The Ultimate Test Of Faith (Genesis 22:1-14) by Ptr Xley Miguel

In the sermon this morning, Demon Slayer was mentioned.

Since i dont know anything about Demon Slayer, aboout the anime, let me tell you about a local demon slayer. A heroine who slays demons; her name is Darna. Her known enemies were Valentina, the one who has snakes for a hair, for her hair. Ang Babaeng Impakta, that’s the name of the other enemy, ‘impakta means evil spirit.
So no demon can really stop Darna. But her most difficult trial of all come 2020. And that is the COVID19 pandemic. Yes, the show Darna was supposed to begin production on 2020, but was halted for a couple of months. In Gen 22, no demons are slain, but a son was supposed to be slain. And that is the son of Abraham. And so for Abraham, out of the many trials he had gone through, the command to sacrifice his son is the ULTIMATE TEST OF FAITH.

Turn with me to Genesis chapter 22 verses 1 to 14, I’ll be reading from the English Standard Version - “After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, Abraham!” And he said, Here I am.” He said, Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, My father!” And he said, Here I am, my son.” He said, Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, Here I am.” He said, Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

We will revisit this text again next week, but today I’d like to focus on Abraham’s faith. Obviously God has given Abraham the ultimate test of faith. The son that was promised to Abraham, the son that he has been waiting for for for 25 plus years. It’s not Ishmael. God says, it is your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love. Isaac is now going to be a sacrifice for the Lord. There was no question in the mind of Abraham, verse 3 tells us  Abraham rose early in the morning and he prepared the wood.
And he was rso eady to the point of, verse 9 tells us, to the point of  binding Isaac, laying him on the altar and taking the knife to slaughter his son. And then ofcourse we see the angel of the LORD stopping Abraham.

We can see here a well-trained, a mature believer of God who is being tested by God. And the test proves that Abraham indeed have genuine faith, right. And this is what true faith really is. It accepts the commands of God. If God says this, since he has true faith, “I will do it!” Ganito yung nangyari kay Abraham. Ginawa ni Abraham. He has true faith and true faith accepts also not just the precepts, not just the commandments, but also the commitments of God, the promises of God. And that is also what we have seen in this passage this afternoon. True faith even at times of trials. And by the way, when we say trials, malinaw heh. God tested Abraham. It’s a test, okay. So pangungunahan na natin, teka, did God really want Isaac to die? Verse 1 tells us kaagad, God tested Abraham. It was a test, right..and by the way, when we say tests, when we say trials, in our lives now, we’re not limiting our trials to Abraham’s trial. In fact, napakagrabe pa nga yung trial ni Abraham.
We ourselves go through trials of various kinds. Now pwedeng ito yung mga severe afflictions. Pwedeng mismo yung mga atake ni satanas. Considered yan trial, considered yan testing. It may be a situation at home, situation at work, or even in the church. But despite of such trials, and despite of such trials.. our faith as Christians, just like Abraham here must lead us to obedience to the commands of God, It must lead us to cling to the promises of God. That is my message this afternoon. That’s what we can see in Abraham’s life here specifically Genesis chapter 22. Genuine faith accepts God’s promises and precepts. Ang tunay na pananampalataya sa Diyos ay tinatanggap ang Kanyang mga utos pati ang Kanyang mga pangako.

Now how can say that Abraham had genuine faith? First point, Accepts Precepts and second point Accepts Promises.

