sermons to note

Rev. Ernest Anderson

Rev. E. Anderson
THE BEST AND GREATEST FRIEND

Reading John 15: 11-17

Text Proverbs 18: 24 “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother”.

Introduction

FRIENDSHIP INVALUABLE: Arguably, it can be truly stated and affirmed that ‘friendship’ is one of the choicest gifts and experiences of life. To be blessed with a friend who shows true, loving and faithful friendship exceeds anything of a material and monetary order. A worthy ‘friend’ exceeds their weight in gold or silver. Friendship is something that you can purchase, it is something that is beautifully and lovingly created and supersedes most things. Anyone who possesses a real friend is truly rich and such should not be sold or lost at any cost.

“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies” – Aristotle

“Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods” – Aristotle

FRIENDSHIP OF CHRIST: Jesus Christ on a specific errand and mission and that create and establish a unique and wonderful friendship between God and man. His task was to win man over to God and make man see that in point of fact, God is man’s best and greatest Friend. Throughout His life and ministry He sought to bring about this accord and He declared and demonstrated ‘friendship’ in the truest sense. The very fact that He chose to be a man and drawn near to man as the Son of God and Man indicates how intent and intense He is in achieving this great end. He could say to those disciples that were close to Him – “I have called you friends” – John 15: 15. There was a warmth and intimacy made known in this admission. They were more than disciples and servants: they were His ‘friends’.

FRIENDSHIP EXPRESSED: In considering the friendship of Christ it is seen to be positive undeniable. If ever an individual or person gave note and emphasis to ‘friendship’ it was Christ and His friendship was and still expressed in choice and bountiful ways. It is there for all to see, to think about and to experience in a very meaningful way. The truth needs to spelled out for all to view and ponder upon and choose to enter into.

“Friendship is the positive and unalterable choice of a person whom we have singled out for qualities that we most admire” – Bonnard

1/. BECAUSE HE REVEALS AND SECURES IT BY HIS GREAT SACRIFICE ON OUR BEHALF

Christ laid the principle down on which real friendship is portrayed and known – “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” – John 15: 13. he sets clearly down the sure knowledge by which genuine friendship can be detected. A friend is prepared to sacrifice not only their goods but themselves in declaring their undying love. It is illustrated in kind in the experience of David and Jonathan who became bosom pals and friends and asserted their kindred feeling and commitment – “the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” – 1 Samuel 18: 1.

“Some friendships are made by nature, some by contract, some by interest, and some by souls” – Taylor

Christ did not simply state a principle and rule, He fully demonstrated it by in the surrendering and sacrificing His life on the Cross to exhibit His love for all men and to establish it in everyone who would receive Him and what he had done by His death. Lasting witness and testimony was to be irrevocably given in the yielding up of His life unto death in order to save all men. His Cross blazes out the truth how God the Father and He loves all mankind. It is through His death that enemies are made into friends. Paul could say: “Who loved me and gave himself for me” – Galatians 2: 20.

C. T. Studd “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice is too great for me to make for Him”.

2/. BECAUSE HE EXPRESSES IT IN A CONSTANCY OF RELATIONSHIP AND CONTACT

Faithfulness, loyalty and fidelity are the hallmarks of true friendship. Wise saying “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” – Proverbs 17: 17. Some speak about ‘fair-weather friends’, those who are only around when everything is going well and they can enjoy the benefits that are on offer. But the best and greatest friendship is to be noted when the conditions are horrendous and off-putting.

“It brings comfort to have companions in whatever happens” – Chrysostom

Christ has no equal when it comes to consistency and faithfulness in every respect and to all those who have pinned their trust and hope in Him. At no time will He ever desert or leave those who believe in Him to their circumstances etc. He gives the assured promise of His companionship at all times. See Matthew 28: 20 “and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”. He possesses the power and ability to every one of His people at the same time and to be ever present and to maintain communications. Paul knew that if everyone else failed the Lord could be relied on. When he is on trial he could say: “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me . . . Notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me” – 2 Timothy 4: 16, 17. see also Hebrews 13: 5,6.

3/. BECAUSE HE DEMONSTRATES IT IN UNTOLD ACTS OF KINDNESS

In His friendship there is both communion and communication. He comes alongside to talk and speak those words and messages that display His friendship. He is more than a silent listener. He has things to utter which are essential to the strengthening of the ties of divine friendship. In no way is mute but has the apt ability to speak what is essential at all times. He has wonderful ways of turning up and speaking the right inspired words into life in all situations.

Illustration: The two on the Emmaus Road – Luke 24
John on the isle of Patmos

4/. BECAUSE OF THE PERSONAL GUIDANCE HE SEEKS TO GIVE TO PRODUCE A SUCCESSFUL LIFE

A friend is purposed to be a counsellor, advisor and guidance given the vital knowledge and information that will cause life to be fruitful. He is present to give the knowledge that in-builds vital safeguards into life, warning when such is necessary, encouraging when things of a depressing and discouraging nature. Christ is never over-bearing but is quietly present to give all the necessary advice that leads to the promotion and preservation of life.

He is ever-present to open up the life so that is fulfils it great potentiality, revealing the gifts and abilities and encouraging the believer to use them to their maximum because He knows that such bonds the fellowship and friendship. He seeks to make equal to everyone and everything that has to be confronted.

Illustration: Paul- the Lord’s word to Ananias “He is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear my Name before Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great he must suffer for my Name’s sake” _ Acts 9: 15, 16.

5/. BECAUSE HE PROVIDES ALL THE ESSENTIALS TO MAKE THE FRIENDSHIP REAL AND SUCCESSFUL

He is not present to do nothing but present to render all that is necessary to make the friendship more effectual. At His disposal is His all sufficiency to minister to what is required to meet every current situation. He is alongside to cover everything that is necessary so that all is answered. There is power and strength afforded so that the Christian can more than cope with every demand. He has the power to turn up and switch on great performances to assist His friends. He comes on to the scene and acts for the benefit and blessedness of His friends.

Illustration: Daniel in the den of lions – Daniel 6
Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail – Acts 6

6/. BECAUSE HE PURPOSES TO MANIFEST IT IN A GREATER WAY AT THE CONSUMMATION OF TIME

The friendship Christ is not to be limited to this life. It has to be understood it is not of a fleeting and temporary kind. Christ has not come to set something up that is short-lived and will eventually cease to be. One of the best and greatest and best things about His friendship, it is purposed to be everlasting. He does think or contemplate a conclusion to this choice blessing.

He is to be present at one’s death and departure. There is no termination when death and departure occurs. David the psalmist got it altogether when he said: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me” – Psalm 23: 4. He plans and purposes to keep company as they pass through this experience. The One who has been present in life will surely be there at death.

“We picture death as coming to destroy; let us rather picture Christ as coming to save. We think of death as ending; let us rather think of life as beginning and that more abundantly. We think of losing; let us think of gaining. We think of parting, let us think of meeting. We think of going away; let us think of arriving. And as the voice of death whispers “You must go from earth,” let us hear the voice of Christ saying, “You are but coming to Me!” -Macleod

“We are but tenants and . . . shortly the great Landlord will give us notice that our lease has expired” – Jefferson

He plans to be an eternal friend in an eternal world filled with incredible factors. As principal Friend he makes it known why he has gone to heaven. He is going to make known what this friendship leads to – heaven, with all of its surprises – 1 Corinthians 2: 9,10 “Eye hath not seen . . . .”. His is a never ending friendship. It will never come to a conclusion and the saying “The best is yet to be” will surely be in eternal evidence.

CONCLUSION

Now is the opportunity for this divine friendship to be the experience and entirely evidence. To those who have not yet made the discovery, the time is opportune to make Christ your best Friend.

“True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in the worth and choice. -Jonson

To those who have, now it privilege and favour to establish the divine friendship in meaningful ways.

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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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sermons to note

 

ernes1Rev. E. Anderson
THE INTERVENTIONS OF GOD

Reading Psalm 107

Text Ephesians 3: 20

Introduction

BOOK: Many years ago I read a book that made a great impression upon me. It was entitled: “Then God Stepped In.” There were a number of amazing and extraordinary stories and accounts in it where people found themselves in circumstances that required unique intervention and extraordinary help and they witnessed such fantastic happenings. They could only put it down to God working in their affairs. There are those who honestly believe in God and that He is both able and desirous of moving in work in situations beyond the capabilities of man.

DIVINE CHARACTERISTICS: There are many wonderful characteristics with regard to God that ought to be known and understood, but there two simple yet powerful truths and facts that really should be appreciated. One is His untold goodness and the other is His staggering greatness. The first expresses that He is exceedingly and exceptionally kind and good and that He loves to act on behalf of those who will seek and ask Him. The main reason why He does work in such wonderful ways is to show and prove His love and concern.

HUMAN RECOGNITION: It is important that as human beings we come to know and experience both. He wants to establish both His goodness and greatness in our lives and experiences so that we can share Him with others. He is not a ‘show-off’ although there is naught He cannot do but desires to commence and establish a dynamic relationship with people who will recognise Him and all that He stands for.

BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATIONS: The Bible provides us with ample proof with regard to God and His interventions in the affairs of people. Those concerned were glad that He not only existed but were delighted that He had a personal commitment to them in their extreme needs. He was there with them amidst their crises and made manifest the fact that He could work on their behalf and demonstrate His authority and ability. So many people could be brought forth as a witness and testimony with regard to His movement and working to their good.

