Physically speaking, God can be found anywhere in the universe at any time.
Notice what David said in Psalm 139:7-12:
Psalm 139:7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
Solomon said in 1 Kings 8:27:
“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?”
Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 23:24:
“Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.”
-Thus we see from these verses of Scripture that God in omnipresent, which means that He is everywhere present at the same time. We also see that man cannot hide himself from God, however hard they may try. He knows where we are. He knows all about us. He knows all about our hearts and our thoughts, and He knows our motives.
-God’s glory we see, can be found in nature. In Psalms 19:1 we are told that:
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handiwork.”
-But beloved, few today acknowledge God’s glory in the nature. They attribute God’s glory and power to random chance. Yes, truly “…the fool hath said in His heart there is no God.” But all will bow the knee to Him sooner or later.
-The creation itself, we are told, reveals the truth about God’s power and Godhead.
In Romans 1:19-20 we read:
Romans 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
-Then we see that our natural conscience also bears witness to God’s law, and to His Holiness, and to His law’s just demands.
We are told in Romans 2:14-15:
Romans 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
But beloved, even with the testimonies of nature, and creation, and conscience; mankind cannot know God personally through these. And yes, we can know God personally. The Gnostics teach that God, if He exists, is separate from His creation and cannot be known by men. How wrong and how foolish they are! We can know God, and God can and will be found by His people, but it takes more than just the testimonies of nature, and creation, and conscience to reveal Him personally to His people.
This morning we want to see where God will be found in salvation. Next week we will see where God will be found in the life of the believer.
1. Where Will God Be Found in Salvation?:
This is perhaps the most important question that one can ask. The answer to the this question is of utmost importance. Those who depart this life not knowing the answer to this question, will find themselves eternally forsaken of God, banished in the torments of eternal punishment. There it will be too late to find the answer. There is no second chance, once we pass from this life into the next.
1) First this morning, God will only be found through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ:
All the religions of the world, which seek after God outside of Jesus Christ, will never find Him. Notice the following verses of Scripture:
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him (that is, to Thomas), I am the way (that is, to Heaven and to the Father), the truth (that is about God and the way of salvation), and the life (that is, life eternal with God in Heaven): no man (not a single man in all of time) cometh unto the Father (on earth or to the throne in Heaven), but by me. (Jesus is the only way to God.)
Matthew 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and [he] to whomsoever the Son will reveal [him]. (Jesus must reveal God the Father to us, if we are ever going to know Him; therefore we only can know the Father through Jesus the Son.)
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Beloved, Mohammed (founder of Islam), Buddha, Confucius, Charles Russell (founder of the Jehovah Witnesses), Joseph Smith (founder of the Mormons), Mary Baker Eddy (founder of Christian Science), or any other name under Heaven, will not reveal God in salvation. But the only name given whereby we must be saved is Jesus Christ. There is no hope of salvation outside of His precious Name.)
2) Secondly, God will be found through Jesus being lifted up:
John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Jesus was lifted up on the cross, and through the power of His cross He is drawing all of His people unto himself. Yes, beloved, He will draw everyone of them for which He died, and consequently they shall all find the Father through the cross of Jesus. There is power in the cross of Jesus! There is power is the gospel message, which is the message of the cross whereon Jesus our Lord was lifted up for the sins of His people! Whereupon He died to satisfy God’s justice for the sins of His people; and then was buried in that tomb, and rose again to third day for our justification and eternal life.
And we, His redeemed people, must also lift Him up in our preaching, in our lives, in our testimonies, and in all that we do in this world; that others might see Jesus lifted up through our lives. We are to be lifting up the cross of Jesus for the world to see, that through seeing Jesus lifted up they might believe on Him, and be saved.
3) Thirdly, God will be found through faith in Jesus:
We want to see just how near God’s salvation is to everyone this morning. Notice Romans 10:1-10 with me:
1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
(Oh, that this might be our heart’s desire and prayer to God for our kinsmen and countrymen)
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
(Zeal in and of itself, beloved, is no profit. Good intentions are no good outside of the truth.)
3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
(Going about to establish their own righteousness; is true of all religion outside of Christ and His righteousness. All other religions teach righteousness by works.)
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
(The law of God leads men to Christ, Who fulfilled all righteousness that we could not fulfill).
5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
(Note: the idea is that faith is not a difficult thing, but rather simple)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; (Salvation by faith is not far off but nigh or near!)
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Where will God be found in salvation? In your heart, by faith in Jesus and His work on the cross. Salvation is not far-off!, but is near. Everyone who will simply believe in their heart that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again for them, will be eternally saved at that very moment; and will confess Jesus with their mouth as evidence of saving faith in Him. Being saved is not a work or a process, but simple faith in Jesus the Savior, who was lifted up for you on the cross of Calvary.
-God will only be found through the person and work of Jesus Christ His Son.
-God will only be found through the lifting up of His Son (on the cross and through preaching).
-God will only be found by faith in His Son, and what He did for sinners on the cross of Calvary.
-Explain the gospel of Jesus
Where God Will be Found (Part II)
In our message this evening we want to see three places where God will be found by His children. We might ask the question: “Do God’s children seek the Lord?” The wicked we know don’t seek the Lord. But beloved, we as God’s people do seek the Lord, or at least we better seek Him if we know what is good for us and if we want His blessings and tender mercies upon our lives and upon our families and our churches!!! So then, lets notice three places where we as believers can expect to find God as we seek for Him all our days.
