October 7, 2021-Sermon of the Day
This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. John 15:12 KJV
And God hath both raised up the Lord and will also raise up us by his own power. (1 Corinthians 6:14)
God has given us the incredible hope of the resurrection! The same power which raised Christ from the dead will also resurrect us in that final day. Christ was indeed raised! Fear not then, for we too, will indeed be raised!
And now the LORD says, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant … (for I shall be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and My God shall be My strength )…Thus says the LORD : "In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You ; I will preserve You ." (Isaiah 49:5, 8)
Numerous times throughout these hundreds of meditations, we have examined the relationship of " humility and faith " to " growing in grace ." Such repeated opportunities assist us in apprehending the means of living day by day by grace. "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble …we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand" (James 4:6 and Romans 5:2). For a number of days, we have been considering humility and grace. In a recent meditation, we saw that Jesus is the ultimate example of humility . Now, we begin to give considerable attention to faith and grace. Concerning faith, we begin where we left off with humility-with Jesus as our example. Again, we will see that Jesus is the ultimate example of faith .
Our present verses are a prophecy involving the Father and His Son, the Servant Messiah, who would go forth to provide God’s gift of salvation. "And now the LORD says, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant ." An angel would eventually announce this prophecy as coming to fulfillment. "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit . And she will bring forth a Son , and you shall call His name Jesus , for He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:20-21). The confession of the Messiah is also given here prophetically. " My God shall be My strength ." When the Son would leave heaven for His incarnation, He would function by faith in the Father. The Father’s reassuring words affirm this trust in Him. "Thus says the LORD : 'In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You ; I will preserve You .’"
The fact that Jesus lived by faith in His Father was a part of His own teaching ministry. "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself , but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner" (John 5:19). Herein, Jesus (who had laid aside the independent exercise of His deity) was exemplifying how man should live in humble dependence upon the faithfulness of God .
Dear Savior, I humble myself before You, expressing my desire to grow in grace. I know that faith accesses grace. Lord, please teach me to place my faith in You, just as You fully relied upon the father, Amen.
Our heavenly Father sends us frequent troubles to try our faith. If our faith be worth anything, it will stand the test. Gilt is afraid of fire, but gold is not: the paste gem dreads to be touched by the diamond, but the true jewel fears no test. It is a poor faith which can only trust God when friends are true, the body full of health, and the business profitable; but that is true faith which holds by the Lord’s faithfulness when friends are gone, when the body is sick, when spirits are depressed, and the light of our Father’s countenance is hidden. A faith which can say, in the direst trouble, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him,” is heaven-born faith. The Lord afflicts His servants to glorify Himself, for He is greatly glorified in the graces of His people, which are His own handiwork. When “tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope,” the Lord is honored by these growing virtues. We should never know the music of the harp if the strings were left untouched; nor enjoy the juice of the grape if it were not trodden in the winepress; nor discover the sweet perfume of cinnamon if it were not pressed and beaten; nor feel the warmth of fire if the coals were not utterly consumed. The wisdom and power of the great Workman are discovered by the trials through which His vessels of mercy are permitted to pass. Present afflictions tend also to heighten future joy. There must be shades in the picture to bring out the beauty of the lights. Could we be so supremely blessed in heaven, if we had not known the curse of sin and the sorrow of earth? Will not peace be sweeter after conflict, and rest more welcome after toil? Will not the recollection of past sufferings enhance the bliss of the glorified? There are many other comfortable answers to the question with which we opened our brief meditation, let us muse upon it all day long.
