Jesus Shed His Blood 7 Times For You

Great message!

Lift Him Up

Jesus shed His blood 7 x for you

The Holy Body Of Jesus Shed Blood For Us 7 Times.

During the sacrifice of Jesus for the atonement of sin, Jesus shed His blood 7 times for mankind. Each time His precious blood flowed a freedom was returned to us. Read how Jesus’ blood redeems you and sets you free from bondage.

Leviticus 16:19He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.

View original post 702 more words

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Praying Like Jesus Series #2

Jesus Prayed In Community

jon-tyson-589839-unsplash.jpg

As a pastor I can tell you not everyone is comfortable praying aloud and in public. If you find that you cannot pray out loud and in public this does not diminish you as a Christian. It is difficult to pray publicly. One of the hazards of public prayer is to become puffed up with pride in your praying. Jesus warned against being puffed up. Let’s read this text responsively to start:

Matthew 6:5-6 (KJV)  And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  [6]  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Sunday when we have more time we’ll discuss the prayer closet. Tonight I want to talk about community prayer.

Whether you pray out loud in public or not, every Christian is called to pray in community.

We are one of the few Churches in our Association that still have a Wednesday night prayer service. Many Churches have stopped this practice because so few are in attendance. Other Churches have replaced the Wednesday night prayer service with inter-Church sporting events. I think this is a very bad trend that every Church needs to stop. Why? Because …

Jesus Believed In Community Prayer

Jesus believed in community prayer. There were times when Jesus prayed alone.

Luke 9:18 (KJV) And it came to pass, as {Jesus} was alone praying ….

There were times when Jesus prayed in the presence of others. For instance, we read:

Luke 11:1 (KJV) And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

There Were Other Times When Jesus Got Together With Others To Pray. This Is What We Call
Community Prayer.

Luke 9:28 (KJV) And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, {Jesus} took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.

Jesus taught His disciples how to pray together because they would one day have to work as a team. The Lord often took Peter, James and John with Him when He prayed.

  • Peter needed to be taught community prayer because he would lead the Apostles.
  • James needed to be taught community prayer because he would oversee the highly influential Church of Jerusalem.
  • John needed to be taught community prayer because he would write the bulk of the New Testament.

Community Prayer Ignites And Unites The Church

A man came up to Jesus one day and asked: “Master, what is the great commandment in the Law?”. Jesus replied:

Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV) Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

This is the center of our faith. We are to love God passionately, and love one another passionately. When love is our driving force then His Kingdom is built. Our Lord Jesus said “love the Lord your God with ALL”. All of our passion is to be poured into Him.

When the passion of the Church dies or is misdirected, the mission of the Church goes undone. We pray together to share our passion with one another.

Just as a small spark will ignite the tinder which will lead to a blaze, we who are Christians pray together to share our love for the Lord and to grow in our zeal. Our Lord Jesus told His disciples after His resurrection:

Acts 1:4-5 (KJV) they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

How did the disciples respond? The Bible says:

Acts 1:14 (KJV) These all continued WITH ONE ACCORD IN PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION ….

While they waited, they prayed. If we want to be a force that God uses we need to pray while we WAIT ON HIM!

  • Community Prayer binds a Church together. The Bible tells us that the Church is a group of believers bound to one another by a common faith and an uncommon God.

It is the UNIFIED Church
that is the Body of Christ!

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 (KJV) For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many.

Every member in the Body of Christ, the Church, is important to God. Every member has a spiritual gift that he or she must discover an exercise. God did not design the Christian to walk alone through this life, but we are called of God to work together as a team. Again, we see this happened in the early Church. The Bible tells us:

Acts 2:1 (KJV) … when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

All one hundred and twenty disciples were praying in one accord in the Upper Room when God manifested His power.

Once God moved on the Church we read that the disciples – with Peter leading – went out into the streets of Jerusalem and began proclaiming the Gospel. What was the result of this unity in prayer? The Bible says:

Acts 2:41 (KJV) … and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

If we want to have an impact on our community we need to learn to pray together.

  • Community Prayer shares burdens so as to make them bearable.

1 Corinthians 12:25-27 (KJV) That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

If we are members of the same body then we should be concerned when our fellow believers suffer. We are, after all, in this together. The Lord commands that we pray together so that we can share our burdens. James said:

James 5:13-14 (KJV) Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. 14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

When a member is suffering he should want the other believers to lift him up to God in prayer. Note that James speaks of “calling the elders of the Church” for specific prayer. Those who are “elders” are mature in their faith. Last Sunday night we called the elders of the Church forward to pray for two grieving mothers. Elder believers should set the tone in the prayer meeting. King Solomon spoke of the blessing of sharing burdens when he said:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (KJV) Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

When we stand together in prayer we lift one another up, and bless the Lord, for we who believe are all of His Family.

  • Community Prayer helps resolve conflicts and reveal sin. The Bible tells us that unresolved conflict can hurt us. The Scripture says:

Job 5:2 (KJV) For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.

The Scripture tells us that the first thing we are supposed to do when we come to God in Community Prayer is forgive one another. We read:

Mark 11:25-26 (KJV) And when ye STAND praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

Highlight the words “STAND praying”. This is only something the Jew would do if he was praying publicly. When we come together in Community Prayer the Lord commands that we first forgive, the pray. Again, we who believe are One Body in Christ.

A bitter an unforgiving spirit is a poison in the Body of Christ that will destroy it if it is not addressed.

How Often Did Judas Iscariot Pray?

I did a search to see if I could find out how often Judas Iscariot prayed. The Bible says that Jesus chose him just as He chose the other disciples (Mark 3:14,19; Matthew 26:14). What do we see Judas doing in the Church of Christ? Absolutely nothing! Judas criticized and found fault. When Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with an ointment Judas fussed:

John 12:5-6 (KJV) Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

Judas skipped every Wednesday night prayer meeting Jesus had. He was too busy to pray. He had too much else much better to do.

When we pray publicly we are forced to examine our lives and ask ourselves, “Am I where the Lord wants me to be?” If not, the Community Prayer will lead us closer to the Lord and away from the Spirit of Iscariot.

“Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.” Pastor John Bunyon

  • Community Prayer encourages us to keep on going forward for our Lord. When we come together as a community and pray, we provoke one another to love and good deeds:

Hebrews 10:24-25 (KJV) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Those who are the least effective and the most trouble in any local Church are those who will not come together in prayer with their brothers and sisters.

Evangelist Greg Laurie interviewed a young woman who had been on the television show Survivor. This woman was a Christian. She was told that she could bring five things to the island with her. The lady said, “I want to bring my Bible”, but was told that she couldn’t do that because someone else was bringing a Bible. This young lady went to the island without her Bible and found out that contrary to what she had been told, no one had a Bible, and there were no practicing Christians on the island. As each day passed this Christian began to be like the others on that island. Her language changed, her character changed, and in time she became quite hateful, jealous, and spiteful. She told Greg, “I didn’t realize how weak I really was”.

  • Community prayer releases the power of God. Jesus told us:

Matthew 18:19-20 (KJV) Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

God hears the united prayers of Christians. We need one another, Christians. We need to lift one another up in prayer as we meet together. We need to encourage one another. Nothing blesses me more than, as the Pastor, to hear someone praying for me and my wife. Jesus said:

Mark 11:17 (KJV) My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer …

“…Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons — but they are helpless against our prayers.” Pastor Sidlow Baxter

That which should distinguish a Church is that it is a house of prayer. God bless you all for being here tonight. God help us to faithfully pray together for His glory and honor!

 

Posted in prayer, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

Praying Like Jesus (Part 1)

Jesus Believed In Praying

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV) Pray without ceasing.

patrick-fore-26857-unsplash

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

The Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In the original text this is the Present Middle Imperative of προσεύχομαι proseuchomai. This is a command for our own benefit, rendered as a habit. “Pray without ceasing” or “keep on praying”. When you saw Jesus on this earth He was always praying. His whole life was a prayer. Jesus believed in praying, for when you pray you release the power of God on your life and on the circumstances that surround you.

We believe that our Jesus is God Incarnate, that is God in the flesh. We believe that the Bible teaches that He is not only the Son of God, but that Christ is equal to God His Father. He is the Eternal Word spoken of by John. The Apostle declared:

John 1:1-3 (KJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] The same was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

The Father Himself said of Jesus:

Hebrews 1:8 (KJV) But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.

Jesus Christ is Creator God. He is enthroned God. He was “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Yet Jesus prayed. He prayed so much that one day His disciples came to Him.

Luke 11:1 (KJV) And it came to pass, that, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

If Jesus Christ – both God and the Son of God – needed to pray, then how much more we His creations need to pray?

To Have Power In God We Must Pray

God has given the world many great Evangelists, but two names stand out in history. During the 19th century the Lord gave us Dwight L Moody, and during the 20th century Billy Graham.

Dwight L. Moody didn’t grow up in a Christian family. His parents were Unitarians, believing that all people upon death – by default – enter Heaven. Moody only completed the fifth grade in his education. When he left home at the age of 17 he became a shoe salesman. When he was 18 years old Moody was led to the Lord Jesus by a Sunday School teacher named Edward Kimball. Because of this influence Moody left the shoe business and began to preach the Gospel of Christ. He along with his worship leader Ira Sankey traveled traveled around the world preaching Christ and seeing souls saved. Moody wrote in his book Prevailing Prayer:

“The two first and essential means of grace are the Word of God and Prayer. By these comes conversion; for we are born again by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever; and whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. … These two means of grace must be used in their right proportion. If we read the Word and do not pray, we may become puffed up with knowledge, without the love that buildeth up. If we pray without reading the Word, we shall be ignorant of the mind and will of God, and become mystical and fanatical, and liable to be blown about by every wind of doctrine.”

Billy Graham has preached the Gospel of the Lord Jesus to more than 80 million people. Born to a dairy farmer, and gave his life to the Lord Jesus Christ when he was 16 years old under the preaching of evangelist Mordecai Hamm. Billy wrote in his book Answers to Life’s Problems:

“I am convinced that prayer makes a difference. Let the Bible answer your question: “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). God always answers prayer – not sometimes, but all the time. … one of the greatest privileges of the Child of God is the privilege of coming directly to God in prayer. This is possible because Jesus Christ has reconciled us to God through His death on the Cross. …. We have access to God through Jesus Christ.”

Jesus’ Ministry Began And Ended With Prayer

Twice our Lord Jesus went to the Temple and did something that shocked the Pharisees. Jesus chased the money changers and salesmen out of the Temple. At the beginning of His ministry we read:

John 2:13-16 (KJV) And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, [14] And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: [15] And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; [16] And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.

