July 31, 2022

HOW TO ENJOY PEACE IN THE MIDST OF STORM 4

HOW TO ENJOY PEACE IN THE MIDST OF STORM 4

THF SUNDAY SERMONS

31ST OF JULY, 2022

 

SERMON

SERMON TITLE:                How to Enjoy Rest in the Midst of Storm (IV)

SERMON TEXT:                  Judges 6:11 – 24

PREACHER:             Rev. Ebenezer Olawuyi

 

MESSAGE

Say after me: I have got joy like a river. I have got peace like an ocean. No hell can take it away from me. I have joy. I have peace in the name of Jesus.

In the story we read, the children of Israel had turned away from God and they had problems. The Midianites came and attack them and they became impoverished to the extent that even Gideon was hiding in the winepress instead of being on the mountain; he was threshing wheat in the winepress which was odd. They were all hiding because when they plant and the time of harvest comes, the enemy will always appear to destroy everything. So, they cried to the Lord and the Lord who would always have mercy because His character is to always have mercy had mercy on them again. The Lord came to Gideon and said, “Oh, Gideon! You mighty man of valour”. Gideon however said, “God, what are you talking about? If I am a mighty man of valour, look at the situation.” But God told him that he was going to send him the way he is, he would use him to save Israel. Gideon looked at himself and thought he couldn’t because he was living under fear and was ridden in panic.

We serve a God who knows the end from the beginning, who declares the end from the beginning and from the ancient times, the things that were not yet done, saying, “My counsel will stand and I will fulfill my purpose.” Do you know that God already knows our situation in Nigeria? He knew many years ago and that is why He is sending a word ahead to you and saying, “In the midst of insecurity, kidnapping, banditry and all sort of things happening in the country, I am going to give you peace.” After He had spoken to Gideon, Gideon said if truly God was the one who had spoken to him, then He should prove it to him. He prepared an offering, got a lamb killed and offered it before the Lord and the Bible says, “And the Lord came and stretched His staff on the rock where the meat offering and all the broth were, suddenly, fire came out from the rock and consumed it”. At that point, Gideon was amazed and knew he was before the Lord but he didn’t know it. You know, in the days of old when you see the Lord face-to-face, it means you are going to die. He thought he was going to die, but the Lord said to him, “Peace! You are not going to die”. In verse 24, the Bible says, Gideon built and altar there and called it “Jehovah Shalom – The Lord our Peace”.

Peace is not something you achieve, it is something you receive. God has given us a covenant, He reveals himself in different ways: Jehovah Rapha – You receive your healing; Jehovah Tsidkenu – You receive your righteousness. You receive it, you don’t work for it. God is saying, “I am your peace. I have entered into a covenant with you to give you peace.” So, peace is a product of a covenant. Peace is something you have to receive. That peace in the Hebrew word describes “Completeness”. It’s not just peace of mind, not just having tranquility, but peace all over you, that is, total salvation (your safety, your provision, your health, etc.). Peace all over your life – completeness; that is what God is saying to you. So, when God says He is going to give you peace, it means you will enjoy good health, you will not be destroyed, He will supply your needs, He will keep you in the midst of fears and troubles in the land. It’s a covenant blessing which you have to receive. There are covenant obligations you do to receive that peace. Say after me, “I receive”.

In the book of John 14:27, Jesus said something interesting. In verse 26, he had talked about the Holy Ghost, but in verse 27, he talks about peace: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”. The world can’t give you peace because the world itself doesn’t have peace. The Lord will give you peace, not like the world gives. The peace that the world gives is no peace. Come to Him, He is going to give you peace. It’s like an inheritance which he is giving to you. He has bequeathed His peace to us like an inheritance. So, what you need to do is to receive that peace but there are things you can do to provoke that peace. You don’t achieve it, you have covenant obligations to bring about that peace.

