he might have a supernatural vision and see the angels of God who were there to protect them.

2 Kings 6:17 "And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see.  And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."

If we are to reach a lost world for Christ we need a supernatural opening, not only of our spiritual eyes, but also an opening of our hearts, our lips and our ears.

1.  OPEN EYES

As Christians we need to have our eyes opened by the Lord to see as He sees, to be moved with compassion as Jesus was when he was here on earth.

Matthew 9:36  "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd."

John 4:35  "Say not ye, There are yet four months and then cometh harvest, behold I say unto you, Lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already unto harvest."

When David Livingston was 25 he went to London to apply for missionary service and talked to Robert Moffit, a missionary to Africa who was there on furlough.  Robert Moffit said these words,  "Do not sit down in lazy contentment, do not choose an old station.  Push on to the vast unoccupied and unknown district of the north.  In that direction on a clear morning I have seen the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever gone, there sir, is your field."   David Livingston later said, "these words lit a fire in my heart that never went out."  He had caught a vision of a lost continent that needed Christ and gave his life to reach those people for the Saviour.

If we fail to see the needs of a lost world God may do something drastic.

Dr. John Percival was a leading physician in a large city and had a thriving practice.  He was a member of the First Baptist Church of that city and was loved by everyone.  He had only one daughter and loved her very much.  When she finished High School she went off to a Christian school to study.  During her second year of studies God spoke to her about being a missionary to China.  When she was home for the Christmas holidays she told her family about her call to the mission field.  Her father became very upset and said very sternly to her, "I don't want you to ever get out of my sight."  She knew what he meant and when she finished school her father had not changed his mind allowing her to go to China.  She married a christian and had two children.  One day Dr. Percibal went to an eye doctor for an exam and the physician said he needed an operation immediately.  He told him he had a very serious eye disorder.  Dr. Percibal called his pastor and he was with him when he was operated on and present when the bandages were removed a couple of weeks later.  The physician removed the bandages and after a very careful examination told Dr. Percibal that in two weeks he would probably be completely blind.  A few months later the Dr. called his pastor to go to lunch with him.  He was now totally blind and the pastor had to help feed him.  During the meal Dr. Percibal told the pastor what he had said to his daughter about never leaving his sight.  With tears he said I'll never see her again.  Do you think God is retrubutive?  It can be very dangerous to close our eyes to God's will for us.

2.  OPEN HEARTS

Many times we see the needs and know that multitudes in many parts of the world are lost.  Many churches claim to have an interest in missions and many Christians know of the needs of missionaries, but do little to help get the Gospel to the ends of the earth as Jesus commanded us to do.

Jesus not only saw the multitudes without a shepherd, but he was moved with compassion and tried to share with them the message of salvation.  His heart was moved and broken when he saw the people in their sin.

We need hearts that are sensitive to the needs of people and can be opened by the Lord to do His will.

Acts 16:14 "And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyratira. which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul."

Lydia heard the Gospel and was baptized confessing her faith in Christ.  Later she opened her home to Paul and a church was started there.  She not only saw the need to share the Gospel with others but did something to help meet the need because her heart had been opened by the Lord.

Psalm 51:17 "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, o God, thou wilt not despise."

1 Samuel 12:24  "Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you."

Many years ago when Dr. George W. Truitt was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas he was asked to preach at a dedication service for a new auditorium one Sunday afternoon at a country church near Dallas.  Before the service the pastor mentioned to him that the church still owed $6,500 dollars and asked if it might be okay to take an offering to help pay this debt.  The service began and Dr. Truitt preached and then it was time for the dedication of the new building.  The pastor told about the money still owed and said it would be wonderful if they could dedicate the building debt free.  The church decided to take an offering and pledges.  One of the men by the name of Charlie was asked to come to the front and keep tract of what came in.  Dr. Truitt said one man said he would give $1,000 dollars and many others gave also.  When the offering and pledges reached $3,500 the building grew silent.  If seeded as if everyone had done all they could.  In a moment a plainly dressed lady stood up that all the people knew for her dedication to the Lord.  Her husband Charlie was at the front and she said: "Charlie, do you think we could sell our little farm and give this to the church, you know someone offered us $3,000 for it this week."  Charlie said he had been thinking the same thing.  When the people saw their willingness to sell all they had to give to the Lord's work, many were moved and Dr. Truitt said you could feel the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of the people.  In less than ten minutes the $3,000 was raised and the building dedicated debt free and Charlie and his wife were able to keep their little farm.

1 Samuel 10:26  "And Saul went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched."

3.  OPEN LIPS

Psalm 51:15  “O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise”.

Psalm 81:10 “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God”.  Philippians 4:6

One of the greatest needs in missions today is the need of prayer.  Many times we fail to realize the power of prayer and what a benefit it can be to missionaries.  Jesus spent many hours in prayer and many times entire nights praying to his heavenly Father.

One night many years ago a young lady went to spend the night at the residence of her Uncle, King William IV of England.  Early the next morning she was awakened and given the news that her uncle had died during the night and she was now the Queen of England.  She told the one who brought the news to please wait while she made ready to see the family.  They say she went into her bedroom and fell on her knees and prayed asking for diving help.  She was England's longest ruling monarch from 1837 until her death in 1901.  It was during her reign that the modern missionary movement began.  William Carey and hundreds of other missionaries went to all parts of the world during her reign.  They say that many times she dressed as a commoner so she could go to hear Charles Spurgeon preach.

If we could realize the power of prayer and the blessing it can bring to the work of God, we would certainly do more of it.

Fanny Crosby will always be remembered for her love for the Lord and the many songs she gave to the church.  She once told a friend, "I never try to write a song without first praying about it."  She must have spent a lot of time in prayer because she wrote over 8,000 hymns.  On one occasion in 1874 she needed $5.00 to pay a debt and had no time to contact her publishers.  The one who stayed with her to help because of her blindness, said she went into her bedroom and prayed for awhile.  When she came out she began walking about the room as if she was expecting someone.  In a few minutes a knock came on the door and a friend was invited in for a visit.  She said she was passing by and could only spend a few minutes.  When she left she pressed something into Fanny Crosby’s hand, it was a $5.00 bill.  With gratitude in her heart to the Lord, she sat down and wrote the well known hymn, "All the Way my Saviour Leads Me."

James 5:16  "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

4.  OPEN EARS

Psalm 85:8  "I will hear what the Lord God will speak..."

Isaiah 6:8-9  "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?  Then said I, here am I, send me.  And he said, GO."

We not only need to see the needs of a lost world, and have open hearts to do the Lord's will at home, and pray for those who have answered the call to go, but we need to be open and listening if the Lord should call us to labor in a special way.

In 1 Samuel we have the story of God calling to Samuel when he was a young boy.  Three time God called but he didn't realize that it was the Lord calling to him.  He thought it was Eli.  Eli told him to listen and if the Lord called again to answer.  

"And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel.  Then Samuel answered, Speak, for thy servant heareth."  I Samuel 3:10

When we are ready and willing to hear the Lord's voice, He will speak to us.

One Wednesday night in a small Baptist church in Nacadoches, Texas I preached and showed my slides of Brazil.  After the service a young man came to me and said the Lord had spoken to him about serving in Brazil.  I told him to pray and two weeks later he called and said he knew the Lord had spoken to him.  Today Bro. Bob Nichols and his family are in Brazil serving the Lord.

The fields are many and the labours few, answer God's call today.

 

 5                                             OPENING THE STOREHOUSES

 

"And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt." Gen. 41:56

In this story we can see the divine hand of God and his unusual plan to save his people Israel from the famine that was to come and also the Egyptians and the surrounding countries. When you study the life of Joseph you can see a parallel between his ministry and life in Egypt and the ministry and life of our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. We can see many ways in which Joseph acted and the ministry of our Saviour many years later.

1.   Joseph was twelve years old he had a dream about his future work just it was revealed to Jesus when he was twelve in the temple. Luke 2:49 * Gen. 37

2.    Joseph was 30 years of age when he was presented to Pharaoh and began his work just as Jesus began his ministry when he was 30 years old. Gen. 41:36* Lucas 3:23

3.    Joseph was temped but resisted just as Jesus was. Gen. 39:7-13 * Heb. 4:15

4.    Joseph was obedient to his father just as Jesus was obedient to the will of his Father. Gen. 37:13-14 * Philippians 2:8

5.    Joseph was rejected by his brothers just as Jesus was by his own nation. Gen. 37:11 * John 1:11

6.      Joseph was sold by his brothers as Jesus was by Judas. Gen. 37:28 * Mat 26:15

7.      Joseph forgave his brothers just as Jesus forgave those who crucified him. Gen. 45:15* Luke 23:24.

8.   Just as Joseph wad dead in the eyes of Jacob, Jesus died but as Joseph was restored to his father so Jesus was resurrected from the dead and went back to Heaven. Gen. 45:26-28 * Acts. 1:3

In our text the Lord had revealed to Joseph the coming famine and gave him wisdom to build storehouses Vs. 48. When the time came he opened the storehouses and saved the people from starvation and death. This is just like Jesus did when the time came (Gal. 4:4) Jesus opened the doors of heaven by his grace so that all who want can come and take of the divine com, the salvation of their souls from death and hell.

There are four things we can learn from this story of divine providence. Just as Joseph was used by God to save many people from starvation and death, so too was Jesus used of God to bring salvation to all who will come to him for forgiveness.

