By Paster Wu
13 Nov 2011 Sunday
Worship song: Alleluia to Christ the Lord
|Verse 1 CN||敞 开 我 的 心 歌 唱
chǎng kāi wǒ de xīn gē chàng
我 要 敬 拜 祢 我 王
wǒ yào jìng bài Ní wǒ wáng
天 地 齐 声 来 宣 告
tiān dì qí shēng lái xuān gào
耶 稣 基 督 名 至 高
Yē sū Jī dū míng zhì gāo
|Verse 2 CN||就 算 面 对 风 和 浪
jiù suàn miàn duì fēng hé làng
一 定 有 祢 在 身 旁
yī dìng yǒu Ní zài shēn páng
当 生 命 没 有 盼 望
dāng shēng mìng méi yǒu pàn wàng
祢 荣 光 必 会 照 亮
Ní róng guāng bì huì zhào liàng
Alleluia, to Christ the Lord!
|Verse 1||I will lift my heart and sing
I will worship You, my King
Earth and Heaven now proclaim
Jesus Christ, the mighty name
|Verse 2||Through the storm and raging sea
I will never be alone
When my hope seems out of sight
I know You will shine Your light
|Chorus||哈 利 路 亚 Hā lì lù yà 哈 利 路 亚 Hā lì lù yà 哈 利 路 亚! 赞 美 我 主 hā lì lù yà zàn měi wǒ zhǔ|
Scripture Reading: Psalms 50:14-15
14 "Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High,
15 and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me."
Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Brothers and Sisters, as you have already seen, and experienced for this morning, worship is vitally important to us. Worship is vitally important to us, because when we praise the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, when we worship Him, when we are in worship of Him, when we give thanks to Him in all circumstances. Here comes the reign of the Lord, and here comes the grace of Jesus Christ, here comes the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. So this morning I give thanks not only to God, but also to the servants of worship leaders for this morning.
And brothers and sisters, two days ago, November 11th is a special day, all people who are single, on that day, singles, single people were supposed to get together, not to celebrate but to mourn the fact that they are not married yet. But brothers and sisters, let me assure you, if you are a child of the Lord, if you are coming to church to worship the Lord, you will never be alone, because the things you mourn as a single person is that nobody cares about you, nobody cares for you when you feel so lonely. But brothers and sisters, if you are a child of God, if you are a Christian, you are always and all the time in the care of Christian brothers and sisters, and most importantly, you are always in the care of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is walking with you, and He was, and He is, and He always walks with you, because He is the Lord, His heart is full of love and He cares about you, and He is ready to walk with you, and He is ready to care and love you.
In Psalm 50:14-15, the Bible tells us,
“Sacrifice thank - offering to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
So you see, in verse 14, the Bible here talks about offerings. In November every year, Haidian Church decided, a few years ago, to focus all the services of November on giving thanks to our Lord. Maybe you have seen that some foods, some fruits, and oil and some other stuff are there. Why do you think they are there? Because people want to bring the first fruit of their grain, honey, oil or other things to the church to give thanks to the Lord. So in Psalm 50, the Bible talks about offerings. I have been a pastor for 18 years, I have read the Bible many times, so all the years I have come to an understanding that there are three types of, or there are three kinds of offerings, sacrifices.
First kind of offerings: Animal sacrifices in the Old testament times
The first kind is the things that you see over there.. The first kind of offerings or sacrifices that people bring to the Lord are things like we were told in the Old Testament, like a bull, oxen, ram or lamb. People in the Old Testament times, one day, they would sacrifice or offer this to the temple, or to the tabernacle. They brought this to the Levites, that they slaughtered these and burnt the things on the altar, so that the relationship of Israelites and God could be restored; so that the heart of thanksgiving of people could be expressed toward our Lord. So that is one type, that is one kind of offerings that people brought to God.
In 2 Chronicles chapter 31, the Bible tells us a king of Israeli by the name of Hezekiah,
"Hezekiah assigned the priests and Levites to divisions— each of them according to their duties as priests or Levites— to offer burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, to minister, to give thanks and to sing praises at the gates of the LORD's dwelling. The king contributed from his own possessions for the morning and evening burnt offerings and for the burnt offerings on the Sabbaths, New Moons and appointed feasts as written in the Law of the LORD. He ordered the people living in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and Levites so that they could devote themselves to the Law of the LORD. As soon as the order went out, the Israelites generously gave the firstfruits of their grain, new wine, oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything. The men of Israel and Judah who lived in the towns of Judah also brought a tithe of their herds and flocks and a tithe of the holy things dedicated to the LORD their God, and they piled them in heaps." (2 Chronicles 31:2-6)
In verse 20-21,
“This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.”
