Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Sermonette


"Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God." (2 Corinthians 9:11)

The themes of praise and thanksgiving are very prominent throughout Scripture. The word "praise" and its derivatives occur over 330 times, and "thanks," with its derivatives, over 150 times. When applied to our relation to God, "thanks" are given to Him for what He has done for us, and "praise" for who He is and what He has done for the whole creation. If frequency of occurrence were an indicator, we might conclude that thanksgiving is important and praise-giving is twice as important!

In any case, every Christian believer has a tremendous amount to be thankful for. As in our text, we have been "enriched in every thing to all bountifulness," and it is sad to hear so many complaints and laments coming from Christians who feel they deserve more and better than they have already received from God's good hand.

We are told that the Lord Jesus, instituting the Lord's supper, gave thanks, all the while knowing that the very elements He was blessing spoke of His body that would soon be broken and His blood that would soon be shed. No wonder, therefore, that the apostle Paul reminds us: "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Whether in bountifulness of material blessing or in the invaluable school of suffering and discipline, we can please God by a thankful heart and life. A key evidence that a Christian is truly "filled with the Spirit" is that he or she is habitually "giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:18, 20). May God's Spirit "cause through us thanksgiving to God!" HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Sermonette

God's Divine Detours

"And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt." (Exodus 13:17-18)

No driver enjoys having to take a detour, but there is usually a very good reason for it, and we accept it with little question. A divinely prescribed detour in our personal goals, however, often becomes a focus of complaint and discouragement. Detours and delays of one sort or another occur in the life of every Christian, but they are always for good reason. Remember Christ taught that when we have "been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things" (Matthew 25:21). Trials and detours prepare us for greater responsibility and blessing.

The experience of the children of Israel is a prime example. What started as a detour of perhaps 100 miles developed into a delay of 40 years before they were actually prepared to enter the Promised Land. A mob of slaves--carnal and fearful, selfish and complaining, critical and greedy, worldly and idolatrous--somehow had to become a nation of responsible citizens--disciplined and courageous, industrious and law-abiding, God-fearing and spiritual. This transformation required time and chastening and miraculous guidance, but it was all for their ultimate good and for God’s glory.

What God does with His own is by definition right, and we’ll understand it better later on. "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (Hebrews 12:11). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Sermonette

Instant Creation
November 15, 2009

"Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together." (Isaiah 48:13)

This is one of many passages in Scripture which not only tells us that God is Creator of both heaven and earth, but also that He created them instantaneously. Creation is not a "process," but a miraculous event! With a wave of the hand, so to speak, God simply called them into being.

This is also the testimony of the incomparable account of creation in Genesis. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). This primeval testimony does not say: "From the beginning, God has been creating heaven and earth" as theistic evolutionists would say. Creation of all things was an event completed in the past.

The divinely inspired psalmist agrees: "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. . . . For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast" (Psalm 33:6, 9). "For he commanded, and they were created. He hath also stablished them for ever and ever" (Psalm 148:5-6).

Furthermore, according to our text, when God spoke into existence the heavens and the earth, they both proceeded to "stand up together!" He did not create the heavens 15 billion years ago, then the earth only about five billion years ago, as some creationists allege. They stood up together! "In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is" (Exodus 20:11).

It is important to recognize the recent creation of all things, not only because God said so, but also because the multi-billion-year framework of cosmic evolution, pushing God as far away and long ago as possible, is merely the modern pseudoscientific way of getting rid of Him altogether! Christians should not compromise with such a system! HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sunday Sermonette

A Provoked Spirit
November 8, 2009

"They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes: Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips." (Psalm 106:32-33)

This terse passage summarizes the tragic events described in Numbers 20:1-13. If ever a religious leader had a right to be provoked with an ungrateful and complaining flock, Moses did. Finally, after years of privation in the wilderness, the people complained once too often, and Moses could take it no longer (or so he thought). In anger, he rebuked the rebels and smote the rock, taking credit himself for God's miraculous provision of water. As a result, God rebuked him, and he was not allowed to enter the promised land.

It is all too easy, in times of pressure and inconsiderate selfishness all around us, to rise up in "righteous indignation" and, like Moses, "spake unadvisedly with |our| lips." This is surely one of Satan's most common devices. Such verbal assaults may be well deserved and may seem to give personal satisfaction for a time, but they are usually counter-productive in the long run and very hurtful to one's testimony for Christ to those so assaulted (imagine Peter trying to witness to Malchus after he had sliced off Malchus' ear in anger!). Unfortunately, "the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison" (James 3:8).

The Lord Jesus Himself is the ideal example in this difficult realm for "he was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth" (Isaiah 53:7). He could have called ten legions of angels to destroy His tormentors, but instead He prayed: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

Let us not be easily provoked to so-called righteous indignation. "Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps" (1 Peter 2:21). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Sermonette

The Veil over the Nations
November 1, 2009

"And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations." (Isaiah 25:7)

Many people feel that every nation should be encouraged simply to practice its own religion. God's Word, however, makes it plain that all nations are blinded, cut off from the truth by a deadly covering. This is true of the Jews, for "even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart" (2 Corinthians 3:15). It is also true of the Gentiles, who have "the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart" (Ephesians 4:18).

The veil that keeps them in such darkness is a Satanic blindfold. "The god of this world |i.e., Satan| hath blinded the minds of them which believe not" (2 Corinthians 4:4). And how did the devil ever gain such control over human minds? "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. . . . Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator" (Romans 1:21, 25).

So today, men and women almost everywhere--atheists, Communists, humanists, Buddhists, Confucianists, animists, Hindus, Taoists, Shintoists, occultists, "New Agers," and even the "liberals" in the monotheistic religions (Judaism, Islam, Christianity)--really all believe and practice the same religion, rejecting God as Creator and worshipping instead some man or man-exalting evolutionary philosophy.

Someday, God will destroy this pervasive veil over the nations. In the meantime, we must reach everyone we can with the true and everlasting gospel of Christ, for that "vail is done away in Christ" (2 Corinthians 3:14). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research