Sermon #116: Do Whatever He Tells You, Daily

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he (Jesus) tells you.” John 2:5 [NIV]

We get into many difficulties, dissatisfaction with life and stunted spiritual growth the moment we deliberately decide to go against the master’s will - i.e. if we go against ‘whatever He tells us.'

Mary’s instruction to the servants is quite clear: “Do whatever He tells you.” This instruction equally applies to you and me in its full measure: “Do whatever He tells you.”

Are you looking for a solution to a problem that you might be facing, as the attendees of the wedding at Cana did? Are you looking for something? Do you long for improved fellowship with Him? Do you seek to get to the spiritual higher ground? If so, here is the key: “Do whatever He tells you.”

There was a problem or a need at the wedding at Cana…the ceremony had run out of wine; more wine was therefore required.

I love the attitude that the servants displayed; they demonstrated that they were real servants. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” John 2:7 [NIV]. The words of Jesus represent the “whatever He tells you” that Mary talked about.

What did the servants do in response to Jesus’ instruction? The bible says: “…so they filled them to the brim.” John 2:7 [NIV]. This is lovely; I am humbled! The servants did exactly as the Lord had told them and just as Mary had instructed them.

Then He told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet” John 2:8 [NIV]. Yet another instruction from the Master to the servants.

How did the servants respond this time? The bible says, “They did so…” John 2:8 [NIV].  And when they did, the miracle came to pass! They probably did not understand at first what this was leading to; they however still did exactly as Jesus had instructed them.

I think that the miracle would not have come to pass if the servants had disobeyed the words of the Master. In the same vein, you will miss a lot should you choose to disobey His Word.

I therefore implore you today: “Do whatever He tells you.” Whatever! No cherry-picking, absolutely.

You do not necessarily have to 'hear' His voice; from your interactions with His Word you now know something about His 'voice'. Obey it; listen to the inner man - the still, small voice that speaks to us always.

“Do whatever He tells you.” Will you?

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Sermon #115: Be that Good Thing

“Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote - Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’

‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked.

‘Come and see.’ said Philip.” John 1:45-46 [NIV]


Nazareth was looked down upon. This is the reason Nathanael was taken by surprise that Jesus could have come from there. Nazareth was regarded as a desert, where nothing grows. What a perspective!

People could be viewing your country, city, village, etc. in similar light. Yours might be a locality that is expected to produce nothing good. But I want you to surprise people, like Jesus surprised Nathanael, by originating from Nazareth. I want you to surprise people, for the glory of God.

May you shake the world with the Word of God from right where you are! May people notice and wonder where on earth you come from!

May you be an example of excellence in a locality famed for mediocrity. May you be a role model to many in a locality known for vile behavior.

I eagerly await the time when people will say this about you, "Come and see." Glory to God!

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Sermon #114: Show Them the Real Christ

“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’ When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.” John 1:35-37 [NIV]

Tell somebody about Christ; win them over to Christ! This is the message in the above-cited verses.

Soul winning is one of the most important activities that one can undertake for both the Lord and mankind - bringing more souls into God's Kingdom.

You are a Christian because somebody won you over. They might not have shared the Word with you; instead, they might just have invited you to a place where the Word was shared. Most likely it was not a 'special' person who led you to Christ.

Soul winning is not just for 'special' people, as some tend to think, and by so doing disqualifying themselves. It is not just for the eloquent or even the most confident. It is also for people like you and me!

Learn to share the Word. Speak as naturally as you always do. It is the Spirit of God who captures souls once your voice gets into their ears. Play your part; never shy away from it!

How did John do it? He simply said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" Did John say anything complicated? No! Can you say something similar? Of course, you can - maybe even better!

What happened when John spoke these 'simple' words? The bible says, "When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus." Is this not just wonderful?

The Lord will confirm your 'simple' words, leading to a harvest of souls. So, learn to open that mouth of yours, to the glory of God!

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Sermon #113: Be the Voice in the Wilderness

“Finally they said, ‘Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’

John replied on the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord'” John 2:22-23 [NIV]

"I am the voice calling in the desert." That is what believers like John should say about themselves. That is what you should say about yourself.

A desert is a dry place; not much grows there. John had a mandate to bring life to the lifeless, and so do you!

The voice was no ordinary voice; it was a voice designed to change things for the better.

There are so many voices out there, even among the worshipers. But if you carefully listen to some of the voices you will realize that they are not designed to benefit the listener, but to exalt self. They are not meant to point listeners in the right direction, but to point them towards self. Some voices are actually designed to assassinate souls. It's a pity, really!

Here is how John sought to bring life to his audience: "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'" John 3:29 [NIV].

This is just wonderful. First, John testified that he was not the Christ. Some could have instead taken the opportunity to mislead the audience by claiming to be the Christ.

