Posted in Sermon Outline

Job and the Problem of Pain & Suffering

Objective: To teach Christians how to trust God despite all the pain and suffering.

Planned Exposition:

  1. Introduction – 5min
  2. The story of Job – 15min
    • Background and initial state – 5min
    • Job’s testing and reaction.
    • Job’s wife
    • Job’s discussion with his friends
      • Source of Wisdom
      • Reason for Job’s Suffering and advise
      • Job’s Reply
    • God’s reply to Job’s question
  3. As believers, how can we respond to pain and suffering? – 5min
  4. Key Learning and Challenge – 5min
    • Trust God in all things
    • Roman 8:28


If we have an all-powerful and loving God, then why there is so much pain and suffering in our world now? Many are also more concerned on the question why does the righteous suffer? This is an honest question from many people seeking for an honest answer.



Let’s look what can we learn from the bible from the story of Job.



Many scholars believed that the book of Job is one of the oldest book of the bible ever written at around 2000-1800 BC at about the same time that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived. The author is not stated but some believed that it could be Job himself, or can be Moses, Solomon, or Elihu.



The story happened in the land of Uz – probably located in the present day Palestine.

Job 1:1 (NIV)

In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil






7 sons, 3 daughters 7000 300 500 Job 1:2-3 Greatest man among all the people of the EAST in his time.

God is happy because is faithful. But Satan wanted question Job’s faithfulness to God, Satan reasoned that Job is only faithful because God blessed Job so much. So God allowed Satan to take from Job all but he should not hurt Job.

Job 1:8-12(NIV)

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

In Job 1:13-20, we can read that in an instant all job’s property vanished and all his children died from a violent windstorm. In all these pain and suffering, Job remained faithful to God.

Job 1:20-22 (NIV)

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.[a]
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

God was extremely proud of Job’s faithfulness.

Job 2:3 (NIV)

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”

Satan reasoned that Job was only faithful to God because he himself wasn’t hurt.  So God gave Satan permission to hurt Job but he should not kill Job.

Job 2:4-10 (NIV)

“Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
6 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”
7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish[a] woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

Satan gave Job painful sores from the soles of his feet up to his head. Then Job’s wife told him to “Curse God & die!” But Job remained faithful to God. Job was in great pain

  1. He lost all his property.
  2. He lost all his children.
  3. He was very sick.
  4. His wife gave up on him

Job was visited by his 3 friends to comfort him and provide help. For 7 days & 7 nights they just sat with Job without saying anything for they that Job suffering greatly.

Job 2:11-13 (NIV)

When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. 12 When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

In Job 3:1-31:40 we can three rounds of discussion between Job and his friends. They are trying to provide an answer why this happened great tragedy happened to Job and what should he do to reverse all these sufferings.

His friends accused Job of a hidden that’s why all these tragedy happened to him. Job’s friends just wanted to help but they did hasty generalization. Job denied the allegations until finally God spoke up. Job humbled himself in front of the almighty and ask for forgiveness for asking for an explanation and questioning God’s sovereignty over all things. God demanded the three friends to offer sacrifices for their sin of accusing Job.

Job 42:7-8 (NIV)

After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.”

Also God restored Job’s health, wealth and provided 10 new children. Job lived a full life and died in old age.

From Job’s discussion with his friends we learned that suffering and pain can have many sources.


If knowing the cause of suffering will help us to avoid the experience the pain then it is worth knowing. However, the most important of all is knowing how to respond. In all pains and suffering, we know that God is always in control. If you are hurting now, don’t lose faith knowing that our God feels your pain and whatever happens, He is doing what’s best for us.

The Lord Jesus also encountered a very painful suffering and he asked God to remove the cup if it is possible. The Lord asked 3x but knew that not his will  but the Father should prevail. John 1:12 said that for those who received Jesus Christ, even to those who believed in the  name of Jesus Christ, he will give them the right to become children of God. In this heroic act of sacrifice by the Lord, you and me, now has a change to have eternal life by grace though faith.

Matthew 26:38-39,42,44 NIV

Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” [39] Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” [42] He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” [44] So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Always trust in God no matter what because only God loves us unconditionally, only God truly cares for our future and well-being. And if we love God, all things will work together for good!

