Today’s Scrip-Bit   17 September 2022 Matthew 19:26.

Matthew 19:26.       With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Well it’s lazy Saturday again friends! But the ole fella wasn’t lazy this morning, he was up bright and early and moving around. (smile) I guess that was possibly because he went to bed fairly early last night, or this morning. That’s one of the disadvantages of going to bed too early, you can’t have a good excuse to lie around in bed all day. In any case the Lord’s work is always waiting to be done, so lying around is not an option, we have to get up and shake a leg, have a look at the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

Unfortunately though, this past week our friend must have been a bit confused because he sent us three quotes that he had just sent us the previous week. And out of the new two ones, I struggled to understand one of them, as they say, couldn’t make head nor tail of it, so I’m leaving it alone, rather than make a mess of it. That leaves us with only one quote for this week, but it’s a good one, and we ought to be able to do it justice. (smile) And here it is: ‘There is nothing impossible to those who will try.’ 

Now, we all know the mantra of success is try, try, try and try again, until you succeed. And that’s true to a certain extent, but some things are just impossible to man regardless of how often he tries. And that’s because he wasn’t made by the Creator to accomplish all that he desired in his own strength. The truth is that one needs to be a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ to be able to do certain things. 

And we all know, or ought to know (smile) the story of the rich young man who came to Jesus asking what he could do to gain eternal life. And though he had kept the basics of the Ten Commandments, Jesus told him: ‘If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.’ (Matt. 19:21) 

Oh, that was obviously difficult for the young man to do since he had many possessions, so he went away sad and disappointed. But we should not look down on him, because most of us would have done, and right now would probably do the same thing if Jesus told us to sell what little we had and come and follow Him. That led to this very controversial statement of Jesus to the disciples. ‘Verily I say unto you that a rich man shall hardly enter (it is hard for a rich man to enter) into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.’ (Matt. 19:23-24) 

Now there are a few things we must clear up before moving on. Jesus’ response to the rich young man was simply to show how hard it is to be a true disciple. As the scholars explain: ‘This passage teaches the seriousness of true discipleship, but in no way teaches the average man that he must sell his possessions in order to be a Christian.’ At that time, it was thought that the rich were blessed and would automatically be saved, no wonder the disciple’s shock at Jesus’ statement. But He was showing them the human difficulty for the rich to be converted, because wealth just brings out a selfish and greedy aspect of our human nature. 

It was indeed difficult, but not hopeless. Otherwise, people like Abraham and His children, Job, Bruh David, Cousin Sol and other filthy rich people wouldn’t have had a snowball’s chance in hell of entering heaven. (smile) The things that seemingly disqualify the rich from heaven are firstly what they do with their wealth, and secondly if they believe in Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour. If you sincerely believe, and use your wealth to help build the kingdom, then there should be no problem. 

Remember too that it is God who allows us to get wealth, and there’s no call for Christians to be poor and needy, since Jesus came that we might have life and enjoy it to the full, until it overflows. You can’t do that if you’re destitute. So, finally moving on, we come to Jesus’ reply to the shock the disciples felt at hearing that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter heaven. He said to them: ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ (Matt. 19:26) 

Yes friends, that’s the clincher! It’s what we need to sincerely believe if we are to journey through this earthly life successfully. Remember, none but Jesus is perfect and thus we cannot live a blameless life, and some things just need the impossible power of God to make them happen in our lives. A perfect example of that is God’s gift of grace that gives us eternal life. Without it, eternal life would be impossible for us to achieve. In fact, without a personal relationship with Almighty God, health, wealth and whatever else are of no real benefit to us. 

And I like what Candice Lucey states in her article on the subject on the website Christianity.com. She says: ‘Throughout the Bible, God’s people accomplish unfathomable tasks. God is most glorified by bringing an event to pass which seems impossible.’ And then she points out ‘3 Things to Remember about “With God All Things Are Possible” 1. Power to accomplish the impossible comes from God. 2. The impossible is accomplished for God’s glory. 3. The impossible is accomplished for our good.’ 

Now those are extremely good points for us to contemplate. The impossible can be done only through God’s power, like how Moses brought water forth water from a rock. He didn’t’ do it through His own power, but that of God. Likewise barren women, Elizabeth and Sarah and Hannah didn’t eventually have children through their own power, but through God’s. And what about Abraham impregnating Sarah when he was a hundred and she ninety years old eh? That certainly had nothing to do with their power, but all with God’s. And then the virgin birth, the incarnation of Christ! Mary gave birth to a child without knowing a man! That could only happen through God’s majestic power! 

And then we need to realize that God usually does the impossible to display His glory. Oh, does he ever like to display His glory and power so that men could wise up and see that there’s none like Him! He is the ONE and ONLY ONE to whom all honour and glory belongs! And we only learn that by getting a task that seems impossible in our own strength, but completing it successfully through God’s omnipotent help. And God’s ‘showing off’ is never just to show off, but always for some useful purpose, like the examples we quote above. 

And finally my people, until we realize that ALL God does is for our good, we’ll miss out on a lot of wonderful things, our lives will never be as rich and full as they could be. That’s simply because God LOVES us so completely, we are the apple of His eye, and He wants nothing bad to happen to us. And though we can never be perfect, and this sinful world is filled with problems, we need to put our entire and ultimate trust in His hands so that He can lead and guide us safely along the narrow path that leads through His Son Jesus Christ and ends up at Him! 

