30 March 2015

WE CANNOT BE SILENT FOR A KING LIKE HIM



Luke 19:24-44

Many years ago, during the Cold War, Stuart Briscoe traveled to Poland for several weeks of itinerant ministry. One winter day his sponsors drove him in the dead of night to the middle of nowhere. He walked into a dilapidated building crammed with one hundred young people. And realized it was a unique opportunity. Through an interpreter Stuart preached from John 15 on abiding in Christ. Ten minutes into his message, the lights went out. Pitch black. Stuart’s interpreter urged him to keep talking. Unable to see his notes or read his Bible, he continued. After Stuart had preached in the dark for twenty minutes, the lights suddenly blinked on, and what Stuart saw startled him: everyone was on their knees, and they remained there for the rest of my message. The next day Stuart commented on this to one man, and he said, "After you left, we stayed on our knees most of the night. Your teaching was new to us. We wanted to make sure we were abiding in Christ."

This is the same expression of adoration we should be displaying each and every day for our Saving King! A Servant who became our Sacrifice. A Servant who never claimed to be king when he walked among us. See we come to a passage where I get mixed emotions as Jesus enters the city. Part of me is exited as these people are and part of me is saddened by Jesus' reaction to crowd that is celebrating His arrival into Jerusalem. To help you understand I came across one of John Pipers messages on this passage and what he says sums up those mixed feelings I have. John Piper called it "The Tragic Beauty of the Triumphal Entry"  He wrote this "When I was in seminary, I had one of Rembrandt's paintings of the face of Christ on the wall beside my desk. I was (and still am) captivated by this painting. If you covered one of Christ's eyes, his face had a sparkle of joy and hope. But if you covered his other eye, he looked like he was about to cry. And if you tried to look at both eyes, there were both emotions: first one, then the other, then mingled in a beautiful and tragic expression. That's the face of Jesus I see on Palm Sunday. In one eye we see the sparkle: "Yes, I am the king who comes in the name of the Lord. This is my city. These are my subjects." But in the other eye we see a tear: "No, there will be no reign in Jerusalem, no peace, no justice, no coronation day—at least not now. I have one week to live, and even that week will not be kingly."

Do you realize we are one day closer.....for when we stand before the King!We are here to celebrate not mourn! We are here to display to the world the true King reigns on high. THE QUESTION WE NEED TO ASK OURSELVES IS! Which King are you praising this morning? An earthly King or a Heavenly King? LOOK AT THE TEXT THIS MORNING AND SEE IF YOU CAN PICK OUT WHICH KING THEY ARE PRAISING AS JESUS ENTERS JERUSALEM? The news of the raising Lazarus from the dead would have spread throughout the land like a wild fire.The scene is electrifying which is grabbing the attention of the people, because its the Passover! The decibel level must feel like if you were at the Stanley Cup finals. These people are genuinely excited because the King is here to rescue them!

It’s so loud! It’s drawing the attention of everyone! Why do I say that? Look at (v39)Quit these people because it could cause the Romans to get hostile towards us. What they were really saying was...... "Quit these people because this will make it harder for us to destroy you. BUT I LOVE JESUS’ RESPONSE! (v40) Do you realize what this verse is saying! Even creation knows who I’AM! The whole earth is full of His glory and you cannot contain creation as they praise the true King! Psa 98:4-9 “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD! Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.”

But many, who were there, were not praising Him as who came to be! The Messiah.....The Redeemer and Saviour for lost sinners. John’s Gospel says as Jesus enter the city they were crying out “Hosanna” which means “save us now” WHAT THEY WANTED WAS TO BE SAVED FROM THE ROMAN BANDAGE! The Jews had limitations to their surroundings and how they governed their people. They weren’t as free as you and I are today to a certain degree! They were under Roman’s rule and they had to obey and answer to the Emperor and King at that time. When they were crying out save us! What they really were saying was “save us....free us from Romans and take over the throne” I say this because of what John records after Jesus feed the 5000! In John 6:15 “Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.” They weren’t looking for forgiveness of sins or redemption and restoration! They were only looking to Jesus for the physical not the spiritual, they wanted their present needs met, not their future needs. ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THIS IS! John 6:26 “Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.”

