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“Thus says the Lord: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. ‘The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:5-10
Madness and Wickedness in the Heart
"I am a good person!"
Jesus said no one is good except God alone (Mark 10:18). When we evaluate ourselves in the light of God's Ten Commandments, recognising that Jesus is the standard, no one should deceive themselves by claiming that: "I am a very good person!"
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us... If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His Word is not in us." 1 John 1:8,10
"…truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; and madness is in their hearts..."
"For from within, out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, thefts, murders, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness." Mark 7:21-22
Lies of Our Age
"He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered." Proverbs 28:26
The Greatest Fault is to be Aware of None
Dr. Martin Luther was overwhelmed by the burden of his sin. When asked which pope had caused him the greatest trouble, Luther answered: "pope self." He maintained that the pope that sits on the throne of his own selfish nature gave him far more trouble than all the popes in Rome.
Dr. David Livingstone, in his Journals, expressed his frustration that even when he was engaged in the best of actions, it was with mixed motives.
We Are Our Own Worst Enemy
When Charles Spurgeon was asked which of his 5,600 members gave him the most trouble, he responded: "Charles Spurgeon!" When asked how it was that he also had a member by his own name, he explained that he referred to himself. No other member of Metropolitan Tabernacle had given him more trouble than he himself had. The fact is that we are our own worst enemy.
"I Cannot Change!"
On the other extreme of the spectrum is the claim: "I cannot change!"
However, the persecutor of the Church, Saul of Tarsus, became the Missionary of the Church: the Apostle Paul.
Bernard Nathanson, once head of the National Abortion Rights Action League, became an avid pro-life activist and the producer of The Silent Scream documentary film.
Abby Johnson, once a Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinic Director, became a pro-life activist and author of Unplanned.
Before my conversion, I was a shy, quiet, introvert. After my conversion, I became an Arminian, antinomian, dispensationalist, rapture fever, end times enthusiast. I was also a pacifist and one who taught that you should not get involved in politics. I was convinced that we were living in the last days, so I was negative about marriage and children. God has changed and transformed me continually on this adventure of discipleship to where I am now a Reformed, Post-Millennial Missionary, father and grandfather and still being challenged to change in response to the renewing of the mind through studying the Word of God.
Can God Forgive Me?
Then there are those who claim: "God can never forgive me!"
However, Church history is full of details of enemies of the Gospel and frightful criminals, even persecutors of the Church who were converted and became trophies of grace. "'Come now and let us reason together,' says the Lord, 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Isaiah 1:18
Are Things Only Going to Deteriorate?
Against All Odds
However, consider the facts of history. Against all odds, just a few hundred knights of St. John defeated over 40,000 Muslim Jihadists during the four-month siege of Malta in 1565. Against all odds, Christians of Europe defeated the vast numbers of Turkish invaders at the Siege of Vienna, 1683.
In Our Lifetime
In our own lifetime, we have seen how the Tutsi David, defeated the Hutu Goliath during the Rwandan holocaust and ended the genocidal campaign in 1994.
Victory over Communism
In our own life time we have seen decisive victories over communism, the conclusion of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe, the removal of the Iron Curtain and freedom for Eastern Europe from the prison house of nations. In 1982, Christians launched a Seven-Year Jericho Prayer March/Prayer Focus on bringing down the Berlin Wall, the Iron Curtain and opening up Eastern Europe and Russia to the Gospel. In 1989, the Iron Curtain collapsed.
Victory over Islam
In 2011, we witnessed the Independence of South Sudan from Islamic Sudan.
Victory over Globalism
Just in recent years, we have seen Brexit voting against the EU globalist agenda in Britain and the President Trump Republican victory, against all odds and against all the predictions of the mass media and establishment in the United States.
Against the Unbeaten Foe
Just 464 Voortrekkers, against all odds, defeated over 10,000 Zulus at the Battle of Blood River. The Zulus had never before been defeated. But they were on 16 December 1838.
Nobody expected the farmers of the Transvaal to defeat the Redcoats of the British Empire, but in 1881, at the Battle of Majuba, they did.
A Vision of Victory
We have seen communism defeated in Russia and Eastern Europe and we will go on to see Islam and the New World Order defeated as well.
"Ask of Me and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance and the ends of the earth for Your possession." Psalm 2:8
"All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For the Kingdom is the Lord's and He rules over the nations." Psalm 22:27-28
"In His days the righteous shall flourish… He shall have dominion also from sea to sea… to the ends of the earth… His enemies will lick the dust… all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him." Psalm 72:7-11
"…'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of Hosts." Zechariah 4:6
"For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Habakkuk 2:14
"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Romans 8:37
"Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7
"…because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." 1 John 4:4
I remember meeting Pastor Musa, a ZAPU communist terrorist leader, who had been converted at an Evangelistic Rally in Rhodesia, which he had intended attacking. My Father was secular and seemed very closed to the Gospel. Yet after eight years of prayer and witnessing, I saw my Father transformed by the Grace of God. We should never place limits upon the Gospel.