1) First, we can expect to find God in His Church:
In the great commission Jesus promised His presence with His Church:
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Jesus was not speaking to His disciples so much, but rather He was speaking to His Church. We know that the Apostles are no longer here with us. They are not here on earth unto the end of the world. But rather His Church will be here until His coming for us in the air.
Revelation 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
Jesus walks in the midst of His Churches. He is here with us even right now this evening. We don’t see Him, but He is here! May He give us the grace and faith to perceive Him and to believe that He is here. Not only is Jesus here with us, but the Holy Spirit of God is here directing in the services, and working in the hearts of the saved, and we hope in the unsaved to bring them to repentance and faith as it pleases Him. If you are touched by the Lord, it is not because of the preacher, but it is the Spirit of God that touches you and moves you to tears of joy, or tears of repentance. It is the Spirit of God that touches your heart with some truth and causes your spirit with leap within your breast for joy! It is the Holy Spirit that has lifted some burden or has spoken to you concerning some trouble in your soul, or has given you answer to some special prayer that you have so desired.
Beloved, oft times the Lord speaks to us and blesses us in special ways when we assemble together in His house. Therefore we are to come expecting to meet with the Lord. Come expecting, not just to sing a few songs and hear another dry sermon, but come expecting to meet with Jesus- To be touched by Him, and with hopes that others will be touched by Him; especially the lost with salvation.
Sometimes I think we fail to expect God to be at church when we get there. But this is the real purpose for assembling. Yes, beloved, we come together to fellowship with one another, but truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son the Lord Jesus. It is God that we need to hear from and to fill our hearts with His Spirit and with truth, and with His manifold grace. May we expect to find God when we come to church! May we come expecting to hear from Heaven and to be instructed of the Almighty, and to receive of His blessings. Beloved, God won’t be found in just any church; not in the since that we are speaking of tonight.
John 4:23-24 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.
Only true churches of the Lord Jesus Christ are capable of worshipping God in Spirit and in truth. Only true churches have the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and only true churches are pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). If you are saved, are you a member of one of the Lord’s true, New Testament Baptist Churches? If not, may the Holy Spirit be pleased to lead you into one of His churches, so that you too may find the Lord in His Church!
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Beloved, God is on His throne, and His throne room is always open to His children. He bids us come to His throne of grace. I believe that God can always be found of His children at the throne of grace, when we come to Him with our hearts aright. Now if we regard iniquity in our hearts He will not hear us; Psalm 66:18 tells us. The blind man in John chapter 9 could see spiritually well enough to know that God will not hear the prayers of sinners; and that I believe includes saved sinners who regard iniquity in their hearts and in their lives:
John 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
But beloved, if only we His children could fully see the blessedness of this glorious truth, that we will always find God there on His throne when we come to Him in prayer. Any time, day or night, God is always there. He doesn’t take vacations! He doesn’t have an answering machine. He doesn’t screen our calls when we call on Him in prayer. The Lord doesn’t say “Oh, its just Chris again; he bugs me all the time! Tell him to call back later”; or “let the machine get it” or “let an angel take that prayer”. No beloved, God personally hears each and every one of our prayers, and answers them according to His good will.
How many of us must confess our shortcomings in our prayer life. Prayer, beloved, is one of the greatest means of obtaining grace for living the Christian life. To fail in prayer, is to fail in one of the most important graces of Christianity; and to miss out on many blessings that God has for us. James said in James 4:2 that “…ye have not, because ye ask not”.
Our text in Hebrews 4 said that we can come boldly to His throne. We can come boldly because Jesus is our sympathizing Savior, and God is our loving heavenly Father. Jesus is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He is not a cold and heartless Savior, as sometimes even we Baptists may erringly portray Him. But Jesus has feelings. He has feelings of grief and of sorrow, and He has feelings of love and compassion for His people. Beloved when you hurt, He hurts with you. He is touched with the feelings of our infirmities! Don’t let our belief in sovereign grace rob us of our faith in a sympathizing Savior. This very fact is a part of His sovereign grace. Beloved if our acceptance into His throne room was dependant on us and our righteousness and our worthiness, then woe is unto us- for none of us would ever be accepted of Him. But, beloved, we are accepted in the Beloved:
Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
We can only approach unto the throne of Almighty God because of what Jesus hath done for us! We come to God “in the Beloved”, that is, in Jesus, God’s Beloved Son. We come because we were predestinated unto the adoption of sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. Let us never lose the sense of God’s love and compassion for His children. We who are saved by His amazing grace, we can rest assured that we are welcome into His presence in prayer. He wants us to come. He wants to bestow mercy and grace upon us and to help us in time of need. And nothing is to small or too simple for God! Yes beloved, God can help us with the “big things” that we face in life, as there is nothing to hard for God, but let us not forget that He will also help us with the “small things” in life that we have need of.
3) Thirdly, we can expect to find God in His Word.
1. The Bible is God’s Word.
That is, He is the author of His Word and not man. Although God used men to write the Bible, the very words were inspired or “God breathed”:
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
2. We can find God in His Word because the Word is God.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Not the paper and ink, beloved, but the truth contained therein. The very heart of God can be found in His Word. Everything that can be known of God on this side of eternity can be found in His Word. All that can be known about His Person and His attributes, are revealed in His Word. His mercy love and grace, His Holiness, His power, His sovereignty, His glory, His faithfulness, His truthfulness, His wisdom- His will for our lives; all can be found in His Word. Yes beloved, if we want to find God as His children, this is where we can be sure to find him. Too many people today are looking for God in signs and visions and other places outside of His Word. But this is unwise! Those things cannot be trusted. They will lead you astray. But His Word is sure, and it can always be trusted to teach us and to lead us aright.