1. Joseph opened the storehouses by the authority of Pharaoh . . .

A. The king of Egypt could only open the storehouses by the authority of Joseph.

"And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph: what he saith to you, do." Gen. 41:55

Jesus too was God's representative on earth and as his mother told the people to do what he said, and we must obey the teachings of Jesus if we want to go to heaven.

"His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it." John 2:5

B. The king ordered that all the people obey Joseph.

"And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt." Gen. 41:44

Just as Joseph had all the power and authority of Pharaoh so Jesus has all the power of heaven to forgive sins no matter how sinful a person may be.

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." Mathew 28:18

C. The only one who could open the storehouses was Joseph. So it is with salvation, the only who can take a person to heaven is Jesus, there is no other name or person under heaven that can bring salvation to a lost soul.

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”  I Timothy 1:5

2. Joseph was the only person able to open the storehouses. .

A. It was Joseph who received the plan of salvation from God for the people and built the storehouses and he was the only one able to open them.

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12

B. Joseph stored the grain in a great way, there was enough for everyone.

"And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number." Genesis 41:49

"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation: which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him." Hebrews 2:3

C. By the grace of God there is sufficient grace in the divine storehouse for all that come to Jesus for salvation.

"And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." John 1:16

"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." Hebrews 7:25

Joseph sold the corn to the people but Jesus offers his salvation, completely free to all who come to him.

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." Isaiah 55:1

Just as the Manna in the desert was free to all who took of it, so salvation is free to all who come to the divine storehouse of God's grace. Jonah said, "Salvation is of the LORD" Jonah 2:9.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

3. Joseph opened the storehouses at just the right time. . .

A. The storehouses were opened at just the right time and kept open as long as there was a need. No one was ever turned away.

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

B. Today is the day of grace and opportunity. Jesus came at just the time God had planned from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8).

"But when the fullness of the time was come. God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Gaiatians 4:4

"For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted_time: behold, now is the day of salvation." 2 Corinthians 6:2

Today the Lord freely offers salvation to all who come to Him, but there is coming a day when the door wilt be closed. The Bible says:

"I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work." John 9:4

The return of Christ may be nearer than we think. Noah was 600 years old when God shut the door on the ark and flood came and destroyed all those who had failed to heed the warning of Noah after he had preached for 120 years (1 Peter 3:20). Joseph had two sons before the famine came (the Tribulation) Gen. 41:5. The Good Samaritan gave the inn keeper (the church) two coins and said to take care of the wounded man (the human race) until he returned (Lucas 10:35). The Door of Salvation is open today and will be until our Saviour returns again to this earth. Jesus said:

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Rev. 3:20

4. Joseph opened the doors of the storehouses for all who came to buy corn . . .

A. People came from many parts of the world because the famine was in every country.

"And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands." Gen. 41:57

Sin is in every corner of the earth and the need for salvation is universal. There is not a person or country in the world where there is not a need to hear the Gospel.

"For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." Ecc. 7:20

"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." Romans 3:10-12

B. No one was turned away by Joseph...

Jesus said: " Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Mathew 11:28

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13

Some may say there is not enough grace to save me, there is not enough com in the storehouse for me.

Story of soccer ball team of players. They only had enough money to buy one large coke after a game. After the first drank the others thought he was drinking too much. When it got to the next to last the last player he thought there would be nothing left for him. But if they all went to a spring of water there would be enough for all and water left over for any who might want to drink. So it is with the grace of God, it is inexhaustible, without limit.

Today if you are without Christ come to Him and drink of the water of life and eat of the bread from Heaven and you will have everlasting life.

 

6                                                            THE WILL OF GOD

 

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus , that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen”.  Hebrews 13:20-21

There is no greater way to bring glory to God than to know and do the will of God.  Whenever a man or woman gives their life to the Lord and seeks to do His will they will bring glory to Christ.

Someone has said:

There is no greater joy than to know the will of God.

There is no greater satisfaction than to do the will of God.

There is no greater reward than to finish the will of God.

1.  KNOWING THE WILL OF GOD . . .

Jesus sought to know the will of His Father.   “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me”.  John 5:30

One of Paul's greatest desires was that those whom he had a part in bringing to Christ might know the Lord's will for their lives.

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard of it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding”.  Col. 1:9

Paul taught that we can know the Lord's will and that every Christian should seek to find the will of the Lord for their life.

“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is”. Ephesians 5:17

Some Christian think that finding the Lord's will is a difficult task, they think the Lord is hiding it from them and it must be searched for.  This is not true.  Here are some thoughts and rules for finding the will of God.

1. Anything that is contrary to the clear teaching of the Bible is never the Lord's will.  "Abstain from all appearance  evil."  2 Thessalonians 5:22

2.  Anything that would bring dishonor to the Lord is never the Lord's will.  "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."  1 Cor. 10:31

3.  George Muellers method.  1. Pray about it;  2. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle, on one side put all the reasons for it and on the other side all the things against it;  3. Search the scriptures for any verse that might speak about it;  4. Wait until the Lord gives the answer.

Many times in our impatience we miss the Lord's will and lose His blessing as King Saul did in 1 Samuel 10.

4.  On some few occasions the Lord speaks directly to us as He did to Paul while he was at Troas.  “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night;  There stood a man of Macedonia and prayed him saying, Come over into Macedonia and help us.  And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go to Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the Gospel unto them”.  Acts 16:9-10

My call to Brazil.  On the first Sunday of 1968 in San Antonio, Texas the Lord spoke to us about being a missionary and serving in Brazil.

FIND THE WILL OF GOD FOR YOUR LIFE AT ANY COST, THE JOY OF KNOWING IT IS BEYOND DESCRIPTION.

2.  DOING THE WILL OF GOD . . .

It is one thing to know the Lord's will, but quite another thing to do it.

“Make you perfect in every good work to do His will . . .”  Hebrews 13:21

Jonah knew the Lord's will and direction for his life but found it wasn't quite so easy to do it.  Many Christian know the Lord's will but live miserable lives, and many times suffer the consequences for not doing the Lord's will as Jonah did.

How should the Lord's will be done.

1.  It should be done from the heart, not to please men, but God.

“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart”.  Ephesians 6:6

2.  It should be done after asking God's blessing on it.

“For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you”.  Romans 1:9-10

Peter Cartwright praying before a dance.

3.  It should be done with confidence knowing that God is working in you.

“For it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do His good pleasure” Phil. 2:12

Many times doing the will of God may be dangerous and the cost be great, but when we have done what the Lord had for us we will be rewarded.

The apostle Paul was willing to do God's will whatever the cost might be.

“And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said,  Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.  And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.  Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart?  for I am ready no to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.  And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The Will of the Lord be done”.  Acts 21:11-14

In the famous battle of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas the story is told of the commander, William Travis.  When the battle was fierce and it appeared that reinforcements wouldn't arrive in time to help, he drew a line in the dirt floor and asked every man who was willing to fight until the end to step over it.  He shouted Victory or Death and every man except one stepped over the line.  Jim Bouy was so sick on a stretcher he could get up but asked to be carried over the line.  Every soldier died in the battle but fought until the end.  It is said that Jim Bouy killed two enemy soldiers from his death bed before he was killed himself.

Many missionaries in years gone by were willing to do God's will and carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth and many times the cost was very great,  but multitudes will be in heaven because of their  faithfulness to do the Lord's will.

HENRY KNOTT ON THE ISLAND OF TAHITI  -  He left London on the mission ship Duff in September 1796 and after a 22,000 mile voyage  that lasted seven months the ship finally arrived at the island of Tahiti in the south Pacific.  Twelve single men and six couples stayed on the island to work.  During the first year 3 married natives, one was killed and the others fled to nearby islands.  Four years later the others were attacked and many left the island also.  By the year 1810 Henry Knott and his wife were the only missionaries left on the island.  For the next five years they labored undaunted by the dangers and continually tried to win the pagan chief called King Pomair to Christ.  Many of the natives had a desire to follow Christ, but the chief had threatened to kill any who followed the missionaries teachings.   By 1813 the pagan chief’s heart softened some and he began attending services on a nearby island. After 22 years of faithful service Henry Knott saw the pagan chief Pomair profess faith in Christ.   A very large chapel was built that would hold 5,000 people and on May 16, 1819 King Pomair and his family were the first to be baptized on the island.  Soon hundreds were baptized and the way of life on the island completely changed. In 1815 schools were opened as some of the missionaries began to come back. On May 1, 1844 Henry Knott went into the present of his Heavenly Father after 47 years of untiring service on Tahiti.

3.  FINISHING THE WILL OF GOD . . .

In heaven there will be no greater reward than the Crown of Life given to those who have been faithful until the end of their work here on earth.

"Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life."  Rev. 2:10

How sad it is that so many begin but so few finish the race of life victorious.

As Christian we must never lose confidence in the will of God.  If we are faithful until the end our reward will be in Heaven waiting for us.

“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.  For ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise”.  Heb. 10:35-36

Jesus came not only to do but to finish the work God had for him. 

“Jesus saith unto them, my meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work”. John 4:34

One of Paul's greatest concerns was that after he had preached to others, he himself might become a castaway, not finishing the work God had for him to do. 

“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run, that ye may obtain.  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.  I therefore son run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:  but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway”.  1 Cor. 9:24-27

We know this never happened, Paul finished his course with flying colors.

