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Evangel Tabernacle | July 21, 2018

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Behold! The Day of Radiance is Here

Behold! The Day of Radiance is Here

| On 02, Oct 2014

KEY TEXT
Jeremiah 31:1-14 (RSV)

V1- “At that time, says the Lord, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.”

V2- Thus says the LORD: “The people who have survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest,

V3- the Lord appeared to him from afar. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you,

V4-Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with timbrels, and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.

V5- Again you shall plant vineyards upon the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall enjoy the fruit.

V6- For there shall be a day when watchmen will call in the hill country of Ephraim; ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.”

V7- For thus says the LORD: “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, “The Lord has saved his people, the remnant of Israel.”

V8- Behold, I will bring them from the north country and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her who is in travail, together; a great company, they shall return here.

V9- With weeping they shall come and with consolations I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

V10- “Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands afar off; say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.”

V11- For the LORD has ransomed Jacob, and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.

V12- They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD, over the grain, the wine and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more.

V13- Then shall the maidens rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

V14- I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, says the LORD.

On December 17, 1927, an American submarine known as the S-4 had just completed a run of a measured mile off the coast of Massachusetts. Having checked for surface vessels in the vicinity, the S-4 housed her periscopes and planed up to the surface. Suddenly, a lookout on the US Coast Guard Paulding spotted the S-4 coming up too close to the destroyer’s port bow. An alarm was sounded, all engines were thrown into reverse, and the rudder was thrust hard to port.

But it was too late. The Paulding rammed the S-4 and sent her back to the ocean depths. As water flooded into the dark, cold submarine, crew members sealed off watertight compartments and waited. Rescue efforts were undertaken but there was no way to lift the stern of the boat. Navy divers discovered six men were still alive in one compartment of the submarine. For three days the divers did their best to save the men. As time was running out, the trapped men tapped out the heart-wrenching plea, “Is…..there…….no…..hope?”

Human beings need hope. Hope makes all the difference. Hope overcomes the storms and tempests of life.

In the oracles contained in Jeremiah 31, Jeremiah offered hope to the people of Israel and Judah. Judgment would come, but after the judgment there was hope – hope of forgiveness and cleansing, hope of restoration to a relationship with God, hope of returning to their land and becoming a nation again, hope of a Davidic king who would rule and reign in righteousness, hope of a heart-changing new covenant with the Lord. In our key text, prophet Jeremiah specifically described the people of God and the new things the Lord would do for them.

People need hope and Jeremiah preached hope to them – hope in the Lord.

Many of us are like the submarine S-4. We try to rise up in our lives but once we are up, the enemy or the destroyer of our souls would knock us down badly and we’d sink to our lowest. There, we’d remain for many days and wondering if there is ever a hope of being rescued; to be brought up again to see the broad daylight.

The nations of Judah and Israel were knocked down by enemy nations, namely the Babylonians and the Assyrians. Many were scattered; many were killed and only a remnant was left. Was there no more hope for the nation of Israel to rise again?

God gave them the answer through Jeremiah. That answer was…… a new day was coming to them.

What was that new day? It was a day of radiance.

This morning I would like to share a message entitled: “BEHOLD! THE DAY OF RADIANCE IS HERE.”

(I) DEFINTION OF “RADIANCE”
According to the dictionary, the word “radiance” means “brightness and light.”

It connotes hopeful days; days filled with blessings and restoration.

All our Christian experiences will culminate with RESURRECTION.

No matter how deep a depth you have plunged, for born again believers, resurrection is our ultimate experience.

What is the deepest depth we as Christian can plunge into?
LITERAL DEATH OF OUR PHYSICAL BODIES.

Yet even in our physical death, it is “swallowed up in victory” because of the resurrection power of Jesus in us. That is why we dare to laugh at Death’s face, “O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)

The Day of Resurrection is the Day of Radiance.

