Monday, August 28, 2006
2 Samuel 7 When Your Dreams Are Destroyed
I. A GOOD IDEA IS NOT ALWAYS A GODLY IDEA.
You can find nothing wrong with David’s idea; it was a great vision and plan.
1. It was needed. God dwelt in a tent. 2. It would unite Israel and Judah, the kingdom.
3. The motive was to honor God. 4. God wanted a permanent temple. (I Chron. 28:12, 19.)
5. Nathan the prophet agreed with and confirmed it.
But God said NO. How many of our prayers are like this? GOD HIMSELF SETS OUR TASKS, CHOOSES WHAT WE SHALL DO. Later, God explains why David couldn’t build the temple. “Your hands are bloody.” God uses some for BATTLE, others for BUILDING. Some great churches are built on the battles that others before them have fought. Of course, the builder gets all the credit and glory. DAVID’S FAILURE DOESN’T MEAN GOD’S FAILURE; The temple will be built. (There were three temples: The first was destroyed in 587 BC by Nebuchadnezzar. The second was Zerubbabel’s from 527-168 BC. The third was Herod’s from 19 AD to 70 AD. Today a Moslem Mosque occupies the spot. So much for your everlasting monuments!)
Sometimes God says No to your dreams!
One by one He took them from me, All the things I valued most,
Until I was empty-handed; Every glistening toy was lost.
And I walked earth’s highway, grieving, In my rags and poverty.
Till I heard His voice inviting, “Lift those empty hands to Me!”
So I held my hands toward Heaven, And He filled them with a store
Of His transcendent riches Till they could contain no more.
And at last I comprehended With my stupid mind and dull,
That God COULD not pour His riches Into hands already full
II. GOD JUDGES US NOT BY THE ACHIEVEMENT OF OUR HANDS BUT BY THE AMBITION OF OUR HEART. II Chron. 6:8,9 “Thou didst well that it was in thine heart.”
To want to do it is the same as doing it, both with sin and righteousness. Jesus said, “Whoever hates is a murderer, whoever lusts is an adulterer.” God is the only master who pays his servants for inclination as well as action. He accepts the intent and the accomplishment.
III. GOD SAYS “NO”, NOT TO DEPRIVE ITS OF A BLESSING, BUT TO DRIVE US TO A GREATER BLESSING.
If all we see is the disappointment, we will miss the blessing. When God withholds one blessing it is only in order to give us a greater blessing. If he takes something from us with his left hand, He has something better to give us in his right hand. GOD NEVER LEAVES US EMPTY HANDED OR EMPTY HEARTED. David wanted the Temple as a monument to His love and devotion to God. It was the best thing David could think of. But God had something better in mind. IT IS CALLED THE PSALMS. The temple was destroyed and today a pagan religion sits on the location, but not a jot or tithe from the Psalms has passed away or been lost.
1. The Blessing of Remembrance. I Chron. 17:7,8 God reminds David of where he was when God found him. He was FOLLOWING SHEEP. That means “watch your step”. God reminds David of all He has done for him. This denial doesn’t mean David is being abandoned. You can remember all the way the Saviour has lead you. The beautiful hymn stirs our memories " All the way the Saviour eladds me, what have I to ask beside, Can I doubt His tender mercies Who through life has been my guide.. "
Hasn't the Lord lead and guided you in many, many ways? You have seen His hand upon your life. you have felt His leading and guiding! And we forget this. We forget the past blessings. the past guidances. I remember years ago taking Lorelle and the girls to the Glen Innes Show. As we walked through the gates there was a stand selling balloons. The girls wanted one. We thought about it for a minute and then realised if we bought one we'd be carrying this blessed balloon around for four or five hours. So we promised that they would get one ont he way out. As we went spent the day watching the cattle, the sheep, the dogs herding the cattle, the dogs herding the sheep, the horses herding the dogs herding the cattle herding the sheep,.. you get the idea, the rides, the eats, the fun, we left the showground exhausted at the end of the day. As we were walking home, one of the girls burst into tears. "We didn't get a balloon!" She had forgotten what a wonderful day we had had, all for a 20c balloon! How like us. We forget the good guiding hand of the Lord upon us, when once He says No!
2. The Blessing of Reassurance. I Chron 1 7: 10 God’s promise is “I will build THEE a house.”
(1) God wants to do something for David, not have David do something for Him.
(2) His son will build the temple. What greater joy for a father than to see his son succeed.
12 When your time comes and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up after you your descendant, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He will build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me. When he does wrong, I will discipline him with a human rod and with blows from others. 15 But My faithful love will never leave him as I removed it from Saul; I removed him from your way. 16 Your house and kingdom will endure before Me forever, and your throne will be established forever.’ ”
1. An Unconditional Covenant vs 16
Regardless of the failures of David’s Descendants
Psalm 89:3 I will sing about the Lord’s faithful love forever;with my mouth I will proclaim Your faithfulness to all generations. 2 For I will declare, “Faithful love is built up forever; You establish Your faithfulness in the heavens.” 3 [The Lord said,]“I have made a covenant with My chosen one; I have sworn an oath to David My servant: 4 ‘I will establish your offspring forever and build up your throne for all generations.’ ”
Psalm 89:34 I will not violate My covenant or change what My lips have said. 35 Once and for all I have sworn an oath by My holiness ;I will not lie to David. 36 His offspring will continue forever, his throne like the sun before Me, 37 like the moon, established forever, a faithful witness in the sky.”
2. An Incomplete Covenant
Obviously this Covenant is not being fulfilled today.
Psalm 89 :38 But You have spurned and rejected him; You have become enraged with Your anointed. 39 You have repudiated the covenant with Your servant; You have completely dishonored his crown. 40 You have broken down all his walls; You have reduced his fortified cities to ruins. 41 All who pass by plunder him; he has become a joke to his neighbors. 42 You have lifted high the right hand of his foes; You have made all his enemies rejoice. 43 You have also turned back his sharp sword and have not let him stand in battle. 44 You have made his splendor cease and have overturned his throne. 45 You have shortened the days of his youth; You have covered him with shame.Selah 46 How long, Lord? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your anger keep burning like fire? 47 Remember how short my life is.Have You created • everyone for nothing? 48 What man can live and never see death? Who can save himself from the power of • Sheol?Selah 49 Lord, where are the former acts of Your faithful love that You swore to David in Your faithfulness? 50 Remember, Lord, the ridicule against Your servants— in my heart I carry [abuse]from all the peoples— 51 how Your enemies have ridiculed, Lord, how they have ridiculed every step of Your anointed. 52 May the Lord be praised forever. Amen and amen.
3. This Covenant Is and Will Be fulfilled In Jesus.
Luke 1:32 Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.
Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Psalm 45 Is a Messianic Psalm pointing to the Davidic Covenant, and to the Lord Jesus as the fulfilment of it.
Psalm 45: 1 My heart is moved by a noble theme as I recite my verses to the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. 2 You are the most handsome of men; grace flows from your lips. Therefore God has blessed you forever. 3 Mighty warrior, strap your sword at your side. In your majesty and splendor— 4 in your splendor ride triumphantly in the cause of truth, humility, and justice. May your right hand show your awe-inspiring deeds. 5 Your arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; the peoples fall under you. 6 Your throne, God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you, more than your companions, with the oil of joy
17 I will cause your name to be remembered for all generations; therefore the peoples will praise you forever and ever.
Hebrews 1:8 but about the Son: Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; this is why God, Your God, has anointed You, rather than Your companions, with the oil of joy.
4. This Covenant reaches a wonderful fulfilment In The Millennial Kingdom
DAVID’S RESPONSE: Not sour or bitter--but PRAISE and THANKSGIVING. He took an offering for the building of the temple.
When Your Heart is Breaking Because Your Dreams Are Destroyed:
Remember That Your Greatest Blessings Are Found Fulfilled In Christ.
