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BIBLE READING: PSALM 25:1-7
TEXT VERSES: 4,5
TOPIC: PENTECOST – GOD LEADS US THROUGH HIS WORD AND SPIRIT
Beloved in our Lord Jesus Christ, we sometimes ask and pray for direction in our life. Are we on the right path and are we doing the right thing?
Doing the right thing is often counter-cultural in today’s “what’s in it for me” society. Society tells us to follow your desires!
Society has created all these rules for us and expects us to blindly follow them in exchange of acceptance, a ticket to success. But if society represents acceptance, success, why are the majority of people then unhappy and unsuccessful?
How difficult is this not to do the right thing? As Christians, we know we should be loving, and ethical people who do good to everyone we come into contact with as much as it is humanly possible. However, the truth is that we sometimes fail to do just this! Every Christian are faced with choices.
Regarding our children: Even when you have done your best to raise your children in the Christian faith, we have no guarantees they’ll make the best decisions. We have no guarantee that they will choose the right companions. And in the teenage years they are at a place in life when their friends’ influence becomes more significant as their parents’.
Another example is that Human nature or society will usually lead us into wanting revenge or payback for the hurtful things that others do to us instead of forgiveness. The world will tell us repay evil for evil, but the Lord says to love one another unconditionally and turn the other cheek.
Even in suffering with life threatening diseases like cancer, the voices are more and frequent and there is a good chance that euthanasia will be legalized in Victoria later this year. There is no reasoning out of the Word of God and the voices are more that people should have the choice to die with dignity. The Word of God teaches different. In 2 Corinthians 4 we read in verse 11 and 15 about our obligation: “For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”
This is not easy to be a Christian today, but it never was! Our Lord Jesus Christ told us in Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
How can we find direction in our life when the narrow road is sometimes so difficult to follow? When it is easier to follow your heart desires, the wide gate and way, but know that it will lead ultimately to your destruction?
If we just can have clear direction about the storms and questions in our life… If we just can just have a clear answer what to do…
King David struggled with the same questions as us. We are not certain about David’s circumstances in this Psalm. In light of his repeated references to his sin, he must have been older. Since his sin with Bathsheba led to the events of Absalom’s’ revolt, it was probably written in that period. He has treacherous enemies that are seeking to exult in his demise (vv. 2-3). These enemies are many in number and they hate David with violence (v. 19). They have gained the advantage over David, because he describes his feet as already caught in their net (25:15). David feels lonely and afflicted, and his troubles are growing worse, not better (vv. 16-17). And, David’s repeated requests for God to teach him (vv. 4-5, 8-9, 12, 14) imply that he is confused in the midst of this mess and he is asking for God’s way.
David went to the Lord with all his questions and he prayed: “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”
Today on Pentecost we can know that God leads leads us in His will and the narrow path in two ways.
With the Word and this is the pure preaching of the Word, and the strength of the Holy Spirit, the Church expanded all over the world and through His two witnesses, the Word and Spirit, God leads us in His will or the narrow path.
On Pentecost it is all about the Holy Spirit, and also about the work of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2 verses 2-3, we read: “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.’’
When we preach about the Holy Spirit, we can also preach about the work of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is His New Testament Church that was established on Pentecost here on earth, the fulfilment of the promises.
A new age has arrived! That was the start of the New Testament Church, the age of the Holy Spirit, where the Holy Spirit will lead us in God’s will.
Jesus said in Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” This power is the Holy Spirit and He is with the Father and the Son, true and eternal God, and He was given to us personally.
God also leads us through His Word. His Word is indeed a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105). Through the proclamation of the Word, the Holy Spirit works the faith in Jesus as our only Savior. He urges us to live according to God’s will and He works the daily repentance in our hearts. He comforts us when the burden becomes too heavy and He keeps us standing in our faith to pray for salvation and wait patiently for the Lord the same as David in our Bible Reading.
The Gospel about the salvation in Jesus is the message and the local church is God’s plan. God has given to His church through His Spirit spiritual weapons for the bringing down of Satan’s strongholds and also society’s demands to live according your own desires and to live for yourself. These ordinary means of grace are the Word, sacraments, and prayer. Prayer is to ask for God’s will like David in Psalm 25 in situations beyond your control.
Prayer is talking with God. Prayer is “necessary for Christians” because “prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness which God requires of us.” Jesus said in Luke 11: 13 “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”
Our misery and bad choices are because of sin and pride. So was David’s misery mainly about bad choices if we think about his incest with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband.
The same is true of our bad choices. Sometimes we will persist on doing the wrong thing because of our desires. We will continue with bad habits because it is so hard to break the cycle. We will continue to hurt, because of the deep hurt and emptiness inside of us.
This is because of sin. We, who were created by God to glorify Him, live for ourselves. People, who were created to honor God; disobeyed the Lord willingly. This disobedience of man against his better judgment was the cause of all pain and suffering, wars and diseases. Man fell so deeply in sin that in him, he was not able to anything good and was inclined to all evils. A miracle was needed to save mankind!
This miracle is the Holy Spirit, on Pentecost, and Jesus indicated that our Father in heaven gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. We need to be born again! The new birth through the Holy Spirit is a miracle of God. Our misery was so great that there was no hope for us unless a miracle happened. Unless we receive the Spirit of God and are born again. There must have been a new beginning, and we could not do this on our own because we were born in sin.
Christ died for our sins and Satan’s power was broken and also the power of death. He was raised on the third day again. With His crucifixion and His resurrection, He earned for us the true and eternal life.
The Holy Spirit makes us share in the salvation through Jesus Christ. If this happens; the rebirth takes place. The miracle is only from God. The Spirit works the Rebirth by the preaching of the gospel. In 1 Peter 1: 23, 25 we read ‘’for you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.’’ And in verse 25: “but the word of the Lord endures forever.”, And this is the Word that was preached to you.”
The Holy Spirit is also working through our conscience which is tested through the Word of God. Our conscience stands under the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit and is a red light that warns us if we follow the wrong path. Our conscience drives us to ask for repentance in the assurance that will receive forgiveness of our sins because of Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross.
Then I try not to dwell on those sins, because they are now under the blood of Christ. But when they come to mind, they remind me of how corrupt my heart not only was, but still is (because I am still susceptible to the same sins). And, I thank God for His great love that sent His Son to bear my penalty for those sins and His Spirit that assures me I belong to Him.
This is how Word and Spirit are working together and how God leads us to follow His will.
We know that times are difficult, but we have everything we need to follow the narrow path!
In your most difficult times, in the times your conscience is charging you, in times that you or your loved ones are following the wrong path, remember that you have everything you need, to came back on the only way to heaven, the narrow path, this is Jesus. We have the Word and the Spirit.
Pray in the difficult times when you are confused the prayer of David and the Spirit will lead you in the Truth: “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, or you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”
The Lord is the God of our salvation, He gave us His Spirit to share in Jesus as the only way. And Jesus assures that He will give us the morning star, the light when the night is on the darkest, and He commands: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”