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.


Posted in Sermon Outline

The greatest miracle in Elijah’s Life


1. For believers to appreciate the miracle of connecting to the Lord Jesus Christ and understand the Christ is sufficient for all our needs.
2. For believers to find joy and satisfaction in the Lord Jesus Christ.


Around 100 years after Solomon became King, at 874 BC King Ahab became king of Israel.

1 Kings 16:32-33New International Version (NIV)
He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.

Baal worshipppers believe that Baal is a god who brings the rain and bountiful harvest so the Lord asked Elijah to prophesy for drought to King Ahab. The Lord then instructed Elijah to hide in Kerith Ravine. God directed ravens to bring food to Elijah and he drank from the brook. When the brook dried up, Elijah went to Zarephath and ate with a widow and her son. God made the flour and oil unlimited until rain comes again.

1 Kings 17:1New International Version (NIV)
Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe[a] in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”

For three years there was neither rain nor due in northern kingdom, so the King looked for Elijah everywhere but can't find him. In God's perfect timing, God told Elijah to show up to the King after 3 years of hiding because God would now send rain again. Elijah asked King Ahab to assemble all the people of Israel and to invite the 850 pagan prophets at Mt Carmel. The 450 Baal's prophets and 400 Asherah's prophets ate at the queen's table and 100% supported by King Ahab. These influeced the nations badly that some started to doubt the Lord. So Elijah challenged the people of Israel at Mt Carmel to stand-up for the Lord.

1 Kings 18:21New International Version (NIV)
Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.

So Elijah proposed a solution to prove who is the real God. Both him and the false prophets would prepare an altar and offer a bull but will not fire it up. Elijah would call on the Lord and the false prophets would call on Baal and the one who answer with FIRE is the real God.

From morning until noon, the false prophets called on Baal but there's no answer. The entire afternoon they shouted louder and slashed themselves until they bled but Baal haven't responded. When evening came, Elijah called the people and started setting up the altar for the Lord.

1 Kings 18:33 New International Version (NIV)
He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”

The Israelites did it thrice as instructed by Elijah. And Elijah prayed to the Lord.

1 Kings 18:37-38 New International Version (NIV)
Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

V40 – With Elijah's command the people of Israel seized all the pagan prophets and killed them.
V45 – Heavy rain came after 3 years of drought.
v46 – Elijah ran ahead of King Ahab riding a chariot.

 God's miracles on Elijah's life.

  1. Prophesy that it will not rain or dew until he says so.
  2. God had hidden Elijah for 3 years
    • King Ahab can't find him
    • God supplied bread & meat twice a day delivered by ravens in Kerith Ravine
    • God made the flour & oil unlimited of a widow in Zarephath
  3. Brought down fire to the wet altar in front of the people.
  4. Prophesy that it will rain again.
  5. Run faster than a chariot.

God did amazing miracles in Elijah's ministry but the most important miracle that God did is the miracle of having a personal relationship with God. Notice that in all these miracles, there were contant communication between God and Elijah. For every amazing display of power, Elijah waited instruction from God.

And this miracle of having a relationship and deep communication with God is available to us today. The Lord Jesus Christ said in Luke 19:10 that he came to seek and to save the lost. Our God is actively seeking all of us, and for all who accepted Him and believed in his name, be gave the right to become his child.

Luke 19:10New International Version (NIV)
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

John 1:12 New International Version (NIV)
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—

If we continue to read on 1 Kings 19:2, Queen Jezebel sent messengers to Elijah that she will not stop until she killed Elijah. In verse 3, Elijah became afraid and ran for his life. After the mighty victory over the 850 pagan prophets, he was so tired and discouraged. In verse 4, Elijah prayed that he might die.

God let Elijah sleep, and provided food and drink for him twice until he fully regained his strength. Elijah then travelled to Mt Horeb in 40 days & 40 days night. Once there Elijah spent the night in a cave – abandoning his calling as the Lord's prophet. Then God asked him "What are you doing?" Elijah's reply showed that he's still discouraged.

