"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for You created all things and by Your will they were created and have their being." Revelation 4:11
We need to know God and we need to make Him known.
The Most Important
What comes into our mind when we think of God is the most important thing about us. No person is greater than his religion, and no religion is greater than its concept of God.
Who is God
The essence of idolatry is the entertaining of unworthy thoughts about God. We must purify and elevate our concept of our Almighty God for He is gloriously infinite and majestically eternal. He is the righteous One, the God of justice, the God of wrath and judgment. He is the most holy God, the God of glory and grace, of love and mercy, the God of Creation and Salvation. Our worship, in spirit and in truth, depends upon our understanding of who God is.
Scoffers and Mockers
There is a rising tide of anti-Christian intolerance worldwide. Through Hollywood films, in the news media, in all too many schools and universities, Christians are being labelled, ridiculed, blamed and discriminated against. Christophobia, an irrational hatred and fear of Christianity, is a reality. One tactic often used to silence Christians is ridicule. This encompasses everything from insults and name calling, to character assassination and blasphemous mocking of Bible history and teaching.
We should not be too surprised about this. The Bible tells us that even as the Lord Jesus was dying on the Cross for our sins: "those who passed by hurled insults at Him, shaking their heads and saying 'So! You who are going to destroy the Temple and build it in three days, come down from the Cross and save Yourself!'" Mark 15:29-30
Throughout the Gospels we read of mockers and scoffers who even sneered at the Lord Jesus Himself. "The pharisees, who love money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus." Luke 16:14
"Many of them said, 'He is demon possessed and raving mad. Why listen to Him!'" John 10:20
The Bible warns us not to allow the world to squeeze us into its mould, instead we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2).
The human heart is naturally inclined towards folly. We are all too easily enticed by folly's seductive appeal. But the book of Proverbs makes clear that foolishness leads to sin, shame, servitude, punishment and destruction. It produces bitterness, grief, sorrow and ruin. Foolishness transforms its followers into scoffers, mockers, perverted and impetuous persons who hurt and oppress others. We are warned to avoid folly like a contagious disease.
"He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed." Proverbs 13:20
"A proud and haughty man – ‘scoffer' is his name; he acts with arrogant pride." Proverbs 21:24
"Scoffers ensnare a city…" Proverbs 29:8
"The devising of foolishness is sin and the scoffer is an abomination…" Proverbs 24:8-9
"Fools mock at sin…" Proverbs 14:9
"He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker…" Proverbs 17:5
"The foolishness of a man twists his way and his heart frets against the Lord." Proverbs 19:3
"Wine is a mocker, intoxicating drink is a brawler, whoever is led astray by it is not wise." Proverbs 20:1
"Cast out the scoffer and contention will leave; yes strife and reproach will cease." Proverbs 22:10
"A prating fool will fall…" Proverbs 10:8
"Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him." Proverbs 29:20
"The complacency of fools will destroy them." Proverbs 1:32
"Perversity is in his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord…" Proverbs 6:14
"The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours foolishness… the heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness." Proverbs 6:2,14
"A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart." Proverbs 18:2
"A fool's mouth is his destruction and his lips are the snare of his soul." Proverbs 18:7
"For scorners delight in their scorning and fools hate knowledge." Proverbs 1:22
"But a fool rages and is self-confident." Proverbs 14:16
"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise." Proverbs 12:15
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7
God Despises Mocking
Even a superficial reading of the Bible will make it abundantly clear that God despises mocking and scoffing. In fact, the Word of God declares: "The eye that mocks a father, that scorns obedience to a mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures." Proverbs 30:17
At the mount of Crucifixion at Calvary there were three Crosses. Initially, the criminals being crucified on either side of Christ mocked Him and hurled curses at Him. Then one of the criminals rebuked the other man saying: "Do you not fear God… we are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve, but this Man has done nothing wrong. Then he said 'Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.'" Luke 23:40-42. There were three Crosses at Calvary: one died on the Cross of rebellion – He died in sin. One died on a Cross of repentance – He died to sin. Jesus died on a Cross of Redemption – He died for sin.