Reader, this is an important question. Listen to the Christian’s answer and see if it is yours. “On whom dost thou trust?” “I trust,” says the Christian, “in a triune God. I trust the Father, believing that He has chosen me from before the foundations of the world; I trust Him to provide for me in providence, to teach me, to guide me, to correct me, if need be, and to bring me home to His own house where the many mansions are. I trust the son. Very God of very God is He-the man Christ Jesus. I trust in Him to take away all my sins by His own sacrifice, and to adorn me with His perfect righteousness. I trust Him to be my Intercessor, to present my prayers and desires before His Father’s throne, and I trust Him to be my Advocate at the last great day, to plead my cause, and to justify me. I trust Him for what He is, for what He has done, and for what He has promised yet to do. And I trust the Holy Spirit -He has begun to save me from my inbred sins; I trust Him to drive them all out; I trust Him to curb my temper, to subdue my will, to enlighten my understanding, to check my passions, to comfort my despondency, to help my weakness, to illuminate my darkness; I trust Him to dwell in me as my life, to reign in me as my King, to sanctify me wholly, spirit, soul, and body, and then to take me up to dwell with the saints in light forever.”
Oh, blessed trust! To trust Him whose power will never be exhausted, whose love will never wane, whose kindness will never change, whose faithfulness will never fail, whose wisdom will never be nonplussed, and whose perfect goodness can never know a diminution! Happy art thou, reader, if this trust is thine! So, trusting, thou shalt enjoy sweet peace now, and glory hereafter, and the foundation of thy trust shall never be removed.
“Who is among you that feareth Jehovah, that obeyeth the voice of his servant? He that walketh in darkness and hath no light, let him trust in the name of Jehovah and rely upon his God” ( Isa_50:10 , RV).
What shall the believer do in times of darkness-- the darkness of perplexity and confusion, not of heart but of mind? Times of darkness come to the faithful and believing disciple who is walking obediently in the will of God; seasons when he does not know what to do, nor which way to turn. The sky is overcast with clouds. The clear light of Heaven does not shine upon his pathway. One feels as if he were groping his way in darkness.
Beloved, is this you? What shall the believer do in times of darkness? Listen! “Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and rely upon his God.”
The first thing to do is do nothing. This is hard for poor human nature to do. In the West there is a saying that runs thus, “When you’re rattled, don’t rush”; in other words, “When you don’t know what to do, don’t do it.”
When you run into a spiritual fog bank, don’t tear ahead; slow down the machinery of your life. If necessary, anchor your bark or let it swing at its moorings. We are to simply trust God. While we trust, God can work. Worry prevents Him from doing anything for us. If our minds are distracted and our hearts distressed; if the darkness that overshadows us strikes terror to us; if we run hither and yon in a vain effort to find some way of escape out of a dark place of trial, where Divine providence has put us, the Lord can do nothing for us.
The peace of God must quiet our minds and rest our hearts. We must put our hand in the hand of God like a little child, and let Him lead us out into the bright sunshine of His love.
He knows the way out of the woods. Let us climb up into His arms, and trust Him to take us out by the shortest and surest road.
Remember we are never without a pilot when we know not how to steer.
"Hold on, my heart, in thy believing–
The steadfast only wins the crown;
He who, when stormy winds are heaving,
Parts with its anchor, shall go down;
But he who Jesus holds through all,
Shall stand, though Heaven and earth should fall.
"Hold out! There comes an end to sorrow;
Hope from the dust shall conquering rise;
The storm foretells a summer ’s morrow;
The Cross points on to Paradise;
The Father reigned! cease all doubt;
Hold on, my heart, hold on, hold out."
There’s a throne above the world. There’s a Man on the throne. He has a plan for things down here during this time of turmoil and storm. His Spirit is down here to get that plan done. He needs each one of us. He puts his hand on each Christian life and says, “Separate yourself from all else for the bit I need you to do.” His hand is on you. Are you doing it? Anything else classes as failure.
“And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patience of Christ.” — 2Th_3:5.
