THAT THOU MAYEST PROSPER
February 7, 2009
Text: 3 John: 1:2
"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."
When the apostle wrote this wonderful promise of God to the church, He was outlining God's desire, and will, and expectation for all His children. This has been God's good will for man since the days of the Garden of Eden. God wants the prosperity of man. To prosper is to walk in honour, dignity and excellence in the presence of God. It means to be excellently doing God's will in God's time at the right location. We are simply prosperous when we are doing the desire of the Lord. The apostle said that we may prosper according as our soul prospereth. So the prosperity of the soul is an important precondition for man to live a prosperous life. The soul is the link between our spirit and our mortal body. We must understand that Man is a triune being as God Man, is a spirit, has a soul, and lives in a body. - SPIRIT - SOUL - BODY. The soul is the force of the will, the mind and the emotions. The soul links our body to our spirit and controls our sense. The prosperity of the soul requires the excellent conditioning of the will, the mind and the emotions. This is the charge Christ gave to all His followers before he went to the cross. (Luke 21:19) "In your patience possess ye your soul."
If there is any possession that the Lord requires us to possess it is our souls. A man that can possess his soul will eventually possess the entire world. We can also gain the whole world only to lose it, if we had not taken steps to possess our own soul. The prosperity of the soul is the excellent conditioning of the will, the mind and the emotion. It comes about by being master over the soul, possessing and controlling him. This happens by not conforming to the world around us, but transforming the mind with the word of the Lord. (Romans 12:1-2). God's expectation for u s is that we will be transformed in the mind, that we will be excellent in the soul, which will there by cause us to prosper at all levels of our lives.. But the possessing and transformation of the soul is the task controlling man. This is so because the soul of man has become the "PRICE" for an on going spiritual war.
Spiritual warfare is simply wars which are fought in the spirit, by spirit beings, with spiritual armoury or weapons. It is an interplanetary war which involves all creation. The price and the purpose of this warfare is "MAN" the apex/the summit/the head of all that God created. Now, how did this war came about? Who is involved? The Prophet Isaiah shed light on these questions when he prophesied against the king of Babylon as the type of Lucifer, the archenemy of God. (Isaiah 14:12-14) "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13: For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High".
Spiritual warfare has become an inevitable aspect of our lives since Lucifer attempted to take over the power, the place and the position of the living God. Lucifer declared this war in an attempt to exalt himself. He got to the point of self-exaltation and eventual destruction because he was deceived by his beauty and pride. Beauty is a gift from God. It must be seen as such, and it must be used to honour God. Our pride must also be in the Lord we must be proud of who He is. And who we are in Him, and everything in us must be to His praise. Beauty and pride are precious gifts from God but can be destructive when we misplace, pride in the pursuit of "false beauty". When the world sees what is nude as fashionable this is a wrong pursuit of beauty. Pride is also the reason fr all the wars that are fought around us. Wars are fought mainly in defence of racial pride, tribal, national or religious pride, etc. Spiritual warfare began as a result of misunderstood, misplaced and misused pride and beauty. Prophet Ezekiel shed light on this when he prophesied against king Tyrus as a type of Satan.
(Ezekiel 28:12; 15; 17). "Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 15. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 17. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty..."
So since Satan's attempt to take over the place of God failed, he and his forces had continued to march against everything that is Gods'. Till their end shall come, God has allowed His own word which has been declared from the beginning concerning Satan to run its full course. "For the power of a king is in His word." Man has a very important choice to make, to be on the Lord's side, in this on going war. Our victory in this spiritual conflict is made certain only in the Lord Jesus Christ. Once we give our lives to Him, we become a member of His victorious army.
Finally, (1 John 5:4-5 tells us..) "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5: Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? "
Your victory in this life and after depends on where you place your faith now, each and everyone of us has faith in him/her. You are not a faithless human being, the problem is where have you placed that faith?... have you placed it in yourself or in another?... may be you have placed it in created things like the moon, the sun, the seas, rivers, trees, animals, bank accounts, etc. Faith that is not placed in Jesus Christ is dead, for in Him alone is life (John 1:1). What do you make of the Lord Jesus Christ? Who is He to you? Have you received Him? Let me announce once again that an overcomer is anyone that believes that Jesus is the Son of God. Make a choice for victory today by placing your faith in HIM! Yes, you have to make your choice.
In making that choice, it is not my task to manipulate you to do something emotionally. All the slick techniques, all the gospel marketing packages, all the pulpit histrionics of jumping and stomping and dancing around and beating the organ and drums, and doing whatever they do to create the mood. All the sad stories, the mood music, the endless invitations to come forward, the hand raising, the walking, all of that kind of pressure is not preaching the Word. It has nothing to do with COMPREHENSION.
The decision of you yielding, surrendering and then retaining and acting is between you, the hearer, and God, and not the hearer and the preacher. It is the Holy Spirit's work. I do not need anyone to come forward to open confession - God knows your heart.
My job is proclaiming saving truth, sanctifying truth, and strengthening truth from Scripture, the rest is up to the Holy Spirit. So Paul says, I was entrusted with the proclamation. That is all that I can do. All I can do is to get their ATTENTION and bring COMPREHENSION. The message is the Scripture, and since the message is the Scripture, beloved, it should be patently obvious to everyone that the proper kind of preaching should be "expository preaching." That is the only legitimate way to be true to the divine message. The message is Scripture, and if the message is Scripture and the preacher is to preach the message he has to preach the Scripture, and preaching the Scripture means you must exposit the Word. The preacher's job is not to force his people, by some manipulative process, to YIELD. His job is to make them comprehend the Word of God, which will save them, sanctify them, and strengthen them.
Understanding the importance of expository preaching .... What does it mean when we say "expository preaching?" To "exposit" simply means to "explain the meaning." It means to preach the Bible in such a way, that the meaning of the Bible passage is presented entirely and exactly as it was intended by God. That is the challenge--the divine Word coming through the preacher. We have got to get back to preaching the Word of God. What a calling... What a calling. That is our calling. That is what God has commanded us to do. Listen to Mark 16:15, "He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'" You may not have a pulpit like I do, but you have a mandate from God, don't you? To preach the truth, to proclaim it wherever you can. 'The decision is yours ... Now it is all up to you ... God has done all he can to save you, the rest us up to you. You must choose Christ for yourself ... You must make the final decision!' Then make your choice!
LET US PRAY...
Father, thank you for our time in your Word this morning and the reminder of the priority of the means of preaching. God raise up many preachers, right out of this congregation. What a task, what a duty, what a privilege, what an amazing calling, to stand in the line of the Prophets, and Christ Himself, and the Apostles, and the preachers of the past who proclaimed the Word. Oh God, I pray that you will raise up many preachers. We thank you for those men and women in our seminaries who are learning now to preach your Word, who will bring the message that saves, and sanctifies, and strengthens. The message that justifies and sanctifies and gives hope for glorification, who will faithfully open the Book and teach it. God raise them up and make them powerful as was Paul. May all of us reach the potential, wherever it is where we can preach truth, to whatever small congregation, from whatever small pulpit, even a "one-on-one" make us faithful to be proclaiming your truth. We pray in Your Son's Name Jesus Christ. Amen.