Sunday 26th August, 2018
1 Kings 8:41-43
Hymn of meditation: PH 333
Jesus, priceless is Your Gospel,
Help me treasure this always.
This is the best treasure I have here,
Nothing in this life compares.
Your Word is my life’s foundation,
I desire this more than life,
Men of earth are deceitful beings,
Word of God is truth that stands.
Our theme for today, “Will you also go away?” is a question that Jesus put to His disciples after many who claimed to follow Him turned and left when He referred to Himself as the bread of life. As a believer, the question goes to you too, will you also go away? What makes you willing to stay with Christ and in the Church of Christ?
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back
If no one joins me, still I will follow;
No turning back
The disciples also replied and asked the Lord “where will we go”? Our first passage from 1 Kings 8:41-43 tells us
“As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name– for men will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm–when he comes and prays toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name”.
When king Solomon was about dedicating the Temple to the Lord (from verse 22), he prayed a simple prayer, devoting the latter part to foreigners so that the world may know that the Temple has been dedicated to the Lord. We should never forget that anytime we come to worship God, we come to meet the Creator of the whole universe, and once the chapel has been dedicated to Him, anyone who comes in will go with a testimony. At this juncture, I ask this question: what are some of the things that come your way during service that cause you to be offended and choose not to be part of the church again? Beloved, we are not worshipping man, we come to worship the King of kings so let Him alone be true in all your dealings. Draw near with a heart and expectation to meet the creator of the universe. Daily, our prayers should be that, God will show mercy and favour to the one next to us in the church all the time. Never allow any offence in the chapel to stop you from worshipping God. Always come with a clean and genuine heart.
Today, have that confidence that regardless of what people say, God will bow His ears to listen to you anytime you come to Him as the song writer says in the ‘song interlude’ above.
Paul realised the Ephesians were going through turbulent times and had to write these words to encourage them:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel”
Walking and remaining strong in the Lord means devoting oneself to prayer and scripture reading to know and follow His will. Joshua received the same admonishing in Joshua 1:9
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
For those who may think they have no one to lean on, never forget this passage; the Lord will always be with you wherever you go.
Back to Paul’s letter, he tells them to put on the whole armour of God by only which means they can overcome the enemy and his ways. All that the devil wants is to distract us and cause us to lose our faith. As a soldier of the Lord, you must not sit ideal; you must always study, be in tune with the Lord and know the cunning ways of the enemy so you can withstand him all the days of your life. The devil never gives up no matter how many times you cast him out, so let the Word dwell in you richly.
We are told to be always prepared like Christ was in the wilderness when He defeated the evil one with the written Word of God. Learn the verses to help you stand and overcome. Always know who you are in the Lord, a child of God who is able to stand every scheme of the devil in the name of Jesus Christ.
Be ever willing to live a righteous life (breastplate). Live every day and in every way to the glory of God wherever you find yourself.
Resolve, with the boots of peace in place, to share the Gospel with all that you can. One thing I have realised in life is that, the more you share with others, the more the Holy Spirit grants you better insight into the hidden truths in the word.
It is very important to come to church, but the most important thing is to come in readiness to receive from God and give Him your worship and also be ever ready to go and touch other people’s lives with what you have received. This is what God has called us to do so let no offence distract your worship to God. Pray always to the Lord to give you the grace to live every day for Him.
“Take up the shield of faith…” Faith is not just believing what God says and knowing He will do what he says He will do but it also goes to walking closely with God and in His ways, knowing that God is all in all no matter what you face in life. It is only by the shield of faith that we can quench the fiery darts of the enemy. Even when things do not go the way you wanted still have faith in the Lord and walk closely by His side, believing He is working something better for you. Always be strong and courageous.
“Take the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit”. Do not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. Even in prison, Paul wrote to encourage others because He understood that the power to save and deliver rests only with the Lord. Men may disappoint you but God will never disappoint His children so when He says be strong and courageous and He will be with you, then He will always be with you. Do not let the Word depart from your mouth; keep on confessing and the promises therein shall come to pass in your life.
“Pray in the Spirit on all occasion…” Do not be forced to copy the way others pray. Wait on the Lord, seek His face in your own way. Even if you have to constantly repeat your words, just be persistent in prayer. “Be alert and pray for all the saints” Ask God to give the other person the grace to go through life’s struggles. Pray also for the leaders.
In John 6:60-69, Christ ‘offended’ the congregation when He taught them to take His flesh and drink of His blood. However, what He meant to teach was for them to accept Him wholly and fully, which the real guarantee for salvation is.
“On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.” From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Christ gave up His all so we can come to His saving knowledge. Make sure you have the Holy Spirit living in your heart daily so when asked, whether we will go back or not, we will choose to stick and stay with Him even if no one joins to follow with you.