3. We are to receive the Word of God as the Word of God and not of men:
1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received [it] not [as] the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
When the preacher preaches according to “thus saith the Lord”, or when we are reading and studying our Bibles, we need to keep in our minds that it is God’s Word, and that it is God Who is speaking to us. We must hold His Word in great reverence, and receive the engrafted Word with fear and trembling. It is not to be taken lightly. It is not to be disregarded, but received as God’s Word and God’s message to our very souls.
4. The Word of God is true, and we can believe it, and trust it as truth. Jesus said:
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
The Word of God is all true. Not just parts of it, but all of it. God’s Word is not divided. It is not partly inspired, or just partly true. Not only the red letters are inspired, as some wrongly suppose, but it is all inspired, both Old and New Testaments, and therefore it is all true. Because God’s Word is true, we need to receive it as such; and more so, we need to obey it from the heart!
5. The Word of God is also very powerful:
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Yes God’s Word is quick, that is it is alive, and as such it is life giving [Jesus told Satan that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God]; and God’s Word is very powerful [“the Greek word for powerful here is: en-er-gace’”, which is translated energize in English]; the gospel is the power (or dynamite) unto salvation, and the entire Word of God is the spiritual energy for living the Christian life [who is a strong Christian?]; the Word of God is also very sharp [literally- it doesn’t hack with many strokes, but it cuts clean as with a single stroke, like a surgeons scalpel]; it pierces or penetrates deep into the soul and spirit [it doesn’t just cut on the surface, but goes deep into the soul]; and it is a discerner [the Greek word for discerner is kritikos krit-ee-kos; which is translated “critic” in English], and therefore it is a critic of the thoughts and intents of the heart. It will tell us like it really is and will not lie. It will cut us to the quick. It will tell us when we are right and when we are wrong. And all this is for our good, that we might be sanctified; that we might be made holy; that we might be made perfect or complete; that we might be thoroughly furnished unto every good work!
6. We are to study God’s Word:
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The Bible is not intended to be a center piece for our living room table, but rather it is our instruction book for life and godliness and for Christian service. It is our guide and our comforter in times of trials. It is our peace in troubled times. We are to study it to show ourselves approved, as believers who are ready give to answer to every man who asketh us a reason of the hope within us, with meekness and fear.
7. We are to hide it in our hearts that we might not sin against God:
Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
8. We are to take heed to it and obey:
Psalms 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
9. We are to use it as our guide in life:
Psalms 119:105 Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Yes, beloved, if ever there was a place where God can be found of His people, it is in His Word. How oft do we find Him there as we go through the days and weeks of our pilgrimage.
We have seen three places this evening where God can be found by His people.
First, God can be found in His Church. Do we fine Him in one of the Lord’s true New Testament Baptist Churches? Do we come expecting Him to be here and to touch lives and to speak to our souls through His Word?
Secondly, God can be found in prayer. How often do we find Him there? Do we believe that He is there and that He always hears us and answers our prayers according to His will? May God help us to see this wonderful truth and to find Him there often as we travel through our days.
And finally, God can be found in His Word. How privileged we are to be able to own a complete copy of His Word. How often do we find God in His Word, and listen intently as He gently speaks to our hearts and souls.
Have you found God in salvation? Do you know His Son the Lord Jesus Christ this evening?
Psalms 110:3 Thy people [shall be] willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
Psalms 65:4 Blessed [is the man whom] thou choosest, and causest to approach [unto thee, that] he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, [even] of thy holy temple.
John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
May God be pleased to make you willing in the day of His power. May He be pleased by His sovereign grace and mercy to cause you to approach unto Him. And may God be pleased to draw you to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the sacrifice for your sins; that He died on the cross, was buried in the tomb, and was raised again the third day for you.
May God bless His Word!
Where God Will be Found (Part III)
In our first message we saw that God would be found in salvation in and through the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to heaven; there is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved! And we saw that we come to God in salvation by faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, and for justification, and for eternal life.
In our second message we saw three places where we as believers expect to find God. Those places included His Church, His throne of grace where we come to Him in prayer, and His Holy Word. These are the foremost places where we find God in the days of our pilgrimage.
This morning we want to begin to notice some of the special, and less conspicuous places that we will find God as believers. These are not as apparent as those we seen in past studies, but they are important to us, and special to our personal relationship with the Lord. These we might think of as being the icing on the cake of our personal encounters with God in this life. This morning we want to study from the life of Jacob in Genesis Chapter 28, that God will be found in a special way through obedience to His revealed will. (Read Genesis 28:1-4).
1. First this morning, God commands His people to be a separated people unto Himself:
(Read verse 1 again) Isaac charged Jacob not to marry a wife of the Canaanites, which are heathen. Why, because this is a violation of the will of God. Also, the unsaved idolatrous spouse will lead the child of God away from the worship of God, and will be a grief to the child of God all the days of their life. Oh, how many times have I seen this in my short life as a Christian! Child of God take head to my warning concerning this thing- I believe I speak for the good of your soul!!! Beloved, God wants us to be a separated people…
2 Cor. 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
We are to be a separated people unto the Lord:
-We are to be separated in marriage, as in the case of Jacob in Genesis 28.