1/. HE INTERVENED TO MAKE A FAMILY UNIT COMPLETE

Most know the story of Abraham that is found in the first book of the Bible. He came to believe in the one true and living God rather late in life and discovered that He was truly aware of him and had a lovely purpose for his life. Abraham had a real problem: he had no family although he was desperate for a son and heir. In the course of coming to know God he found out that God was desirous of bringing about his desire and promised that he would be a father – see Genesis 12-21. He certainly kept him waiting until he was an hundred and his wife was ninety, but He was able to work the miracle and provide a choice son for His servant – c.f. Romans 4.

2/. HE INTERVENED TO BRING A CHANGE OF NATURE INTO A PERSON’S LIFE

There was one fellow in the Scriptures who was not a very nice guy although he had great longings to know God and be blessed by Him. He was not the sort of person to switch you on because of his crooked nature that operated in crooked dealings. It could be said that he was the type of person that could not be trusted, but God had a vested interest in him and wanted and planned to see him transformed and changed. His name was Jacob and some of his life’s story is found in Genesis 27-50. It was necessary for God to meet him and straighten him out and change his nature – see Genesis 32.

3/. HE INTERVENED TO EXALT A MAN OUT OF AN IMPOSSIBLE CIRCUMSTANCE

Another young man discovered to his great pleasure that God had not forgotten or forsaken although he was reduced to an extreme situation. He was in prison for something he had not done and although the forecast seemed to be utterly negative, he hoped – Genesis 39-41. There he was as a prisoner and slave with evidently nothing but to view for the days ahead but the daily routine and grind in the prison. Nothing could have been more soul destroying than to land up in these conditions with no likelihood of getting out from the human standpoint. He was definitely put through an endurance test but his faith in God did not wane. In a remarkable manner got was able to turn the key of the prison and palace doors and open them both up for him. Later on he affirmed that God had been in every part, working everything out even in the most difficult and horrendous circumstances.

4/. HE INTERVENED TO TRANSFORM A STATE OF FAILURE INTO ONE BIG SUCCESS STORY

One of the most interesting life’s stories every recorded is made known in the second book of the Bible and it centres in a man by the name of Moses. If ever an individual knew what failure was, he did. The sense of being a wash-out and being no good must have really been experienced by him and it lasted over a long period of time! – Exodus 2. He had to spend 40 years in the seeming backwoods looking after his father-in-law’s sheep. It was a big come and let-down for one who had been reared in a palace and looked to have a tremendous future. When it would appear that he would spend out his remaining years in this humble occupation, God steps in and in a magnificent gesture offers him a destiny with tremendous prospects. The next forty years would be utterly different and would mark him out as one of the most outstanding men of history. His name would not be linked with defeat and disaster but with untold accomplishment. He would see some of the most astounding events of all time.

5/. HE INTERVENED TO SETTLE A LITTLE FAMILY’S FUTURE

One of the historic stories of all time as far as the Jewish people were and concerned focussed on a young lady that did not even belong to their nation. She was a foreigner and came to live amongst them after some very sad experiences – Ruth. The little book of Ruth highlights this rather choice person coming to place her faith in Israel’s God and seeing Him act most wondrously on her behalf. She arrives in Bethlehem a widow with a widowed mother-in-law, at their beam end, but had the extreme pleasure of beholding God do things in an extraordinary fashion. She finished up marrying a fine man, who was very rich and had a baby that was of great note. The Davidic and Messianic line stemmed from her.

6/. HE INTERVENED TO RESOLVE A MOST DIFFICULT PROBLEM

Daniel was to become one of the outstanding characters of Israel and of all time and he was a tremendous believer in God and in His power to perform the extraordinary. He was not ashamed of His God, although he was a captive in Babylon. He was sure that God would work even there to honour His Name and him as he trusted Him. A real problem arose with the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezer – Daniel 2. He had a dream he could not remember and he wanted someone to recall it and then to make the meaning of it known. There was no one to provide an answer and resolve the wish of the king. But Daniel knew and trusted his God and so the situation was fully answered to the satisfaction of all. The problem was not problematic to God. Even the king had to confess to the uniqueness of Israel’s God!

7/. HE INTERVENED TO CONVERT A MAN AN MAKE HIM AN INSTRUMENT FOR GOOD WITHIN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

Possibly the principal antagonist that Christ has ever known is revealed to us in Acts 8 of the NT. There was a man named Saul who was violently opposed to Christ and to those allied to Him. He felt it his business to do everything possible to eradicate Christ and His Church but found out that he had taken on a tremendous task. The time came when He had a personal encounter with Christ and was radically renewed and change instantly – Acts 9. He became the great preacher-evangelist-missionary of all time. God showed he could change one of such a spirit etc. See 1 Timothy 1:16.

CONCLUSION

The Good News is that God has not changed whatsoever and that He retains His love and power to work irrespective of generation and person.

It is necessary for you to come to know Him and to experience both His goodness and greatness in your life and affairs. It is opportune, now, for you to entertain and enjoy God acting in your interests.

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sermons to note

ernes1

. E. Anderson

WHERE GOD HAS BROUGHT US

Reading Deuteronomy 8

Text v7

Introduction

Christian believers have to reflect upon what the Lord has brought to pass within the realm of their lives. Since His blessed interruption and introduction there has to be a wholesome meditation on the gracious dealing and outworking of God within their experience. It is purposed to be a very good exercise that is intended to create and cultivate a good mind and heart set in their relationship with Him which is also anticipated to impact the future in a positive fashion.

Illustration: The Lord desired that Israel as a nation should do this so that it would serve to their great advantage in their immediate circumstances and would truly affect their future in a dynamic manner – Deut 8: 2 “And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God hath led you these forty years in the wilderness”. A major problem with them was that soon ‘forgot Him and His works’.

In the performing of this procedure and spiritual exercise it is planned that it should serve to inspire with regard to the vision for the present and future. There should always be prevailing progressive thinking and expectancy that there is so much more to be known, entered into and greatly enjoyed. In thinking of where God has brought us there should be a tremendous thankfulness for the past, inspiration and hope in the present and knowledge that there is going to be an experiencing of even greater things in and from God in the unfolding future. The fresh chapter about to be written is to be full of significance, pleasure and delight. It commences with

1/. WHAT THE LORD HAS BROUGHT US OUT OF – Exodus 6:7; Ex. 11:45; Lev. 12: 42; Psalm 105: 43

The psalmist never forgot where the Lord had brought him from and was both glad and grateful – “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings” – Psalm 40: 2. What an awful situation he was in until the Lord moved in and acted on his behalf and it was so for Israel as the earlier chapters of Exodus reveal!

• In a state of slavery and captivity. Israel was in what has been termed ‘the house of bondage’ under the awful dictatorial powers of Pharaoh and Egypt. It was not a very nice period being under the whip and experiencing untold suffering and humiliation at the hands of their evil taskmasters. Pharaoh, as we know, is but a type of the oppressive powers of Satan who afflicts the whole of mankind and is oppressed by him. It was a happy day when Pharaoh’s rule and authority was forever broken!
• In a state of inferiority and without any real identity. One couldn’t regard this people has being a nation, a people of worth and note. They had no standing or station or reckoning whatsoever and were utterly shamed and despised. One viewed them as being a woeful and worthless non-entity. How could they escape such a sentence upon their state and status? But God was to bring them out as ‘Israel’ make them a ‘Prince’ and establish them as the foremost people and nation.
• In a state of poverty and penury. All they had was a mere existence and just managing to keep life going. Their enemy was being made rich and prosperous whilst they were in an utter reduced situation, just making ends meet. When the Lord brought them out he was to see that they were duly recompensed! – “And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians” – Exodus 12: 36.
• In a state of inability. They could not help themselves. They were in an utter vulnerable and impossible circumstance. In no way could they free or rid themselves from the tyrant and the awful conditions they were. Outside help nd supernatural assistance was called for to break the hold of this despotic power. In their distress they cried to the Lord – “the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto god by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groanings, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and god had respect unto them” – Exodus 2; 23-25.

Israel’s circumstance is but illustrative of the plight of every sinner until the intervention of Christ and His great work of salvation. His first task is to bring out of these evil situations. The deliverance of the Lord from the evil conditions must never be forgotten. ‘He brought us out’.

2/. WHAT THE LORD HAS BROUGHT US THROUGH – Deut. 8: 2; 29:5; Psalm 78: 14; Jeremiah 2: 6

But then the Lord had a major task to perform in bringing this vast company of people through the wilderness before establishing them in the Promised Land. This next stage and phase was to be a very important part of the programme of going on to becoming possessors. It was not a meaningless exercise but a vital period that was purposed to prepare them for the land of promise and blessing. It was something that had to be negotiated well and one that required divine understanding. It was God’s purpose to bring them through and make them a better and more able people to inherit the land. It can be call ‘a probation period’ where they would be subject to divine tests in order to establish three divine qualities “And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments, or no” – Deut. 8: 2.

It was to be a real testing time and a period where sanctification would take place amongst them. They were to be sifted and sorted out so that the ways and ideas of Egypt would be purged from the minds, hearts and actions. Three things were to be birthed and developed in them to make them into a good and great people and representative of God.

