sermons to note

ernes1

Rev. E. Anderson
THE DIVINE PROSPECTS

Reading Matthew 5

A PROPHETIC WORD: Some prophetic words seem to be in some strange places and found to be coming from some rather unique mouthpieces. Here is one of Job’s comforters at the outset speaking some very choice, inspired words of truth that need to be taken note of. In fact this the climatic word at the conclusion of this part of an address – v27. They are of an inspiring and encouraging nature and require to be taken hold of, understood and believed. He also uses the word “Behold” in v17 thus drawing great attention as to what is now to be stated and recorded. It is a word also that is to be of an instructive quality that if listened to will reap tremendous consequences.

A BLESSED CONDITION: A very choice, enviable condition is described of the person or individual who is God-blessed. The words used are “happy is the man . . .” This is one of the things that is greatly desired and coveted by the children of men, to be truly blessed and happy. It is good to know that God is interested in and committed to the well-being and happiness of all. This is an all-inclusive word – ‘man.’ The word man used here is enosh, frail mortal man. Jesus Christ revealed as a Master-Teacher the real basis of divine blessedness in His Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5 “Blessed” = Greek Makarios – “to be congratulated, envied . . . .” Makarios speaks of Cyprus = ‘the blessed isle.’ It has everything it needs for its life, growth, peace, fulfilment and blessedness. Everyone should desire to discover and know the real foundation and way of and to happiness.

A DIVINE RELATIONSHIP: It affirms that happiness comes by the way of divine correction from God and this indicates that there is a healthy and wholesome union between the One who administers the correction and the receiver. This is illuminated and explained further by the writer to the Hebrews – 12: 5-11. It is in the context of a Father and son relationship. God is referred as to the one who is Almighty and this is used in relation to Him being El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One. Rest assured, any corrective measures He introduces are always with good motivation and intent and for the increased blessedness of those to whom it is applied. This is the thing that has to be realised. It is always with a good end in view. Because of this knowledge, the one at the receiving end takes the right spirit and attitude: there is no despising of the actions that God takes to straighten out. God is neither mindless nor heartless when He takes us His children to task – v18.

A GLORIOUS PROSPECT: The divine prospect that is assured should make everyone desire to live under gracious government of the heavenly Father. What is extended through these means and measures is worth all the things that have to be passed through under the corrective and instructive guidance of God. The benefits far outweigh all the seeming conflict and hardship. The end results are the thing that must kept in mind and heart and must be known.

1/. THERE IS THE DIVINE PROSPECT OF DELIVERANCE IN TROUBLE – v19

Trials and troubles are part and parcel of life and existence – v7. There is no escape from the difficulties and distresses of life. They are an integral factor in this world scene. All have to pass the way through tribulation, affliction – John 16: 33. No one is rendered immune and free from these things. Many would like to be but they fail to see the significance of such. They are an essential process in the development of character and a preparation for something of major worth in the planning of the Lord. They are a schooling exercise in the scheduling of God.

Illustration – Job

In the midst of them it is possible to receive revelation and help from God – James 1: 2-8. God in no way deserts those that are related to Him in the midst of their troublesome times. There are occasions when His own bring troubles and problems on themselves but even then he does not leave them to sink but seeks to teach amidst the adversities. He expects His children to call and to find out what is going on so that they may be helped in the situations so that they can come through better for the experience. These things can either embitter or sweeten us up and serve our growth and usefulness.

Illustration: Naomi – Ruth 1: 20; Jacob – Genesis 42:36

There is deliverance in the time of extreme difficulty when everything has come to full development – Psalm 105: 17-22. God will never see His servants and offspring embarrassed and come out worse of their troubles. He always has them in mind and when the appropriate moment arrives there comes His miraculous and opportune intervention. Such turns out to be a testimony to His greatness and loving-kindness.

2/. THERE IS THE DIVINE PROSPECT OF PROVISION AND PROTECTION – v20

There is this two-fold hope and assurance afforded to those who submit to the gracious dealings of the Lord in correction.

Provision in the situation of famine. As the El Shaddai the Lord has the ability to more than sustain His own in the time when the bread and water is not so sure and certain. All around may be most negative with regard to provision but He has always ways and means by which to supply.

Illustration: Elijah – 1 Kings 17: 3, 9

Protection is also assured in time of war. The Lord is the LORD PROTECTOR of His elect. He is able to defend the rights and well-being of those who live under His government and obedience. They have nothing and no one to fear or stand alarmed against.

3/. THERE IS THE DIVINE PROSPECT OF SALVATION FROM EVIL SPEAKERS – v21

There will be occasions when people will say all manner of evil and wrong things about you which can be very hurtful. The tongue can be one of the most destructive and cutting edges in life and many people have been virtually assassinated by its employment. James reveals what a powerful instrument it can be for good or evil – James 3. It can be a well-spring of life or a poison fountain that destroys.

The assurance here is to “be hid from the scourge of the tongue.” It means to say that when you are evil spoken of it will not have any inroads or impact upon your spirit or being because you will be hid in and by the Lord. You will be able to let all the false accusations level against you to ride over your head and heart and not be grieve. Your vindication will come from God and God alone.