Let’s consider the first point

Accepts Precepts

Tinanggap nya, sinunod nya kaagad ang Diyos. And again, we must understand that the testing or trial that Abraham was going through, eto ang pinakaimportanteng intindihin natin sa Genesis chapter 22. That it wasn’t just allowed by God, as if God, was God’s hands were tied. It’s not like that. It was God who gave the trials. I mean it’s very important that we understand it that way. That God is a sovereign God and He is in control in a way that He’s actually the one who’s giving it, giving the trials. Hwag tayong matakot to say that. Because that ’s what Genesis chapter 22 is clearly telling us. But let’s, let’s clarify that God does not tempt us. James chapter 1 tells us. God does not tempt us to sin. Hindi sinasabi ng Diyos na O, tara, pumasok ka na jan. D ba puro makasalanan yang lugar na yan pag gabi? O, tara, tignan mo tong, tignan mo tong video na ito. Alam kong masama yan, O tara punta ka! Hindi yun ginagawa ng Diyos. However, afflications, even sufferings, oh, God can send such trials to us. And we need to make such distinction. A very clear na sinasabi yan sa James chapter 1. He’s not the SOURCE of evil. But He may, by His good pleasure, even USE evil, right, or even SEND trials, to accomplish His sovereign purpose. And it was GOD, again, who put Abraham to the test, very clear. In Genesis chapter 22. And of course God does that to us even today. Unchanging ang Panginoon. Ang Diyos ay patuloy na nag-sesend ng mga testing, nag-sesend ng mga trials sa ating lahat. Ang tanong, bakit? Why?
Binasa natin kanina sa ating scripture reading 1 Peter chapter 1 verses 6 to 7 explains to us, why? Like it says - In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, the scripture acknowledges that such trials give us grief. Totoo naman na talagang tayo ay minsan talagang may depression pang kasama. And that’s true, nangyayari talaga yun kapag sinesend ang mga trials sa atin, the scripture acknowledges that. However, it says here,  so that the tested genuineness of your faith— more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. It says here, God gives us trials of various kinds to refine our faith. And Peter here, compares it kung papaano nirerefine ang ginto.

God gives us trials of various kinds - to refine our faith. And Peter here compares it kung papaano nirere-fine ang ginto. Paano tinatanggal yung scum sa ginto. Paano tinatanggal yung dross sa ginto. And it is being refined by apoy, fire. Ganun din daw ang ating pananampalataya. God sends sunch trials para, katulad ng ginto, ma-refine, ma-purify ang ating faith. Just like when the scum, when the dross, in the gold burns away by fire and the gold becomes cleaner, so too, our faith, when it is tested by fire. Dun sa inyong hand-out, may kaunti akong pagkakamali sa aking inilagay dyan. Ang punto ko talaga is that trials are there not JUST to SIMPLY test whether we have faith or not, BUT PRIMARILY to purify the faith thats already there.

Oh yes, ang use ng trials also is for us to know that we indeed have genuine faith. Hindi lang yun. Primarily, to refine it. To refine the gift that God has already given you..and that is faith. Bigay s iyo yan ng Panginoon, because when it is refined, we are able to determine its validity. This is why Peter says in this you rejoice Kaya pag may trials, dapat lang tayo ay mag-rejoice, tayo ay magsaya..James chapter 1.. “Count it all joy, brethren.” When you receive such trials of various kinds for trials, what, produces steadfastness. And steadfastness means patient endurance. Habang ikaw ay nag-uundergo ng trials, ang nadedevelop sa iyo ay pasensya. Pero hindi lang pasensya during that time. You also endure..nadedevelop, nadedevelop ang iyong pasensya sa trials. However, James chapter 1 tells us that steadfastness is not an end in itself. Hindi iyon yung end goal. The endgoal is for you to be perfect sabi sa James chapter 1 verse 2 onwards. The endgoal would be, sa 1Peter chapter 1 verse 7 naman that we have read, the endgoal would be YOU praising the Lord! It says, you maybe found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Brethren, if you are a child of God, just like Abraham. He was tested. His faith was so refined, right, by the testing of God. Ikaw din, kung ikaw ay anak ng Diyos, it is inevitable, you would be tested. In fact, trials and hardships are necessary. Because it is for the refinement of our faith. God will put you to the test. So we don’t ask God, why are You testing me. We don’t ask God that question. Because if we want to be sanctified, if we want our faith to be refined, more precious than gold, and God will put us to the test, whatever that may be. Maybe the simplest, what, daily irritation, or mas grabe like losing someone you love. The purpose is the refine our faith. Hence, you rejoice. Yun yung..that’s the only reason why we can count trials as joy. That’s the only reason. Because God has a purpose and His purpose is good..for our conformity to Christ. And again, if you are in Christ, then God will put you to the test. God will send you testings of faith. God will send trials to you. If you are not a child of God, meaning, you’ve not repented of your sins and come to faith in the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, you’ve not surrendered your life to Him. You do not belive that Christ can save you from your sins, from your guilt, and you can commune with God eternally in heaven. That you think you can save yourself and you’re not a child of God, then there’s no point of rejoicing. There’s no point of rejoicing. Trials are not purposed to refine or to purify something that is not in you. That gift of faith is not there.
What trials will do though, is to add more sin and judgement because your response to trials will be sin..compounding sin and judgment. That’s why if you are not in Christ, repent now of your sins. Hindi mo kayang iligtas ang iyong sarili. Panginoon Hesus lamang ang kayang magligtas sa iyo. At yun ang provision sa iyo ng Panginoon. God will provide. He has provided in Christ. Repent of your sins now and come to faith in God’s provision of the Sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ. And this Sacrificial Lamb also was the one who submitted perfectly to the will of God joyfully. And He also went through trials, sufferings..Philippians 2 tells us to the point of death. That’s something that we model; the kind of suffering that we model..the kind of suffering that we don’t just model, but we share. We partake of such suffering. If we confess that we are in Christ, then we confess that we partake even His sufferings. So hindi question sa atin na..ako ba’y magsusuffer? Ako ba’y masesend ng trials ng Panginoon? Kung ikaw ay kay Kristo, God will send you trials, is necessary to refine our faith.It is necessary because your Lord and Savious suffered. So if you are in Christ, there is a reason to rejoice because God does test us and that’s a wonderful blessing to be tested by God. It affirms our standing before God.