Pilgrims coming to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration would often seek out merchants who had animals without spot or blemish to offer as sacrifices in the Temple. Because of this need greedy merchants had set up sales booths in the outer court of the Temple. The Cambridge Bible commentary said: “The needs of the pilgrims—the money which had to be changed—the purchase of cattle for sacrifice —had made the cloisters, precincts, and even the outer court of the Temple a scene of noisy and greedy barter..”. When Jesus saw this He picked up the discarded ropes that had been used to bring the animals into the Temple and made a whip. With this rope whip Jesus chased both man and beast out of the Temple.

Why did Jesus run the vendors out of the Temple?

The last time Jesus entered Jerusalem for the Passover – just prior to His death – He reenacted this scene. We read:

Luke 19:45-46 (KJV) And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; [46] Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. (see also Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17).

The outer court of the Temple – considered part of the Temple was called the Court of the Gentiles. Jesus often ministered in this area as – unlike the other parts of the Temple – both Jew and Gentile could come into this place. The vendors and sellers had taken over the outer court with the blessing of the Pharisees. When Jesus chased them out of the area He cried out:

Matthew 21:13 KJV … IT IS WRITTEN My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Jesus was not giving a personal opinion as He chased these vendors out. He was quoting God’s Scripture. He quoted from God’s Holy Word:

Isaiah 56:7 (KJV) Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

Jeremiah 7:11 (KJV) Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.

God’s Temple was to be a place where ALL people – regardless of race or gender – came together to approach the Throne of God’s Grace. The Pulpit Commentary states:

This visit of the Lord to the temple, in which he spoke and acted as King Messiah, was a fulfillment of:

Malachi 3:1-2 (KJV) Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. [2] But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap”

Prayer Must Be A Priority For Every Church

When Jesus the Messiah came into the Temple He purged it, and restored prayer to its rightful place. There are several spiritual truths we can see in Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple.

  • When Prayer Is Not A Priority And Other Things Become More Important Jesus Will Purge The Church Or Even Destroy It Entirely. At the beginning of His Ministry Jesus purged the Temple and reminded the Pharisees to maintain a proper priority toward God (John 2:13ff). Just a few years later – most believe it to be 3.5 years – Jesus once more has to purge the Temple (Luke 19:45ff; Matthew 21:13).

Our God is the God of second chances. But if His warnings are not heeded, God will judge!

Right after Jesus purges the Temple for the last time we read:

Matthew 24:1-2 (KJV) And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. [2] And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. (see also Mark 13:1-2)

The disciples went to the Temple and marveled at its beauty. As they were moved by the stately walls Jesus prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed. It was, just 35 years after Jesus foretold it. The historian Josephus wrote of the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD:

Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury, Titus Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and Temple… “It was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe Jerusalem had ever been inhabited.” (The Wars of the Jews, Book VII, Chapter 1.1).

By 135 AD nearly 600,000 Jews had been killed and over 1000 towns and villages were destroyed. Scrolls were burned, and the practice of Judaism was outlawed throughout the Roman Empire. In our day Churches are closing their doors because prayer is not a priority. Beloved, we must give prayer the same priority that Jesus gives prayer.

Right after Jesus chased the vendors out of the Temple (Matthew 21:13) what do we read?

Matthew 21:14-15 (KJV) And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. [15] And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,

Three things happen when prayer becomes a priority.

  1. Those with needs come to Jesus “and He heals them”.
  2. People begin to praise God … even the children. Children stop leaving the Church and start worshiping the Lord. They cried out “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
  3. Self righteousness is exposed and eradicated. “The Chief priests and Scribes were sore displeased”

Greg Ezell writes:

“When you read the biographies of Jesus’ life, the Gospels, you learn one of his great secrets. Jesus modeled prayer. If he prayed, we need to pray. If he needed time alone with God, we need time alone with God. We need to emulate what he did. Obviously and practically, Jesus believed that prayer works.”

If our Church believed that prayer works just as Jesus believes prayer works then our prayer meetings would be standing room only.

Prayer is the Child of God calling on the Precious Father to help. Our Father will help. He will bless us. But we must call on His Name believing.

Prayer Is To Ask Our Father For Blessing

Matthew 7:7-11 KJV Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

The Bible teaches us that every genuine Christian is a priest before God. We are to “come boldly to the throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace, in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). The stepbrother of our Lord said:

James 4:2-3 (KJV) Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. [3] Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Jesus often prayed, but never asked amiss. He sought to glorify the Father in His asking. Jesus stayed in constant contact with His Father. The more we pray, the less influence Satan will have over our lives. Jesus said “if you, being evil (fallen creatures) know how to give good gifts to your children”, then shouldn’t the Lord Who is good and perfect and holy know how to give good things to His Children? That’s a rhetorical question: the Lord does know how to give us good things. The Bible promises:

James 1:17 KJV Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

God doesn’t give bad gifts. When we have needs, we should go to our Heavenly Father and ask Him to supply them. Billy Graham wrote in his book The Enduring Classics of Billy Graham:

“Prayer is powerful, but if our prayers are aimless, meaningless, and mingled with doubt, they will be of little hope to us. Prayer is more than a wish; it is the voice of faith directed to God.”

Prayer is not a wish, but FAITH VOICED. Prayer believes in the God Who is, and Who is a rewarder of those Who diligently seek Him.

Rick Ezell writes: “The evil one chides us into believing: “Prayer doesn’t work, so why pray at all.” We link, all too frequently, prayer requests and prayer answered and miss the main business of prayer and that is conversation, dialog, the building and maintaining of a relationship with our Heavenly Father. If we reduce prayer to nothing more that asking for things, we are no different than the spoiled child that comes to their parent only to make demands.”

When we pray, we pray believing not that we will get everything we ask for, but believing that the Lord Who loves us will only give us what is in our best interest. He would not give us a rock if we ask for a loaf of bread, nor a snake if we ask for a fish. God loves us, and will only give us that which is for our good. Our Lord Jesus prayed knowing this, and was never afraid to ask – nor was He bitterly disappointed when the Father said “no”.

Right after Jesus left the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter, James, and John, a man came to Jesus with his son. The boy was possessed of a demon, so much so that he “fell on the ground, and wallowed while foaming (at the mouth) (Mark 9:20). The man said, “I brought my son to Your disciples but they couldn’t do anything. Will You help, Lord?” Jesus asked the man, “If you can believe, for all things are possible for those who believe”. The man gave the most honest answer I’ve ever heard. He said, “I believe. Will You help my unbelief?” Our Lord cast the demon out, and the boy was made whole. The disciples came to Jesus and asked Him, “Master, Why couldn’t we do this?” Jesus said:

Mark 9:29 KJV … This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

How serious are you in your prayers? Jesus not only prayed but He fasted as well. Fasting is a deliberate act of the will where we put aside other things in order to focus on prayer. There are many different types of fasts. You may stop eating food, or may stop taking liquids. You may do this for a predetermined amount of time. You do not fast to lose weight, but to focus on dedicated prayer to the Lord. The person who fasts puts the Lord first, and this world second. Fasting means that I give up my rights in order to grow closer to my Lord.

Mark 11:24-26 KJV Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them]. 25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

Fasting is a natural part of dedicated prayer. Forgiveness is a absolutely necessary part of dedicated prayer. As Jesus hung on the Cross dying for our sins, naked, bleeding, and bruised, our Lord prayed:

Luke 23:34 (KJV) Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

We who believe must forgive, or else God will not hear our prayers. There are local Churches – good local Churches – that are dying today because its members are carrying around with them festered wounds on unforgiving souls. Jesus said “if you don’t forgive, your Heavenly Father will not forgive your trespasses”. Know this, the Bible tells us that:

John 9:31 KJV Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshiper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

You both worship and do the will of God when you do not bear a grudge, but forgive one another. Let us abide in Christ and do that which He has commanded we do. He has promised:

John 15:7-8 KJV If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

We pray in the Will of God when we view life through the filter of the Word of God. God wants us to bear much fruit as we work for Him in this life. This will only happen when our prayers are within His Will – and His Word tells us what His Will is. God’s Will is that His Kingdom increase on this earth. TheKingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21). As we give ourselves over to His Kingdom He will grow our Church by bringing more souls in. On the Day of Pentecost 120 were praying in an upper room, seeking God’s face. By the end of the day over 3000 came into the Church by faith. This is the power of dedicated, Christlike prayer.

Billy Graham “Prayer is more than a plea, it is a place where we must spend time if we are to learn its power.”

The Lord Jesus Christ came from Heaven to this earth with one thought in mind, to seek and save those who are lost (Luke 19:10). What Jesus went through on the Cross was so terrible that The Bible tells us that as He prayed in Gethsemane:

Luke 22:42-43 KJV … Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

God had to send an angel from Heaven to strengthen our Lord. As Jesus prayed and considered the coming horror of the Cross:

Luke 22:44 KJV … being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

His sweat dropped like blood to the ground. Jesus put everything He had into our salvation. He Who is perfectly sinless and innocent died a criminal’s death in our place.

This is why God puts such a premium on building His Kingdom and leading others to Christ. Jesus went to hell’s kitchen for us. He died for all, so that whosoever will believe in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Because of this God WILL answer the prayer that builds His Kingdom and leads others to Christ. He will answer the prayer that has our Lord Jesus at the center of glory. We are to pray believing not to satisfy our lusts, but to lead many to glory through faith in Christ.

May God touch your hearts with His Word!

Posted in Praying Like Jesus Series, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

The Spiritual Element

rasmus-smedstrup-mortensen-1278384-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Rasmus Smedstrup Mortensen on Unsplash

Deuteronomy 7:1-2 (KJV) When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; [2] And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them … [6] For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

1 Peter 1:15-16 (KJV) But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; [16] Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

The Bible tells us that:

2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

All that is in the Bible is profitable. All that God has given us in His Word has a purpose to teach, to equip, to grow the Christian in his or her faith. There is no part of Scripture without value – even those hard passages.

As God the Holy Spirit leads let learn from His precious Word the truth …

With God All Things Are Possible

The Holy Spirit will give us truths from these texts, truths we need. Look! Listen! As we read of Israel entering the Promised Land the Lord tells His people to cast out the nations before you. How does God characterize these nations? He says that they are …

vvs 1 … seven nations greater and mightier than thou

God has just ordered that Israel cast out these seven nations but then – nearly in the same breath – the Lord says they are GREATER (רַב rab – bigger in SIZE) and MIGHTIER (עָצוּם `atsuwm – better skilled in battle, more able) than Israel. What the Lord just told Israel is:

Go Whip A People You Can’t Possibly Whip
Go Beat A People That Are Unbeatable

God has asked His people to do that which is impossible. And yet – it is possible, or God would not have commanded it. Our Lord Jesus told us:

With men this is impossible, but WITH GOD all things are possible”
Matthew 19:26

When God saves a person and saves a people He can work THROUGH us and do wonderful, miraculous things. What is impossible with man is possible with God. But here is the key.