-We are to be separated from idols and false religions, and manmade churches that are not the Lord’s Church, that do not worship God in Spirit and in truth; and from other religious heathen organizations such as the Masonic Lodge.
-We are to be separated from ungodly friends and companions (we are known by the company we keep)…
1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
-Evil communications means evil companions and our conversation with them.
-Corrupt means to lead away from the faith, or to destroy sound faith in the Word of God.
-Good manners means good customs such as sound doctrine and godly practices that we have been taught in the Lord’s Church; and it also means good morals and godly character.
-We are also to be separated from this present evil world:
James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Oh beloved brothers and sisters, God wants us and expects us to be a separated people unto Himself and unto His service.
2. Jacob obeyed his father but Esau did not (Read verses 5-9):
Lets consider this word obedience for a moment. What does it mean to obey God?
-To obey God is to do or to keep His commandments and His laws.
-To obey God is to live according to His instruction and council that are found in His Word.
-To obey God is to humbly do His commandments without question or debate. Many believers today are like attorneys; they are always looking for a loophole in the Word of God! They reason in their hearts “Hath God really said” or “does the Bible really mean what it says?”
-To obey is to do God’s Will even when it is contrary to our will (Contrast Jonah and Moses).
-To obey God shows that we have spiritual understanding (Contrast Jacob and Esau).
-It shows we understand that Jesus is Lord, and that He requires obedience from His servants.
-It shows we understand that God is the all-wise sovereign God, and that He knows what is right and that He knows what is best for us.
-It shows we understand that our obedience to God is best for us.
-It shows we understand that our obedience glorifies God and lifts up Jesus Christ our Savior.
-To obey God is to do all of His revealed will and not just part of it (Contrast Saul and Josiah. Saul was cursed because He only partly obeyed God in the destruction of the Amalekites. Josiah on the other hand was blessed and praised because he obeyed all of God’s Word in destroying the idol worship and repairing the breaches in the House of God and observing the Lord’s Passover).
-To obey God is to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.
-Both Jacob and Esau knew that their father’s commandment was the right thing to do.
-Jacob deliberately obeyed and Esau deliberately disobeyed.
-By his obedience Jacob showed evidence of personal righteousness and of true faith.
-By his disobedience Esau showed evidence of his unrighteousness and unbelief.
-Obedience to God is a work of faith, believing that we will receive the blessing of the Lord.
-Esau could see no blessings in obedience. He gave up on receiving any blessings of God.
-Jacob obeyed with hopes of receiving the blessings of God; and by faith he received them!
-Obedience is not limited to the mature or to the “elite” believer. Jacob was a supplanter. He bought his brother’s birthright, and deceived his father and thereby robbed his brother of his blessing. Now we know that this was all done in accordance with the providential will of God; nevertheless, Jacob paid for his deception in years to come. But Jacob obeyed his father Isaac in this thing. No matter what our failures may have been in the past as believers, or in our lost estate before we were saved, we can still obey the Lord from this day forward!
3. Jacob found God through his obedience (Read verses 10-19):
-Through obedience Jacob found the place of God’s special presence.
-He experienced a very real encounter with the Lord; one that had lasting effects on his life.
-Do we want to know God in a more intimate way? God reveals Himself when we obey Him.
-Through his obedience Jacob received a special revelation of God.
-In a dream he saw God in heaven, and the ministration of His angels.
-Through obedience Jacob received precious promises of God.
4. Jacob was changed as a result of finding God through obedience (Read verses 20-22):
When we find God through our obedience, it works a change in our hearts and lives.
-Jacob vowed that if the Lord would keep His promises that He made to him, then the Lord would be his God.
-God kept His promises to Jacob as He said He would. He kept him and cared for him, and brought him back into his father’s house in peace as He promised.
-Jacob also kept his vow to the Lord. We see through the remainder of Jacob’s life that God was his God, and he had no other God’s.
-Jacob hallowed the place where God met with him as Bethel, the house of God.
-Jacob had respect unto the house of God from that time forward.
-Jacob vowed to give a tenth of all that the Lord gave him back to the Lord.
So Jacob was blessed of the Lord and he was changed as a result of finding the Lord through obedience. He was made a stronger and more faithful believer. He came to greater heights of understanding God, and his personal relationship with the Lord also grew deeper as a result.
As believers, are we living our lives in obedience to the Lord? We sing the song “trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey”.
Do we apply ourselves to the Word of God that we might know His laws and His commandments that we might know how to obey Him as we should? We emphasized separation in our message this morning, but there are many other things that we must know if we would be obedient children of God. Reading and studying the Word of God, and attending His services are so important and fundamental to our obedience to the Lord.
Have we found God through our obedience to Him? Has He revealed Himself to us in special ways as a result of our obedience? Has He shown us special blessings, and precious promises as a result of our obedience? Beloved, there are blessings in obedience, and there are precious promises to them who will obey the Lord in their lives.
Has your life been changed and your relationship with the Lord grown deeper through your obedience to Him?
May God help each and every one of us to see and know the blessedness of a life of obedience to His Holy Word!
May God bless His Word to our hearts.