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God”.  Acts 20:24

Just shortly before his life's work ended here on earth Paul said these words:

“For I am now ready to be offered, and time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”.  2 Timothy 4:6-8

David Livingston once said, “I have but one candle of light to burn, and I would rather burn it out where men are dying in darkness, than in a land that is flooded with light”.

David Livingston was a man who surely finished his course in the land that he loved, the continent of Africa.

He was born among England's poor, but buried beside her Kings in Westminster Abbey.  When he was 25 years old he went to London to apply for missionary service.  There he met a missionary on furlough, Robert Moffit who was serving in Africa.  During their conversation the missionary said these words to David:  “Do not sit down in lazy contentment, do not choose an old station.  Push on to the vast unoccupied and unknown district to the north.  In that direction on a clear morning I have seen the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been.  There sir, is your field”.  These words lit a fire in his heart that never went out.  On December 8, 1840 he left for Africa.  After three years he was attacked by a lion as he pushed aside a native to save his life.  His right arm was severely injured and the consequences of this wound stayed with him until his death.  He went to mission station a hundred miles away to get help.  While there recuperating from his wounds he married Mary Moffit whom he had met several years before.  For nine years she accompanied him on his journeys through Africa.  Four children were born but one died.  In 1852 Mary was in ill health and David sent her and the children to London.  Later he went on furlough after having been in Africa for 13 years.  Two years later he returned to Africa with his wife and youngest son who was born while they were in England.  He was no longer with the London Missionary Society and with the proceeds from lectures and a book he had written while in England he returned to continue his pioneer missionary work.  Mary was again expecting a child and stayed at the mission station in Kuriman.  His last child was born but it was a year before he heard the news and could return.  In 1862 Mary became ill and died in Africa.  He sent his two youngest sons back to England to live their sisters and study there.  For seven years he labored alone, exploring new regions and opening up trails for the missionaries to enter with the Gospel.  His health was failing and with all his supplies having been stolen, he was discouraged and thought his work was nearly over.  But not so, God had more work for him to do.  During this time God put into the heart of the editor of the New York Times to send a reporter to look for Livingston.  He had not been heard of for nearly two years and many rumors were circulating that he had been killed or taken prisoner.  A reporter from England was in New York on a special assignment and was assigned the task of finding Livingston at any cost.  The reporters name was Henry M. Stanley. Before beginning his search he was first sent to report on the opening of the Suez Canal.  It was nearly two years before he reached the point where Livingston was last seen.  For the next ten months with a great company of men he traveled nearly a thousand miles in his search.  Finally it was reported that David Livingston was just a few miles away in a nearby village.  On Oct. 28, 1871 the two men met.  Stanley stayed with Livingston for five months writing about his work and travels.  Stanley later wrote that during this time he became a Christian as he lived with this man of God.  He tried to persuade Livingston to return with him, but only heard the words, “My work is not yet finished, I want to find a way to Lake Molimano so new missionary stations can be established there”.   So finally on March 14, 1872 Stanley told Livingston that he must return to England and left on his trip back. Stanley left most of the supplies he had brought with Livingston. When the two men departed David told him, “You have brought new life to me”.

With new strength and supplies Livingston set out on what was to be his last trip to the heart of Africa.

After a year of strenuous labor cutting his way through the jungle he was nearing Lake Molimano, but his strength also was nearing it's end.  The natives put him on one of the animals but with little strength this proved too hard for him.  Finally a stretcher was made and his beloved natives carried him for several more days.  Finally with his strength nearly gone, a little hut was made for him and he rested trying to regain his health.  He became weaker and the natives watched him day and night.  Four days later on April 25, 1873 he made his last entry in his journal.  He wrote, “We are on the banks of the Molimano” and with these words the pen fell from his hand.  His faithful servant Susi had been keeping vigil day and night and asked one of the young men to watch for a few hours during the night so he could rest.  About four o'clock in the morning he awoke and went to see how Livingston was.  As the two men looked into the hut they saw that he was on his knees praying.  As they waited they became uneasy and finally went in and found that David Livingston had gone to his Heavenly home.  The last thing he had done was to pray for those whom he loved.  He had left instructions that his physical heart was to be removed from his body and buried in Africa.  This was done and then his body was embalmed and carried back to England by his faithful servants.  When it was verified from the shoulder wound that this was truly the body of David Livingston, he was honored with England’s greatest honors and given a royal funeral and was buried in Westminster Abbey.  David Livingston had truly finished his course.

 

 

7                                                             LIFT UP YOUR EYES

 

“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest”.   John 4:35

The thought here is not of a mere glancing look, but a look with a desire to see something.

1.  LIFT UP YOUR EYES . . .   LOOK

A.  When Jesus saw the multitudes he was moved with compassion.  He saw their need and was moved to do something.

“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd”.  Matthew 9:36

B.  Moses also saw the people in their sin he interceded for them.

“And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount”.  Exodus 32:19

“And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.  Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written”.   Exodus 32:31-32

C.  The apostle Paul also saw the needs of the people at Athens.

“Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry”.  Acts 17:16

“Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him”.  Acts 17:17

We need a supernatural vision to see the needs of this lost world as our Saviour saw them.   When we have seen the needs of this world we need to do more.

2.  LIFT UP YOUR VOICE . . .  PRAY

Prayer is something that every one of us can do.  We may not all be able to go to the mission field in a foreign country, but we can all have a part in missionary work by praying.

A.  Jesus told us to pray for more laborers –

“Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest”.  Matthew 9:38

We need to pray that the Lord will call people to work in his fields.   It is popular now for churches to make missionary trips for a few days, but what we really need is men and women to answer the call of God to labor as missionaries of old did.  Many went and never returned to their homeland and many others only once or twice during their ministry.

B.  Secondly we need to realize that we can be of help to missionaries by our prayers.

“Ye also helping together by prayer for us, . . .”  2 Corinthians 1:11

Mr. Thomas Tatum and his ministry of prayer for missionaries.

Many times missionaries face difficulties that we don’t face here at home.  They are like a soldier on the front line, and face many dangers and problems.   Sickness, temptations and loneliness are just a few.

C. Another need of missionaries is boldness and power as they labor.

“And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake”.  Acts 6:10

We need to pray that the Holy Spirit will open the hearts of those on mission field.  Many times they are steeped in their false religion.  Some have never been inside a real church in their life.

3.  LIFT UP YOUR PURSE . . . GIVE

A. God’s plan is that missionaries be sent out from the local church just as Paul and Barnabas were in Acts 13.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things”!  Romans 10:13-15

It cost money for a missionary to move to a foreign land.  Air travel is costly and they must buy furniture and pay for a language school the first year.  When a church gives generously to missions the Lord will bless that church.

B.  Giving to the Lord’s work is a test of our faith.

“But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him”?   1 John 3:17

The church at Corinth was evidently very poor but they gave to the Apostle Paul’s work and will receive their reward in Heaven.

“For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints”.  2 Corinthians 8:4-5

Our giving should be a test of our faith and love for our Saviour.

“And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had”.  Luke 21:2-4

4.  LIFT UP OUR FEET . . . GO

Every church should have a near and farsighted vision.  Many people have a vision problem and can only see at a distance or objects that are near.  We need a bifocal vision.

A.  Christ commanded his church to go into all the world with the Gospel.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”.  Mark 16:15

Luke tells us that we should seek to reach the lost at home and abroad at the same time.

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”.  Acts 1:8

B.  For some it is to answer the call of missions and go to a foreign field with the message of Salvation.

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me”.  Isaiah 6:8

Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord calling him and he answered this call and became one of Israel’s greatest prophets.

C.  God’s only plan for reaching the Lost of this world is through the preaching of his word.  We can all be witnesses for the Lord, but some are called to carry the Gospel and hear the call to preach and serve in a special ministry.

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things”!  Romans 10:14-15

Jesus said: “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields . . .”  John 4:35

There are many fields in this world.  Have you found a field to serve in?  Your field may be to pray,  or your field may be to give to the work of missions or it might for be for some to answer the call of God and go to the ends of the earth with the message of Salvation.

 

8                                               FOUR GREAT PROMISES IN THE BIBLE

 

1.  The Promise of His presence - Matthew 28:19-20

              “lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen”.  Vs. 20

       What it is.  One of the greatest promises in the Bible.  Someone to be with us, to be by our side at all times.  “A friend that sticketh closer than a brother”.  Proverbs 18:24

              Two illustrations to better understand what we mean by His presence.

       What it is NOT

       Several years ago a diver in Italy thought the sea bottom was very empty.  One day he had an idea to put an image of Christ in the sea so he would be closer to the sailors and divers.  Soon he raised enough money to make a bronze statue of Christ and put it in the sea.  A statue of any kind is not having the presence of God.

       It is like the Shaw of Persia did on one occasion.  He wanted to get to know his people better and see their needs first hand.  He disguised himself and dressed in common clothes, walked on the streets and in the market place.  He saw a stairs that led beneath the public bath house that they used in those days.  It went down to a dark dreary room where a lonely man kept the fire burning to heat the water.  The man didn’t recognize the Shaw when he sat down beside him and talked with him.  Soon it was lunch time and the man offered to share his simple meal with the Shaw.  The Shaw saw the man’s eyes light up and a happy spirit in his voice as he had someone to talk too.  The Shaw left but came back several times and then told the man who he was.   He told the man he would grant him any wish he wanted and thought the man might ask for money or a better job.  To his surprise the man replied that to have had his ruler sit beside him and talk to him was all he wanted.

