A SERMON I GAVE AT THE 2018 FEAST OF TABERNACLES HELD IN COLLINGWOOD, ONTARIO, BY THE CANADIAN CHURCH OF GOD
TRUN TO JOHN 21: 18-22
JESUS IS TALKING TO PETER, “TRULY, TRULY, I SAY UNTO YOU, WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG, YOU DRESSED YOURSELF, AND WALKED WHEREVER YOU WANTED; BUT WHEN YOU ARE OLD, YOU SHALL STRETCH FORTH YOUR HANDS, AND ANOTHER SHALL GIRD YOU, AND CARRY YOU WHERE YOU WOULD NOT WANT TO GO. THIS HE SPOKE, SIGNIFYING BY WHAT DEATH HE SHOULD GLORIFY GOD. AND WHEN HE HAD SPOKEN THIS, HE SAID UNTO HIM, FOLLOW ME. THEN PETER, TURNING ABOUT, SEING THE DISCIPLE WHOM JESUS LOVED FOLLOWING; WHICH ALSO LEANED ON HIS BREAST AT SUPPER….. PETER SEEING HIM SAID TO JESUS, LORD, AND WHAT SHALL THIS MAN DO? JESUS SAID TO HIM, IF I WILL THAT HE TARRY [LIVE] TILL I COME, WHAT IS THAT TO YOU? FOLLOW YOU ME” [VERSES 18-22].
JESUS WAS BASICALLY SAYING, YOU JUST BE CONCERNED WITH YOUR LIFE, THINGS MAY BE VERY DIFFERENT FOR OTHER PEOPLE. YOU FOLLOW ME WHATEVER HAPPENS IN YOUR LIFE.
PAUL’S MINISTRY LIFE
ACTS 9: 10-16
PAUL WAS CUT DOWN TO SIZE SHALL WE SAY, BY JESUS, WHEN ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS TO PERSECUTE THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST. GOD THEN TOLD ANANIAS TO GO AND HEAL PAUL OF HIS PHYSICAL SIGHT, AFTER BEING BLINDED BY THE PRESENCE OF JESUS. ANANIAS WAS RELUCTANT TO GO [PAUL WAS KNOWN AS A GREAT PERSECUTOR OF CHRISTIANS], SO GOD TOLD HIM THAT PAUL WAS A CHOSEN MAN, “….TO BEAR MY NAME BEFORE GENTILES, AND KINGS, AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL. FOR I WILL SHOW HIM HOW GREAT THINGS HE MUST SUFFER FOR MY NAME’S SAKE” [VERSES 15, 16].
ALL THIS CERTAINLY CAME ABOUT IN THE LIFE MINISTRY OF THE APOSTLE PAUL.
WE SEE IN ACTS 14: 19-22 PAUL WAS STONES AND BROUGHT OUTSIDE THE CITY AS THEY THOUGHT HE WAS DEAD; KINDA, “WELL LET THE WILD BEASTS HAVE HIS BODY.”
THE DISCIPLES STOOD AROUND, AND PROBABLY TO THEIR SHOCK, PAUL STOOD UP AND HE WAS ALIVE!
IN OTHER PARTS OF PAUL’S WRITINGS HE RELATES HOW HE SUFFERED PERSECUTIONS, HUNGER, SHIP-WRECK, LASHES MANY MANY TIMES.
PAUL CERTAINLY DID COME TO KNOW WHAT YOU CAN SUFFER FOR CHRIST; BUT HE ALSO SAID HE LEARNT TO BE CONTENT IN EVERY SITUATION OF PHYSICAL LIFE.
TURN TO MARK 13: 5-13
AT TIMES BEING A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST CAN PUT YOU IN POSITIONS OF PERSECUTION “…..BUT TAKE HEED TO YOURSELF; FOR THEY SHALL DELIVER YOU UP TO THE COUNCILS; AND IN THE SYNAGOGUE YOU SHALL BE BEATEN [PAUL SURE KNEW THAT REALITY]; AND YOU SHALL BE BROUGHT BEFORE RULERS AND KINGS FOR MY SAKE FOR A TESTIMONY AGAINST THEM…..NOW THE BROTHER SHALL BETRAY THE BROTHER TO DEATH, AND THE FATHER THE SON; AND CHILDREN SHALL RISE UP AGAINST THEIR PARENTS, AND SHALL CAUSE THEM TO BE PUT TO DEATH. AND YOU SHALL BE HATED OF ALL MEN FOR MY NAME’S SAKE: BUT HE THAT SHALL ENDURE UNTO THE END THE SAME SHALL BE SAVED” [VERSES 9-13].