AGAIN LOOK AT (v37) as Jesus entered the city perimeter road of Jerusalem.

  • Jesus was there Genie in a bottle!
  • Jesus was there filling for comforts of life
  • Jesus was nothing but a man to bring them physical joy and freedom from the bondage of Caesar.
  • Jesus was going to be there muscle because He was so powerful to even raise the dead after 4 days
  • Jesus was able to heal the blind as John records before Jesus made His journey into Jerusalem.
BUT THIS NOT WHY JESUS ENTERED THE CITY OF JERUSALEM. Jesus wasn't entering the city to be a King. Jesus was entering this city to be a sacrifice for sinful man and women! our Substitute because we have offended a holy God with our depravity and sin. Again as Jesus sais to His disciples in Luke 18:31:33 “And taking the twelve, he said to them, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise."


WE SHOULD STOP HERE AND PAUSE FOR A MOMENT AND REFLECT ON WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU AND ME! When I read the account of Jesus entering the city:

  • I see selfless sacrifice and redemption for my wretched soul.
  • I see the King who has delivered me from the bondage of my master Satan.
  • I see the glory of redemption entering the city.
  • I see the glory of the Gospel as He sits on a colt.
  • I see the glory of Heaven displaying its love for sinful mankind. 
THIS IS WHY THE STONES WOULD CRY OUT IF WE DIDN’T! The Creator of the universe is coming into the city riding on a colt... which is a humbling display of grace and love towards a people that would later call out His name to be crucified. This is why I can sing with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Job.....and the saints of old that our King is here to deliver us from our sins and to pave a way home to the Father. THIS IS WHY I CAN SING WITH THE PSALMIST, Ps 118:20-26 “This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.” 

THIS JOYFULL EXPRESSION BY THE PSLAMIST MAKES ME GO BACK TO MY ORIGINAL QUESTION! .........Which King are you rejoicing this morning? Are you saying “save us Lord from the bondage of sin” or are you saying “free me so that I can have my physically desires and comforts met” Is it for an earthly King which fills your physical needs or a Heavenly King which saves your soul from eternal Hell? Because the majority of these people were looking towards present gain which will never solve the long term problem that separates us from God because of sin. YOU ASK YOURSELF! Mike, why do you say such a thing? 

Look at the verses that follow (v41-v44) Jesus “wept over the hearts of the people” Jesus lamented for the people because He knew their hearts and motives. OH! How devastating that must have been for the Jesus to see into the sinful hearts of man and to know what they truly worshipped. Jesus knew what they were going to do in the coming days. Jesus knew the hearts of the ones that would deny Him for salvation. Jesus wept for the souls that were lost. Jesus knew the outcome and the pending dome for His created children! (v43). The Lord saw the proud, unrepentant city as a pile of rubble wet with blood. THIS IS PRECISELY WHAT HAPPENED TO JERUSALEM IN 70AD. Titus seized the city by cutting off all supplies and trapping thousands of people who had been in Jerusalem for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Romans systematically built embankments around the city and one by one they demolished the city temple....residences, and people. Men, women and children were brutally slaughtered by the tens of thousands.This destruction was God’s divine judgement for their failure to recognize and embrace their Messiah when He visited them. In Luke 20:13-18 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.' But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.' And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others." When they heard this, they said, "Surely not!" But he looked directly at them and said, "What then is this that is written: "'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone'? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him."They were cheering for the wrong King, they were chanting for an earthly King.