•Remember God Hears The Cry Of Your Heart
•Remember God Knows The End From The Beginning
Remember There Is A Future And A Hope
Jer 29: 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
In Scotland a family by the name of Clark had a dream: husband and wife with their nine children wanted to emigrate to the United States. To make that dream a reality, they struggled, scrimped, and saved. Finally they managed to accumulate enough money and obtain all the paperwork they needed to take the trip and begin a new life in a new land. Ship reservations were made and the family was ecstatic. Then, as often happens, tragedy struck. Seven days before they were to leave the youngest of the children, a little boy, was bitten by a dog. The bite wasn’t serious; the doctor stitched the lad up in no time at all. The tragedy was the doctor also had to hang a yellow sign on the Clark’s front door. The yellow signed warned everybody to stay away: there was a possibility, a very small chance, that the boy had contracted rabies from the bite of the unknown dog. Their ship was to sail in one week, the family was quarantined for two. They would have to stay behind as their ship, and their dreams, sailed into the sunset. The father, outraged at what he felt was the unjust, unfair hand that he had been dealt, went down to the pier to stare as the ship set out. Furious at God, frustrated with his son; he cried and he cursed. He stomped home in a foul mood. He stayed that way, too. Then only a few days after his vessel had left port he got word that on April 15th the very ship which was to have brought them to a new life, had been sunk. The Titanic had gone down. As it disappeared, it had taken with it the lives of over 1,500 passengers. Hearing that news, Mr. Clark’s attitude was instantly transformed. Excitedly, enthusiastically, eagerly, he hugged his son. Plainly, powerfully, and prayerfully, he thanked his God. Their lives had been spared. Their tragedy had been turned into a triumph
Matthew6:11 Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
A minister asked a little boy whether he prayed every day. "No, not every day," said the boy, "there are some days I don't WANT anything!"
More things are wrought by prayer Than this world dreams of. . .. Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
Wherefore, let thy voice Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
"He ... continued all night in prayer to God" (Luke 6:12).
The Lord's Prayer surprises us here. For after dealing with the elevated petitions
Our father which aret in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” the prayer quickly descends to the very real very this worldly needs of the petitioner. We could understand perhaps if the prayer dealt with the very spiritual petitions first: Forgivenss, deliverance temptations, glory! But it doesn’t./ We are plunged straight back into our very real world. And here with is petition, we are brought face to face with a very real sense of frustration!
For us there is a sense of frustration when we pray. There is a sense where we see the Lord act remarkably in answer to our very real prayers. And there is a sense in which we don’t see the Lord act quickly or in the way that we pray for our real needs.
God releases His grace and power when we pray. Jam 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful. We have seen of recent times two folks experience remarkable healing. The Lord touched Ken’s life, when he had 1 month to live through cancer, and the Lord gave him a remarkable remission. He passed away two years later of the cancer. We saw a little girl stricken with Gwillem Benoits syndrome, expecting 12 months hospitalization after prayer go home recovered the very next day. And yet we have seen others we have prayed for not healed.
Intercession is the key to great works. Jn 14:12-13 I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
Prayer transforms society. 1 Tim 2:1-2 First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2 for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. We in Australia live in one of the most secular unchristian societies in the world, with barely 1% of our nation being evangelical Christians, and yet a great proportion of our government leaders are professing Christians, evangelicals! Is this an amazing answer to prayer?
People are saved through prayer. Jn 17:20; Rom 10:1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation! I remember at the last church I pastured we held a 4 hour Saturday morning of prayer. It was a wonderful time. One young man was walking past our building at the time of the prayer meeting oblivious of anything Christian, when he came under a deep sense of conviction of sin, tapped on the front door, and asked “What must I do to be saved?”
He came to know the Lord! Remarkable answers to prayer, and then there are the family members we have prayed for over many years, and they are still not saved. Why is it so? Do you feel a sense of frustration?
Prayer defeats Satan. Eph 6:12,18 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.
Exod 17:8-13 11 While Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, but whenever he put his hand down, Amalek prevailed. 12 When Moses’ hands grew heavy, they took a stone and put [it]under him, and he sat down on it. Then Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other so that his hands remained steady until the sun went down. 13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his army with the sword.
Lk 22:23 31 “Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
We are to be a people of prayer. The apostle Paul writes: Col 4: Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the message, to speak the mystery of the Messiah—for which I am in prison—
And yet there is a sense of frustration in prayer. Some times our prayers are answered directly. Sometimes they are not. And we become frustrated. What do we do about this? How do we understand this?
“Give us this day our daily bread!” This petition gives us the clues to resolving the conflict in our hearts:
I. God Understands the Crises You Face
‘Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.” Psa. 147:5
“Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Mt. 6:8
Recognise God is interested in us. We are His children.
Recognise That Our temporals are a concern to Him. Sure man must not live by bread alone, nor can man live without it. We are a mixture of physical soulish and spiritual needs.
God understands your crises.
The snipers killed 10 and wounded 3 around Washington DC a year or more ago. 50 Christian truckers got together to pray to pray that somehow the sniper terrorizing the Washington, DC area would be caught. Ron Lantz would be retiring as a driver in a few days and didn't even live in the area, but he felt sure that God would answer their prayers. In fact, he told the others there that God was going to use him to catch the sniper. A few days later he was listening to the radio as he was driving again through the region and felt compelled to pull off the highway to a rest stop. It was just a couple of miles from where the prayer meeting had taken place. As he pulled in, he was shocked to see a car similar to what was being described on the radio right there before his eyes. Carefully trying to read the license plate, a chill went up his back as the numbers matched. He quickly called 911 and remained there for what he said were the longest 15 minutes of his life until the police arrived. He even pulled his truck across the exit, there would now be no escape for these elusive murderers. The rest is now history -- the snipers were taken into custody without incident.
Prayer is the soul's sincere desire, Uttered, or unexpressed-- The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.
II. God Hears Your Voice
“Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.” Psa. 86:6-7
Prayer is the burden of a sigh, The falling of a tear-- The upward glancing of the eye,
When none but God is near
Prayer is the simplest form of speech That infants lips can try-- Prayer the sublimest strains that reach,
The Majesty on high.
Prayer is the contrite sinner's voice Returning from his ways, While angels in their songs rejoice,
And cry, "Behold, he prays!"
Not long after Dallas Seminary was founded in 1924, bankruptcy knocked at its doors. By noon o one particular day, every creditor threatened foreclosure. That morning, the founders of the Seminary met to pray in president Lewis Sperry Chafer's office. They asked God to provide the needed funds. Harry Ironside was part of that prayer meeting. When it was his turn to pray he prayed in his characteristically pointed manner; "Lord, we know that the cattle on a thousand hills are thine. Please sell some of them and send us the money." Meanwhile as these men were praying, into the seminary's business office came a tall Texan. Addressing a secretary, he said, "I just sold two carloads of cattle in Fort Worth. I've been trying to make a business deal go through and it won't work, and I feel that God is compelling me give this money to the seminary. I don't know if you need it or not, but here's the check." Well aware of the situation and knowing that it was for that purpose the founders were gather in prayer, the secretary took the check to the door of the president's office and timidly knocked. When she finally go t a response, Chafer took the check out of her hand and stared at it with amazement. The amount matched the exact size of the debt. Looking at the signature on the check, he recognized the name of the cattle rancher. Turning to Harry Ironside, he said, "Harry, God sold the cattle!"
Our own skill and industry. God is the giver; he gives daily bread. Psa 136: 25; he gives riches. ‘It is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.’ Deut 8: 18.
I heard a story the other day of a man who encountered a bit of trouble while flying his little airplane. He called the control tower and said, "Pilot to tower, I'm 300 miles from the airport, six hundred feet above the ground, and I'm out of fuel. I am descending rapidly. Please advise. Over." "Tower to pilot," the dispatcher began, "Repeat after me: "Our Father Who art in heaven...'"
C. H. Spurgeon once said, "Prayer pulls the rope down below and the great bell rings above in the ears of God. Some scarcely stir the bell, for they pray so languidly; others give only an occasional jerk at the rope. But he who communicates with heaven is the man who grasps the rope boldly and pulls continuously with all his might."
III. God Responds with a Father’s Love
Recognise You Are Dependant upon Him. God is the Giver James 1: 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning Psalm 104:10 He causes the springs to gush into the valleys; they flow between the mountains. 11 They supply water for every wild beast; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. 12 The birds of the sky live beside [the springs]; they sing among the foliage. 13 He waters the mountains from His palace; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of Your labor. 14 He causes grass to grow for the livestock and [provides]crops for man to cultivate, producing food from the earth, 15 wine that makes man’s heart glad— making his face shine with oil— and bread that sustains man’s heart.
27 All of them wait for You to give them their food at the right time. 28 When You give it to them, they gather it; when You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good things. 29 When You hide Your face, they are terrified; when You take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. 30 When You send Your breath, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth.