1 Kings 19:10New International Version (NIV)
He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

So God showed himselt to Elijah not in dramatic way as in the wind, earthquake, or fire. The Lord showed himself to Elijah in quite whisper, asking him "What are you doing here?"

1 Kings 19:11-12 New International Version (NIV)
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

Then in verses 15-18, the Lord ask Elijah to return where he came from and complete the missions that God entrusted him.

John 10:10New International Version (NIV)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

We have an enemy, Satan – and his target is to steal our joy until we are so discouraged and loss all hope. Many people might not believe that Satan is real, but the Bible says he is. And is very active in our world. Look at the WHO report on depression.

Depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected. Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Especially when long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds.

WHO China Data

Both non-christians and christians alike are Satan's target. The more the world ignore Satan's attack, the more the unaware individuals become his victims.

In our lowest moment, the miracle of knowing God will uplift us. Just like how God treated Elijah, our God will let us rest, will provide for our physical needs, and will encourage us until we can fully recover. Just like God whispered to Elijah, the Lord Jesus Christ is inviting everyone to have a close relationship with Him. It is the Lord Jesus Christ's mission to give us a full life (John 10:10) – if we only allow him. The Lord encouraged the believers in John 16:33 that He had overcame the world already. Satan was already defeated, all we have to do is to stand our ground. Christians – rejoice for your Lord has done the hard part! We are already victorious! Declare victory in your life! Declare victory from all bondage of sin! Declare victory from all the works of darkness in our lives. In Jesus name – we have freedom and can live a truly victorious life.

John 16:33 New International Version (NIV)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 3:18 New International Version (NIV)
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

In John 3:18 the Bible tells us that those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ will not be condemned.  So if this is your first time to hear about Jesus Christ or if you've been to a church for a long time already but haven't made the decision yet to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, God is touching your heart now. Today is a great day to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you are ready please raise your hand so that I can pray for you. Is there anyone here who wanted to rededicate their lives to the Lord or maybe you already believe in Jesus but this time you want to fully surrender your life to the Lord (100%), please raise your hand so that I can pray for you.

DUA Bible Study Guide link.

Posted in Sermon Outline

Faith in Action


  1. Ignite Hope fellowship members to stand firm in their faith in Jesus Christ.
  2. Encourage the seeker to try the love & faithfullness of the Lord.


How far will you stand for what you believe? Will you cling on your faith when testing comes?


Daniel 3:1 NIV
King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.

— in Babylon’s culture, statues were frequently worshippped. King Nebuchadnezzar hope to use the large golden image (90ft high, 90ft wide) as strategy to unite the nation by centralizing worship.

— ordered everyone who heard the sound of the band must fall down and worship the golden image or else you’ll be thrown in the burning furnace

** Would you violate the first comandment for survival – just a little compromise?

Exodus 20:3 NIV
You shall have no other gods before me.

** What would do if you were there? Will you pretend you didn’t hear the sound? Will you bow down but not really worship the image – anyway your life is worth more than any pride. You will still worship the true God in your life.

Daniel 3:8-15 NIV
At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. [9] They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever! [10] Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, [11] and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. [12] But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.” [13] Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, [14] and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? [15] Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

— Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego were put on the spotlight.

— King Nebuchadnezzar was very mad but he gave them another chance to bow down and worship the golden image. Everybody’s eager to find out if they would continue to disobey the king and lost their lives.

** At this point? Would you risk your life? Would you risk your friends’ lives? Would you argue that for sure God would understand?

Daniel 3:16-18 NIV
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. [17] If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. [18] But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. ”

— Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will not compromise their faith in God. They were pressured to deny God but they decided to remain faithful despite the consequence of disobeying the king’s decree – death by the fiery furnace.

— If God would always rescue those who trusts in Him, then Christians would not need faith. Christianity would hen become the biggest insurance company with many selfish people lining up ready to sign up.  But why do you think Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego managed to stand firm & didn’t  bow down to idols?

Principle #1 – have an eternal mindset to help you put things in God’s perspective. 

Colossians 3:1-2 NIV
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. [2] Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

— Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego have eternal perspective. They put higher weights on their eternal destiny rather than have a temporary earthly gain. They considered God’s glory & honor more important than their earthly lives.