You must be WITH GOD.

I have often heard people misquote and misapply the text of:

1 Corinthians 10:13 (KJV) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

I have heard preachers who should have known better preach this text and say “God will NEVER put more on you than YOU CAN BEAR”. And everyone will say “AMEN” and go home believing an untruth. The very DEFINITION of “Faith” is when God puts more on you than YOU can bear! That’s the point. Let GOD bear it! Let GOD enable it.

Read all of that precious text. It not only says:

God will not suffer (allow) you to be tempted
above that which you are able …

BUT it also says:

BUT will with the temptation ALSO MAKE A WAY TO ESCAPE

When the impossible is before you, look to God.
When before you is an undoable task, ASKam I WITH GOD?
God OFTEN gives impossible tasks to His people.
David didn’t fight a midget with a sling and a stone, but a GIANT.
Daniel wasn’t cast into a bird cage but a LION’S DEN.
Gideon didn’t fight a superior enemy with a MILLION warriors.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not find Jesus in a JACUZZI.
Joshua didn’t knock down the walls of JERICHO with a TANK.
Moses didn’t part the Red Sea with the CORPS OF ENGINEERS.
Faith is God doing the impossible through the weak,
The broken, the pitiful.
God will make the UNABLE ABLE if we trust in Him.

God loves to challenge His people. God’s Angel came to Mary, the earthly Mother of Christ. The Angel came to Mary and said:

Luke 1:31-33 (KJV) And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: [33] And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Mary, you’re going to have the Messiah. Christ will be born of you. He is the Promise of God to David, the One Who will rule the world one day. And Mary hearing this says:

Luke 1:34 (KJV)… How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

Angel, how can I have the Messiah? Angel, how can I have even a child. I have been pure. I have not known a man sexually. I am pure, as my Heavenly Father has commanded me to be. The Angel says:

Luke 1:35-36 (KJV) … The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. [36] And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

Mary, the Lord shall fill your womb as He filled Elizabeth’s. Then the Angel says a great truth I hope you all hear:

Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

With God. With God all things are possible. With God there is nothing we cannot do. But we must be with God.

Did The Lord Lead Me Here?

Deuteronomy 7:1 (KJV) When the LORD THY GOD SHALL BRING THEE INTO THE LAND whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee 

As humans we get ourselves into many places that are horrible. We make bad decisions. Beloved, if we will do the impossible we need to first ask ourselves is this where God has led me? Where God leads you, God will guide you. Where God tells you go the Lord will enable you.

If the LORD leads you TO it
The LORD will lead you THROUGH it
Put away YOU and grasp GOD
He is able!

One of the worst examples of faith is seen in the life of King Saul. God told Saul to lead the armies of Israel against the Amalekites, a godless and horrid people. God said …

1 Samuel 15:3 (KJV) Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

As we who are of the House of Christ read this we may think this to be utterly harsh. And yet the Amalekites were a people totally without redemption or repentance. They worshiped false gods, sacrificing their children on altars of bronze, spilling the blood of innocents. God told Saul utterly destroy them. Yet Saul and Israel did not do as God commanded. The Bible says:

1 Samuel 15:9 (KJV) But Saul and the people spared {King of the Amalekites} Agag, and the BEST of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and ALL THAT WAS GOOD, and WOULD NOT UTTERLY DESTROY THEM: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.

Saul did as Adam did in the Garden of Eden. He knew the command of God, but wilfully disobeyed it. As a result Saul lost the throne. God said…

1 Samuel 15:11 (KJV) It REPENTETH ME that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and HATH NOT PERFORMED MY COMMANDMENTS

This was why God caused the downfall of Saul, and installed a little Shepherd named David as King. David was “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). God blessed David because David was “with God”.

God tells Israel …

Deuteronomy 7:7-8 (KJV) The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the FEWEST OF ALL PEOPLE: [8] But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers

God called Israel to Himself because God is faithful. God made a promise to Abraham many years before (Genesis 15:18-21). God is …

Deuteronomy 7:9 (KJV) … the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

God did not call Israel because they were a strong people. God said “you are the fewest of all people”. God never calls the mighty or the proud to salvation. He calls those who are weak. The Scripture declares:

1 Corinthians 1:25-29 (KJV) Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. [26] For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: [27] But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; [28] And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: [29] That no flesh should glory in his presence.

God does not choose the powerful, the wise. No Beloved. Our Christ came to save the weak, the poor, the lowly. Who came to Christ in His earthly ministry? The proud Pharisees and Scribes? The arrogant Sadducees? It was

The cripple.
The blind.
The leper.
The weak.
Those without hope.
Those without help.
The sinner sought the Savior.

Jesus said …

Matthew 9:12-13 (KJV) … They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. [13] But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Israel was being sent into the Promised Land because they loved the Lord, and the Lord loved them. Those seven nations had no love for God, but loved sin and darkness. The Promised Land is for those who love the Lord and obey His way. The Promised Land is for those who have been saved by Him and live through Him. Heaven is not for the evil, but the surrendered that walk with God.

Micah 6:8 (KJV) … {God} hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and WHAT DOTH THE LORD REQUIRE OF THEE, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to WALK humbly WITH thy GOD?

Who’s Side Am I On?

There are too many who claim to be “Christian” but have not made up their minds which side they are on. Are you on God’s side, or the world’s side? God tells Israel:

Deuteronomy 7:2, 6 (KJV) And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt MAKE NO COVENANT WITH THEM, nor shew mercy unto them … [6] For thou art AN HOLY PEOPLE unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

If God has saved you from Egypt, if God has called you to His side through Jesus Christ, then you are to walk with Him in holiness. We are to be imitators of God. We will not compromise with the darkness. He said “you will make no covenant with them”. You will follow Him and Him alone.

The greatest single cause of darkness in America today
is the Christian who compromises with sin.

1 Peter 1:15-16 (KJV) But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; [16] Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

To be “holy” is to be dedicated to God.
To believe what God says believe.
To do what God says do.

The day that you were saved by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ God brought you from one kingdom to His Kingdom. You are … here’s a King James word – TRANSLATED. We find this word in:

Colossians 1:13-14 (KJV) {God} hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and HATH TRANSLATED US into the kingdom of his dear Son: [14] In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

You are no longer to be like the world. You are to be like Christ, to imitate your Heavenly Father (Be ye imitators of God, as beloved children – Ephesians 5:1-2). We are called to be light in a world of darkness (1 John 1:7). God told His Israel:

Deuteronomy 7:3-4 (KJV) Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. [4] For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.

Oh Beloved, we must not be as the world,
but our world must be the God of Scripture!

God did not make you holier than thou, but He did make you HOLY when He saved you. If you are HOLY then you are to live WHOLLY for Him. You no longer belong to this world. You belong to God. He purchased you with the Blood of His dear Son. The Bible says:

1 Corinthians 6:20 (KJV) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, WHICH ARE GOD’S.

You belong to God. You are not your own. God saved you. He did an impossible thing the day He saved you and I. He made us His. He made us clean. He covered us and forgave us our sins. As His Children, we are to imitate Him. We are to live for Him.

If you live for Him, He will live in you. Do you know Him? Is Christ yours by faith? If not, today is a good day to call upon Him and be saved! Those whom He saves, He empowers. I can do all things through Christ Who strengtheneth me! (Philippians 4:13). Live for Him. Glorify Him. Speak of Him. May God touch your hearts and lead you to a total commitment to the Lord Who bought you.

Posted in Deuteronomy, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

What Is My Purpose?

derek-thomson-292172-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash

Deuteronomy 6:20-23 (KJV) And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you? 21 Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: 22 And the LORD shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: 23 And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.

Several years ago my wife and I had just finished eating at a Tennessee restaurant. At this restaurant the waitress brought you the bill, and you carried the bill up to the register to pay. As I stood in line at the register I noticed a sign on the wall behind the cashier. What was written on the sign stuck in my head. It said:

We Do Not Cash Checks
We Do Not Loan Money
We Are A Restaurant
The Bank Is One Block North!

When I read that sign it really blessed my heart. That restaurant knew what it’s purpose was, and stuck to what it knew. It didn’t pretend to be anything but a good restaurant. As far as I know that restaurant is still in business, and still packed with customers. It knows its job, and does its job.

In our town of Columbia there is another restaurant – part of a franchise – that was newly built. They stayed in business less than three months. You can find that brand new store closed, a sign on the window. What does the sign say?

Closed For Reasons Beyond Our Control

That sign is not true. I know why they are closed. I waited in line over 30 minutes for a simple order. When I complained to the manager he said – and I quote – “It’s been hard to get good workers”. That’s not a good excuse. The restaurant never figured out it was a restaurant. It died quicker than it took to build it.

As Israel got ready to go into the Promised Land the Lord wanted His people to know their purpose. That’s what this text is about – to know your purpose, then to
live so as to fulfill that purpose

Purpose is very important. You need to know your purpose.

Not too long ago we had Columbia Power and Water come to our church to put a light out in our parking lot. Because Brother Bill was on the ball he arranged it, and very quickly the light was put in. It looks great! Someone started asking me technical questions about the light. “Is it a halogen bulb?” My reply: “I don’t have a clue. It’s a BRIGHT bulb. It does what it’s supposed to do. I didn’t install it. If you want to know something technical about it, see the Power Company. That’s their job!”

Several years ago Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren wrote a book called The Purpose Driven Life. The first paragraph of the book says:

It’s not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.”

That is very true. As Israel got ready to enter the Promised Land He wanted every parent to make sure that their children knew why Israel was. They were not to send their children to the priests, but were to do this themselves. If the parents lived faithfully and on purpose for God then then there would be a time when that growing child would come to the parent.

Deuteronomy 6:20-23 (KJV) And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you?

Faithfulness as a believer in fulfilling your purpose will cause your children and grandchildren to be faithful as well. As a parent or grandparent you are to give YOUR testimony of salvation.

Deuteronomy 6:21 (KJV) Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:

The testimony of every believer saved by the Grace of God is that we were broken, we were without strength, but God brought us out with a mighty hand. Israel was enslaved, just as we who were without Christ were enslaved. Israel was enslaved by the Egyptian world, and every believer now saved by Christ was once enslaved by this godless world. The Scripture says:

Romans 5:6-9 (KJV) For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Israel did nothing to save themselves other than to step out by faith and follow God. We who believe did nothing to save ourselves. We were dead in trespasses and in sins (Ephesians 2:1). We were by nature the children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). We were without Christ and without hope (Ephesians 2:12) but God in His infinite mercy led us out of Egypt, just as He led Israel. Our faith was small, but God took this small faith and blessed us anyway.