Sabi ni Thomas Watson, kung ikaw daw ay nag-susuffer; kung ikaw day ay nag-uundergo ng mga trials, para ka raw may badge. And that is a badge of adoption. He says, you are Christ’ are God’s. You’re suffering? You are God’s. And so rejoice. It is Him who send these trials to us, for us, to respond in a godly way. For us to be sanctified. For us to be conformed to the image of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Hence, this is my challenge for everyone - Submit joyfully to the testing of the Lord, knowing that it is for our good! Hwag mo labanan, kapatid! Maging tama ang ating perspective pagdating sa trials. Hwag mong tignan na ito’y tunay na kalaban natin. I-welcome mo ito! Kagaya ni David, sa Psalm chapter 26. Sabi nya -  Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind. Hindi nya sinasabi dito na okay, sabihin natin ito sa Panginoon - give me trials. Hindi ganun ang ibig sabihin ni David dito. Ang ibig nyang sabihin dito, itama natin ang tingin natin sa trials. Itong mga bagay na ito’y galing talaga sa ating Panginoon. And yet hwag nating isipin na ito ay parang labag sa purpose ng Panginoon. This is God’s purpose for us. Magpasakop tayo sa pagsubok na binibigay sa atin ng Panginoon dahil ito ay para sa ating kabutihan.
We’re not to ASK for it, but just as David said in Psalm 26, let’s WELCOME it. Submit to it joyfully. If you’re suffering, hindi ba mas tatawagin mo ang Panginoon? Hindi ba’t it’s an indication na hindi mo kaya? Hindi ba’t mas mapapalapit ka sa Panginoon? Hindi ba’t mas tatawagin mo ang Panginoon? Hence, rejoice! Count it all joy.

And the problem is that most of the times we dont have the right perspective when it comes to trials. We immediately HATE it. We immediately hate it. Our prayers are shaped in a way that we asked God to REMOVE such trials. “Lord, tanggalin mo sa akin ito.” It’s as if, we don’t deserve such trials. Ganun naka-shape ang ating mga dasal sa Panginoon. Lord, why am I going through all these things? I don’t deserve to be experiencing these things. Lord, remove these things from me so I can better glorify you with my life. You think you can better glorify God with your life kung walang trials? So I can better praise you O Lord, remove such trials from me. Or you want me to be glorified in your life, here are more trials. Lord, I’m really being tested; yung galilt ko sa isang tao, naubos ang aking pasensya, Panginoon. Tanggalin mo Lord ang aking galit..Oh here are more issues. How can you be sanctified? How can you respond in this way? How can you remove such kung wala yung situation? Wala yung inis, wala yung problemang sitwasyon? Papaano kang, paano kang ma-sasanctify? Paano kang magrespond with patience kung wala yung issue na yun? Kung wala yung trial na yun? Panginoon,      talagang, prublema talaga sa aming tahanan; walang-wala kami, financially. Lord, tulungan mo kami. Pero ang nangyayari, e talagang tayo pala ay hindi natin inuupuan nang hindi tayo nagbu-budget. Talagang magasta pala tayo. And so God will send more trials so that maiintindihan natin na ganung pala ang ating prublema. God will give us these trials. It’s not a bad thing; it’s a good thing. It’s for our good.

Not knowing, sometimes again we ask God to remove these things. Not knowing  that TRIALS are indeed there to better glorify God with our lives... not knowing that TRIALS are there to help us become better Christian worshippers of God! Not knowing that TRIALS are indeed there for you to be assured that you are indeed a child of God wearing the badge of adoption as per Thomas Watson!

