We must know that our God is full of Love and forgiveness.
Brother, Is there anything that you have done, that another brother is not capable of? Beloved Sister, what sin have you committed that another sister is not capable of committing? All have sinned and fallen short of Gods glory (Romans 3:23) and the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23). But Praise God! We will not be separated from God forever, we will not die, we will not burn in Hell for eternity IF AND ONLY IF we repent and be baptized believing in Jesus, the Son of The Living God. For whosoever calls on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved. There is no sin that God cannot forgive. When he has cleansed us with hyssop, we will be washed clean and we will be whiter than snow. Ps 51:7. When we are clean he also is faithful to keep us from falling away. (Jude v 24). Praise God! For being the awesome God that he really is. Have you ever wondered why God does whatever he does? (1 John 4:19) God first loved us. His Love for us is unfailing. Anything that God does is because he loves us. We have to understand this divine underlying principle behind Gods motives in doing what he does in our lives. It might be easy for you to see what I am trying to say if we see it in the light of Gods love for his people. If God loves us then why does adversity creep in? Doesn't God want his children to be happy and to praise him for what he is doing in their lives? Did we get a job, did we pass our exams, did we pray for some material benefit and had the prayer answered by God, did someone get a beautiful, godly wife, did someone get a spiritual husband? We praised God in the congregation for all of these reasons. Amen.
The answer to my question is this; Yes, God loves to do great things for his children and provide for their every need. His plans for us are good. This is the TRUTH. Amen. Alleluia. But there is also another truth about God. He is a sovereign God. And it is ours to also accept his sovereign will. His will could be poles apart compared to what some self proclaimed "SONS of God" think his will is. His will could be for us to walk on the streets just with our undergarments on (Read Isaiah) or his will could be for us to marry a prostitute (Read Hosea) or his will could be for us to face persecution (Jesus, Stephen the first martyr for Jesus name, Peter etc.) or his will could be for us to be bound in chains. (Acts Ch 27) Are we willing accept HIS sovereign will?
God gave us Jesus, so we could follow him rather than making excuses for our sins. David, Elijah, Moses and all the prophets and godly Kings from the old testament were given to us so that we could learn from their mistakes and avoid committing the same mistakes. But the greatest example for us to follow is Jesus. That is why he came in flesh so that we could follow him and try to be perfect just like our father in heaven is perfect. We must run the race looking unto Jesus. If we have come under the great new covenant because of Jesus blood then we must run the race looking unto Jesus. If we have established this fact then let us find out when did Jesus praise God.
Psalm 22. This is undoubtedly the psalm on the cross. God gave a prophetic revelation to David about the one who was to come from his line, the redeemer, the Holy one of Israel, our Lord, God Jesus. This talks of the agony of being separated from God that Jesus suffered on the cross. He was in physical pain about which he didn’t care but the real pain for Jesus was spiritual because he was forsaken by God for us. But if we notice what Jesus says in the 22nd verse. “I will declare thy name to my bretheren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.”
What? Was Jesus praising God on the cross?
Yes he was. The bible says so. It will be easy to understand this if we see it in the light of Isaiah 53:10. “It was the Lords will to crush him.”
Jesus knew very well during his life on earth about the Lords sovereign will. His fathers will was to crush him so that he could gain victory over the one who has power over death, that is, Satan. The only way to achieve that was for Jesus to die on the cross and then be raised from the dead by Gods power. If it was the Lords will to crush him, and if Jesus knew what was to happen to him during his walk on earth, then we can see why he was praising God. Jesus was praising God because he was doing the Fathers will.
Dear brothers and sisters, everyday is made by God. I can assure you that Satan doesn’t make any days. Do you think God was powerless on that day, that day that you call the worst day of your life? The answer is no. Even on our worst days, God is enthroned in heaven. But is he enthroned on our praises on that day? Even on your worst days God loves you more than you can even imagine. Ok call it the worst day of your life, but all I am suggesting is that if we look up to Jesus, it will be easy to praise God on even our worst days. I will tell you why. Because God is bigger than our situations. It doesn’t take much for God to change our situations. Jesus could praise God because he was happy to do Gods will. If we are willing to accept Gods sovereign will and fulfil it, it will be easy for us to praise him. God can change our situations in no time.
Mathew 26:53. “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” That's the confidence Jesus had in God. He knew that if he called on God, God would send more than 72000 angels to save him. (Just to illustrate how man people one angel can kill (that is at least). Refer 2 Kings 19:35. Just one angel from the lord sent to save King Hezekiah killed 185000 soldiers.) 72000 angels could have destroyed the whole solar system. If we have that sort of confidence in God that Jesus had during adversity, it will be easy for us to praise God. If and I repeat if we only measure Gods blessings by earthly provisions, then I tell you before the living God, Jesus was the biggest loser who ever walked on earth. He was born in a poor family and died a poor man. He never had his own mansion. In all his, ministry he made 12 disciples and even they forsook him in his darkest hour. He got nothing for himself in his time here on earth. What does that prove. Gods blessings don't necessarily mean that we get some material miracle or healing in our life. The real blessing of God is spiritual and Yes Jesus (who is also God) was the most blessed man to have walked on Earth. If we see it from Gods perspective, Jesus accomplished the will of our heavenly Father to such perfection that he is the author and the perfector of our faith. He found the will of God to such perfection that we are saved when we call on his name. (Joel 2:32). In spite of not having accomplished any material benefit. Jesus could say on the Cross, “It is finsihed.” His life was perfect, his atoning death was perfect and his resurrection was perfect. That is why we are not condemned but justified by faith.