THINGS TO DO TO RECEIVE PEACE

  1. Let not your heart be troubled: John 14:27 says, “…Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”. If you want to enjoy that peace, you have got to take God by His Word – let not your heart be troubled. Know that He is in control, let not your heart be troubled. If your heart is troubled, you will be afraid. Don’t be troubled even in the midst of the storm. I repeat it – you cannot give what you don’t have. Jesus was in the stern of the boat, unmoved and unperturbed – completely at rest. That’s the One that says “I give you peace.” For you to enjoy that peace, you’ve got to make a choice – let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, the beginning of faith is the end of anxiety. Remember that story in Mark 4 when Jesus was in the boat and there was a storm, the disciples went to Him and said, “Careth not we perish?”. When Jesus rose up, He rebuked the wind and then turned to the disciples to ask them why they don’t have faith, because you can’t be anxious and say you have faith, it doesn’t work together. The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, the beginning of faith is the end of anxiety. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The way to enjoy peace is a choice. “I refuse to be troubled in the midst of the situation. I refuse to be afraid, for the Lord God of Hosts is with me, the God of Jacob is my refuge. Even though, I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me. I am not going to be afraid therefore I may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, I will not fear what can man do unto me. Those who are with me are more than those who are with them, I refuse to be afraid.” It’s a choice, you’ve got to make up your mind, you must not be troubled. No matter the situation, don’t fret. Say, the Lord is for you, you won’t be troubled nor afraid and He will bring you peace. That’s why He says, “Cast your cares upon me for I care for you” (1 Pet. 5:8, Phil. 4:6). You want to receive that peace, make up your mind that you don’t want to be troubled and that you choose to smile.

I told you many years ago that at the early stage of our former ministry, we bought a bus and we were about to buy another. We had saved so much money and when you gather all the money in the church then, hardly can you get ₦20,000 from offerings, tithes, everything. Now, saving money to gather ₦1,100,000, wow! It must be grace. Can you imagine? ₦20,000 for a whole month yet you still have to do a lot of things in the church, still, we were able to save ₦1,100,000 to buy a bus. We set up a committee to look for a bus. They went to Lagos and then called that they have gotten one, but the other side of it was, the cost was ₦1,300,000 not ₦1,100,000. I told them to wait for me to look around for a balance of ₦200,000 and kept looking around for ₦200,000. The story has changed now. I tell you also, your story will change. I was looking for ₦200,000 like looking for ₦200,000,000. I called everybody but nobody could raise money for us. They had to come back from Lagos and I just told them that we should wait.

One thing I had during this period was that I was at rest. I was just at peace but the committee could not understand why I would be at rest in that situation. I didn’t know what they were discussing, but they were not happy with me that I seem not to be worried and I just want to trouble them. On a Tuesday which was my Counseling Day in church, I was in my office when my secretary came in with a letter of resignation. The members of the committee decided to resign, they were not working with me again. Why? I didn’t understand. I took the letter and said, “That’s okay.” I got home around 10pm, discussed with my wife and that was all. I put the letter aside because I couldn’t fathom it out why they resigned. After having my quiet time in the night, the Holy Spirit told me to go to the house of the chairman of that committee. I got there around 5am in the morning, they could not believe it. As I knocked on the door, his wife opened the door and who were the people there? All the members of the committee. They were holding a meeting. They were all shocked when they saw me, it was as if they had seen an angel just like Gideon was shocked. I told them I saw their letter and wanted to find out why they resigned. One of them then said they thought I was not interested and was only troubling them. They expected me to look for money from moneylenders because I wanted to buy bus for the church. They wanted me to meet the occultic people in the church then. The thing that will make you to bow down for other gods, you won’t find it, Amen. I told them I had the bus in mind but it’s just that I won’t trouble myself. I have done what I could do, I won’t steal. It was after they heard me that they told me that they were sorry and they removed the letter.

You know why I am saying this? Once you have put your cares in the presence of the Lord, go and rest. He has your life and future in His hands. Do you know that we finally bought the bus some months later, without stress? God provided the money without stress. He makes all things beautiful in His time. Don’t kill yourself, let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. If not, you will die before your time. Learn to rest.

  1. Give to the Lord your Covenant Obligations: The second thing to do to receive that peace is not to joke with your covenant obligations. Haggai 1:6 – 8 says, “You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not fillled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes…” No peace. Working, but you can’t see the effect of that work, eating but you can’t see the effect of that food. “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Consider your ways! Go up to the mountain and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,’ says the Lord.”

When you refuse to make kingdom project your priority, you will not receive that peace. The scripture says in Matthew 11:28 – 29, “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Friends, God did not call you from the world to just come and sit down, God called you from the world to serve Him. Serve Him with your life, talents, resources, time and treasures.

