Wednesday 30th Sep 2020Lighthouse

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The Lord bless you, and keep you [protect you, sustain you, and guard you]; The Lord make His face shine upon you [with favor], And be gracious to you [surrounding you with lovingkindness]; The Lord lift up His countenance (face) upon you [with divine approval], And give you peace [a tranquil heart and life].’

Numbers 6

 

The lord's keeping 

 

This morning our subject is how the lord protects us.keeps us sustains us and guards us.

 

I pray that we learn to love the keeping of the lord. We can look at the scriptures as a bunch of outdated rules and Children’s stories, and see God as the old grey haired judge or we can see the scripture as purposeful life giving instruction on how to live move and have our being. Jesus grants us life in ourselves, gives us freedom from guilt shame and condemnation.  Give us security, hope and assured destiny.

 

I have three points this morning on how we may know some of the ways of the lord provides for us and how the Lord operates 

 

  1. Christ himself prays for us.
  2. His Spirit warns us.
  3. Christ speaks to us, to build our faith

 

Let's open in the letter the apostle Peter wrote as close follower of Christ.

 

In 1 Peter 1.5

 

God’s power protects you through your faith until salvation is shown to you at the end of time. (1 Peter 1:5 NCV)

 

As children of God, we have a place with Christ, we have eternal life and we also understand that his power is keeping us until the very end when our salvation is final. He does this by our faith in Him.

 

Those without any kind of faith can seem lack focus and purpose.

 

And ultimately feel like life is pointless but there is an end time, a judgement  which we wait for with expectations rather than fear, we are expecting Christ to come and call us home 

 

The amplified versions says it like this...

 

1 peter 1 3-5

 

By His boundless mercy we have been born again to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 

 

We have been Born anew into an inheritance which is beyond the reach of change and decay, unsullied and unfading, reserved in heaven for you

 

We are being guarded (garrisoned) by God's power through our faith till we fully inherit that final salvation that is ready to be revealed for you in the last time.

 

We understand by this that our protection and keeping comes from God. 

 

With confident expectation that God has good for us here and now and ultimately eternity with God.

 

More specifically, our protection comes from the power of God. [We] are [now being] kept by the power of God." 

 

In verse 3 we read that God causes the new birth, birth into his family and in verse 5 we see that God protects his children all the way to heaven. 

 

Our protection and our security doesn't mean that there isn't a battle, or that we will always win, there are challenges we face to our faith, there are trials and temptations, there is an enemy that would love to steal kill and destroy.  but God will fight for us with his never failing omnipotent power.

 

God uses faith to protect us. "[We] are [now being] protected by the power of God through faith."

 

It is this faith in God, that gives us the confidence that we are kept by him.

 

One way of saying this in our modern language, means that God is keeping a careful watch over us. As we learn to trust him we realise how much he is protecting us.

 

Peter continues to talk reason to rejoice even during the trials in life

 

In this you rejoice greatly, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, which is much more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested and purified by fire, may be found to result in [your] praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:5-7 

 

So How does God keep us, if we are going to have challenges anyway, why do we need the Lord, what is the role of God when we are facing trials. 

 

If life is essentially suffering due to our negligence or malicious behaviour of others, by various evils, even nature itself that conspires against us.

 

How does trusting in God charge that ? How does believing that he is able to make things turn around for the good just by placing their trust in Christ.

 

If our pursuit is purely entertainment or happiness how do we feel when things happen beyond our control? 

 

But through enduring faith and patience we find our purpose which mitigates suffering and evil.  

 

In our daily walk with God we know who we are as children of God and we can say with confidence.

 

'The lord is keeping me'

 

We have the kind of faith that we have no doubts that his life sustains us.

 

 

  1. Christ prays for us

 

First point 

 

Christ always lives to make intercession for us” (Hebrews 7:25). 

 

Christ is always pleading our case before the Father, like a defence lawyer on our behalf.

 

We have to understand the power that we have while Jesus is interceding for us, there is the opposer, Satan who is accusing us, pointing out our sins and frailties before God, just as he did with Job in scripture.

 

We should not  employ ourselves in the service of the opposer in accusing others, simply pointing to their mistakes without giving them the answer.

 

So we have someone who will speak on our behalf

 

Make no mistake that those accusations fall upon deaf ears in heaven, because Christ’ work on the cross paid our sin debt in full; as, 

 

God always sees us in the light of the perfect righteousness of Christ. 

 

We too can act like an intercessor and pray for those who we know have left the faith.  

 

Those who have pushed against the Lord’s keeping and even those who persecute others in the faith.

 

We see an example in acts 9 we see Saul meeting the lord on the road to Damascus. 

 

Christ appeared to Saul, asking why are you kicking against the prodding.  Kicking against my leading.

 

Rest assured, if Christ can speak to a someone, so hell bent on destruction, he can speak to us.

 

 Luke 22.

 

Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that all of you be given up to him taken out of the power and keeping of God, that he might sift all of you like grain,

 

But I have prayed, especially for you [Peter], that your own faith may not fail; and when you yourself have turned again, strengthen and establish your brothers and sisters. (Luke 22:31-32 AMP)

 

Jesus knew the challenges that Peter and the other disciples would face during the hours and days while he was being arrested on trial.

 

Satan asked for all of them especially Peter.

 

To separate them from the power and keeping that God has for them.

 

What was the solution?

 

Jesus prayed.

