Australian Bible Church June. 15, 08   II Chronicles 14:11

A CONTINUATION OF THE ORIGINAL THRUST AND BASE OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
OF AUSTRALIA ON BIBLICAL LINES
 

 

DIVINE POWER AND POWERLESS MAN
 

ACCESS BY COVENANT

Sermon Notes

 

At once you may say, Powerless ? who man ? Look at his works!

I have just been doing so... Powerless to cure racial, religious, gender, child-authority, ruler-ruled, director-directed, rich-poor hatred, emulation and discord, unhappy hearts, restive minds or ruthless wills, man muddles and billows, boasts and coasts, becomes frantic and shouts, cunning and clouts; but he does not improve. He has more, and is less continually.

He tinkers, he tampers, he scampers, he roars, he bores ... But the good oil is not drilled from the heart of man. It is not there. It has to be found from above, this oil for the spirit of man. Beneath is what earth gives; above is what God supplies. EACH must be RECEIVED, each in its own way.

As man's power increases in technical facility, his psyche shrivels in spiritual grace; and indeed, as he worships the nature of which he is a part, created nature ignoring the Creator as if these things, never seen, just happened, here this race, that government, this group those gropers strive to be first, to be most canny, most victorious, most crushing in word or deed, with missile or mischief, while the world wails at its mistreatment.

WHEN and only when man realises his impotence and impudence mixed, that heady mixture which seeks to arrest the worship of God and make of man himself the essence of wonder, or his choice of topic the glory of the land, do we begin to see an uprising that is not violence. When man repents of such follies as these, and instead takes the publicly available covenant of divine grace in the Christ who came,  and so seeks the face of God, by His chosen path of access: then does the power and divine enduement come for tasks in truth, and wisdom sighs with relief as madness distances itself.

The British Empire was far from perfect, but it had a tone of Christianity, however many hypocrites and fools disadorned it, and its precepts and principles from the Bible were, for all the abuse, of a transforming impact to the nations, and without doubt, led to just that degree of stability and self-control, sense of glory and of grace, which made not of the English, but of those who sincerely used these offices, a salt in the earth which now is in danger, as far as any nation is concerned, of being without tang, savourless.

Now the world is in ruins of relics of rationality, like the Parthenon, as man attacks his own weapons and seeks to put desire before truth,  for reasons given by reason in which in turn he states he distrusts. In this chaos of bewilderment, man ploughs into space as if it would give him another chance, who has ruined the opportunities and importunities of God Himself, by the simple device of turning his back on Him.

Today we look at an early exemplar of the good side, and perhaps today, perhaps next week DV, we shall see his decline. For the moment however we look at an example of enormous force, that of King Asa, as described in II Chronicles 14.

This King of Judah, faced with a force of almost innumerable troops from Ethiopia (there is much evidence that the Middle East was most fertile, containing what was called the Fertile Crescent, in former times), did not quiver. He took hold of the divine covenant for the nation and applying himself with vigour to it, sought and obtained from the Lord all he needed. If only WE all would do the same! It is not in doubt you get it (the promise for doubt is loss!); it is not in hope: it is in faith.

And WHAT you get is what you need for godliness (II Peter 1), to glorify God, to live the life He grants you by His grace, when

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repentant and
 

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pardoned through the Cross of Christ, you take
 

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Him as your Lord,
 

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His word your rule (Matthew 5:17-20),
 

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unmixed and unadulterated (Mark 7:7ff., Proverbs 30:6),
 

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and the trinity as your sanctifying God.

Let us trace in the laboratory of history, the wonder of King Asa's direct action.

 

I THE OVERWHELMING POWER OF GOD 14:11A

a) Mini-Man or Micro-Man and God: HE is enough

b) Elijah - or an army, one man or a host, on this side or on that:  
it is one if the Lord acts -
I Kings 17-18, II Kings 1, James 5:17

 

2 THE APPLICATION TO THE POWERLESS  14:11A

a) Power belongs to God (Psalm 62:11)

b) It may use a Grant to man -
like a bull-dozer commissioned to replace a man with a spade

 

3 THE CRY FOR HELP, AND REST IN IT BY FAITH 14:11B

a) The Personal Cry is worth a Hundred Impersonal Addresses

b) Faith RESTS on the King as Committed

c) Faith HAS rest in its reliance

 

4 THE PREVAILING OF THE COVENANT GOD OVER THE ENEMIES OF HIS TRUTH
IS TAKEN FOR GRANTED  14:11C

a) Not Caprice but Covenant backs the Lord's People

b) At any cost, the fitful ways of wily man must be countered.

c) Specific spiritual 'weapons' are provided for this
in the New Covenant in Christ (Ephesians 6)

d) Thus in history, in answer to King Asa's CRY of FAITH based on COVENANT,

the LORD struck

for they who attacked were broken

their plans overthrown

and spoil (souls in our times!) was found.

 

5  NOT IN AUTOMATED DREAM BUT IN ACTIVATED RELIANCE,
WHAT MAY BE AVOIDED BY WEAKNESS IS AVAILABLE TO FAITH

When faith flickers, folly flames -
(cf. Matthew 14:29ff., 16:17ff., John 20:24ff., II Chronicles 16:9-10, I Kings 11:7ff.)
- II Chronicles 16 (contrast the preceding chapter where Asa
joyfully APPLIED faith to works).

WHICH IS IT TO BE ?

Robust faith in the given grace and covenant,

or wilful rebellion ?

weak flickers, like hiccups instead of breathing,

or unwandering reliance in rest in the Lord!
 

Pray without ceasing, act without fickleness, love God in heart and hand alike
knowing that your inheritance is sure (Ephesians 1:11), and His work your joy.
To Him, you have access by covenant,
and He is delighted for you to draw on it (Hebrews 4:16).