THE BELOVED disciple greets his companions as sharing “in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ” (Rev_1:9). It is a noble combination; as though the royalty of Christian character were in proportion to the share we have in the quiet waiting of our Lord. He waited patiently from all eternity, until the fullness of the times had come, and the hour of His Incarnation struck; He waited patiently for thirty years in Nazareth, whilst preparing for His life-work. When He returned in triumph to the Father, He sat down at His right hand until His enemies were made His footstool. Throughout the ages He quietly waits, in sure expectation of the destined end, when all rule and authority and power shall be put down. All the anguish of the world lies on His heart; every question as to the righteousness and equity of God is felt by Him. He bears all with unfaltering patience, because He sees the end, and knows that at the last God will be All in All. It is into this love and patience that we are to be led.
“Into the Love of God.” Every time we dare to affirm that, notwithstanding appearances, God is Love; every time that we evince that love to others, even though our own heart is breaking; every time we say No to self and Yes to God, we make further progress into His Love. Dare to believe in the love of God, even when the darkness seems to veil it. Dare to believe that it is over all, and through all, and in all.
“'Into the patience of Christ.” Let us exercise Christ’s patience until the sorrows and trials of life have achieved their destined purpose. There is a sufficient explanation for the present condition of the world, if we knew it. Therefore, judge nothing before the time, but be of good cheer, and stablish your hearts, for your God will come and not keep silence. In the meanwhile let us keep the word of His patience, and manifest that patience and faith of the saints.
Most Blessed Lord, guide our wandering feet, we beseech Thee, into the love of God and into Thine own infinite patience. Forgive us that we have so often been impulsive and headstrong, that we have murmured against Thy apparent slowness in answering our prayers. Hush our unquiet hearts with Thine own peace. AMEN.
And when it was determined that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus’ band — Act_27:1
All of us love stories of voyages and shipwrecks, and our lesson of today deals with these themes. I do not know any chapter in the Bible that is more alive with thrilling interest. So far, we have seen Paul in many perils; we have followed him through many strange adventures; but just as the hero in the schoolboys’ storybooks is never quite perfect till he has suffered shipwreck, so is it with this traveler and missionary. Can we briefly outline the fascinating story? Well, Paul embarked at Caesarea under the guard of a centurion, Julius. The vessel was only a coasting-vessel; they would have to change if they were to get to Rome. Fortunately, at Myra in Asia Minor, a corn-ship from Alexandria was in the harbor. It was bound for Rome to distribute its cargo there, and Julius and his prisoners got a passage. But the season was late, and the winds were getting stormy; it was with great difficulty that they made a port in Crete. Here they would have remained throughout the winter had they hearkened to the advice of Paul. But who was Paul that he should be attended to? Had not the captain made this voyage twenty times? The prospect of wintering in Crete was quite intolerable when the stir and gaiety of Rome were waiting them. So the harbor was left; the sails were trimmed again; a favoring breeze gave every one new heart when suddenly the ship was caught in a typhoon— one of the wild and dangerous storms of the Mediterranean. The boat was hoisted on board; the sails were furled; stout ropes were passed round the body of the ship; not a glimpse of the sun could be got and not a star was visible;— for fourteen days they drove on under bare masts. Then at midnight there arose the cry of “Land!” Soundings were taken; the water was getting shallower. Four anchors were cast out of the stern; they held, and the ship rode safely till the morning, Then as the light dawned and outlines became visible, a little bay among the cliffs was seen. The cables were cut, and a desperate effort was made to beach the vessel on the rock-engirdled sand. It partly failed, the currents were so strong. The ship was driven ashore and sorely battered. But though she soon went to pieces, and everything was lost, “it came to pass that they escaped all safe to land.”
Now among the many lessons of this chapter, note first that the hour reveals the man. When Paul stepped on board, he was one of a batch of prisoners. Neither captain or sailors would give two thoughts to him. They had carried all manner of desperadoes Rome ward, and there was nothing striking about this little Jew. But gradually, as the voyage became more perilous, Paul moved out from the darkness to the light. It was he who advised and encouraged and commanded. It was he who put new heart and hope in everybody. He went on board on a un-regarded prisoner, but the hour of need struck, and he stood supreme. Do not such hours come to all of us when for weal or woe we stand in our true colors? “There is nothing hid, but shall be revealed.” It was Paul’s years of reliance upon God and of secret prayer and of steadfast loyalty that broke into the rich blossom of this hour. Will there be such secrets to reveal in us?