Deuteronomy 6:22 (KJV) And the LORD shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes:

God made a miracle when He opened our eyes to Christ. He miraculously changed us from the inside out. Whereas sin was once a pleasure, now it becomes a horror. God drowned out sin – just as He drowned Pharaoh and his army – beneath the mighty waves of the sea of Grace. Praise Him for that. I remember the day of my salvation when the Lord led me out with a mighty hand. What happened that day?

God Brought Us Out

Deuteronomy 6:23 (KJV) And {God} brought us out from thence …

There is no salvation, dear one, if God has not brought you out. In our day many believe themselves to be saved, and yet they are still in the same old bondage they were in at the beginning. It is certainly true that we as Christians are still fragile, broken, and breakable. And yet if you are saved God has brought you out.

Imagine, if you will, the week after Israel came out of Egypt with God’s mighty hand. Though many who were born of Israel came out, there were many others who did not go. They heard the Word of God. They heard that God expected them to kill the lamb without spot and blemish, and to make unleavened bread. They heard that God was going to kill the firstborn of every house not under the Blood. But some born of Israel were better placed than others. They were comfortable in Egypt. So they did not leave with Israel the next day. They did not follow the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night. What are these people? Are they God’s people?

Absolutely not!

If you have not been brought out by God then you are not Israel, and you are certainly not a Christian. The Apostle Peter spoke of this in:

2 Peter 2:20-22 (KJV) For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

The key to that text is:

the DOG is turned to its own vomit AGAIN
and the SOW that was washed to her WALLOWING in the mire
When God led Israel out – they were OUT, not IN Egypt.
When God leads the Christian out – we are OUT.
We are no longer DOGS.
We are no longer PIGS.
We are God’s Sheep!
We are Christ’s flock!

The Christian is much like the young man born blind from birth. After Jesus gave him his sight the Pharisees began to question him. They said:

John 9:24 (KJV) … Give God the praise: we know that this man {Jesus} is a sinner.

The young man did not debate these Pharisees. Beloved, never wrestle with an unbeliever! If you wrestle with the lost, they’ll just confuse you. The young man simply told the Pharisees:

John 9:25 (KJV) … Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.

I know all the theological explanations as to what happens when a person is saved. I know what all the powerful preachers with multiple doctorates say. But in reality I do not know how God saved me. I know that the day I was saved I was radically changed from what I was to what He made me. I know that I was blind, but NOW I see. I do not question my Jesus. He is My Shepherd, and I am His sheep.

Psalms 100:3-5 (KJV) Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

I was led OUT.
Israel was let OUT.
It’s time for the Christian to be OUT.
He is my God, and He changes me daily.

Before I was led out I loved the world and the way of sin. Now that I am led out I despise the world and the way of sin. The Israelite in bondage was taught to hate Egypt by Egypt itself. Pharaoh told his taskmasters:

Exodus 5:7-9 (KJV) Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 And the {tally} of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. 9 Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labor therein; and let them not regard vain words.

There are many who are happy to wear the name “Christian” until the world begins to mock them and mar them. But let martyrdom come, or even be hinted at, and the false Christian will fall back to the world. The world despises the true Christian just as Egypt despised the Israelite. But this world is not our home. We one day will go to be with our Jesus. Until that day we will be tried in the world. Praise God for it!

My Purpose Is To Honor My Lord

Deuteronomy 6:23 (KJV) And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.

God brought Israel out of Egypt not to let them go back to Egypt, but to live for Him in the Promised Land. What is the purpose of every Christian? It is to honor God. We honor God by living for Him no matter where we are.

Romans 6:12-17 (KJV) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

The old task masters have no hold on me anymore. If I err, then I confess my sin before Him. When we confess out sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9). If you are a Christian your sins may pursue you like Pharaoh and his army pursued Israel. If that happens, look up and ask God to drown that sin in the Red Sea of Grace. Let His Blood cover it. Let the depth cover them!

Romans 8:32-34 (KJV) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

I do not belong to the devil anymore. I belong to Jesus. You do, too, dear Christian, if you are indeed a Christian. We are out so that we can go in. Heaven is ours. Christ is ours. The Father is ours. Let us live to glorify our Lord and Savior.

Posted in Deuteronomy, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

Hear O Christian

alireza-attari-672027-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Alireza Attari on Unsplash

I normally have us focus on a Scripture text by standing, and we’ll do this in a moment. But first let us review some truths that we all ought to know by now. This morning we studied Deuteronomy 5 and it’s call to that nation: Hear, O Israel or שָׁמַע shama` יִשְׂרָאֵל Yisra’el

Chapter 5 focused on the Ten Commandments – “Statutes” – which are God’s blueprint for a blessed nation.

Genuine Faith Works By Love

The Old Testament Law is a list of the Commandments (Mitzvot) that God gave to Israel the nation and believing Israel. The Commandments are categorized as “statutes” (laws for all) and “judgments” (laws for a specific people – in the Old Testament specifically Israel). Some of the judgments God gave believing Israel were:

Ceremonial laws (Day of Atonement, Booths, Feasts)
Circumcision laws (eighth day of birth)
Sacrificial laws (animals without spot)
Dietary laws (clean and unclean foods)
Social laws (dress codes, menstrual or death times of uncleanliness)


When Christ came and died for our sins the Church had to come to the realization that the Gentiles were not under the same Judgments as the Jews were. In one of the early business meetings of the Church we read:

Acts 15:1-11 (KJV)  And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, EXCEPT YE BE CIRCUMCISED AFTER THE MANNER OF MOSES, YE CANNOT BE SAVED.  [2]  When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.  [3]  And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.  [4]  And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.  [5]  But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.  [6]  And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.  [7]  And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.  [8]  And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;  [9]  And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.  [10]  Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?  [11]  But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

The leadership of the early Church realized that God did not ask the Gentiles to be under the same judgments as the Jews. This caused a lot of confusion in the early Church – and causes a lot of confusion today.

The Apostle Paul – himself a Jew of the Tribe of Benjamin, saw circumcision as one of the judgments to Old Testament Israel
that ceased with the coming of Christ.

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the Apostle said that He saw all believers as spiritual heirs of the promise of Abraham if – on believing on Christ, the Holy Spirit circumcised their hearts. He radically stated:

Romans 2:28-29 (KJV)  For he is NOT A JEW, WHICH IS ONE OUTWARDLY; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:  [29]  But he is A JEW, WHICH IS ONE INWARDLY; AND CIRCUMCISION IS THAT OF THE HEART, IN THE SPIRIT, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Gal 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but FAITH WHICH WORKETH BY LOVE.

Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, BUT A NEW CREATURE.

Col 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but CHRIST IS ALL, AND IN ALL.

To the Apostles true circumcision was evident when – upon receiving Christ as Lord and Savior – the heart was circumcised and the hardened heart was eradicated. This is what God prophesied through Ezekiel:

Ezekiel 36:26-27 (KJV)  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  [27]  And I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT WITHIN YOU, AND CAUSE YOU TO WALK IN MY STATUTES, AND YE SHALL KEEP MY JUDGMENTS, and do them.

God promised a New Covenant to His people one day. Integral to the New Covenant was the new heart and new Spirit. God would change the heart of His people. His people would supernaturally be obedient to God’s statutes (rules that transcend time) and His judgments (specific directions to His people NOW). We who are His “do them”, obediently obeying our God. We are not saved by the keeping of the Law, but once saved we become obedient to the Law.

Jesus ushered in the New Covenant when He shed His Blood on Calvary for all who believe. He said at His Table:

Luke 22:20 (KJV)  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the NEW TESTAMENT (διαθήκη diathḗkē, pronounced dee-ath-ay’-kay, which means “covenant” or “contract”) in MY BLOOD, which is shed for you.

Christ’s Blood shed on Calvary brought in a New Covenant, with new judgments that we are to obey.

  • The Christian is not lawless but spirit driven.
  • Saved by the grace of Christ (for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves – it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast [Ephesians 2:8-9]) we now walk daily obeying the indwelling Spirit, loving God and loving one another.
  • We are to walk in the Spirit rather than walk I the flesh (Galatians 5:16-26).
  • We are to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
  • We are no longer to walk selfishly or self driven, but are to walk in love, imitating God as dear children (Ephesians 5:1-2).
  • We are a people who have been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Peter 1:23).
  • The Christian does not belong to this world. We are not of Adam, but of Christ. In Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22).
  • We are a people under new judgments. Jesus said in John 13:34-35 “A NEW COMMANDMENT I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” And again in John 15:12 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

The Great Commandment Endorsed By Jesus

Deuteronomy chapter 6 gives us a command that every believer in God must keep. Let us stand and read this commandment together:

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (KJV)  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:  [5]  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

God speaks to His people of all ages. HEAR Me, the Lord says. If you belong to Me, if you are born of Me, if you have been saved by Me, Hear this. Do not just hear this, but DO THIS. Do you wish to be blessed? DO THIS!

Deuteronomy 6:2 That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.

We are to FEAR the Lord, to have a reverential awe of Him. Every child should have a somewhat awe and fear of their parent. I loved my daddy, but knew that if I misbehaved that he could and would PUNISH me. He could take away my privileges, or tan my behind. I had deep respect and love for Him.

Psalms 111:10 (KJV)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

Why do many who profess Christ not fear the Lord today? I believe it is because of cheap preaching of a worthless grace. Grace was blood bought. Grace was purchased at a great price. See Him. See Him hanging there on Calvary’s tree. See Him, bleeding. His eyes swollen shut. The crown of thorns about His brow. His flesh in tatters, His body naked. People pass by and spit. “If God is your Father come down from that Cross.” The thieves next to Him mocking. One says, “Get yourself down, and take us down too.” His breath shutters. He struggles to breath. What Law did He break? None. What stature or judgment did He refuse to follow? None. And yet He is convicted. Cheap grace preached is a travesty in our day, a mockery of the truth of the Cross. There He is dying for you and I. He took the beating. He died in my place, so that I might live. The Father commanded the death of His Son because of our sin. He stood in our place. This is why I love the Lord.

love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might

Matthew 22:35-36 (KJV)  Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,  [36]  Master, which is the GREAT COMMANDMENT in the law?

