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Posts Tagged ‘Covenant’

God’s Way of Winning

April 27th, 2011

1 Samuel 5:1-5

  • Relevant to Easter – Dagon was a giant bunny!
  • This passage makes sense as an Easter message
  • The Ark of God had gone into another nation – the Israelites had taken it into battle
  • The Ark is like a wedding ring – a symbol of God’s covenant to Israel
  • But if you commit adultery you are abusing the symbol – the Israelites were like this, looking for other idols – they lost the Ark in battle because of their idolatry
  • The Ark being taken was so awful that when Eli found out he died instantly
  • The Bible is one big story leading up to one climatic ending – tells the story of God’s glory and power
  • The devastation of losing the Ark is a similar feeling to how the disciples felt when Jesus was taken
  • Jesus was their destiny and they were happy to follow Him – He was powerful and authoritative – their hopes must have been really high
  • Jesus was taken without a fight – it would have been devastating
  • Luke 24:21: Jesus/God can sometimes disappoint us but that is because our expectations are wrong
  • Some people are at church because all hope has gone. Others have been away from church because they feel Jesus let them down
  • If you have God on your terms, you will be disappointed
  • If you have God on His terms – the real God – you will see extraordinary things but you may have to wait a while
  • God doesn’t work on our terms
  • Everyone is looking for hope – the problem with Western culture is science argues humanity is an accident – this leads to despair
  • Even on the Cross Jesus was in control
  • The Israelites felt let down by the Ark
  • The Philistines thought the Ark was feeble, no longer able to help the Israelites
  • Col 2:15 – through this seemingly feeble man, God was destroying all evil
  • You may think everything is going wrong and think God isn’t in control, but He is
  • If God was in control at Calvary, He is in control everywhere
  • Dagon fell on his face in front of Ark and the Philistines had to prop him up – on the second night Dagon falls face down, with his head and arms chopped off
  • God is saying “stop it” – stop worshipping anything other than God
  • God might be saying this today – if things are disappearing in your life, e.g. money or relationships, God might be gently pushing over our Dagons
  • People think Jesus died and didn’t rise again – that people felt He was still alive in their hearts and out of that stories about the empty tomb were created and eventually made into a myth – then into a fraud religion.
  • This doesn’t work as myths take generations to be created and Jesus’ story was being told 20 years after they happened.
  • Paul names eye-witnesses that can be verified and the disciples were killed for preaching this message so unlikely to be a myth
  • Jesus was raised to life!
  • Why did Jesus have to die and rise again?
  • Deut 28:64 – we can’t be with God if we can’t keep His covenant – to resolve this God came to earth to live the perfect life and be sent into exile and death for us – we can’t achieve goodness on our own

Joshua – Going Back In & Slogs and Miracles

August 26th, 2009

Going Back In (Joshua 8 )

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Slogs and Miracles (Joshua 10)

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Author: Categories: General Tags: , , ,

Mount Carmel – Gunfight at OK Corral

April 19th, 2009

Elijah arrived at Mount Carmel for the showdown with the prophets of Baal. This represents the climax of Elijah’s ministry.

God often allowed Israel to be up against overwhelming odds where his hero stands virtually alone so that God can break in and demonstrate that salvation comes ultimately from God.

Moses stood against mighty Pharaoh and his army. David stood against Goliath and the Philistine army. Each of them stood virtually alone. Gideon had to cut his army down to only 300 to stand against the tens of thousands of Midianites. Each time God wanted to demonstrate His own power to intervene with salvation.

God always needed a mediator who would represent Him through obedience and faith so that He could work through His agent to bring deliverance.

Elijah represented God on this occasion. He showed complete contempt for the false religion represented by Baal. The Bible never suggests that all religions ultimately lead to God. False religion is despised (Romans 1:21-23).

The exposure of false religion
The prophets of Baal begin their ritual leaping around the altar.

They move on to ‘cutting themselves’ and displaying the kind of self-harm sometimes associated with religions that try to rid themselves of guilt through asceticism, special washings, pilgrimage etc.

Thirdly, they raved, moving into a frenzy totally unrelated to life.

Some reject Christianity because of its outrageous claim to be uniquely right. Many would argue, ‘How can only one religion be the right one?’ but this is not a scientific reason to question but rather an emotional response of rejection. It is not logical.

Not all religions lead to the same conclusion.

Restoring the covenant relationship
Elijah invited the people to draw near and rebuild the altar with its reminder of the twelve tribes and God’s covenant relationship to them, as reflected in Exodus 28:17-21 by the twelve beautiful gems on the High Priest’s chest, each expressing God’s tender love towards His people.

Elijah, the obedient servant, prays according to the will of God and fire falls.

Jesus said, ‘If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it will be done for you’ (John 15:7).

Another greater showdown

Before we close, let’s remember another hill where another encounter took place, another crowd stood against a single mediator.

On this occasion, instead of the mediator taunting like Elijah did the prophets of Baal, he himself is being taunted.

‘He trusts in God let Him rescue him if he delights in Him.’

‘If you’re the Son of God, come down from the cross.’

‘He is the King of Israel, let him come down now from the cross and we will believe in him.’

No fire falls from heaven. No answer comes from the sky. They cry, ‘He saved others, he cannot save himself.’

If Jesus the great mediator of God is going to save us, he cannot save himself. There can be no answer from heaven. There can be no miraculous escape. He must endure the suffering that others might be saved.

Later, Paul explains, in Colossians 2:14, ‘He cancelled the writing that stood against us with its legal demands. He set it aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to an open shame by triumphing over them.’

He could not save himself because he was saving us.

This is the greatest showdown of all time. Salvation is from the Lord. He must save. He must deliver.

This is Jesus in his glory
King of heaven dying for me.
It is finished, he has done it.
Death is beaten
Heaven beckons me.

You can watch or listen to this sermon here

Author: Categories: Elijah Tags: , , ,