 

He prayed not only that peter would return but that he would be a strength and help to others.

 

Jesus prayed that Peter's faith not fail utterly. 

 

That is why Peter wept bitterly and returned from his sin. But to whom did Jesus pray? To God, his Father. And what did he ask God to do? 

 

To not let Peter's faith come to an end. 

 

God who brought him back from unbelief and gave him tears of remorse.

 

In John’s gospel we hear how Christ prays and is still interceding for us at the right hand of the father.

 

While I was with them, I kept and preserved them in Your Name 

 

Those You have given Me I guarded and protected, and not one of them has perished or is lost except the son of perdition 

 

Peter knows first hand what he is talking about. 

 

Those who are born of God "are protected by the power of God through faith"—through God's sustaining their faith—for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 

 

He caused us to be born again by creating our faith; and he protects us on the way to heaven by preserving our faith.

 

The scripture tells us that the enemy stalks like a roaring lion.  But the lord is keeping us.

 

Death is not our enemy as we are assured of salvation, resurrection at the end time and while we wait we are with Christ.

 

Sufferings is not our enemy, as peter says

 

It's our suffering that refines our faith.

 

Even if we suffer, God works things out for our good.

 

 

  1. His Spirit warns us.

 

Second point is The Holy Spirit speaks into our lives, warning us guiding us.  

 

Because we are not of this world, we belong to God and we don’t continue doing whatever evil come to mind.

 

Now we have not received the spirit that belongs to the world, but the Holy Spirit Who is from God, given to us that we might realise and comprehend and appreciate the gifts of divine favour and blessing so freely and lavishly bestowed on us by God. (1 Corinthians 2:12 AMP)

 

He warns us away from temptation.

 

We have a role to play, in that we can make a covenant with our eyes not to look upon evil.  The eyes a window to our soul.  

 

Proverbs 4.23

 

Guard your heart, for out of it flows the issues of life.

 

Jesus said

 

34 “But be on guard, so that your hearts are not weighed down and depressed with the giddiness of debauchery and the nausea of self-indulgence and the worldly worries of life, and then that day [when the Messiah returns] will not come on you suddenly like a trap;

Luke 21:34 

 

His spirit is warning us so, Do not grieve the spirit, when we speak to others be kind, you belong to him, his Spirit is in you. Allow his Holy Spirit to fill you with such love for others.

 

Ephesians 4

 

When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. 

 

Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you. And do not make the Holy Spirit sad. 

 

The Spirit is God’s proof that you belong to him. God gave you the Spirit to show that God will make you free when the final day comes. 

 

Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. 

 

Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ. (Ephesians 4:29-32 NCV)

 

Third point

 

  1. Christ speaks to us, to build our faith

 

Our fellowship with Christ is a two way conversation, when we sit in our room or a quiet space and pray to our heavenly fathers he hears us, when we ask he answers, when we seek we find and when we knock doors open.

 

He will speak to us, thoughts will come to our mind, scriptures come to us and  we realise we know what to do and how to act.  You know what the right path to take.

 

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

Romans 10:17 

 

Psalm 19 says keep me from missing the mark and let the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you 

 

When we fill our loves with what Christ says we begin to build up our faith.

 

When we pray, with the aid of the Holy Spirit we are built up too

 

Jude 20

 

But dear friends, use your most holy faith to build yourselves up, praying in the Holy Spirit. 

 

Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the Lord Jesus Christ with his mercy to give you life forever.

 

God is strong and can help you not to fall.

 

He can bring you before his glory without any wrong in you and can give you great joy. He is the only God, the One who saves us. 

 

To him be glory, greatness, power, and authority through Jesus Christ our Lord for all time past, now, and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:20-21, 24-25 NCV)

 

So we should pray, in the spirit and in scripture as Christ taught us.

 

"Lead us not into temptation, and deliver us or keep us from the evil one" 

 

1 Corinthians 10:13. Says 

 

The only temptation that has come to you is that which everyone has. But you can trust God, who will not permit you to be tempted more than you can stand. But when you are tempted, he will also give you a way to escape so that you will be able to stand it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NCV)

 

The battle ground is our soul, we don't give over our soul for evil but we give ourselves in his service into his grace through the faith he has given us.

 

He prays for us

His Holy Spirit speaks to us

His word shields our faith.

 

Peter knows this and finishes his letter with this...

 

Be humble under God’s powerful hand so he will lift you up when the right time comes. 

 

Give all your worries to him, because he cares about you. 

 

Control yourselves and be careful! The devil, your enemy, goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to eat. 

 

Refuse to give in to him, by standing strong in your faith. You know that your Christian family all over the world is having the same kinds of suffering. 

 

And after you suffer for a short time, God, who gives all grace, will make everything right. 

 

He will make you strong and support you and keep you from falling. He called you to share in his glory in Christ, a glory that will continue forever.

 

I wrote to encourage you and to tell you that this is the true grace of God. Stand strong in that grace. (1 Peter 5:6-10, 12 NCV)

 

Close with a reading from psalms 

 

In the psalms 121 we read

 

My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip or to be moved; He Who keeps you will not slumber. 

 

The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

 

(Psalm 121:1-8 AMP)

 

The Lord bless you, and keep you [protect you, sustain you, and guard you]; The Lord make His face shine upon you [with favor], And be gracious to you [surrounding you with lovingkindness]; The Lord lift up His countenance (face) upon you [with divine approval], And give you peace [a tranquil heart and life].’

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