JESUS CAME TO SAVE THE LOST THAT WERE BROKEN SPIRITUALLY! Jesus came to deliver them from the bondage of sin! Not from the bondage of rulers. Kent Hughes said “with the panorama of Jerusalem before His eyes, the Saviour began to weep, not with quit tears as when He wept at the grave of Lazarus, whom He was going to resurrect, but with a loud and deep lamentation. There in the middle of the road, with the great city in full view, the stunned multitude heard the saviour of the world wail over Jerusalem!” We need to look through the eyes of Christ in our own hearts this morning! ARE YOU REJOICING FOR THE RIGHT KING THIS MORNING? Jesus came to be my King, by becoming my shame, punishment, place and He became my substitute for the wrath I deserve.

So that I could be:

  • Redeemed from that wrath that is yet to come.
  • Restored back to the Father.
  • Forgiven for my sin.
  • Free from sin and death.
  • Claimed as His for all eternity.
SO HOW CAN WE BE SILENT WHEN HE CAME TO BE OUR HEAVENLY KING......NOT OUR EARTHLY KING? Palm Sunday is a day when we reflect on what Jesus came to do for sinful man and woman. WE NEED TO REFLECT AND ASK OURSELVES THE QUESTION! Who Am I rejoicing and worshipping this morning? The Jesus who will give me what I want so that I can be happy here on this earth? Or the Jesus who saved my wretched soul for all eternity? As Kevin DeYoung says “Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. He was the one they had been waiting for: the Son of David and Abraham's chosen seed; the one to deliver us from captivity; the goal of the Mosaic law; Yahweh in the flesh; the one to establish God's reign and rule; the one to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoners and proclaim Good News to the poor; the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. Palm Sunday is a day we remember of His compassion and love for fallen sinners. As the King of glory comes entering the city to redeem sinful man and sinful woman from the bondage of Satan............... Not! Rome.

24 March 2015

MY JOY IS FOUND IN YOUR JOY


I want to share my heart personally with you this morning because we are going see Paul’s heart as we open this portion of scripture! Because this portion of Paul’s letter is personal and it reveals the true heart of Paul. Nothing excites me more than to see people growing in their walk with the Lord. Especially those who the Lord allowed me to be a part of! That excites me because it’s a privilege. This should be every pastor’s heart around the world this morning to see God’s children walking with Him. SEE MY JOY COMES.......
  • When you want to talk about Him and His glory.
  • When you want to learn and grow through the studying of the His Word.
  • When you want to pray and praise His name in the good and bad times.
  • When you want to share about what the Lord has been teaching you through your circumstances
  • When you want nothing more than to see people come to the Lord through Jesus Christ.
  • When you consume all your time and energy focused on Him! Because He is worth. it! And everything else seems meaningless in comparison to Him and His glory.
BUT sometimes my joy can seem to be sizzled out or distant! Because we only get to spend so much time together! Sundays, prayer meetings, special functions or visits throughout the months! But I know in my heart of hearts that’s not true! Though we all go our separate ways and have personal lives. I can rejoice in the fact that we serve an amazing God who….keeps us, sustains us, sanctifies us, secures us by His sovereign grace. That gives me peace and thankfulness for each and every one of you this morning. For Paul it was a little different!  Look what Paul says in (v17) “Taken from you” denotes an understanding of “being orphaned”

It literally means “to be torn apart” A Literal translation of this verse says “we being orphanized from you” It gives you the sense of a parent is without or the loss of a deceased child or a child is orphaned from its deceased parents. This portion of Paul’s letter illuminates how he felt about this forced separation from the Thessalonians. PAUL FELT THIS WAY WITH ALL HIS SPIRITUAL CHILDREN:

CORINTHIAN CHURCH: “For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.” 2 Cor 2:4

PHILIPPIAN CHURCH: “it is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.”  Phil 1:7-8

PHILEMON’S CHURCH FAMILY: “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” Philemon 1:7

ROMAN CHURCH: “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.” Rom 1:8-10

EPHESIAN CHURCH: “Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears (v31).......And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.” Acts 20:36-38