So Hezekiah prospered by giving offerings, by sacrificing offerings to God. This king prospered. So you see, brothers and sisters, giving offerings or sacrifices to God is vitally important. Because it not only brings Israelites to the presence of God so that their sins can be forgiven by God, but also they can get favor from our heavenly king and they can prosper. But let me tell you, even though in the Old Testament times, even though Israelites sacrificed a lot of rams, a lot of bulls, a lot of lambs, they still continued to sin. They sinned against God, they worshiped other gods, they followed the teaching of other gods, that our Lord, our God disliked their offering. That is why, in minor prophet Micah 6:7-8, God said to Israelites through His prophet,
“Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn form my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul, He has showed you, oh, man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Because even though Israelites continued to offer so many rams and bulls and had them burnt on the altar, they continued to sin, their relationship with God was cut off. So that is why, even though they offered so many rams and bulls, they still did not have favor, they could not be saved by what they did, by the offering that they sacrificed.
Second kind of offering: Jesus’ death on the cross for our sin
So now we come to the second offering, the second sacrifice and that I have come to understand, that I have come to embrace, which is Jesus Christ. If you see, in the Old Testament times, rams and bulls or lambs were all the offerings that people brought to the presence of Lord, to the altar. And Jesus came, and He was that offering that our God, our heavenly Father put on the altar to be sacrificed for our sins once for all. And He was put on the cross to die, just for one time and our relationship with God be restored. Because He is the sacrifice that our God sacrificed for our sins, just once for all. Because the Bible, in Hebrew 13:12, tells us,
“And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through His own blood.”
“And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Third kind of offering: Christians’ thanksgiving and living sacrifice
In Psalm 50:14, the Bible tells us,
“Sacrifice thank – offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High.”
Because that is the vow you made in your life before God, you need to do that, you need to sacrifice thank – offering to God everyday and in all circumstances. Because the Bible also tells us and requires of us in Psalm 100:1-5,
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.”
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”.
Giving thanks to the Lord is not something you do with your own accord, but also something the Lord requires of you to do and Lord commands you to do, so long as you are a Christian, so long as you are a follower of Jesus Christ.
In Luke 17, when Jesus was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. They stood at a distance and called out in loud voice,
“Jesus, master, have pity on us!”
When Jesus saw them, He said,
“Go show yourselves to priests.”
And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, he came back praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him. Let’s us what followed. Jesus asked,
“Were not all ten cleansed? Why only you came back to throw yourself at my feet and give thanks? Why? Where are the other nine?”
Jesus intended all of them to come back, to give thanks so that not only the physical problems can be healed, but also the spiritual relationship of people with God can be restored. And Jesus considers that more vital and more important than physical healing. So, giving thanks to our Lord is a requirement of a Christian, it is a requirement commanded by the Lord. So brothers and sisters, we should give thanks everyday and in all circumstances.
I remember a story. A man was building a house. And he was sitting on the roof, knocking a nail. But carelessly, because his arm grew so tired, he could not hold very tightly of his hammer, and the hammer just all the way fell down the floor. And there was another person working on something else on the floor downstairs. And the hammer just hit his feet! As the hammer hit his feet, the person screamed,
“Praise the Lord, thank you Lord!”
And the person who was knocking the nail up on the roof asked him,
“I am so sorry! I am so sorry! But let me ask you, why did you give thanks to the Lord?”
“Because your hammer hit my feet, rather than my head.”
So, brothers and sisters, we should give thanks in all circumstances, even in miserable situation, because that is a requirement of a Christian, because that is a requirement commanded by our Lord Jesus. Because if you do that, God will prosper your life, God will make you prosperous.
In Job, chapter one, let’s look at how Job gives thanks in all circumstances. In Job 1:13, the Bible tells us:
“13 One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house,
15 and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house,
19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
Within about half an hour, less than half an hour, Job’s servants, all of them, almost all of them, were put to death, were slaughtered. All the lambs, the sheeps of Job were taken away; all the camels were taken away. And children, who were considered the honour of people in ancient Israel, also all died. It was considered a shame on Job. But let’s look at what kind of reaction Job had for what happened to him.
“At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship
Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised. (Job 1:20-21)
Let the name of the Lord, who has caused all of these bad things to happen to him, be praised! You see, brothers and sisters, Job is a great example for us because he gives thanks in all circumstances.
There are three kinds of offerings. One, in ancient times, Israelites brought offerings to the temple, or the tabernacle, or the altar, so that these offerings can be slaughtered or burnt on the altar. This is the first. And second, Jesus Christ, our Lord, our God’s only begotten Son, and our God sent Him down to this earth so that He could be put onto the cross and die for us once for all, and we can enjoy the fellowship with our heavenly king. That is the second type of offering that God set up. And third, brothers and sisters, I urge you that we should give thanks, each and every single day, and in all circumstances, so that our God could make our spiritual and physical lives prosper, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Transcribed by Esther, Franz and Shirley with the strength, love, grace and peace from our God. Edited by Liu Laoshi.
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