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Evangel Tabernacle | October 22, 2018

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The Blessings Of The Planted Ones

The Blessings Of The Planted Ones

| On 16, Jan 2018

KEY TEXT

Psalms 92:12-15 (RSV)

V12- The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

V13- They are planted in the house of the LORD, they flourish in the courts of our God.

 V14- They still bring forth fruit in old age, they are ever full of sap and green,

 V15- to show that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

 Are you a flourishing or a perishing Christian? Are you a planted Christian or an uprooted one?

A seed cannot grow to its potential unless it is planted. Sitting on top of the soil won’t do it.

 Similarly, Christ’s followers cannot grow to their potential unless they are planted in church and not just attending.

 This morning, I would like to share a message, entitled- THE BLESSINGS OF THE PLANTED ONES.

 In my message, I would like to share on:

1)  Who are the planted ones?

2)  What are the blessings of the planted ones?

3)  The Prophecy for Evangel Tabernacle

 

(I)  WHO ARE THE PLANTED ONES?

V12- They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.

 Who are the planted ones?

 The answers are found in two keys phrases of our Key Text – “the house of the Lord” and “the courts of our God”.

 The house of the Lord here refers to the Church of Jesus Christ where the presence of God tabernacles; where prayers are offered; sacrifices and commitment are made at the altar; word of God is being taught and preached; services to God and to saints are rendered and where fellowship among believers take place.

 The word “plant” connotates “commitment and permanency”. Once planted, a seed is committed to that spot – it will never leave the church – regardless. It will let its root dig deeper downward at where it is planted, showing us, that Planted ones are believers who will be deeply rooted into the ways and teachings of the Lord from the church. It will bloom where it is planted-showing that planted ones live out the purpose and the calling of God designed for them.

 The planted ones are also those righteous believers of Christ who love to praise God as is symbolized by the phrase “courts of praise.” In fact, Psalm 92 is a praise song sung by the children of Israel during Sabbath in the Lord’s house for his righteous rule over all. How do we know that the courts of the Lord ARE referring to PRAISE? “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise…” (Psalm 100:4 NIV).

 Therefore, the planted ones are righteous believers of Christ who are:

  • Committed to the Church (House of the Lord)
  • Committed to prayer
  • Committed to serving
  • Committed to the teachings of the Church
  • Committed to a life of praise (Courts of the Lord)
  • Committed to the community group- like fellowship in the DJ Cell Group

 (II)  WHAT ARE THE BLESSINGS OF THE PLANTED ONES?

4 BLESSINGS

1.   THE PLANTED ONES FLOURISH

The word “to flourish” means “to thrive; to be in one’s prime; to be at the height of fame, excellence, influence; to be successful; to prosper; to grow luxuriantly.”

 Our key text states that the planted ones will flourish like the PALM TREE.

 Today, there are 300 species of palms that grow from 3- 100 feet tall. The date palm produces over 300 pounds of dates per year. The African oil palm gives a higher yield than any other plant.  The palm tree has been called the representative tree of Palestine and a symbol of the land of our Lord.

 Revelation 7:9- “they were clothed with white robes and had palm branches in their hands.”

 The palm tree is a picture of the FLOURISHING LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN.

 And our key text specifically states that the planted ones will flourish in the exact manner like the palm tree. How? (8 ways)

  • THE PALM TREE BREAKS BANDS

Other trees don’t break bands. As trees grow, the band digs into the tree bark, like an old clothesline wire sinking deep into a tree. On the other hand, the palm tree breaks the bands as it grows.

 Application: Satan tries to put bands around us to dig in, to cut and to scar our lives. But a child of God like a palm tree, is able to break the bands of sin and bondage through Christ. Romans 6:1-2 says that “We don’t have to continue in sin.” 1 Corinthians 15:57- “But thanks be to God which giveth us victory.” Romans 8:37: “In all these things we are more than conquerors.”

  • THE PALM TREE WILL NOT BREAK

Palm tree is known for its FLEXIBILITY. During a hurricane, it bends even to the ground but it doesn’t break. After a storm, the palm tree straightens back up and it is even stronger than it was before the storm happened. It continues to flourish after the storm.