Second, John pointed his audience to Christ. Some could have instead taken the opportunity to put themselves on the pedestal.

If you really want to bring life to the lifeless, point them to Christ. You are a voice; be careful about the message that people could be getting from you!

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Sermon #112: The True Source of God's Blessings

"From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another." John 1:16 [NIV]

I will tread very cautiously here because there is evidence all around that this is one of the most emotive issues in the Christian faith.

So, as I write, I am just sharing a personal approach to blessings; you may agree or disagree with it.

There are many things that a Christian is required to do. Giving is one of them, sacrificial giving for that matter.

I am however very hesitant to link my giving to God's blessing; this is a personal choice. I do not have the strength to give to be blessed. I am however happy to give because giving meets God's expectations about me.

Here is an important point - Jesus first gave; He gave His life to give me the right to be called a child of God. That is the number one blessing - and I got it free of charge!

So, as far as it relates to my life, I want to view God's blessings towards me as originating from "the fullness of His grace," just as it was at my salvation. I am perfectly happy that way.

Would this be a perspective that you might consider adopting?
 

Sermon #111: You are a Christian, not the Christ

"He (John) himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light." John 1:8 [NIV]
 
I think we are in some kind of problem as the body of Christ.
 
The problem is that there is an increasing number of men and women, even teens and senior citizens, who are, whether by word or deed, taking the place of Christ.
 
Haven't you ever come across church assemblies in which congregants seem to, or actually, worship the leader?
 
I have earlier claimed that a Christian, because of his/her relationship to Christ, is actually a light. Jesus is 'the light'. A Christian is 'a light'. I believe this gives the proper perspective.
 
"The light" is the source of "a light", not the other way round.
 
I love John. Some people had mistaken him for the light. I think some had wanted to make him the light. What did John do when he observed this? Listen to this: "He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, 'I am not the Christ.'" John 1:20 [NIV]. Glory be to God!
 
When people mistake you for Christ, when people desire to make you the Christ, when people want to deceive you into taking the place of Christ, you, like John, must boldly confess that you are not the Christ! Failure to do so can become a very dangerous trap for you!
 
Worship Christ, not people. Know your place; never allow people to worship you or to behave, even remotely, that they are offering you the place of Christ.

 

Sermon #110: You are a Light; So am I

"The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood (or overcome) it." John 1:5 [NIV]

This verse relates to Jesus Christ, the One who was in existence in the beginning. The bible teaches us that His life is the light of mankind. This is remarkable; it means that those who have His life have this kind of light - the light of men.

The life of Jesus Christ is the source of the light. So, in other words, Jesus Christ is the light of men. He shines in the darkness and confounds it; not only that, the darkness has not and cannot overcome Him. Jesus Christ overcomes all manner of darkness!

Here is the interesting part: you also are a light in this world. Here is another interesting part: you cannot shine unless you are prepared to.

To shine in this world or to dim in this world is actually a personal choice. You can be a Christian but still feel like there is no light in you; you feel like you are like anybody else.

There may be some complicated manuals available on "how to shine as a Christian." But I will give you a very simple method.

People say you become like that which you think about most; you become like that which you look at most; you become like that which you love most; you become like that which you meditate on most....or something like that.

So you become like Jesus the more you gaze at Him, the more you admire Him, the more you meditate on Him, the more you read about Him and the more you make Him your point of reference on every aspect of your life.

I have met Christians who sometimes forget that they are Christians. I am sorry about that; it should never happen, not even for a second...and one can never shine in such a state of stupor!
 

Sermon #109: The Alpha [Also the Omega]

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." John 1:1-2 [NIV]

I think we all struggle a lot when we try to get into deep thought about the beginning; it is easy for our thought processes to immediately become overwhelmed. I guess it is because the matter is too spiritual to be approached anyhow.

What was the beginning like? What was in existence at the beginning? These are questions that people constantly ask themselves. Some shelve the questions because they quickly hit a brick wall.

But here is what the bible teaches us - in the beginning was the Word. What a wonder! The Word was with God; the Word, who was with God, was actually God!

I rephrase. "In the beginning was Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ was with God, and Jesus Christ was God." Interesting, isn't it?

This is how Christians ought to visualize "the beginning".

If any Christian still seeks another explanation, my advice to them is - the opening bible verses neatly sum up what we have come to believe.

Now to the part which must get each one of us thinking - "...through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made."

We are not our own. We belong to Another; we are some of His marvelous works! That Other has specific expectations about the ones He made. Imagine what would happen if everybody lived their lives with such consciousness! What a world that would be!

So from today, make Him your point of reference on everything pertaining to your life conduct.

Always remember that without him nothing was made that has been made; and that also relates to you!

