It does seem today that most Christians want all their good things now. Where is the heavenly mindedness of former generations? They showed contempt for the things of this world. For them the goods, pleasures and preferments offered by the world were of no comparison with the things of Christ and the great reward waiting for them in heaven.
Why is all our attention today on the things of time which pass away in the using and of short duration? Why do we neglect the enduring and eternal things of God?
How unlike us were the believers of the Old Testament? They saw very little fruition of their faith in this world. They lived by faith and hope in God’s promises. They did not see the fulfillment and only had the merest foretaste of the blessings which were to come. This sustained them and carried them through. How many of the good things and earthly pleasures of this earthly life were cast aside so they could inherit the great and unfading riches of God. How much did they suffer and endure because the clung to this imperishable hope?
Why do we today want to weigh ourselves down with inordinate seeking for wealth and cloying pleasures?
The modern believer is not content to wait, they want here as well as hereafter. How many so-called Bible teachers promise their followers the World? How many of their followers walk away disappointed?
Luther said of the Turkish Empire (the most rich and powerful at the time), that it was nothing else but a crust cast by Heaven’s great Housekeeper to His dogs. Also when he had come into a measure of financial security and material comfort, Luther begged God not to fob him off with it and there by forego and lack desire for God’s true blessings.
The unbeliever knows nothing else but this world, here is the only good they know and experience. It is understandable if it is all they seek.
19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, Phillipians 3:19-20
Jesus said “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”John 3:19
If we must grasp at anything let us grasp at the Salvation and eternal hope which is found in Christ regardless of our status and prosperity. Let us hold with a loose grip the things of this world, which like sand slips through our fingers if they are clenched too tight.
The Wooden Wonder!
The Dehaviland Mosquito was a British multi role aircraft developed in the late 1930’s and built during the Second World War, serving throughout the war all over the World.
Due to fear of shortages in the supply of metal and seeking light weight and speed, it was constructed almost entirely of veneered wood glued together. This enabled production to be farmed out to furniture manufacturers and wood workers.
Despite being twice the weight and using a similar “Merlin “ engine it was faster than a Spitfire mark II.
The Mosquito was capable of acting as a bomber, fighter and reconnaissance aircraft.
It proved itself an exceedingly useful aircraft on the side of the allies.
It had only one major operational problem. When it was in service in the Far East, the damp and humidity actually caused some aircraft to come unglued in the air.
For an aircraft hoped to reach speeds of 400 mph plus it took a great deal of imagination to construct it out of wood.
The Christian to is an unlikely construction on God’s part. Our frailty and feebleness, as well as our sinful propensities would make us unlikely to be of any use in His purposes. We in and of ourselves would almost certainly come unglued if He did not by his grace hold us together and make us a source of “Wonder” to the myriad of Angelic beings observing from above.
Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch.
This well known story has many points of interest. I will only deal with a few. Firstly it is interesting to note that Philip at this time was actively involved in a highly successful work among the people of Samaria being attended by great crowds. God calls the Evangelist away from this important work and sends him to the middle of nowhere to deal with one man.
God’s workers go where He sends. Working with individuals is just as important as reaching the multitudes, sometimes more so.
This man was a high official of the Queen of Ethiopia and a proselyte of the Jewish religion returning from the temple. He was found deep in study of the book of Isaiah particularly Isa.53:7-8. He was wondering to whom the prophet was referring and Philip saw his bewilderment. This gave Philip the opportunity to preach Christ to the man and so immediate was the effect that he there and then sought to be baptized by Philip in Jesu’s name. The Spirit immediately carried Philip away to other work and the man went on his way rejoicing.
We can take the hint given here of watching for openings and opportunities for witnessing and evangelism, when they present themselves, it is God who sends them.
Being from Ethiopia we naturally assume this man was of the dark skinned people who dwelt there. We can certainly hope that this man’s conversion had a profound effect on his own people and lead to the conversion of others.
Various false interpreters of scripture used the cursing of Ham and the Hamitic peoples mentioned in Genesis chapter 9 as an excuse for mistreating the dark skinned peoples of Africa.
This verse clearly reminds us that there are no racial barriers at all in the way of the gospel. Indeed I think we can safely say that many people will come in to Christ’s Kingdom from Africa, South America and Asia where the gospel is preached, when the rich and privileged people of the Western World will remain outside, despite the existence of thousands of Bibles, churches and centuries of Christian preaching.
Today we hear much about “Seeker Sensitive” churches and worship. It is enlightening to observe how Philip handled this obvious seeker. He taught him the meaning of the scripture and proclaimed the good news of Jesus.
Philip was not content to point to a few proof texts but took the time to expound the Scripture especially as it referred to Christ and the way of Salvation via Calvary’s cross of which this passage in Isaiah foretells and is full of.
He was not squeamish or ashamed of using scripture, even as found in the Old Testament as the means of conveying God’s saving truth.
We would do well to follow Philip’s example today.