Now while trials indeed give us grief, and trials ofcourse nag-vavary ang mga trials sa buhay. Maliit man or malaking trial yan, whatever the situation, God gives these things to us in the arbitrary ang purpose ng Panginoon, but for our sanctification so that we can be conformed to the image of Christ.

And again, what a great purpose that is.. brethren.

You know, there was a man who was receiving visions from God. There was a man who directly receive the messages from our Lord. And he understood na yung privilege na meron sya, can lead to him being prideful. Baka maging mayabang daw sya that he may boast having such priviledge connection, relationship sa kanyang Panginoon. Did you know what kept him from being prideful? Did you know what kept him from being conceited? Sabi nya sa 2Corinthians chapter 12 verses 7 to 8, He said- So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelation, dahil sa nare-receive kong rebelasyon mula sa Diyos, para hindi ako maging mayabang dito sa aking authority as an apostle, may binigay sa akin ang Diyos. A thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. Hindi inalis ng Panginoon.
Verse 9 it says - But God said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
And see his response - Therefore I will boast all the more gladly, joyfully of my weaknesses, of my afflictions, of my suffering of that thorn in my flesh so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
This is what true strength really is - to be strong was to be WEAK so that the power, love, care of God would be fully on display. Ano yung thorn in the flesh ni Paul? Maraming haka-haka..hindi talaga natin alam. Marahil ito ay ailment, or whatever. But it was a trial that God did not remove. So that Paul will not be conceited. So that he would know that he is weak. So that he was called on God for wisdom, for strength, for power for you so that he would rely on God alone. Imagine if God did not remove such thorn? Imagine..We may have a weal apostle, but we don’t.

So brethren. are you going through trials in life? Are there persecutions? Oppositions? Hardships in the home? Problems in the family? Rejoice! Rejoice, because such trials are there. Rejoice because you are truly owned, loved by God. Rejoice because it was God who has put such test in your life just as He put test, tested Abraham in Genesis 22. Such trials may indeed make you weak now, but remember that it refines your faith. And so when you are weak, then you are strong in Christ..
Were it not for suffering in this life, would we still long for the joys in heaven? D ba because of such suffering, we would long for it?  And why would God take it out of us? Bakit Nya iyon tatanggalin? So Submit, brethren,  joyfully to His testing, knowing that it is for your good.

You know genuine faith accepts the precepts of God, that our faith leads us to submitting joyfully to God’s testing but also genuine faith accepts the promises of God, believes in the promises of God. That’s what we see with Abraham in this passage.

My second point is Accepts Promises

So there was no wavering of faith on the part of Abraham here. Walang pagdududa sa kanyang pananampalataya. In fact, he’s so convinced, sobrang convinced si Abraham that nothing would still go wrong. Walang mangyayaring mali. Susundin ko ang Panginoon.. verse 5 tells us, sabi dito, sinabi ni Abraham sa young men..sabi nya Stay here with the donkey; I, Abraham and Isaac, the boy will go over there, we’ll build an altar, we’ll worship God and then what? We will come again to you.” Imagine, God told him, sacrifice your son and he’s so convinced that this son will be back, that he told the young men, oh we will come again to you.
Abraham was so sure! He was so convinced that Isaac will return! Malinaw yan sa new testament na ineexplain sa atin in Hebrews chapter 11 verses 17 to 19. It is is being explained to us there it says - By faith Abraham, when he was tested,  tested by God, offered up Isaac, now it says offered up to means that we know that he didn’t really offer Isaac. Hininto sya ng angel of the Lord when he was about to stab Isaac with a knife, but it says here that he offered up Isaac. Ang ibig sabihin nito that it was already in Abraham’s mind - I will do it! I will obey what God said. It’s a done deal! It’s as if I already did it. Ganun na yung mind ni Abraham papunta sa Mount Moriah. He’s really gonna do it. Add to that, he believes that Isaac will return. Eto yung sinabi sa Hebrews 11 - and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” Listen to this..verse 19, Abraham considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead. That’s Abraham’s faith. When he stops Isaac, he knew that God would resurrect his son. That’s why he was able to say to the young men, oh, we will come back. Bakit ganun si Abraham? Well he know his God. He accepted the promises of God. He believed in the promises of God. What was God’s promise? He will have a son and his son will have many descendants. If he really believe that promise, then he knows, dahil alam nya na talagang ma-reraise up ang kanyang anak. Ito’y mabubuhay muli. Kaya ganun si Abraham. He was so convinced that God can resurrect Isaac. If God asks me to ‘sacrifice’ my son, I know that God will resurrect him.. I know that He will even provide a lamb as a burnt offering even after resurrection. Meron talagang magiging sacrifice. Kita natin yung obedience ni Abraham. What fueled that obedience? What fueled that is the fact that he knew his God. Alam nya na faithful ang Panginoon sa promise Nya. Gagawin ng Panginoon yan. He knew what God was capable to do. He’s capable of, for his faith has been so refined by all those years being with God. He knew God, and He knew His promises, that through Abraham, and even Isaac - God will bless the nations..Genesis 12.

