Sunday 27th May, 2018 [Trinity Sunday]
Hymn of meditation: PH 376
Sinners Jesus Christ receives,
This is wonderful and great news.
Share this news with sinful men,
All the lost must hear this good news.
Point them to the Savior,
Jesus welcomes sinful men.
I’ve been changed, healed, freed, and delivered
I’ve found joy, peace, grace, and favour
Right now is the moment
Today is the day
I’ve been changed/
I have waited for this moment to come
And I won’t let it pass me by
I won’t go back,
Can’t go back, to the way it used to be
before Your presence came and changed me
All my shame, Guilt, Sins, Forgiven
No more chains, Fear, My past is over
Never going back, I’m never going back,
Never going back to the way it was
We thank God for today, Trinity Sunday, and for the chosen theme “Experience the glory of God in your life”. I do not know where you are on your Christian journey or what impact you have made so far. This morning is a time for evaluation for all of us. Like the song writer says in the interlude, let us all resolve to never go back; vow within yourself as you leave the chapel today that you are never going back to the things of old.
The glory of God has been revealed to us several times in scripture. It happened when the temple was being dedicated; God gave His presence. As the children of Israel journeyed from Egypt to the promised land, God took the opportunity to speak to them and His glory was so strong that they called on Moses to go and meet God and transfer His message to them.
Beloved, there is something that the Christian must see so he can understand the need to accept the change that Christ has brought unto us and the need to remain changed for good, never to go back again.
There is a testimony of a woman who went unconscious for some time after a fall. After recovery, she gave the testimony of angels singing gloriously from afar to the delight of her heart and that made her even more eager to get to the destination she was going. The colour and beauty of the land she walked on was so special and never dreamt of coming back until she heard someone call her name. She was so frustrated to turn back owing to the beauty of the land she encountered on the journey.
That is a sample of the glory to which the Lord has invited us. There is something that God wants us to experience. God wants us to know that something special can happen in our lives. In the Bible passage below, we see a Pharisee testify to Jesus that there is really something different about Him. It was the glory of God that attracted him to Jesus, making him wish and desire to be there also. Jesus told him that “You need to be born again”
“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”
Jesus went on to give the golden verse in scripture to crown it all:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
If you are able to understand salvation very well, no one can ever take it from your heart. There are several things that are so precious to you that can easily be lost; we can lose our phones, family members, colleagues, but salvation is one thing that no one can take away from you.
Jesus said it right in John 11:40
“Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
This implies that, anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and saviour will behold the glory of God. So, the first emphasis I want to make is that, the new birth is the path to experiencing the glory of God. If you are not born again, you cannot experience the glory of God. There are several people in church, who like the Pharisees, are just religious; there are many who are counting on who they are; others are counting on their membership and affiliation but the Bible is saying here that, we are in church because Jesus Christ has given us new birth so we can experience the glory of God.
Beloved in the Lord, the new birth leads to salvation of the spirit. All these mortal things will be left behind. The sad thing for most of us is that, it is rather this body, the things we see with our eyes and the things of no value that we lust after. Today, most of us are starving the spirit and gone back from the change we once received. Church has become a ritual for most people; not coming to church because God wants to speak to us or to receive salvation and therefore we are dead in spirit. Once again, the new birth is the sure way to experiencing the glory of God. As the book of Romans reveals to us:
“Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
I plead and pray that the Spirit of God will henceforth lead us in this walk and cause us to be strong spiritually. Being strong spiritually refers to daily devotion to the scriptures, prayers and desire to live holy. If we are reconciled to God, we will be in a better position to come into His presence.
Today’s message is so necessary because one of the saddest places you can be today is the church. This is because we are just not up to our responsibilities. We are in a world of self-centredness, selfishness prevailing everywhere with the adage “each one for himself, God for us all” being the hallmark for many. There are people sitting by us who are in pain and frustrated while each person only thinks about himself. The leadership only considers physical things to the detriment of the congregants.
In a seminar I once organized for widows in the church, I was shocked at the unimaginable scene I encountered. There was so much tears from widows who had been abandoned by the church and members, others were ejected from their homes and so on. These reveals what we are today. The church has lost focus from the original intent in the book of Acts.
The earlier we arise to our responsibilities, the better. Are you self-centred, seeking only your own interest, not caring about others in the congregation? Then something basically is wrong with your spirituality. There is a lot of discrimination and injustice. In the church today, some are heard and others are not. When certain people begin to minister, you get offended and shun their ministry. Change must come into the ministry so there will be justice in the church! We must stop judging people by where they come from. This has put a lot of people in pain.
What happened to Christian love?. Beloved in the Lord, love is getting lost in the church. Some people are at loggerheads with infighting and strangling each other. The people outside of the church keep pointing fingers and asking where lies our Christianity. When the Samaritan woman at the well went back into the town, she told of the testimony of who the Lord was and how He had revealed Himself to her; but today, people who visit the churches would rather send the news to the outside world to come and witness the fighting and insults against each other. Despite the fact that we can claim new birth and say we are born again, love is very much lost in the church today.
Beloved, in the message from Isaiah 6, the prophet instantly saw his sinful nature and covered his face when he encountered the glory of the Lord. Isaiah immediately responded to the call to go and witness for God.
Have you experienced the glory? Have you had a foretaste of who God is? If you have been touched with the ‘coal of fire’ by the Lord, there should be transformation. It is not about going to church. If you want to experience the glory of God in your life, then it is about salvation and about you changing your character. Let us begin to throw away our self-seeking and self-centeredness so the community will bear testimony to the change in us. How we carry ourselves in love and unity with one another is what will attract others to Christ and the church. There are people in need all around us, looking for the least help to survive. A lot of people have lost hope. Who is willing to help someone in need or encourage someone today?
We can be restored. It is the responsibility of all of us to rescue the perishing and point them to Christ. Who among you will go out there and live in the glory of God?