 E.g. There were several families in a certain church who had a very tough year. They suffered loss, unexpected trials, pain and difficulties. But they are still serving the Lord and flourishing because they are planted. They didn’t give up on God and the church. There are other people who go through the same trials but they are not planted and they walk away from God and the church. But the people who are planted flourish! They bend but they don’t break. They take a licking but keep on ticking.

 Application: The planted child of God can withstand any storm they face. Philippians 4:13- “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.”

  • THE PALM TREE SURVIVES IN THE DESERT

The palm tree is a survivalist. It not only survives in the desert but also flourishes in it.

 The root of the palm tree find moisture deep below the burning sand.

 Application: A Planted child of God knows how to go DEEP with God when he faces the desert world. He knows how to live the Christian life – “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now life in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). He also knows how to be a prayer warrior – “Pray without ceasing (1Thessalonian 5:17). Not theology but kneeology. Many Christians don’t flourish because they are looking for nourishment on the SURFACE.

 Shallow Christians look to the world for refreshment but the world will never satisfy. The fashions, fads and entertainment of the world are shallow and unfruitful.

 A planted child of God knows how to send his tap root DEEP INTO THE WORD OF GOD.

 Are you a shallow Christian or a deep Christian?

  • THE PALM TREE WITHSTANDS ABUSE

The heart of an ordinary tree is dead but the heart of the palm tree is ALIVE. The life of the palm tree is on the INSIDE. Outward abuse does not affect the life or the quality of the palm tree.

 Application: Because we have life deep within our hearts, we are free from sin. The life of the planted child of God is within. “Though our outward man perishes yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (1 Corinthians 4:16).

 E.g. Many insults were hurled at me by people in the past. But one night while doing my devo, I heard the Lord speak to me, ‘Let them curse what they want. You can’t stop their venomous tongues. But you can close your ears like a deaf and shut your mouth like a dumb. Protect your inner man by what I have spoken about you and do not let their arrows sink deep into your spirit. Protect your inner man. They can abuse what they see on your outward but they can never touch your inner man.”

  • THE PALM TREE CANNOT BE GRAFTED

Horticulturists say that to graft a palm tree is to kill it. The palm tree is distinctive, special and unique.

 Application: 1 Peter 2:9 – “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an unholy nation, a peculiar people.” That is why grafting kills it. To graft a Christian into the world is to kill his testimony and influence. The Christian is to be distinctive and easily distinguished from the world. He is not to be “conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of his mind.” (Romans 12:2).

  • THE PALM TREE WILL NOT BURN

The palm tree is never used for firewood because it refuses to burn like any ordinary wood.

 Application: The child of God will never suffer the burning fires of HELL. He will not burn. He is a palm tree.

  • THE PALM TREE IS AN EVERGREEN

The evergreen is a symbol of IMMORTALITY.

 Application: The child of God will never die. He has everlasting life. John 3:16- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

  • A GROUP OF PALM TREES FORM AN OASIS

One palm tree standing alone will not provide much shade from the burning sun. But a group of palm tree form an OASIS.

 Application: The church is an oasis as it comprises of many planted ones grouped together. The church like an oasis provides shade for the tired and the weak. So, get in and stay in the church.

 Often in the desert, you will find orange and lemon trees growing under the shade of the palm trees that are grouped together.

 Application:  When we group ourselves together in the church, we provide protection for others. That is why Hebrews 10:25 is so important: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…” And Psalm 133:1- “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”

 

2.   THE PLANTED ONES GROW

V12- The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

 The Cedar is mentioned in 65 places in the Bible.

 The word “cedar” comes from Arabia and it means STRONG AND FIRMLY ROOTED TREES.

 Our key text says that the planted ones will grow in an incredible fashion like a Cedar of Lebanon. How? (4 ways)

  • THE CEDAR TREE GROWS DOWNWARD

The cedar tree sends its taproot deep, seeking hidden springs and wraps around rocks for anchorage.

 Moses described the children of Israel in Numbers 24:6 as strong and happy like the cedar trees beside the waters.

