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"Serving God with faith"

Summary of sermon by Albu van Eeden, 18 May 2014

 

(These days a secret had been exposed that's been held secret for hundreds of years, the extent to which Islam had been involved in slavery over the centuries, even to this day.

Europe and America had apologized a hundred times for its involvement in the slave trade in the past. But they bought their slaves from Muslim slave traders.

These days in the news radical Islamists, Boko Haram, kidnapped hundreds of girls as slaves, and killed scores of Christians that tried to resist them in a town in Nigeria. )

 

 

1Sam 13

1 Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel,

2 Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent.

3 And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear.

4 And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal.

5 And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Bethaven.

6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits.

7 And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

8 And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.

9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.

10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.

11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;

12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.

13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.

There is the possibility that we've lost our faith and yet continue to serve the Lord. When Goliath challenged the armies of Israel, those without faith trembled in fear. But because David's faith was alive and he saw this challenge and acted in faith. There is the possibility that our faith suffer shipwreck and we leave God's people as some have done to Paul. But there's also the possibility that our faith suffer shipwreck, yet we continue to serve God.

The Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6).

When you had lost your faith you might still do what you did when you still had faith. Yet there's no more faith and you do not please God anymore.

It was said of Vanya, the young Russian martyr, that he surrendered his soul and served his Jesus. How did he make Jesus his own? By his faith.

Saul sacrificed to the Lord, but Samuel says to him, 'you have done a foolish thing and haven't kept the command of the Lord'. Why? Because it was not done in faith.

This was a very difficult time in Israel. The Philistines ruled over them. Only Saul and Jonathan had swords and spears. Israel was bankrupt. They had to go to the Philistines, even to sharpen their plows.

This is the state of a person that has wandered from God. He gets his weapons from the world. When he is treated unjustly he handles the situation as the world would, with anger and grudges. Rather remain in faith and get your weapons from God.

Saul found a spiritual reason why he did what he did. Many people act the same and give a spiritual reason why they leave God's work. Yet they are completely unfruitful after they had left God's work.

Maybe you've put your life on the altar, make sure you never take it off again. Here at the mission you could still do what you do for your own reasons. Maybe you still sacrifice your life but it's no longer in God's way and time.

The first sign a person has taken the sacrifice of their life off the altar is that they start to criticize those placed over them. And they don't give true godly advice to people who come for help, dividing between bone and marrow (Heb 4:12). In stead of being sharp to discern and tell a person to deal with the grudge in their life they simply tell the person to passively accept the situation they are in.

The time when a person takes the sacrifice off the altar is usually when they experience pressure from other people. That's when you say more than you have to say in a situation and you know the situation was handled correctly until you added that sentence and said those extra words in the flesh.

We have a very sly enemy against us. He wants your faith to suffer shipwreck. He has no feeling for you (1Pet 5:8; 1Tim 1:19).

The best test if a person is from the Lord, is to look if his or her life bears fruit, are others coming to know the Lord through his or her life?

But there was hope for Saul still, if only he would have acknowledged his mistake and asked for forgiveness he would have found forgiveness. But he sought for excuses.

Even if your life has become bare, destroyed by your sins, yet if you would come in remorse and acknowledge your sins, you will find grace abundant.

It's interesting that Saul still reigned for 42 years, he stayed with God's people, fought against God's enemies, yet it was all done without faith. It did not please God.

But Jonathan is a blessing indeed. Even though his father, whom he had to look up to, had lost his faith, Jonathan hadn't lost his faith. He took up the baton his father had dropped and continued in faith and Israel conquered the Philistines because of Jonathan.

Jonathan is a type of Christ. He made a covenant with David even as Jesus made a covenant with us. Jonathan was the only king of Israel who willingly laid down his right to become king for David, even as Jesus laid down his Glory in Heaven to save us. Jonathan even pleaded for David's life so that his father tried to kill him and threw a spear at him. May the Lord raise up Jonathan's among our young people.

(Italian Summary)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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