A lawyer asked Jesus a sly question. Lawyers can be sly. He didn’t ask Jesus what was the FIRST commandment. The FIRST commandment given by God was “do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:15). The Lawyer did not ask what the FIRST of the TEN commandments was. The first of the ten commandments is (Exodus 20:3) Thou shalt have no other gods before me. God is to be first as your God. The lawyer asked:

What is the GREAT (μέγας megas) Commandment
Megas means greatest in weight
Massive in size
The largest and most overshadowing
The most intense and powerful

The lawyer thought that Jesus – considered by the Pharisees to be an uneducated man – would quote one of the statutes from the Ten Commandments. Jesus is very educated. He is God Almighty in human flesh. As God, He wrote the Scripture through the Apostles and Prophets. So Jesus without hesitation knew the answer to the Book He wrote. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:5, our focal text! Jesus said:

Matthew 22:37-38 (KJV)… Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  [38]  This is the first and great commandment.

This is the one overshadowing Law upon which all other laws come.

Man is made in the image of God.
All men are made in the image of God.
All men and women are made in the image of God.

The chief and most predominant Law of all Scripture is Deuteronomy 6:5. We are to love God with everything we have. If we love God with everything we have, then the second most preeminent Law is …

Matthew 22:39-40 (KJV)  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  [40]  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

All laws proceed out of these two Parent Laws. When God made man He made them male and female (Genesis 5:1-2). God made man to lead in the union of marriage, and the wife to follow. In the Law God gave us He married these two commands together. The preeminent Law is that you Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. The Law married to this Adam of laws is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. The God Who made you made both you and your neighbor in His image and after His likeness (Genesis 1:27). If you love God, you will love your neighbor. If you love God you will love the person next to you regardless of race or gender because they are made in the image of God.

I came across a picture of the KKK going into a Church building. Once in the Church building they acsended the stage, where there they sat in front of a sign saying “Jesus saves”. Beloved, this is NOT of God. Christ came to save all. Christ loves all. He loves us all regardless as to our color. If you understand that the Great Commandment is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind” then you will love the one that God tells you to love. You will love your neighbor as yourself. Why? Because my neighbor is made in the image of God.

The Ten Commandments were statutes written to a nation, but Deuteronomy 6:5 is a statute written only to those who belong to God, members of His family. When you keep the command of Deuteronomy 6:5 then you quite naturally keep all the other commandments as well. Jesus said “on these two commandments hang ALL the Law and the Prophets”, that is, all of Scripture.

The Jews wove Deuteronomy 6:4-9 into a daily prayer that they called “The Shema” because they considered this Scripture to be most important to the believer.

What if our neighbor is our enemy? MY ENEMY IS MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE. We are to love even our enemy because God said so … and God is in control.

The Shema Teaches Us Our God Is Always In Control

Deuteronomy 6:4 (KJV)  Hear, O Israel:
The LORD our God is one LORD: 

Who created Israel? It was God. Who caused Israel to become a mighty nation? It was God. How did God create Israel? He created Israel by controlling events, people, and places. Our God is ONE LORD. He controls all things. We all remember the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. Joseph was the son of Israel, a favorite son. Because Israel spoiled Joseph above all the other children, his brothers cast him into a pit and sold him into slavery. After many years of suffering God caused Joseph to rise up in power to become the right hand man of Pharaoh. Was it an accident? No, it was God is in control. God is always in control. Joseph loved God with all his heart, soul, and mind. Loving God this way he forgave his brothers, telling them:

Genesis 50:19-21 (KJV) … Fear not: for am I in the place of God?  [20]  But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but GOD MEANT IT UNTO GOOD, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.  [21]  Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

The Scripture tell us, dear believers, that “the LORD our God is one LORD”. There is but one God, the God that has saved us and the God that loves us. He is the LORD, the great God Who called Moses from the burning bush. (Exodus 3:14-15).

Our God is the Eternal and Everlasting I AM. He controls all things. God’s hand was on Israel from it’s very beginning. There are no other gods above our God. He alone is LORD. He reigns over all things. This is why the Bible tells the believer to rejoice in trials, for trials are not accidents, but God’s hand on our lives. We are promised troubles in this life for following the LORD. Jesus said:

John 15:19 (KJV)  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

The world may hate us – yet we are to love our neighbor regardless as to what he or she does. How can we do this? Because Jesus said:

John 16:33 (KJV) … In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.

He is the Lord our God. He has overcome the world. Rest in Him. Trust Him. Give all to Him. He is able! Christians are strangers in this world, peculiar people in the midst of darkness (Deuteronomy 14:2; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9). We will be tried as Israel was tried, as Joseph was tried, as Jacob was tried, as Abraham was tried. Yet the Bible tells us in …

James 1:2-4 “brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  [3]  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  [4]  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Our Lord is the Lord of all. He is in control! (Romans 8:28)

Love God With All You Have

Deuteronomy 6:5 .. thou shalt love the LORD thy God
WITH ALL

God does not want the leftovers of your life. He demands ALL of your life. After all, He gave ALL of HIS LIFE for you. The Scripture says:

1 John 3:16 (KJV)  Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

God laid down His life for us. We are to love Him with all that we have. We are not to be PART TIME Christians but FULL TIME Christians. God tells His people …

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (KJV)  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  [7]  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

We are to “walk in love” – to be the same at home as we are during the Church gathering. We are to keep Christ’s commandments at all times. You may look to be a Christian at Church, but do your children know you are Christians? Do your fellow workers know that you are Christians? Your testimony is to be Christlike not just under the preacher’s eyes, but under God’s eyes, eyes that never close. To be obedient to Him (John 14:15). To fall head over heels in love with Jesus.

John 14:21 (KJV)  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

We are to love Jesus more than we hate our enemies (Matthew 5:44-48). We are to love our Lord so much that we do good to those who do bad to us. We are to be clothed in love (Colossians 3:14). In so doing we will make a difference.

Let us be the difference. For Christ’s sake I pray – Amen!

Posted in Deuteronomy, Sermons Preached | Tagged

Angels: God’s Messengers

sommi-257178-unsplash.jpg

Photo by 小胖 车 on Unsplash

Angels: God’s Messengers

The late Evangelist Billy Graham wrote in his book “Angels, God’s Secret Agents” about John G. Paton, a Missionary to the New Hebrides Islands. He wrote:

“Hostile natives surrounded his mission headquarters one night, intent on burning the Patons out and killing them. John Paton and his wife prayed all during that terror filled night that God would deliver them. When daylight came they were amazed to see the attackers unaccountably leave. They thanked God for delivering them. A year later, the chief of the tribe was converted to Jesus Christ, and Mr. Paton, remembering what had happened, asked the chief what had kept him and his men from burning down the house and killing them. The chief replied in surprise, “Who were all those men you had with you there?” The missionary answered, “There were no men there; just my wife and I.” The chief argued that they had seen many men standing guard-hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords in their hands. They seemed to circle the mission station so that the natives were afraid to attack. Only then did Mr. Paton realize that God had sent his angels to protect them. The chief agreed that there was no other explanation. Could it be that God had sent a legion of angels to protect His servants, whose lives were being endangered?”

You might be tempted to think this was just a figment of the chief’s imagination – but the chief’s army also saw these shining soldiers. This is not without a Biblical precedent.

In the book of 2 Kings we see an interesting account that mirrors what happened in John Paton’s life. The Kingdom of Syria and the Kingdom of Israel were at war with one another. Every time the King of Syria met in secret with his general to plan an attack on Israel, the Prophet Elisha knew what was going on. Why? Because he was a Prophet of God! Well Elisha would contact the King of Israel and say “Don’t go in this direction, for the King of Syria has set a trap there”. This went on for a while, and the King of Syria got fed up. He asked his men, “How is this possible that our battle plans keep getting to the Israelites?” His servants replied:

2 Kings 6:12 (KJV) …. Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.

The problem is Elisha! He somehow knows what we say in secret. The King of Syria said, “In that case, go and get this Elisha and bring him here.” So a troop of soldiers – heavily armed – set out to capture God’s Prophet.

2 Kings 6:15-16 (KJV) And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? 16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

I am sure that Elisha’s servant thought that his master had gone crazy. Elisha saw the look on his servant’s face. Instead of arguing with the servant, Elisha went to God in prayer. He prayed:

2 Kings 6:17 (KJV) … LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

God sent a host of angels to protect His servant Elisha. These angels don’t sound like the feminized angels that we see portrayed with heart shaped wings, nor do they look like the little baby kissing angels that women like to collect as statuettes in curio cabinets. A silly and fanciful angel would not frighten away a host of battle hardened Syrians.

In 2 Kings 19 the Bible tells us that Sennacherib the King of Assyria brought 185,000 armed soldiers to attack and destroy Jerusalem. We are told that:

2 Kings 19:32-36 (KJV) …. thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. 33 By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. 34 For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. 35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.

One angel – the Angel of the Lord – attacked the army of 185,000 and destroyed it in one night. This a powerful being containing unfathomable power.

Humans have created strange doctrines about angels – doctrines not taught in Scripture. One statement I have heard is when a loved one dies “Heaven gained another angel”. I am sure that the statement is made innocently enough, but it is not in accordance with the Scripture.

Do those “saved by faith in Christ” born again of the Spirit of God become angels when they die?

No, they do not. The Bible teaches that God created two distinct sets of intelligent beings. There are ANGELS and there are HUMANS.

Hebrews 12:22-23 (KJV) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, AND to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

Angels are sexually different from humans. God made humanity “in His own image … male and female created He them” (Genesis 1:26-28, 31). Humans were created with the capacity to reproduce, and in fact were commanded to “multiply and fill the earth”. Angels were never given this ability, nor were angels made in God’s image. Jesus said that when humans enter God’s glory that we lose the ability to reproduce. He said:

Matthew 22:30 (KJV) For in the resurrection {departed humans} neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

Luke 20:34-36 (KJV) Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: 35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

When we get to Heaven we will be equal in power to the angels with one distinct difference – we will be the Children of God.

Humans are flesh and bone. Adam was created by God from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7). God told Adam (and us) “you were made from dust, and to dust you will return”. The Bible tells us that angels are “ministering SPIRITS”:

Hebrews 1:13-14 (KJV) But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

Our Lord Jesus said that “Spirits do not have flesh and bones”.

Luke 24:39 (KJV) {Jesus said} Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

When angels were seen and reported in Scripture they are spoken of as beings of light. The angel that rolled back the stone from Christ’s grave is described:

Matthew 28:2-3 (KJV) … the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow…

Angels can take on the appearance of man – and have done so in the Scripture. Angels sometimes take on this appearance and walk among us, which is why we are warned:

Hebrews 13:1-2 (KJV) Let brotherly love continue. 2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Though angels can appear to be human they have one distinction that makes them different from us. Jesus Christ did not die for sins of the angels.

Can the Angels that fell from Heaven following Satan in rebellion be saved?