 Application: Paul urged the believers In Ephesians 3:17 to be “rooted and grounded in love.”

 E Stanley Jones said, “Before we can go further, we must go deeper.

 The deep-rooted system of the Cedar Tree keeps the tree in its place.

 Application: The planted Christian has deep rooted faith in Christ. It is this faith that keeps his life and focus in place. It is a very fixed and focused faith.

  • THE CEDAR TREE GROWS UPWARD

The Cedar of Lebanon can grow up to 130 feet tall. It takes 40-70 years for it to grow to 40-60 feet. It takes over 100 years for it to grow to 130 feet tall. For years, this tree grows and grows and grows.

 Application: One of the qualities of a planted ones of Christ is they continue to grow. Some people attend Church for years but they never grow because they don’t get planted. We all know people in this church who attend church regularly but they never grow. Every time you see them, they are the same year after year. They have the same old problems, habits and issues. They go to church but they are not planted. You can go to church and not grow but you can’t get planted in the house of the Lord and stay the same! When you get planted, people see you a year later and they say he’s changed. He’s different. She’s more loving! He’s more kind. She talks different.

  • THE CEDAR TREE GROWS OUTWARD

When the cedar tree starts about 9 or 10 feet from the ground, its branches begin to grow out horizontally and become very wide-spreading. Stretching out as they do, these branches provide shade and shelter from the elements. They possess a certain beauty that is unmatched as they stand majestically against the sky.

 Application: Should not our lives as the planted Christian reach out like branches to touch the needs of others? Dr Eddie commented that it was the wrong timing for Etab to be branching out to Cambodia. He said Etab should reach out to our Judea and Samaria before going out to the outermost part of the world. Excuse me! What has Etab been doing from 1986 till 2018? Going to all the barangays of Iloilo City with the gospel, following up and doing community pastoring! How about Church planting all over Philippines with 341 churches planted from 1988 till 2012? Hasn’t Etab focused enough on our Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria for the last 32 years? Isn’t it time for Etab to branch out to overseas soil? Our lives are designed to grow outward and be a blessing to others.

 E.g. We shared our blessings last week with Nazarene Church in Estancia and Baptist Church in Barotac Nuevo through our 17-member strong medical team from Ministry of Health, Singapore.  We didn’t hoard the Singapore medical team to ourselves but we let that blessing spread outward to other churches as well.

 When we continue to grow outward, people will look at our lives and see we are different.  They will even see the beauty of Christ in our lives.

 Illustration: A dear lady was asked what she used to make her complexion so beautiful. Her answer: “It’s all in the make-up.”

  For my lips I use TRUTH

For my voice I use KINDNESS

For my eyes, I use COMPASSION

For my hands, I use CHARITY

For my figure, I use UPRIGHTNESS

For my heart, I use LOVE

For any one who do not like me, I use LOVE

  • THE CEDAR TREE GROWS ONWARD

Cedars are noted for their longevity. There are some today over 2000 years old. This suggests the IMMORTAILITY of the righteous.

 The cedar is perennial evergreen. Likewise, a Christian is “instant in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2).

 It has remarkable lasting qualities. Solomon used it to build the Temple. Jesus uses the righteous to build his church.

 In summary, like a cedar, the planted ones are those…

– who grow downward and draw nourishment from Christ.

-who grow upward and keep their spiritual eyes on eternity

-who grow outward to touch others with their faith

-who grow onward with the lasting qualities of Christ.

 

3.   THE PLANTED ONES PRODUCE FRUIT

V14- They still bring forth fruit in old age, they are ever full of sap and green,

 Many of the decisions we make now will affect how we are whenever we grow old. We see in scripture how God worked in the lives of His servants in their younger years to make them who they were in their senior years.

 E.g. Moses made the decision when he was younger to be identified alongside with God’s people instead of enjoying the extravagant living befitting a prince. This decision would lead him down a path where God would work on him for 40 years as he cared for Jethro’s flock as a shepherd to prepare him to be a shepherd to Israel when he was 80 years old.

