Sunday 17th June, 2018 [Men’s Sunday/ Father’s Day]
1 Samuel 16:1-13
2 Corinthians 5:6-10
Hymn of mediation: PH 479
Faith is great and conquers all things,
It is founded in the Lord.
Works of faith bear priceless treasures,
Great treasures they are than gold.
If you have great faith in Jesus,
There is nothing you can’t do.
Faith fears not the powers of darkness,
It regards them nothing worth.
I have heard how Christians long ago
Were brought before a tyrant’s throne
And they were told that he would spare their lives
If they would renounce the name of Christ.
But one by one they chose to die
The Son of God, they would not deny
Like a great angelic choir sings;
I can almost hear their voices ring.
I pledge allegiance to the Lamb
With all my strength, with all I am
I will seek to honour His commands
I pledge allegiance to the Lamb.
Thankfully, for all of us in La – Accra, this is the rainy season which is about sowing, planting and harvesting. What type of seeds are we sowing as congregants of the church. We cannot go on without attempting to define what faith is.
Faith in God is an attitude of trust towards God in which one no longer depends on one’s own wisdom but on the strength of the Lord. We put our confidence in God and believe in His Word; the Bible.
Faith also refers to a person’s belief in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for all of us that leads unto salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). Faith is also a person’s way of life as a child of God, relying on Him and obeying Him totally (Romans 1:17, Colossians 2:6, Habakkuk 2:4)
The Christian is saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Our relationship in God is founded on faith because it is impossible to please God without faith. So, I have a personal problem with the accolade “Seeing is believing”. Faith is the unseen, the utmost reliance on the Maker. Anyone who wants to come to God must believe that He exists and will reveal Himself to those who sincerely seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Saving faith is a deep commitment in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ which should be evident in the way of life of any true believer. If you have faith in the Lord, your lifestyle and behaviour will ultimately be affected and in effect, your attitude and belief will certainly lead others to Christ.
Living a good life and doing good works will not save us. Salvation is not a reward for mere good deeds (Ephesians 2:9). So, you do not have to go out there trumpeting that you have faith, it must be evident in your very life for “by their fruit (which results from the kind of seeds planted in them) you shall know them”.
Christians live by faith, we live by believing and not by seeing (2 Corinthians 5:7). Remember the story of Thomas who insisted on seeing the Lord to look into His hands and feet before believing; Faith means believing the unseen and listening to what Jesus taught us. Living by faith would distinguish us from other people as our light shines before men.
When your faith is ‘skin deep’, you would not fall prey to what is trending on the social media networks and all around us. If you believe in God’s promise, you would not play according to the dictates of corruption and gaining wealth by all means.
From the readings, we learn that God has a way of choosing leaders and using people who have utmost dependence and trust in Him. The Prophet was initially reluctant to go to anoint another king as God commanded but by faith in God, he overcame the fear of king Saul taking his life and later went on the mission. Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Christian doctrine has not changed, we need to go out there on the mission by faith and minister as God has commanded; just go out there and say as Samuel said in 1 Samuel 16:5 that “…I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
Call all people to be partakers of that sacrifice. Stature and looks will did not matter on the day. David was out of the location at the time but as chosen to succeed the king, Saul. He was labelled a man after God’s own heart and kept a close walk with God because he learnt how to say sorry anytime he fell into sin. The sacrifice Samuel offered with faith, choosing the one appointed by God, though David looked too small, produced a good substance for the entire country of Israel. When choosing leaders for our church or country, we must allow God to direct our paths. Leadership is not just about the position, but also about problem-solving and decision-making. We cannot all be church leaders and elders but we can be leaders in our groups in ways that Christ directs us. Pray the Lord to grant us leaders that will move us forward.
“He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain–first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything”.
Our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ shaped His parables to reflect everyday things of life in the communities we live so people could easily identify with them. Whenever He spoke in parables and realized in the body language of His disciples that they had not understood, He explained thoroughly to them when they stepped aside, to prepare them so they are able to deliver the message of the Gospel to the people when they also go out there. The success factor to the success of our ministry is thorough preparation.
How a seed germinates and grows is a mystery. I have a friend who always says “it is only a fool that says in his heart that there is no God”. This is because God is all around us in nature, even in the growth of a little seed, multiplying and giving fruits of many fold (eg. how does the water get inside the coconut?). If this is not a miracle, then what else is a miracle? If you understand these basic things, you will not go out to depend on other pastors to pray for you when you can touch God by yourself.
The transformation of a seed into a mighty tree is about the transforming power of the Gospel that no one can clearly explain but we see with our own eyes what happens in the lives of people who receive the Gospel. When the person receives the good news, he gets transformed from an old way of life to a totally new person. May we go out there to minister similar transformation and change of hearts to those who were hitherto known to be notoriously evil. The multiplying effect of the mustard seed was evident in the lives of the 12 disciples. Simple young unlearned men who were selected and sent to go out to make disciples of all nations. Years after the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, churches begun to spring all over as a result of the foundations laid by the disciples. Peter, a fisherman, spoke with confidence and pierced through the hearts of people who heard. There is joy in heaven for one sinner who repents when we go out to minister.
Finally, to all men, Happy Father’s Day!