HISTORY BEARS WITNESS THAT DOWN THROUGH THE CENTURIES, TRUE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST HAVE SUFFERED PERSECUTIONS AND EVEN UNTO DEATH.
TURN TO REVELATION 6: 9-11
WE SEE HERE IN PICTURE FORM, THE LIVES OF ONES SLAIN FOR THE WORD OF GOD, AND THE TESTIMONY THEY HELD FOR THE TRUTHS OF GOD. AND IN PICTURE FORM THEY CRIED OUT SAYING “HOW LONG, O LORD, HOLY AND TRUE, DO YOU NOT JUDGE AND AVENGE OUR BLOOD ON THEM THAT DWELL ON THE EARTH? AND WHITE ROBES WERE GIVEN UNTO EVERY ONE OF THEM [INTERPRETED IN CHAPTER 19: 5-8]. AND THAT THEY SHOULD REST FOR A LITTLE SEASON, UNTIL THEIR FOLLOW SERVANTS ALSO AND THEIR BRETHREN, SHOULD BE KILLED AS THEY WERE, SHOULD COME TO BE FULFILLED.”
TURN TO REVELATION 12
THIS IS AN OVERALL SHORT CAPSULE OF THE TRUE CHURCH OF GOD. A WOMAN IN PROPHECY IS EITHER THE FALSE CHURCH OR THE TRUE CHURCH OF GOD. THE WOMAN BRINGS FORTH THE MAN CHILD WHO IS TO RULE ALL NATIONS—— JESUS THE CHRIST! AND THE CHILD WAS CAUGHT UP TO HEAVEN [THE ASCENSION OF JESUS BACK TO THE FATHER IN HEAVEN]. THE WOMAN FLED INTO THE WILDERNESS [VERSE 6], WHERE SHE WAS PREPARED OF GOD TO LIVE AND BE LOOKED AFTER FOR 1260 DAYS— A DAY FOR A YEAR IN PROPHECY— 1260 YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS. GOD’S PEOPLE WERE IN THE HILLS AND VALLEY AND FORESTS ALL OVER EUROPE AND EVEN FURTHER EAST, AND ALSO IN THE BRITISH ISLES; AWAY FROM THE PERSECUTIONS OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH—— THE SO-CALLED “DARK AGES.”
THERE WILL BE ANOTHER WAR IN HEAVEN, YET TO COME, BETWEEN THE RIGHTEOUS ANGELS AND THE FALLEN ANGELS, WE CALL THE DEVIL AND DEMONS. WE SHALL NOT SEE THIS WAR, BUT AFTER IT HAPPENS, AFTER SATAN AND HIS ARMY ARE THROWN BACK TO EARTH, COMES SALVATION AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD. SO WE KNOW THE TIME SETTING.
THE DEVIL WILL COME WITH GREAT WRATH TO AGAIN, IN A HUGE WAY, PERSECUTE THE WOMAN [THE TRUE CHURCH] THAT BROUGHT FORTH THE MAN CHILD [VERSES 10-13].
THE TRUE PEOPLE OF GOD, THE WOMAN, ARE GIVEN WINGS LIKE AN EAGLE [SEE EXODUS 19:4], AND SHE FLIES, OR MOVES AGAIN INTO THE WILDERNESS, WHERE SHE IS NOURISHED FOR A TIME, AND TIMES, AND HALF A TIME— 1260 DAYS— AS MOST KNOW THREE AND A HALF TIMES IS THREE AND A HALF YEARS, OR 1260 DAYS, THIS TIME AROUND IT IS LITERAL 1260 DAYS OR 42 MONTHS [SEE OTHER PART OF THIS BOOK MENTIONING 42 MONTHS] OR 3 AND 1/2 YEARS—— THEN COMES SALVATION FULFILLED, WITH JESUS’ LITERAL RETURN.
THE EARTH HELPS THE WOMAN, TO SURVIVE AGAINST THE DRAGON OR THE DEVIL’S PERSECUTION [VERSE 16]. AS DURING THE DARK AGES, THE “WILDERNESS” IS ANYWHERE IN THE HILLS AND VALLEY AND FORESTS OF THE EARTH IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES. AS IT WAS BEFORE SO IT SHALL BE AGAIN DURING THE LAST 42 MONTHS OF THIS AGE.
BUT NOT ALL OF GOD’S CHILDREN WILL MOVE TO THE WILDERNESS!
NOTE VERSE 17.