The word "daily" is an interesting word. This is the only time this Greek word is used in the entire Bible. When the scholars were translating the Bible into English they couldn't find this word anywhere in Greek history. They thought maybe that somebody had just made it up -- maybe the Lord had made up this word. It wasn't in Plato, Homer, the Iliad, or Aristotle or any other Greek classical literature. Nobody knew what the word meant. Daily for daily bread. In 1947 they discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls in Israel and as they were pulling them out of the cave and found all the rare documents and manuscripts of the Bible which proved its authenticity and veracity back thousands of years earlier, they found this word on some fragments. When they discovered what the fragments were -- they were shopping lists, grocery lists. These items were perishable items that you couldn't store for more than a day. In those days they didn't have refrigeration. You had to go to the store every day for things like milk, bread, all those things we have to have today. Those were items that didn't last. Then they knew what the word meant.
Give us this day our daily ration ... not enough for tomorrow... not enough for the next week, but for today. That's how God wants you to live. One day at a time. Bread. I wonder that the idea of daily bread doesn’t arise in the heart from the record in the book of Exodus, where for forty years in the desert God fed three million people on a daily basis. Literally. He sent bread down from heaven that covered the ground. Literally daily bread for forty years for three million people. It was called manna. Manna is the Hebrew word for "What is it?" They had never seen anything like it.
The interesting thing about manna is God provided it. It was kind of a bland, tasteless bread and you had to get up early in the morning. They would gather it every morning. If you were lazy and slept in you didn't get any. The early bird got the manna. God gave them manna. They would gather it early in the day. They would get just enough for that day. You couldn't store the manna. You couldn't save it. If you tried to save it overnight it would get worms and go rotten and it was useless. God made it so that it was only enough for that day and every day, day in, day out, for forty years three million people had to depend on daily bread. He wanted them to live moment by moment.
The brilliant scientist Sir Isaac Newton said that he could take his telescope and look millions and millions of miles into space. Then he added, "But when I lay it aside, go into my room, shut the door, and get down on my knees in earnest prayer, I see more of Heaven and feel closer to the Lord than if I were assisted by all the telescopes on earth."
IV. God Desires Your Praise
Give Glory To God For His Provisions Psalm 104 :31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in His works. 32 He looks at the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains, and they pour out smoke. 33 I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live. 34 May my meditation be pleasing to Him; I will rejoice in the Lord. 35 May sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more. My soul, praise the Lord! Hallelujah!
Romans 1: 21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools If I really develop the conviction that God is the source of everything I need... My job is not the source of my income. If you feel that way you're going to get under tension if you lose your job. You're uptight. God is the source of your income. He just happens to be using a particular job as the channel. If He turns off one faucet He can just as easily turn on another. What happens when I really make God the source of my life and I really look to Him to provide all my needs? Two things happen:
1. You become more at peace. Circumstances don't bother you any more. You look beyond the circumstances to the One who is ultimately in control and you just don't sweat it. God is my source. If tomorrow you went to work and they asked you to make an unethical decision and you refused because you are a Christian and you got fired, what would you do? Panic or pray? Would you feel like you're going under for the last time, that your life is falling apart? Or would you say, “God is my provider; He'll provide another
job because I'm honoring Him. He said if I put him first in my life I don't have to worry. He's going to take care of my needs between now and when I get the next job which He has in mind.”
The other thing that happens... How do you know when you're really trusting God?
2. You become more generous. When you're stingy with your time, your money, and your effort it means you really don't believe God's going to provide for you. So you've got to hoard it, hold on to it, and you can't give it away. If I am absolutely convinced that God is the source of my supply and He meets my every need, then it's easy for me to help others and it's easy for me to tithe ten percent of my income. God's my source. People won't tithe because they don't really believe God's going to meet their needs. It's a faith issue. How generous am I?
If you're a Christian, do you realize that every Sunday when the offering basket is passed, God is giving you a faith test? He's giving you a test, every week. Can I live without X dollars? Can I do what God has told me to do, or can I not trust Him? I can't afford to tithe because I need every bit I make to make my payments. Do I really believe God? That's the issue.
What are you worried about the most? You job? Your health? Have you thought about asking God for assistance and remembering His resources and then trusting His timing? He wants to teach you to live by faith day by day. "Give us this day our daily bread."
Nothing tunes the soul like prayer. He that is able to pray and plead his case with God shall soon "mount with wings as eagles; shall run and not he weary; shall walk and not faint." We should pray for a spirit of prayer; we cannot expect a favor we do not ask for. I am persuaded that God will honor every species of prayer. It is a sad thing to let the devil persuade us to stand still or go backward because we cannot do all we wish. Prayer is the key that unlocks every blessing. Beware of general requests; it is a sign of a cold, unfeeling heart. Come and specify what you would have; carry your real concerns to Christ; and be satisfied with his care and management of you. The government is upon his shoulders, not yours. It is enough that he undertakes for you; therefore transact all your affairs with him. A Christian who is sometimes found sitting still as a man of faith, is at other times found wrestling as a man of prayer. -- J. Wilbur Chapan,
Prayer is the Christian's vital breath-- The Christians' native air-- His watchword at the gates of death--
He enters heaven with prayer.
A crowded gathering of distinguished scientists had been listening spellbound to the masterly expositions of Michael Faraday. For an hour he had held his brilliant audience enthralled as he demonstrated the nature and properties of the magnet. He had brought his lecture to a close with an experiment so novel, so bewildering, and so triumphant, that for some time after he resumed his seat, the house rocked with enthusiastic applause. And then the Prince of Wales... afterwards King Edward VII rose to propose a motion of congratulation. The resolution, having been duly seconded, was carried with renewed thunders of applause. Suddenly the uproar ceased and a strange silence settled over the audience. The assembly waited for Faraday's reply. But he did not appear. Only his most intimate friends knew what had become of him. He was an elder in a little church... a church that never boasted more than twenty members. He 2as gone to the prayer meeting. He had an appointment with one far greater than Edward VII. Do you? Have you kept your appointment with God?
Friday, August 25, 2006
The Soul-Winner's Adornment I PETER 3 :1-5
What do you think about the broader application?
BYPATHS IN THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT
by Kenneth Wuest
The Soul-Winner's Adornment
IN I PETER 3 :1-5 we have the case of Christian women of the first century seeking to win their unsaved husbands to the Lord Jesus as Saviour. These husbands are of that non-persuasible type that will not listen to reason. Obstinacy, stubbornness, inflexibility are here personified. We see this in the use of the words "obey not" which come from a Greek word literally meaning, "non-persuasible." The word "if" represents a fulfilled condition. There were such cases in those days, as there are such instances today, the Christian wife is exhorted to be in subjection to her unsaved husband, in order that he might without a word, not the Word, be won by the behaviour of the wife. "Behaviour" is from the Greek word rendered "conversation," the latter having changed its meaning since the A.V. was translated. There is no definite article before the second use of the word "word." No one has ever been won to the Lord Jesus apart from the Word of God. Peter is exhorting these wives who have given the gospel to their husbands time after time, to stop talking about it lest they start nagging, and instead, live the gospel before them. If the husband is so obstinate as to refuse to listen to her, well then, the next best thing is to keep quiet and let the gospel speak through a Christlike life. He may refuse to listen to her words, but he cannot but see the Lord Jesus in her life.
But as the Christian wife thus seeks to live before her husband, the apostle warns her that she must not depend upon outward adornment in her effort to win her husband to the Lord. Her adornment must come from within, from a heart pervaded with the beauty and fragrance of Christ. Thus it is the presence of the Lord Jesus in the life of the soul-winner which the Holy Spirit uses to attract sinners to Jesus, not the adornment one puts on. This is the principle which Peter brings before us in verses three and four.
The word "adornment" is from the Greek word kosmos. It means literally "an ordered system." It speaks of that which is congruous, fitting. A Christian worker's clothing should be in keeping with the simplicity, purity, and beauty of the Lord Jesus. What one wears on the outside of the body should be an expression of what is in the heart.
Then the Spirit of God speaks of the three parts of a Christian woman's adornment, the way she wears her hair, the Jewelry she puts on, and the apparel she selects.
First, she is not to depend upon the plaiting of the hair in her effort to win her husband to the Lord- Reference-is made here to the extravagant and costly excesses to which women of the first century went in hair ornament. Quoting from an early manuscript we have this: "The attendants will vote on the dressing of the hair as if a question of reputation or of life were at stake, so great is the trouble she takes in quest of beauty; with so many tiers does she load, with so many continuous stories does she build up on high her head. She is as tall as Andromache in front, behind she is shorter. You would think another person" (Vincent). Thus, extravagant excesses and intricate artificiality of hairdress are forbidden in Christian woman as adornment.