Hebrews 2:9 (KJV) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Jesus was made lower than the angels. Angels are far superior to us in power (remember the 185,000 killed by one angel?). When angels fell from Heaven rebelling against God there was no provision made to redeem them. A fallen angel is a fallen angel. Period. But God offers salvation to whosoever will:

Galatians 4:45, 7 (KJV) … when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Angels are called “Sons of God” in the Scripture because they are created by God. They are also called the Morning Stars because they are composed of light. We read in:

Job 38:4-7 (KJV) Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

All the sons of God (the angels) shouted for joy when God created the earth.

Theologians tells us that based on:

Genesis 2:1 (KJV) Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

that all the host of them refers to angels. If so, all the angels were created at the same time by God. When the Chief Angel Lucifer (also called the Devil, Satan, and the Great Red Dragon) rebelled that he led one third of the angels to follow him.

Revelation 12:3-4 (KJV) And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: …

Some of these rebellious angels were placed in chains of darkness, reserved until the judgment day:

2 Peter 2:4 (KJV) For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

Jude 1:6 (KJV) And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

What Do The Fallen Angels Do On This Present Earth?

Some of the fallen angels, along with Lucifer also known as Satan, remain on this earth to vex and try the saints of God:

Ephesians 6:10-12 (KJV) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

All fallen angels will one day be cast into the Lake of Fire along with those who reject Christ as Savior and Lord. Jesus told us that on judgment day:

Matthew 25:41 (KJV) Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

The wording that Jesus used tells us that God never designed hell for humans, but for fallen angels. God does not want any human to end up in hell. This is a choice that each person freely makes by either accepting or rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Our God loves variety. You see His love of variety in the animal kingdom, in the plant kingdom, among the fishes and birds, and among humans. No human is exactly the same. God loves variety. The Chief Angel in Heaven is called an Arch-Angel. The scripture says:

Ezekiel 28:14-17 (KJV) Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.

Are All Angels The Same?

Lucifer was called a Covering Cherub or the Anointed Cherub that Covereth. He, along with Michael and Gabriel were Arch-Angels, those who ruled all the other angels under the authority of God. The name “Lucifer” means Shining One. Lucifer is not a hideous monster, nor is he a cute little devil with a red tail. He is beautiful beyond measure – beauty gone bad.

The Cherubim have four faces (man, lion, ox, eagle), four wings (two to fly with), and cloven calflike feet. They move about in groups of four, guarding God’s Throne. (see Ezekiel 1:4-28; 10:1-22).

The Seraphim have six wings (two to fly with). Their name means “burning ones” and they lead heavenly worship and singing. (see Isaiah 6:1-7).

Of the fallen angels, Satan has divided them into groups called ruling angels. They are classified as principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:10-12).

There are guardian angels that watch over saved believers and children under the age of accountability.

Matthew 18:10 (KJV) Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Hebrews 1:14 (KJV) Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

There are other angels mentioned in Scripture beyond Arch-Angels, Cherubin, Seraphim, and Guardian Angels. These angels:

  • Lead worship and praise (Isaiah 6:1-3; Revelation 4-5).
  • Revealing the will of God (Acts 7:52-53)
  • Guiding God’s people. An angel told Joseph about the virgin birth of Jesus (Matthew 1-2). See also Acts 8:26; Acts 10:1-8.
  • Angels provide for God’s people. An angel ministered to Hagar (Genesis 21:17-20), Elijah (1 Kings 19:6), and even ministered to Jesus Christ following His temptation (Matthew 4:11).
  • Angels protect God’s people. They shut the mouths of the lions for Daniel. (Daniel 3).
  • Angels delivered the Apostles (Acts 5, Acts 12).
  • God sometimes uses angels to answer our prayers (Daniel 9:20-24; 10:10-12; Acts 12:1-17).

Are Angels As Powerful As God?

NO! Angels are stronger than men, but are not all powerful (Psalm 103:20; 2 Peter 2:11). They have a greater knowledge than we do, for the have access to the Throne room of God. But they do not know all things (2 Samuel 14:20; Matthew 24:36). Though angels can travel faster than us, they are not able to be everywhere at the same time as God is (Daniel 9:21-23; 10:10-14). They are created as we are created. They are just made different. The devil and his demons have no power greater than what our Father allows them to have. Praise God for His unspeakable gift of salvation!

Posted in General | Tagged ,

Hear, O America

samuel-branch-442129-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Samuel Branch on Unsplash

Deuteronomy 5:1, 6 – 12 KJV And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. … 6 I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 7 Thou shalt have none other gods before me. 8 Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: 9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, 10 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments. 11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. 12 Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.

I was reading a very interesting article the other day on a secular business site called Entrepreneur.com. What caught my eye was two things. First, this is a thoroughly secular news site. It is intentionally NOT a Christian group. They report on business trends. Secondly, reporter Matthew McCreary had something good to say about a Christian founded business. You don’t find that much anymore in our United States. The article is entitled Chick-fil-A Makes More Per Restaurant Than McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway Combined … and It’s Closed On Sundays1. That headline grabbed me. The reporter started out by stating that McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway are the top three fast food franchises in yearly U.S. sales. McDonald’s makes over $37 billion dollars yearly, whereas Starbucks and Subway trail at $13 and $10 billion dollars respectively. Chick-fil-A takes in $9 billion per year, and is the eighth restaurant in sales among all the national chains. But here’s what was interesting to the reporter. Though Chick-fil-A only has about a sixth as many restaurants as it’s competitors, each restaurant makes an average of over 4 million dollars. McDonald’s – the top fast food restaurant in the world – only takes in a little over 2 million dollars each year – about half on what Chick-fil-A restaurants earn. What amazed the reporter? He wrote:

That’s crazy – especially since Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays. Most people would assume that closing one day per week could hurt company profits. However, it’s clear by the per-unit sales numbers that so9mething about Chick-fil-A makes it more attractive that its competitors. Could it be that closing its doors one day a week actually helps Chick-fil-A make more money, not less?”

The reporter went on to speculate as to why Chick-fil-A is making nearly twice as much per restaurant than the top fast food restaurant in the world. Why is this? My opinion is this. I believe God has blessed Chick-fil-A because the Chick-fil-A Corporation has honored God. The Bible tells us:

1 Samuel 2:30 (KJV) … them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

Chick-fil-A honors God by giving its employees a day of rest, a day to choose to worship the Creator or not. God says “I will honor those that honor Me”. His promise stands true forever,
for God’s promises are eternal.

The blessings of God will always be on those who honor the Lord, who are obedient to what He has said. It is wisdom to honor God, to love Him Who is the Giver of all things (Proverbs 8:15-17).

Our God never changes.
We change – we age and grow.

I am not the same person I was when I was born. I am not the same person I was when I was a child. I am not the same person I was when I was in the military. I am not the same person I was when I first came to this beloved Church over six years ago. I change. You change. But God is unchanging. Our God is the One Who gives good and perfect gifts, Who never varies nor ever changes (James 1:17).

The Creator of all things is not evolution, but the sure and certain design of the Master Architect that is God.

Our Creator is the Source of all peace. Where confusion is, He is not. Where peace is, He is (1 Corinthians 14:33). His Promise and His Gospel is forever the same. We are told:

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

His ways are always best. His Gospel always saves. The Blood never loses it’s power!

As Israel – a nation saved by God – got ready to go into the Promised Land they would not be without challenges. God spoke to His people:

Deuteronomy 5:1 (KJV) … Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.

The first three words are “Hear, O Israel” – only two words in the Hebrew. God cries out:

שָׁמַע (shama`) יִשְׂרָאֵל (Yisra’el)
Hear, O Israel!

God spoke to that nation, to that people He loved. He wanted the people whom He had freed from slavery to hear the way to blessing. I believe that God is calling out to a mortally wounded America today. God is crying out:

Hear, O America!

God is calling to us to LISTEN to what He has to say. God loves America. Our country – much like Israel – was founded by believers in Christ. Certainly they were flawed as we are. Certainly they erred as we do. Yet America was blessed because many who professed Christ did their best to live for Christ.

Our Lord Jesus looked at a fig tree one day to get a small snack from it. When He saw the fig tree had no fruit our Lord said:

No man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever”

The next day the disciples saw that the same fig tree was dried up and dead to the root. Peter said:

Mark 11:21-22 (KJV) … Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. 22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

Israel or America – We Must Have Faith In God

The fig tree died because it did not give the Master its fruit. Our Lord cursed the fig tree. The fig tree is an image if a dead faith.
A dead faith is one that produces NO FRUIT.

The step brother of Christ inspired of God writes:

James 2:20-26 (KJV) But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. … 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

God saved Israel so that Israel could live for God. God saved America – and has prospered us beyond all other nations – so that we can live for God. We are all called to “Have faith in God”. We are called – like Abraham the Father of Faith – to “Have faith in God”.

What does it mean to “Have faith in God”. I submit to you that genuine faith is defined in our text today. Look at it again:

Deuteronomy 5:1 (KJV) … Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.

The first part of faith is to HEAR. The Scripture says:

Romans 10:17 (KJV) … faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

You can sit and hear the SOUND of my voice and never have faith. Faith comes by not just hearing SOUNDS, but INTELLIGENTLY HEARING. If you are dozing right now (and many are the times when we all doze off or daydream) then you may be hearing SOUND but not intelligently. The same thing happens with many of us men when our wives walk into the room and we are watching something on television or reading a book. She will say something and we’ll say:

UH HUH

Later on she’ll come back and say “I thought you were going to take out the trash” and you respond (foolishly, I might add) “When did I say I was going to take out the trash”? She replies “When I walked in here and asked, and you said UH HUH!” Uh oh! We didn’t HEAR intelligently. Many people hear but they do not hear. When Moses said “Shema Yisrael” he wasn’t saying “Listen to poor old Moses”. What he was saying was “Take heed – really listen – because what I’m about to say COMES DIRECT FROM GOD!” This is not my opinion. I saw God. God told me to tell you. You need to hear. Faith cometh by INTELLIGENTLY HEARING what is said is THE WORD OF GOD. Many of you will hear me speak today. You may be entertained, but you’ll leave this place the same way you came in. Why? Because you thought it was MY opinion I was shouting … but it is GOD’s WORD. What has God said? HEAR, O America!

If you HEAR God’s Word only, this is not faith. Look at our text again:

Deuteronomy 5:1 (KJV) … Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.