       This is what the presence of Christ is.  He is with us in every circumstance of life and came to walk and talk with mankind for 33 years.  Jesus came to where we were, left his glory in heaven and is still with us by the presence of the Holy Spirit.  In Psalm 139 we learn that we can never leave His presence.

       “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee”.  Isaiah 43:2

2. THE PROMISE OF HIS PROTECTION . . .  Hebrews 13:5-6

       “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: 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”.

       In the Lord’s work we need the diving protection of God because we have an adversary that seeks to hinder our work.

       “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”.  1 Peter 5:8

       Sometimes we may not understand his way of protecting us at the moment. James M. Gray who was pastor of the Moody Memorial Church and president of the Moody Bible Institute had been invited to England to preach in a conference.  A few weeks before he was to leave he became sick and was hospitalized.  As the time approached for his departure the Drs. told him he would have to stay a few more days in the hospital and wouldn’t be able to make the trip.  He was upset but accepted as the Lord’s will.  Soon he was released from the hospital and one morning while recuperating at home he read the headlines in the newspaper.  It told of a ship that encountered a storm at sea and sank with the loss of all those on board.  When he saw the name of the ship it was the very one he would have been on if he had not been sick.  He thanked the Lord for his sickness and for sparing his life.

       Many times in the face of eminent danger on the mission field the Lord has spared the life of his servants.

       Sunday Sing was a zealous evangelist in India for many years.  On one occasion he was expelled from a village after preaching the Gospel and an angry mob ran after him.  He left the village and went into a wooded area and found a cave to hide in.  He thought to spend the night there and go on to another village in the morning.  He soon heard angry voices and an angry mob looking for him and they soon saw the cave where he was.  He knew they were coming to kill him as many other Christians had lost their lives that way.  The only thing he knew to do was to kneel down and pray.  He closed his eyes expecting to wake up in eternity with his Saviour.  After awhile it grew quiet and when he opened his eyes he saw that his persecutors has left.  Exhausted he layed down and slept.  Early the next morning he heard the same voices coming again but with their clubs on their sides.  They kept their distance and called to him and said they wanted to ask him a question.  They asked:  “Who were all those men with you in the cave last night”?  Tears filled his eyes as he realized that the angels of God has been with him and protected him.  His enemies left and he went on his way rejoicing at the marvelous protection of God.  

              This story reminds of the diving protection of Elisha by the angels in 2 Kings 6.

3.  THE PROMISE OF HIS PEACE . . .

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”.  John 14:27

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”.  Philippians 4:6-7

The peace of God is something that the world doesn’t understand.

Some years ago the government offered a large sum of money to the artist who could paint the best picture of what real peace was.  A number of artists entered their pictures and when the judges gave their final answer there were two pictures that they had to decide between.  One was of a beautiful field of flowers on a very calm day.  The judges chose the other picture as best representing real peace.  It was of a terrible storm with the trees blowing in the wind.  At first the people wondered why the judges chose this picture, but after a closer examination they saw in one of the trees a birds nest with the mother sitting quietly over her nest with eggs.   In the midst of the storm the little bird was at peace.  They said the first picture was beautiful but represented stagnation.

And so it is in the Christian life, when we know Christ as our Saviour, we can be assured that He is in charge of our lives, even in the storms of life.

Several years ago the ship Stella was approaching the shores of England when it encountered a terrible storm and began to sink.  In the darkness of night twelve women were placed in a lifeboat but they soon discovered that no sailor or even oars were in the lifeboat with them.  Some of the women seeing the danger became hysterical and almost caused the boat to capsize.  One of the women in the boat was a Christian and said she would pray.  Some laughed but she prayed and then began to sing.  She was a former opera singer that was well known.  Her name was Margaret Williams and she sang through the night.  Early the next morning they heard voices in the distance but couldn’t see the rescuers because of the dense fog.  Soon a rescue boat approached and they were all saved.  The sailor later said he was ready to turn back when he heard someone singing and followed the sound to the boat the ladies were in.

4.  THE PROMISE OF HIS POWER . . .  Acts 1:8

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”.  Acts 1:8   

As Christians we need the power of God to do his work.  We need God’s power to win the lost to Christ, to establish churches, to do His work.

Jesus told the disciples when he gave the Great Commission that His power was unlimited.

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”.  Matthew 28:19

Yes, God’s power in unlimited to supply our needs, whatever they may be.

“I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me”.  Psalm 3:5

A number of years ago a country pastor and his wife saw that they only had enough food for one more meal and knew that it would be several days before the next service when he would receive an offering for his work.  It was a rainy day and they decided to read Psalm 3.   When they came to verse three they heard a knock on the door.  The pastor opened the door and a stranger was there and told him he was on his way to another town, but because of the rain he decided to stop and rest awhile.  The pastor invited him in and he tied up his horse.  The pastor was glad to have someone to talk too.  Soon it was noon and the wife prepared the last food she had and they invited the stranger to eat with them.  After the meal the rain stopped and the stranger asked for a piece of paper and instructions to the next town where he was going.  He got up and went on his way after thanking the pastor for their hospitality.   When the wife picked up the plates from the table she found the paper the stranger has asked for and it had written on it Psalm 3:5 and it contained a ten dollar bill.  They both thanked the Lord for his provision.

 

9                                                              THE GREAT COMMISSION

 

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever i have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen”.  Matt. 28:18-20

 1. THE MASTERS AUTHORITY - V 18 “And Jesus came and spake unto them”.

 The Heavenly Father has given Jesus all power and He has given this power and authority to his servants also.

 “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”.  John 1:2-3

 “So they being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed . . .” Acts 13:4

 “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves . . .” Matthew 10:16

 “For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.”  Mark 13:34

 2. THE SERVANTS COMMISSION - Vs 19 “Go ye therefore . . .”

 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature”.  Mark 16:15

 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”.  Acts 1:8

 “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away”.  Acts 13:2-3

 “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word”. Acts 8:4

 “Preach the word . . .” 2 Timothy 4:2

 3. THE MAKING OF DISCIPLES - Vs 19 "teach all nations"

 To make a disciple is more than just getting a person so make a commitment, or to sign a decision card.  To make a true disciple for Christ takes time and effort.  Our children go to school for 12 years and then to college for 4 more, so they can learn.

 “And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.  And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed”.  Acts 14:21-23

 4. THE BAPTIZING OF THEM - Vs. 19 “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost”.

 “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls”.  Acts 2:41

 “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women”.  Acts 8:12

 “And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him”.  Acts 8:38

 “And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized”.  Acts 9:18

 5. THE TEACHING THEM ALL THINGS - Vs 20 “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”.

 “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch”.  Acts 11:26

 “And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch”. Acts 14:21

 “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house”.  Acts 20:20

 “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving”. Colossenses 2:7

 "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."  2 Tim. 2:2

6. THE PROMISED PRESENCE - Vs. 20  “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen”.

 “And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord”.  Acts 11:21

 “For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,  Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.  Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me”.  Acts 27:23-25

 

10                                             THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN

 

"But there is a God in Heaven that revealeth secrets..." Daniel 2:28

HOW DO WE KNOW IT?  Many people say they have never seen God, or others say, "If there is a God, why is there so much evil in the world?"  There are many reasons why we know there is a God in Heaven, but I will give you just three in this message.

1.  BECAUSE GOD IS ALIVE and speaks and talks to his children, even to the unsaved. 

1. God talked to Joseph – In Genesis 37 He revealed his future plans to him.

2. Moses heard the voice of the Lord - Exodus 3

“And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I”.  Vs. 4

3. Samuel - 1 Samuel 3:19

“And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground”.  1 Samuel

4. Isaiah heard the Lord calling unto him - Isaiah 6

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me”.  Isaiah 6:8 

5. Paul heard God calling to him - Acts 16

“And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them”.  Acts 16:10

6. Our call to Brazil and to Guatemala

2.   Because of What he Does, His works

1. He stopped the Jordan River –

“And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest, That the waters which came down from above stood [and] rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that [is] beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, [even] the salt sea, failed, [and] were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho”.  Joshua 3:15-16

2. His signs and judgments on Pharoah - Exodus 5:

3. He protected in the fiery furnace –

“Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God”.   Daniel 3:28

4. By supernatural acts –

“And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim”.   2 Kings 6:6

5. Our own experiences -

3.   By Taking People to Heaven

1. Enoch –

“And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:  And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.        Genesis 5:22-24

2. Elijah - 2 Kings 2:11  He went to Heaven in a Chariot of Fire.

3. Stephen, praying as he was being stoned, Jesus stood up to receive him into his presence –

“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God”. Vs. 55     Acts 7:54-60

4. D.L. Moody,   Jimmy Davis

5. In Brazil, Betty Head, Bobby Powell, Catarina's Mother, Candido das Neves.

Only a fool would say there is no God.  In Psalm 19 the Lord tells us that “the Heavens declare the glory of God” and all that he has made shows us his existence. 

Yes there is a God in Heaven and you can know him.

The apostle Paul knew there was a God in Heaven and said these words:

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day”.  2 Timothy 1:12

Job knew there was a God in Heaven also.