• There was to be in place a real love for God. He had loved them and embraced them as His people and His great intention was to visibly and powerfully demonstrate His love for them. What he had done was but the commencement of a living and loving dynamic relationship and accord with them and what He desired was pure, unadulterated love simply for Himself. The primary command and demand was “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might” – Deut. 6:5; 30:2; Luke 10 27. He could bring them through every fiery trial if they possessed a genuine love for Him. He wanted to bring them through into a great state of love and affection for Him, where they gave Him utmost regard and worship.
• There was to be in place a dynamic faith in Him. This was to be a phase where they began to learn to trust Him to work the miraculous and extraordinary In spite of the impossible conditions to be confronted. It took a major miracle to get them out and it would require major miracles to take them through. It was needful that they grasp and exercise faith in Him all the way. He not only could open the Red Sea, but Jordan, too, bring Jericho down, give meat in abundance, rain manna from on high, give gushing water from the rock, overcome those who opposed. It was the time when their faith should have grown with their love but regrettably it did not occur. The curse of unbelief was present and prevailed at the occasion when the twelve spied went to spy out the land and brought back their evil report – Numbers 13-14; Hebrews 4. The evil heart of unbelief has to be confronted, dealt with and purged from the life of the believer and Christian leader. God brings through on the principle and procedure of faith – Hebrews 11: 6.
• There was to be a place of constant obedience to Him. As Joshua was about to assume leadership of Israel for the next stage he was made aware of the fact that obedience was very much an integral part of the agenda – “Be strong and very courageous, that you may observe toi do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded you, turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper withersoever you go. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night” – Joshua 1: 7, 8. The Lord seeks to create and produce a people or person who will carry through every sacred command, implicit obedience, and having secured this there is nothing that he can and will not do for such. In carrying through His directives there is the guarantee that all will surely come to pass as He has planned. Obedience is the clear marker to Him that He is believed and so there is sure to be readiness to receive all he has purposed.

3/. WHAT THE LORD HAS BROUGHT US INTO – Deut. 8:7

It must be realised and never forgotten what He intends to bring into. He brings out to bring through in order to bring into. There must be no stopping short of this wonderful objective. The Lord is not forever wanting to test those who love, trust and obey but delights when His grace and blessings can be multiplied in multiple ways. “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates . . . . “ Deut.8:7.

• He seeks to lead and bring into an experience of victory. No matter who or what was to confront, there would be the complete mastery and domination of all obstacles and opposition. There was to be the onward, forward march that would see them conquerors and no-one and nothing would frustrate their progress or success. The land was to be theirs and they were to take possession and become its owners. The Christian has to learn to enter into and live in the conquest of Christ and enjoy victory over all. To learn to be a possessor.
• He seeks to lead and bring into an experience of prosperity. They may have languished in desperate straits in Egypt but this was not to be the case in this new land. The good of all the land was before them and they were to enjoy all the delights of it. It was no longer to be a case of want but wealth. It was to become a new era of blessing leaving behind all the hardship of Egypt and the trials of the wilderness. Christians must learn to believe for and enter into seasons of rich and untold blessings. God to prosper a person with other things.
• He seeks to lead and bring into an experience of superiority. No long were they to be reckoned as being a nobody, to be trodden down and treated as nothing. Because of their unrivalled status all the other peoples and nations would have to take note. They were to be the ‘head’ and not the ‘tail’. Christians learn to live and rule in and throughout life.
• He seeks to lead and bring into an experience of progress. Entering the land was but the start of complete take-over. To be ever in the driving seat till all was conquered and ruled over. Brought into be kings and establish a dynamic kingdom. Christianity is all about founding the dynamics of Christ as King and His kingdom.

CONCLUSION

The question that needs to be asked is where are we placed in all this?

1/. Have we been delivered from Egypt and brought out of the condition of slavery. Is that where we are and are stuck at that point?

2/. Are we still in the midst of our tests and have we learned the important of the strength of our love for God, the growth of our faith the response of our obedience?

3/. Are we moving into our divine inheritance and enjoying God’s best?

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sermons to note

ernes1

Rev. E. Anderson

VICTORIOUS LIVING

Reading   Habakkuk 3

 

Text         vv17-20

Introduction

GREAT CONVICTION: The climatic and conclusive words of the prophecv reveal the truth and fact that the prophet had entered into an experience and state of victorious living. He ends up expressing this assured conviction and commitment in a glorious triumphant mood and manner. He had moved forward out of a negative spirit of question, doubt and foreboding into a positive attitude of assurance. strength and victorv. A choice line of spiritual action brought forth a lasting and worthwhile condition of being. life and outlook

 DISTURBED CONDITION: This was not always the case as the text is viewed in the immediate context of his prophesying. He commenced on the note of complaint. He had prayed to the Lord and he had not received any answer to his sincere praying – 1:2. He is somewhat distraught because the Lord appears to be taking no notice of him or his prayers and he queries the Lord on the issue of unan­swered prayer vv3, 4. It is noticeable that he does appear to be praying about the right things. The rottenness and corruption of the people greatly disturbed his spirit and the fact that divine judgment did not go forth disturbed him more. One could not say that he was in a position of spiritual victory at this point.

DIVINE ANSWER: The answer that the Lord eventually gave did not elevate his spirit, in fact it became quite shattering and bewildering w 5,6,13. The instrument that God was to use to bring divine chastisement on God’s people was more cor­rupt and worthy of punishment At the time, Habakkuk could not reconcile this factor. It created real problems and perplexity within his being. His reaction to the revelation shows that he is somewhat dumbfounded and distressed. He did not seem to possess the answer in his mind and heart as to the sense of the divine procedure.

PRINCIPLE: The Lord does express to him, however, the principle on which life has to be inspired with and governed by -2:4. The dynamic principle of faith and trust is voiced by God and shown to be the essential requirement of life. It is not a case of looking at things externally and outwardly without due consideration to the great rule of faith in God. The just man takes into his thinking, reckoning and living a just God and the rightness of His word and action and is obedient to its revelation and demand no matter how seemingly inexplicable. This produces what is known as victorious living. Life is not controlled by the outward show of things but by a deep inward conviction and assurance that God rules and acts in righteousness even when things look contradictory. He can be trusted and also His word. The humble man is a just man who simply and truly trusts God and His word. The proud man thinks he knows better than God.

In this prayer of Habakkuk – ch.3, there is the revelation of the majesty and as­cendancy of God and, as a result, the prophet seems to move into what God de­sired and designed. The prophet is no longer in questioning mind and mood but asserts a complete new attitude of mind and being that is yielding powerful con­sequences. A new situation of life and lifestyle is his which is so gratifying and satisfying.

 1/.  A SITUATION OF DESOLATION v17

 Reviewing this verse one notes that it is terribly negative. One marks the not and the no. It is a revelation of utter barrenness and nothingness, everything to re­duce to a low state of morale and being. Considering what the language portrays, one becomes oppressed and depressed. There is nothing there whatsoever to create some feeling of pleasure and persuasion. The situation could hardly be worse. This condition of desolation reveals some fundamental lacks:

  • The lack of progress and production. What ought to have been moving forward into a state of prosperity was at a complete standstill. Everything brought to a halt. There should have been a going and growing but instead the opposite is in evidence. The fig tree was made for blossoming and figs, the vine for grapes, the olive tree for olives etc. But there is no movement or hope of some good. Everything precious and glorious ought to have been seen and present, but instead, the scene is one of utter barrenness. There are no tokens at all naturally and outwardly speaking which should give grounds for delight. There is always room for praise and thanksgiving when everything and everyone is finding fulfilment and maximum expression, but when things are static, how different I

Illustration: Job had every reason to worship God when everything natural was going well for him. See Satan’s assumption – 1:10.

  • The lack of promise and prospect. In viewing this condition of bleakness and blackness one would have reason to believe there was nothing to live for because there were no cause for optimism for tomorrow. Because all looked helpless all was hopeless. There was nothing of assurance or guarantee that things would improve and get better. It was a sight to effect utter despair and a melancholic state. To try and produce some optimism would be difficult. Everything has gone dead and a curse appears to be on all. Today is gloomy but the tomorrows are worse still and such is difficult to handle. When the fu­ture does not look rosy and inviting there appears to be no cause for worship.

Illustration:     Jacob was similarly placed – Gen.42:36.

  • The lack of perception. The prophet does not claim to have an answer in himself with regard to this tragic state of affairs. The picture that he confronts has no logical, rational answer or explanation. It gives no understanding or solution only perplexity of thought. The fig tree should blossom and produce fruit but why not? Question and query are the certain consequence. This ut­ter negative condition defies explanation I It may well be that there is no seeming comprehension on the issue but Habakkuk makes no attempt to solve it. The why of barrenness delusive and elusive but he will take up a spiritual stance of faith and trust.

2/. THE SPIRIT OF DETERMINATION v18

In these negative surroundings he takes up a very positive attitude. He can say, ‘Although’ in vi 7 he does come in with an affirmation of conviction, ‘Yet’ in vi 8. He is not overwhelmed by what he beholds in vision on the natural front: his spiritual state is in a much healthier and greater condition. Instead of being over-ridden by the awful set of circumstances, he rides them. There is a divine determination abroad within his spirit and he rises to a new mood and movement of being, belief and behaviour. A resolve of faith comes in and operates.

  • Because he has Someone in whom he can rejoice – “in the Lord . . .in the God.” He moves into a new and different realm altogether. He sees be­yond the vision of desolation because he possesses and knows the revelation of the Sovereign Lord before his mind and heart. Though he cannot rejoice in it, he can and will rejoice in Him. He sees where he is placed spiritually and sees that this place is the controlling and dictating factor. The will to rejoice arises not out of self-effort or endeavour but from a discovery of the place and position the Lord holds in all things. He can and will rejoice in the Lord be­cause He is the Lord These things and conditions are not the master be­cause they come under His Lordship.

Illustration :   Job had things in right perspective in the moment of his calamity -1:21.

The position of the Christian believer is that he/she is now in Christ the Lord. In this relationship he must have a sight of Him above everyone and everything else, beyond all any outward and natural condition. The Lord stands supreme above all factors whether good or bad and He must be delighted in – Phil. 4:4. In Him there is a knowing of a spiritual will that results in victorious living and prais­ing. The Lord Himself is the creation and cause of joy and gladness – Psalm 43:4.

