Everlasting father, Everlasting Son, Immortal Holy Ghost be thou glorified. We bow before Your Throne of grace, blessed be Thy Holy Name. Heavenly Father, we appreciate You, we blessed Thy Holy Name. Thank You Father in Jesus Name.
Dearly beloved, this is the last day in the month of April and we are highly favoured in the ministry because we still have opportunity for that “one thing” “one miracle” to happen before the end of today.
Let us bless the Name our God, Who enabled us to be in His presence. Let us bless the Name of our Lord Jesus in whom we have our being. The Lord said call upon me and I show you great and might things which thou knoweth not. The hour has come, the time is now. Please come let us go before His presences.
We will be considering further the “ministry of intercession”. Last week, we looked into the result of importunity and we will be furthering on that.
4. Note the faith in prayer. —What he has not himself, another can supply. He has a rich friend near, who will be both able and willing to give the bread. He is sure that if he only asks, he will receive. This faith makes him leave his home at midnight: if he has not the bread himself to give, he can ask another.
It is this simple, confident faith that God will give, that we need: where it really exists, there will surely be no mistake about us not praying. And in God’s word we have everything that can stir and strengthen such faith in us.
5. Note the importunity that prevails. —The faith of the friend met a sudden and unexpected check: the rich friend refuses to hear—”I cannot rise and give thee.” How little the loving heart had counted on this disappointment; it cannot consent to accept it. The supplicant presses his threefold plea: here is my needy friend, you have abundance, I am your friend; and refuses to accept a denial. The love that opened his house at midnight, and then left it to seek help, must win.
This is the central lesson of the parable. In our intercession we may find that there is difficulty and delay with the answer. It may be as if God says, “I cannot give thee.” It is not easy, against all appearances, to hold fast our confidence that He will hear, and to persevere in full assurance that we shall have what we ask. And yet this is what God looks for from us. He so highly prizes our confidence in Him, it is so essentially the highest honour the creature can render the Creator, that He will do anything to train us in the exercise of this trust in Him. Blessed the man who is not staggered by God’s delay, or silence, or apparent refusal, but is strong in faith, giving glory to God. Such faith perseveres, importunately, if need be, and cannot fail to inherit the blessing.
6. Note, last, the certainty of a rich reward. —”I say unto you, because of his importunity, he will give him as many as he needeth.” Oh that we might learn to believe in the certainty of an abundant answer. A prophet said of old: “Let not your hands be weak; your work shall be rewarded. “ Would that all who feel it difficult to pray much, would fix their eye on the recompense of the reward, and in faith learn to count upon the Divine assurance that their prayer cannot be vain. If we will but believe in God and His faithfulness, intercession will become to us the very first thing we take refuge in when we seek blessing for others, and the very last thing for which we cannot find time. And it will become a thing of joy and hope, because, all the time we pray, we know that we are sowing seed that will bring forth fruit an hundredfold. Disappointment is impossible: “I say unto you, He will rise and give him as many as he needeth.”
It reveals to us God waiting, delighting to bestow these blessings in answer to prayer. By a thousand promises and testimonies it calls and urges us to believe that prayer will be heard, that what we cannot possibly do ourselves for those whom we want to help, can be got by prayer. and if we refuse not to pray, Jesus will command stones to cry out, God forbid. Come and see:
“I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” Luke 19:40
But could the stones cry out? Assuredly they could if He who opens the mouth of the dumb should bid them lift up their voice. Certainly if they were to speak, they would have much to testify in praise of Him who created them by the word of His power; they could extol the wisdom and power of their Maker who called them into being.
Shall not we speak well of Him who made us anew, and out of stones raised up children unto Abraham? The old rocks could tell of chaos and order, and the handiwork of God in successive stages of creation’s drama; and cannot we talk of God’s decrees, of God’s great work in ancient times, in all that He did for His church in the days of old? If the stones were to speak, they could tell of their breaker, how he took them from the quarry, and made them fit for the temple, and cannot we tell of our glorious Breaker, who broke our hearts with the hammer of His word, that He might build us into His temple?
If the stones should cry out they would magnify their builder, who polished them and fashioned them after the similitude of a palace; and shall not we talk of our Architect and Builder, who has put us in our place in the temple of the living God? If the stones could cry out, they might have a long, long story to tell by way of memorial, for many a time hath a great stone been rolled as a memorial before the Lord; and we too can testify of Ebenezers, stones of help, pillars of remembrance. The broken stones of the law cry out against us, but Christ Himself, who has rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre, speaks for us.
Stones might well cry out, but we will not let them: we will hush their noise with ours; we will break forth into sacred song, and bless the majesty of the Most High, all our days glorifying Him who is called by Jacob the Shepherd and Stone of Israel. Glory be to God!
Brethren, let us not be disenchanted with our relationship with God, it has a far reaching effect than we think. Let us consider what happened at the hour of trials of the Lord Jesus and take heed:
“Ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone.” John 16:32
Few had fellowship with the sorrows of Gethsemane. The majority of the disciples were not sufficiently advanced in grace to be admitted to behold the mysteries of “the agony.” Occupied with the passover feast at their own houses, they represent the many who live upon the letter, but are mere babes as to the spirit of the gospel.
To twelve, nay, to eleven only was the privilege given to enter Gethsemane and see “this great sight.” Out of the eleven, eight were left at a distance; they had fellowship, but not of that intimate sort to which men greatly beloved are admitted. Only three highly favoured ones could approach the veil of our Lord’s mysterious sorrow: within that veil even these must not intrude; a stone’s-cast distance must be left between.
He must tread the wine-press alone, and of the people there must be none with Him. Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, represent the few eminent, experienced saints, who may be written down as “Fathers;” these having done business on great waters, can in some degree measure the huge Atlantic waves of their Redeemer’s passion.
To some selected spirits it is given, for the good of others, and to strengthen them for future, special, and tremendous conflict, to enter the inner circle and hear the pleadings of the suffering High Priest; they have fellowship with Him in his sufferings, and are made conformable unto His death. Yet even these cannot penetrate the secret places of the Saviour’s woe. “Thine unknown sufferings” is the remarkable expression of the Greek liturgy: there was an inner chamber in our Master’s grief, shut out from human knowledge and fellowship. There Jesus is “left alone.”
Here Jesus was more than ever an “Unspeakable gift!” Is not Watts right when he sings—
“And all the unknown joys he gives,
Were bought with agonies unknown.”
Beloved, may we be found doing what we should do in the kingdom of God not slacking but with all diligent serving the Lord.
Let all lovers of souls, and all workers in the service of the gospel, take courage. Time spent in prayer will yield more than that given to work. Prayer alone gives work its worth and its success. Prayer opens the way for God Himself to do His work in us and through us. Let our chief work as God’s messengers, be intercession: in it we secure the presence and power of God to go with us.
Finally brethren, remember my family in your prayers, ask God for His strength and comfort upon us as we prepare for the interment of my beloved father Mr. Boniface Nnaeto (Pele) tomorrow. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace Amen!
Remain blessed in the Lord.
Evang. Ifeoma Ohondu