October 2014

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Green Pastures  Email:- greenpasture@btinternet.com    Listen on WWW.harbourlightradio.org 

                                                             VIEW FROM THE PULPIT                      October 2014

Getting and Giving  There is a lot of pain and misery in our world today, especially in the Middle East where a power struggle is taking place in Iraq, Syria and Iran, where ISIS is trying to get control to enforce Sharia law and secure the oil revenues of those countries.

 Russia is similarly getting control of parts of the Ukraine, the Crimea has yielded to insurgents, and other areas are being targeted for them to usurp authority and control natural gas supplies through the country. All these acts of war are leaving thousands of dead bodies, men, women and children falling to military powers of one persuasion or another, but each wanting to get something that they do not have by force. Some refugees will have nothing to go home to, their homes and livelihood has been decimated.

 

Materialism is affecting many individual lives; this longing to have more possessions is sapping the quality of life in many households. In Western society the god Mammon has taken hold and lotteries, bingo and other forms of gambling encourage covetousness. Companies are encouraging their management teams to be more assertive, an aggression that holds no thought for the good of others but rather the promotion of self.

Jesus said in Mark 8;36 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 5:13 “There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand. As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand. And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?” Both texts ask the question what profit? And teach us that we brought nothing into the world and our hands will be empty when we leave the world. What is the point of being the richest man in the cemetery? And where will the soul be?

Some Charities run television advertisements appealing to people to give two pounds a month to supply water to African villages, or Save the Children from malnutrition or being cruelly abused. Each appeal might touch the heart but not the pockets of ‘Joe public’. Sceptics say that these problems should not have money thrown at them but be resolved at their source by eliminating corruption, greed and selfishness.

Man’s giving is often measured and looks for something in return, but God’s giving exceeds anything and everything, He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, to die on a cross for bankrupt sinners like you and me. 

Romans 8:31 reads, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”  Many people do not believe that God created planet Earth and the system that sustains all life. Even the breath of air that you just took into your lungs, you didn’t have to think about it, there is enough for the billions of lives on the planet, but not on other planets. Physical life requires water and sunlight and God gives abundant supplies of each for earth dwellers, but not a drop on other planets, despite the fact that scientists and atheistic governments spend billions of dollars on space research looking for water to prove their doctrine that life evolved from water.

Jesus said in John ch.10, “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”  Physical life involves the body, spiritual life relates to the soul and spirit. The spirit of an unbeliever is dead in trespasses and sins and needs to be born again in order to receive eternal life. Five times in the New Testament we read that Christ “gave himself”. The first one in Galatians 1:3 says, “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” God the Father gave His Son, God the Son gave Himself, He died on the cross on account of our sins. In the next chapter Paul said in v.20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” In 2 Corinthians 9:15 he said, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” Paul had great appreciation for being saved and to know his sins forgiven but there was something more, he received Christ Himself and the Holy Spirit.

When the rich man Zacchaeus got saved, Luke ch.19 says, “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Salvation changes lives and this tax collector’s life was changed and his perspective of getting and giving was changed too. He had a new heart and a new outlook on life, what he had got, and money could not buy, but faith obtained it freely by God’s grace. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  God bless.

 

Stan Burditt