Next note how faith in God keeps a man calm. Perhaps that is the most notable feature in this story. Amid a scene of excitement and of terror, we are arrested by the quietude of Paul. The sailors, panic-stricken, were for fleeing; the soldiers were crying out to kill the prisoners; but the apostle was cool, collected, confident, and he was so because of his faith in God. Men used to feel that, too, about General Gordon. There was something mysterious in his calmness in moments of peril. Those who had fought in many a desperate battle and witnessed many shining deeds of heroism would say there was something in the courage of Gordon that was unlike anything they had ever seen. We know now what that" something" was. It was living and glowing and conquering trust in God. It was the same faith as gave Paul the quiet mastery in the confusion and panic of the storm.
Again, we must not omit to notice here that many may be saved for one man’s sake. When the ship was driving westward before the wind, an angel of God, we read, appeared to Paul. And the message which the angel brought was this: “Fear not, Paul, thou must be brought before Caesar; and lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee”— that means that for the apostle’s sake every man on board the vessel would be saved. How little any of them ever dreamed of their obligation to this despised Jew! In after days when the sailors told the story of the wreck, they would say it was a miracle they were not lost. But the only miracle was the will of God in choosing their vessel for His servant’s journey. And we are like these sailors in this one respect. We all owe debts where we little dream of it. A father’s example and a mother’s prayer, the presence of good men and women in our childhood, the spirit of Jesus breathing in the world and falling on us like the blowing of the wind, these influences mould us when we never know of it and may save us in our hours of gale and storm.
Then, lastly, it is not enough to wish for the day (Act_27:29); there are some anchors that we all should cast. One of them is faith; another is a good conscience. Without these, says Paul, some have made shipwreck (1Ti_1:19). A third is hope: “which hope we have as an anchor of the soul” (Heb_6:19). We are all voyaging on a dark and boisterous sea. Our hearts and our eyes should ever be toward the morning. Meantime let us thank God that we have anchors by which the weakest may ride out the night.
A Place Where Travelers May Live …Forever
“O LORD, who may stay in your tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?” (Psa_15:1)
Surely by now you know that you are a Traveler in this Life? And, you must also know that travelling takes it toll. Whether it be by planes, trains, or automobiles – travelling exacts its hefty fare from those who spend their time going to and fro for this or that.
All along the roadway there are opportunities aplenty for us to make the right or wrong choice; there are potholes and pitfalls, inclines and rock slides, tight turns and narrow margins – each demanding something of us at every step along the way.
the Psalmist asked, “O LORD, who may stay in your tent?” The image here is describing a traveler who turns aside from the road to seek hospitality; like at a roadside rest stop. “Lord, who may rest in Your presence?”
And then he asks further, “Who may live on Your holy mountain?” (Psa_15:1). This word has a sense of more permanence with it. Rather than just stopping for a short visit in the Presence of the Lord, we now have the invitation to live in His Presence all the time.
In the remaining verses of this Psalm, the Lord answers the Psalmist’s question, and He shows what He is looking for in the lives of those He welcomes into His Presence.
There are Five Qualities listed:
Personal Integrity – “The one who walks with integrity, does what is righteous, and speaks the truth within his heart.”
Relational Faithfulness – “The one who does not slander with his tongue, do evil to a friend, or bring disgrace on his neighbor.”
Moral Strength – “The one who despises those rejected by God but honors those who fear the LORD.”
Sacrificial Dedication – “The one who makes a promise and does not break it, even though he is hurt by it.”
Financial Honesty – “The one who does not collect interest on a loan or take a bribe against an innocent person.”
some honest and reflective time today and assess where you measure up in these five areas. It may mean the difference between faking it – or making it in your journey through this world.
Travel well my fellow pilgrim! And may you find that Place where Travelers may live forever — in the Presence of the Lord!