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And [though] after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me”.  Job 19:25-27

Do you know this God in Heaven?   You can know Him today if you will open your heart and receive Him as your Saviour.  Do it today.

 

11                                                                THE POOL OF BETHESDA

John 5:1-15

 

V-1 “A feast of the Jews” which one? Maybe Pentecost.  According to Leviticus 23 there were seven feasts that the Jews celebrated during the year.

1. The Passover - Jesus was crucified during this feast.

2. Unleavened Bread -

3. Firstfruits -

4. Pentecost  - 50 days after the Passover

5. Trumpets - 7th month, 1st day.

6. The Day of Atonement - 10th day, when the High priest entered the Holy of Holies.

7. Tabernacles - 15th day, this one lasted for 7 days.

The Bible says, “Jesus went up” – “to Jerusalem”  Vs. 1

The history of man has been a continual going down, “And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho” Luke 10:30. Adam went from Paradise to ruin and began the downward journey of mankind - Gen. 3, Rom.  5:12. His son Cain followed in his steps and went down and out of the presence of the Lord - Gn. 4

Our Saviour went up - from the grave, “He is not here, but is risen”.  Luke 24:5-6

Jesus went up to Heaven – “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up”.  Acts 1:9-10

1.  Where The People Were . . .

“at Jerusalem, by the sheep market (gate)” Vs. 4

This was the gate that led from the shepherd's fields into the city.  About this gate developed a market place because of the movement of the people.  As the shepherds left the city they could buy supplies while the sheep drank at a natural pool of water nearby that was spring fed.

The Bible says that an angel went down at a certain season and troubled the waters, and whoever was the first to enter in after this was healed of their disease.  The angel probably never came back but the waters were moved many times by the underground springs that fed them.  People began to say that anytime the waters were moved they could be healed, and multitudes waited for the movement, hoping to be the first to enter in.  As time went on five large porches were built and multitudes waited in them hoping to be healed physically, when what they really needed was the healing of their souls.  This place became known as Bethesda, Vs. 2 (House of Mercy).  This place was close to the sheep gate and the street that led to the Temple where God was to be worshipped “in Spirit and in Truth” John 4:23.  Many times false religions have a form of the truth but deceive the multitudes by giving them a false hope of salvation based on their works.  Many false religions use the same Bible we use but only believe the parts that satisfy their false teachings.

“in these” the porches “lay a great multitude”  Vs. 3

Many believe that 95% of the worlds population is outside the fold of Christianity, some even more.  Most of the world’s population is in these porches of a false hope.  The Roman Catholic church out numbers the protestant church by two to one, Muslims by two and a half to one, Hinduism, Confucism, Buddhism, Shintoism and all the other false religions of the world have more than 95% of the worlds population in their false porches of hope.

Any religion that fails to recognize Christ alone as the only way to Heaven is false.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” Acts 4:12.

There is no hope in the manmade religions of this world.  They are all liars and of their father the Devil. “For he is a liar, and the father of it” John 8:43-44.

From the time Cain brought a false sacrifice to God and was rejected, man has tried to substitute the false for the true.  Nimrod tried to build a name for himself and a tower to reach heaven, but was rejected by God, Gen. 11.  The only way to Heaven is by God's way.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” John 14:6.  “I am the door . . .” 10:9.

2. The Condition of the People . . . Vs. 3

"impotent fold"  Here the condition of mankind is described.  The word "impotent" means, unable to help ones self, without strength, helpless.  In Luke 10:30 the man who fell among thieves was left half dead just as all men without Christ are alive physically but dead spiritually.  “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins”  Ephesians 2:1, Romans 5:6

This man was unable to enter the water because he had no strength and needed someone to help him, just as the world needs someone to help them find Christ and enter into the Water of Life. 

"blind"  Mankind is described as having eyes, but unable to see.

“Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not” Jeremiah 5:21

Men without Christ are blind spiritually, unable to comprehend the truth of Salvation without the convicting of he Holy Spirit.

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day”  John 6:44.

The natural man cannot comprehend the things of Christ because they are spiritually discerned.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”. 1 Cor. 2:14   

Mankind needs someone to show them the way of Salvation as Philip did with the Ethiopian Eunuch.

“And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me?"  "Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” Acts 8:31,35.

“halt”  unable to walk straight, crippled, Rom. 1:28-32

“withered”  scarred, deformed by sickness or sin.  Liquor, tobacco, fornication, drugs; all leave a man or woman with the marks of sin.

“waiting” for the moving of the water"  the people were waiting for a sign or feeling, they wanted to do something to be well.  People are the same today, they don't want to exercise simple faith in the promise of God.  They want to see or have a feeling, but Jesus condemned this.

“Then said Jesus unto them, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe”  John 4:48.

3.  How the Man was Made Whole . . .

"A certain man...with an infirmity" Vs. 5 These are the same words used to describe the man who wend down from Jerusalem to Jericho in Luke 10.  This man represents the human race with it's infirmity of sin, Romans 5:12, Isaiah 2:1-6.

“For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not”  Ecc. 7:20.

“When Jesus saw him” Vs. 6 Jesus saw the need and came to where he was.  When Adam and Eve sinned God came to look for them, Gen. 3:8-9  Jesus came to this world to seek and save that which was lost, Luke 19:10, John 1:1-14.

Just as the Lord called to Adam and Eve, Jesus asked this man “Wilt thou be made  whole”?

The man said he had no one to help him Vs. 7.  He wanted the healing of his body when what he really needed was the healing of his soul.  He needed someone to help him find the Saviour.

He had been waiting 38 years for a helping hand, but no one took time to help him.  Many today are waiting for someone who is concerned about their souls to bring them the Good News of salvation.

“I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul”.  Psalm 142:4

There is no lack of unconcern for others in the world we live in.  One cold Friday afternoon in New York a young mother with her sick child in her arms was trying to get a taxi.  Many others also were trying to flag one down and when one stopped, the men all stepped out before she could manage to leave the curb.  The business men were all in a hurry to get home on this Friday afternoon and had no concern for the needs of others.  Finally a stranger saw the mother in tears and flagged a taxi down and helped her in.

Our lack of concern for others may send a lost soul to hell.  Jesus went to the man and healed his body and soul.  Jesus told him to do three things.

“Rise” Vs.8  this meant that if he was to be made whole, he must exercise faith in the words of Jesus.  It meant taking action, believing, Acts 16:31, Matt. 11:28.  “For without faith it is impossible to please God”.  Heb. 11:6.

“take up thy bed” True salvation always involves confession and repentance of sin; Rom. 10:9-10, Acts 2:38, Luke 13:3.  Confessing Christ involves being baptized, joining a church and taking part in the work of the Lord.

“walk”  Salvation is more than just a commitment as some call it.  When someone is really saved he will no longer need his old bed of sin.  The word walk indicates action.  When a man is truly born again there will be change in his heart and life.

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."  2 Corinthians 5:17.

Jesus told him to take up his bed.  When one is really a child of the King he will no longer want to sleep on the streets of sin but will live with the expectation of his mansion in Heaven where there are streets of Gold.

Jesus said "Walk" ... The Bible tells us there are many ways a Christian should walk.  Here are a few:

Walk by faith - 2 Corinthians 5:7

In newness of life - Romans 6:4

Walk worthy - Ephesians 4:1

Walk circumspectfully - Ephesians 5:15

Walk as Jesus walked - 1 John 2:6

“Immediately the man was made whole”

Salvation is instantaneous, he was made whole physically and spiritually. Ephes. 2:1-5

How do we know he was saved and made whole?  He went to the temple to worship God.  When a man is really saved he will have no hesitation about joining with God's people and becoming a part of a local church.

“Jesus findeth him in the temple” Vs. 14

After Paul was saved he desired to be a part of the church and become part of the assembly of believers.

“And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple”.  Acts 9:26

 

12                         GODS MISSIONARY PLAN FOR REACHING THIS WORLD

 

Jesus said that many times the men of the world are wiser than the children of God.  As Christians and the church of the Lord Jesus Christ we should be wise in all that we do.

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish”.  Luke 14:28-30

God has a plan for reaching this world we should know something about this plan and how we can best reach this world for Christ.

1.  THE FIELD . . .

Jesus said that “the field is the world” Matthew 13:38

He also said in Mark 16:15 to “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”.

First of all let’s consider some things about this field that God’s word teaches.

1.  This world is in the bondage of sin.

“Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now”.  Romans 8:21-22

“And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness”.  1 John 5:19

There is so much evil in this world because Satan is the enemy of God and men are blinded and controlled by their evil nature. Sin is in every corner of this earth and every human being needs the Saviour.

2.  This world is condemned, without hope and lost.  The world is dead in trespasses and sin.

 “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God”.  John 3:18

Sin is universal and without Christ there is no hope for those who are dead in trespasses and sin.

3.  This world is loved by God and should be loved by us also.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.  John 3:16

4.  This world was atoned for by Christ.

“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world”.  1 John 2:2

I’m glad that Jesus died for all and everyone deserves to know about this love. That is why missionaries go to the ends of the earth with the message of hope and salvation.

5.  This world is ignorant of God’s love and Jesus sacrifice for their sins.  The world is religious and trying to find God their way just as Cain did in the Old Testament.

“For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God”.  Romans 10:3

“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart”.  Ephesians 4:18

6.  Today as it was two thousand years ago the world is ripe unto harvest.  Today we are nearer the coming of Christ and the end of the harvest than ever before. Every prophetic sign in the Bible points to imminent coming of Christ and the end of our opportunity to reach this world for Christ.

