SERMON SUNDAY 3RD MAY 2020

SUCCESS THROUGH ADVERSITY

 

 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose Romans” 8:28

When we think of David in the scriptures it’s usually as the boy who slew the giant of a man Goliath, Israel’s enemy but if we consider it more deeply, it was God using Goliath that brought the mere shepherd boy to Israel’s attention and took David on the road God had anointed him for, to become the future king of the nation. David of course became Israel’s greatest king and is honoured by Israel even today with the star of David as Israel’s national flag, not forgetting of course that Jesus came through the line of David Luke 3:31.

In the book of proverbs 16:7 it says “when you please the Lord you can make your enemies your friends” often of course we can have types of Goliaths in our lives to overcome. At the moment the Coronavirus and the lockdown must seem like Goliaths in our lives, even the South African world evangelist Angus Buchan and his wife are restricted because both have the virus, although they don’t have symptoms. Angus recently reminded us that the Israelites too went into lockdown by God when the angel of the lord passed over the dwellings of Gods people and the blood painted lentils Exodus 12.

David said in Psalm 23:5 “you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” in Luke’s gospel we read of a group of friends who attempted to bring a severely disabled men on a mat to be healed by Jesus, But there was such a crowd in and around the house where Jesus was preaching they could not reach him, but they overcame by removing some tiles from the roof and lowering the man down through the space and Jesus healed the man Luke 5:20. Of course the Pharisees didn’t rejoice because Jesus told the man his sins were forgiven. But God can even use our critics as a means to promote us, It is a fact many of the famous sayings Jesus spoke that are remembered today were his answers to those same critics who tried to test him.

In the book of Exodus we’re told a pharaoh from a new Egyptian dynasty who either knew nothing about the Jew Joseph who became second only to pharaoh previously and saved Egypt and many from a terrible famine (or chose to ignore the history) and because the Israelites grew in numbers this pharaoh oppressed them with hard labour, But the greater the oppression the more they multiplied. The same is true of the early Christian church persecuted by the Roman emperors but yet the Church grew and grew until it overthrew the Roman Empire.

When we think of the name Judas, it brings to our mind treachery and betrayal, but God used that betrayal to bring salvation to those who would receive the precious gift. On Easter Sunday we rejoice in the resurrection but first came the suffering of Christ on Good Friday but the one came before the other. Sometimes it can seem as if failure is the final end to everything like those early disciples who viewed Jesus’ death as a gigantic failure, but it was actually the beginning of a great victory for mankind.

Giving a prophetic word, concerning the return of our Lord, David says in Psalm 110:1 “the lord says to my lord: Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”. I’m sure sometimes when we come up against large challenges in life and at first we don’t succeed in overcoming them we can view it as failure. I remember in my early years, In retail I was being interviewed after I requested for a promotion to management, My area manager told me to put the kettle on, a bit later he said “that kettles slow” to my embarrassment I realised I’d plugged the kettle in but hadn’t switched it on, I didn’t get the promotion but sometime later a different area manager did promote me, and it was a very successful time for me and my staff and that area manager taught me and prepared me unbeknown to him for the future when I would become a pastor. That lesson was don’t let the difficulties overcome you, you must overcome them, which reminds me of a little book titled “failure the back door to success by Pastor Erwin Luther who writes: “we forget that God is a specialist; he is well able to work our failures into his plans; and that fits well with our scripture Romans 8:28

 

Grace, Mercy and Peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Pastor Terry