As Evangelist, I would like to share to our readers and the general pubic this Christmas and Holiday Season the message I delivered during the worship services at the GOLDEN GATE CHURCH OF CHRIST last Sunday, December 9, 2018 in San Francisco, in conjunction with the 73rd Birthday celebration of my beloved wife Virginia Jimenez Madlaing.
“GREETINGS AND INTRODUCTION: (Bible Text: Proverbs 3:3-7, NIV) Please stand raise your Bibles and recite after me, “THIS IS MY BIBLE . . .It is the Word of God. It is the sword of the Spirit. It is the source of my spiritual food. I am what it says I am. I can do what it says I MUST DO . .and I AM READY . . I AM READY . . I AM READY to feed my soul today.
One of the blessings of marrying a Christian like my beloved wife Virginia Jimenez Madlaing, who is now retired, is the opportunity to have healthy breakfast together and discuss many things under the sun like our children, grandchildren, our travels, our involvement in WE CARE Evangelism campaigns and workshops in the Philippines, how to walk together and encourage each other get to heaven. We also discussed our nephews and nieces who used to be very active in the church, participate in the Vacation Bible School, Children Bible Classes, attend worship services regularly but now that they have grown up, finished college and have stable jobs, they’ve abandoned the church, questioned the existence of God and ridiculed the teachings and admonitions of the Bible and avoided attending Bible Classes and worship services.
One day we discussed about our nephew-lawyer, who is now retired . I wrote and invited him several times to come back, attend Bible classes and worship services but he always turned down my invitation. Maybe he reasoned out that it is a waste of time going to worship services and the Bible is already obsolete during this 21st century, the generation of the millenials. To him, it doesn’t make sense to go back to God..
On another day, we discussed about our nephew, the son of our youngest brother, who finished nursing degree in the Philippines and is now working in a hospital in San Jose, California right in Silicon Valley. My concern is that he works on Sundays and missed attending Bible classes and joining the worship services. Maybe he thinks that since he got stable job, he doesn’t need God and attending Bible Classes and worship services regularly doesn’t make sense anymore.
And then on another day, we discussed about our niece who finished Doctorate in Psychology and served as Professor in a university in Connecticut. Not contented in not attending the Bible Classes and worship services, she tried to influence our daughters to forget God and the teachings and admonition of the Bible. Maybe she reasoned out that God is not real and the Bible is obsolete and irrelevant during this age of the millenials. To her thinking, trusting God doesn’t make sense.
Do you know why I do not give up on them? Primarily because I was once an agnostic and joined one time the company of Jose Ma Sison, the founder and chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines. I abandoned God and lived a worldly life style. But by the grace and mercy of God through the prayers for almost 10 years of our late brother in the faith Candido Libag , I came to my senses, repented and obeyed the gospel in baptism for the remission of my sins during the summer of 1972.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will touch and move our many nephews and nieces to come to their senses, repent and go back to God like the Prodigal Son, before it is too late.
This morning, we’ll talk on the topics TRUSTING GOD WHEN IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE . . TRUSTING AND OBEYING GOD WHEN IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE . . . BELIEVING, TRUSTING AND OBEYING GOD WHEN IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.
To begin our message this morning, I would like to ask the following questions:
When God doesn’t make sense, do you still believe and trust Him?
When the Lord’s commandments do not make sense, do you still trust and obey Him?
When the situations and conditions are too demanding and do not make sense, do you still trust and obey God.?
To answer these questions, let’s go back to the Book of GENESIS, the book of beginnings: Let’s start with the:
1.DISOBEDIENCE OF ADAM AND EVE -(Read Genesis 3:1-24) Eve disobeyed God because she thought that the lie given to her by the serpent , the Devil, make sense while the command of God given to her and her husband Adam doesn’t make sense. They both fall to the trap of the Devil through Lust of the Flesh, Lust of the Eye and the Pride of Life. Their disobedience resulted to separation from God. They were driven away from Garden of Eden and then came death physically and spiritually.
