Summary of the Sermon by Pastor Andy Tjokro, GBI Bethany Gandaria City, at Bethany International Service, on Sunday, 19 Feb 2017
HAVING FAITH IN ALL SEASONS
Have we experienced a situation when God seemed silent, when God says no to our request, or even when we think God is too late? When we face problems, people tend to judge us, causing us to think that it’s because we have sinned or are unrepentant.
There are three examples of the Bible heroes who kept their faith in all seasons:
1. When God is silent.
God permitted John the Baptist to experience imprisonment because he was standing for the truth. John must have expected Jesus to come and visit him in prison to give a word of confirmation and encouragement. John wanted to give up and he started asking questions if Jesus were the Messiah.
When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” Matthew 11:1- 3
Jesus answered John through his disciples, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” Matthew 11:4-6
What Jesus wanted to tell John was to take off his eyes of his problems, to wait upon the Lord (Isaiah 40), to see beyond his prison cell.
Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (Matthew 11:11)
God mentioned to the crowd that He permitted this to happen to John. Look back and remember God’s faithfulness through the hills and valleys. Look outside our problems and see the bigger picture.
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)
This was Paul’s response when God said no to him, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)
When God says no:
· Keep praying, don’t give up.
· Let God have His Sovereignty.
· In alignment to His plans, His grace will be sufficient in our weakness.
3. When God is late.
Pastor Tjokro had an auntie whose life was so impactful in the Kingdom of God. Many years ago, after she received Christ, her husband left her for another woman. For 35 years she had been praying for her husband to come back and for God to restore her marriage. It seemed that God was too late, when five years ago her husband passed away, earlier than Pastor Tjokro’s auntie.
Nevertheless, two years before Pastor Tjokro’s uncle passed away, he was touched by God supernaturally. A letter was found in His Bible describing how he experienced God in a divine way. He saw a “movie” of his own life, repented, and received Christ as his Lord and Saviour. God might have said no for the restoration of her marriage, but God said yes to his salvation. Through Pastor Tjokro’s auntie’s life many people received Christ and many servants of God were birthed through her ministry.
Sometimes we feel that we cannot handle it anymore if a non-ideal situation is happening to us. If God is late, that means He is preparing something greater for us. Christ is more than enough for us. Our lives are in His hands.