There are more examples of other churches that Paul founded on the word of God about his passionate heart for them. Paul loved these people just as much as the churches I just mentioned... ”He was torn from his children” The reason being..................going back to what was happening in Acts 17. Paul had no choice but to leave because the Gospel was causing so much commotion. Paul was forced from his spiritual children. Can you sense the emotion in his letter especially during a very trying time for any Christian with all the persecution?Their fellow countrymen; the religious types of their day! Not to mention the brutal behaviour of the Roman Emperor. It was almost impossible for Paul to return because of the hatred towards the gospel. Look what he says at the end of verse 17 “endeavoured more eagerly to see you face to face with great desire” Literally means “A great desire to see your face” I have a passion, I’m compelled and I have this controlling desire to see you again, I miss you dearly loved ones. This wasn’t a job to Paul but a passionate desire and care for others. See, this is humility in action seeking the interest of others. Why? As he said to the Philippians “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,” Phil 2:2-5

Something happened that made this action impossible. Because he couldn’t! Why? Answer is found in verse 18 “Satan hindered us”
  • Satan is seeking whom he many devour
  • Satan has been doing this from the very beginning!
  • Satan has been trying to tear down the church and the children of God for centuries
  • Satan wants nothing more than for the church of God to fail
  • Satan desires nothing more than to see corruption in the church of God
LISTEN WHAT PAUL WROTE TO THE CHURCH OF CORINTH And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”2 Cor 11:12-14. Please do not be fooled! For Satan has deceived many into believing a lie! How? He gives some truth with much error! Paul was hindered in coming to them! Hindered (means) to cut into, detain” it’s a military term referring to digging a trench or breaking up a road. One of the countermeasures an ancient army would take against the opposition was to dig a massive trench that would prevent enemy troops from reaching its men. Another way to frustrate the enemy’s progress would be to tear up a brick or stone road so that he could not traverse it. It’s the idea when Paul gently rebuked the good people of Galatia “You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?” Gal 5:7. It’s the same expression Peter used when he said “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

Satan was making it hard for Paul to come back to them.....Again going back to Acts 17. Satan hated Paul, and anyone who bring the true unadulterated Gospel message. Paul was a marked man…because of his passion for the gospel. Paul was hated by many and many wanted to kill the apostle Paul! Again going back to Acts 17. We always have to remember that no matter what Satan tries to do, he will never have victory over our lives. Because?Jesus has conquered sin and the grave, He is seated on the Throne, He is above all things, and He is the Sovereign Lord and Creator of the universe. The Sovereign One who said “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail (succeed, win, and triumph) against it.” Matt 16:18. Despite the road block that Paul was faced with; this didn’t stop him from finding joy in the Thessalonians church! Look at (v19) Paul shows us the personal side of his heart with 3 expressible things that gave him such great joy and victory! Even if this meant being separated, hindered by Satan and his fallen angels from the people he loved and desired to be with. THIS SHOULD BE OUR HEARTS AS WELL THIS MORNING! SHOULDN’T IT? Nothing can ever separate the love that we have in Christ Jesus our LORD. If you don’t believe me then listen to what Paul writes “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 8:37-39. Though we are miles apart physically we are always together in spirit.........Though we all go through different circumstances of life we are there for one another. Though we cannot always be together, we know God can and for that we find rest. He is always with us to the end of this life and forever in eternity! That’s why Paul could write the words he wrote! Look what Paul writes……..

YOU ARE OUR HOPE (referring to the promise of future reward and eternal blessing)

“Hope” as the world typically defines it is a desire for some future occurrence of which one is not assured of attaining…..like most false religions. The ancient world did not generally regard hope as a virtue, but merely as a temporary illusion. Historians tell us that a great cloud of hopelessness covered the ancient world. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,” 1 Peter 1:3-4. This is not our home! Paul knew, that even through separation and persecution he found genuine joy that the hope these people had was in the Lord Jesus Christ. Biblical hope is not "finger crossing", but is alive and sure because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Doesn’t this encourage your heart? Knowing that you we have born again loved ones who cannot be with us physically, but have that same hope that we have!