2.FAITH AND OBEDIENCE OF ABRAHAM – (Read Genesis Chapters 12,15, 16, 21, 22, in your home)
Abraham was 75 years old when God promised that he will have a son with Sarah who was barren and already passed her child-bearing age.(read Genesis 12:1-4). . One year passed and the promised son didn’t come. 5 years passed no son ; . . . 10 years passed still no son ; Sarah became impatient and told her husband Abraham : Go to my maid Hagar that I may obtain children by her and Abraham harkened to the voice of Sarai; Hagar bare Abram a son and called his son Ishmael; (Genesis Chapter 16:1-3); 15 years passed yet no son; 20 years passed and still no son; 24 years passed and still no son (Gene4sis 17: After 25 years, when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 91 years old , God gave him his son Isaac (Read Genesis 17:9-21, Genesis 21:1-7)
I would like to bring to your attention the sense of humor and laughter brought by Sarah. Despite the trials and tribulations in their journey to unfamiliar land and years of waiting for a son, Sarah was joyful, got sense of humor and enjoy laughing Her son Isaac is literally translated LAUGHTER. (read Genesis 21:5-7)
Do you know why we’re blessed and enjoyed visiting sister Juanita and brother James Robertson every Sunday afternoon for Communion Fellowship and singing? Despite her trials and tribulations, her physical ailments and pain all over her body, sister Juanita had sense of humor, share good jokes and we enjoy laughing together. . .so there’s no boredom in our spiritual journey to our mansions in heaven.
And do you know why brother John Clayton, a former atheist and high school science teacher, became a Christian? Brother Clayton, whose parents were atheists, married a committed and dedicated Christian woman, Phyllis Clayton who died in May, 2008.. His wife endured the long years of suffering with diabetes and complications. Brother Clayton saw and observed the joyful and hopeful lifestyle of his wife compared to the boring and dooming lifestyle of his atheistic parents. That was the turning point of his interest in searching the Scriptures. He heard the gospel (Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus). He repented of his sins and obeyed the gospel in baptism. Now brother Clayton is a full-time Evangelist and publisher/editor of DOES GOD EXIST?. a nonprofit effort to convince mankind that God is real and the Bible is His Word.. . . YES, every Christian must live a life so that the non-believers will question their dis-belief in God.
In Genesis Chapter 22, God tested Abraham’s faith, trust and obedience ( read Genesis Chapter 22:1-18 in your home) Abraham had three qualities of faith,, trust and obedience:
1.Despite very long years of waiting for a son and when everything and every situation do not make sense, Abraham continued to believe and trust in God (read Genesis Chapter 15:1-6)
2.Even when Abraham didn’t fully understand and the condition and command of God do not make sense, he was willing to obey God by offering and sacrificing his only son Isaac. (read Genesis 22:1-8)
3.When everything is very bleak and hopeless, Abraham believed that God will provide- Jehovah Jireh (Read Genesis 22: 9-14)
From the time of Adam and Eve in Genesis- the book of Creation until today, majority of people are like Adam and Eve who thought that the words of lie from the Devil make sense while the words of God through the Scriptures or the Bible do no make sense. (quote 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
When Jesus was tempted by the Devil, He quoted the Scripture and said “It is written” (Read Matthew 4:1-11) and drove away the Devil.
The Bible says “ Bad company ruins good morals.” ( I Cor. 15:33) This timeless admonition from the Bible is good for the young people and the millenilals but to them it doesn’t make sense. They would rather follow their peers doing drugs, smoking, gambling late night dancing and other evil vices. I know this for a fact because I was once there. The Devil is still using the same modus operandi today successfully applied to Adam and Eve – – the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and pride of life.