A Call to Repentance
If you have been one of those in rebellion, scoffing and mocking at spiritual truths, you can follow the example of the man who died on the Cross of repentance and die to sin. If you recognise foolishness in your life, the Scripture challenges us: "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him." James 1:5
The Way of Wisdom
We all need more wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. May I challenge you, to work your way through the book of Proverbs. This treasure trove of wisdom is in the middle of the Bible, just after the book of Psalms. There are 31 chapters to Proverbs, enough for us to read one chapter every day of the month. Prayerfully read through the book of Proverbs over the next 31 days and it will change your life.
It Is Not the Critic That Counts
Theodore Roosevelt pointed out:
"It is not the critic that counts;
nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled;
nor where the doer of deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena;
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs and comes short again and again;
who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions
and spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at best knows the triumphant of achievement;
who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while doing greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who know neither victory nor defeat!"
Hunger for Reality
The more we grow to know the Word of God, the more we will learn to know the God of the Word. Love grows out of time spent together in a committed relationship. We need to deepen our relationship with God through spending more time seeking Him. "And you will seek Me and you will find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13
John the Baptist declared: "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Matthew 3:11-12. A blacksmith keeps his iron in the fire long enough for the fire to be in the iron. We too need to be so immersed in God’s Word and spend so much time in His presence that His fire burns in our hearts. "For our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:29
Grow in Grace
Love is much like fire: it needs fuel, heat and oxygen. It constantly needs more fuel and oxygen to keep it raging. Love is like life: it grows if fed and dies if starved. Our love for God feeds by faith on His Word and in worship and in adoration. We need to experience His glorious presence and majesty through constant prayer and praise. Our soul should feed on His Word and drink of His spirit. "Oh God, you are my God, and I long for You. My whole being desires You; like a dry, worn out and waterless land, my soul is thirsty for You." Psalm 63:1
When Jesus was asked what the greatest command was, He replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second most important command is this: Love your neighbour as you love yourself. There is no other commandment more important than these two." Mark 12:30-31
Nothing Less than the Best
Our Lord Jesus Christ demands wholehearted love, not with some of, or most of, our heart, but love God with all. Nothing less than everything we have is sufficient for Almighty God. Nothing other than the best we have is worthy enough for our sovereign Lord who is our Creator and our Redeemer. Our hearts should be filled with love for God. We should be excited about Him and eagerly desire to experience His presence. "Your presence fills me with joy and brings me pleasure forever." Psalm 16:1
The Greatness of God
We need to consider how great is our God. He is infinite, without limitation. Without beginning and without end. He is eternal, self-existent. He depends on nothing and no one else. God is immutable, He is always consistent. Yesterday, today and forever, the Alpha and the Omega. "Declare His glory among the nations, His marvellous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods." 1 Chronicles 16:24-25
Jesus Christ is Lord
Consider the Lordship of Yahweh. He is omnipotent, all-powerful; omnipresent, everywhere present, eternal both in time and omnipresent in space. He is omniscient, all knowing. He is the Truth. "He is the living God and He endures forever; His Kingdom will never be destroyed. His dominion will never end. He rescues and He saves; He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He rescued Daniel from the power of the lions."