— They made the decision not knowing whether God would rescue them or not. Nonetheless, they are prepared to die for the glory of the eternal God.

Our earthly failure can bring as much glory to God as our earthly success does if we remain obedient to God. Even physical death can bring glory to God in eternal perspective. – Marvin Andrade

Principle #2 – Be aware of the ongoing spiritual battle. The moment you decide to seriously follow Jesus, then the enemy would aggressively attack to discourage you but take heart Jesus has overcome the world.

Ephesians 6:12 NIV
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Daniel 3:19-20 NIV
Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual [20] and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. [21] So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace.

  1. The enemies attitude changed when we become threats to the kingdom of darkness.
  2. The furnace was heated 7x than usual.
  3. The strongest soldiers thrown them to the fiery furnace.

John 16:33 NIV
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

— Do not be afraid of the enemy because we have a God who is able to protect us. Jesus has overcome the world – He is bigger than all our troubles.

— Manny Pacquiao was a womanizer, and a gambler before he personally accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Lord & Savior. When he became a born-again Christian, he was knocked down by his opponent and his mother blame his lost because Manny changed religion.

Galatians 6:7 NIV
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

— Some testings are allowed by God for us to grow in faith. But mostly it’s from the enemy or from our own flesh.

— Watch-out for most people the sufferings we encounter are the consequences of our sins and worldly desires. We can’t mocked God, He knows if we are hiding something bad.

Principle #3. Consecrate your life for God’s divine purpose. Learn in this world as much as you can for the glory of God without compromising our faith. 

Daniel 3:28-30 NIV
Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. [29] Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” [30] Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

— God was glorified because Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego stand firm on their faith to God.

— They were promoted by King Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel 1:8,12,17,20 NIV
[8] But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. [12] “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. [17] To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. [20] In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.

— Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego revolved not to defile themselves with the royal food and wine so God blesed them with knowledge & wisdom that they are 10x better than all the magicians and enchanters of the whole kingdom. They had great positions in this earth even though they didn’t compromise their faith to God.

Principle #4.  Be confident in declaring God’s promises to your life. 

Daniel 3:17-18 NIV
If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. [18] But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. ”

— the three friends knew that their God is able to save them and they claimed that God will deliver them. Observe the word “will” – it means that action will surely take place. The bible didn’t say that God “might” save them but we know for sure from verse 18 that they are not sure yet whether God would intervene or not but still they say in verse 17 with 100% confidence that “God will save them.” Now that is faith!!!
1 John 5:14 NIV
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

— Let us claim God’s promises to our own life according to His will. God is sovereign and we can’t push what we want if it’s not in His grand masterplan. But God is merciful, remember how Abraham bargained with God regarding the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah – from 50-45-40-20-10 righteous people. Also note how the Lord added 15 more years to Hezekiah’s life just because he begged God for mercy (2 Kings 20)

— I claim with confidence that God would bless us with many biological children. God said children are blessings from Him and I want to participate in that. Unless God told me explicitly that I should stop praying for it, I will keep on asking God with a child-like faith until He bestows mercy on me. If that happpens, and it will by faith, all glory belongs to God alone.

Link to my life-verses.

Posted in Sermon Outline

Power of Spoken Words – Ezekiel 37 message

Story of Thomas Edison:

Thomas Edison’s teacher handed him a letter for his mother.  The mother read the letter allowed “Your son is a genius. This school is too small for him and doesn’t have enough good teachers for training him. Please teach him yourself.”

After many, many years, after Edison’s mother died and he was now one of the greatest inventors of the century, one day he was looking through old family things. Suddenly he saw a folded paper in the corner of a drawer in a desk. He took it and opened it up. On the paper was written: “Your son is addled [mentally ill]. We won’t let him come to school any more.”

Edison cried for hours and then he wrote in his diary: “Thomas Alva Edison was an addled child that, by a hero mother, became the genius of the century.”

A salute to all the mothers! Who’s love, support, and sacrifice made us succeed in our lives. Happy mother’s day to all mothers here. Please come forward so that the church can pray for you.