“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest”.  John 4:35

If we fail to see the needs of this world the day of opportunity will soon be over. 

The field of the world is larger than it has ever been.  Today there are more means to spread the Gospel than ever before.  What took months in years gone by to get to the ends of the earth now only takes a few hours by airplane.  Literature is being sent to nearly every country on earth and by means of the radio and television the Gospel is being heard around the world.  But with all these tools fewer people coming to Christ.  Many denominations have turned to social programs to feed the hungry and build them houses.  All of these things are good but without the preaching of the Gospel these material things will not bring people to a knowledge of Christ and salvation.

2.  THE WORK . . .

1.  The work of missions is worldwide

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”.  Mark 16:15

2.  The churches job is to be a witness and home and abroad at the same time.

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”.  Acts 1:8

3.  The job of the missionary is to preach the Gospel to a lost world.

“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe”.  1 Corinthians 1:21

4.  The work of getting the message of salvation to the ends of the earth is urgent.

“So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind”.  Luke 14:21

5.  The work of missions is not only going to a foreign field, but the work of missions in the local church is to pray for and support those who are willing to go.

“Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf”.  2 Corinthians 1:11

6.  The work of reaching the lost must be done while there is opportunity.

“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work”.  John 9:4

3.  THE WORKERS . . .

1.  We should be constrained by the Love of Christ to carry the Gospel to this lost world.

“For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.  For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead”.  2 Corinthians 5:13-14

2.  Missionaries should realize that they are being sent by Christ from the local church.

“As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world”.  Matthew 10:16

Any missionary that is depending on his church or mission board for guaranteed support may soon return.  C. T. Studd did a great work for the Lord. He attended the best universities in England and was a famous Cricket player at age 19.  His father had gained a fortune in India and had returned to England to live.  His father was saved in a Moody campaign and became very concerned about his three sons.  Charles was soon saved and six years later gave his life for missionary work.  At age 24 he went to India and labored there for ten years.  When he was 25 he inherited a fortune from his father who had passed away, but gave nearly all of it away to Christian missions doing what Christ told the rich young ruler to do. Three years later he met a young Irish missionary and he gave the rest of his money to her for a wedding present.  She too followed the example of her husband gave all the money to missions.  After ten years in China his health began failing and they returned to England.  He soon felt the call to go to China where he labored with his family for six years before becoming ill again.  While in England he heard of the great work of David Livingston in Africa and soon determined that the Lord was calling him to the heart of this great continent that needed Christ.  Having been turned down by all the mission boards because of his ill health and age he told them these words:  “Gentlemen, God has called me to go. I will blaze the trail, though my grave may only become a stepping stone that young men may later follow”. In his diary he wrote these words before leaving for Africa: my mission board has three members, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In 1910 he left for Africa and saw hundreds saved and labored there for 21 years until the Lord took him home in 1931.  The church needs more workers like this.

It is not wrong to ask churches for support, but the workers in the Lord’s harvest need to depend on the Lord for their needs.

3.  God’s missionaries and pastors should be faithful until the Lord calls them home.  They may not be able to do the same amount of work but should be doing what they can until the Lord comes or calls them home.  What God told the church at Smyrna is the same today.

“. . . be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life”. Revelation 2:10

4.  The workers in the Lord’s vineyard should follow the example of the apostle Paul as recorded in 2 Corinthians 11:23-33.   Paul suffered stonings, beatings, shipwrecks, physical hunger and many other things but served our Saviour until the end.

5. The first missionaries were successful in winning many to the Lord and seeing churches started in many parts of the world.  We read of Pauls’s success.

“Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few”.  Acts 17:12

The name Willian Carey name is known as one who heard the call of God and answered that call and went to India as a missionary.   On June 13, 1793 he got on a boat and left England with his wife and five children.  At the last moment his wife said she wouldn’t go but finally decided to go after her younger sister said she would go with them.  Their first year was spent helping a medical missionary in Calcutta and learning the language.  His wife’s mental condition continued to deteriorate and so they decided to move from the large city to a smaller town.  Because of political unrest no money had come for a year and with only a few dollars left he rented a boat and with his family and sister-in-law and began their journey along the coast.  With the help of a native guide they followed the coast line not knowing just where they would go.  After about forty miles as they rounded a curve in the shoreline they saw a large mansion on a hilltop and William Carey asked the guide who lived there.  He was told it was the home of a retired army officer from England.  At that exact moment a man appeared on the shore and seeing that the people in the boat were English motioned for them to come ashore.  The man’s name was Charles Short and he was glad to have someone to talk to in English.  He soon learned of their plight and invited them to stay in his home as long as they wanted too.  William Carey stayed about three months and then was able to find housing in a nearby town where he moved with his wife and five children. During this time Mr. Short was led to the Lord by Carey. The sister-in-law married Mr. Short and he became a supporter of the missionary work.  Soon one of William Carey’s sons died of a fever and by now his wife had almost lost all of her mental faculties.   She soon died but William Carey was not discouraged and after seven years of hardships and discouragement he baptized his first two converts on December 28, 1800.  His work continued and he married again and by now had mastered many of the dialects spoken in India.  With the help of a missionary printer from England he published the first Bengalee Bible in the main language of India.  By now a strong church had been organized in Calcutta and many other churches had been started and multitudes were being baptized. One of William Carey’s greatest achievements was to translate the Bible into 41 dialects and to have printed 20 of these in complete Bibles and many of these are used until this day.  His second wife died in 1821 but he carried on his work with the help of his four sons who labored with him in the work.  Finally after more than forty two years of labor William Cared died on June 9, 1834.  He never took a furlough and never saw his homeland again, but what a reward was waiting for him in Heaven.  Truly he had been faithful until death.

Any worker who decides to work for the Lord needs to know that the battle is the Lord’s and that he will give us the victory.

“And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's”.  2 Chronicles 20:15

4.  THE REWARD OF MISSIONS . . .

Missions is doing the will of God.  God’s desire is that all hear the message of salvation and come to know Christ as their Saviour.

“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”.  1 Timothy 2:3-4

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”.  2 Peter 3:9

When we do what pleases the Lord we can be assured of a harvest.

“He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him”.  Psalm 126:6 

Many times the harvest comes after many delays.  Many of God’s greatest missionaries had to wait years before reaping a harvest.  Henry Knott waited 19 years and six months on the island of Tahaiti in the South Pacific for his first convert to be baptized.  It was the chief Pomair and in less than six months thousands followed Christ and the life of the island completely changed.

Robert Moffet in Africa waited many years before seeing the fruit of his labors.  His mission in England sent a letter telling that they had decided to close the mission but he asked for one more year and during that year one soul was saved and then three more.  During the next five years over seven hundred people were saved and baptized and many churches started.

In Brazil we saw the Lord work.  In Franca we saw many saved and had the privilege of baptizing over 50 people. After that we moved to the town of Porto Ferreira where there had never been a Baptist Church.  During our nearly six years there we saw many saved and baptized and a church organized.   One man and his wife were saved and baptized and they are faithful until this day in the Lord’s work.   Another lady who had studied to be nun was saved and is faithfully serving the Lord.  And still another lady, Dona Luiza who was 68 years old when she was saved and baptized and came to the service when we visited the churches there two years ago.  In the last town that we started a church in many were saved.  One man whose name was Candido das Neves came to know the Lord and soon was taken home to heaven.  

The reward of missions is knowing that you have had a part in helping to reach this world for our Saviour, and that many people you have never seen will thank you for your prayers and gifts that made it possible for missionaries to reach them for Christ.

 

13                                                       MISSION WORK

 

When we think of mission work we are usually thinking about reaching a new field for the Lord, going to a foreign country and many times learning a new language.  There are three main areas that we will consider today: The missionary, the mission – our work and purpose and then the mission field.

1.  THE MISSIONARY . . .

The word missionary doesn’t appear in the King James version of the Bible, but the meaning of the word appears many times.

This word according to the dictionary means “one who is sent forth with a specific purpose and job to do”. 

This is illustrated in Acts 13:1-4 when the church at Antioch sent forth Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey.   This was done after prayer the two men demonstrated their desire to serve in the church there and their obedience to the call of the Holy Spirit.

A missionary is sent forth in obedience to the command of Christ in Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8

We will consider three things about a missionary.

1.  They were sent because they were called. 

“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them”.  Acts 13:2

Every missionary should be sure of his call.

“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. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed”.  James 1:5-6

I believe there is a difference between a call and the leading of the Lord.  One is called into the ministry or to be a missionary.   I believe that once a person has been called of the Lord the desire to serve Him in a special way will never leave him.

A leading of the Lord is like the direction the Lord gave to the apostle Paul on many occasions.  The most he ever stayed in one city was about two and a half years.  In many cities he stayed only a few weeks or months, but left behind people who could carry on the work he had begun. 

In Acts 16 the Lord called Paul to go to Macedonia after forbidding him to go to Bithynia.

“And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them”.  Acts 16:9-10

The leading of the Lord usually has reference to the time and place.  Many missionaries fail to leave behind a lasting work because they didn’t discern when it was time to leave and turn the work over to the people and a national pastor. 