God has decreed for the Day of Radiance to come upon any believer who has been knocked down by the destroying forces of this life and you shall not have to sit too long in your rock bottom experience of hopelessness. Brightness flowing from the Resurrection Power of Christ will shine upon you and it will raise you up to see many more days of blessings again.

(II) WHAT IS THE DAY OF RADIANCE LIKE?
It is………………

(1) A DAY OF ADORNING
V4b- Again you shall adorn yourself with timbrels, and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.

V7- For thus says the LORD: “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, “The Lord has saved his people, the remnant of Israel.”

To simply put it, it will be day when we adorn ourselves with the GARMENT OF PRAISE instead of the garment for mourning. There will be a garment change- from mourning to praise.

Adorning with this garment of praise…….

• We will use TIMBRELS to praise God
• We will be MERRY MAKING before the presence of the Lord
• We will be SINGING ALOUD with gladness for this church
• We will be SHOUTING AND PROCLAIMING the great name of our God.
• We will be PRAISING GOD for his Salvation upon us

The day of radiance will be characterized with great praises and worship unto God!

(2) A DAY OF REJOICING
V13- Then shall the maidens rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

A day of rejoicing is a day of merriment, joyfulness and gladness.

No more mourning or sorrow because for every sorrow we go through, the day of rejoicing will compensate us with double joy and gladness

E.g.: God spoke to me that May 30, 2014 will usher in the Third year of Resurrection for me and for this church. God told me that this third year will be characterized by many days of radiance. He will grant me lots of laughter, joy and gladness. God was the one who promised me I would be healed in Jerusalem – my home-base – Spore. True to God’s promise, God healed me through my 14 day full fast that I undertook from June 1-14 2014 in Spore; He healed me through the LSBC camp in June too, specifically through the first and last day camp message of Pastor Lawrence and He healed me at the International Minister Fellowship (IMF) in August which Pastor Lawrence sent us to attend. I noticed that I have never laughed so much before with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ than in LSBC. I love all who had come in contact with us. We had to remember about 100-150 names within the first two weeks of our embedding in LSBC. Those brethren were so sincere and wonderful people. We horsed around so much that every where we went, we were the noisiest and the loudest in laughter group. I realized God wanted me to laugh again; to be glad and be happy again with God’s people.

The day of radiance will be characterized with rejoicing.

(3) A DAY OF SATISFACTION
V14- I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, says the LORD.

A “day of satisfaction” means we are so satisfied with the goodness of the Lord.

Why? Because when the day of radiance comes, we will find EVERY NEED SUPPLIED. God’s bounty includes MATERIAL BLESSINGS. Never will we sorrow as we did in the time when we were cut off. So great will be the prosperity bestowed on us that the priests will be SATIATED because of the many sacrifices brought by the worshippers.

The day of radiance will be characterized with satisfaction.

(III) WHO ARE THE PEOPLE WHO WOULD BE RADIANT?

1. THE SWORD SURVIVORS
V2- Thus says the LORD: “The people who have survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest,

“The people who survived the sword” could refer to those who survived the Exodus and the wilderness wandering. More likely, however, it refers to the return of the ten tribes from Assyrian captivity, perhaps also including the later captives from Babylon. The Lord is continuing the grace He showed his people in the desert wanderings. The desert is a figure for the land of Exile in contrast to their homeland. As of old, the Lord in His infinite grace is concerned about finding “rest” for His troubled, weary people. What He did by the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire in the desert, he was willing to do for the returning exiles.

Application: Have you been in the wilderness for quite some times? Have many swords been wielded against you by the enemies of your soul? Have you found the grace of God there? Have you survived the sword….you did not die but you have been standing and continuing on with the Lord? Then this day of radiance will come for you.

You are the sword survivor.

(2) THE REMNANT
V7- For thus says the LORD: “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, “The Lord has saved his people, the remnant of Israel.”

“The remnant” here simply refers to THOSE REMAINING.