Where God Will be Found (Part IV)
Another special place to find God: Finding God in Persistence and Perseverance
This morning’s sermon contains advanced material for the believer who wants to deepen their relationship with God. The casual or nominal believer may not appreciate this sermon. However, for those of you who want more out of your Christian lives than mediocre and shallow encounters with God in your lives, then this message is for you.
This morning we want to see where God will be found in persistence and perseverance in prayer. (READ Genesis 32:24-30):
This is a most mysterious passage of Scripture. I will never fully understand this passage in the days of my flesh. It is too high, and too wonderful for me. How could a man see God face to face and live, much less wrestle with God and prevail against Him?! But we must simply take this passage at face value and believe that it means what it says. This story, I believe, was one of several pre-incarnate revelations of Christ in the Old Testament. Here Jacob met Christ in a very special way. He already knew Christ by faith in salvation, but here his intimate knowledge of Christ is greatly increased through wrestling with Christ for a special blessing.
This morning we want to notice four things from this passage.
1. First we see that Jacob wrestled with the pre-incarnate Son of God. This is a great mystery to me, but Jacob literally and physically wrestled with the Lord. (vs. 24, READ).
-This wrestling match, as it were, was for the blessing of the Lord. The prize for
prevailing with God was to win the blessing of God! This no doubt was for a special blessing, over and above the normal blessings that one expects to receive from God in this life. We sing the song, “Deeper, Deeper, in the love of Jesus!”- Beloved, to wrestle with the Lord is to go deeper into the blessings and knowledge of God than the most believers ever dare to go!
-It appears they wrestled at night until Jacob persevered and prevailed with God, and won the blessing. How often have we wrestled all night with God in prayer until we prevailed against Him?
-This passage implies some things that we should take notice of:
-It implies that God wants His children to wrestle with Him for a blessing.
-How easily and how soon we give up and fall short of a blessing!
-It implies that the Lord wants for us to prevail and win the blessing!
-It clearly shows that one can prevail with God and win the blessing.
2. Jacob was physically impaired as a result of persevering with the Lord (READ vs. 25)
-There may be consequences for being so bold with the Lord as Jacob was willing to be. We must be willing to receive the humbling touch of the Lord’s hand on our flesh, in order to obtain the greatest spiritual blessings that Jesus has for us in this life. In a similar situation Paul was given a thorn in the flesh along with the abundant revelations and special blessings that he received of the Lord, to keep him in his rightful place as a humble servant, and to prevent him from being puffed up in the flesh. So, we must be willing to bare a thorn, or a disjointed thigh in order to receive the special intimate blessings of God.
-Were the spiritual blessings that Jacob and Paul received worth the affliction in the flesh that they had to bare in order to obtain them?
Notice Paul’s own words on this matter:
2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
-So then to walk with a limp or to live with a thorn in the flesh, is well worth the spiritual benefits that God has for those who persevere and prevail with Him in prayer.
3. Jacob was very bold and persistent with the Lord (vs. 26)
-Is it possible to not let go of the Lord in prayer until He blesses us? I believe it is possible. I’m sure that some of you can attest to this fact. You may remember times when you wrestled long and hard with the Lord until He blessed you, or until He answered your prayer. Again beloved, this is advanced theology. It may not be for everyone. But I will say that the Lord Jesus encourages all of His children to prevail with God in prayer, and to not let go of Him until we receive His blessing:
Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
-Consider those three words “Ask, seek, and knock”. Each of these words implies earnestness, diligence, persistence, and perseverance with the Lord.
-Ask: Means to ask and keep on asking: Ask anything; ask for big things or small things; but ASK, ASK, ASK and keep ASKING. We know the old saying “it doesn’t hurt to ask”, and, “it doesn’t cost anything to ask”. Well, beloved, God wants us to ask and keep on asking until we prevail with Him and receive His blessing! And Jesus said that if we keep on asking God will give us of His blessings!
-Seek: Means to seek and keep on seeking. Don’t quit seeking the Lord’s blessing until we find what we are seeking for. And if we keep seeking, Jesus said we will find it!
-Knock: Means to knock and keep on knocking. Don’t quit knocking until God opens that door unto us. And if we keep on knocking, Jesus said that God will open that door unto us!
Let’s notice a New Testament illustration:
Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them [to this end], that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
-Beloved it takes faith to be so bold with the Lord as to not let Him go, and to not give up until we prevail with God and receive the blessing. Without faith one would be presumptuous to be so bold and persistent with the Lord. But by faith we can and we will prevail in prayer and receive the blessing of God!
-May the Lord increase our faith that we may be more bold towards Him in our prayer life; that we might have the wherewithal to “ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK” until we receive the blessing!
4. Jacob’s blessings for his persistence and perseverance.
-What were the blessings that Jacob received as a result of persevering with the Lord? I don’t know if we can fully understand what these blessings were, but we can make some conjectures based on the information we have.
1-Jacob received a new name “Israel” meaning “God prevails” (READ vs. 27-28)
Consider this; when we prevail with God, in reality God has prevailed with us because we are brought to where he wants us in His service!!!
2-Jacob received greater power and authority with God! (Vs. 28). This was signified by his new name.
3-Jacob saw God face to face because he prevailed to the dawning of the day.
-Those who prevail with the Lord in prayer will get a closer look at God. I don’t mean physically, but spiritually; and therefore we will know Him better personally.
4-Jacob also received protection from his brother Esau as well as an abundant
entrance back into the promised land.