“AND THE DRAGON [SEE VERSE 9] WAS WROTH WITH THE WOMAN, AND WENT TO MAKE WAR WITH THE REMNANT OF HER SEED, WHICH KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, AND HAVE THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST.”
SOME OF THE TRUE PEOPLE OF GOD WILL AT THE END TIMES, SUFFER PERSECUTION AND SOME WILL HAVE TO DIE FOR THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS.
NOW THAT IS THE VERY ULTIMATE OF ADVERSITY THAT TRUE CHRISTIANS CAN HAVE COME UPON THEM; BUT IN THIS PHYSICAL LIFE, TRUE CHRISTIANS CAN HAVE A VARIETY OF TROUBLES, TEST, AND TRIALS.
AND WE OFTEN DO NOT KNOW WHEN, OR WHERE, OR HOW, THEY MAY COME!
I WAS AT A FEAST OF TABERNACLES IN 1980. IT WAS THE FIRST MORNING OF THE FIRST DAY. IT WAS ANNOUNCED A HUSBAND AND WIFE WITH TWO CHILDREN, WERE DRIVING TO OUR FEAST SITE; THEY WERE INVOLVED IN A HEAD-ON COLLISION—— ALL FOUR OF THEM WERE KILLED!
WE HAVE NO ANSWER IN ANY SPECIFIC WAY WHY IT HAPPENED TO THEM.
WE DO HAVE AN OVERALL TRUTH IN THE BIBLE FOR ALL OF US.
TURN TO ECCLESIASTES 9: 10-12
“WHATSOEVER YOUR HAND FIND TO DO, DO IT WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT, FOR THERE IS NO DEVICE, NOR KNOWLEDGE, NOR WISDOM, IN THE GRAVE WHERE YOU WILL GO…… FOR MAN KNOWS NOT HIS TIME; AS THE FISH ARE TAKEN IN A NET OF EVIL, AND AS THE BIRDS ARE CAUGHT IN A SNARE, SO ARE THE SONS OF MEN SNARED IN AN EVIL TIME, WHEN IT FALLS SUDDENLY UPON THEM.”
NOTE THE LAST WORDS OF VERSE 11 “…..BUT TIME AND CHANCE HAPPEN TO THEM ALL.”
WE MUST LIVE EACH DAY AS IT COMES, FOR MOST OF US NEVER KNOW IF WE SHALL SEE THE NEXT DAY.
EACH DAY IN THIS AGE, SAD TO SAY, BUT MANY LEAVE HOME IN THE MORNING FOR WORK ETC. AND THEY DO NOT KNOW IT IS THEIR LAST DAY IN THIS LIFE’ THEY DO NOT SEE TOMORROW!
TIME AND CHANCE CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE!
LIVE EACH DAY BRETHREN AS IF IT IS YOUR LAST DAY!
TROUBLES - ADVERSITY CAN BE OUR DOING
WE CAN BRING TROUBLES, TRIALS, CONFLICTS, UPON YOURSELVES, BY NOT HAVE THE WISDOM WE NEED TO NAVIGATE SMOOTHLY THROUGH THIS PHYSICAL LIFE.
GOD IN HIS WISDOM KNEW THAT WOULD BE A WEAKNESS MANY OF US WOULD HAVE; SO HE WROTE A WHOLE BOOK, TO GIVED US KNOWLEDGE AS HOW TO WALK THROUGH THIS LIFE.
THAT BOOK IS THE BOOK OF PROVERBS!
YOU NEED TO READ IT; MEDITATE UPON THE WISDOM IT CONTAINS; APPLY IT IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE.
THE WISDOM IT CONTAINS IS TO HELP YOU AVOID UNNECESSARY TROUBLES, THAT YOU CAN BRING ON YOURSELF, BY NOT HAVING WISDOM IN YOUR DAILY LIVING, WORKING, AND CONVERSING WITH OTHER PEOPLE, AS YOU GO ABOUT YOUR PHYSICAL LIFE.
THEN WE SHOULD ALSO BE LEARNING FROM OUR MISTAKES AND ERRORS OF JUDGMENT.
I WAS RIDING MY HORSE SOME YEARS BACK, WITH THE STIRRUPS TOO LONG; I PUT HER INTO A FULL OUT GALLOP, THEN I WANTED HER TO SLOW DOWN, BUT SHE WAS WANTING TO STILL GO AT FULL SPEED. IN PULLING BACK ON THE REINS TO SLOW HER, SHE WAS DOING A KIND OF “BUCKING” MOTION—— SHE BLEW ME RIGHT OUT OF THE SADDLE, I HAD NO PRESSURE OF MY FEET IN THE STIRRUPS—— OUT I WENT LIKE A COW JUMPING OVER THE MOON AS WE SAY. I LANDED IN THE GRASS AND FORTUNATELY WAS NOT HURT, EXCEPT ONLY MY EGO.