  • Because he has a sense about the something about the Someone in which to rejoice – He is the God ‘of salvation.’ His Lord is the Lord God of salvation and He has quite a history in regard to such. He possesses the ability to deal with this scene of desolation. The reason why he will worship and praise the Lord is due to the fact that He is the only one capable of mov­ing into a scene of this nature and to change it miraculously. The salvation of the situation is not in himself or others, or in the things that confront his gaze, he focuses in on the Lord. Everyone and everything may fail, but not Him. He is the only grounds for trust and praise. See Lamentations31-26. Amp.V. “I will exult in the (victorious) God of my salvation.” See Romans 8: 37.

3/. THE STRENGTH OF DOMINATION v19

Because of the positive spiritual re-action to the untoward conditions that exist there is the knowing of something of a divine order and character. Habakkuk now moves into something that he had never touched or experienced before and changes the whole course of his life and ministry. The domination is reflected in a number of ways.

  • He is dominated by divine strength. The things that were intended to weaken him and drive him to a state of distraction have led him to know and enjoy the blessing of God’s might and energy. He is not flat with depression and pessimism but full and inspired with divine compression and optimism. A new and glorious life-dynamic is open to him and he senses that full flow within him. Victorious living proceeds from this input. God had designed it this way that His servants should live off His power and ability – Ps.92:1O. In the inspiration of His Spirit and Word He provides the means by which His own can be reinforced and made absolutely strong and invincible – Haggai 2:4,5.

Illustration:    Ezekiel = God will strengthen.

  • He is dominated by sureness and speed GNB “He makes me sure-footed as a deer”; B. “He will give me the speed of the deer.” Stability and alacrity will become characteristic of the victorious life. It will be movement that will be steadfast and versatile.

Hannah Hunnard: “From the mission house at the foot of mount Gerizim she could watch the gazelles bounding up the mountain side, leaping from rock to rock with extraordinary grace and agility. A beautiful example of exultant and ap­parently effortless ease in surmounting obstacles seen.”

The deer: its back feet always land where its front feet have been.

  • He is dominated by divine success. There is a living in the high and heavenly regions. A dictating of the upper areas and a placing and putting everything un­der one’s feet. NIV “He enables me to go on the heights.” The fear of the heights have been taken away and there is the ability to cope with life with all of its ob­stacles, oppositions, troubles, trials, responsibilities etc. There is the knowledge that one is being divinely kept on the mountainous ranges and peaks – GNB “and keeps me safe on the mountains.”

CONCLUSION

  • God’s will is that His servants and people should be the recipient of divine feet and strength so that life and work can be fully and greatly negotiated.
  • The experience evidently was not the prophet’s alone – see David – Ps.18: 33. It is to be the experience of those who move into a real experience of faith in God and into true spiritual worship.IMG_2277

 

 

sermons to note

ernes1

Rev. E. Anderson
THE WORK THAT GOD WILL PERFORM

Reading Philippians 1

Text v6

Introduction

IGNORANCE: It is a regrettable fact that man lives in spiritual ignorance to the great, good work that God desires to perform on his behalf. Man was created and destined to be and live for something good and great. Unfortunately he has fallen foul of sin and Satan and because of this has been blinded to what God would achieve and bring to pass of a tremendous order within his life and affairs. Life with all of its true meaning and motivation has been lost and so an awful condition of ignorance prevails. Whilst he is clever to some extent on natural fronts yet he is abysmally ignorant on the main one. He is in a maze and requires help of an extraordinary kind.

Illustration: Hampton Court maze is a well-known labyrinth of hedge-bound paths in which it is easy to get lost. So many avenues lead to nowhere, so many openings prove abortive – the would be pursuer of conquest can feel utterly frustrated. Such is life !

We chase down cul-de-sacs. We take the wrong turnings, we become baffled by the very complexity and vicissitudes of our experiences. Life is indeed a puzzle, often painful, sometimes even pitiful.

But Hampton’s maze has a guide on an elevated spot that is able to direct anyone in perplexing difficulties. There is someone with an over-perfect perspective of the situation who can direct to the way forward and out.

SENSITIVE: The first thing is to become aware of and tuned in to what God is seeking to truly and fully effect. This ignorant state must be dealt with so that it is dissipated and a genuine divine knowledge be imparted and realized. There ought to be a calling on and a crying out to God to ask Him to give light and sense. There is a demand to be switched on to Him and for Him to make us sensitive and alive to what we really need to know and understand. Countless numbers have cried out in the annals of human history and dared to ask Him to show and prove Himself in this and He has not failed.

Illustration: As a young lad one of the great concerns of my being: why am I here ? I was a young philosopher in quest and God knew it, in fact He planted it in me and desired to answer it.

MEANS: God has ordained means and measures by which every person can be enlightened as to this vast, virtuous work that can be accomplished so that life and work is lifted and brought into a higher condition of being, existence and exercise. It is through the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son, the perfect revelation of God. Jesus Christ is the perfect and absolute answer to the personal searching questions of life and He has all the time, patience and commitment to mankind to solve everything for all.

What is that work that must be performed in relation to, in and through us ?

1/. TO BRING A REAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE GODHEAD INTO LIFE

What every man needs is a clear revelation of God in and upon his life and affairs. It is imperative to know who God is and to be aware of the fact that He has specifically revealed Himself in and through the Holy Scriptures and in and through Jesus Christ.

The Bible is no ordinary book: it is extraordinary. In composition, content and production is stands out as the ‘unique book’ in human history. It is a library of books in one and its main message is to give and unfolding of God and His purposes to all mankind. It is full of His precepts and promises that embrace the blessedness for all, without exception. It is possible to come to know God as author.

Jesus Christ is no ordinary Person: He is extraordinary. The Old Testament, to quite an extent, is a prophetic Book and one of its main themes is a declaration that a unique Person is to be born through Israel as a nation, from the tribe of Judah and of Davidic descent and He would be born in Bethlehem. He would be the Messiah not only of Israel and of the whole world. He would through His life and teaching give a clear perspective of God because He was ‘God manifest in human flesh’ – (John 1: 18). When a person comes to know Jesus Christ they will come to know God. All must come to know Him.

2/. TO EXPERIENCE A WORK OF DIVINE SALVATION AND REGENERATION IN THE HEART

There is a two-fold need in the life and condition of all people irrespective of race, colour, sex, age, status etc. It is to be saved from the presence and power of sin and to bring complete spiritual renewal of the inward being so that he can know God and be and live as God truly has designed.

One of the main reasons for the advent of Christ was that He should become man’s Saviour and Redeemer – Matthew 1: 21. The Cross was no accident but was a pre-ordained event in God’s calendar and became the major work of human history. It was God acting on behalf of man in order to provide an absolute and radical answer to the prevailing fact of sin and evil. God has done something about the sin factor and it is portrayed and proclaimed from Christ’s Cross – c.f. Romans 5:8. It is possible for all men and women to be saved by turning to Christ and His Cross.

Further, He comes to renew men by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit – John 3: 3-8 “you must be born again.” When sin has been dealt with then it gives God the right and opportunity to work a work of grace within the heart of renewal by His Spirit. He wills to make new creations – creatures – 2 Corinthians 5: 17. He gives people a brand new start by giving them a brand new life and nature. Only God can do this but He wills to do it for those who desire it. All people should welcome the opportunity of being re-made and renewed by God all over again. To by-pass and ignore this is tragic and has dire consequences.

3/. TO IMPART VITAL FACTORS SO THAT GREATER WORK CAN BE ACHIEVED

He has ordained that, by the Scriptures of truth, that as they are illuminated by the Holy Spirit of God, that those who have been spiritually renewed will become conversant and aware of the good and greater things to be accomplished in their persons and affairs. There has to be a constant input of divine communication and knowledge.

The Scriptures contain divine precepts that are planned to found and structure life. There are the commands of God that must be obeyed because they hold the key to a strong and powerful life. They must not be looked upon simply as rules and regulations but as good principles of faith and conduct that make for successful and powerful living – c.f. Joshua 1:7,8; Psalm 1: 2. His commandments are not grievous but a blessing to those who know and obey them. They become a well-spring of life.

The Scriptures also hold sacred promises that are purposed to fill the life with guarantees that will be fulfilled by God – 2 Corinthians 1: 20. God wills that the life be filled with His absolutes so that it can be exercised positively and assuredly. He has covered every contingency and emergency on our side through His Word. He is never in difficulty on this front because He can bring to pass all He has promised.

4/. TO LIVE AND SERVE IN THE GREATEST THINGS AND BE FULFILLED

It is God’s design for life and living that all should be able to give themselves to those things that are worthwhile, productive and successful. Without question and doubt He has plans of the highest order to bring about in those who desire such – Jeremiah 29: 11. There is a work and ministry to be achieved in His Name and kingdom that is of the greatest kind. There is nothing comparable to being involved in that which He has ordained for life – Luke 2: 49. When a person comes to know God in reality and truth there is the desire and will to become fully involved with Him and His enterprises – Acts 9: 6.

God desires that those who know Him be rightly ambitious and have aims of the best sort motivating all they do. To render great service to Himself and to the rest of mankind and for life and work to be indescribably and abundantly blessed. When God called and revealed Himself to a man by the name of Abraham He assured him of what He would effect in and through Him as He did what he said – Genesis 12: 1-4. This man did not miss out on anything but found that he lived at a better and greater level when he lined up with God. His life counted not only more for God and others but even to himself as he ran his course. If we could ask him : “Was your life really fulfilled to the full ?” The answer would come back immediately, “Certainly so!” See also Jesus Christ – John 17: 4.