YOU ARE OUR JOY (our external happiness and satisfaction)

“Joy” is describes an attitude which is cheerful and glad. The world defines joy as the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. But, the Bible defines joy as a gift of God, a fruit of His Spirit, which is independent of your circumstances. Luke 24:51-53 display this joy for us! “While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.” We see this expression of joy when Paul said “Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” Phil 4:1. And even though he was faced with so much opposition over the gospel. This did not rob him of the joy he had in God’s children. It’s the joy that the bible speaks of as “overabundance” that could never be extinguished by Satan or anyone else. As Paul said in 2Cor 1:7 “Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” John Piper said “for the Christian things may go really bad right now and yet not rob him of his JOY. The JOY is the JOY OF HOPE. Christians set their hearts on how good it will be in the age to come and in the presence of Christ after death. This is why Christians can REJOICE in tribulation and not just in health and peace and security. Tribulation drives the roots of JOY down into HOPE. The future JOY streams back into the presence and lightens every load.”

YOU ARE OUR CROWN OF REJOICING (your eternal life is a like a reward)

“crown of rejoicing” or of "glorying", or "boasting" It wasn’t that Paul gloried in them, for they gloried not in men. Paul gloried in the Lord, for His righteousness, riches, wisdom, strength, and grace, in the person, blood, and cross of Christ. Paul gloried of them, as trophies of divine grace, as a prey taken out of the hand of the mighty, and as lawful captives delivered from the power of Satan. The Bible speaks of 5 DIFFERENT kinds of crowns or wreaths in the New Testament!

The IMPERISHABLE WREATH that celebrates salvation's victory over corruption“And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown but we for an imperishable crown.” (1 Cor 9:25)

The RIGHTEOUS WREATH that celebrates salvation's victory over unrighteousness. “the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, (2 Tim 2:18)

The UNFADING WREATH of glory that celebrates salvation's victory over defilement. “you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” (1 Peter 5:4)

The WREATH OF LIFE that celebrates salvation's victory over death “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life” (James 1:12)

The WREATH OF EXULTATION which celebrates salvation's victory over Satan and mankind’s persecution of believers. This is the wreath Paul is speaking of in this passage! (Refers to the overwhelming victory God gives His own: over sin, suffering, death and judgement). To those who are faithful no matter what the circumstance or situation may be! Nobody can take that away and Paul knew that wonderful truth! See, the crowns that God gives His servants are not like…… those crowns which were given to the conqueror, in the Olympic Games! Which were made of diver flowers, of the olive, wild olive, pine tree, and of parsley, and inserted in a branch of the wild olive tree and which quickly faded away? Peter called it an imperishable, unfading crown as we have seen earlier!

See my greatest joy is for you to see….
  • Jesus as your crowning glory.
  • Jesus as your crowning victory.
  • Jesus as your crown of eternal blessing.
  • Jesus is the reason you boast and live your life for.
  • Jesus is the reason you find true joy [not happiness] in a perverse and corrupt generation.
  • Jesus is the reason you love your spouse more, your children, your singleness. Why? Because Jesus is all satisfying.
Nothing or no one can ever take that away from us.......because it’s by His power and strength that we are forever His “in the presence of the Lord Jesus at His coming”. This should be everyone’s aim in the Christian life! Rejoicing over those who rejoice with us in Spirit and truth.

  • The saved
  • The sanctified
  • The children of God
  • The crowning glory of God
  • This was Paul’s source of joy and happiness (v20) “for you are our glory and joy”
William Macdonald said “The saints were Paul’s glory and joy. He had invested in human personality and his reward was spiritual sons and daughters who would worship the Lamb of God for all eternity”. THAT’S MY JOY AS WELL! To know that God is doing a work in and through your lives. To know that He keeps His promises of “coming again” for His children. To know that you are worth it and your worth is found in Christ. Thessalonica, continually were a source of glory and joy to Paul. Their existence in Heaven would also be an eternal source of glory and joy to Paul, Silvanus and Timothy! So let me ask you the Sunday question! Look around at the faces in this room! Who will be in Heaven that will be your eternal source of glory and joy? Can you say with Paul about those in this Sanctuary “for you are our glory and joy.”