I LEARNT A VALUABLE LESSON—— NEVER RIDE WITH STIRRUPS TOO LONG, ESPECIALLY IF GALLOPING.
SO THE BOOK OF PROVERBS—— READ AND STUDY IT, AND LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES!
Trials, Troubles, Afflictions, and Adversity
If Joseph had not been Egypt's prisoner, he would have never been Egypt's governor. The iron chains about his feet ushered in the golden chains about his neck.—William Seeker
Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.—African proverb
Times of trouble have often been times of triumph to a believer. Suffering seasons have generally been sifting seasons in which the Christian has lost his chaff, and the hypocrite his courage.—William Seeker
Problems = Opportunities
In 2700 B.C. Emperor Whing Tee asked his wife Ce Ling Shee to try to find out what was damaging his Mulberry trees. The Empress first noticed that a drab-colored moth was laying tiny eggs on a Mulberry leaf, each hatching into a caterpillar that ejected a thread for three days which it wrapped around its body until it formed a cocoon. She dropped the cocoon into hot water and saw a single thread begin unwinding itself. She had discovered silk. The Empress observed that fineness and beauty of the silk thread. She unbound it completely and found it to be V2 mile long from that single cocoon. And she thought that these fine threads might be made into cloth.
Soon a loom was developed on which they could be woven. That silk cloth that was woven on their loom was in such demand that later Romans are said to have weighed the silk before buying it and then paid an equal weight of gold for it.
For more than 3000 years only the Chinese knew the secret of silk. Then in a.d. 522 Roman Emperor Justinian sent two monks to buy silk ffom China. The monks brought back more than silk. They personally broke Chinese monopoly on silk by smuggling back into Europe two silkworm eggs and Mulberry tree seeds in their hollow monks' staff. They were apparently the first industrial pirates. From these two silkworm eggs the Roman Empire acquired enough silkworms to make it partially independent from China.
Like so many serendipitous events, the discovery of silk came while trying to solve a problem. Before long the business of growing Mulberry trees was for the sole purpose of providing moths with leaves on which to lay their eggs so that the production of silk could be increased.
Nothing like silk had ever appeared before in fine fabrics. It brought about a world of revolution in fashions. The very word silk brings to mind something that is soft, lustrous or luxurious. The wealthy of the world have always dressed themselves in silken clothes. It's important to look for solutions instead of trying to avoid problems.
Frank Morgan "Rambling through Time," Fort Lauderdale Tribune.
Why did Jesus send the blind man to the Pool of Siloam to wash his eyes? Jesus could have just said, "Be healed," and the man's sight would have come to him on the spot. But he wanted the man to do something, to exercise obedience, so he sent him to the Siloam Pool to wash his eyes. But there's an interesting little detail to the story. Before sending him off, Jesus smeared mud on his eyelids.
The intriguing question is: Why? Have you ever seen anyone spit it into the dirt, twirl it around with his finger, then take the mud and smear it over someone's eyes? How would you like it if someone did that to you?
It's obvious. The mud made the man want to obey. It was a nudging, an additional motivation for the man to go to the pool of Siloam to wash his eyes. The mud provided the motivation for the obedience Christ required.
We don't always understand why mud gets in our eyes, but sometimes if it weren't there, we would never bring critical areas of our lives into obedience to Jesus Christ. And without obedience, the work of God can never be displayed in us. God, in his infinite grace and wisdom, sometimes uses mud to restore our sight.
Robert J. Morgan
When I see the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, I remember that an engineer must take into account three loads, or stresses, while designing bridges. These are: the dead load, the live load, and the wind load.
The dead load is the weight of the bridge itself. The live load is the weight of the daily traffic that the bridge must carry. The wind load is the pressure of the storms that beat on the bridge. The designer plans for bracings that will enable the bridge to bear all these loads.
In our lives, too, we need bracings which make it possible to carry the dead load of self, the live load of daily living, and the wind load of emergencies. When we place our trust in Christ, He gives us the strength we need to withstand these various stresses. He thus gives our lives usefulness, stability, and durability.
—Wilbur Nelson, Anecdotes and Illustrations
Four guys decided to go mountain climbing one weekend. In the middle of the climb, one fella slipped over a cliff, dropped about sixty feet and landed with a thud on the ledge below. The other three, hoping to rescue him, yelled, "Joe, are you OK?"
