My Sermons

Onward Christian Servants

 TEXT:                       Luke 10:1-4

I have a friend whose emails always end with a signature: “saved to serve.” Every time I receive an email from him, I am reminded of this truth that as a Christian I am not only God’s child but also his servant. This truth applies to all believers. There are no spectator ions in the kingdom of God. There are no bench warmers in the Church but all are children as well as  servants of Christ.

And in the passage we have read, we see three important things that Christ has to say to us regarding our role as servants in this world. As we go out to serve, we  need to reflect and keep in mind these three truths that Jesus gives in the passage:

The first truth that Christ tells us is that the service is vast. The vastness of the service (v. 2)

Jesus says, “I am sending  you out to serve but the service is vast. It is huge, therefore, pray that God should send out more servants into the field.”

Friends, the work of the Lord out there is very huge and the laborers are a few. But sometimes we don’t act like the laborers are a few, do we?

I remember meeting an old Christian friend of mine after so many years since we last saw each other. He asked me what I am doing nowadays. I told him I am in the ministry and asked him what he was doing. He told me that he is in business and he went further to say that there are a lot of people involved in ministry and thought that his services are not need.

I said, you are wrong my brother. The laborers are a few, God desires you to serve him as well. I don’t mean that you should stop being a businessman, not at all.  But you can do business and still serve Christ.

I know many who think like that. Many who believe that service for God is only for pastors. But this is not right. “The laborers are a few.” For us who are already in the ministry Christ is also reminding us to “pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

I don’t know how many of us in ministry do remember to pray earnestly that God should send out more laborers. I often fail in this area but Christ desires us to pray for more laborers to come into the field.

 Another truth we can draw from Jesus’ words in the passage is that Christians ought not to spend time opposing or fight against each other instead of serving together because the laborers are already a few. For the years that I have been in ministry, I have seen that Christians can shoot at their fellow Christians for various reasons instead of forming a strong front to serve Christ.  

 So, Christ is reminding us that the service is so vast. Please pray earnestly for more laborers. Probably, Jesus said these words after noting that when he earlier sent out the twelve on a similar mission as we read in Luke 9, the twelve apostles met someone who was casting out demons in Jesus’ name. And the Apostles stopped him because he was not one of them. But Jesus rebuked them and said, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.

 As Christians, we are not competitors or enemies but children of one Father seeking to glorify him through the power and grace of Christ. Therefore, Jesus commands us to pray for one another.

 The second truth that Christ is giving us in this passage is that as his servant I am vulnerable. The Vulnerability of the servant (v. 3)

Christ reminds his servants that they are very vulnerable when he says that I am sending you out as lambs among the wolves. Now, when you compare lambs to wolves you see a very huge difference. Lambs are weaker, wolves are stronger. Lambs are defenseless, wolves can defend themselves.

 I wish Christ had said that I am sending you out as a strong lion among the weak deer or impalas. But no, he compares his servants as lambs among the deadly wolves. Why? Christ wants us to know that as we serve him, we need not to depend on ourselves but to always depend on him.  We are lambs and he is our Good Shepherd. A good shepherd lays his life down for his lambs.  We should trust Christ to take care of us as we serve him. Don’t put your trust in your academic qualifications or your eloquence or your smartness. All these will fail. Only Christ will never fail you.

 God in Proverbs 3:6 and 7 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

 Serving the Lord might be very challenging indeed because we are like lambs serving among the wolves. This calls us to trust Christ always. As we serve, we need to remember to trust in Christ always. He is our good shepherd and there is no way we can serve without his help and guidance.  If we try to serve God without Christ, we will surely fail.

 Martin Luther is one of the people that God has used  greatly and graciously. However, as great as the story of Martin Luther sounds, Luther knew very well that he could do nothing on his own. Without Christ, Luther’s work was in vain. That’s why he confessed in that famous hymn, “A mighty fortress is our God:”  

A mighty fortress is our God, a strong wall never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient enemy conspires to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

If we in our own strength confide, our striving will be losing;
Unless God’s Man is on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
You ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord of Hosts is His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

As we serve, we should remember that we are vulnerable and the battle is not ours. Only Christ can win this battle. We should trust him and him alone.

 The third truth that Christ is giving us as his servants in the passage is that the service is urgent.  The urgency of the service (v.4)

 As an African when I first read this verse, you know what my reaction was? I thought to myself: “How can this be. Greet no one?” Yes,  that’s what actually the verse says, “Greet no one on the road.”