-Beloved, when we prevail with God, not only do we receive the all-important spiritual blessings, but we also receive even those physical things we have need of! Jesus said:
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
-Children of God, do we wrestle with God in prayer?
-Do we prevail with Him and receive His blessings?
-Do we have the kind of faith we need to persevere with God, and hold on to Him until He blesses us?
-Do we have need of His blessings that are worth wrestling for? (Personally, our church, others).
-Finally, do you know Him this morning in the pardon and remission of your sins? (give gospel).
Where God Will be Found (Part V)
Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
We want to briefly discuss what it means to know Christ.
1. We can know Him in Salvation. (discuss).
2. We can know Him historically through His Word:
-We read about His love and compassion when He said in Matthew 11:28-30:
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
-We read about His mighty works, when He calmed the raging storms and tempestuous seas; when He raised the dead to life again, and opened the eyes of the blind to see; when He healed all manner of diseases and cast demons out of those who were possessed and enslaved to them; when He fed the five thousand with five loaves and two small fishes. We could go on and on. In all these we learn about what a mighty, wonderful and merciful Savior He is.
-We know Him historically in His sufferings, when we consider all that He suffered for us and for our sins in the garden of Gethsemane and of course on the cross of Calvary.
3. Then, we know Him in the obedience of faith as we walk by faith, believing and trusting in Jesus for all things pertaining to our lives; as we walk in His Spirit; as we grow up in Him through exercise of those common graces of the Spirit, that is through the preaching of His Word, attendance of His house, and in prayer.
4. Some of us may come to know Him by wrestling with Him all night in prayer, as we saw last week. This knowledge of Jesus through persistence and perseverance is truly higher than most of us will ever attain unto in this life.
5. But the highest knowledge of Christ in this life, where few of us will ever find Him, is to know Him in the fellowship of His sufferings. I dare say, that few of us want to know Jesus in His sufferings. We talked last week about wrestling with God being advanced theology; well this is even more advanced. We Baptists think we are so knowledgeable of the things of God, yet few of us know Him in this way.
Beloved, we don’t want to suffer; it is contrary to our nature, and certainly contrary to the norms and customs of our society. The big thing in the medical field today is pain management. The nurse will ask you “On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your pain.” You tell her a number, and she gives you the appropriate dose of medication to bring down your pain. Our mindset in today’s society, especially in America, is for pleasure and comfort. We want to live and die without feeling the bitterness and anguish of pain. Pain and suffering, beloved, is the last thing we want to experience.
I am not a sadist, beloved, and our message this morning is not nearly so much about physical pain and suffering, though it includes physical suffering, but it is more about a spiritual aspect of suffering. But never has there been a society that is so unconditioned to suffering. In America suffering is the exception, where historically suffering has been the rule. This fact was so evident in Jesus’ day. So many were sick and infirmed and suffered long time, and there were no physical cures and no relief of pain back then as there is today. Many common ailments that we get today and think nothing of, people in even recent times died from. But this morning our message is about knowing Christ in the fellowship of His sufferings.
*Most professed Christians, beloved, are willing to reign with Christ, but we would not be willing to suffer with Him; most of us would be willing to wear a crown of glory like Him, but not the crown of thorns; most of us would be willing to put on the robes of splendor, which we will ware in heaven, but not the scarlet robe of contempt and mockery. We, beloved, would desire to share the glories and triumphs of redemption, but not its poverty, contempt, and persecution.
Beloved, this was not the feeling of the Apostle Paul. He wanted to know the Lord in every way. He wished in all things to be just like Christ, and thus he counted it an honor to be permitted to suffer with Jesus and for Jesus, that he might know Him in His sufferings also. This is why Peter said, "rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings," 1 Pet. 4:13. So Paul says, Col. 1:24, that he rejoiced in his sufferings in behalf of his brethren, and desired "to fill up that which was behind of the afflictions of Christ," or that in which he had come short of the afflictions which Christ endured.
The idea is, beloved, that it is an honor to suffer as Christ suffered; and that the true Christian will esteem it a privilege to be made just like him, not only in glory, but in trials and in suffering.
To do this is an evidence of true piety; and we may ask ourselves, therefore, whether these are the feelings of our hearts. Are we seeking merely the honors of heaven or an escape from hell, or should we esteem it a privilege to be reproached and reviled, as Christ was; to have our names cast out, as His was; to be made the object of sport and derision, as He was; and to be held up to the contempt of a world, as He was? Would we count it a privilege to suffer cruel tortures, and even a painful, violent death as our Lord suffered? If so, it is evidence that we love him. If not, and we are merely seeking the crown of glory or merely an escape from the bitter flames of hell, we should doubt whether we have ever known anything of true Christianity.
Beloved, to know Jesus is to be like Him. To follow, as it were, in His steps. To walk those very steps of suffering, and shame, and pain ourselves, that Jesus our Lord walked. To feel and experience what Jesus suffered, not just to read about it- but to experience it ourselves. “I hadn’t known, nor ever understood, until I went there and saw, and felt, and experienced it for myself.” Yes, beloved, this is the highest knowledge of Christ. The question is, do we want to know Jesus in the highest sense that sinful creatures can know him on this side of eternity? Then we must be willing; yea rather, as Paul we must desire to know Him in the fellowship of his sufferings.
So then this morning we want to consider some aspects of Christian suffering wherein we can better come to know Jesus Christ our Savior. Keep in mind, this is merely a message of instruction as to how we might better know Christ through suffering. We will not know him in this way as a result of this message, but only if we put this message to practice in our lives, will it be of ultimate benefit to us.