03 March 2015

A HEALTHY CHURCH STILL CONTINUED



What does it mean to anticipate something? If you’re having a hard time answering that question; rewind back to Christmas Eve and your children….and fast forward to Christmas morning! Better Yet! Look back to the time when you and your lovely spouse were going to get married in the coming months. All the planning and organizing and sending and seeing who was going to come to your special day. Then the day arrives! Think back to your bride and her reaction when that day finally came. Filled with excitement, nervousness and joy because the day she has been anticipating, is finally hereWhat does it mean to wait? Because I hate to wait and that’s my sin! It means to anticipate with patience, a readiness and understanding that the day is getting closer and I need to be alert and ready when that day in the future comes.The same truth can be said about our salvation! We anticipate our fallen bodies to be finally redeemed from this earth.

It reminds me of what Paul wrote……“Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.” Rom 13:11. Every day, we are one day closer to standing before Jesus in His entire glorious splendor. We are one day, one breath closer to the completion of our redemption. God doesn’t just sit back on the fence to see how you’re going to get through in the Christian life. If that were so! I’m in big trouble, because I would have left a long time ago. We are kept by His power…that’s why the gospel is so amazing. He keeps wretched sinners and makes them and keeps them clean until the day of redemption. The New Testament reminds us of this truth…..“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil 1:6. My fear is that………I don’t believe the church at large is waiting [anticipating] for the resurrected Jesus Christ and the promises He brings. Why do I say that? Why do we get so excited and anticipate?
  • Christmas morning
  • Your wedding day
  • The latest video game pre-launch at midnight
  • Our birthday,
  • The Stanley Cup playoffs / Brier Cup ;)
  • The trade deadline
  • When hunting season starts
  • The beginning and closing of a school year.
  • The next season of 24 and Jack Bauer
  • Our family coming to visit.
  • My Leafs second win in over a two month period.

Don’t get me wrong! There is nothing wrong with anticipating and waiting for these things. What I’m most concerned about is that we anticipate these things more, than we do the return of our King? Who is the Living God who sustains us under His might power and sovereignty. I want us to see something very important as we close this chapter! Why does Paul say what he says in closing remarks to chapter one? Why does he mention or remind the church about the resurrection of Jesus and that we have been delivered from the wrath that it yet to come? I believe it’s here in his letter to remind us of what we truly are to anticipate as a church and individual sanctified child of God. This is it…….this is our hope and promises found in the redeeming blood of the Lamb. If there is no resurrection, then there is no future hope for anyone of us. It goes back to what Paul was trying to remind the Church of Corinth! In 1 Corinthians 15 we read…… “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.” 1 Cor 15:1-6

See Paul told the Corinthian church, if Jesus wasn’t resurrected then we are still in our sins and that means the wrath of God still abided on us. He continued to say to the church in Corinth ……….“Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” 1 Cor 15:12-14. Which means? “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” 1 Cor 15:17. If Jesus wasn’t resurrected according to the scriptures then our sin still remains …..which means the wrath of God abides on us. Paul affirms the belief of the resurrection and the wrath that has been passed over us through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

This is important truth and promises to hold dear to our weak and feebly hearts at times as we wait for His return. It’s the power of His resurrection and hope in Christ that we can face today and tomorrow. It’s the power of His resurrection that we can sing and praise His name each and every day and every Sunday we come together. Paul wrote to Titus and said this……  “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.” Titus 2:13-14. We need to understand! The gospel has no power without His death and resurrection.
  • It’s the power of God that crushed Jesus and killed Him, because of our sin.
  • It’s the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead to give us life.
  • It’s the power of God that raised you from the dead to save you from His wrath.
  • It’s the power of God that keeps you and gives a burning passion as you await His return.