"I'm alive ... but I think I broke both my arms!" "We'll toss a rope down to you and pull you up. Just lie still!" said the three. "Fine," answered Joe.
A couple of minutes after dropping one end of the rope, they started tugging and grunting together, working feverishly to pull their wounded
companion to safety. When they had him about three-fourths of the way up, they suddenly remembered he said he had broken BOTH his arms.
"Joe! If you broke both your arms, how in the world are you hanging on?"
Joe responded, "With my TEEEEEEEEEEEETH...."
—Charles R, Swindoll, Standing Out
Free Me, Lord
Lord, just today I read That Paul and Silas were
Stripped and beaten with wooden whips.
Again and again the rods Slashed across their bared backs,
But in their desolate dungeon, Their feet clamped in stocks
In this musty midnight of my life
Imprisoned in a dungeon of confusion
Bound by chains of anguish
Help me, please help me
Until the foundation shakes
Until the gates fling open
Until the chains fall off
Until I am free
To share the Good News
With other chain-bound prisoners.
—Ruth Harms Calkin, Tell Me Again, Lord, I Forget
A bar of steel worth $5, when made into ordinary horseshoes, is then worth $10. If this same $5 bar is manufactured into needles, the values rises to $350. And yet if it's made into delicate springs for expensive watches, it is worth more than $250,000. The same bar of steel is made more valuable by being cut to its proper size, passed through one blast furnace after another, again and again, hammered and manipulated, beaten and pounded, finished and polished until it's ready for those delicate tasks.
—M. R. DeHaan, Broken Things
Day by Day
Day by day and with each passing moment, Strength I find to meet my trials here. Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment, I've no cause for worry or for fear. He whose heart is kind beyond all measure Gives unto each day what He deems best — Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure, Mingling toil with peace and rest.
Farmers in southern Alabama were accustomed to planting one crop every year—cotton. They would plow as much ground as they could and plant their crop. Year after year they lived by cotton. Then one year the dreaded boll weevil devastated the whole area. So the next year the farmers mortgaged their homes and planted cotton again, hoping for a good harvest. But as the cotton began to grow, the insect came back and destroyed the crop, wiping out most of the farms. The few who survived those two years of the boll weevil decided to experiment the third year, so they planted something they'd never planted before— peanuts. And peanuts proved so hardy and the market proved so ravenous for that product that the farmers who survived the first two years reaped profits that third year that enabled them to pay off all their debts. They planted peanuts from then on and prospered greatly.
Then you know what those farmers did? They spent some of their new wealth to erect in the town square a monument—to the boll weevil. If it hadn't been for the boll weevil, they never would have discovered peanuts. They learned that even out of disaster there can be great delight.
Change, God's Goodness
TURN TO HEBREWS 11: 24 - 40
WE ARE TOILD ABOUT MANY OF THE SAINTS OF THE PAST; HOW THEY ENDURED HARDSHIP, AFFLICTION, PERSECUTIONS, AND EVEN DEATH; WE ARE TOLD ABOUT THEIR ENDURANCE AND FAITH; WE ARE TOLD ABOUT MIRACLES THAT HAPPENED IN MANY OF THEIR LIVES—— ALL “….THAT THEY MIGHT OBTAIN A BETTER RESURRECTION” [VERSE 35]. YES GOD TAKES NOTE OF OUR WORKS, AND OUR “REWARD” IN THE KINGDOM IS ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS — REVELATION 22: 12.
WHAT SOME WENT THROUGH IS KINDA MIND-NUMBING AS YOU MEDITATE ON VERSE 36-38.
THIS CHAPTER ENDS WITH “AND THESE ALL, HAVING OBTAINED A GOOD REPORT THROUGH FAITH, RECEIVED NOT THE PROMISE [OF ETERNAL LIFE]. GOD HAVING PROVIDED SOME BETTER THING FOR US; THAT THEY WITHOUT US SHOULD NOT BE MADE PERFECT” [VERSES 39, 40].
THEY AND US WILL RECEIVE GLORIFIED ETERNAL LIFE IN GOD’S KINGDOM, ALL AT THE SAME TIME—- AT THE RESURRECTION DAY WHEN JESUS THE CHRIST RETURNS TO GIVE US IMMORTALITY AND OUR REWARDS ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS.
A hand-lettered sign nailed to a telephone pole said, "Lost dog with three legs, blind in left eye, missing right ear, tail broken, and recently castrated. Answers to the name of Lucky."
—Barbara Johnson (Attitude, Trouble)