Sun am 25 November 2018 – Johan Esterhuizen
Gal. 6:9; Jn. 16:33; Col. 1:13; 2 Cor. 5:20; (2 Cor. 3:1-3); Matt. 13:20-21; (Eph. 2:10); (Gen. 24); Col. 3:17; 1 Cor. 9:24-25; 1 Thess. 2:19; 2 Tim. 4:7; James 1:2-3
In the race of life there are five attitudes or qualities that we should cultivate. The first thing we need to know is that we must run with endurance. Life is an endurance race and we must run and do our best; be the best that we can be for the Lord and fulfil the assignment that He has called us to. We need to realise that each person has an assignment and the call of God on their life.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Gal. 6:9). Perseverance is vital for growing in our faith. God wants His people to persevere no matter what happens. We have to learn to overcome obstacles, difficulties, trials and tribulations to experience victory in Christ. Jesus said These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33). In this endurance race, God has given us the victory. A person of conviction is somebody who knows what he believes and why he believes and will stand firm on these convictions. These convictions have helped us to navigate the process, they enable us to persevere. These convictions do not change with the seasons and they are not debatable, they are set entities that are based upon God’s Word. For God’s children who persevere there is a gold medal. We run, we fight!
Secondly, in your race be aware of others and their need to receive Christ. Be aware that when we cross paths with other people it is always for a reason. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Col. 1:13). It is not for notches on the belt nor how we coerce people. It is about being salt and light. Salt makes one thirsty. Salt preserves! Light shines! We must be salt and light where we find ourselves, knowing that our lives mean something and we can affect people. We are Christ’s ambassadors. God is using us to speak to you: we beg you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, receive the love he offers you—be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20). Paul says we are living epistles (2 Cor. 3:1-3). People do no read the Bible; they watch how you live your life as a Christian.
The third thing is that in your race of life you will be tested. Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away (Matt. 13:20-21). Your convictions and your beliefs will be challenged. How much are we prepared to suffer for the Lord? The message today to the Church is that we have to wake up. We gave away Ascension Day without batting an eyelid, when Christ ascended and gave the Holy Spirit and the Church was born. We gave away the right to have a special day, the day of the Lord where we can worship the Lord. Let us celebrate the birth of Jesus as well as the Cross and the resurrection. It is a corner stone of our faith. We will be tested in this race, let us pass the test.
Fourth, in the race of life live righteously and look forward to His return. There is an instantaneous sanctification when I am born again. I received Christ as my Lord and Saviour on the basis of what He did on the cross and His resurrection. He declared me righteous and sanctified just as if I have never sinned. Then there is an ongoing sanctification when I live a life pleasing to God and the way I walk before men. I follow in the good works He prepared beforehand that I should walk in (Eph. 2:10). The best employees should be the Christians, the best workers should be Christians, and the most faithful should be Christians. There is the Rebecca’s principle about living the way God called us to live (Genesis 24). It is to humbly go the extra mile and minister to a stranger. She was the great, great, great grandmother of our Lord Jesus Christ. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Col. 3:17).
Finally, in the race of life, grow and excel in responsibility that comes your way. Joseph’s life can be summed up as: from the pit to Potiphar’s house, from Potiphar’s house to the prison, from the prison to the palace, from the palace to the Prime Minister. Through all those times he was betrayed, abused, misused; he was accused and lied about but he never gave up. He excelled and served God. Against all odds Joseph trusted God. We need to come to this place of convergence where our abilities, our talents collide with the call of God on our lives. When that happens God increases our assignment. When God starts to increase our assignment we do things we thought we could never do. When we start doing things we thought we could never do, we start to build a legacy. We need to run the race and run it well.
We must cultivate these qualities. They are linked to the crowns the believer will receive one day. You must run the race with endurance. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (1 Cor. 9:24-25). An incorruptible crown is for those who endure. For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? (1 Thess. 2:19). It is the crown of rejoicing. In your race of life you will be tested. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Tim. 4:7). The crown of righteousness is for those who are tested. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance (James 1:2-3). There is a special crown, the crown of glory for pastors and elders that faithfully look after the flock of God. The way we live will not only affect our present but will affect our future. The time has come for the Church to wake up and be a leavening influence in this world!