5/. TO CONCLUDE LIFE WITH A SENSE OF ENORMOUS SATISFACTION

The important thing is to end one’s days on earth completely happy and satisfied. To be able end up knowing that life has not been a waste but that it has been most profitable and pleasurable. Only God can bring this about. At the conclusion of things God does not want anyone to possess a painful conscience but a blessed one because all of life’s expectations have materialized; nothing has fallen short.
Abraham died completely satisfied – Genesis 25: 8 “Then Abrahan gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man full of years.” Newberry margin “satisfied.” This is a praiseworthy and noteworthy epitaph to have inscribed over the life and experience of this famous and illustrious individual. All his expectations had been brought to fruition so he can breathe his last with a great feeling of delight. He not only made history; he had great joy in achieving it and perfect pleasure with last gasp of life.

Paul died in a blessed condition – 2 Timothy 4: 6. His became a very challenging life and work with so many demands upon him. When he was converted to Christ and brought to a true knowledge of God he never knew what lay ahead in terms of excitement, faith and adventure. He was going to make a lasting mark for all time in the Christian Church and world. He would not be forgotten or his work and service. In coming to his great finale he is filled with a sense of absolute fulfilment and delight. He had done the work that had been God-appointed and so could face the future prospect with great hope and anticipation.

CONCLUSION

Know that God has got His hand upon your life and that He wills to give you the opportunity of knowing Him and His great plan for your mortal existence. This is a providential moment and hour ordained by God where you may encounter Him and discover what you and your life is all about. It is not a chance factor but a golden time when what you have been looking for and need can be yours.

Through Jesus Christ you can be introduced to the Godhead, discovering the blessed deity is a trinity of Persons consisting of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and each have a role to fulfil within experience. All that needs to be done has been done. God has already worked things out whereby you can enjoy a rich experience of salvation through Christ, His Fatherhood in all your affairs and the blessing of the Holy Spirit as a permanent resident.

Do not miss out now, immediately, to let God work in and through you those things that will wholly profit and please you but above bring glory to Him. This kind of opportunity may never present itself to you again so grasp it while you may. God has brought you to this time and place so that His great, good work will commence.

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sermons of note

ernes1

Rev. E. Anderson
THE RIGHTS OF CHRIST AND THE CHRISTIAN

Reading John 1:

Text vv11, 12

Introduction

RIGHT: A right is a legitimate power and prerogative that can be claimed and used and recognized by an individual that gives them the ability to claim certain privileges of great worth. It is a lawful due that belongs to a person, a privilege which they can truly assert and declare and expect to be appreciated and accepted. A right is something that is truly conferred on a person to their benefit and an authority that they are entitled to use without question.

SPIRITUAL RIGHTS: In and through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it can be seen and witnessed to that Jesus Christ has won definite rights and to those who become His subjects they are also afforded vital rights in and through Him and what He has accomplished. By His advent and the fulfilment of His mission He has obtained great and wonderful powers for Himself and the whole of Christendom, and that means each Christian possesses certain entitlements that must be claimed and exerted. He came with the precise objective of enriching inalienable rights for all who dare to place their utmost confidence.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: There is an expression abroad in these days which is quite familiar – ‘Know your rights’. The media is ever seeking to present this feature to people so that they are not simply conversant to what they are allowed, but that they press their claims and experience the rewards. They must not miss out in any way to that which is legally and lawfully theirs. They must learn how to own their claim. There is no need for any Christian believer to be poor once they understand this factor in relation to Christ and themselves.

1/. THE RIGHTS THAT RIGHTFULLY BELONG TO CHRIST

It is necessary that Christians are fully aware of who Christ is and what He has genuinely won for Himself in consequence of His mission to earth. It was not a failure by any means, only one big success for Himself and for the rest of mankind. When he cried out on the Cross, “It is finished” some amazing things had been gloriously achieved. He was in the strong and overall position of claiming divine rights of a very important nature.

• He had won the right to be man’s Saviour and Redeemer. The Cross was not a disaster but a victory for Him because He had earned the right to bring about the forgiveness of all for all who trust Him as their Saviour. His death was in point of fact ‘the sacrifice for sin”, the sins of the entire world. John the Baptist had foretold that Christ was ‘the Lamb of God that would take away the sins of the world’ – John 1: 29. He is the only One with the legitimate right and prerogative to forgive sin and He does on the basis that He has the authority to do so in the light of His vicarious death. He has not only been rightly named ‘Jesus’, that is what He is to those who know His forgiveness. He can boldly set Himself forth to all and affirm, ‘I am your Saviour and Redeemer.’
• He had won the right to be man’s Lord. His death won the right for us to be forgiven but His resurrection has earned Him the prerogative of becoming and being Lord. The One that was crucified has now been crowned and given a seat of authority at the Father’s right as a Man and from this unique and powerful situation is to exert His Lordship. Peter makes the point in his first sermon, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” – v36. He is no longer a Victim but the Victor with unassailable rights. He is the seat of power and authority and engaged in the mission of creating a powerful, eternal kingdom, made of people who come to own His Saviourhood and Lordship. There is a glorious linkage with His Saviourhood and Lordship. One cannot have one without the other. By His death he removes sin and by His resurrection He rules over sin in His subjects. One day His Lordship will be fully expressed and be on view for all to witness.

2/. THE RIGHTS THAT BELONG TO EACH CHRISTIAN

The problem does not exist with respect to the rights of Christ but the rights of each Christian. Each professing believer must come to really know all that has been won and secured for them by Christ. He comes to place the believer in a healthy and wealthy condition and this becomes so when the believer begins to stand up for their rights in Him.

• The right to be truly saved – The great message of the Gospel primarily is aimed at bringing about a work of salvation in the life of all men. Christ is the only Saviour and men need to be saved in the way that God has planned and fulfilled, through the blood of His cross. People have got to come to a personal faith in Christ and to be saved on the basis of His work done on the Cross – Acts 16:31. To be saved is a vital experience for it means to be saved from its curse and ultimate judgment. Every sinner must come to the cross and find the answer to their sin in the cross. Christ has won the right for you to be saved and for Him to be your saviour. He must be availed of.
• The right to be healed. The death of Christ not only atoned for our sin and to reconcile us to God, it also secured for us the right to be healed. His sufferings and death have to rightly joined to bringing healing, life and health to our body. The prophet Isaiah forecasted the fact that Christ would win the power for men to be healed – “He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed” – Isaiah 53: 5 see Also Matthew 8: 16,17. Every believer has the right to claim healing through the work that Christ has accomplished in His death. He died to deal with the curse of sickness.
• The right to be divinely changed. Christ does not leave a person to continue to live in sin but to be set free from the law of sin and to live a changed and transformed life – 2 Corinthians 5: 17. The conversion to Christ is to lead to a transformation through Christ where all evil habits and conduct is dealt with and there comes a likeness to Christ. The believer has the power to be renewed and changed on a continual basis so that He becomes more and more like His Saviour and Lord.
• The right to be a child and son of God – John 1: 11, 12. The choice and unique privilege of actually becoming a genuine son of God with all of its privileges and prerogatives is conferred in and through Christ. Not only is the right and blessing of forgiveness known, the delight of coming into a close, approximate relationship with God is to be experienced and a ongoing fellowship with Him as a son. Divine sonship is to be justly accepted and entered into in a very dynamic manner and fashion. A person is immediately placed in God’s family with all the blessed entitlements that are in such a position. There is the prerogative of calling and knowing Him as Father and receiving all the choice advantages of being a son – see Romans 8: 15-17 – “For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, ‘Abba Father’ . The Spirit itself beareth …And if children, then heirs; heirs of God…”
• The right to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The prerogative and privilege to experience the personal presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Godhead is the lot of all who claim Christ’s Saviourhood and Lordship. The Lord has designed that all who embrace Him as Saviour and Lord should enter into a life and experience of being filled and blessed with the Holy Spirit. He has won the legal right for this to be so. Jesus promised that the Holy would be given and would come and this occurred on the day Pentecost. Peter told his hearers that day that this would be theirs if they repented and came to Christ. “He said, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the lord shall call” – Acts 2; 39. No Christian should miss out in being baptised in the Holy Spirit and of maintaining a life lived in and by the fullness of the Holy Spiirit. Everyone should place their claim in now and being to express the divine kind of life and living.
• The right to answered prayer. It is to those who live under His Saviourhood and Lordship that know their divine sonship and live with Holy Spirit’s anointing to have the delight of answered prayer. Jesus conferred this distinctive right to His disciples. He gives this assurance, “If you abide in Me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you . . . . Hitherto have you asked nothing in my name: ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full” – John 16: 24. This does show that believers are expected to enter into the delight of answered pray. God does not expect that any of those who are following His rights will miss out on knowing tremendous intervention of their Father through prayer.
• The right to divine guidance. It is God’s will and purpose that all who are truly Christ-ones should have the great advantage and pleasure of being directed by heaven, There is divine plan for living that assures and guarantees His overall superintendency which means He will afford the unveiling His route and course that offers that which is right and best. He does not want anyone to be at the mercy of their own limited understanding and planning or even other well-intentioned people, but he will assume the role of Guide and Mentor. Every Christian must learn that God will certainly steer and conduct the life to its greatest interest and achievement. He must take the reins and it is His right to lead and our right to submit to His leadings.
• The right to expect to share in the eternal world that is to be revealed at Christ’s advent. Jesus Christ promise and assurance that He would return. He has that right conferred upon Him by the Father and awaits the precise timing for it to occur. He extends the hope to all under His Saviourhood ad Lordship that they will share the heavenly and eternal future with Him – John 14: 1-3. Every believer must learn to stake their claim with regard to heaven and exclaim to death that it has no ultimate authority over them. Death is but a stage awaiting the sudden and glorious appearance of Christ that will justify those who have placed their rights in Him for resurrection and heaven. The Christian knows beyond doubt that heaven is to swing it doors wide open for their entrance.

