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Vol. XVI No. 3
21 October 2018
“The LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep SILENCE before him.”
Call WorshipDn Tan Beng Lee
Opening HymnImmortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
Invocation/Gloria Patri
Responsive ReadingPsalm 49
HymnWe Have Not Known Thee as We Ought
Offerings/HymnTake the World, but Give Me Jesus
Doxology/PrayerDn Tan Beng Lee
Scripture TextProverbs 3:13–26
Pastoral PrayerDr Jose Lagapa
SermonThe Rewards of the Wise
(Dr Jose Lagapa)
Closing HymnTrust and Obey
Closing PrayerDr Jose Lagapa

Rev Nguyen Gia Hien

(Preached at a Gospel meeting of Brisbane BPC, Australia, 28 September 2018)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Many think that there is no God; or if there is, He is neither loving nor almighty enough to keep this world in peace and happiness. They have such thinking due to the sorrows, sufferings, diseases, natural disasters, injustice, crimes, wars, and so forth in this world! Is that true? What about you?

Others think that God is unfair when they see the healthy and the sick, the rich and the poor, some with good “luck” while others with bad “luck”, and so forth. Is that true? What about you?

Many professing Christians think that as God is love and the Lord Jesus Christ died for their sins, they take advantage of God’s love to live in sins and to worship and serve God anyhow they like. Some even believe that there is no hell because God is too loving to cast human beings into hell fire. Is that true? What about you?

How can you and I be sure that God truly exists, is truly loving, truly just, and truly almighty? God has revealed His goodness, His love, His grace, His righteousness, and His power to mankind through Nature, through His Word the Holy Bible, and through His Son Jesus Christ.

God’s Existence, Love and Power

Does God truly exist and is He truly loving and almighty?

When you and I look at the world, the universe, and everything in it, including our being, we must acknowledge that there is a very good, wise, loving and almighty Creator, even the living and true God of the Holy Scriptures. Nature tells us about God’s love, goodness and power, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom 1:20). God only created human beings after He had created the heaven and the earth, the light, the sea, the vegetation, the sun, the moon, the stars, the fishes, the birds, and the animals. Why? Human beings cannot live without the air, the light, the water and the food. This shows God’s love, goodness and mercy, “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Ps 136:1). Sadly, many deny God their Creator! They have no excuse if they do not see God’s love, goodness and power through Nature!

Not only through Nature, God has graciously revealed Himself through His Word. God’s Word tells us that He is not only good, loving, and almighty but also holy and righteous: “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Exod 34:6–7).

“Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest” (Rev 15:3–4 cf Jer 10:10–13). Here we see the Lord God Almighty, His justice, His holiness, and His judgements.

Many still do not believe in God’s written Word, so the loving and gracious God sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, who humbly came into this world and showed us God the Father. The Lord Jesus confirms, “there is none good but one, that is, God… With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matt 19:17, 26; Mark 14:36). Here, the Lord Jesus tells us about God’s goodness and powerfulness.

In John 3:16 we read of God’s great love, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The Lord Jesus prayed to His Father, calling Him, “Holy Father… O righteous Father” (17:11, 25). Not only is God full of love, He is also full of holiness and righteousness.

The climax of God’s goodness, grace, love, power, righteousness and holiness is shown through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. It is out of His love that God gave His Son to die for sinful mankind. It is His righteousness and holiness that God did not forgive sinful mankind without a price, but with a very costly price, even by putting all their sins upon His Son Jesus to save them. God’s Word says, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9–10). The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ shows God’s powerful to save, “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4).

The almighty God has loved mankind so much, and has power to save them, then, why are there still so many sorrows and evils in this world?

Sorrows and Evils

Why is this world full of sorrows and evils?

Many blame God for all the sorrows and evils in this world. They wonder if God truly loves mankind and truly sees all the sorrows and evils they are suffering. Since January 2018 until now, we have witnessed many natural disasters here and there in the world. What about Australia? We have witnessed many bush fires and heatwaves in summer, and floods and drought here and there this year. These natural disasters have taken away many lives and caused a lot of costly damages. Many have blamed God and murmured against Him for all these evils. Why do they blame God and murmur against Him? It is because they do not know God, that He is not only good, loving, and merciful but also holy and righteous.

God is good, and all things He created were very good (Gen 1:31). God did not create man like a robot, but a living soul in a body with a free will, conscience, intelligence, skills, and capacity to render worship to God. God wants human beings to voluntarily obey Him, worship Him and serve Him so that they may be blessed. But sadly, they have disobeyed God and lived in sins, so they have to receive all the consequences of their sins. Good parents always love their children and want their children to be good students and good citizens. Good parents do not want their children to play with bad friends, to violate the law of the country, or to take drugs and alcohol. If the children disobey their parents and are put in prison due to their offences and crimes, they have to blame themselves and not their parents.

God truly loves human beings whom He created and wants them to obey Him, worship Him and live a godly life to enjoy more blessings from Him. God has commanded mankind to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and to love their neighbours as themselves (Mark 12:30–31). If they keep His commandments, this world would be a place of peace and happiness without sorrows, pains, diseases, injustices, crimes and wars. Sadly, the first human beings, Adam and Eve, did not obey God nor keep His commandment; so sin, death, and the curse entered into this world (Rom 5:12).

God’s love is not like human love. God’s love is holy love, which “rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth” (1 Cor 13:5). The holy God is not happy with sin, iniquity, unrighteousness, and ungodliness. God’s Word says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Rom 1:18). Here, we are told about God’s holy wrath. Many like to hear about God’s love, and not about God’s holiness, God’s wrath, God’s anger, God’s judgment, God’s punishment, or God’s condemnation. However, the holy and righteous God cannot ignore sins but has to condemn unrepentant sinners through curses, natural disasters, hell fire, and in the end the lake of fire. God’s Word confirms, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev 21:8). Here we see that the lake of fire is real.

Thus, sinful human beings must not blame God but themselves if they reject God’s love, fail to repent, and are punished.

Repent and Believe

God is true, and His love is true. He has shown His love through Nature, His Word and His Son Jesus Christ.

How to enjoy God’s love? The first step is for man to repent of their sins, and then believe and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31). You must believe like Paul who said, “I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). Have you done that? Can you say, “I am thankful to the Lord Jesus, who loved me and died for me”?

What are our proper attitudes when we see natural disasters? When the Jews told the Lord Jesus about those who were killed by Pilate and those who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them, Jesus said to them, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). When Jeremiah witnessed the righteous and holy God chastise His people due to their sins, he said, “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not” (Lam 3:22). Truly, it is God’s mercy that this sinful world has not been destroyed by fire as God has patiently waited for more sinners coming back to Him in repentance (2 Pet 3:7–9). Have you repented?

Be Born Again

You and I must make sure that we are born again to be God’s children. The Lord Jesus confirms, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Only by being born again can you and I see and know God and His love, His holiness, His power, His will, and His kingdom.

Live a Holy Life

Many professing Christians deceive themselves by thinking that they are saved when they are not. They will be shocked when they are rejected by God, whom they claim to worship and serve. The Lord Jesus has clearly warned, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt 7:21). You and I must make sure that we are truly believing and living in the Lord, worshipping and serving Him according to His will!

The Lord Jesus confirms, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).

This world will become worse and worse because of sin. More judgements and natural disasters will be poured down on earth from the holy and righteous God. May God graciously help you and me to truly know Him, not only His love but also His holiness. May the Lord help us to acknowledge our sins in repentance and to constantly trust in Him to overcome sins and live a holy life according to His will so that we may see Him when He comes. Amen.

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