2.  What kind of men were the early missionaries?

1.   They were qualified – Acts 13:1, they had experience teaching and preaching before they went to the field.

2.    They were dedicated – 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, Acts 20:24

3.    They were motivated – the love of Christ constrained them 2 Cor. 5:14

4.    They were activated – Philippians 3:13-14

3.  The cost of being a missionary.

In many countries there is still persecution.  In Turkey it is against the law to give out a track on the street.

Many times the cost of being a missionary will involve physical sickness and sometimes even death.   Bobby Powell, Betty Head and many others.  Any body that is considering the mission field should consider the possible cost to his family and himself.  It would be far better for any who are considering mission work to look at the cost before wasting God’s money by spending years raising support and then quitting because of the obstacles.   Many of God’s greatest missionaries like David Livingston, Adironan Judson and William Carey suffered greatly but finished the work the Lord had for them.

2.  THE MISSION – What are the purpose and goals of a missionary?

The Bible says we ambassadors for Christ.

“For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak”.  Ephesians 6:20

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God”.  2 Corinthians 5:20

The work of a missionary is to represent and carry out the desires and orders of the one he represents, the Lord Jesus Christ and his church.

Many think that being a missionary is a pleasure trip to see new place or an experience to meet new people and enjoy their life.

The mission of every real missionary is to win the lost to Christ and then organize them into a church. On the mission field you will find many different kinds of ministries that missionaries carry out.  Some show films but have never started a church and do little to get their converts into a local church.  Others work on college campuses but do little to encourage their converts to get into a local church and follow the Lord in baptism.  All of these ministries have their place, but only when they are under the direction of a local church. 

The work of a missionary is not to try and make American Christians and churches.  The goal is to win the lost and then begin a church.  I believe that every church needs a permanent place to meet in and a pastor before the missionary leaves.  Some think they should build a nice building and then start their church.   We know that Paul met in the school of Tyranus (Acts 19:9) until the church was able to have their own building.  At least four churches in the Bible met in the homes of Christians until they grew and I am sure had their own buildings later on.

Another goal of the missionary is to celebrate the Lord’s Supper with his church.

The ultimate goal of a missionary is to train leaders and possibly a future pastor for the church he has started.  Sometimes the Lord doesn’t call someone from the congregation and the missionary has to consult with a good Bible School or another pastor for a prospective pastor.  Paul told Titus to ordain elders (leaders) in every city where he was working.

“For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee”.  Titus 1:5

3.  THE FIELD -

Jesus said that the field is the world in Matthew 13:38   “The field is the world; . . .”

Jesus also said to lift up our eyes and look on the fields.  John 4:35

“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and [then] cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest”.

Within the one great field, the world, there are many individual fields and each one has it’s own customs and sometimes other languages.

1. The Customs . . .

On the mission field it is usually a strange place with other customs and manners.  The food, the houses, and the people are many times very different from what we are accustomed to here in America.  Most houses in Central and South America don’t have heating or air conditioning. 

Many times the people have other values from what is decent to a Christian.  A missionary needs to realize that he is going there to bring the people new values through the preaching of the Gospel.  Many times it is easy to get too much like the people and fall into their evil ways.  Many have even fallen into adultery and others have become involved in business and left their mission of reaching the lost for Christ.

2.  The People . . .

People anywhere in the world are human beings and have feelings similar to ours.  If we are going to win them to the Lord we need to win their confidence and trust.  We should never give them the feeling that we are better than them or what many call “the rich American”.  Even though we may have more resources than them we should be willing to live on a level with the people we are trying to reach.   Living in a house that gives the impression of being above the people can sometimes have a negative effect on the people.  One missionary wife wouldn’t allow the national people into her house for fear of getting it dirty.

Our house should always be open to the people.  We should allow our children play with the national children, but always supervise their friends and when necessary invite them to play at your house.

We should become as much like the people as possible, but not lower our standards to any that would be below Bible standards.  Many times their time to eat will be very different from what we are accustomed too.  In one town where we started a church it was the custom for the factories to start work at 7 am and the people ate lunch at 11 pm and usually rested until 1 pm. 

We should seek to do as the apostle Paul tried to do in his ministry.

1 Corinthians 9:19-27

 

14                                                       MISSIONARY WORK

 

For missionary work to be done there must be three things: a mission field, a mission plan and purpose and then a missionary willing to answer the call of God to go to the field and accomplish the mission the Lord has sent him to do.

In Matthew 13:35 Jesus said: “The field is the world”.   In another place Jesus said to “look on the fields” John 4:35.  In this world there are many individual fields with there customs and needs.  Usually when we think of missions we think of a foreign land with their customs and ways that are unfamiliar to us. 

1.  THE FIELD . . .

1.  Customs -

What may seem very natural to them may seem very unnatural to us.  Their time to eat, the things they eat and other habits may vary from what we are accustomed to do as Americans.  Many times the people have never heard a Gospel message and have little knowledge of the Bible and what it teaches about our way to talk and dress.  Our job is not to lower our standards to theirs but to lift them up a new life in Christ.  This sometimes takes time and patience. 

The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 that we are to become all things to all men that we might win them to Christ.  “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some”.  Vs. 22

2.  The people -

They are human beings just like us.  If we are going to win them to Christ we must first win their respect and trust.   Many people in foreign lands think that everyone in America is rich. The phrase “the rich American” is very common in most other countries.  Many times poor people in the United States have more than the average person in another country.  We should always try to make the people feel that we are like them and not to feel that we are on a higher level.  We should be willing to live in a house that is similar to what the average person lives in where we are going to start a church.

In Acts 8:29-31 we read that Philip went up and sat with the Ethopian eunuch in his chariot  Vs. 31. 

“And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him”.

Our homes should be open for people to come and sit with us so we can get to know them better.

We should allow our children to play with their children under our supervision.  It might be better for you to have them come to your house so you can help them learn Christian values and many times lead them to Christ.

Being a foreigner will give you many opportunities to visit people of a higher class and be invited into their homes. 

2.  THE MISSION – our purpose and goal.

What is the work and purpose of going to a mission field?  Why are we going?  What are our goals? 

We are not going there for a pleasure trip as some seem to have thought.  One missionary came to Guatemala and after three weeks went back home.  From talking with him he seemed to give the impression that the field was not what he thought it would be and left.  Evidently the Lord had not called him or he would still be there.

1.  Our first aim and goal should be to win the lost to Christ.  This sometimes takes time and patience with people who have never heard the Gospel.   Many times they have never been inside any church but the Catholic Church with their altars of gold and images of Mary and Peter all around. 

Paul first won the people to Christ and then helped them get churches started.  Lydia in Acts 16 was won to the Lord and later opened her home to have a church there.

2.  Our second goal should be to get a church started and established as soon as possible.  After people are saved we should teach them what the Bible says about baptism and our new life in Christ.  After they have been saved and baptized we should have the “Lord’s Supper” and show them the need for a clean and dedicated life to the Lord.

3.  Our third goal in mission work should be to train the new converts to study God’s word and take responsibility in the church.  Some may be able to teach, others may have a talent for music and others a desire to help the pastor and prepare to be leaders in the church.  Paul told Titus to ordain leaders in every city where churches had been started.

“For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee”.  Titus 1:5

3.  THE MISSIONARY . . .  who is he, what is he.

A missionary is one who is prepared for the work the Lord is calling him into.  He should know the Scriptures and have some experience in the Lord’s work.  If he has graduated from a Bible College or School it will be a great help.  Working with a pastor in a local church and learning by experience can be a great asset.

A missionary is one who is sent with a mission.  He is a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ to the country where he is going.

Paul said we are ambassadors for Christ, one who represents our Saviour to a lost world.

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God”.  2 Corinthians 5:20

He is one who is sent by the Lord Jesus Christ and then from His church here on earth.

Acts 13:1-4 and Matthew 28:19-20

1.  They were sent because they were called by the Lord.

Every missionary should be sure of his calling.  He should be willing to make any sacrifice to answer his call.

“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.  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed”. James 1:5-6

There is a difference between a call and the leading of the Lord.  One is called to preach, or be a missionary or evangelist.   I personally feel when one is called the desire will never leave him to continue in the work the Lord has called him into.  One may be hindered by sickness and other obstacles but the desire will still be there.

The leading of the Lord has to do with place where we will work, the type of work we will do and the time we may spend in a certain location.  Paul was constantly on the move and sensitive to the Lord’s leading as in Macedonian vision in Acts 16.  He knew when the door would shut in one place that the Lord had another place for him to preach the Gospel.   He never quit and finished the course the Lord had for him on this earth.

2.  What kind of men or women should a missionary be.

              A.  Qualified – by study and experience.  Acts 13:1, 2 Timothy 2:15

              B.  Dedicated – by example.  2 Corinthians 11:23-28, Acts 20:24

              C.  Motivated – constrained by the love of Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:14

              4.  Activated – pressing forward, moving ahead. Philippians 3:13-14

3.  The cost of being a missionary.

              A.  Physical – sickness, death of loved ones.  Cindy Kincaid but Billy is still serving the Lord.  Adionaron Judson buried two wives on the mission field.  1 Peter 4:12-13

              B.  Mental – culture shock, loneliness, lack of communication with loved ones.  2 Timothy 4:16-17.

              C.  Material loss – conveniences, material belongings.  All you have may be stolen or lost.  David Livingston.  Philippians 3:7-8

There will be no greater reward in the work of missions than to know that we have done what the Lord gave us to do and finished our course as Paul did.