The Assyrians killed many people from the Northern Kingdom known as Ephraim or Israel. The Babylonians killed many from the Southern Kingdom Known as Judah. Many died and only a remnant was left in Jerusalem.

It was to this group people that God wanted to bring the day of radiance.

Application: During the period when the sword was wielded against our church, some from our congregation left. You are the remnant of Evangel Tabernacle. You are the faithful and loyal ones remaining here. You may have heard many nasty accusations against this church and yet you have decided to remain.

Today, God’s promises to those who REMAIN WITH US – the day of radiance will come upon you.

God will honor and bless you for your faithfulness and loyalty to Him through this church.

(3) THE SCATTERED ONES
V9- With weeping they shall come and with consolations I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

V10- “Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands afar off; say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.”

The scattered ones here refer to the firstborn Ephraim that was first to be carried in exile to Assyria and to be scattered.

Application: They refer to those who were PIONEERS of our church. Somehow, they listened to lies and were scattered to other churches and even backslided. But God promises here they will return to Evangel Tabernacle in brokenness. Once they are gathered back by God to their original church or place of calling, the day of radiance will come upon them too.

(4) THE RANSOMED ONES
V11- For the LORD has ransomed Jacob, and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.

The ransomed ones here refer to the “redeemed, the prisoners, the slaves or the captured people.”

The hands too strong refers to our oppressors and the bullies of our life, the greatest being SIN.

The oppressors of Israel and Judah are the Assyrians and the Babylonians.

Characteristically, oppressors of our lives in any form will also do what Nebuchadrezzar did to children of God:-
“Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon has DEVOURED me, he has CRUSHED me; he has made me an EMPTY VESSEL, he has SWALLOWED ME like a monster, he has filled his belly with MY DELICACIES, he has RINSED ME OUT.” (Jeremiah 51:34).

Application: Who and what has devoured you; crushed you, emptied you; swallowed you up like a monster; robbed you of all your delicacies and finally rinsed you out? Are they your boss; your spouse; your family; your job; your relatives; an illness, sin or life itself? These normally are people or factors too strong for you – symbolized by the word “hands too strong for you.” In other words, they overpower you.

And for a long time, you have become their prisoner, slave or captives.

But God promises here that He is going to redeem you from all your oppressors.

The word “redeem/ransom” simply means “to rescue”.

God is going to RESCUE you from hands too strong for you, including your sins.

Then you will become the ransomed ones, the rescued one, the set free ones and to you will come the day of radiance.

(5) THE YOUNG AND THE OLD ONES
V13- Then shall the maidens rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

The maiden and the young men refer to the youth. They would be dancing and merry making.

Not only that, the old ones would also be merry.

Application: Soon you will see the HOF, the YGG, the SZ, WOW, MOF and the Men and Women Ambassador (senior citizens of our church) dancing and rejoicing.

E.g. Many times we thought the youths are very happy people. Not so. Lately there is a spirit of hopelessness and a spirit of suicide plaguing many youths of today. You all have heard the testimony of Isabel, one of the troopers under LSBC Youth Mission team last week. She testified she wanted to commit suicide many times. I was also assigned by LSBC almost every day for one month to FAME (Friendship and mind enrichment) Club to be with 40 mentally challenged people. A big proportion of old people ranging from 55-70 years old, have mental problems namely depression. Happiness does not come so easily to the young and the old nowadays.

But then God promises here that the day of radiance will come upon these groups of people to the point they will be dancing.

Application: If God willing, soon Etab will be building a two-storey building on the first line of our land. There will be a dance studio in one of the compartments for the young and the old. Yes- there will be a SENIOR CONNECT ministry that I want to start that will gather seniors from age 55 and above to learn LINE DANCE. There will be a YOUTH AND JUNIOR CONNECT for the youth to learn modern dance and Theatre Arts. Literally in the near future, you will see our young women, young men and old people radiating with dances.