If you don’t serve God, you will serve your enemies. Hosea said, they were just gathering things for themselves, no wonder they labour but can’t see the result because they refuse to put God as the priority of their lives. God’s house is left dilapidated but they are building their own house and caring for themselves, not considering God’s own house. They have misplaced their priority. You want to enjoy peace and receive His peace? Make God your priority. The reason why God tells you to pay tithe is not because He is hungry. He said, “The cattle upon a thousand hills belong to me, if I were hungry, I would not ask from you. The birds of the air, they are mine.” The reason why He wants you to pay tithe is that you will always acknowledge that He is your source. What Joseph said in Gen. 39:8 – 9 when Potiphar’s wife was troubling him was that, “My master left everything in my hands, the only thing he did not leave in my hands is you his wife. How can I commit this sin against God and do this wickedness against man.” You know you are wicked when God gives you everything and all he needs from you is just 10% and that 10% you are stil eating it. That was what the sons of Eli did. God gave them everything and yet, the one that belongs to God, they still took it. God told Eli that he was warning him to warn his sons, but Eli was such a permissive father. God sent Samuel to him and revealed to him what will happen, that one day, he will lose those two sons and the glory of God will depart from Israel. Ichabod came, meaning “Glory has departed from Israel.” You don’t deal wickedly with God who has given you all things. God wants you to acknowledge Him as your source. No matter what you have, recognise that a man can receive nothing except it is given to Him from above.

James 1:17 – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” 1 Cor. 4:7 – “…And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” We have only received, we have not achieved. We have only been given, we have not earned. There are people who are working harder than you. The familiar scripture, Mal. 3:8 talks so much about tithe, very powerful word: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.” It’s not only in tithe, but in offering. When you see a man whose income is ₦100,000 per month and you are giving God offering of ₦100, you are stingy. Let’s even assume that you are coming to church three times in a week, that would amount to ₦1,200 in a month and you buy recharge cards way more than that – you are stingy. That’s why the Bible says, “The love of money is the root of all evils.” You have loved money above your God – that is what is called the love of money. God is changing your level, but everytime, you are saying “God lift me up.” God is changing your level but the same amount you are giving to him last three years is the same you are still giving him now, you are stingy. Will a man rob God? You have robbed God in offerings, in tithe and in offering. Look at verse 9: “You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.” Deut. 28:1 – 14 talks about the great blessings but when it goes down from verse 15 downwards, big curses. It said, “I will curse your land…”, terrible curses. In verse 47, it then gives the reason – “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies….”

In verse 10 of Malachi, it says, “Bring all the tithes into my storehouse….” When the Bible talks about blessings, it does not just talk about financial blessings. There is something caled intangible blessings. Ask me, what was Esau crying for when he said, “O my father, is there not just one blessing remaining?” Was it money? It was not money, it was non-tangible. If you have that, it translates into every other thing: health, peace of mind, peace in the family, prosperity… everything. There are things that money cannot buy. May God give you what money canot buy. You must not joke with this covenant obligation. You want to enjoy peace; not just peace of mind but also peace in your relationships? Don’t joke with your relationshps with God. Genesis 27:38, “And Esau said to his father, “Have you only one blessing, my father? Bless me – me also, O my father!” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.” It was not money he was asking for. I release upon you blessings, you cannot hold it, non-tangible but powerful.

I am leaving you with these two points today: Let not your heart be troubled nor be afraid, trust in the Lord and the second, your covenant obligations, give to the Lord to receive His peace. Don’t joke with your tithe nor your offering. Any time that thing tells you to reduce your tithe, know that it is from hell. God can never tell you to break His word, so anytime you sense anything strong in your spirit to do something contrary, know that that is the devil and tell him to get behind you. “If God says it is settled, I believe it is settled. I may not understand but I will not use my sense knowledge to judge it.” “I have not paid my children’s school fees, therefore I will postpone my tithe till next month. I have not paid my rent, therefore I will postpone my tithe till next month.” No, that is sense knowledge, you are using reasoning.” Obey the Lord. Jesus said to the women, “Go and pour water into the pot,” that was foolish but his mother already told them that whatever he tells them to do even if they don’t understand it, they should do it.

Prayer

Tell the Lord to help you to obey Him and not to be troubled.

Tell the Lord to help you to carry out your covenant obligations, to change your level with your offerings, not to be stingy any longer.

Help me never to use my sense knowledge and feelings to judge your Word. Help me to obey your instructions as regards tithe. I will not allow the devil to shortchange me.

 

Peradventure, you have not received Jesus. The way to enjoy that peace is to receive Jesus. If you are not born again, tell God to come into your heart today, that you are surrendering all to Him and that you receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour. Enjoy God’s peace. God bless you.

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