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Sermon #108: Hypocrisy & Deceit

 

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship [Him] in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24, NIV).

We must always read our watches correctly. John talked about a time that was coming; then immediately he alerted us to the fact that actually the time had already come. 

We are living in such a time...a time to worship the Father with genuine, burning hearts - never in deceit and hypocrisy.

I believe there are so many worshipers who are in the category of true worshipers. I also believe that there are many who are outside this group. Some of those who are outside the group of true worshipers sincerely long to change for the better – but the rest, for some reason, seek to remain the same.

The truth of the matter is that hypocrisy and deceit in the end only hurt the one harboring them.

In John 4:23-24, Jesus talked about true worshipers. What status do they have - the true worshipers?

Jesus said, “…[true worshipers] are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” Now that’s remarkable, because it means that there are worshipers that the Father is not seeking at all – the worshipers that the Father does not seek - the insincere worshipers. With regards to these, the Lord expects nothing but a complete u-turn.

We need to be in the right group. We need to always live right with God and fellow human beings. We need to be the kind of worshipers that the Father seeks; otherwise we would be a hopeless lot!

Are you the kind of worshiper that the Father seeks? Am I the kind of worshiper that the Father seeks? These are pertinent questions which we should constantly be asking ourselves.

The Bible says: “Examine yourselves...; test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5, NIV). Every worshiper - you and me - needs to do this always.

There are two basic kinds of hypocrites found in the Church. The first group comprises of non-Christians who attend church and pretend to be Christians. This is an obvious group; it pretends to attend Church for God's sake when actually it has other motives for doing so. This even applies to some leaders of church assemblies!

The second group comprises of Christians who are hypocritical with regards to some areas of their lives.

We need to build up each other in love; that is the will of God. There absolutely is no room for condemnation. I do not intend to condemn anybody by writing this; instead I write to the end that somebody reading this article may be transformed or built up by it.

It is also important to note that I also get some lessons from the very things that I write.

The purpose of this article is to encourage each other to examine ourselves with the aim of identifying where we could be going the hypocritical route, with the intention of making the necessary corrections. The hypocritical route is not an esteemed route; so we are all discouraged from continuing to follow it. The Bible has much to say about hypocrisy; we should study it for guidance on this matter.

Although I focus on hypocrisy and deceit in the Church, there is a lot of it outside the Church. There is hypocrisy in world politics, in business, in charity work, in families, etc. Although some members in such entities do not believe in God, they are still encouraged to desist from hypocrisy from the point of view of morality, principle or conscience.

“Am I a hypocrite? Am I not?” “Do I exhibit hypocritical tendencies?” - you might already be quizzing yourself. That's a good starting point. People who examine themselves that way are, in my view, better in this regard than people who seem not to care. 

May we, to the best of our abilities, strive to be sincere to God, to ourselves, and to fellow human beings. That is the will of God; and this I exhort.

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Sermon #107: In The Midst of the Novel Corona Virus (Covid-19) Pandemic


Spare a thought for your 'neighbor" 
 

The world is passing through an immensely challenging phase because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It seems as though no country will be spared. We also have not seen the full measure of the pandemic's fury, in my view.

We must understand that it will take the effort of all of us to come out of this situation; not just your effort and mine, but that of the entire world. The journey is not going to be easy without the cooperation of all.

We need to work together. If one avoids putting their hand to the plough, all it would mean is that we will be in this situation for quite a long time - with even worse consequences.

We protect ourselves out of love for mankind. If I am infected, it means a lot more may be infected and affected because of me. Remember, some of such people may be dear to us, and it would really break our hearts to make them pass through such trying situations.

We also protect ourselves out of the love for self.

So let us help, to the best of our abilities, those who may be infected and affected. This is not the hour for anybody to isolate themselves from lending a hand. Indeed, there is no greater need than this for the human race at the moment. The world may eventually stand still if we do not act enough within the time available to us.

As I was thinking about the current developments around the world with regards to the Covid-19 pandemic - the topical issue on everybody's lips and every newsroom - I could not help but find the following poem both inspirational and instructive:
                                    
"Human beings are members of one another, 
since in their creation they are of one essence. 
When the conditions of the time brings a member (limb) to pain, 
the other members (limbs) will suffer from discomfort. 
You, who are indifferent to the misery of others, 
it is not fitting that they should call you a human being."

["Adam's children are limbs of one body, 
that in creation are made of one gem. 
When life and time hurt a limb, 
other limbs will not be at ease. 
You, who are not sad for the suffering of others, 
do not deserve to be called human."]

Saadi Shiraz - Popular Iranian Poet 

May this jolt us into even greater and more effective action against this global pandemic! There is a role you can play in this, in your own way and by the means possible to you, and driven by love. 

For God's sake, be encouraged to stretch out a helping hand!

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