CONCLUSION

The questions to be asked in conclusion:

• Do you truly and fully know Jesus Christ and the right that He has purchased and procured for Him and for His disciples and subjects? One thing that He is doing is He is sovereignly exerting His spiritual right and powers in the place that He holds.
• Are you really seeking to know what actually you should be and what you should be truly and spiritually experiencing in and through Christ? Do not miss out or be robbed of what should now be yours and enjoying. If Satan can hinder you on this, he has won a major victory and your life will be greatly impeded. Enter into your full legacy of prerogatives and see the marvellous changes that will come.

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sermons of note

ernes1

Rev. E. Anderson
THE DOUBLE BLESSING OF GOD

Reading Isaiah 61

Text v7 NIV

Introduction

PROPHECY: Up to Isaiah 40 the prophet had been predicting and preaching judgment upon God’s people because of their sinful behavior. He describes them in his opening remarks, under divine illumination and inspiration as, “Ah sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evil doers, children given to corruption. They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel, and turned their backs on Him.” The consequence of their evil landed them in deep trouble and so they were seemingly forsaken and eventually they became a slave people in Babylon. But God was not to leave them there utterly desolated: He was to visit and raise them to be a people again. The prophet moves on into the ministry of encouragement in chapter 40 and shows that God’s people had reaped more than they had sowed. She had received “from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins” – v2.

“The chastisement which God inflicts upon his people is often long- continued. But the harvest of righteousness and peace and joy that springs from it will be so abundant, that the suffering will be forgotten in comparison with the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” that follows.” JFB

There was to be a new era that signified divine change and transformation and it would commence with a new revelation and manifestation of Jehovah – chapter 40. He was to be inspired with a new impetus and inflatus and with a fresh vision. Tremendous possibilities now lie ahead through the intervention of God. There were new things on the horizon. Through a sovereign visitation and ministration of the Lord, things would be uniquely altered. Jeremiah confirms this in 29:11. He had already formulated plans to reverse all the evil that had occurred. Plans were in hand to give an ‘end and expectation’ – margin. The Lord knows how to bring things to the best climax and conclusion and to effect new beginnings.

Illustration: Job – contrast chapters 2 & 3 with 42

PROSPECTS: They were good as far as God was concerned because He was going to cause His Spirit to be amongst them to bring dramatic and dynamic alteration – Isaiah 61. This chapter has specific reference to Messiah and His supreme and supernatural ministry in His day, but there was a part fulfillment of this earlier in Israel’s history. (What God has done once He can do it again on a grander and greater scale). Things were really bad but into this scene and situation the Lord was going to move and act. There would come the occasion and season of His double blessing. There was everything to look forward to. Listen to His prophetic word that is full of promise and prospect: “Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace (confusion) they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs” – v7 – NIV

The emphasis is upon the removal of shame and confusion (and how such is required and needed), and the great delight of receiving from the Lord’s own hand a double portion of blessing and to enter richly and fully into the inheritance of it. The blessed consequence: “everlasting joy.” The true sign and token of the people being significantly and divinely blessed is the elated, exuberant and rapturous state of being, spirit, soul and body. The Church of Jesus Christ must be the revealed seed that the Lord has doubly blessed. It is important to discover and know the immediate mind of the Lord with regard to His Church on earth today. This is made known in the Scriptures of truth and is communicated by divine revelation and insight.

1/. THE DIVINE PURPOSE

One of the major things that God has been planning and bringing into being from all eternity is to have a family and to have a family of sons – Ephesians 1: 3-6. This has been His great dream and His omniscience and omnipotence has gone and is going into it to bring it to realization and perfection. There is no way that He will be frustrated or hindered from effecting this outstanding purpose. One can say that this is what God is about through His beloved Son. Coincidence and chance does not come into the equation. The human family is but the intimation and forerunner of the divine family with unique distinctions and differences.

God is not only after ‘a family of sons’ but ‘firstborn sons.’ They are sons with a difference. One of the main hallmarks and possibilities to be recognized in relation to such is that they are marked out to be the possessors of ‘double blessing.’ So they are not birthed in an inferior role but one of superior note. They are called to be inheritors from the great Father and possessors of abundance. The latent plan that must become patent is that there is an inheritance of enormous worth and value to be laid hold of and entered into. Being birthed into the family is one thing: the vital factor that God the Father is concerned about is that the feature of life, faith and ministry should be the double-fold blessing. See 1 Peter 3:9 “knowing that you are thereunto called, that you should inherit a blessing.”

It has to be reckoned and believed on here and now, that it is not only God’s will to make us one of His firstborn sons, but equally so, to believe that in this new status we should be the partakers of double-blessing. He takes us out of shame, disgrace, dishonour and confusion to accept us as His own and then to treat us as His offspring in magnificent manner and measure. This must become faith’s position and expectation – see also Isaiah 54:1.4.

2/. THE DIVINE PRINCIPLE AND PROCEDURE

To show and prove that this is no vain ideology or false philosophy, He makes it plain in His choice and election of a people through Abraham. The nation that was to be given birth, manifestation and position through this unique character, Abraham, man of faith, and Israel was to stand out above all other nations and peoples on planet earth.

When Moses is sent to effect deliverance, he is commanded to declare to Pharaoh Israel’s status – Exodus 4:22 “And you shall say unto Pharaoh, ‘Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn’.” See also Jeremiah 31:9; James 1:18. The Lord was pleased to nominate and identify this people as being in a close and productive relationship with Himself. As the firstborn the peculiar and distinctive right of special blessing was afforded and this meant above everything else a condition of double blessedness.

“My son–my first-born; greatly beloved, and greatly favored.” – JFB

Jacob knew the value of this and so willfully, craftily and knowingly he deceived Esau into selling him the birthright of the firstborn –Genesis 25:29-34. Regrettably Esau lost out on the choicest fact of his relationship and life and so consequently missed out on what could have been his. He finished up a bitter man, resentful of his brother and what could have been his – Hebrews 12:15-17 “Looking diligently lest any man fail the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For you know how that afterward when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it with tears.”

“The birthright seems to have implied the first place or rank in the family; the privilege of offering sacrifice and conducting worship in the absence or death of the father; a double share of the inheritance; and in this instance the honour of being in the line of the patriarchs, and transmitting the promises made to Abraham and Isaac. What Esau parted with we can easily understand by reflecting on the honours which have clustered around the name of Jacob.” Barnes

Illustration: Reuben – Genesis 49: 3, 4 contrast Joseph vv22-26 – Ephraim – Mannaseh ; Also Gehazi 2 Kings 5

It was the plan of God to raise the whole status and condition of His people into a real blessed estate by bringing them into the land of Canaan and granting the blessing of the firstborn. All the other nations would have to ponder the reason for this nation’s existence and consider why she was in such a wealthy and healthy state. He gave them the conditions as they moved in to possess the land and they were compelled to think about the possible contrasting experience of curse and blessing – Deuteronomy 27 & 28; Joshua 8:30-35. None could plead ignorance and none should live in indifference to His law of curse and blessing.

3/. THE DIVINE PROMISE

In this instance, through Isaiah, He is coming with His prophetic word and assuring them it is now the time and season for the bondage to cease, the curse to be removed and a new period of double blessing to flow upon His people. He had not forsaken or forgotten them even though circumstances looked as if this was the case, but He was about to begin a fresh manifestation of His abundant favour. There was now, in the immediate, a fresh inspiration, power and purpose abroad that must be sensed, laid hold of and entered into and abound. It was imperative and urgent that this be not missed and by-passed.

Illustration: Luke 19:44 “because you knew not the time of your visitation.”

It was to be through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the prophets, Zechariah and Haggai, and the leadership of Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel, and Joshua the high priest, that things would dramatically change. The spirit and mind-set of the leaders and people all had to change and there had to be a believing, expecting and a working to see the promise come to total realization. There would be no failure on the part of Jehovah and it was imperative that they did not fail to believe the promise and rise to enjoy a brand new era of blessing in an abundant style. The promise is a divine guarantee and the Lord has no intention of falling short of keeping His word. If there is one thing He loves and seeks to do, it is to stand by every assurance He has given.

Illustration: Caleb the father of Achsah promised to give springs of water – Joshua 15:16-19; Judges 1:12-15

4/. THE DIVINE PATTERN

The Scriptures provide a wonderful example of what it means to know and experience double-blessing. The OT reveals a man by the name of Elisha who could and would not settle for the norm – 2 Kings 2. He knew and sensed within his being he had been birthed for greater things and would not remain content until such was his lot. Others may live and work on a very low plain: not he. Right before and since his calling there was the conviction that much more was to be known to life. Living according to traditions and acting in line with others expectations was not enough. The past would have to be left behind because there was to be a divine investment given to him.

“If you are walking in the light, there is no harking back, the past is transfused into the present wonder of communion with God. If you get out of the light you become a sentimental Christian and live on memories, and your testimony has a hard metallic note. Beware of trying to patch up the present refusal to walk in the light by recalling a past experience when you did walk in the light. Whenever the Spirit checks, call a halt and get the thing right, or you will go on grieving Him without knowing it. – Oswald Chambers

There came the moment and opportunity when he could enter into the blessing of the firstborn. The exodus of Elijah was not to be a time of moaning, murmuring and melancholia but of expectancy, when something new and fresh could happen to his life and service. He became spiritually ambitious. Having seen what Elijah had achieved for God by His enabling presence and power, he would like to follow on with a mightier back-up action and operation and he knew how it could occur. It would be through a double anointing of the Holy Spirit.

