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Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 02 June 2013
1 Kings 20
1 And Benhadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots; and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it.
2 And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Benhadad,
3 Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.
4 And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have.
The king of Israel surrendered with these words. It's dangerous to be in the Christian fold without having made a full surrender to Christ. Jesus said you cannot serve two masters, God and money. Jesus also said the one who doesn't hate his father and mother, wife and children is "not worthy of Me". These are Jesus' own words.
Jesus said narrow is the way to Life, but not so the broad way. On the broad way you can do as you like. The way of Jesus is so narrow you cannot take any baggage along, even something small like gossip. The way of Jesus doesn't allow that.
I wondered about that word "hate" and if it really said it in the original and I looked it up. And yes, it means exactly that. I remember that I once had to say to my parents, "unless you repent of this sin, we will have to part".
(Rev Stegen also recounted some of what he said at North-West University, in quoting what an atheist said. "If I had to believe what millions say they believe, namely that the belief and practise of religion in this life influences the next, then God would mean everything to me. I would cast away from all earthly pleasures, all worldly worries; cast off all earthly thoughts and feelings as vanity. My first thought when I awaken would be about Him, and my last picture in my mind when my consciousness slips away would be of Him. I would give all my abilities to Him alone. "The future in eternity would be the only factor that concerns me. Just one soul won for heaven would be worth a lifetime of suffering. Earthly results would never hold back my hand or seal my lips. The world, with all its joys and hurts, would not capture my thoughts for even one moment. I would strive to see eternity before me always as well as the soul's eternal value - souls which will shortly be eternally happy or eternally in pain. I would go into the world and speak in opportune and inopportune times and my text would be: What does it help a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?")
Remember that these are the words of an atheist. But this is exactly what our focus should be, and what our zeal and vision for the souls of men should be if we truly believe.
How difficult for Lot when his wife had turned into a pillar of salt not to look back himself. But even though that happened he was not allowed to look back.
She still longed for Sodom and although she was out of Sodom, Sodom was still in her heart. We should truly remember Lot's wife and not take this message lightly.
Mrs Goforth, wife of famous missionary Jonathan Goforth, writes in her book "Climbing", how the Lord convicted her about her dress and even that had to be totally surrendered. Read more here.
Jacob wrestled alone with God. He sent all that he had over the brook but he himself remained behind. Do you know what it is to wrestle with God alone? The Angel of the Lord declared to him that his name would no longer be Jacob (Deceiver) but Israel, for he had wrestled with God and overcome.
We must wrestle with God and ask Him what He says. If you do not listen to God you will bump your head many times.
On the day of Judgement everyone will stand alone before God and give account. Don't allow peer pressure to guide you. Others won't stand in your place on the final day.
A certain farmer saw that he had a beautiful crop and decided that he won't just give 10%, but 20%. Then a storm came and destroyed his whole crop. He was bitter and was consumed in the gall of bitterness..
You cannot play the fool with God as if you give and take as you see fit. If you want a relationship with God then totally surrender everything to God. God has the final say.
God does not want what you can do for Him but He wants you as a living sacrifice! Only then can you say with Paul, "Christ in me the hope of glory".