Shiloh Sunday Service (18th February 2018)
Speaker: Evangelist Eric Burton
Sermon: "Lent: Follow in Jesus' Steps, Return, and be Raised Again"
Following in the footsteps of Jesus
The season of Lent is a time of truly following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. As we go through the season of Lent, we must cry out and confront our frailties and afterwards confess that through the strength of our Father we were able to keep the season of Lent and refrain from the world and seek His face that our hearts and spirit be renewed. Jesus fasted forty days and nights and overcome the temptations of the devil; therefore let us overcome as well through fasting and prayer (Matthew 4:1-2).
Lent is a time of suffering
Jesus suffered for our sins and His body was put through much pain and pierced for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:5). Likewise, we have been called for this same purpose! (1 Pet 2:21). This is why the Apostle Paul says he rejoices in his sufferings for Christ (Colossians 1:24). We must suffer and abstain from worldly pleasures and have self-control to walk in the steps of Jesus Christ during this time of Lent and give up our lives so that we can fill up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. Secondly, Lent is a time of repentance, so that we can partake in the suffering of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore the season of Lent is a time of celebrating being born again and being crucified together with the Lord. And, it is through His resurrection we can receive true freedom. Thirdly, during this period of Lent we also have to evangelize. During Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness, he was tempted by the devil however, Jesus’ priority was the Word of God and He fought off the temptations of Satan with the Word of God (Matthew 4:9-10). Therefore, Jesus’ priority was serving God above all things and for the love of the kingdom of God through evangelism.
Lent is the Secret of Returning to God
During the period of Lent God is simply telling us to return back to Him. But how do we do this? First, we must know ourselves by confessing our frailty, our weaknesses and recognize how meaningless we are (Genesis 3:19). So, if we don’t study the Word of God, we will forget how meaningless we are and judge others (Matthew 7:3). Secondly, we must return to God with fasting, weeping and mourning (lamentation). Originally, the Israelites when they realized what kind of sin they had committed they would rend their garments and would weep with ash all over themselves to express their remorse. However after some time had passed their hearts of morning would disappear and they would only rend their garments and not their hearts. The prophet Joel said; “Not to rend your garment but to rend your heart” (Joel 2:12-13). Likewise, we must not repent out of formality and for the sake of people but before God. Thirdly, we must restore Holiness (Ref Joel 2:16). The Bible says to; “Gather and sanctify the congregation.” Biblically speaking, holiness is being set apart as God’s own possession (Leviticus 20:26; 11:44-46; 1 Peter 1:16). We must live a life of self-control within the Word and faith and not greed; which God hates the most (Colossians 3:5). We must not love the things of this world but do the will of our Father (1 John 2:15-17).
Lent is a time of being raised with Christ
The season of Lent is the essence of Christianity; which is a religion of shame and suffering. The Apostle Paul stated that the only gospel that he has is Jesus Christ who was crucified (1 Cor 1:23-25). On the way up to Jerusalem, Jesus disclosed to His disciples that His going up to Jerusalem was not for glory but a place of shame, humiliation, suffering and death and three days later He will rise again. Therefore we must take up our cross and walk and not stay behind but take up our own cross and suffer along with our Lord during this time of Lent. Let us walk in courage (Mark 10:32-34). Secondly, we must be filled with His sufferings. On the way up to Jerusalem, Jesus prepared and warns His disciples that He was going to a place of suffering and that following Him they may perhaps risk their lives, and everything they have. Likewise during this season of Lent Jesus is telling us not to think about profits, advantages or gains but is showing us of the things we must empty ourselves of. This forty days of Lent is a time where we are to empty ourselves of our own greed, plans and goals and be filled with the suffering of the Lord.
Conclusion: Jesus explained about the things that would happen to Him in Jerusalem and His death however; three days later He will rise again. This is the conclusion. Likewise during this season of Lent what’s important is the conclusion; that we rise with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So, may we let go of all of our failures in our lives, hardships and sufferings and conclude by being raised again at the conclusion of this Lenten season.