How about us? Of course in our time, we know that God has provided that Lamb for us as a BURNT OFFERING - as an atonement for our sins. So alam na alam natin na faithful talaga ang Panginoon natin. In fact, comparing to Abraham, mas marami pang detalye tayong alam..compared to Abraham.
We have been forgiven by God. That’s His promise, if you believe in Jesus Christ, the promise is that you are forgiven of your sins.  God does not condemn you anymore. Do you believe that? Do you have such faith?  God Himself has provided for us Jesus Christ THE LAMB. So what fueled Abraham? Abraham’s obedience, it is knowledge about God. It’s God’s faithfulness in His promise. Tayo, what fuels our obedience? It’s God’s faithfulness in His promise… fulfilled in where…fulfilled in what? It is the gospel. It is the gospel we know na pinromise ng Panginoon na may darating, na may darating na anak..son of the woman who will crush the head of the serpent, who will defeat satan and sin. And He did that already Jesus Christ already lived a sinless life, died on the cross in behalf of our sins and also, He rose again for the dead. We know that it is is a fact. So alam nating faithful ang Panginoon. So kung anong sabihin sa atin ng Panginoon, susundin natin. That would fuel our obedience. Kagaya nang papaano nag-motivate at nag-fuel ng knowledge ni Abraham about God yung kanyang obedience sa Genesis 22.  and that is none other than Christ...

The gospel encourages and fuels our obedience. The gospel was the reason why we have been       changed from being dead in sin to now alive in Christ. Now that Christ saved us we are changed, enabled to love the law of the Lord but moreso, love the law giver and so the more we are submerged in the gospel, in that fuel, the more we are inclined to loving obedience. And it is the gospel that gives us joy at times of trials. It is that light that gives hope when we are inside the darkext caves of our lives. It is the food that nourishes, that strengthens us at times of famine. It is the fuel that sustains us in this long and winding road which is our earthly life in what keeps us firm and grounded at times of spiritual earthquakes. That is the gospel that fuels our obedience. The promises of God, who God is, as Abraham knew, that fueled his obedience. Oo, alam ko magpprovide ang Panginoon ko. Gagawin ko talaga ito sa aking anak dahil sabi ng Panginoon. Pero alam kong bubuhayin nya ang anak ko kasi kilala ko ang Panginoon. Tinutupad Nya ang Kanyang mga pangako. Kilala ko Sya, so gagawin ko. I have faith. Ganun din tayo mga kapatid. Alam natin na ang Diyos ay faithful sa Kanyang promise. Saan natin yan makikita ultimately? Sa gospel. We know that He is faithful and so what God tells us. At ang commands ng Panginoon susundin natin kasi kilala natin ang Panginoon. If God tells us that we are forgiven in Christ, then we are indeed forgiven in Christ. And so we must live the newness of life and we must do that too. We must obey God. What fuels that obedience is the gospel.

Alam nyo ang puno, habang tumatagal, habang tumatanda, nauulanan, napuputulan ng branches, nababahayan ng kung anu-anong hayop, nasisira-sira…pero mas nagiging matibay ang kapit nya sa lupa habang tumatagal. Ganun din tayo. Dapat mas matindi ang kapit natin sa Salita ng Diyos. Para kahit anong dating ng unos, tayo’y nakatayo pa rin at mas higit pa ang pananampalataya natin ay mas lumalakas pa. Kaya ang challenge ko sa lahat, kung ito ang fuel natin, then make diligent use of the means, the gospel as it is proclaimed. Make diligent use of such means to strengthen our faith.

Maraming ibinigay ang Diyos na Daluyan ng kaniyang Biyaya - para sa pagpapalakas ng ating pananampalataya. And a STRONG faith is what we need because trials WILL COME. What are these means? Primarily the WORD of GOD, PRAYERS, PRAISES to God.  Such things can be seen in the WORSHIP of the LORD.