 Application: Today is the day to begin our growth so that we can be people who can be fruitful in our service to God in our old age. We who are younger right now need to be thinking and praying now about the possibility of growing to the point of being elders and leaders in the Lord’s church. If we start examining ourselves when we are older, it may be too late.

 GOD EXPECTS HIS OLDER SAINTS TO BE FRUITFUL.

 The fact that God says that the righteous will “still bear fruit in old age” means that this is something He expects of the one who has grown as a disciple from their early years. It is the natural thing that should happen. The standard for faithfulness to God does not change based on age.

 Today, many young working adults in Spore have a goal in life to work hard so that they can have a good and satisfying retirement as young as 40 years old. They are looking forward to a future that that they no longer have to work- when they can relax and do whatever they want that interest them. But as a Christian we must ensure that we do not all fall into a mindset that we are just going to sit back and relax when we get old. There is no spiritual retirement in this life. As Christians, we shouldn’t say, “I have put my time in. Now I can sit back, relax and let others do the work of the kingdom.” We must do what we are able to do for the Lord even when we get old. With whatever strength and wisdom that the Lord gives us, we will need to use it to do God’s work in the kingdom. There is a great need for fruitful, godly, older people who can work for the Lord in preparing the next generation to do the work of the Lord.

 For some of us, it may be in our latter years that the Lord uses us the most for His kingdom.

 E.g. It was God’s will to use Moses to lead His people WHEN HE WAS OLD. Moses probably did more for the Lord in his last 40 years than he did in his first 40 years.

 When you are older may be the time in which you may have more influence on more people just because you have been around for so long or because you may have more time compared to many other people to encourage others. Yes, there may come the day in which we do not take as much pleasure in our days as the Ecclesiastes writer spoke about because our bodies begin to stop working in ways they do now in our younger years but even in these times, there will still be things we can do to be fruitful to the Lord.

 Older people can do a lot of things for the Lord like…

–         Pray

–         Give financially to the Lord’s work

–         Send encouraging text, emails, messenger

–         Invite people to your home even if it is just to talk

–         Allow others to serve you.

–         Impart wisdom to younger folks like wisdom in marriage, raising children, overcoming sin and doing the work of God (Wisdom is with aged men, and with length of days, understanding- Job 12:12).

 

Many people want to put off growing old as long as they can, as though old age is an enemy. They have the “Peter Pan” syndrome- they never want to grow old or even at times, grow up. But old age to the planted ones is never an enemy because Proverbs 16:31 says that growing old as a righteous planted one is a glorious thing. Old age is a blessing from God. Old age is only enemy if we are not planted in the house of the Lord for then you will not be able to grow old gracefully but disgracefully.

 

4.   THE PLANTED ONES STAY FRESH

V14- They still bring forth fruit in old age, they are ever full of sap and green,

 People who are planted in the house of the Lord stay fresh. In other words, they STAY ON FIRE FOR GOD. There’s nothing worse than a dried up, stale, rusty, no zeal, lukewarm Christian. God hasn’t called us to get dried up and stale but to stay fresh and green. God has called us to keep our zeal, our joy and our excitement for Christ. We are called to be people who stay on fire for Christ so that we can make a difference in our world for Jesus. John Wesley said, “Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come from miles away to watch you burn!”

 You know how we catch on fire and stay on fire for God- we must be planted in the house of the Lord.

 For us, as the planted ones in the house of the Lord, to flourish like the palm trees, grow like the cedar of Lebanon, and still bring forth fruit in old and are ever full of sap and green, will show to others that our Yahweh is upright; he is our rock and there is no unrighteousness in Him (verse 15).

 

(III)  THE PROPHECY FOR EVANGEL TABERNACLE

God gave me a prophetic word for this church on 13 Nov 2017. Hosea 2:21-23- “In that day, I will answer”, says the Lord, “I will answer the sky as it pleads for clouds. And the sky will answer the earth with rain. Then the earth will answer the thirsty cries of the grain, the grapevines, and the olive trees. And they in turn will answer, ‘Jezreel’- ‘God plants!’ At that time, I will plant a crop of Israelites and raise them for myself. I will show love to those I called, ‘Not loved.’ And to those I called ‘Not my people,’ I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’ And they will reply, ‘You are our God.’”