Set Free to Serve Christ
Within weeks, I was involved in a Scripture Union Holiday Mission. Within months I was teaching in the Sunday school, running the church book table, involved in mass Gospel literature distribution, placing Gospels of John in every home in Pinelands, putting up posters, inviting people to Evangelistic Rallies, such as the one that I had been converted at.
Called to Missions
When Missionary, Francis Grim, ministered as a guest speaker at my congregation, I went forward and joined his Mission - Hospital Christian Fellowship. Soon I was enlisted in the South African Infantry for my two years Military service. The daily Bible Study and Prayer Fellowship I established in July 1979, at 6SAI, grew into our Mission, Frontline Fellowship.
Crossing Borders for Christ
By 1982, I was crossing the border on my first Mission to Mozambique, Missions to Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan followed. Soon there were outreaches in Eastern Europe, behind the Iron Curtain. In the last 40 years, I have ministered in 38 countries, conducting over 18,000 meetings.
Salt and Light
Marches to Parliament. Mobilising opposition to the ANC's plans to paganise South Africa. The 30,000 people we mobilised onto the streets of Cape Town in 1995 and 1996, compelled the government to backtrack on their declared intention of preventing churches meeting in school halls, classrooms, town halls, or any other facility "owned" by the state. In 1998, when the government announced their intention to close all Christian Community Radio Stations in the country, we promptly mobilised and marched 10,000 people and persuaded the politicians to run up the white flag and recognise the rights of Christian Community Radio stations to exist. When legislation was drafted to infringe on the freedom of Christian schools and other independent private education, we mobilised thousands more to protest and persuaded the politicians to back off with interfering with religious freedom. Operation Clean Sweep from 1991 to 1994 persuaded over 9,000 stores to no longer stock pornography. We should never use any excuse to justify disobedience and inactivity. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
There are those who declare: "I am too young for God to use me!"
David, the shepherd boy, saw himself as the youngest, of the least. Yet God raised him up.
Jeremiah protested: "'Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.' But the Lord said to me: 'Do not say, 'I am a youth,' for you shall go to all to whom I send you and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,' says the Lord." Jeremiah 1:6-8.
Timothy thought that he was too young, but the Apostle Paul declared: "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12.
The Apostle John and the Evangelist John Mark and so many others, are examples of young men whom God used in a dramatic way. Esther, Ruth and Mary are examples of young maidens whom God used in powerful ways.
At the beginning of our Mission, there were many who declared that I was too young, Mozambique was closed. It was too dangerous. It was the wrong time. This was the wrong way. But looking back with hindsight, it is clear that God was the One who called, led and opened doors. If God can change you, then He can use you to change things that are wrong in this world.
Others declare: "I am too old for God to use me!"
Moses was 80 years old when God, from the Burning Bush, called him to lead His people out of Egypt. "But Moses said to God, 'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?'" Exodus 3:11.
"Then Moses answered and said, 'But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, 'The Lord has not appeared to you.'" Exodus 4:1.
"Then Moses said to the Lord, 'O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.'" Exodus 4:10.
"So the Lord said to him, 'Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.'" Exodus 4:11-12.
Caleb in his 80's could declare: "Give me that mountain!" Not satisfied with the easy tasks in the valleys and flatlands, he wanted the tougher challenges of the mountains!
Grey Haired Missionaries
Frederick Baedeker was only converted to Christ in his 40's, yet he packed the second half of his life with such strenuous journeys to evangelise Russia that would have depleted the energy of much younger and healthier men. We have seen Missionaries such as Dr. Fritz Haus, Rev. Erlo Stegen, Brother Andrew and Rev. Bill Bathman, working well into their 80's proclaiming the Gospel, teaching, serving the Lord fervently. When Rev. Bill Bathman was in his 70's, he undertook an Africa Overland Mission, driving 8,000km from Cape Town to our Mission base in Equatoria, Sudan to deliver a vehicle and supplies to the beleaguered Christians during the war.
Reject All these Excuses for Disobedience
We need to recognise that all these lies of our age and lies, which we should never believe, are actually excuses for disobedience. You are never too old, or too young, to make a difference and be used of God. You can change. God can forgive you. God can change you and use you for His Kingdom and for His Glory.
Do Not be Deceived
The Bible continually warns us: "lest satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices." 2 Corinthians 2:11
"But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." 2 Corinthians 11:3
"Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." 2 Corinthians 4:4
That is why we are to "Put on the whole Armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the Heavenly places." Ephesians 6:11-12
"Thus says the Lord: 'Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord… Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose hope is the Lord… The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked..." Jeremiah 17:5-9
“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.” Proverbs 28:26
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
The audio CD of this message, as presented to Livingstone Fellowship, is available from: from Christian Liberty Books, PO Box 358, Howard Place 7450, Cape Town, South Africa, Tel: 021-689-7478, Fax: 086-551-7490, Email: email@example.com and Website: www.christianlibertybooks.co.za.
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