The problem is, when we don’t even want to be engaged in the means, like not being in the worship of the Lord, that the whole day of feasting in God’s Word becomes burdensome to us. I mean, imagine, if God strengthens His people here, why wouldn’t you be here the entire day?

And when the trials come, the very words that you needed to hear to give you fuel, to give you joy to give you comfort, to help you in your battle with sin, you missed! Because worshipping God wasn’t really in your plans every Sunday. Or maybe in our homes, instead of making diligent use of the same private means like reading the Bible or having time praying to God, we have more time for other things!

And when trials come, those other things become our escape, yun ang nagiging escape natin, thinking that these things will sustain us. And then we wonder why it’s so difficult to defeat sin. Why it’s so difficult to obey God’s call to holiness? Because sa iba tayo nag-rerely. Not in the means that God has provided for us.

Brethren, only Christ can sustain us. Only Christ can encourage, fuel our obedience. Only Christ can give us joy during trials. So make use of His means. For strength, comfort, joy, salvation is found in His Word.
Make use of His means because it is Christ who speaks to us in His word. For it is Christ who is proclaimed in His word. He proclaims Himself to us!

You know one of greatest Puritans in their time was John Flavel - he, just like everyone else had many trials in his life. We can compare him to Job. He lost three wives (clarification, hindi po iyon sabay-sabay na wives). Ofcourse, may namamatay. Sa time nila, marami pong namamatay nang maaga. So had three wives and all his wives passed away. Not only that, he lost his children,he lost his parents. He was also part of the Great Ejection. Yung maraming mga ministro na tinanggal sa Church  of England. Tinanggalan ng minister to preach the Word. And even after that, he was still persecuted by the authorities. You know what kept him going, what kept him joyful in his submission to God. What fueled him to obey His Master Christ? It’s the means... it’s the WORD. Situation may change, the Word doesn’t change. Sabi ni John Flavel and I quote, sabi nya: “One word of God can do more than ten thousand words of men to relieve a distressed soul.” That’s how he looks at the Word of God.

Ano ba ang tingin natin sa Salita ng Diyos mga kapatid?  Are you so consumed by trials? Are you too weak to even respond to trials? Do you draw strength from other things or from the Word of God? Hindi ba’t pag naaalala natin sa Salita ng Diyos na si Kristo ay namatay sa Krus... and that He rose again from the dead..that He ensured, because of His work, He ensured the end of suffering, the end of trials. It’s not NOW, it will come. It was ensured by His death and resurrection when He returns.

But most importantly, didn’t His death and resurrection ensure the END of SIN? The SIN that brings SORROW in our hearts. Didn’t He ensure the END of DEATH? The death that brings MORE sorrow in our hearts. Didn’t God ensure before the foundation of the world, that you’d be conformed to the Lamb’s image? Let such reminders be in your hearts, make diligent use of the means of grace, receive His Word, submit joyfully to the trials given to us by God. The testing of our faith confirms God’s adoption of us. As He continues to test us, know that the end-goal is Christ-conformity.

May the Word of God enrich our knowledge of Him, and may it stir us to live in light of these truths.

Let us pray. Panginoong Diyos, aming Ama, maraming marami pong salamat muli sa Inyong kabutihan. Panginoon, salamat sa patuloy Ninyong pag-test sa amin. Sa patuloy Ninyong pagbigay sa amin ng mga trials. Lord, alam namin na itong mga bagay na ito ay para sa aming kabutihan para kami’y ma-sanctify. Lord, we ask for forgiveness when there were times wherein mali ang aming tingin pagdating sa mga trials na ito. Na hindi namin ito nakikita na means Mo Panginoon, para kami ay, para i-refine mo ang aming pananampalataya. There are times na Panginoon na gusto naming maging sobrang payapa ang aming buhay ngayon, O Diyos, na ayaw namin ng kahit anong trials. Panginoon, Lord, we ask for forgiveness. May such trials all the more, put in our hearts Lord, yung joy na naghihintay sa amin Panginoon..that we would long more yung time namin na kapag kasama Ka namin sa heaven. Salamat po Panginoon, nawa’y patuloy Mo kaming baguhin na we are to be conformed in the image of Christ and Lord, allow us to submit joyfully to such tests. We praise You in Christ’s Name. Amen.


Transcribed by: Janette Bautista

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