MARK OF A HEALTHY CHURCH HAS A BODY THAT WAITS EXPECTANTLY FOR HIS GLORIOUS RETURN.

This was a church that waited for His Son from Heaven to return! Paul praised them because they were a “waiting church” (v10a) “wait” conveys the meaning of expectant waiting—sustained, patient, trusting waiting. It pictures an eager looking forward to the coming of one whose arrival was anticipated at any time, waiting for one whose coming is expected.” To wait for the Lord's return is a sure characteristic of a true believer. The present tense can be rendered "keep on waiting". Waiting for the return of their Lord and King was their lifestyle, the habit of their life, the truth that colored all their daily activities and afflictions. This should be the same and displayed in our lives……in our church! “Waiting for God to act is the best opportunity for the right things to happen His way.” David C. McCasland

Who are you looking for today? Remember Jesus could come back today! Are you ready to meet Him in the clouds? In Act 1:6-11 we read “So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"  He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." His victory over death makes this promise completely credible. And this truth underscores why we must always speak of His resurrection when we proclaim the gospel to lost people who are dead in sins and trespasses. There is no good news without Jesus' resurrection!

We are to patiently wait as a church because ….…..
  • It’s about His Mercy………… Psalm 123:2
  • It’s the truth that we’ve been pardoned…………..Psalm 39:7-8
  • It’s about His salvation and calling on our life…………..Psalm 25:5
  • It’s an outward expression of His sustaining grace and faith in our lives……..Galatians 5:5
  • It’s for our good……..Psalm 52:9
We are to wait with patience, continually, all the day with full confidence! Isa 25:9 says “It will be said on that day, "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation." Where do we see that exemplified in the word of God? How about a man named Simeon? We read “Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,  "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;  for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel." Luke 2:25-32 How about Hannah? How about David? How about the Apostles and the Early Church?

We look back to His first coming, but among these early believers the great hope was in His coming again. This should likewise be the mindset of modern believers! This should be your passion and excitement this morning and when you leave this building. Let me ask you! When was the last time you anticipated the return of the Living King? We need to be sober and alert to His coming, because He will, and He is coming back! This is where our hope begins and ends as born again believers. John Piper said “The center of Christianity is the coming of the Son of God into the world as a real man to destroy the works of the devil and create a new people for His own glory. The very heart of our faith is that He did this by obeying the law of God, dying for the sins of His people, rising victorious over death, ascending to God’s right hand with all His enemies under his feet. The second coming of Christ is the completion of His saving work. If you take it away, the whole fabric of His saving work unravels.”

This is our hope and this is what we are waiting and anticipating for each and every day! This is what gives us strength when we have a bad day or things don’t seem to go right! This is where we find comfort and rest when we see what our Premier of Ontario is doing and when we see brothers in Christ being beheaded for their faith and hope in Christ. Peter echoed that same expectation when he wrote, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers” 1 Pet 4:7. I want my life and my family’s life to represent Him and His glory when He returns. I want my life not be wasted on things that have no value, not in shame or regret because of my grumblings and lack of faith! As John wrote “And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at His coming.” And I don’t think that will happen as John says it wills for some, if we, keep our eyes fixed upon the gospel and understand what it truly means to be saved. He has saved us from the wrath that is yet to come to the sons of disobedience! That could be someone you know and love this morning….if Christ returned today!