 This is what I wrote in my devo according to the quickening of the Word of God and the revelation by the Holy Spirit concerning this church:

 “The word GOD PLANTS from the definition of JEZREEL caught my attention.

 Lately the theme on being the PLANTED ONES OF THE LORD has been ringing in my head for the past few weeks.

 God has already planted Etab in Tabuc Suba land despite the wicked effort of the enemies to uproot us. It was God who returned the vineyard to Etab from JECPP. “From there I will give back her vineyards to her, and turn the “Valley of Trouble” into an “Opportunity of Hope.” There she will sing as she did when she was young when she came up from the land of Egypt” (Hosea 2:15).

 Indeed, it was YAHWEH WHO GAVE BACK TO US OUR VINEYARD AND TURNED OUR VALLEY OF TROUBLE INTO OPPORTUNITY OF HOPE.

 Now with the vineyard returned to us – Yahweh plants. He plants fruitful trees in our vineyard. Our vineyard will be fertile and it will answer to the rain of God’s blessing upon us.

 God sows or plants from the word JEZREEL fits well into the agricultural fertility imagery in Hosea 2:21-23. This positive connotation reverses the negative connotation of Jezreel in Hosea 1:4-5 where it represents the bloodshed of Jehu in the valley of Jezreel.

 Because it is Yahweh who sows and plants Etab, we will permanently remain in this land to become God’s people. No one has the power to uproot us. Because we have become the planting of the Lord, no one can call us “no pity” or “not God’s people”. And also, because we have become the planting of the Lord – we will all respond to God by declaring –We are your people and You are my God.”

 Part of the promised restoration and blessing upon Etab by Yahweh includes the ground of Etab responding to the grain, wine and oil. In other words, Etab will respond to GOD PLANTS. “On the very same day, I’ll answer”- this is God’s Message – “I’ll answer the sky, sky will answer earth. Earth will answer grain and wine and olive oil and they’ll all answer Jezreel. I’ll plant her in the good earth. I’ll have mercy on No-Mercy. I’ll say to Nobody, ‘You’re my dear Somebody and he’ll say ‘You’re my God.’” (Hosea 2:21-23- Message)

 It is Yahweh who has planted us right here in this Tabuc Suba land. Look at our landscape – we have many palm trees to prophetically declare that all the planted ones in Etab will flourish like them. We have planted an acacia tree in the garden to declare that we will grow like the cedar of Lebanon.

 I ask you again – are you a flourishing Christian or a perishing Christian? Do you want to be a flourishing and growing Christian? Then be planted in the house of the Lord and continually be found praising God in the courts of his house.

 Testimony # 1: Last year God honored a few of our members with flourishing blessings – new houses, new cars, new jobs. Why? Because you chose to be planted in the house of the Lord. You chose not to be uprooted by the storm that hit our church 6 years ago. You chose to sit in the House of the Lord to learn and grow in the Lord. You obeyed the teachings of the Church by growing deep into the word of God – doing devo and embracing cell groups. I want to declare to those of you who are firmly planted in this church – the ground of your lives will answer grain, wine, oil and they will answer to Jezreel-God plants.

 Be the planted ones – commit to this church and don’t uproot yourself from this church to another. Remember a palm tree cannot be grafted. You will die if you uproot yourself.

 Testimony # 2: Both of us were so honored by the giving of the first fruit offering raised by Joel Lao last Sunday. This was our highest First Fruit in our 32 years of service. Some of you may ask- “Why such hefty sum? Why such a luxuriant blessing? Because Jezreel answers to our being planted in his house. The four years of receiving no salaries and to continue to stay planted in this church and this city – reached the eyes of God. God saw our unbending commitment; our faithfulness and he stirred all of you – my field, my ground to answer or to respond with grain, oil, wine to us. Glory be to God!!!

                                                          End

PREACHED AT ETAB 1ST SUN ENG SV ON 14 JAN 2018

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