Second, the wearing of gold is forbidden. The word "wearing" is'from a Greek word which means literally "to hang around," as one hangs ornaments around a Christmas tree. The wearing of jewelry is not forbidden here, but the gaudy, conspicuous, extravagant, obtrusive display of the same as adornment.
Third, dependence upon apparel is forbidden. The purpose of clothing is for the protection of the body. Theurpose of apparel is for the ornamentation of the person. That which is forbidden is the donning of apparel for fix purpose of making ourselves pleasing in the eyes of the unsaved so that we may win them to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus,
Why does not dependence upon outward adornment help us to win souls to the Lord Jesus? First, it is because the Holy Spirit does not use the styles of the world in winning a soul to the Lord, as He seeks to work through the believer. Second, it is because such an elaborate display satisfies the lust or desire of the eyes of the unsaved one whom we are seeking to win. When a Christian worker thus appeals to the fallen nature of the sinner, she cannot at the same time appeal to him to trust in the Lord Jesus. Third, it is because such a display destroys the personal testimony of the soul winner. We may be fundamental in our doctrine, and yet defeat the power of the Word we give out by the modernism of our appearance. The unsaved person will say, "What you appear to be on the outside speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you are saying," For these reasons, no dependence must be placed upon outward adornment as we seek to win the lost.
Instead of this, we are to depend upon the hidden man of the heart. The expression refers to the inner heart life of the Christian in which the Lord Jesus reigns supreme When -we depend upon that for our adornment, then the Lord Jesus is seen in the life, His beauty. His sweetness, His simplicity. This the Holy Spirit uses as He gently woos a soul to the Saviour. The more of the Lord Jesus which the sinner sees in the believer's life, the more powerful is the latter's testimony, the more usable her words, usable to the Holy Spirit. Alas, as someone has said, "What cheap perfume we sometimes use."
This brings us to certain principles regarding adornment. If a personality is to be seen at its best, it must be seen alone, not merged with another personality. Either the Lord Jesus is seen in all His beauty, or the personality of the believer is seen and her adornment. The Holy Spirit attracts sinners to the Lord Jesus, not by displaying the latest styles in dress, but by exhibiting the Lord Jesus. If the sinner is attracted by the modernism of the believer's adornment, the fundamentalism of the believer's doctrine will be neutralized. When a Christian woman depends upon the Lord Jesus for her adornment, the manner of wearing the hair, the kind and amount of ornament she wears, and the kind of clothing she puts on, will all be in keeping with the purity, simplicity, and beauty of the Lord Jesus. All will be attractive without attracting from the Lord Jesus. All will be beautiful without detracting from Him. All will have character without attracting one to the person herself. Then the sinner will see the Lord Jesus in the heart and life of the believer, and in her adornment as well. Then will the Holy Spirit be able to work through the soul winner, attracting sinners to the Saviour.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Pray According To God's Will
‘Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.’ Matt 6: 10.
God’s will. Sounds restrictive, constricting our independence. South American birds transported across Pacific. One escaped, flew out free as a bird, 2 days later returned to the boat exhausted. No trees in mid pacific!
John 4:34 “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work,” Jesus told them.
John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
John 14:21 The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.”
Matt 7: 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but [only]the one who does the will of My Father in heaven
Col 1:9For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding
John 8:44 You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.
1. Doing God’s Will is A Matter of Discernment
Paradox’s: Does prayer work? James 5:16The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17 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. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
God’s Over-ruling Sovereignty Eph 1:11 In Him we were also made His inheritance, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, versus Mans Absolute Responsibility 1 Sam 12: 23 Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: 1John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. Our praying is part of God’s Sovereign Purposes. When we pray “Thy will” we are rebelling against the world in its falleness.
Other paradoxes: The divine and human elements in: inspiration of Scripture, the mortal/divine Body of the Lord Jesus Christ, the working together in sanctification of the believer.
2. Doing God’s Will Is A Matter Of Commitment
Do God’s Will Sincerely John 10:25 I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in My Father’s name testify about Me.
2 Chron 25:2 Amaziah 2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.
Do God’s Will Entirely 2 Chron 25:2 Amaziah 2 He did what was right in the Lord’s sight but not completely.
Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve those who are going to inherit salvation?
Numbers 15:40 This way you will remember and obey all My commands and be holy to your God.
Acts 13:22 After removing him, He raised up David as their king, of whom He testified: ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will carry out all My will.’
Do God’s Will Directly Ex 25:40 Be careful to make [everything]according to the model of them you have been shown on the mountain.
Lev 10:1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. 2 And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
Dan 9:21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
Do God’s Will Willingly 1 Chron 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
Numbers 10:10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.
Jer 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. Psa 119:97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
Do God’s Will Fervently Rom 12:11 Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord.
Seraphim - “burning”
Do God’s Will Constantly Psa 106:3 How happy are those who uphold justice, who practice righteousness at all times.
3. Doing God’s Will Is A Matter Of Enjoyment
Deut 28 “Now if you faithfully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all His commands I am giving you today, the Lord your God will put you far above all the nations of the earth. 2 All these blessings will come and overtake you, because you obey the Lord your God: 3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
2 Cor 6 And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said: I will dwell among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 17 Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you. 18 I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.
4. Doing God’s Will Is A Matter Of Empowerment
Ezek 36: 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances.
Andrew Murray, great devotional writer: The best place for cultivating patience is in waiting on God. There we discover how impatient we are, and what our impatience means. We confess at times that we are impatient with men and circumstances that hinder us, or with ourselves and our slow progress in the Christian life.
If we truly set ourselves to wait upon God, we shall find that it is with Him we are impatient, because He does not at once, or as soon as we could wish, do our bidding. It is in waiting upon God that our eyes are opened to believe in His wise and sovereign will. We also see that the sooner and the more completely we yield absolutely to it, the more surely His blessing can come to us.
Bill Borden, a young man from a wealthy family who left everything to go into missions to the Moslems in China, only to die in Egypt of cerebral meningitis. He was 25 and by today's values worth $40 million. But in 1912 he gave his fortune away. Five months later in Cairo he died. "What a waste," people said. "It was not the million dollars that came to this young American which made his life a victory and his death a world-wide call to young men and women to learn the secret of that victory. It was in things that every man can share that William Borden found the way to the life which is Christ and the death which is gain. And China and the Moslem world shall yet share that gain, as his burning torch is used to kindle in other lives the first of a like passion for Jesus Christ." It was in things that every man can share that William Borden found the way to the life which is Christ and the death which is gain. And China and the Moslem world shall yet share that gain, as his burning torch is used to kindle in other lives the first of a like passion for Jesus Christ." Among Bill's papers was a poem his mother had given him on his 17th birthday. It summed up what he did and what he was: Just as I am, young, strong and free, To be the best that I can be
For truth and righteousness and Thee - Lord of my life, I come.
Most Americans during the Civil War believed God was on their side. After many military defeats Abraham Lincoln wrote down his private thoughts on the matter in "Meditation on the Divine Will."
"The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God can not be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party - and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect His purpose. I am almost ready to say this is probably true - that God wills this contest, and wills that is shall not end yet. By His mere quiet power, on the minds of the now contestants, He could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And having begun He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest continues."
Jonathan Edwards: "Resolved: that all men should live for the glory of God. Resolved second: that whether others do or not, I will."
"Prayer is not so much the means whereby God's will is bent to man's desires, as it is that whereby man's will is bent to God's desires. The real end of prayer is not so much to get this or that single desire granted, as to put human life into full and joyful conformity with the will of God." ... Charles Brent (1862-1929)
C. S. Lewis describes the exchange between self-will and God's will in Beyond Personality (and his words are a challenge to you and to me): "Christ says, 'Give me all. I don't want so much of your money and so much of your work -- I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don't want to drill the tooth, or crown it, stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self instead. In fact I will give you myself, my own will shall become yours.'"
The will of God will never take you, Where the grace of God cannot keep you,
Where the arms of God cannot support you, Where the riches of God cannot supply your needs,
Where the power of God cannot endow you. The will of God will never take you,
Where the Spirit of God cannot work through you, Where the wisdom of God cannot teach you,
Where the army of God cannot protect you, Where the hands of God cannot mold you.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the love of God cannot enfold you, Where the mercies of God cannot sustain you,
Where the peace of God cannot calm your fears, Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears, Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
Where the miracles of God cannot be done for you, Where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.