(IV) WHY WILL THE PEOPLE BE RADIANT?

1. BECAUSE GOD HAS BEEN THEIR YAHWEH
V1- “At that time, says the Lord, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.”

We will all realize that God is really YAHWEH – the “great covenant making God” who is determined to keep and make us His people. He will never allow any one or anything to disown us as His people.

2. BECAUSE GOD HAS BEEN LOVING THEM WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE AND BEEN FAITHFUL TO THEM
V3- the Lord appeared to him from afar. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

The word ‘everlasting’ in Hebrew is owlam. It means “long duration, antiquity, futurity, for ever, ever, evermore, perpetual.

It speaks of the “vanishing point.”

God has loved us for a very long time.

Illustration: Richard Armstrong, Make Your Life Worthwhile, reports the story about a man in Wales who sought to win the affection of a certain lady for 42 years before she finally said, “Yes.” The couple, both 74, recently became “Mr. and Mrs.” For more than 40 years, the persistent but rather shy man slipped a weekly love letter under his neighbor’s door. But she continually refused to speak and mend the spat that had parted them many years before. After writing 2,184 love letters without ever getting a spoken or written answer, the single-hearted old man eventually summoned up enough courage to present himself in person. He knocked on the door of the reluctant lady and asked for her hand. To his delight and surprise, she accepted.

God has loved us more than just with words, but in action as well. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). And this love that comes through Jesus was something that was set up a long time ago. It’s from everlasting.

Illustration: In the French revolution, a young man was condemned to the guillotine and shut up in one of the prisons. He was greatly loved by many but there was someone who loved him more than all the others put together. That one was his own father and the love he bore his son was proved in this way: when the lists were called, the father- whose name was exactly the same as the son’s- answered to the name, and the father rode in the gloomy tumbrel out to the place of execution, and his head rolled beneath the axe instead of his son’s – a victim to mighty love.

The word “faithful” is hesed in Hebrew. It means LOYAL, STEADFAST OR FAITHFUL LOVE and stresses the idea of a belonging together of those involved in the love relationship.

3. BECAUSE GOD HAS BEEN BUILDING THEM UP
V4-Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel!

There will no more be plucking up and breaking down from God upon our lives and upon our church. There will no more be overthrowing, destroying and bringing evil upon our us. Rather, God will watch, build and plant us again.

4. BECAUSE GOD HAS BEEN GATHERING & LEADING THEM
V9- With weeping they shall come and with consolations I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

You will realize that all these while God has been gathering and leading us back to Him by THE BROOKS OF WATER.

The “brooks of water” refers to the many times of revival God has sent to our church through the church camp and worship services.

5. BECAUSE GOD HAS BEEN SHEPHERDING THEM
V10- “Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands afar off; say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.”

We would be radiant when we realize that all this while, the Chief Shepherd has been keeping the flock of etab intact. He did not allow the wolves to tear this flock apart. When we see how much God has preserved etab, you will be radiant!

CONCLUSION
For a while you have been down and you have been trying to come up but a destroying force knocks you down badly and you sink again to the bottom. For quite some time, you have been staying at the rock bottom. “Is there no hope”- you cry to God.

There is hope for today because God has given Jeremiah 31 as a prophetic assurance to our church that the day of radiance is here. We have stayed at the bottom long enough. The day of radiance, the day of brightness flowing from the resurrection power of Jesus is here upon us.

Those who are the sword survivors, the scattered ones, the ransomed ones, the remnant ones will experience this day of radiance.

The day of radiance will be characterized with praises, rejoicing and satisfaction.

We will all be radiant because suddenly we’ll begin to see that God has been our Yahweh and we are his people; God has been faithful and loving us continually; God has been building us; He has been gathering us and leading us by the brooks of water and all along He has been shepherding us. Jesus has managed to keep our flock intact. Praise God.

END OF SERMON
PREACHED AT ETAB 2ND ENG SV ON 28 SEPT 2014

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