It is known that he immediately entered into and enjoyed the dynamic of moving into a God-blessed ministry and so many benefited from the anointing on him. He was a blessing and wherever he went he was able to administer blessing in a divine and magnificent manner. So many stories could be told of how this one man doubly blessed people. Even a captive maid had been impressed by him and was sure of what this man could do for those who needed essential blessing. Even in death, his bones were doubly blessed and gave life to a corpse that was thrown in his tomb. What a testimony that man had!

5/. THE DIVINE PROCESS

Mainly and usually the route to this double state of blessing is by a process and that process involves being put under trial and pressure. Everyone would love to be doubly blessed but the route to it is not one that would be naturally chosen because it can involve a great deal of affliction, pain and suffering. But this is the way of God and it must not be shirked if one would reach a maximum condition of life, fruitfulness and abundance.

Illustration: What is one of the main ways a fruit tree produces loaded branches of fruit? Pruning – John 15

Job was blessed as chapter one reveals and the Lord was pleased with both his spiritual and material state and could highly commend him. Satan desired and designed that Job would be undone and that his faith would be destroyed and that the Lord would have no further use for him or pleasure in him. The Lord allowed his servant to go through an intense experience of suffering so that he would come out at the end with more faith than ever and into a doubly blessed condition. There did come an eventual conclusion to the ordeal and Job’s life, testimony and blessing simply abounded – Job 42:10, 12; See also Joseph. The trial became God’s ways and means of expansion and extension so that much more can be bestowed. The test reveals the quality and makes way for the quantity.

6/. THE DIVINE PROSPECT

Of all people and persons Christ is set forth as ‘the firstborn son’ and the prospect that we have is all because of Him and is to be found in Him. He is the ‘only begotten Son’ in the eternal world and ‘the first begotten Son’ in the kingdom of God and His new family. We receive our sonship and heir-ship in and through Him. We also obtain the rights and blessings of ‘firstborn sons’ in Christ. God has no grandchildren. All are His sons and firstborn sons with the entitlement of a double portion of blessing.

We are acquainted with the fact and truth that Jesus Christ knew what it was to live and act under the blessing of a double portion. The time came when He was anointed with the blessing of the Holy Spirit and than He began to believe and operate under the Holy Spirit dispensing blessing in remarkable and outstanding ways – Luke 3:21, 22; 4:1, 14, 18. He commences the Christian Church in a dynamic and dramatic way and revealed by His life and ministry that His kingdom is all about the manifestation and ministration of the ‘firstborn Son.’ By His own example He demonstrates the prospects that He has for all of Christendom.

Before He left those whom He had called and chosen, He assured them that they were about to enter into the Holy Spirit’s blessing and baptism and this would herald the beginning of the unique and unusual. The day of Pentecost witnesses the outpouring of the Spirit of God and from this experience things begin to be manifested of a supernatural order and affirmed a community of firstborn sons experiencing and enjoying the legacy of life and power. Peter is a ‘firstborn son’ that is full of divine prospect and through him the double blessing is in evidence. He appears a different person because he now knows the double blessing of God in his being and upon his ministry. So the Christian Church moved on in its prospect. The shame, confusion and depression were removed and dignity, delight and authority were in full view. It was the opposition that was reduced to disgrace, despair and gloom. To see this blessing flowing out and reaching the Gentile nations indicates the force of the double anointing.

7/. THE DIVINE PLEASURE

What is it that must give the Father the greatest joy, delight and pleasure? What affords to Him untold satisfaction and glorious emotion and fulfillment?

The Son of God, Jesus Christ, has been the means of eternal pleasure to the Father because He exhibits eternally the doubly blessed condition. There has never been a moment in eternity or in the time phase that Jesus Christ has not evidenced this great state of blessing. He has always been the Father’s joy as this has been manifested continually.

But now, the Father has increased pleasure and joy.

Why? Because He has a community of firstborn sons through His Son and now they are being doubly blessed. What is God the Father waiting to come into full view that will give Him enormous thrill? To see all of His sons with a double portion. Romans 8:19 “The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.” The glory of the Father is not that we are His firstborn sons as a whole but that we are knowing and manifesting the glory of His inheritance of blessing. His sons are to be His honour and the channels through which He manifests His fullness of blessing.

CONCLUSION

Doubly blessed! What does it all mean?

Smith Wigglesworth : How many of you desire to be blessed? Put one hand up.
How many of you want to be doubly blessed? Put two hands up.

The will of God is that we should be blessed in this temporal world as well as the eternal world.

The will of God is that we should be blessed naturally as well as spiritually.

Do not allow anyone or anything to hinder you from knowing the delight of a doubly blessed life and work. It can all start NOW! TODAY!

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sermons to note

ernes1

Rev E. Anderson

THE BIG QUESTION? WHERE WILL YOU SPEND
ETERNITY?

Reading Luke 16: 1-3
Text Luke 12: 20

INTRODUCTION

IMPORTANT: Possibly one of the most important and relevant questions to be asked in life in the immediate is: “Where will you spend eternity? If there is such thing as eternal being and existence then the question is worth utmost consideration Time and thought must be given in the present concerning the matter. If there is any knowledge on the issue then we need to know that information so that it can be thought about and if there is any decision and action is called for then the appropriate measures can be taken. The Bible does give insight on it and speaks authoritatively with regard to it.

PERSONAL: It is a personal question and one that everyone must face and answer. There is a real emphasis here: Where will YOU . . .?” Everyone must be ready to honestly ask themselves where am me finish up? “Is there any life for me and where is going to be spent? In contrast to this mode and form of existence there is a tremendous difference. Time in contrast with eternity is immeasurable but in time we are given the opportunity of thinking of and getting ready for this unlimited fact of life and destiny.

BREVITY: It should be realized and recognized that life at its fullest and best is but brief. People often live in a state of falsehood thinking that death will never overtake them. It is one of those stupid facts that most, if not all, are guilty of. But in the midst of life the fact is constantly hitting us. The Bible speaks plainly on the subject and describes how life is brief – James 4: 14 ‘vapour’. See elsewhere – ‘shadow’ 1 Chron 29:15; weaver’s shuttle’ – Job 7: 5; ‘hand-breadth’ – Psalm 39:5. We have not get a great deal o time really to sort out the matter. It is too late when death has come – e.g. Rich farmer – Luke 12 and rich man – Luke 16.

IMMORTALITY: The Bible does teach most clearly that man possesses an immortal soul. The soul is you as a person and you as a person will live on and on forever. What a man possesses Christ said, is nothing in comparison. He affirmed: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul” It is a foolish and dangerous thing merely to be taken up with material pursuits without due attention to life’s real values, eternal future and destiny.

PREPAREDNESS: Within the thought of putting this question is the awareness that one must get ready for eternity. It is the thing that for have to confront in the not to distant future, therefore the imperative, the must in the matter of being ready. It should not be treated with apathy or indifference but seriously and solemnly pondered on with the object of being wise and prepared. It should never be left on the agenda of life as a final factor but placed at the forefront and influence life at every stage and level.

1/. THE PLACE WHERE ETERNITY IS TO BE SPENT

It does say ‘where’ and there is a where. As far as Scripture is concerned there are but two places in mind for the future, “heaven and hell” and both are of a serious consideration. Christ taught about both and spoke of them in an absolute sense.

• Heaven was the place He came from and went back to and taiked about during His ministry on earth. He could plainly tell His hearers that He existed before He ever came to this planet and that His Father dwelt in heaven. He was totally conversant with the place and that one day He would return there with a definite purpose in view – John 14: 1-3. It was not a mystical place, a place He dreamed about or thought up. In no way was it a bit of fanciful imagination.
• Hell is the place He spoke about and taught men they should avoid ending up there. He endeavoured to get over to the people to make sure they did not finish up where the rich man ended up – Luke 16. Reference is made by Him that Hell is a place of unending torment and pain -Mark 9: 4348. Either He was speaking the truth or if not He turns out to be a liar and not to be trusted at all.

2/. THE PREPARATION THAT HAS TO BE MADE FOR ETERNITY

The reason why Christ came was in order to enable us to prepare properly for eternity. He not only shows there is an eternity to be faced but that it should be confronted now in a divine way. God has not left man to His ignorance but has graciously and wisely showed how he can be ready and in a state of faith and hope.

• Heaven is a prepared place for those who have been forgiven and saved on the basis of what Christ has done on the Cross. It is sin that will keep people out of heaven and will send them to hell. But Christ came in order to effect salvation from sin and bring pardon and forgiveness – John 3:16; Romans 5: 8.
• Through faith in Christ one can be made a child of God and have one’s name recorded in the book of life in heaven. God desires to make us part of His divine family in and through Christ and to make known that our name can be registered in His book of heaven’s citizens – Luke 10: 20; Philippians 4:3.
• Those who receive and know Christ as their Saviour and Lord are assured by God that they are going to heaven and that a glorious future awaits them. The Holy Spirit of God is given in order to establish and confirm the whole future prospects – 1 Corinthians 2: 9. The New Testament reference simply confirms and shows God has not altered His mind and will.

3/. THE POSSIBILITY OF MISSING OUT ON THE BEST FOR ETERNITY

The worst and awful thing that can happen is that people can be informed and know all this and yet miss out on the eternal prospects. To be made aware is not enough. One has to make sure that there is no indifference to what can be eternally yours. A person can only be a fool who acts in such a manner.

4/. THE POSITION IS PLACED SO THE ISSUE CAN BE SETTLED

God gives us the opportunity of making certain of our future, eternal destiny. The option is laid simply and clearly before us as to where we are going to ultimately end up and it rests upon the fact as to whether we choose to take Christ as our Saviour and make Jesus Christ Lord of our lives. The most critical decision we can make is this because it has far-reaching consequences.

CONCLUSION

So much hinges upon the response that is make to God regarding this. God has effected the greatest and best deal for man’s eternal future. Believe now!