Prosperity must never be judged by material possessions. Prosperity must always be measured in spiritual terms. Have we become more spiritual, more like Jesus, and yet feel more yearning for God? Are we filled with the spirit of the living God and thirst even more? When God has given us a revelation, do we try to seek him more in prayer and in his word? This is Gods will for us because (Mathew 5:3) "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”. It is only the poor, the spiritual beggars who seek more of God. We have beggars seated outside our church building. Every Sunday these beggars come to the gates of the building without fail. And they will come there Sunday after Sunday without fail. In the same way, like spiritual beggars, we should go to God and ask him for more of him in our lives and more of his spirit. And go back to him day after day, night after night. If in spirit we are who God wants us to be, then the material things will not matter anymore. I am not saying that we should not expect good (Material) things from our God. All I am saying is that even on our worst days it is possible to praise God, because we believe he can turn the tide in our favor. There is nothing, I repeat, Nothing that God cannot do.
I hope by now we understand that if there is adversity in our lives; if we are in a desperate situation, then it is not because God is suddenly thrown off the throne. We can relax, God is in total control. He is still seated on the throne. Praise God. If we are in the doldrums, its only because God has allowed it.
What? God allowed it?
Yes. God is in control brother. I can't see Satan being in a position to control our lives, or trouble us because he has already been defeated on the cross. Satan and his army of Demons are all defeated. If something untoward has happened in our lives, then it is only because God according to his Sovereign will has allowed it to happen. Can we now praise God? (Remember he can turn the tide in our favour. Romans 8:28 All things - Good or Bad will turn for our good if we love God. He is and always will remain God)
Lets see this in the bible. God allowing adversity in the lives of his children is very biblical and not the figment of somebody’s imagination.
David, the man after Gods own heart, was really the man after Gods heart when he was in adverse situations. That is where he learnt how to be close to God. That is where he wrote all those psalms. That is where he got prophetic visions about Jesus. He hid in caves and went without food. He was separated from his family and in everything he did Gods will to the extent that even when Saul tried to have him murdered, David would not lay his hands on Saul, because he knew that if he had to be king, God was able to do it for him. And we see that in his time God did make David the King of Israel. But when David prospered, he didn't exactly live according to Gods righteousness. See in our adversity we depend on God and on him alone. In the old covenant, only unintentional sins were forgiven. But our dear loving God, forgave Davids intentional sins as well. Even though his sins of adultery and murder were forgiven, he had to face the consequences of his sins for the rest of his life. He was chased out of his city by his own son. He was cursed and despised again. And that is where he got back in touch with God.
Job was a blessed man. There was nothing that Job didn't have. In modern times, Job would have been a billionaire. But even when adversity struck him, he still turned to God rather than turning away from him. At no point did he rebel against God in thoughts or words. When his wife asked him to curse God and die, Job called her foolish, and asked her, “Are we to accept only good from the Lord and not evil?” Dear Brothers and Sisters, do you see the amazing faith Job had in God? Talking about accepting evil from God needs great faith and love for our dear Lord. Do we know why God allowed such things to happen in Jobs life? There are a lot of people who claim to believe in God, but through their lives they actually prove that they despise him. And Satan, the accuser goes to God and says that such man in such street, or such woman from that town is not living according to your standards. He or she is not really your child. But when God finds someone like Job or Daniel, his heart swells and he has such confidence in that person that he points Satan to test that person, showing faith in that person, believing that even in adversity his real children will not lose hope in him, even when they are in the doldrums, their faith and love for God will not stumble. For such amazing faith God will honor us. God pointed Job to Satan and literally told him that my servant Job will not disown me.
Brothers and Sisters, this is truly loving God. And after this kind of praise, if God does miracles in our lives, it counts for something.
This is the day the lord has made; we shall rejoice and be glad in it.
Brothers and Sisters, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. His love for us doesn't change because of our situations. He is Lord of our situations also. Our praises to God should be based on our love for him, because of what he did through his son Jesus for us. Our praises should never be based on what he does for us. But rather anything that comes to us, Good or Bad, should be accepted from him because we love him. And if he does good things for us because we love him, so be it.
I hope and pray that God will reveal his love to us even more and teach us to Love him unconditionally. I hope and pray that this message drives home the message that we love God in the way he loves us. Remember the faithful husband in the beginning of this article. Even if God didn't do even one miracle after we were born again, we have enough reason to praise him for the rest of our lives simply for being faithful and forgiving us and giving us the privilege of being with him for eternity. But he will not leave us as orphans. May God do great things in the lives of everyone who trusts in him and meet them at the point of their need. May our love grow for Jesus more and more everyday compared to the previous day. I commit you all in the hands of God. May he keep you and prosper you in everyway. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.
* I have used an illustration from the 22nd Psalm from one of Brother Zac Poonens sermons. He is from Christian Fellowship Church, Bangalore. I believe he should be OK with that as long as God is being glorified.
* There is nothing wrong with prosperity preaching, as long as it is being preached according to Gods will. It is a sin to preach prosperity out of fear of losing members of the congregation to some other church.