At the darkest our in the history of Israel, Jerusalem are just destroyed by the Babylonian empire including the temple of God. The bible says that this was God’s judgment to the wickedness and idolatry of the people of Israel and her leaders. God warned the people thru the prophets  but they wouldn’t listen so God served judgment to the sins of Israel.

609 BC – Judah was defeated by Egypt and King Josiah was slain. His son Jehoiakim was installed by Egypt as King of Judah.

605 BC – Babylonian empire overwhelmed the Egyptian forces. King Jehoiakim shifted allegiance to the Babylonians. But after a few years of battle between Egypt and the Babylonians, King Jehoiakim shifted allegiance back to Egypt.

597 BC – Babylonians attacked Jerusalem and brought around 10,000 Jews exiles to Babylonia including the king’s son and Ezekiel. Only the poorest were left in the city. King Zedekiah was installed by Babylon as king of Judah but later King Zedekiah also rebelled against Babylon.  While an exile in Babylon, Ezekiel was appointed by God as a watchman for Israel and he warned the people of the pending siege and destruction of Jerusalem.

588 BC – Babylonian laid siege to Jerusalem and the wall was breached and the temple destroyed two years later.  This time, God appointed Ezekiel as a watchman for the give hope to the remnants that one day, God will gather all the people of Israel and they will live in their own lands.


The Jews were devastated, they can’t believed that God didn’t rescue them but allowed the pagan empire to destroy God’s temple. People are hopeless.

In Ezekiel 37 we read one of the most visual text of God’s miracles.

Ezekiel 37:1-14 NIV

[1] … The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. [2] He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. [3] He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know. ”

— Hand of the Lord –> help from God.

— If God asks you something this is the safest answer – “Sovereign Lord, you alone know”.

[4] Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! [5] This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. [6] I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord. ‘ ” [7] So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. [8] I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

— God commanded Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones. Ezekiel obeyed and prophesied and his prophecy came thru. There’s power in Ezekiel’s spoken words.

[9] Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ ” [10] So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. …

— Dry bones becomes a vast army because it is commanded by God, and Ezekiel prophesied for it. Notice how God wanted us to participate in a miracle? God didn’t directly prophesy on the dry bones but wanted us to be involve. I believe that God wanted us to experience the miracles and so increase our faith.

— Biblical Principle: A Christian should prophesy God’s commandments in his/her life to claim victory in life. This is known as declaration of faith.

[11] Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off .’ [12] Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. [13] Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. [14] I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord .’” …

— The dry bones are the hopeless Israel. The watchman prophesy on them so that they will have hope. And surely, the prophecy came true when the first exile returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city in 538 BC.

— Always, the purpose of any miracles is bring glory to God. Notice the clause, then you will know that I the Lord have spoken.

Let’s go back to Thomas Edison, his mother prophesied that he is a genius and he became one. Observed that his mother didn’t speak that Edison was addled. James 3:9 says that we can use our tongue to either praise God or to curse others. So this is our option, to prophesy good things or bad things to our life. Like a ship that is so big and great but is only driven by a small rudder, so is the tongue no matter how small can have significant impact to your life.

James 3:9 NIV

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.

James 3:4 NIV

Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.

Proverbs 18:21 NIV
[21] The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Positive declarations— stop saying negative words and start saying positive words

Zechariah was made silent because he doubted that his wife will become pregnant. To avoid him from from saying negative declaration.

Luke 1:20 NIV
And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

Positive declarations should be daily practiced by Christians to have complete victory in our lives. Remember that declarations should be rooted in gospel truths to be effective and with the intention of giving glory to God. Prosperity gospel, on the other hand, are focused on material things and only uses God as an amulet to get what we want. We can’t fool God. Remember that His  will is sovereign above all. Below are some positive Christian declaration you can use.

  1. I receive an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness. I reign in life through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).
  2. I look out not only for my own interests but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4).
  3. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). 

For more sample Christian declarations, please use this link.

DUA link

Posted in Sermon Outline

The Messiah in God’s Term

A Palm Sunday Message.


