I was recently in Haiti to visit the New Horizon Home of Eastside Baptist Church. While there we made plans to take the girls (all 43 of them) to a Baptist church in the community where we have moved. I visited the church on a previous visit and met the pastor but this was the first visit with the girls.
I already knew I was in a special place because on the front wall, behind the preacher, was this statement from 2 Timothy 3:1-5
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
I was very pleased to discover the girls have a very good church in their neighborhood that will boldly preach the bible. It will seem strange to many, that in a place like Haiti, there is a great mixture of a worldly message of prosperity attached to the preaching of the Bible. It is tragic that what is considered “successful” in an American church is imitated by anyone wanting to be rich rather than obedient.
As we walked into the church house we expected that we may have a hard time finding a place for all 43 of the girls and 9 Americans to sit together. After finding no place on the main floor we made our way to the balcony, there we were able to get all the girls together.
My dear brother, Alex, sat next to me and translated the sermon for me. The sermon on July 12 was from a visiting preacher and his text was Acts 28:1-5. I only have short bits of the sermon written down, but very convicting and encouraging that the church our girls will attend will preach the bible. This is a top priority for me.
Title: A Bite but A Blessing
- Some come preaching: ‘come to God and be blessed’, but at this church we preach, ‘come to God and suffer.’
- Paul did not think when he was in jail that something bad had happened to him.
- When he was shipwrecked on the island of Malta he did not think that God had abandoned him because of the hardship.
- When he was bit by a snake while getting wood for the fire, he did not assume he was being punished by God.
- Paul was in the work of God; if you want to serve God you must be prepared to suffer.
- There are two things we learn from Acts 28:1-5
- Better to love and obey God than to just be busy in the work of God
- First love and obey God – then – take pleasure in the work of God. If this is not understood you will think that you deserve blessings from God because you are busy in the work of God and deserve prosperity.
- If you do not first love and obey God you will not be prepared to suffer.
- It is better to love God and obey Him than to love the work of God without loving Him.
- When Paul was in jail, he continued the work of God because he loved God and loved being with God
- When you come to church, come to church to be with God and give glory to God because you love him.
- If anyone wants to follow Christ he must pick up His cross (and suffer)
- When you come to follow Christ, expect that you will face hard times.
- When you are in a hard situation;
- ask, is this the discipline of God?
- ask, is this the result of following God?
- If all things are going good you may want to ask God if everything is alright.
- If all things are difficult, and you a sure it is not the discipline of God, you will want to bless the Lord for your suffering. He has asked of you to display his glory in your humility.
Acts 28:1-6 (NASB)
When they had been brought safely through, then we found out that the island was called Malta. The natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all. But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.” However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. But they were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.
This would be a good sermon for all.