 Why? Because the service is urgent.  The customary greeting of Jews was very similar to our customary greetings in Africa. The greetings are not short but long ones. We stop and inquire about family and other relations.  We have long greetings. Similarly, the Jewish greeting was very long. And Jesus says if you greet everybody you meet then you will not have enough time to  accomplish your mission; therefore, greet no one because the mission is urgent.

 Friends,  God has sent to us to serve him and the service is urgent. We should avoid all things that can delay and deter us in our service. It might not be a greeting as such but we should avoid all things that can distract and delay us in our service.

So many things we can think of that can distract us from serving Christ. Perhaps some elements of our culture. We might also think of the love for money. There are some people who are failing to serve Christ for the love of money. They know that they are called to serve but because they love money more they fail to go and serve their Master. This is not to say that money is bad. Money is good but the love of money is not.

God in 2 Timothy 6:10 tells us: “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wondered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

 Friends, God is calling us to go. We should avoid any other thing that might distract us from going out to serve.

 I remember reading somewhere that in some churches in China, a new believer is welcomed into the church by the pastor saying, “Jesus now has a new pair of eyes to see with, new ears to listen with, new hands to help with, a new heart to love others with.”

 As Christians we are the hands of Christ. May we be available to be used by him because as we have seen in the passage that  the service is vast; the service is also urgent and the servant is vulnerable. Therefore, lets us joyfully go and serve in Christ’s might alone. Onward Christian Servants!.

 Let’s pray:

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Sound Teaching

Stand Still in God’s Word

“Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” Exodus 14:13

These words contain God’s command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut up on the right hand and on the left; what is he now to do?

The Master’s word to him is, “Stand still.” It will be well for him if at such times he listens only to his Master’s word for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions.

Despair whispers, “Lie down and die; give it all up.” But God would have us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in His love and faithfulness.

Cowardice says, “Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part, it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.”

But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it if you are a child of God. His divine fiat has bid you go from strength to strength, and so you shall, and neither death nor hell shall turn you from your course.  What, if for a while you are called to stand still, yet this is but to renew your strength for some greater advance in due time.

Precipitancy cries, “do something. Stir yourself; to stand still and wait, is sheer idleness.” We must be doing something at once – we do it so we think – instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something but will do everything.

Presumption boasts, “If the sea be before you, march into it and expect a miracle.”

But Faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor Precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immoveable as a rock it stands. “Stand still;” –keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.”

Taken from Morning and Evening by Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

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Christianity and Society

No Moderation, No Compromise

“Only you shall not go very far away” Exodus 8:28

This is a crafty word from the lip of the chief-tyrant Pharoah. If the poor bondaged Israel must go out of Egypt, then he bargains with them that it shall not be very far away; not too far for them to escape the terror of his arms, and the observation of his spies.

After the same fashion, the world…loves us (Christians) to be more lovable and not carry matters with too a severe hand…Worldly wisdom recommends the path of compromise, and talks of “moderation.” According to this carnal policy, purity is admitted to be very desirable, but we are warned against being too precise; truth is of course to be followed, but error is not to be severely denounced.

“Yes,” says the world, “be spiritually minded by all means, but do not deny yourself a little gay society…What’s the good of crying down a thing when it is so fashionable, and everybody does it?”

Multitudes  yield to this cunning advice, to their own eternal ruin. If we would follow the Lord wholly, we must go right away into the wilderness of separation, and leave its maxims, its pleasures, and its religion too, and go far away to the place where the Lord calls His sanctified ones.

When the town is on fire, our house cannot be too far from the flames. When the plague is abroad, a man cannot be too far from its haunts. The further from a viper the better, and the further from worldly conformity the better. To all true believers let the trumpet-call be sounded, “Come you out from among them, be you separate.”

Taken from “Morning and Evening” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

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Sound Teaching

Sin is Serious Business

“Sin is sin, and we should not call it less than sin. It is not an act of love to explain sin away as psychological determinism or sociological conditioning, for it is real and must be dealt with. Men need a Savior. Therefore, Christians in our generation must resist relativistic and deterministic thinking. If men are going to find a real solution to the problem of who they are, they must come to terms with the fact that they need a Savior because they are sinners in the presence of a holy God. Sin is serious business.

Equally as Christians, sin in our lives is also a serious business. We are never merely to explain it away- in ourselves, in our group or in our family”

Taken from: No Little People by Francis A. Schaeffer.

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Christianity and theology

The First Step in Going Astray

“The first step astray is a lack of adequate faith in the divine inspiration of the sacred Scriptures. All the while a man bows to the authority of God’s Word, he will not entertain any sentiment contrary to its teaching. “To the law and to the testimony,” is his appeal concerning every doctrine.