Jesus told Nicodemus this truth……. “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:18. And John the Baptist said at the end of John chapter 3……. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for He gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:34-36. This church got this truth! And this is why they waited with a joy anticipating Christ return. They understood what it meant to be saved from this pending doom for so many people according to Matthew 7. They understood that they were set free and for that nothing else distracted them in their worship and in the importance of proclaiming the gospel to lost sinners. So, why did they wait with anticipation with thanksgiving? By the summary statement Paul makes in (v10b) “Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” Not only did they wait, but “they were delivered” “Delivered” means to rescue, the deliverance the Lord provides in His death and resurrection. He is the Rescuer and Deliverer and Savior of those otherwise headed for divine judgment and eternal punishment. (v10)

What were they delivered from? And you could say the same thing about your life, if you’re born again! We are delivered from “The wrath to come” Turn over to 1 Thess 5:9 to see what i mean! “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” We have been delivered from the wrath to come. God the Just and the Justifier looks upon me as righteous! This is amazing that God has turned me around to serve Him by His mercy and grace. He has saved me from the wrath that is yet to come! Wrath is God’s eternal judgment against sin! This absolutely scares me! To know God will judge sin at the end of all things. God cannot do anything but judge sin for what it is: an abomination to His character and perfect will. Nothing and nobody will not go unnoticed by a holy and just God! The Hebrew writer writes……“but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation (God’s righteous anger) which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. And again, "THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Heb 10:27-31

John makes this abundantly clear……“And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Rev 20:15. A W Pink wrote this in an article is from the February 1917 "Our Hope" magazine……“This is one of the danger-signals which God has placed across the sinner's pathway to Hell. At every turn of the Broad Road there are notice boards giving warning of the Destruction which lies ahead. The Sunday School teacher, the prayers of godly parents, the sermons of faithful preachers, the little Gospel tract, the warnings of conscience, the innate fear of death, the declarations of Holy 'Writ, are so many obstacles which God places in the way of the sinner-so many barriers to the Lake of Fire….One chief reason why God wrote the Bible was to warn the sinner of the awful consequences of sin, and to bid him flee from the wrath to come.” His Son’s death is a reminder for us of God’s hatred toward towards sinners. His Son’s resurrection is a reminder of His effectual love towards sinners. The gospel saves and delivers us from the wrath that is yet to come.

The church of Thessalonica is for us as a blueprint church. They weren’t perfect and they weren’t holier than thouBut they lived there lives on the promises of God…..and they turned the world upside down with the truth of the gospel. Jesus, has bought us with His blood, and we are here for Him!  To serve, wait and rejoice in His coming! MY DESIRE AS YOUR PASTOR………. is to lead by example and for all of us to genuinely follow after the footsteps of this church family from some 2000 years ago. As Leonard Ravenhill said “When I see the church in the New Testament, they didn’t have stately buildings, they didn’t have paid evangelists. They didn’t have a lot of money. They didn’t have organization. They couldn’t get on TV and beg. But I’ll tell you what they did do, they turned the world upside down!!” Leonard Ravenhill also went on to say as he pleaded with the church “We live too much in time, we are too earth bound. We see as others men see. We think as other men thinks. We invest our time as the world invests it. We invest our money. We are supposed to be a different breed of people. I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ needs a new revelation of the majesty of God. We’re all going to stand one day… can you imagine it?.. At the judgment seat of Christ to give an account for the deeds done in the body.”

I want you to think about that statement of the late great Leonard Ravenhill. I want to challenge you! Self-examination if you will. This should be yours to have as an inward spiritual attitude that. Why? He saved you from His wrath and eternal destruction. Our attributes in life should display……..
  • A working faith that god supplies. 
  • A labor of love for one another. 
  • A hope that patiently endures to the end. 
  • A humbled adoration of praise to God who called [Elected] you out of darkness and raised you from the dead.
  • Is gospel saturated with a deep desire for the world to know the good news?
  • Has a known [genuine] testimony to the grace and mercy founded in the gospel.
  • Has turned to follow the true living God from idols and that Jesus is more valuable to you then anything.
  • Has anticipation for the future as we wait for our King.

Will you join me, even though it may be hard at times to serve our King the way He intended us to serve? We have the blue prints…….we have His word…..we have His Spirit! We have message. Let’s change the world, one soul at a time, through work of the Spirit, under the power of God through the gospel. The purpose statement of my life and the church is this…….“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”