Everything happens for a purpose. We may not see the wisdom of it all now. But trust and believe in the Lord that everything is for the best.
George Muller (1805-1898) was a man of God and a man of prayer. Thousands of Christians throughout the years have been inspired by his example of faith and persistent prayer. He once outlined the general method he used to discern God's will. This is good counsel for Christians today in seeking to know God's will when making decisions.
1. I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in a given matter. When you're ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be, nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome.
2. Having done this, I don't leave the result to feeling or simply impression. If I do so, I leave myself liable to great delusion.
3. I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
4. Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God's will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
5. I ask God in prayer to reveal His will to me aright.
6. Thus, through prayer, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment, according to the best of my ability and knowledge. If my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. I have found this method always effective in trivial or important issues.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. "An individual's highest fulfillment, greatest happiness, and widest usefulness are to be found in living in harmony with His (God's) will."
When General "Stonewall" Jackson lost an arm in battle, his chaplain exclaimed, "Oh, General, what a calamity!" Jackson thanked him for his sympathy, but replied, "You see me wounded, but not depressed, not unhappy. I believe it has been according to God's holy will, and I acquiesce entirely in it. You may think it strange, but you never saw me more perfectly contented than I am today, for I am sure my heavenly Father designs this affliction for my good. I am perfectly satisfied that either in this life or in that which is to come, I shall discover that what is now regarded as calamity is a blessing.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
"An Open Letter To A Clairvoyant -The Invisible War”.
We met briefly recently, and spoke for awhile. I recognize you as a very bright, caring loving person. I think there are many qualities about you that are outstanding. Your sensitivity towards others is amazing. But there is something that concerns me. I know that this is not a major thing to you, for you are much, much more than this thing. Your qualities of caring, compassion and concern are tremendously admirable. But you mentioned in passing that you believed God had given you a “gift”. I believe God has given you many, many gifts. You are one of the most gifted people I have met. You mentioned that the gift God had given you is clairvoyance.
Now I understand that you are sensitive towards other people, and can understand the ways of people very, very well. But clairvoyance, by its definition, involves receptivity towards “spirits”.
God’s word has some very direct things to say about this, but to just address the issue of clairvoyance at that level is superficial.
God’s Word says about clairvoyance:
Deuteronomy 18: 9 “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not imitate the detestable customs of those nations. 10 No one among you is to make his son or daughter pass through the fire, practice • divination, tell fortunes, interpret omens, practice sorcery, 11 cast spells, consult a medium or a familiar spirit, or inquire of the dead. 12 Everyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and the Lord your God is driving out the nations before you because of these detestable things. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God. 14 Though these nations you are about to drive out listen to fortune-tellers and diviners, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do this. 15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.
Leviticus 20:6 “Whoever turns to mediums or spiritists and prostitutes himself with them, I will turn against that person and cut him off from his people. 7 Consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. 8 Keep My statutes and do them; I am the Lord who sets you apart.
Isaiah 8:19-22 When they say to you, “Consult the spirits of the dead and the spiritists who chirp and mutter,” shouldn’t a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, there will be no dawn for them. 21 They will wander through the land, dejected and hungry. When they are famished, they will become enraged, and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 They will look toward the earth and see only distress, darkness, and the gloom of affliction, and they will be driven into thick darkness.
The condemnations of clairvoyance seem to our modern ears severe.
The issues seem superficial, but the reality is so much deeper.
The deeper issues have to do with what one author termed “The Invisible War”.
The Invisible War has to do with 2 realms, 2 Rivals and 2 Rulers.
Two Different Realms
The Kingdom of God, and the dominion of Satan
It is not insignificant that the Gospels begin with Jesus preaching the Kingdom. Matthew tells us that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested. The final testing is pivotal when the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and offered Him all the kingdoms of the world if He would but worship him. Jesus' immediate response was to quote from Deuteronomy 6 which underlines the exclusive worship of the Lord your God. It is not insignificant to notice that the testing is followed by the note of John's arrest and Jesus' ministry in Galilee. Listen to 4:17: From then on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near!" The implication of the verse is clear — the preaching of the Kingdom was not a casual and momentary matter, but a convictional and continual one.
In Luke's gospel we have a slightly different emphasis but with the same bottom line. His preaching begins in the synagogue in Nazareth. Luke tells us that Jesus read from Isaiah 61 and then declared: Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled (4:21). While there is no specific mention of the term "Kingdom," we have here a clear description of the Kingdom as it invades planet earth. This Old Testament reference with its emphasis on redemption, freedom, social justice for the oppressed, and sight for the blind is a reference to the invasion of the Kingdom through the ministry and preaching of Jesus.
Mark tells us with brevity and power that after John was arrested, Jesus began preaching the good news of God. Mk 1:14 After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of God: 15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news!”
Mark's emphasis on "time fulfilled" indicates that Jesus' proclamation of the Kingdom signals a major turning point in the history of redemption. History is moving toward an ultimate goal under the direct supervision of God.
John's first mention of the Kingdom is found in Nathanael's declaration: "Rabbi," Nathanael replied, "You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" (John 1:49). Nathanael had been impressed that Jesus had seen him under the fig tree before Philip had called him to follow Jesus. Jesus thus assures him that much more is in store as he sees heaven opened and the angels descending on the Son of Man. The imagery of the Kingdom is not far in the background. The first specific mention of the Kingdom in John's gospel is found in Jesus' message to Nicodemus: I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
To grasp the significance of the message of the Kingdom in the ministry of Jesus we can also resort to a statistical analysis. The term basileia (kingdom) occurs 162 times in the New Testament and 121 of those are in the Synoptic Gospels where the preaching of Jesus is recorded. The formula "kingdom of God" or the "kingdom of heaven" occurs 104 times in the Gospels. This message is not only the inaugural message of Jesus and the focus of His great Sermon on the Mount, it is His final message. Acts 1:3 After He had suffered, He also presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
“Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven..”
Those familiar words invite us to consider our own relationship with the two kingdoms that are at war supernaturally in our world.
This war is not a silent one. It is not a superficial one, but is the substrata to everything that occurs in our world today. It is something that you are involved in, whether you realise it or not.
For he is the living God and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end.
He rescues and saves his people; He performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. Daniel 6:26-27 NLT
Matthew 4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." NIV
Matthew 4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. NIV
Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. NIV
Matthew 6:9-10 Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. NIV
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. NIV
Matthew 10:6-8 As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. NIV
Matthew 13:11 He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. NIV
Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." NIV
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. NIV
The kingdom of God is the rule and reign of God. It’s where God’s will is done, on earth as it is in heaven. It is where and when people obey God, think like God and live God’s way.
It has three aspects to it.
There is the Kingdom of God as the Kingdom of Glory
There is the Kingdom of God as the Kingdom of Grace
There is the Kingdom of God as the Kingdom of God’s Providential ruling over all.
Listen to 16th century Puritan Thomas Manton,
“First, There is a universal kingdom over all things; over angels and devils; over men elect and reprobate; over beasts and living creatures; and over inanimate things, sun, moon, and stars. This is spoken of: 1 Chron. xxix 11, ' Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou are exalted as head above all.' And again: Ps. ciii. 19, 'The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.' There is no such monarch as God is, for largeness of empire, for absoluteness of power, and sublimity of his throne. This is not principally understood here, but is implied as a foundation and ground of faith, whereupon we may deal with God about that kingdom, which is specially intended in this request.
Secondly, More particularly and especially, God hath a kingdom over a certain order and estate of men. Of this especial kingdom there are two notable branches and considerations. One is that administration which belongeth to the present life, and is called ' the kingdom of grace; ' and the other belongeth to the life to come, and is called ' the kingdom of glory.'
The kingdom of grace is spoken of in many places, specially that: Luke xvii. 20, 21, 'When he was demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.' Or 'among you'. He speaks of a kingdom of God that was already come among them in the dispensation of his grace by Christ. And, then, the other belongeth to the life to come, called the kingdom of glory: Mat. xxv. 34, 'Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; ' 1 Cor xv. 50, ' Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.’ “
The other Kingdom’s realm? The devil is called the god of this age, the god of this world. (KJV)
The kingdom of the ruler of this world. 2 Cor 4:4But if, in fact, our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 Regarding them: the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves because of Jesus. 6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness”—He has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
It feels so natural. It feels so fulfilling It has so much stuff associated to it. It seems so helpful to others
Col 1:13 He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves,
Yes there is another realm, and that realm is commanded by Satan. Where is that world?