  1. To show that that Lord Jesus Christ is indeed the Messiah by fulfilling Zechariah 9:9 prophecy made 500 years ago. The Lord Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem triumphantly as the King riding on a donkey.
  2. To warn believers & seekers to take Lord Jesus Christ as He is and avoid making Jesus someone that we want Him to be in our lives. No – Jesus Christ is not a goodluck charm or a way for us to get ahead in life here on earth. The Lord Jesus Christ is God the Son who gave up his life to save all of us from the penalty of sin.

Event was recorded in all four gospels:
Matthew 21:1-11 / Mark 11:1-11 / Luke 19:28-44 / John 12:12-19

Zechariah 9:9 (ESV)

The Coming King of Zion

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

John 12:12-19  (ESV)

The Triumphal Entry
12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

Malachi is the the last book of the Old Testament and it’s author Malachi became a prophet in 430 BC. After him, there were almost 400 years of silence in the Bible until it was broken by John the Baptist in AD 26 as John called for the Jews to repent because the Kingdom of God is coming soon. Just two decades earlier, Judea officially became  a province of Rome and so there were changes in Israel particularly the tax collection  for the Roman empire’s treasury.  Many Jews were waiting for their promised Savior to free them up from Roman oppression.

The story happened in the last week of Jesus earthly ministry, before the Jews crucified Him on the cross. It was a Passover festival (a pilgrimage festival) so Jews & Judaism converts went to Jerusalem to participate.

We observe four things in the event that unfolds in John 12:12-15.

12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

1. Jesus Christ was already famous as He just raised Lazarus from the dead.  Many people believed in Jesus because of His

John 12:9-11

The Decision to Kill Lazarus

9 Now a large crowd of Jews found out that he was there, and they came, not only because of Jesus, but so that they could see Lazarus also, whom he raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests decided that they would kill Lazarus also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going and believing in Jesus.


  • Believed that Jesus is the Messiah who will give salvation to everyone who made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord, God, and Savior.
  • Believed that Jesus is the Messiah who will establish an earthly kingdom that will overthow the Roman Empire’s rule over Israel. Believed the miracles that Jesus did and expect Jesus to continue perform miracles that he/she thinks is necessary.
  • Spectators – heard that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Amazing miracles from heaven, so what’s next?
  • Hated Jesus (Chief Priest, members of the Sanhedrin, the scribes)- if people would revolt against Rome, then the Roman empire would treat Israel as its enemy. Current Israel’s leadership under the Roman empire will become invalid.

2. People use of palm tress in welcoming Jesus Christ to Jerusalem

Matthew 21:8

Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

2 Kings 9:13 -> Laying down their cloaks is a sign of allegiance to the king.

Leviticus 23:40 -> palm branches or branches of any leafy tress are commonly used in festal processions

3. People shouted “Hossana” as they went before Jesus and those that followed Jesus in the processional entry to Jerusalem. People put their hope in Jesus Christ to save them & they acknowledged that Jesus Christ is from the Lord.

Matthew 21:9

And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

Psalms 118:25-26

Save us, we pray, O Lord!
O Lord, we pray, give us success!
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We bless you from the house of the Lord.

Luke 19:39-40

39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

4. Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey’s colt (colt – around 1 year old donkey). This is a fulfillment of a prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. Normally – a king would march with all his splendor & majesty. A king riding a donkey does not display power and authority in the eyes of the world. Our society always wanted a powerful savior – that’s the reason why Marvel superheroes are so popular in the world today such as Iron Man, Spider Man,  Captain America, Wolverine, etc… But God’s power and authority is intact and He does not need assurance of who He is —- He is the creator of all things, the all-powerful, the all-knowing, supreme being who loves us. Jesus Christ is so humble He rode a donkey going to Jerusalem. At the same time, the prophecy was fulfilled.

Zechariah 9:9 (ESV)

The Coming King of Zion
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Who is Jesus Christ to you? Is He the Lord of your life or you only want Jesus to help you in your personal quest? Through the Lord Jesus Christ all things were created and without Jesus, nothing will be created. He is the author and perfector of our faith. The Lord Jesus Christ is not an artifact to be collected to bring us good luck but through Him we have access to God the Father.  So who is Jesus Christ to you? Are you taking Him in God’s term or thru your own terms?