To the young people, they may think that Abraham’s example is just for the elderly or the “baby boomer”s and not for the young people. .the millenials I would like to share with you
JOSEPH AS ROLE MODEL FOR US TODAY SPECIALLY TO OUR YOUNG PEOPLE, THE MILLENIALS : 1.Joseph, 17-year-old was favorite son of Jacob or Israel, who helped his brothers in shepherding the flock (Genesis 37:1-4 ; 2. Joseph the Dreamer was plotted to be killed by his brothers due to jealousy and hatred (Genesis 37-12-24) 3. . Joseph was sold to the traders and brought down to Egypt (Genesis 37:25– 3. Joseph was seduced by Potiphar’s wife; but didn’t give in; he was wrongly accused by Potiphar’s wife and put in prison.(Genesis 39:1-20; 4. Joseph interpreted dreams (Butler’s Dream, Baker’s Dream Genesis 40:1-23) 5. Pharaoh’s Dream, Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s Dream (Genesis 41:1-36😉 6. Pharaoh made Joseph the ruler or Prime Minister at the young age of 30 (Genesis 40:49)
There was a span of 13 years between the time when 17-year-old Joseph was helping his brothers in shepherding the flock until he was made the ruler or Prime Minister of Egypt by Pharaoh. For more than 10 long years his life was all downward: 1. He was put in the pit by his brothers; 2. He was sold to the traders and brought to Egypt; 3. He was seduced by Potiphar’s wife; 4. He was wrongly accused; 5. He was condemned and put to prison. During the 10 long years of hardships and tribulations, Joseph could have easily abandoned and blamed God. He could have easily said, “It doesn’t make sense to trust God.” But Joseph remained faithful and relied on God’s providence.
Before closing, I would like to share with you the Conversion of Cornelius : In Acts Chapter 10, , we fond out that Cornelius is a very good man who fear God, give alms to the needy and praying regularly(read Acts 10:1-2). As answer to his prayers, Peter was sent to him who preach the gospel (the death burial and resurrection of Christ, Acts 11:34-41) When Cornelius heard the gospel preached by Peter, he and his household repented and obeyed the gospel in baptism for the remission of sins (read Acts 10:47-48)
Although he may not fully understand and the preaching and command may not make sense, Cornelius and his household repented and obeyed the gospel in baptism for the remission of sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit like what Paul and those who heard the preaching of Peter on the Day of Pentecost (read Acts 2:37-38, 48 Acts 22:16)
Today, there are so many good men and women like Cornelius. Unfortunately, to them it doesn’t make sense to repent, it doesn’t make sense to obey the gospel in baptism and wash away our sins; it doesn’t make sense to be buried in the watery grave of baptism to be in contact with the blood of Christ
Let’s go back to our Bible text in Proverbs: “ Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes and shun evil.” Proverbs 3:5-7, NIV)
Many leftist, socialist, communistic and progressive leaders and Americans think that God, prayers and the Bible are obsolete, irrelevant and do not make sense during this modern-day 21st century. They said that God is dead. They ban prayers in schools and they do not want the teachings and admonitions of the Bible in our modern-day society. . . LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING:
California just experienced the worst forest wild fires in Paradise and vicinities in Northern California and in Malibu and vicinities in Southern California.. Almost 100 died and about 8,000 homes and buildings were burned down. More than 1, 500 fire fighters using helicopters, modern-dag technologies and equipments worked together to stop and contain the wild forest fires for weeks and weeks and weeks and then months but they could not stop and contain the raging forest fires.
Finally, Christians collectively prayed to God to bring rain. Through the hands of God, the much-needed rain came. In 1-2 days, the raging forest fires, which humans and the modern-day technology and equipments could not stop, were contained. . . . YES, President George Washington was 100 right when seen kneeling and praying said: “It is impossible to rightly govern the world and the United States without God, without prayers, and without the Bible”. .
As parting words I would like to share with you the warning on 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9) “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.”
Like Cornelius, Abraham and Joseph,, you can trust and obey God even when you don’t fully understand and doesn’t make sense. You can repent, confess Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God & obey the gospel today in baptism and wash away your sins.(Luke 13:3,5, Acts 2:37-38. 22:16)
If you have been lukewarm as a Christian, we encourage you recommit and rededicate your life to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Whatever you need, we invite to come forward as we sing the invitation song.”
I wish all our readers a Blessed and Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season.
*ART GABOT MADLAING is a commissioned Notary Public and licensed Real Estate Broker (BRE#00635976) in California since 1981. He is accredited Notary Public by the Philippine Consul General in San Francisco. Art is the founder of FITNESS FOR HUMANITY (aka FITNESS FOR CHRIST) and ACAPINOY. He is active Evangelist with the GOLDEN GATE CHURCH OF CHRIST iu San Francisco, California.