He esteems that holy Book, concerning all things, to be right, and therefore he hates every false way. But let a man question, or entertain low views of the inspiration and authority of the Bible, and he is without chart to guide him, and without anchor to hold him.

In looking carefully over the history of the times, and the movement of the times, of which we have written briefly, this fact is apparent: that where ministers and Christian churches have held fast to the truth that the Holy Scriptures have been given by God as an authoritative and infallible rule of faith and practice, they have never wandered very seriously out of the right way.

But when, on the other hand, reason has been exalted above revelation, and made the exponent of revelation, all kinds of errors and mischief have been the result.” Robert Schindler

Robert Schindler was a baptist minister and close friend of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. The above quote is taken from a series of articles Schindler wrote titled The Down Grade, and published anonymously in 1887 in Spurgeon’s The Sword and Trowel.

This Post has been copied from: http://www.erictyoung.com

 

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Christianity and theology

When Success Eludes God’s Children

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose,” boldly declares Romans 8:28 (KJV).

It is good that the verse clarifies that it is not for everyone that all things work together for the good. It is only those who love God and are called by him. Those who are called by God are his children. So, in other words, the verse says that all things work together for the good of Christians.

It is one thing to accept this verse as it is it appears on the pages of Scripture and it is quite another to accept it in real life experience. We are living in the world that exalts success. Everywhere we go, achievements are lifted high and rarely do we hear stories of failure. It is as if failure does not exist. Even in churches we share our victories in Christ and hardly do we share otherwise.

This has led many to believe that Christianity and success are synonyms; however, this is not true. Christians also face failure. However, what differs between Christian and non-Christians is that the former have a comfort that God in all things (including that failure) is working for their own good while the former regards it as a hindrance to their brighter future.

This is not to mean that Christians accept their failure and sit down. Not at all! They work hard to succeed yet at the same time they realize that failure is not out of God’s plan for their life. A very well known American theologian, A.W. Tozer, once wrote that Christians travel an appointed way.  This is true. Everything that happens in our life including failure was already ordained by God even before the foundations of the earth were laid.

Therefore, we should never regard failure as a weird thing in the plan of God for our lives.  Believe you me, God will allow failure to come our way as long as it is part of his plan for our lives.

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My Life as a Christian

Reflections on my 2013 Birthday

Today, I celebrate a gift of over three decades in this world from our Father whom all blessings flow. As the day is progressing I have taken some time to reflect on my journey of thirty plus one years. One thing that has lingered in my mind is the truth that God can do all things and no single plan of his can be thwarted (Job 42:2).

Over the years, especially, the time that I have been a Christian, I have fully understood that God’s plan for my life cannot be frustrated by anything or anybody. Where I am today and what I am doing today is exactly what God planned before the foundations of the earth were laid.

This is a source of my comfort, especially in hard times,  hence I can’t  agree more with what Martin Luther once said, “… the greatest and only consolation of Christians in their adversities, is the knowing that God lies not, but does all things immutably, and that His will cannot be resisted, changed, or hindered.”

But life is not only about hard times, there are also good times. In those good moments too, it is also of great consolation to know that God is still in control. Another instance this morning has even confirmed this great lesson even more.

Last year in November, I was offered a place and tuition scholarship to study at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (PRTS).  Like any other person who would find themselves in my shoes, I was very excited. Then the process of planning to go and study begun which eventually led to visa application then to visa interviews. Now, the thought of  ‘visa interviews’ sent a cold chill down my spine, particularly, as I faced the possibility that my application could be turned down and my cherished dream to study at PRTS would be shattered.

The process of visa interviews began today at 8 O’clock in the morning. My wife and I passed through all the necessary stages then came the last stage of actual interviews. Our names were called on a speaker within the waiting room and we went into the ‘interview room’ our hearts in our mouths with the fear of being denied the visa.

To our amazement, the interviewer just asked very few lighter questions like why did I chose PRTS of many seminaries in USA. She also asked my wife and I regarding our previous visits to US respectively. Then she found out when we got married and confirmed if we met at African Bible College where both of us were students. Then, that’s it! Visa granted. “Come tomorrow afternoon to collect your visa…good luck,” she ended the interviews.

We could feel our hearts settling down as joy and amazement took over anxiety and fear.  Just like that? Yes, just like that. Then we recalled that “God can do all things and his plans cannot be thwarted.” It was God’s will and plan that we get the visa today which also happens to be my birthday and nothing or anybody could stop that.

Friends, may this great truth also comfort you both in joy or pain. Never ever forget to remember that God will always accomplish his will. William Cowper was right when he composed that famous hymn, God moves in a mysterious way, and said:

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

 Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.

Oh, what an amazing God!

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