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing”.  2 Timothy 4:7-8

 

15                               HOW TO START AND ESTABLISH A NEW CHURCH

 

These ideas have come from many missionaries that have opened new churches in Brazil and Guatemala.  It is of the utmost importance to know where the Lord wants you to start a new work.  Many have started works that lasted only a few months and others several years before the work was closed or unable to carry on by themselves after the missionary left.  This leaves a bad testimony in the city where another missionary may come later and want to start a work there.  Jesus said it was better not to put your hand to the plow and then turn back.

“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”.  Luke 9:62

These ideas have mainly been used in starting churches in small and medium sized towns and cities of up to two hundred thousand people.  In larger capital cities with over a million people other methods may work better.  

1.  FINDING THE PLACE TO START . . .

A.  Looking for the city or town where you will be working.

Consider the size, location and how many churches are already there.  Is there a hospital in the town and private doctors?   Are there schools if you have children?  Is there a public or Christian school?  Consider if there are houses for rent and if one is suitable for your family.  Be sure to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit before making a final decision.  Spend a day or two in the city and meet some of the people.  Many times a Christian family even though they may be from another church can give you vital information about the town.  

After you have decided on the town where you will work you will need a place to live.  In many towns it can be very difficult to locate an empty house.  Check with a real estate agency if there is one.  Look for houses that are being built and ask where the family lives that will be moving into the new house.  Check with the electric company.  Many times they can give you a list of houses that have the power cut off and may be empty.  Ask in all the local grocery and drug stores for information.  Be willing to live in a simple house if it is necessary until you can find a better one.  After you have lived in a town for awhile you will begin to learn about houses that will be for rent.

B.  Finding a place to start a church.

We have found it is better not to start in your house.  Many times the people will be used to having fellowship after the services and take a long time to leave.  They will always want to use your bathrooms and this can be sometimes inconvenient. 

Look for a small commercial building or empty store.  Be sure to look at the location (can the people easily get to it at night, is there bus service if it is in a larger city), is it on a main street.  Is there a room for the Sunday School?  It is always better if it is not too close to an already established church and especially no too close to the Catholic Church.  How long will you have to make a contract for and can you move if you find a better location later on?  A small building full of people is always better than a large building with only a few people.

2.  STARTING THE NEW CHURCH . . .

A.  The church building and needed furniture.

After you find a location it will be necessary to clean and paint it.  The first appearance always is a lasting one.  You will need to make or have a pulpit made.   It is always better to use chairs instead of benches.  If you make benches they may not fit in the next place you move too.  Chairs can always be used in the Sunday School rooms later.  Have a sufficient number.  If visitors come and there is no place to sit they may not come back.  Have a nice sign painted by a local painter if there is one.  Be sure to have the name of the church (not mission) and the hours of the services. 

B.  The first service.

We have always found it is better to have a special first service on a Saturday night or a Sunday afternoon when other churches can come support this new work.  Have a special speaker and music.  Be sure to announce the new work in the newspaper and radio.  Pass out invitations for a couple weeks before the first service.  A Gospel of John and Romans with a special cover glued on with the name and address of the church has been greatly used of the Lord in starting churches in Guatemala.  Be sure to make this first service as orderly as possible as a good first impression can go a long way in establishing a new church.

3.  THE FIRST FEW MONTHS . . .

A.  The services. 

The Sunday School in many areas can be a great help in getting contacts for the new church.  Many times the first people to attend will be children and young people.  You and your wife will probably have to be the first teachers.   If someone shows a special interest invite them to help you in your class and begin training them to be future teachers for new classes. Find out when is the time when most people are used to going out.  In Brazil the Sunday night service was always the largest.  In other towns it may be Sunday morning. 

B.  Music

Good music will always help a service.  If someone in your family plays an instrument be sure to use them.  If a visitor offers there services be sure to get to know them first and what kind of music they are used to playing.  Many times good people come from a Pentecostal background and may need some advice from you on how the music in a Baptist church is played.  An accordion or guitar are two instruments that can greatly help the song service.  Invite special groups or singers to come at least once a month. 

C.  Records.

Be sure to have visitors cards ready and get there names and addresses the first time they visit.  Keep a good record in the Sunday School.  Always take an offering and let the people know that all the money will be used for the future church and to help pay the bills.  Never count the money yourself.  Always have at least two persons count the offerings and have a treasurer from the people as soon as possible.  Give the people an opportunity to support the church and explain that you will not be getting any money for your personal benefit.   Explain that the church is theirs and not your church or that it will not belong or be controlled by another church.  The apostle Paul established indigenous self supporting churches.  There is no record that any church he started was controlled by the church in Jerusalem. 

4.  HAVE A PERMANENT WORK . . .

A.  Give the impression of a permanent work.

We have always used the name church instead of mission.  A mission sometimes gives the impression it is part of another church or just a preaching point that may close later on.  Paul started churches, not missions.  Always explain that the church is theirs and is being started for their benefit.   Explain that if you should have to leave later on because of sickness or other problems that the church will continue.

B.  Organize the church.

After some time depending on the success of reaching the people it is good to organize the church officially.   Let the people prepare a constitution with your guidance.  Have a special service and invite other churches to participate.  In this service adopt the new constitution and open the church for new members.  Receive those you have led to the Lord and baptized and others that are members of other churches that want to transfer their membership to this new church.  Let the people choose their leaders;

Elect a secretary, treasurer and deacons if some are qualified for this office.  After this meeting register the church with the local court house so that they will be able to have a bank account in their name and be able to buy property in the name of the church, not the missionary or mission he belongs to.  Many churches are owned by missions in the United States.  This is not scriptural and it will be difficult for this church to ever become self supporting and self governing. 

C.  Help the church secure a permanent location.

A church that just rents for years will have a hard time surviving when the missionary leaves.  He should not buy the property for the people but work with them in finding a suitable location to purchase.  Begin a building fund from the beginning of the church.  Use good ideas and let the people use methods that they are used to in raising funds.  Some of their ideas may be different from ours but as long as they are not unscriptural the Lord can bless them.  We have always started out with a small building that the people have helped build and then a larger auditorium as the church grows.   A building will always help a church grow when the people get involved in working and seeing something that is theirs taking form.

4.  GUIDE THE CHURCH TO CALL THEIR OWN PASTOR . . . 

Sometimes the Lord may raise up a pastor from those who have been saved and trained by the missionary. If there is no one qualified in the church they may have to look elsewhere for a pastor.  If the missionary leaves before the church has a national pastor this can cause problems in the future for the church.  Since the missionary has led many of the people to the Lord they will look to him for advice and help in finding a qualified and dedicated leader.  Sometimes one can be found in a Bible School in a larger city or from another church that has men qualified to pastor a church.  The church and missionary should make it clear to the new pastor that the church will be responsible for his support and that he must trust in the Lord for his needs.  When a new pastor comes the missionary should be ready to move to another place to carry on his work.

        A final word.  These are only ideas and guidelines, you may have other ways and methods that will work in the area and country where you minister.  We would be glad to hear from you and know of any methods that have worked for you in starting and establishing a church where you are working. 

 

INDEX

 

1.                       SIX PROMISES OF THE LORD TO THE CHRISTIAN

2.                       CARRYING OUR CROSS

3.                       CLIMBING SOME BIBLE MOUNTAINS

 4                       LOVING THE THINGS THAT JESUS LOVED

5                        FIVE THINGS WE SHOULD DO WITH THE WORD OF GOD

6                        JESUS AT THE DOOR

7                        FIVE PROMESAS OF DAVID IN PSALM 116

8                        ONE THING

9                        THREE STORMS ON THE SEA

10                      FIVE THINGS OPENED BY THE LORD

11                      HE WILL KEEP THE SAINTS FEET

12.                     THE BIBLE – A LETTER FROM HEAVEN

13                      A SWARM OF BEES

14                      SEVEN "ONE ANOTHERS"

15                      PATIENCE

16                      ENTERING INTO THE NEW YEAR

17                      THE CHURCH THAT JESUS ESTABLISHED

18                      FIVE GREAT PRAYER PROMISES

19                     GOD, OUR ROCK

20                      I WILL (The Lord Speaking)

21                      THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN

22                      FIVE CERTAINITIES IN LIFE

23                      I WILL" (Of the Christian)

24                      For This God is our God

25                      KEEP THE GATE OR DOOR SHUT

26                       That Ye May Know

27                      THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST

28                      FIVE ROCKS IN THE BAG

29                      A LOOK AT “I”

30                      WORKING TOGETHER WITH GOD

31                      THE MOUNTAIN OF PRAYER

32                      THE MASTER IS COME

33                      THE HEALING TREE

34                      SIX PROMISES OF THE LORD TO THE CHRISTIAN

35                      FIVE THINGS THAT EVERY PERSON SHOULD KNOW

36                      FAITH 

37                      THE GOSPEL

38                      THERE IS A GOD IN BEAVEN

39                      THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN

40                      BLESSINGS OF GOD IN THE BOOK OF PSALMS

41                      SOME PROMISED BLESSINGS IN THE BOOK OF PSALMS

42                      LIFE

43                      FOUR ROADS IN THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN

44                      COMPARISONS OF CHRISTIANS IN 1 PETER

45                      WHAT GOD CAN DO

46                      GIVING THANKS TO THE LORD

47        &nbs