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Sermon #117: Making Money in the Temple Courts

 "In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, 'Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!'" John 2:17 [NIV]

A stranger would not have recognized this as a place of worship.

People were busy making money. They were selling cattle, sheep, and doves in the temple courts. Some were exchanging money - some kind of bureau de changes in God's house! Can you imagine this?

Even in our day some still use the temple courts for unseemly activities and transactions. They sell their own kind of cattle, sheep, and doves. They also exchange their own kind of currencies. Right there in the temple! Yet the temple was designed as a place of worship - a place of spiritual, not physical, transactions.

Jesus was angered by the people He found in the temple courts, because they were obviously abusing the temple. He therefore took appropriate action against such practices. He drove their animals out of the temple. He scattered the currencies of the money changers and overturned their tables.

"His disciples remembered that it is written, 'Zeal for your house will consume me.'" John 2:14-16 [NIV] May the zeal for God's house consume us in equal measure, that we may conduct ourselves appropriately whenever we come under His roof.

So be sure of your intentions for visiting the temple. Respect the temple; use it only for the purpose it was designed. Go before God with humility, sincerity and with the appropriate motives; otherwise the Lord may consider you in the same manner that He considered the people that He found in the temple courts on that day!

Sermon #116: "Do Whatever He Tells You"

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?

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!

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!