Sunday service, dr Albu van Eeden, 27 May 2018
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
The first point is, “be strong and very courageous”, and the second point, “be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left”. This is the mystery, the nucleus, of the Christian faith both in the Old and New Testament. This is a very important slogan to the Jews, so much that they repeat these words, “be strong and very courageous” at the end of their synagogue meetings.
The Christian walk is riddled with impossibilities, everywhere. It started with Abraham, when God promised Isaac to a man a 100 years old and his wife 90. It was humanly impossible. That’s why Sara laughed when God told them they would have a child within a year. But God’s word is, “be strong and very courageous”. Otherwise you cannot walk the Christian walk.
The real Christian Gospel is very simple, even a child can understand it. Beware of those who complicate the Gospel. We are worthy of eternal death because of our sin. But God gave His Son Jesus to die in our stead that we can go free. We have to receive God’s free gift of Eternal Life by faith, repent of our sins, ask for forgiveness and confess them, and live the life of Jesus in this body of ours.
If you start to listen to your emotions, you are going to deviate from God’s way. The curse of the church of God is that they drag the things of the nations, the world, into the church – the fashions of the nations. Nowadays, through the internet, you can be in contact with the spirit of the world, even if you don’t mingle with them physically. There are few things as poisonous to the children of God, as the spirit of the nations.
It is being said in the world that you can do whatever you like as long as you don’t hurt anyone. But God’s standard is different. When Ananias and Sapphira saw others sell their ground and give the proceeds to the church, they did the same but kept back part for themselves, pretending to give everything as the others have done. When Peter confronted them about their lie, God struck them that they died. But they didn’t harm anyone. In fact they wanted to bless the church. The only problem is that they told a lie in the process, and Peter pointed out that they were not lying to man but to God.
After David had sinned with Uriah’s wife and killed Uriah, and the prophet had come to him, when he repented, he realised what his true sin was. Go and read Ps 51, “against Thee have I sinned” (Ps 51:4). David realised that he firstly sinned against God. He had the right perspective.
King Frederick the great was an agnostic. He believed that if there was a god who created the universe, one cannot know him personally. He had a mighty general who was a believer. One day there was a national feast and the king and all his generals were present. During the festivities, king Frederick made some crude jokes about God and Jesus. Eventually this believing general stood up and addressed the king, “O king you know that I am not afraid of death. I am now an old man, having fought 38 battles for you. Very soon I will be standing in front of Someone who is even greater than you, o king, my Lord and Saviour who died for me and saved me from my sin, the One whom you have been blaspheming and joking about. But I am on the brink of eternity and will soon stand before Him.” At that the king stood up, his voice trembling and said only one sentence, “I beg your pardon, my general”, and sat down. That was courage from that general.
May each of us know this strength and courage that we don’t turn aside to the left or the right from God’s way.