That world is the here and now world.
Here how the apostle John describes it 1John 5:18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the One who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know the true One. We are in the true One—that is, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
Two Different Rivals
You see, This Invisible War, is all about two Rivals.
Satan, and God.
Now you night say, “Yes I remember, it began in the garden!”
Well, No. It began in heaven
It began In Rebellion
Isaiah 14:12 Shining morning star, how you have fallen from the heavens! You destroyer of nations, you have been cut down to the ground. 13 You said to yourself: “I will ascend to the heavens; I will set up my throne above the stars of God. I will sit on the mount of the gods’ assembly, in the remotest parts of the North. 14 I will ascend above the highest clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” 15 But you will be brought down to Sheol into the deepest regions of the Pit.
Ezekiel 28:12-15 Thus says the Lord God, "You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering…. You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you."
Ezekiel 28:17 "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor."
Satan wanted the glory of God for his own. He wanted to be God. But he is only a created being. An angel. He may have been the chief among the angels. But that he is and no more than that.
God is eternal by nature, the uncreated Creator. Immortal invisible, God only wise.
Two Different Rulers
Today in our world, among the general population 99.9% may not be clairvoyants, but 100% are sinners in rebellion.
100 % need to bring their lives out from beneath the realm of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s own Son. Col 1:14
There are two very different Rulers who can run your life. If the Lord Jesus doesn’t run your life, whether you know it or not, Satan will run your life.
Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 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: 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and by nature we were children under wrath, as the others were also. 4 But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved! 6 He also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace in [His]kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast.
The choice is between the Lord Jesus Christ and Satan. Who will you serve?
You don’t need a priest to stand between you and God or between you and Satan.
You don’t need a pastor to exorcise you. Sometimes well meaning people get in the way between the God and the people they are so trying to help.
A good pastor will always point people to the Lord. He will always try and connect them to the Lord Himself.
Satan’s best trick is to substitute. He is called the deceiver. He will substitute a false gospel for the true one.
He will substitute an inadequate Saviour for the true One. You need God to bring you to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1: Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
He is the Redeemer.
He is the Rightful Ruler
Mark 12:1 Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went away. 2 At harvest time he sent a slave to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from the farmers. 3 But they took him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent another slave to them, and they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 Then he sent another, and they killed that one. He also sent many others; they beat some and they killed some. 6 “He still had one to send, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 “But those tenant farmers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’ 8 So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 “Therefore, what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the farmers and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this Scripture: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 11 This came from the Lord and is wonderful in our eyes?” 12 Because they knew He had said this parable against them, they were looking for a way to arrest Him, but they were afraid of the crowd. So they left Him and went away.
Mark 1:15: The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. The phrase "time is fulfilled" underlines the biblical premise that history is to be interpreted in a linear fashion. God is moving history to an ultimate goal and purpose. This is a distinctly different view than the cyclical view endorsed by many of our hearers who have been influenced by new age mysticism. This theme will help us to keep daily events in their proper biblical perspective.
Second, since the Kingdom of God is about God's rule and reign, the initial and ongoing human response must be repentance, which includes the submitting of our will to the will of God. Here again we are faced with the pervading question of whether we live in a manner that advances God's Kingdom or our own.
Third, since the full expression of the Kingdom is "not yet," man must "believe in the gospel." God's Kingdom is not perceived by human sight — it is fully appropriated only by faith. Thus we can understand why we must become like little children to comprehend the Kingdom. We must preach in such a manner to help our people replace childish faith with childlike faith.
Fourth, the phrase, "is at hand" reminds us the Kingdom has not yet fully invaded our planet. When Jesus made this declaration, the Kingdom was "at hand" in the flesh. It was fully expressed in the Son of Man, yet not fully realized on earth or even among His followers. Nonetheless, the seed of the Kingdom had been sown, and the harvest of the Kingdom is now assured. Since the Kingdom came in Jesus but is not yet complete, there is the open invitation for us to be involved in the advance of the Kingdom.
While the word repent has many facets, at its most basic it means to turn. It means to turn from going in the direction we have been traveling, into a different direction. We turn because we have understood that the direction we were going that seemed so good, was actually in the realm of the Evil One.
It means we turn to Him who is the Redeemer, the rightful Ruler,
1 Thessalonians 1:5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance. You know what kind of men we were among you for your benefit, 6 and you became imitators of us and of the Lord when, in spite of severe persecution, you welcomed the message with the joy from the Holy Spirit. 7 As a result, you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 For the Lord’s message rang out from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place that your faith in God has gone out, so we don’t need to say anything. 9 For they themselves report about us what kind of reception we had from you: how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
Have you entered the Kingdom of God? The Lord Jesus spoke of its incredible worth in two short parables:
Matthew 13:44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. 46 When he found one priceless pearl, he went and sold everything he had, and bought it.
Repentance is not just a once for all thing. We are continually to be repenting. We are continually be returning to our Father, our Saviour. Our salvation, our Redemption is a once for all thing. The Lord Jesus died but once. He died to cover all your sins with His Blood. He died to make atonement for your sins. How many of your sins were yet future the Lord Jesus when He died for you? All of them. Your past sins. Your present sins. Your future sins! He died once for them all. Your Salvation is secure.
Your redemption is secure. He has bought you back, like a slave on the auction block. He paid the price to redeem you from His rival. The price was the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The issue is not who He paid the price to (He didn’t pay it to Satan, He paid it to the Justice of God), the issue is that the price of your redemption has paid for.
The Lord Jesus will not allow the evil one to have any power over those Whom He has redeemed at the price of His blood.
Col 1:13 He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen and guard you from the evil one.
John 10:27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”
Respond To The King
Have You Given Your Allegiance To The King?
How do you respond to the Kingdom of God today? The apostle Paul wrote of this in Romans14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
It is the realm in which all Christians are to live in. It is the reign of God in the hearts of Christians.
This kingdom exists in whatever heart that God reigns supreme in. If God is your Saviour and King, then you are automatically a part of this Kingdom. On the other hand, if God does not reign as Saviour and King in your heart, then you are not a part of this kingdom, even though you profess to be a Christian.
The Kingdom does not consist of physical concerns and things such as food & drink, but:
a. Righteousness: being in right standing with God: being free from sin; being holy; pursuing Godliness.
b. Peace: with God (no unforgiven sin, in relationship with Him) with man (fellow Christians and the unsaved)
c. Joy: based upon who God is, not our circumstances. Since God is unchangeable, joy based upon Him is secure.
This is how the subjects of this kingdom live. This is what they do:
They live free from sin (not indulging in it) They pursue holiness & godliness. They crave peace with God and peace with men. Joy is the natural outcome of living like this!
Those that pursue and practice these traits will be subjects of this kingdom.
Those that don’t, wont. Simple as that. You don’t become a member because you want to, but because of what you do, and who you are. This is where their' interests will be...they will have a deep desire to imitate Christ.
This is where their' allegiance will be...nothing else will be as important to them.
Have You Become An Ambassador For The King?
Acts 28:30 Then he stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full boldness and without hindrance.
Our first responsibility is to pray. The focus of the Prayer of Jesus in Matthew 6 was to fast-forward Kingdom realities into present-day relationships. Jesus taught His disciples to pray that God's Kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven. When we listen to our prayers, we often find that they are focused on issues of our kingdom and not His. Even our requests for bread, forgiveness, and deliverance from evil all have the intended results of enabling us to focus on His Kingdom.
Our second responsibility is to preach. We must boldly declare the gospel of the Kingdom. Even a cursory reading of Acts indicates that the Holy Spirit provided the members of the early church with the empowering to boldly declare the gospel. Statistics among all evangelicals tell us the church has not been very bold in declaring this incredible news about the Kingdom of God.
Thirdly, we have the firm assurance that the rightful King is returning.
Isaac Watts wrote some tremendous hymns three hundred years ago, which are unavailable to us now. Here are the words of one of those hymns.
I hate the tempter and his charms, I hate his flattering breath;
The serpent takes a thousand forms to cheat our souls to death.
He feeds our hopes with airy dreams, Or kills with slavish fear;
And holds us still in wide extremes, Presumption or despair.
Now he persuades ‘How easy ‘tis To walk the road to heaven;’
Anon he swells our sins and cries ‘They cannot be forgiven.’
Thus he supports his cruel throne By mischief and deceit,
And drags the sons of Adam down To darkness and the pit.
Now he appears almost divine, Like innocence and love;
But the old serpent lurks within When he assumes the dove.
Fly from the false deceiver’s tongue Ye sons of Adam fly;
Our parents found the snare too strong, Nor should the children try.
Almighty God! Cut short his power, Let him in darkness dwell;
And that he vex the earth no more, Confine him down to hell.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
The Lord’s Prayer #1 Our Father which art in heaven
Courageously he proceeded alone because he needed to know for himself: "Is my boy alive or dead?" This man dug for eight hours and then twelve, and then twenty-four and then thirty-six hours. Finally in the thirty-eighth hour as he pulled back a boulder he heard his son's voice. He screamed his son's name, "ARMAND!" And a voice answered him, "Dad?" It's me DAD!" Then the boy added these priceless words, "I told the other kids not to worry. I told them that if your were alive, you'd save me and when you saved me, they'd be saved. You promised, 'no matter what, I'll always be there for you!' You did it, Dad!"
The father worked more intently now clearing the way for his son and his classmates. "Come on out!" the father said. "No, dad!" his son replied, "Let the other kids out first, 'cause I know you'll get me! No matter what, I know you'll be there for me!" Isn’t what a dad should be like? Some of us were blessed with fathers like that – but sadly some of you today do not have that kind of memory of your dad.
The Lord Jesus exploded all the stereotypes about God when He came to earth. He showed that God is not some kind of impersonal force. God is not some kind of angry tyrant waiting to destroy your life. God is not some apathetic creator that really doesn't care about what's going on on the earth. In fact, Jesus defined God in two words. In the Lord's prayer, Matthew 6:9, He said, "This is how you should pray, `Our Father...'" Circle those two words. God wants you to think of Him as a Father. That is a radical idea. In the Old Testament God is only called "Father" seven times. In this chapter alone, Jesus calls Him Father over ten times. And Jesus called God Father and told us to call God Father over seventy times in the Gospels. God wants you to know Him like a Father. The point I want to make is simply this: God is a Person not a power. I like that because I can relate to a person. I can get to know a person. I can have a relationship with a person. The problem is that for many people the word "father" brings up a negative image. It's a bad experience. It brings back childhood memories, sometimes it arouses regret, resentment, anger, fear, frustration, guilt. They don't have good memories of the term "father". It stirs up deep feelings. If that's the way God is, I'm not interested! Some fathers make their home a hell on earth. They're inconsistent, selfish, demanding. They neglect their kids. They're abusive.
The Lord’s Prayer begins by calling God Father! The Lord’s Prayer is important! Thomas Watson: ‘After this manner pray ye.’ Our Lord Jesus, in these words, gave to his disciples and to us a directions for prayer. As God prescribed Moses a pattern of the tabernacle (Exod 25: 9), so Christ has here prescribed us a pattern of prayer. ‘After this manner pray ye,’ &c. The meaning is, let this be the rule and model according to which you frame your prayers. The Lord Jesus provides us with a pattern for prayer.
Let us have a great esteem of the Lord’s prayer; let it be the model and pattern of all our prayers.
A. You Need To Realise your Acceptance With God.
There are many Christians today who some how feel that they are not acceptable to God. They feel that there are certain religious things they must do to make themselves more acceptable to God.
Through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ you and I are as acceptable to God as it is possible to be, if we have believed on the Lord Jesus to be our Saviour.
Our brother Jeff, alst Sunday , reminded us of those words found in Ephesians 1:6, “we are accepted in the Beloved!’ God, as a loving father accepts you.
GOD IS A CARING FATHER
He wants you to know that you are loved and cared for. If you don't get anything else this morning, get this: You matter to God. God cares about you. He loves you. He's interested in you. Psalm 104:13 "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who honor Him..." This is God's most outstanding characteristic. He's caring, loving, compassionate.
One time the disciples were out in a boat on the Sea of Galilee and a storm came up. They started taking on water and started to sink. They were tossed back and forth. They asked the most important question, the ultimate question: "Lord, don't you care?" We're drowning! Have you ever felt like that? I'm going under Lord! Don't you care? The answer is, “Yes. Yes, I care a lot.” You have a heavenly Father who cares.
1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you!" Does God care about your health? Yes. Does He care about your house payment? Yes. Does He care about your grades at school? Does He care about how you get along in your family? Does He care about whether you're a success or failure in life? Does it even matter to Him? The answer is, “Yes.” Ps 35:37 "The Lord delights in the well being of His servants." It's like, I love to see my kids succeed. Your Father cares about you.
GOD IS A CLOSE FATHER
The Bible makes it very clear that He's nearby when you need Him. He's available, accessable. Paul talks about this in Acts 17:27 when he talks about God is everywhere. "God did this so people would reach out for Him and find Him since He is not far from each of us." God is not a million miles away. He's right here. He's here with you. If you open your life to Him, He'll be in you, in your life.
Today, many kids grow up with absentee fathers. Increasingly, fathers are too busy. They're never around. They're never at home. They're always gone on important days. They're always too busy. Even when they are home they're detached from the family. They may be home but they're reading the paper, watching Monday night football. Even when they're physically present at home, they're really thinking about work. Their minds aren't on their kids, they are absentee fathers who are not really there when you need them.
That's not the way your heavenly Father is. God is not detached. He is not out in never, never land. He is a close God. Three encouraging statements.
GOD IS NEVER TOO BUSY FOR ME. Psalm 145:18 "The Lord is near to all who call on Him." When you pray you don't get a busy signal. Whenever you say, "I've got a burden, a need I've got to talk with You about." God doesn't say, "Not now. I'm busy." His switchboard is never full. He can handle all the requests. He's never too busy for you. You can talk to Him at any time.
HE LOVES TO MEET MY NEEDS. Matthew 7:11 "If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him." God says, "If you human fathers know how to give good gifts to your kids, then I love to give good gifts to My kids." Matthew 6:31-32 "So don't worry saying `What are we going to eat? or what shall we wear?' Your heavenly Father knows you need these things." The point is that good fathers take care of their children. You can count on your heavenly Father because He is close and He is consistent and He is caring. He loves to meet your needs. And He has unlimited resources which human fathers don't. So God is never too busy for me. He loves to meet my needs.
HE IS SYMPATHETIC TO MY HURTS. You say, "I'm feeling low today." God understands. He has x-ray eyes and can look right into you. He can understand why you're hurting many times when you don't even know why you're hurting. God can check it out. He knows. He understands completely.
Psalm 34:18 "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." He's a close God, a close Father. Have you ever been crushed in spirit? If you've lived any length of time you have. You've had a tough week? God understands. You've had a tough day yesterday? A difficulty this week, this month, this year, this life? God understands. He is sympathetic. He is close to the brokenhearted. He saves those who are crushed in spirit. That's what it means to have a heavenly Father.
The term Jesus used for Father in the Bible is the word "abba". Jesus spoke Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Greek. Jesus obviously read Greek and could speak it but the common language was Aramaic. The Aramaic word for "father" was "abba". It's obviously a real simple word that a baby could learn first. Like "papa", "dada", "abba". Daddy is what it means. It's an intimate term, the most intimate term. God says when you come to Him, that's the kind of relationship He wants you to have with Him. God wants you to see Him as Daddy, the most intimate, loving, personal relationship that you can have -- abba, daddy. That's how God wants you to know Him.
B. You Must Recognise God’s Availability To You
He is close to you. He cares for you.
We love Him because He first loved us.
God is the best Father
(1) In that he is most ancient. ‘The Ancient of days did sit.’ Dan 7: 9. A figurative representation of God, who was before all time, which may cause veneration.
(2) God is the best Father, because he is perfect. ‘Your Father which is in heaven is perfect;’ he is perfectly good. Matt 5: 48. Earthly fathers are subject to infirmities; Elias, though a prophet, ‘was a man subject to like passions’ (James 5: 17); but God is perfectly good. All the perfection we can arrive at in this life is sincerity. We may resemble God a little, but not equal him; he is infinitely perfect.
(3) God is the best Father because he is wise. ‘The only wise God.’ 1 Tim 1: 17. He has a perfect idea of wisdom in himself; he knows the fittest means to bring about his own designs. The angels light at his lamp. In particular, one branch of his wisdom is, that he knows what is best for us. An earthly parent knows not, in some intricate cases, how to advise his child, or what may be best for him to do; but God is a most wise Father; he knows what is best for us; he knows what comfort is best for us: he keeps his cordials for fainting. ‘God that comforteth those that are cast down.’ 2 Cor 7: 6. He knows when affliction is best for us, and when it is fit to give a bitter potion. ‘If need be ye are in heaviness.’ 1 Pet 1: 6. He is the only wise God; he knows how to make evil things work for good to his children. Rom 8: 28. He can make a sovereign treacle of poison. Thus he is the best Father for wisdom.