1. The fact of Christian Suffering:
First we want to just say that our message is not about the common suffering that mankind suffers as a result of sin, and the curse of sin and death. Oh, the millions of souls that suffer the bitterness of the pains of sin, and yet know not Christ. This is vanity and vexation of spirit. There is no good to be said for this; that people suffer the bitter pains of this life, and then go out into eternity to suffer the eternal pains of the wrath of God! So then, suffering in and of itself is of no benefit, unless through it God is pleased to bring that one to Jesus for the healing of the soul.
1. Suffering reproach and persecution:
Luke 6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Lets notice several things from these verses:
1. We are hated for no other reason than because we are Christians; that is, followers or disciples of Jesus. No one wants to be hated, but if people know that we are Christians, we will be.
2. Worldlings will separate from our company. This means family (spouse, parents, brothers and sisters in the flesh, even parents). How cruel can sinners be, even to their own flesh and blood! Our old friends will no longer want to keep company with us. They don’t want to be around us anymore!!! And they don’t want us to come around them. They hate righteousness, and they hate Jesus, and we remind them of Jesus and of their sinfulness and of their judgment to come. They hate the light and won’t come to the light; and they don’t want the light coming around shining on them.
3. The world will reproach us and try to destroy our name and your testimony as an evildoer for Jesus’ sake. They will say evil things to us and mock us, and make up lies and spread malicious gossip about us to destroy our good name and testimony.
4. They will persecute us by plotting against us to injure our person. They will bare false witness against us, so as to cause us loss of our livelihood, or our lands and possessions, as they did with the poor saints at Jerusalem, and afterwards through the dark ages. It may even be that they will inflict bodily harm of cruel tortures and martyrdom, as was common practice to believers of all ages. Only in more recent years have these things not been practiced in Western society, but were done even in America not many years back.
5. The repercussions for being a Christian very well may touch every aspect of our lives. These reproaches and persecutions may not always be so blatant and obvious, but don’t think that Christians are loved more today than we were in the past. Don’t suppose that the devil and his angels have turned to befriend Christians. Don’t think that the world, which is blindly led by the devil at his will, is a friend of Christianity. Don’t be deceived into thinking that the old carnal nature of unbelievers is now a friend of those who walk in the Spirit. Our own sinful natures within our breasts, and the constant warfare between the flesh and the spirit that rages within our own hearts, ever reminds us that this just isn’t so!
2. Abandonment and Banishment:
2 Timothy 4:6-18 (READ)
Paul was left alone in that Roman prison to die; this being his second Roman imprisonment. Even most of his Christian companions by this time had abandoned him. He was discarded, cast away, cast into a filthy, nasty, Roman dungeon for the cause of Jesus. When he began to testify of Christ there, no man stood with him. What as sad testimony for such a mighty gospel warrior! But Jesus stood with him!
About five years early, Paul wrote the book of Philippians from this Roman prison. And there he penned these words:
Phil. 3:8-11 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Now Paul knew, that in just a short time, he would get to fully experience, and attain unto what he sought after years ago. He knew that he was abandoned and banished, and would never come out of that prison alive. He knew that he would soon attain unto the resurrection of the dead; that he would soon be with Christ, which he said is far better (Phil. 1:23).
The apostle John was banished on the isle of Patmos.
Revelation 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
-John was banished for the testimony of Jesus, yet through his sufferings he experienced a knowledge of Jesus that few others have ever known in this life.
2. The reasons for Christian suffering:
1. The world hated Jesus and therefore it will hate, and persecute His people:
John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
The world hated Jesus, and therefore it will most certainly hate you. If the world loves you, and thinks highly of you, and lifts you up on a pedestal, and makes over you, then I recommend examination of your faith. The world hated Jesus, and lifted Him upon a cross, not a pedestal! And the world hates Jesus today, because that is the nature of man, to be at enmity with God.
We are not of the world, beloved. We were born again from above by the will of God, by the Spirit of God, through the faith of Christ. We are not of this world, but our citizenship is in heaven, where one day soon we will go. This old world is not our home. We are pilgrims are sojourners. We are just passing through this old world. And because we are not of this world, the world hateth us. If we stand for Christ, and live for Christ, and thereby disclose our heavenly identity, then the world will turn on us to rend us, and persecute us, and do us all manner of hurt, because we are not of this world.
We are not to be friends of this world. The friend of the world is an enemy of God. Again I would ask; “does the world love you?” If the world loves you, and worse yet, it you love the world, perhaps you are of the world. Perhaps your citizenship is not in Heaven. Perhaps you have made a profession of religion, yet have no possession of the true religion of Christ. Maybe you are living the lie of a hypocrite. “Oh, preacher” I hear someone say, “maybe you shouldn’t say such things.” Well, beloved, is it not better to tell the truth than to mollycoddle false professors into hell. What is better for hypocrites; to tell them that their profession is empty and worthless, in hopes that the Holy Spirit will awake them to their miserable state, or to coddle them in their hypocrisy? But I hear both John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus warning those hypocrites in their day; “O generation of vipers, who hath warned the to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth, therefore, fruits meet for repentance!”