You need to HEAR what is said as statutes and judgments. I explained last week that:

Statutes are unchanging rules from God for every person
Judgments are unchanging rules from God for specific persons

All people are to keep God’s Ten Commandments. They are not suggestions but commandments. But Israelite males were circumcised on the eighth day after birth. Why? Because God said so. Israelites did not have to be baptized in water. However Christians do not have to be circumcised, but are to be baptized in water after salvation. Why? Because God said so. You hear the Word of God. You believe it is from God. If you have believed:

You LEARN what God said to YOU.
You KEEP or GUARD what God said to YOU.
You DO what God said to YOU.

That’s what Abraham did. God told Abraham:

Genesis 12:1-2 (KJV) … Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

How did Abraham respond to God’s direction. First, he recognized it was God’s Word. Right after hearing God’s Word Abraham said:

I’ll get right on that Lord, right after my TV show ends.”

Is that what Abraham did? No. He IMMEDIATELY and INTELLIGENTLY heard what God said. Abraham then MOVED as if God commanded. This is faith. To hear, to intelligently perceive, then to DO as God commands.

Deuteronomy 5:1 (KJV) Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn6 them, and keep7, and do8 them.

God wants the nation to be blessed. Blessing comes by hearing, by memorizing, to guard His Word, then to DO as He says.

Israel, if you will be blessed then HEAR, MEMORIZE, GUARD, and DO what God says. America, if you will be blessed then HEAR, MEMORIZE, GUARD, and DO what God says.

They Were Not Ten Suggestions

God then gives Israel – in fact, any Nation that wants to be blessed of Him – Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments were the basis of every law that God issued to the nation Israel. The Ten Commandments are the basis of every law that maintains order in our America.

Deuteronomy 5:7 (KJV) Thou shalt have none other gods before me.

There is but One God, the God of the Scripture. If you are a Christian then you declare with the Scripture that:

1 Corinthians 8:5-6 (KJV) For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

The world and the worldling have many gods and goddesses, and many times worship themselves. There is no power in the false gods of this world. As the Psalmist said of idols:

Psalms 115:4-8 (KJV) {The unbelievers} idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. 5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: 6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: 7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. 8 They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.

Idols can do nothing for you. You can do nothing for you! Beloved, we all need the Lord. We need the Creator of all. We need to reject the idols, and come to Him that loves us so very much! We who are Christians know that:

1 Timothy 2:5-6 (KJV) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

We are not to create gods and goddesses, but to read and study of Him in His Word, this Beloved Scripture.

Deuteronomy 5:9 (KJV) Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, …

God made you. God gave you life. God provides oxygen, water, and blessing. You may work for a living but God gave you the strength to work. Let us reverence Him and only Him. Let us acknowledge Jesus Christ His Only Begotten Son. Let us praise Him in both tongue and deed. Let us live for our God, for His Smile. Let’s quit living to please a selfish and unbelieving world, and let’s let Him live through us.

Deuteronomy 5:11 (KJV) Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

When we speak of God, let it be to praise Him, to pray to Him, to tell others of Him. Let our lips honor the God Who made us. Let us confess Him. Let us speak the Word of Faith:

Romans 10:8-13 (KJV) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

How fragile and fallible we all are! The Scripture declares “all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Oh how often have I failed my God. Yet still He loves me. Oh, how often you have failed your God. And yet, how He loves you. Though sinners all, fallen and far from perfection, He calls out to us in promise. He calls to us:

Believe Me.
Follow Me.
Hear Me.
Do What I Have Said.

Galatians 3:11 (KJV) … The just shall live by faith.

Romans 1:16-17 (KJV) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. {17} For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Romans 5:1-2 (KJV) “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: {2} By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

America It’s Time To Come Back To God

We are called of God to love God – to hear Him and do what He has said. Our Lord Jesus said in:

John 14:15 (KJV) If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:23-24 (KJV) … If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

When we like Israel love the Lord Who made us – when we intelligently hear what He says and do what He says – then we as people and as a nation will be blessed. In America life has become cheapened because we do not see our fellow man through God’s eyes. The Bible says:

1 John 3:23-24 “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. [24] And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us”

1 Thessalonians 4:9 “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another”

This is the source of the racism and divisions we have in our country today. This is the reason we have warring and collapse at the government level, in the White House, the Congress, and the Supreme Court. Life is cheapened when God is removed. Oh Beloved, how we need God. Oh Beloved, how we all need Jesus. We have freedom FROM oppression so that we can serve the Living God. We have freedom to choose so that we can choose the Lord Jesus Christ, receiving Him as our Savior and Guide.

Deuteronomy 5:16-21 (KJV) Honor thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 17 Thou shalt not kill. 18 Neither shalt thou commit adultery. 19 Neither shalt thou steal. 20 Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbor. 21 Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbor’s.

Let us find our fulfillment in God our Savior. You cannot work your way to Heaven, but by faith in Him you can be assured of both Heaven later and blessing while on this earth. May the Lord touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in Deuteronomy, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , , ,

The Deceptive Danger Of Sin

daniel-reeves-1277665-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Daniel Reeves on Unsplash

Deuteronomy 3:1-2 Then we turned, and went up the way to Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. 2 And the LORD said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.

In America today we are no longer troubled by sin. With the advent of television and the increasing popularity of Hollywood, morality has relaxed to the point where the word “Sin” is but a public joke. Sin, however is not a joke. God tells us that sin kills. I’ve often quoted:

Romans 6:23 … the wages of sin is death

Sin may seem a blessing or a trifle for a time, then it brings death.

  • Queen Jezebel mocked God and embraced sin. She thought herself invincible. Thrown from a window and trampled by horses, she was eaten by dogs (2 Kings 9:30-37). Sin is no trifle.
  • King Saul thought sin to be a trifle. Defying God he ended up falling on his sword to avoid capture at Mount Gilboa (1 Chronicles 10). “So Saul died for his sin against the Lord, because he did not keep the Word of the Lord”.
  • Israel thought sin to be a small thing. “The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people … so that many people of Israel died” (Numbers 21:6).

Dear ones, sin is not a trifle. It is a trap! It is death!

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

New York thinks sin to be a small thing. On the 46th Anniversary of Roe vs Wade New York State signed into law what is called The Reproductive Health Act. The law preserves abortions up to the time of birth, and removes abortion from the state’s criminal code. The Governor who signed the bill into law stated:

Today we are taking a giant step forward in the hard-fought battle to ensure a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her own personal health, including the ability to access an abortion. With the signing of this bill, we are sending a clear message that whatever happens in Washington, women in New York will always have the fundamental right to control their own body.”

Many people say “What’s wrong with this?” The reality is that baby in the mother’s womb is a living being.

Deuteronomy 27:25 Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen.

We have brought a curse on our nation by this taking of innocent lives. I recently saw a very interesting cartoon on Facebook that had a man shaking his fist at God. The man said “IF You are a loving and merciful God, WHY didn’t You send someone to cure cancer, or true leaders to govern us? What’s Your problem God?” Then in the next panel God simply says, “I did!!! You ABORTED them”.

Sin Is A Liar And A Thief

Sin robs us of the fear of God. It robs us of good things.

Jeremiah 5:23-25 (KJV) But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. 24 Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, … 25 Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.

Sin is a robber, and a liar. It destroys a nation. A nation that embraces sin will be abandoned by God and consumed of itself.

1 Samuel 2:30 (KJV) … the LORD God of Israel saith … them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

God expects us to love Him and to obey Him. Sin is to go against what God has clearly stated.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 15:10-14 (KJV) If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

What is Sin? When we sin we stand against that which God has commanded (Deuteronomy 11:26-28; 1 Samuel 15:22-23).

Sin, in short, is to live in opposition to God. It is to make your desires and wants greater than God’s desires and wants. God told His nation Israel:

Deuteronomy 28:1-8 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. 3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. 4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. 5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. 6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. 7 The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. 8 The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Sin Destroys A People

Sin destroyed Heshbon. As Israel moved ever toward the Jordan to prepare to enter the Promised Land this nation had to pass through two enemy territories. In Chapter 2 they had to pass through Heshbon (modern Hisban) which is about 20 miles of the Jordan where it enters the Dead Sea and 50 miles east of Jerusalem. When Israel moved to come through the land owned by Heshbon we read:

Deuteronomy 2:30 But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day.

When Sihon wouldn’t allow Israel to pass Moses believed this was the Lord hardening his heart. God did the same thing to Pharaoh in Egypt 40 years before:

Exodus 7:3-4 {God said} And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. 4 But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.

God loves all, and calls all to repentance. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). But Pharaoh as well as Sihon hardened their hearts towards God. When you harden your hearts long enough after a while God will stop trying to convince you. He will withdraw His convicting Spirit (Romans 9:14-21). Pharaoh because of the hardening of his heart through sin foolishly led his armies into the Red Sea where all died under the waves. In Deuteronomy 2 Sihon hardened his heart by sin until eventually God withdrew and hardened his heart.

Deuteronomy 2:31-32 (KJV)31 And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee: begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land. 32 Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to fight at Jahaz.

A hard hearted Sihon led a hard hearted and godless army against God’s people. What happened? The Bible states:

Deuteronomy 2:33-35 And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. 34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain: 35 Only the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took.

Did you read and process this? God ….

utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain

Who was destroyed? Everyone. Men. Women. Children. There were none to remain. Why? Because sin had so hardened this people that the only solution was annihilation.

Sin Even Destroys The Strong

Let’s return to our text for tonight. Having destroyed the Kingdom of Heshbon Israel now moves toward Bashan. God once more tells Moses and Israel:

Deuteronomy 3:2 And the LORD said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.

God destroyed Heshbon because they had no fear of God. Just as they did in Heshbon, Israel destroyed every single person. Is that shocking to you? It is to me.

Deuteronomy 3:6 And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.

Yet God has the right to destroy that which He created. Many cities in America today are told that they are invincible and impregnable. Many people think that sin will not harm them. Something interesting is said about Bashan. We read:

Deuteronomy 3:5 All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; beside unwalled towns a great many.

They thought themselves impregnable. Beloved, nothing can stand against God, nor against a people who follow God. Bashan even had a powerful, charismatic leader. The man was a giant among men. We are told:

Deuteronomy 3:11 For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.

We don’t know exactly how heavy Og was, but his bed was 13.5 feet long and about 5.5 feet wide and made of iron! Yet even as powerful as he was, he was no match for the power of God. The Bible says:

Jeremiah 17:5-8 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. 6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. 7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

No matter how powerful a leader nor how prosperous a nation, if it ceases to fear God and despise sin it is ripe for destruction.

Psalms 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

Bashan’s sinfulness caught up with it. So will America’s catch up with it. Beloved, let us live for God. Let us love Him with all our hearts. Let us heed His Word, and do as He says. Sin is a liar, a trap, and a destructive and deadly force. Turn from sin!