Illustration: Job had three people implying all kind of things/judgements

The lives and behaviour of those who are governed and controlled by the Lord can rest in the promise that he gives in this connection – Psalm 37: 1,5,6. This guaranteed promise of God’s Word more than compensates for any kind of evil thing that is spoken against the servant and child of God.

4/. THERE IS THE DIVINE PROSPECT OF BEING AT PEACE WITH CREATIOIN AROUND – v22,23

It would appear that all around is in a contented state and in accord with the one who lives under submission to God. Beasts and stones are pleased to find an agreement and acquiesce to the individual that is in harmony with the Creator-Father. The animate and inanimate both blend and attest their oneness and are happy to serve the interests of God’s offspring. There is nothing to agitate or militate. Even they desire to be a blessing and contribute to the blessedness of the man.

5/. THERE IS THE DIVINE PROSPECT OF KNOWING GENUINE PEACE WITHIN ONESELF AND FROM EVIL – v24

One’s our heart and home is in the best condition possible. Shalom is known in both situations. One can relate it to the inner condition of one’s own heart or refer it to the actual dwelling place of one’s home.

Consider the former first, the tent of one’s own being. There is no doubt the God wants us to possess ‘peace in ourselves’ and that we should not be in pieces. He has left us in Christ the great legacy of peace – John 14: 27; 16: 33. The priceless blessing of peace ensures the whole prospect of life, hope and fulfilment and nothing could be better for a person to know this kind of peace.
Note the other consideration. What a delight when one’s home is free from all the evil of conflict and strife and there is a state of peace because the divine rule has been firmly established. There is no doubt that God wills to bless the home base and where good things of a divine order are established and bear lasting fruit.

Illustration: Obededom – 2 Samuel 6

6/. THERE IS THE DIVINE PROSPECT OF THE FAMILY SEED AND UNIT BEING ADVANCED AND BLESSED – v25

God wills to come into the family home so as to truly bless the family with all of its membership. No one is to be left out. All are to enjoy in richest and fullest measure the blessings of faith, relationship and obedience.

Children are not only to be an heritage in the Lord, they are to be blessed by the Lord – Psalm 127:3. It is good to recognise that they are a gift from God and that they are to be brought up in the knowledge of God and His ways. This is to serve to the distinct advantage of the children. The Lord is not a liability but the principal asset to the offspring.
Children rightly taught and blessed are well able to exceed their parents because it is God’s will that they should become great. God does not wish to minimise them as persons, their skills, gifts and personalities, rather to enrich and enlarge them in every way and make them a blessing to their parents.

7/. THERE IS THE DIVINE PROSPECT OF CONCLUDING LIFE IN GRAND STYLE – v26

The final thought terminates in a fantastic assurance. The end is not something gloomy, one to give distress and sorrow but a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment. Many conclude their days and life with an awful sense of disappointment but those who fear God and act in line with His will and ways are given divine assurances.

There will be no premature death – “You shall come to your grave in full age.” It is the desire of the Lord that we should live out our days and finish them well. There are indications of this factor within the Scriptures that this is so. For Abraham this was a definite reality. The testimony of the Word of God is in Genesis 25: “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, and full of years; and was gathered to his people” – margin – Newberry = ‘satisfied.’ He could not have climaxed his life on earth in a better way.

Illustration Moses –Deut 34: 7; Job 42: 12,17; Psalm 91:14-16

There will be total fruition and fruitfulness of life. There will be no decadence in the final years, only a further blossoming and further tokens of usefulness, fruitfulness and blessedness. Deterioration is not evidence only a spirit quickened, a divine inward fire and glow and the ability to live life to the full – John 15.

Illustration: Caleb – Joshua 14: 6-15

He was never a spent force in later life but serves as a glorious and glowing example of what life and work can be in the concluding stages. “The Bible is filled with people that lived on because they had something to live for.”

“No disease is more lethal than the boredom that follows retirement.” Norman Cousins

There will be an enormous appreciation of accomplishment. Life and labour will not have been a waste but at the end of the proceedings something to present to God with joy and delight. All the investment that God has placed within having been wrought out in faith and obedience will be both honoured and rewarded. They will be valued and compensated in such a way that will make all the ceremonial awards on earth look very ordinary and paltry.

CONCLUSION

One could not conclude or apply this better than what is given in the ultimate verse of this chapter:

This is a very real fact of life that must be truly discovered: “Lo this, we have searched it, so it is.” The Word of God is given to enlighten and encourage in the best and most fruitful life and life-style to be adopted throughout the whole of life. The wise take notice and are instructed and see the sense of this way of living.

Full attention must be given to it if one would reap the personal and boundless benefits extended by God – “Hear it, and know thou it for thy good.” Not only are the ears open but the heart, too, to believe and accept and the will set to achieve what God makes known. Do not be like the poet who said:

“When I came to die, I discovered I had not lived.”

“To me the greatest tragedy in life would be to grow old, and know that somewhere along the way I had ‘lost myself’ and never succeeded at being who God.

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