The servant is not greater than his Lord (Verse 20). If they persecuted Jesus, they will persecute you. Why should we suppose that the Savior should suffer all, and bare His cross for us, and we go free without a cross to bear? No, beloved, there is a cross for everyone of His children to bare. I hear the blessed Savior upon several occasions say; “take up thy cross, and follow me!” His is the Lord, we are His servants. He took up His cross for us, now may we take up our cross for Him!
2. Suffering is the direct result of godly living.
2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Living godly will bring persecution upon us. The question is, then, what is living godly?
-Godly living is living according to the will of God as revealed in His Word.
-Godly living is living our lives to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
-Godly living is living soberly and righteously in this present world.
-Godly living is living Holy, separated lives unto the Lord, and set apart from this world!
Beloved, if we live godly, we “shall” suffer persecution. Godly living is contrary to the lifestyle of the world. Godly living is to live like Jesus lived. That is 1) Jesus always did His Father’s will, whereas lost sinners always rebel against the revealed will of God; 2) Jesus obeyed the law of God perfectly; whereas lost sinners cannot, nor do they desire to keep the law of God; 3) Jesus lived separate from sin; whereas lost sinners cannot, and will not cease from their sinning; 4) Jesus always did good, and dispensed the mercy, love, and grace of God upon all who would receive it. Peter said in Acts 10:38 concerning Jesus:
“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”
But they persecuted Jesus, in spite of all the good that He did. Though He never harmed a single soul, but rather was the Savior of souls; yet they hated Him and persecuted Him because He lived a godly life!
3. Suffering is the direct result of witnessing for the Lord.
Acts 5:40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
Beloved, here the Apostles were beaten with a Roman whip for preaching in the Name of Jesus. Ah, herein is the heart of persecution. The world may somewhat tolerate our peculiarities; they may somewhat overlook our godly lifestyle, although that in itself is convicting to them. But what the world cannot bare is the message of repentance, and faith in Jesus. Lost sinners, like the demons, cringe at the name of Jesus. They cry out “leave us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth, Son of David?” Christian, don’t say that NAME in my ears!!!
Beloved, this world can stand to hear just about anything, from just about anyone. They talk of all kinds of repulsive, and hideous things; and that with no respect for innocent ears. And they talk about other religions, and other faiths, and they bare it well. But dare to mention that precious Name of the lovely Lord Jesus Christ, and see them fly off into a living rage. See the wheels of persecution begin to churn, till they have stopped our mouths from speaking the glorious name of Jesus! Oh, beloved, this is so true. Those of you who often tell others about Jesus and salvation through His Name; you know what I am talking about!
4. The fourth reason is, that suffering for Jesus is ordained of God.
Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Suffering for Jesus is given to us of the Father. We might say that it is a package deal. We all like that part about “believing on Him” for eternal salvation. We so often point out that soul salvation is as easy and simple as just believing the gospel message. This is so very true, and we would not add anything to the gospel of Jesus; it would be better for us to tie a millstone around our neck and jump into the Ohio River, than to add anything to the simplicity of the gospel for the salvation of the soul.
But beloved, along with the package of eternal salvation, come some sacrifices on our part, and responsibilities to the Savior. And one of these is our responsibility to suffer for His sake!!! Let us always bear in mind, that our sufferings for Christ in this life cannot be compared with His sufferings that He suffered for us. And as Paul said, our sufferings in this life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us, when Jesus comes back again:
Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Oh beloved, the Spirit of God bares witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God. Do you know the sweet presence of the Spirit, whereby you cry “Abba, Father”? No, all the sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
As we have seen today, suffering for Jesus’ sake is part of the Christian life. The question is, do we claim that part of our salvation? Do we live that godly life, and are we the kind of witness that brings us suffering? Have we gone with Jesus, and suffered with Him without the camp.
3. The benefits of Christian suffering:
1. Blessed of the Lord (Luke 6:22) “Blessed are Ye”:
Do we not think that Jesus will bless us when we suffer for Him? Yes, He will!
2. Joy and great gladness in our Christian experience (Matt. 5:12) “Rejoice and be exceeding glad”:
It is hard to understand that we will have joy and gladness as a result of suffering! But there is a wonderful joy and gladness, for being counted worthy of suffering for His sake. Do we realize that not only is suffering a part the Christian life, but that it is a privilege?
3. Greater riches and rewards in Heaven (Matt. 5:12)“for great is your reward in Heaven”:
In return for our sufferings for Him down here, He has great rewards for us up there.
4. To know Christ in the fellowship of His sufferings:
Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
As we started out this morning, this message is about finding God in Christian suffering. Although we as Christians do and will suffer, as this is part of the Christian life, yet the degree in which we suffer for Him will vary according to our willingness and submissiveness to do so. And as we said this morning, there is a deeper knowledge and intimacy with Christ that we experience, that is directly proportionate with the degree of suffering that we endure for Christ and His cause in this world. Few of us, however, will ever know the depths of this knowledge of Christ, like the apostle Paul so desired and was so privileged to know.
5. The furtherance of the gospel, the salvation of souls, and the growth of our church:
Beloved, the advancement of the gospel and growth of our church is also proportionate to the degree that members of the church are will to deny ourselves, and take up our cross, and suffer for His sake.
6. For the glory of God:
1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do (what?) all to the glory of God.
Have we found God in suffering?
Are we suffering for Jesus?
Are we willing to suffer that we might attain unto to greatest heights of the knowledge of God?
Do you know Jesus in salvation? If not, repent and believe in Him even now!!!