IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES
TOPIC: A DISTINCTIVE IDENTITY, PECULIAR! SET APART FOR GOD’S GLORY
Rev. Innocent Chukwudi Peace-Udochukwu President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.” — Psalm iv. 3.
When David wrote this psalm he had been pestered and troubled by certain ungodly men who had made a mock of that which was his greatest delight. They had turned his glory into shame, and had proved that they loved folly and falsehood; so he said to them, “O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing,”— or, “lying?” In order that he might stop them from angering him, he reminded them of two great facts: “But know,” — said he, — understand, do not doubt it, rest assured of it, “know that Jehovah hath set apart him that is godly for himself: Jehovah will hear when I call unto him.” Why did David want these men to know those two facts?
Well, first, that they might cease to oppose him; for, if they did but know that the man whom they mocked at was really a child of God, set apart by the Most High by a divine choice to be his own peculiarly favoured one, surely, they would not go on with their persecution. Those who put Christ to death did it in ignorance, “for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” And we are persuaded that there are many men who now oppose the servant of God, who would not do so if they did but know really that he was a servant of God, and that God looked upon him with delight. Therefore David, to stop the cruel mockings of his persecutors, said to them, “Know that Jehovah hath set apart him that is godly for himself: Jehovah will hear when I call unto him.”
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”.
1 Peter 1:3-5.
If you belong to Christ, this day. We shall conduct you through this mine of treasure, and ask you to dwell upon each several blessing, that your souls may be comforted, and that you, lifting up your hearts in blessing, and praising the God of all grace, may forget your cares and sorrows, and find a young heaven begun below, a paradise blooming amid the desert.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope.”
No other attribute could have helped us had mercy refused. As we are by nature, justice condemns us, holiness frowns upon us, power crushes us, truth confirms the threatening of the law, and wrath fulfils it. It is from the mercy of our God that all our hopes begin. Mercy is needed for the miserable, and yet more for the sinful. Misery and sin are fully united in the human race, and mercy here performs her noblest deeds. My brethren, God has vouchsafed his mercy to us, and we must thankfully acknowledge that in our case his mercy has been abundant mercy. We were defiled with abundant sin, and only the multitude of his lovingkindnesses could have put those sins away. We were infected with an abundance of evil, and only overflowing mercy can ever cure us of all our natural disease, and make us meet for heaven.
“Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.’”
A DISTINCTIVE IDENTITY — “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.” We are a chosen race. Christians have a distinctive identity. Our identity is thoroughly integrated with the Risen Son of God.
“Ah!” said the other, “but there is a strangeness about you that I do not like; I feel sometimes that I cannot endure your company.” “I thank you again,” replied the Christian, “for you only fulfil our Lord’s words, ‘Because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.’” Yes, dear friends, it is so; and if you never strike the worldling as being a strange person, if you never get the mocking laughter of the ungodly, if they never slander you, if you never detect any difference between yourself and them, and they never discover any between themselves and you, it must be because you are not a genuine child of God. Ishmael will mock Isaac; it is not possible that the two seeds— the seed of the serpent, and the seed of the woman, — should agree together if they act according to their nature. Do not wonder, therefore, if you, like David, have to bear persecution from those who cannot comprehend your new life, “for ye are dead,” and the world says, “Bury the dead out of sight.” “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren;” but the worldling does not understand the peculiar character of the godly, or delight in it.
But notice that, according to our text, this peculiar character is understood in heaven. God knows what godliness is, for he has created it, he sustains it, he is pledged to perfect it, and his delight is in it.
When a man has become a new creature in Christ Jesus, the old creatures round about him cannot make head or tail of him. They look at him, they see him actuated by motives which they cannot understand, they see that he is kept in check by forces which they do not acknowledge, that he is constrained by energies of which they are not partakers, and that he looks for a something which they do not desire; so the Christian becomes in a measure like to Christ himself, of whom the poet sings,—
“The Jewish world knew not their King,
God’s everlasting Son.”
“Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” “You are a very peculiar person,” said one to a Christian. “I thank you for that testimony,”
Dear friends, know yet further that God makes those who are really godly to differ from the world. He will not let them be like the world. Some of them try to be so, but they must not. And the world sometimes gets the victory over them for a time, and makes them like itself; but they soon get out of its power. Poor Samson told the secret of his great strength, and the Philistines cut off all that long hair of his which used to hang down his back till he seemed to be like a wild man of the woods. The Nazarite told his secret, and then they clipped away his hair, and set him to grind in the mill when they had put out his eyes. They should have had a razor drawn over his head every morning, but they forgot to do that; and when his hair had grown again, he pulled the temple down upon his enemies, and in his last moments won a glorious victory for his nation. If the devil ever does cut the Nazarite locks of a true child of God, they will grow again in time; they must grow again, and they grow when the devil is not noticing them, and then the old strength of grace comes back again. I have known a child of God fall, like Peter did, when he denied his Master. Yet, when the locks of his consecration had grown again, in a short time there was Peter preaching a sermon that brought three thousand to Christ; and the devil had not made much of a gain of Peter after all, when once he came back to his Lord. But, oh, what a mercy it is to be kept so as never to lose those locks of consecration!
The Lord will hear when I call unto him.” Call unto him now, and he will hear and answer you; and so let us come to his table, happy and joyful, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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