Holy, Holy, Holy
We need to bow before the holiness of God. He is righteous and just. He is a God of wrath who hates sin. He is good and great. "Great and marvellous are Your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are Your ways, King of the Ages. Who will not fear You, Oh Lord, and bring glory to Your Name? For You alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before You. For Your righteous acts have been revealed." Revelation 15:3-4
The Love of God
Have you experienced the love of God? God is Agape – love. He is gracious and merciful. He has provided for the Salvation of His people. In Him is forgiveness and full Atonement for all sin. Our God is a Covenant keeping God. There is steadfast security and loyal love in Him. "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever." 1 Chronicles 16:34
Out of love we should present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God to serve Him practically with our talents, abilities and strengths. By living for God, we show our love for Him. "That I reckon my own life to be worth nothing to me; I only want to complete my mission and finish the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to do." Acts 20:24
We must love God with all our heart, seek Him with all our soul, obey Him with all our mind, and serve Him with all our strength. "All I want is to know Christ." Philippians 3:10
Shattered Hopes - Broken Dreams
Jesus Christ came into this world to reach those who feel that nobody cares. Jesus does care, and He is reaching the lonely and the desperate, the confused and the hurt, the depressed and the disillusioned. Jesus, Himself, is reaching out to you. "But God demonstrated His own love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
Turn away from your sin and submit to Jesus: tell Him where you are at, tell Him what you have done and what you need. Confess your sins to Him and listen to what He tells you. Read God’s Word, the Bible (I suggest you start with Mark and Acts) and give God control of your life. You have tried it your way… and it has not worked. Now do it God's way, The Jesus way, only His way works! "For to this you were called, because Jesus also suffered for us leaving us an example, that you should follow in His steps." 1 Peter 2:21
God gives the very best to those who leave the choice to Him.
Pray to God and surrender to Him all the bad things in your life: your hurts, disappointments, fears, failures and sins. Give them to Him and leave them with Him. Let Jesus heal you inside and forgive you and clean you. He will change you and turn your sorrows into joys, your fears into peace of heart and mind. Submit to Him and He will give you a new direction in life. "Repent and… be baptised in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38
A new start in life and a new life to start!
But, you must also surrender to Him all the good things that He has given you. Your talents and your abilities, your plans and your opportunities, your energy and your time as well as your love. Give them all to Jesus and say: "No longer will I do with them just what I want to do, or what others tell me to do, from now on I will use them as You want me to! I will ask: what would Jesus do in my place? I will not live any longer just for me, myself and I. From now on I am going to live for JESUS, no matter what the cost to help, to love and to reach this world for Him!" You do that and the Lord will do a miracle in your life, He will make you into a brand new person, a Jesus person! "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17
Jesus Is Alive…
He lives to be a friend to the friendless.
He is a helper to the helpless.
He gives freedom to the addicts.
He loves the unloved.
He accepts the outcasts.
He forgives the unforgivable.
He changes the unchangeable.
He accomplishes the impossible.
He saves the sinners.
He seeks the lost.
He gives direction to the aimless.
He gives hope to the disillusioned.
He gives truth to the confused.
He gives joy to the depressed.
He gives purpose to the purposeless.
He answers prayer.
He loves YOU.
Everyone can tell who is a real Christian or not. Jesus said that the mark of a real Christian is real love (John 13:35). We should love even as Jesus loved, and He showed us how much He loved us. He did not just sing about it, or promise it; He proved it, by His actions. Jesus showed His love for us. Should we not do the same for Him? "Our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action." 1 John 3:18
True Love is Measured by Sacrifice
Jesus showed us by His great example that true love is measured by sacrifice and some of the most revealing indicators of our love for Him are the sacrifices that we make for Him. As one famous prayer expressed it: "Teach us, good Lord, to serve You as You deserve;
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not to ask for rest,
To labour and not to ask for any reward,
Save that of knowing that we do Your will."
Love gives and does not count the cost. Love rejoices in giving, and wants to give, not out of duty, but out of a glad and willing heart. Love entails intense enthusiasm, a longing to be near and a desire to serve. Do you love God like that?
Do you get enthusiastic about Jesus? Does the thought of worshipping God and experiencing His presence excite you? Do you overflow with joy when you talk about Jesus? We must love God with all our heart.
Do you long to be near Jesus? Do you feel incomplete if you are separated from His presence? Do you eagerly long for the next worship service or quiet time with Jesus? We must love God with all of our soul.
Are you dedicated to serving God in every way possible? Are you determined to use your abilities, talents and energies for God?
"Let me seek You in longing,
Let me long for You in seeking,
Let me find You in love,
And love You in finding."
He is to be loved.
He is to be worshipped.
He is to be feared.
He is to be served.
He is to be proclaimed.
"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Timothy 1:17
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
(These Articles are all subject to change)