What has a person to do to go to hell? Nothing.

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sermons to note

ernes1

Rev. E. Anderson
ROYAL OCCASIONS AND EXPERIENCES

Reading Psalm 113

Text v7

Introduction

A GREAT OCCASION – An event to remember! The diamond royal celebration of the ascension of Queen Elizabeth to the throne of England 60 years ago is a real cause for pleasure and delight. How grateful and thankful we are to God and our queen for such an outstanding period of time wherein she has served God and her country in such a glorious manner and measure! She has ruled in and by the grace and fear of God and has given a worthy and renowned display of how a monarch ought to behave and conduct herself at all times. Most, if not all, have been appreciative of the 100% contribution she has given at all times and her fame has reached the Commonwealth of Nations and all the five continents of peoples. Wherever she goes she is acclaimed. None would begrudge her praise for the performance she has put in to bless this nation as well as others, too.

CHRISTIAN CONFESSION: It is good to know that she is a God-fearing Christian and confesses to have received Christ as Lord and Saviour in her heart. She is not ashamed to quietly make it known that Christ has a meaningful place and role within her life, faith and affairs. She regularly meets and sees a close minister at Windsor where she confides in the things of God and believes in her Lord completely.

CHRISTMAS PRAYER: I asked God for two things at Christmas and both were answered. That many more people would find their way to Christian gatherings and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world. I was not disappointed. The congregations were larger than ever and that indicates that people have not given up on the Christian Faith. They still sense that it has some immense value. Further, I prayed that our Queen would come out and make declaration and confession of the Christian Faith. And give the nation a lead. And she did.

The Family Factor
“The importance of family has, of course, come home to Prince Philip and me personally this year with the marriages of two of our grandchildren, each in their own way a celebration of the God-given love that binds a family together”

Christmas Message
“Adversity is one of the themes of Christmas. Jesus was born into a world full of fear. The angels came to frightened shepherds with hope in their voices: ‘Fear not’, they urged, ‘we bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
‘For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.’
Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves – from our recklessness or our greed.
God sent into the world a unique person – neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.
Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God’s love.
In the last verse of this beautiful carol, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, there’s a prayer:
O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us we pray.
Cast out our sin
And enter in.
Be born in us today.
It is my prayer that on this Christmas day we might all find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord.

But it is important and imperative that all men realise God and the Christian message comes to us in through Jesus Christ concerns itself about the issue of real royalty for all men and not just for one unique family.

THE PROPHETIC WORD: It is the psalmist who makes a most interesting prophetic remark with regard to God and His great ability. He says: “Who is like the Lord our God, Who dwells on high, Who humbles himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth? He raises the poor out of the dust, And lifts the needy out of the ash heap, That he may set him with princes of His people” – Psalm 113: 5-7. O the amazing grace, favour, goodness and power of God towards mankind. That He can actually take a nobody and a non-entity and make them a somebody and bestow on them dignity and a glorious position and tremendous future hopes.

Illustration: He did it with David. He took him from being a shepherd boy, the lowest member of his household and made him an outstanding monarch to be revered by Israel and generations of people.

It is important that all people be aware of the plan of God with regard to mankind. To be in on what He is working at in this world amidst its problems and complexities is a worthwhile factor. It really is quite an eye-opener and has to do with royalty and of God making a royal household of tremendous distinction. None must live without this knowledge and understanding that He has revealed. It is no secret.

1/. GOD HAS ALWAYS DESIRED A ROYAL HOUSEHOLD OF UNIQUE PEOPLE

God had this idea in and through Christ way back in eternity, before the world was made. As He looked at the glory, beauty, ability of His Son Jesus Christ, and related to Him in such a fantastic and beautiful way, He desired to have an infinite number of sons like Him. He could have been satisfied within Him in an eternal context but sensed it would give Him and His Son exceeding joy to have many more of His nature around Him and also the infinite delight to those that would form that divine household unit. Paul writing to some Christians in a church in Ephesus wrote that they had been ‘predestined to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” – 1: 5.

The word predestined simply means to be ‘placed within the family’. God is to have a royal household that will be brought into being by His means and measure, in His time and way.

Adoption: it is choosing someone to become a member of one’s household and making them an integral part of the family. This was often done by rich Jewish fathers who had no offspring.

Illustration: Lady in Doncaster who had two boys: one her own, the other adopted. The adopted one came first and she had to explain to him what it was it all about when he came to know. It created some fear and questioning. Her answer was good. She said: ”I had to have him but I chose you”.

You really need to know God’s underlying purpose and work in the creation of man and of human history.

2/. GOD ILLUSTRATED AND EMPHASIZED THAT FACT IN THE CHOICE OF ISRAEL AND IN HIS COVENANT DEALING WITH THEM

To give further revelation and understanding of this God chose Abraham to become a special person and to raise up a special people through Him called Israel, which means ‘prince with God’. He was to give added comprehension of this His choice and dealings with this nation and single them out to convey and communicate His intention. They were to be a ‘royal nation’ a people completely different through whom He could illustrate and demonstrate what it meant to live within His covenant and oversight.

This people were named and called God’s ‘firstborn son’ and were raised up to give a visible display of what it means to live under His Fatherhood. As they believed, lived and acted in liaison with God they would experience and enjoy being a royal nation blessed in an incredible measure and made the most exceptional and stupendous nation and people of all time. They would not be a non-descript community but a people of dignity and destiny with all the qualities of god existent amongst them. He raised them from being slaves in Egypt to being rulers in Canaan! They were a fabulous community and society that reflected divine sonship of a royal and regal order!

Unfortunately the tale of Israel is that it missed its calling and opportunity.

3/. GOD CONCLUSIVELY DEMONSTRATED THAT FACT IN THE INCARNATION OF JESUS CHRIST

God had not changed His mind and altered course although disappointed with Israel. Although they failed He didn’t and had something bigger on His agenda. It was through this nation He was to birth something bigger and far more choice. Through this people was to be born a person who would make a supernatural difference to her cause and to the world at large on a great scale.

The coming of Jesus Christ into the world was all perfectly planned and came on time and as is known, it was ‘a royal birth’. The wise men came to see and witness the birth of God’s king – Jesus. The prophet had made the announcement “But you Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not least amongst the princes of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler, Who will shepherd my people Israel” – Matthew 2:6. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of royalty, King Jesus!

CHRISTMAS IS A TIME FOR CELEBRATION – THE GIFT OF THE ROYAL SON

4/. GOD REALISTICALLY FINALISED THE MATTER IN THE WORK OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS AND IN HIS RESURRECTION

Jesus Christ came to do a royal work as Saviour-King on behalf of God the Father and throughout the course of His life and ministry acted in a kingly manner. There was always a divine dignity about His person, He was a true, heavenly aristocrat that had all the hallmarks of grace and quality and was committed to all men without exception. He quietly stood out amongst the leaders and people of His day as the One who was altogether different. He was royal through and through, ‘the real Son of David’ destined to do a great work than his ancestor had ever done. He had a real purpose in mind.

“The Son of God became the Son of man that He might make the sons of men the sons of God”.

In other words, He comes to make sinners into saints, servants of sin and Satan into servants of God and righteousness with a sense of royalty in their beings and behaviour. “He raises the poor out of the dust, And lifts the needy out of the ash heap, That he may set him with princes of His people” – Psalm 113: 7. Jesus had a lot of time investing in very ordinary and common people to make them extraordinary and uncommon.

His death on the Cross and His resurrection needs to be rightly understood in this connection of being made a royal son. The Cross was part of the big deal; It was by the means of His suffering, grief and death He was to secure the divine right to obtain both forgiveness and cleansing from all sin. He did a royal work in His death making it possible for God the Father to favour all men with forgiveness. Through the Cross He was to portray the Father’s great love – John 3: 16; Romans 5: 8. He has simply atoned for the sins and transgressions of all the world for all time.

But He rose again especially for two reasons: to prove that what He did on the Cross stood and was vicarious. He did a royal work of atonement and provided the means where every sinner can be absolutely forgiven and stand justified before a righteous God, free from condemnation. He then rose again in royal style, quietly but powerfully, providing substantial witness and testimony to it. But He rose with this great purpose, to come and indwell the lives of all those who would receive Him, make them one with Himself, make them a son and child of God and place them in the royal household, offering His life and dynamic to live a new kind of quality life – a royal life that accords with heaven. Paul that great Christian said: “Christ liveth in me and the life I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” – Galatians 2: 20.

When a person believes in and receives Christ they become a new creature – creation, because He comes to make a difference to your state and status – from the ordinary to the extraordinary, natural to supernatural, from being insignificant to the significant. Life can never be the same anymore. Heaven becomes a sublime and supreme reality. The future is brim full of extravagant prospect.

CONCLUSION

• The entitlement to become a royal son of God is an option that God places before all men, every individual and is never imposed. The offer and opportunity can be turned down.

Illustration Harry Schofield – met Harry in Chesterfield in 1986 at the time of Miners Strike. He was a high union official, depressed and feeling low. He used to smoke six pipes filling the sir with smoke and one of his workmates complained about it to him. Lord met him in his own bathroom and said I don’t want you to smoke and he quit immediately. He then came to know the presence and power of Christ and was radically changed. In 1991 was baptised and now composes and sings gospel songs. In his first six months he wanted to convert everybody.

The Christian Church is a Divine Family, composed of people who have become sons of God, receiving a new status and standing before God. Today, it is possible for you to become a new person, a royal son of God with a great destiny in this life and the world to come and join the distinct royal household of the Church (Family) of the Living God. This royal occasion and festival can mark the day, date and the beginning of you become a prince, a royal son of God. Do not turn down the offer!

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