Sin Can Destroy The Best Believer

One of the greatest and most faithful of God’s servants was Moses. After defeating the Kingdom of Bashan Moses goes to the Lord, praying:

Deuteronomy 3:24-25 … O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? 25 I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.

Does our God forgive sin? Yes, He does. He loves Moses very much. But sin is no trifle. When Israel encamped at Meribah they found no water there. The people murmured against God and against Moses and Aaron, saying:

Numbers 20:4-6 (KJV) And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? 5 And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink. 6 And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them.

The Lord gave Moses very clear directions. He told that precious man:

Numbers 20:8 (KJV) Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.

Moses was to speak to the rock. This Rock symbolized the Risen Christ (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 “That Rock was Christ”).

But as Moses came before that Rock with his brother Aaron the many years of abuse he suffered at the hands of the people began to boil up. Looking at the people Moses’ let his temper get the best of him:

Numbers 20:10-11 … Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.

Instead of speaking to the Rock Moses struck the Rock twice! That Rock was Christ. It was symbolic of the Jesus Who would die on Calvary for us. Moses crucified to himself the Son of God afresh (Hebrews 6:6). Yet God is faithful. God allowed the water of blessing to come out of the Rock. But God told Moses and Aaron:

Numbers 20:12 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.

God forgives sin, but sin has consequences. Adam ate the forbidden fruit and lost Paradise. Israel murmured against God and lost the Promised Land. Moses disobeyed God and must suffer the consequences. God told Moses:

Deuteronomy 3:26-27 … the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter. 27 Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan.

Beloved, though God forgives sin, and loves His child saved by faith, the consequence of sin is often inescapable. Dr. J. Vernon McGee said in his Through The Bible broadcast:

“Though we repent of our sin, we will have to take the consequences of it in this life whether we like it or not.”

Sin is no trifle. It is a horrible thing that must be repented of. Moses was certainly still loved. You are loved, even when you sin. When you sin – and I too sin – confess that sin as quickly as you realize it. Bring it before the Cross of Calvary. The Scripture says:

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Do not let sin rule you. Let God rule you. Love Him, and obey Him. May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in Deuteronomy, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

Unblended Faith

giulia-gasperini-1242282-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Giulia Gasperini on Unsplash

Deuteronomy 4:1-2 (KJV) Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. 2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

When God saved Israel, He wanted those He saved to worship only Him. When God saves a Christian He demands that those whom He has saved worship only Him.

You will not get far in your spiritual journey if you blend your faith with God with other gods.

God loves to bless His people.
Oh, how good our God is!
Our God saves us to bless us.

When God saves, He saves with a purpose. He told His people:

Exodus 3:17 (KJV) … I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.

God wants to bless His people. He wants to free His people. He wants us walking in victory no matter where we are. To walk with the Almighty God is to triumph.
Yet all around us are other faiths and faith systems.

Though we today may not call them Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, or Jebusites today there are many other faiths in the world, and different practices because of these faiths. Our God tells us that we are not to blend our faith with other faiths. We are to listen to and heed our God exclusively. This is not hatred, but common sense.

Love the One Who saved you!

Several years ago the then current President of the United States said: “…I believe in an Almighty God, and I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God.”1

With all respect to that President, is what he said actually true? Not if you accept the Scripture as true. Our Lord Jesus told us:

John 14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

You cannot come into the presence of God the Father, nor enter His Heaven, unless you come to Him through the Lord Jesus Christ. No priest can take you there. I cannot take you there. The gods of Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Atheism, Naturalism, or Spiritualism cannot bring you into union with the Creator. Jesus Christ was even more specific in …

John 10:7-9 … Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. {8} All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. {9} I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

These seem to be harsh words, but they are not. Truth is never harsh. Jesus did not mince words. “Those who came before Me were THIEVES and ROBBERS”. What did they steal? They stole souls. There is but one Door that leads to the Father, and that Door is Christ. Christ was the Savior of Israel, and Christ is the Savior of His Church. Jesus declared to the Pharisees that the Old Testament Scriptures speak of HIM.

John 5:39-40 (KJV) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

Eternal life and blessing is only found by following our Lord Jesus. The early Church proudly preached:

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

The Christian faith cannot be blended with other faiths. They just won’t mix. God warned the Israel He saved:

Deuteronomy 4:2 (KJV) Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

A very similar command is given at the end of the New Testament. We read:

Revelation 22:18-19 (KJV)… If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Deuteronomy 4:1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do [them], that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.

God commanded His people to both HEAR (hearken) and DO what He called “the STATUTES and the JUDGMENTS”.

Dr. Thomas Constable2 states:

“Statutes” (v. 1) were the permanent basic rules of conduct whereas “judgments” (ordinances, v. 1) were decisions God revealed in answer to specific needs.”

God gives His people permanent rules of conduct as well as general direction in how we live our daily lives. Israel was given Ten Commandment or standards of conduct that were absolute. But the Lord also gave His people direction on dress, sanitation, and even on the type of food they could eat. The ancient Israelite, for instance, was not allowed to eat foods that God called unclean. The restriction against eating “unclean” foods was a “judgment” that applied only to Israel, not to the Church. We know this because of the vision God gave the Apostle Peter in …

Acts 10:11-16 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: {12} Wherein were all manner of four footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. {13} And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. {14} But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. {15} And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. {16} This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

Statutes” never change – they are bound laws against evil. Neither Jew nor Christian can bow the knee to a false god in the name of tolerance. God’s Commandment against idolatry stands forever.

Judgments” were commands specifically directed to God’s particular people at that time of human history.

  • The Law of Circumcision was a “Judgment” that the Israelite kept, but the Church does not have to keep.

Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

  • The Christian is not required to keep the “Feasts” or special celebrations that the Jews kept. These were “Judgments”.

  • The Christian does not have to sacrifice an animal in the Temple (if there were one) because today Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

We who are not of Israel but of Christ’s Church are “circumcised with the circumcision made without hands” (Colossians 2:11). When you believed on Jesus many of the “judgments” that ancient Israel were under ceased for you. “You are not under the Law, but under Grace” (Romans 6:14).

You are not under the “judgments pertaining to Israel” but you are still under God’s Statutes.

We still follow God’s statutes if we are God’s Children by faith in Christ. We “hearken to His Statutes (both for Israel and the Church) and His Judgments (for the Church).

Deuteronomy 4:1 Now therefore hearken3, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do [them], that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.

If you want to be blessed then you heed and obey the Lord Who saved you. We belong to Him!

Psalms 100:3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

God hath made us, not we ourselves. When we begin to think “I am a self-made Christian” we walk a pathway that leads to utter destruction. God made me, and He can unmake me. We are the sheep of His pasture. God controls the pasture, the place of feeding and the place of life. We should listen to Him.

Like Israel the Church today is in a land filled with false gods and goddesses. All around us are terribly lost people. Just as in the Book of Deuteronomy, many who are not right with God sacrifice their children on altars of convenience. Neither Israel nor the Church were to be confused by the false and flowing philosophies about them. We are to heed God’s Word but reject man’s word. The Scripture says:

Ephesians 5:6-8 (KJV) Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

God saves us to bless us, but He cannot bless us if we will not hear and do His Statutes and Judgments.

Deuteronomy 4:1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do [them], that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.

The faith that saves is the faith that DOES. You do not DO to be saved, if you are saved you shall DO!

The Apostle James – a stepbrother of Christ – likened a faith that does not DO to a dead thing. He said:

James 2:14-20 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? {15} If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, {16} And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? {17} Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. {18} Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. {19} Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. {20} But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Faith alone in Christ alone saves the soul. The Scripture clearly teaches this:

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Keeping the Law or even being super moral will not save you. But once you are saved you are called by God to obey His statutes and judgments. A good illustration is found in the Book of Acts. Philip the Evangelist was led to a man merely called “the Ethiopian Eunuch”. This man was reading the Old Testament Scripture of

Isaiah 53:7-8 (KJV) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

Philip asked the Eunuch if he understood the passage. The man replied “No, will you guide me?” At that point the Scripture says:

Acts 8:35 (KJV) Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

This passage was prophetic of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was oppressed and afflicted for us. He was brought as a Lamb to be slaughtered for us. He was imprisoned, and nailed to a tree for us! Oh, as Stephen preached this Word the Eunuch’s heart melted, and he gave his life to the Lord. Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). As they rode together a ways the Bible says:

Acts 8:36-38 (KJV) … they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

Water Baptism is a judgment that Christ gave to His Church (Mark 16:16; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 16:31-33; 2:38-41). The Eunuch believed with all his heart, then quickly sought to obey His Lord. Beloved, there is no blessing if we do not obey our Lord. This is true of both Israel and the Church. Jesus declared:

Luke 6:46-49 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? {47} Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: {48} He is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. {49} But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

To come to God, hear His Word, then DO that Word is to bring immense blessings to your life. Let us CLING to our Savior!

Deuteronomy 4:3-4 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you. {4} But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God [are] alive every one of you this day.

In Numbers 25:1-9 Israel joined itself with the Moabites, and began to worship the false god call BAAL of MOUNT PEOR. God despised this blending of faith with the world, and all those who worshiped BAAL of Mount Peor died in a plague – about 24,000 people.

God reminds His Israel of this terrible day in their history. Dear Ones Whom I terribly love, God will not have His Faith mingled with godlessness. To cling to God is to live.

ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God [are] alive
every one of you this day

Let us all who are saved by Christ Cling to God. Draw close to Him at all times – this is the Way of Life. Those who cling to God are blessed in this life. The first generation of Israel held on to all the wrong things, and as a result lost everything – even their lives. Jesus said:

John 15:5-6 (KJV) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

To cling to our Savior is the Way of the Christian. The Lord wants to bless you, just as He wanted to bless Israel before you. Israel would not heed Him, would not serve Him, would not live in her faith – and thus lost everything. Let us follow the example of the early Church. If persecuted, cling to Jesus. Though you walk alone, cling to Jesus. Hear His Voice. Walk where He says walk. Do as He has bid you to do. Read His Word. Speak to Him moment by moment. This is the Way of Blessing!

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

1 The Same God? by Cal Thomas, 10/09/2007

2 Soniclight.org Constable’s Commentary on Deuteronomy

3 Qal Imperative of H8085, שׁמע, shâma‛, shaw-mah’, A primitive root; to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively to tell, etc.): – X attentively, call (gather) together, X carefully, X certainly, consent, consider, be content, declare, X diligently, discern, give ear, (cause to, let, make to) hear (-ken, tell), X indeed, listen, make (a) noise, (be) obedient, obey, perceive, (make a) proclaim (-ation), publish, regard, report, shew (forth), (make a) sound, X surely, tell, understand, whosoever [heareth], witness.

Posted in Deuteronomy, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , ,