Editor’s Note: In our regular sermon series, where we normally post older sermons, from days gone by, we try to present lessons that are applicable to our current situation. This week, rather than use an old sermon, we are pleased to share one from our good friend, Beau. He is a long-time friend to most of us here at MOTW. He is a true man of God, and one with a passion for sharing the Gospel of Jesus. This is a real sermon, preached in a park, and includes the invitation at the end.

 

One of the more sobering sayings of Jesus is his pronouncement of the spiritual state of the generation in which he lived, “We played the flute for you but you did not dance. We sang a dirge and you did not mourn.[1]” These were hardened sinners following the course of their own thoughts, so immoveable that not even the manifest miracles of the Son of God in their presence could change their course to destruction.

While we believers like to think our present private course is at least somewhat acceptable to God on balance, or least amenable to the tender workings of the Holy Spirit upon our gentle consciences, do few of us dare ask for Heaven’s true verdict of our heart[2]? We might be surprised, discomforted, or even alarmed to learn the Holy One might seek to kill one of our secret sins, or more accurately put, He strongly desires we put to death that singular filthy desire we’ve allowed to linger in the shadows of our mind. What private pleasures we do keep far from the light, ready to indulge at a moment’s notice when alone, or frustrated, or bored? These are snares that sully mind and heart, the very sins the Spirit fights against with great passion to bring us the peace and obedience of Christ.

Now I am quite sure any believer beyond the immediate convert can recount tales of spiritual battles with flesh, some won some lost. Some with great joy at resisting a temptation till victory is obtained, some with almost overwhelming shame and bitter remorse. My purpose here is not to rehash the daily battle won in humble diligence or forfeited in neglect. Every Christian knows it, or he is no child of God.

Rather, my purpose here to focus our attention on fulfilling our master’s great will for our lives. I say this because we so seldom consider it. How can I say so? Don’t we who believe think on our master daily? Yes, that is good. Yet, how many of us are soulwinners[3]? How many exorcists[4]? Workers of miracles[5]? Intercessors for healing until the healing is seen[6]? Binders up of the brokenhearted[7]? Spiritual parents consumed with passion until Christ is formed in our converts[8]? Our weekly forms of religion, endless cycles adding year to year, or our reductionism explaining away the profound in divinity, or adolescent pop ‘n fizz have impoverished the Bride. Other forms devised by marketers or twisted by reprobates with seared consciences need no mention either. Christ’s Bride, his beloved, his Church is grievously wounded. Who will succor her?

A pastor in town told of an elder in his church whose stock phrase unchanged since probably the dawn of time, remaining encased in concrete or perhaps carbonite, whenever exposed to exhortation exclaims, “I’m saved, sanctified, and satisfied.” I don’t see how this can be so, satisfied when the church house is barely attended, the worship mechanical, the spirit torpid, and young men are shot dead right outside the sanctuary doors over the use and distribution of drugs? Satisfied when neighborhood families struggle in broken misery? Satisfied when children right down the street are neglected, beaten or sexually used. Satisfied? When the homes surrounding the church house are going to Hell figuratively and their occupants literally? Satisfied, sadly, but not brokenhearted. The glory has departed.

Which brings me back to fulfilling our master’s great will for our lives. Step by step, line by line, until justice is led forth in victory, and the knowledge of God fills the earth.

First, I ask you to consider John’s statement, “The Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.[9]” As a Christian, I can see clearly whose side I am to be on. I know my master’s intent. I am to join him in making war. The proper place for the serpent and all his works is under my feet, not near my bosom. It’s not for nothing the baptismal rite leads the convert to renounce Satan and all his works. This is a clear line our flesh loves to blur, but the Spirit approves the one who repents worldly affection.

Second, the apostle Peter admonishes us, “Desire the sincere milk of the Word.[10]” We are further exhorted to eat strong meat, the weighty matters of discipleship, service, and warrior fealty to our Lord. Even if your church’s approved tradition minimizes, marginalizes, or sanitizes the exposure of the faithful to the scripture; nevertheless, the imperative remains, “Study to show yourselves approved to God, a worker who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.[11]” Eat and grow strong.

Third, consider this seldom read and little known summary of Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, “He did evil, because he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.[12]” O, herein is revealed the cause of much pernicious failure, here we find the fault which ruins millions, here the folly of youth, here the great temptation of middle age, here the root of bitterest regret in the aged. “He did not set his heart to seek the Lord.[13]” What about you?

Are we to experience nothing but battle walking the path of the straight and narrow? Battle yes, but that is neither the end nor the all. Our master’s great purpose for our lives is victory; over the flesh[14], over the world[15], over the devil[16]. We are to leave behind elementary teachings and all grow up together into the fullness of the image of the likeness of Christ. His good pleasure is our victory following him in triumphal procession, disciples made wise in the crucible of spiritual battle for the souls of the lost, servants of heaven, soldiers of the church militant, shepherds of Christ’s flock, his Bride pure without spot, stain, or wrinkle.

It is the joy of the Church Militant to proclaim salvation in the name of Jesus. Starting with Peter on the day of Pentecost we are to call sinners out of darkness into the glorious light of the gospel. Philip explained the gospel on the road to an Ethiopian. When a jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul replied, “Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Being a Christian for many years I observe not many believers have an appetite to evangelize. Some are downright terrified to acknowledge Jesus before men. I take no pleasure in saying I suspect a majority don’t even know how to present the gospel to another. Can you clearly tell the gospel story to another? Can you lead another to Christ? If you honestly cannot but wish to do so, ask Jesus to give you what to say in that hour. You’ll find great joy in the hour of your obedient presentation of the good news of eternal life. If the person to whom you speak repents and believes, your joy will be even greater, reaching up rejoicing in Heaven. Do you wish to destroy the works of the devil? Endeavor to be a soulwinner!

Which leads me to my final point. There remains plenty in this time for Christ’s Bride to accomplish. Much remains for each individual and for all who believe together to do by God’s grace. Yet, if one will do these, ask God for the truth of our hearts, renounce Satan and all his works, drink the milk and eat the meat of his word, set our hearts to seek Him, and proclaim salvation in Jesus to the lost, then you and I will be fit servants to fight for our master. Consider Joshua standing on the bank of the Jordan opposite the Promised Land.” His words to the nation, may they follow on for us together today, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.[17]

 

Note: An invitation is made for individuals to consecrate themselves for service to Christ, during which the hymn Rise Up O Men of God is to be played.

Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
To serve the King of kings.

Rise up, O men of God!
The kingdom tarries long.
Bring in the day of brotherhood
And end the night of wrong.

Rise up, O men of God!
The church for you doth wait,
Her strength unequal to her task;
Rise up and make her great!

Lift high the cross of Christ!
Tread where His feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up, O men of God!

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

 

[1] Matthew 11:17

[2] Psalm 139:23,24

[3] Proverbs 11:30b

[4] Matthew 10:8

[5] 1 Corinthians 12:10

[6] James 5:14-16

[7] Isaiah 61:1

[8] Galatians 4:19

[9] 1 John 3:8

[10] 1 Peter 2:2

[11] 2 Timothy 2:15

[12] 2 Chronicles 12:14

[13] Ibid.

[14] 1 Thessalonians 4:3

[15] 1 John 2:15

[16] Romans 16:20

[17] Joshua 3:5