HE MAKETH NO MISTAKE
My Father's way may twist and turn, My heart may throb and ache,But in my soul I'm glad I know He maketh no mistake.My cherished plans may go astray,My hopes may fade away,But still I'll trust my Lord to lead For He doth know the way.Tho' night be dark and it may seem that day will never break;I'll pin my faith, my all in Him, He maketh no mistake.There's so much now I cannot see, My eyesight's far too dim;But come what may, I'll simply trust And leave it all to Him.For by and by the mist will lift And plain it all He'll make,Through all the way, tho' dark to me, He made not one mistake.
C. You Must Respond In Adoration
“Hallowed Be Thy Name.”
The prayer says: Our father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name! What is it to hallow God’s name?
All forms of Blashemy should make you shiver.
Hallow means to reverence:
 To melt in tears for sin as a child weeps for offending his father: When Christ looked on Peter, and Peter remembered his sin in denying him, he fell to weeping. Clemens Alexandrinus reports of Peter that he never heard a cock crow but he wept. It is a sign that God is our Father when the heart of stone is taken away, and there is a gracious thaw in the heart; and it melts into tears for sin. He who has a childlike heart, mourns for sin in a spiritual manner, as it is sin he grieves for, as it is an act of pollution. Sin deflowers the virgin soul; it defaces God’s image; it turns beauty into deformity; it is called the plague of the heart. 1 Kings 8: 38. A child of God mourns for the defilement of sin; sin has to him a blacker aspect than hell. He who has a childlike heart, grieves for sin, as it is an act of enmity. Sin is diametrically opposed to God. It is called walking contrary to God. ‘If they shall confess their iniquity, and that they have walked contrary unto me.’ Lev 26: 40. A childlike heart weeps for sin, as it is an act of ingratitude. It is an abuse of God’s love; it is taking the jewels of his mercies, and making use of them to sin. God has done more for his children than others; he has planted his grace and given them some intimations of his favour; and to sin against kindness, dyes a sin in grain, and makes it crimson; like Absalom, who soon as his Father kissed him, and took him into favour, plotted treason against him. Nothing so melts a childlike heart in tears, as sins of unkindness. Oh, that I should sin against the blood of a Saviour,
By having An attitude of sympathy towards our heavenly Father. We lay to heart the dishonours reflected upon our heavenly Father. When we see his worship adulterated, and his truth mingled with the poison of error, it is as a sword in our bones, to see his glory suffer. ‘I beheld the transgressors and was grieved. ’ Psa 119: 158.
By Having An Attitude of love towards our heavenly Father. He is unnatural that does not love his father. God who is crowned with excellency, is the proper object of delight; and every true child of God says as Peter, ‘Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.’ But who will not say he loves God? If ours be a true genuine love to our heavenly Father, it may be known by the effects. Then we have a holy fear. There is the fear which rises from love to God, of losing the visible tokens of his presence. Eli’s ‘heart trembled for the ark.’ 1 Sam 4: 13. It is not said his heart trembled for his two sons Hophni and Phinehas; but his heart trembled for the ark, because the ark was the special sign of God’s presence; and if that were taken, the glory was departed. Every true child of God fears lest God should go, and the glory depart. Let us try by this whether we have a filial disposition. Do we love God, and does this love cause fear and jealousy? Are we afraid lest we should lose God’s presence, lest the Sun of Righteousness should remove out of our horizon? Many are afraid lest they should lose some of their worldly profits, but not lest they should lose the presence of God. If they may have peace and trading, they care not what becomes of the ark of God. A true child of God fears nothing so much as the loss of his Father’s presence. ‘Woe to them when I depart from them.’ Hos 9: 12. Psa 73: 25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
By having An attitude of honouring our heavenly Father. ‘A son honoureth his father.’ Mal 1: 6. We show our honour to our Father in heaven, by having a reverential awe of him upon us. ‘Thou shalt fear thy God.’ Lev 25: 17. This reverential fear of God, is when we dare do nothing that he has forbidden in his Word. ‘How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ Gen 39: 9. We may know God is our Father by resembling him. The child is his father’s picture.
Whomsoever God adopts for his child is like him; he not only bears his heavenly Father’s name, but his image. ‘And have put on the new man, which is renewed after the image of him that created him.’ Col 3: 10. He who has God for his Father, resembles him in holiness, which is the glory of the Godhead. Exod 15: 11.
GOD IS A CAPABLE FATHER
Nothing is beyond His ability, His resources. Nothing even taxes Him. Whatever problem you've got -- at home, at work, at school -- God can handle it. He is a capable Father.
Luke 1:37 "For nothing is impossible with God." Nothing is impossible with God! God is capable.
Ephesians 3:20 (Living Bible) "God is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes!" God says, You think of the biggest thing you can think of and I can top that! Think of the biggest problem you can give me and I can handle it. Think of the biggest request you'd like to make and I can meet it. Because He is a capable Father.
God wants to meet your needs. He wants you to stop looking everywhere else to have those needs met, not to your husband, wife, family, boss, girlfriend, boyfriend. He wants you to look to Him.
Philippians 4:19 "My God shall supply all of your needs." That means everything, finances on down. All your needs. God takes care of His children. He is a loving Father.
The logical question is, “Is everybody God's child? How do you get into God's family? Is God the Father of everybody?
(1) God is a Father By creation; it is he that has made us: ‘We are also his offspring.’ Acts 17: 28. ‘Have we not all one Father?’ Mal 2: 10. Has not one God created us? But there is little comfort in this; for God is Father in the same way to the devils by creation; but he that made them will not save them.
(2) God is a Father by election, having chosen a certain number to be his children, upon whom he will entail heaven. ‘He has chosen us in him.’ Eph 1: 4.
(3) God is a Father by special grace. He consecrates the elect by his Spirit, and infuses a supernatural principle of holiness, therefore they are said to be ‘born of God.’ 1 John 3: 9. Such only as are sanctified can say, ‘Our Father which art in heaven.’
The Bible says, "To as many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the children of God." Believe and receive. We believe and we receive.
There is only one way to get into the physical human family here on earth. That is to be born into it. Every one of you were born. That's how you got into the physical family of the human race.
How do you get into God's family? You are born again. That's what Jesus said. It just means starting over. It's a spiritual birth and it's just as important as your physical birth. You were physically born into the human family, then you get spiritually born into God's family. How do you get spiritually born? We are children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
God wants you to have a close relationship with Him. He is caring and consistent and He is competent and close. He wants to provide for your needs. Your greatest need is to first start trusting Him.
1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
GOD IS A CONSISTENT FATHER
He's reliable. He can be counted upon. He's dependable. He's worthy of trust. James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from the Father who does not change like shifting shadows." Circle "does not change". Some fathers are unpredictable. They're fickle. A lot of teenagers say, "I never know what to expect from my dad. I can't figure him out. Depending on the mood he's in, one minute he's silent, the next minute he's violent, one's minute he's tough, the next minute he's easy. I can't figure him out."
Inconsistent fathers produce insecure kids. God is a consistent father. He's not moody. He never has a bad day. He never wakes up grouchy. [Wife was asked, "Do you wake up grouchy in the morning?" She answered, "No, I usually let him sleep."] God is never grouchy. He's not moody. He loves you just as much on your day off as he does on your day on. Your good days and your bad days. Because He's consistent. It's not based on who you are.
2 Timothy 2:13 "Even if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself." Isn't that an incredible verse? It says even when I'm unfaithful and inconsistent and I'm unreliable, God can be counted on. He's reliable, consistent. He can't disown himself. Because of His very nature, He's consistent and faithful. That is such good news because everything in the world is changing. Constantly. While everything else is falling apart and changing on me daily there's one thing I know I can always count on. That is, I can always count on God to always act the same way toward me no matter how I feel. He is always caring and He is always consistent, no matter what I think, no matter what I feel, no matter what I do, He is caring and He is consistent.
Malachi 3:6 God says, "I the Lord, do not change." He is immutable, unchanging. Everything else shifts and changes but God is my rock. Nothing changes with Him. He's consistent.
He forgives us consistently because His Son has paid the penalty for our sins.
John 3:16 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.