My fellow saints, the Lord created us because He wanted fellowship and communion with us, and only when we believe that and do our best to put it into practice, can we ever enjoy life to the fullest, with the joy of the Lord flowing through us! So please, let’s make that our number one purpose and goal nuh! It’s wisdom and common sense to the max! Much LOVE!

…to truly know God…is to truly LOVE Him… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   5 December 2021 Luke 14:27.

Luke 14:27.     And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Here we are together friends on another Sunday, just thrilled to be in each other’s company, whether physically in the Lord’s Sanctuary, or by technological means. The important thing is that we are together for worship, prayer and thanksgiving. And I recently read an interesting statement where a lady asked a pastor why we go to church, and he replied that we go to church because someone might need us there. That’s good. It’s also true. And the corollary to that is also true, we too might need someone there. 

Now if you have doubts about why we gather on the Lord’s day, then listen to these moving words from Hebrews, written to the displaced Christian Jews who were suffering serious persecution all over the Roman Empire. The author writes: ‘Let us hold fast the profession (confession) of our faith (hope) without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke (stir up) unto LOVE and unto good works. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.’ (Heb. 10:23-25) 

And the scholars explain: ‘10:25. Not forsaking the assembling: This admonition involves far more than an erratic attendance. It involves the entire worship of Christ and is an outward indication of an inner condition. The assembling of God’s people provides opportunity for reciprocal encouragement, strengthening, and the stirring up that can be gained from one another (cf. Col. 3:12-16) It consists of participation in worship and fellowship. The church is a body interacting (1 Cor. 12:14-17); it is not merely a dispensary of spiritual food and medicine.’ 

Wow! Yes friends, we don’t go to church just to be spiritually revived, but also to give of ourselves and to interact with others in praise and thanksgiving to our wonderful God. And now that we have a better understanding of why the saints of Christ ought to assemble, let’s get to some good old fashioned hymn singing, offering up praises to our heavenly King and Father. No doubt some of you are surprised that we didn’t begin as usual with the singing, but I happened upon those verses of Hebrews, or was led to them, who knows, and thought it a good idea to refresh our minds on the subject. 

And today’s hymn is a great favourite, one written around 1896, by the American hymnwriter, Judson W. Van DeVenter (1855-1939) and most appropriately titled ‘All to Jesus I Surrender.’ So, in a soulful, harmonious, scintillating, mid-tempo riddim, let’s offer up our sacrifices of praise from deep in our sincere hearts. 

‘All to Jesus I surrender. All to Him I freely give; I will ever LOVE and trust Him, In His presence daily live. (Refrain: I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I surrender all.) All to Jesus I surrender, Humbly at His feet I bow, Worldly pleasures all forsaken. Take me, Jesus, take me now. (Refrain: I surrender all..) All to Jesus I surrender, Make me, Saviour, wholly Thine; Let me feel the Holy Spirit, Truly know that Thou art mine. (Refrain: I surrender all…) 

All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give myself to Thee; Fill me with Thy LOVE and power, Let Thy blessing fall on me. (Refrain: I surrender all…) All to Jesus I surrender, Now I feel the sacred flame; Oh, the joy of full salvation! Glory, glory, to His name! (Refrain: I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I surrender all…I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I surrender all… All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I surrender all…’ 

Ah mih people, that was a wonderful rendition, but the problem now is how many of us are truly ALL surrendered to Jesus? We sing it like we mean it, but in actual life do we give Him our ALL, do we let every aspect of lives fall under His omnipotent dominion, or do we hold back some parts that we still feel the need to control? Remember Jesus sees our hearts and explores the real motives that lie hidden there, so it doesn’t make any sense to sing one thing and deep down inside do something else. We might fool our fellow believer, but we won’t fool Jesus. 

And remember Jesus said He requires all of us, or nothing at all. Please don’t forget what He told the rich young ruler who enquired about eternal life, about keeping the commandments. And when the ruler said he had been doing that all his life, ‘Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt (want to) be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.’ (Matt. 19:21) 

Obviously, the man didn’t want to do that back then, and so do a lot of us today. We want to follow Jesus, but we don’t want to give up our earthly possessions to do it. However, Jesus requires us to sacrifice our will for His own. As Luke recounts of Jesus in his epistle. ‘If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren (brothers), and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.’ (Luke 14:26-27) 

Those are certainly tough words my brethren. But they are surmountable ones. Hear how the scholars explain them. ‘14:26. In comparison to one’s devotion to Christ, one’s family ties must be secondary. This does not set aside Jesus’ other teachings to LOVE one’s enemies, to honour father and mother, and the like. It does highlight that absolute loyalty to Christ is paramount, even though in many societies, including the one in which Jesus taught, as well as many today, following Him, involves precisely the either-or that this verse sets up.’ 

Thankfully though, in our current society, most believers do not have to give up all their physical belongings to follow Christ, but He does need our spiritual wherewithal, which can call for different kinds of sacrifices on His behalf. And that’s the main point in being a follower of Christ…that we subordinate our will to His, and are willing to give up whatever it takes, to make whatever sacrifice that’s necessary to do His will. 

Now that’s something for us to ponder on today. Considering all that we’ve said, are we fully surrendered to Christ? Only the individual believer can truly answer that. But let’s hope that we can all answer truthfully the question with a resounding ‘YES! Much LOVE!

…surrendering all to Jesus…is small potatoes…compared to what He surrendered for us…His sinless life… 

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