The Sin Of Sodom

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Today’s sermon is called “The Sin of Sodom”. As soon as I say that title I suspect many of you will assume I’ll be preaching on sexual sin. Though I’ll touch on that, that is not the main point of the sermon today. The sin of Sodom might have been outwardly sexual in nature, but this was not the sin of Sodom. Turn with me in your Bibles to Genesis chapter 18. The chapter starts with a man named Abraham.

1 Abraham Is A Pattern Of What Salvation Should Look Like. Abraham has been following the Lord.

Saved people follow the Lord. If you’re saved Christ is more than just a passing fancy – He is your Best Friend, your Savior, your Lord.

Abraham has been following Christ. The Lord came to him when he was just Abram in Genesis chapter 12. The Lord told him “Follow Me and I will bless you”.

That’s what salvation is.

It is following the Lord, loving the Lord, doing what the Lord says.

So Abram follows the Lord until he becomes Abraham, for following the Lord will change you. Abraham has been traveling, but when he gets to the plains of Mamre he loses the Presence of His Father God. Rather than wander aimlessly Abraham stops, sets up camp, and waits on the Lord.

Psalm 27:14 (KJV) Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Oh Beloved, if we would wait on the Lord – seek His Face at this altar – seek Him in our prayer closets – how He would bless us. God comes to those who wait on Him.

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV) But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Abraham waited. And the LORD appeared. The great I AM comes to those who seek Him. Read with me …

Genesis 18:1-5 (KJV) And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.

The LORD (the great I AM) appears to Abraham, but Abraham, sees three men. He says “my Lord (not my Lords but my Lord) if I have found favor in YOUR sight pass not away from thy servant. Lord you are here with me. Father, Son, and Spirit, Please abide with me. I will wait on YOU. I will wash Your feet. I will attend YOU. What a beautiful picture of salvation! Abraham waiting on the Lord, and the Lord communing with His Child. And THEY said, so do, as thou hast said.

  • Abraham is meeting with the Triune God. What a mystery this is, the Three in One. Our God has one state but He is in three Persons. I cannot comprehend it, so do not ask me to do so. The Triune God is fully revealed in the New Testament. Christ is baptized. The Spirit descends to Him. The Father speaks from the Heavens, “This is My Beloved Son, hear Him!”
  • Abraham runs to serve His Lord. He does not have to be begged to serve. I suspect dear friends that those people that expect the preacher to chase them to get them into the flock are not where they need to be spiritually. God didn’t have to chase down Abraham. Abraham loved the Lord, and the Lord loved Abraham.

After Abraham’s visit with God we read …

Genesis 18:16-20 (KJV) And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

God does not hide His purpose from Abraham. He came to see Abraham, but He also came for another reason. God came to judge sin. Now Abraham is saved. Look what God says about the saved. Look in verse 19 what God says about Abraham.

  • For I KNOW Him”. God knows Abraham. Abraham has a relationship with God through faith. What is it that will condemn people to eternal hellfire? Jesus tells us in

Matthew 7:19-23 (KJV) Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

God knew Abraham and Abraham knew God. There was a relationship between the two, and Abraham lived to please the Lord. Those who are cast away from the Kingdom of Heaven are those who – as Jesus clearly states – have no relationship with Him. They are WORKERS OF INIQUITY. Pastor Shane Idleman of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster California writes:

If you sense that your relationship with Jesus is shallow and incomplete, it probably is. I encourage you to revisit your commitment and understand that believing in Jesus Christ isn’t the finishing line; it’s the starting point. When we genuinely repent and embrace God’s gracious gift of forgiveness via the cross, there is a complete change in the way we live our lives, or, at least, a strong desire to do so. If there isn’t a significant change or a desire to serve Him, our relationship may be superficial, and that is a scary place to be. This is why I often say, “Don’t live your life with a question mark here.

  • For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD. Abraham had his household in order. He kept the way of the Lord and those who resided in his home kept the way of the Lord.

The Way of the Lord is to put yourself in its rightful place – obeying God. What God has said is right is right, and what God has said is wrong is wrong. It doesn’t matter what others say. God is in control. God is always right. God was going to bless Abraham because Abraham loved Him. God will not bless sin. God will not wink at iniquity. God despises sin, because sin is a curse upon God’s best for you.

2 Sodom Is A Pattern Of What Sin Looks Like. God tells Abraham:

Genesis 18:20-21 (KJV) And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

Sin is an offense unto God. God hears the cry of sin, and if that cry is loud enough God will destroy it just as a surgeon will cut out cancer!

Sin hurts creation.
Sin hurts people.
Sin hurts marriages.
Sin hurts families.

The wages of sin is always death.

It is sin that causes a mother to abort her baby.
Sin steals and kills.

Sin is not a trifle. I’m sure you’ve heard of the man who cheated on his taxes. He wrote the IRS “Last year I cheated on my taxes and I can’t sleep. Enclosed is $500.00. If I still can’t sleep I’ll send you the rest”.

The sin of stealing robs a person of their property.
The sin of adultery robs a spouse of his or her lover.
The sin of murder robs a person of life.
Sins of slander and gossip robs someone of their good name.
Sexual sins damage the souls of men and women.

Sin hurts others, people created in the image of God. And sin grows if unchecked. King David enjoyed the sin of sloth, hiding out in the palace when he should have been working. Sloth led to lust as he looked on another man’s wife. Sin led King David to rob another man of his wife’s love. Sin led King David to murder Uriah, husband of Bathsheba, to cover up his evil. And sin caused the child born of this union to die. Sin is a snake that hurts others. But sin primarily hurts God. Sin is a slap in the face of the Creator. When David was confronted with his sin he cried out to God:

Psalms 51:1-4 (KJV) … Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Though David’s sin hurt Uriah, hurt Bathsheba, and hurt his unnamed infant child, sin primarily is an offense against God. Sin says what God has said is right is wrong, and what I have said is right is right.

God is going to Sodom, and God is going to judge Sodom.

a Sodom Rejected The Way Of God. God was going to Sodom to judge it because they were living in an ungodly way. This is what we are told in:

2 Peter 2:4-6 (KJV)4 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; 5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

The Angels who rebelled against God were UNGODLY.
The world in Noah’s day was UNGODLY
Sodom and Gomorrah were UNGODLY

They were the opposite of what God said.

God told Adam “eat anything you want, but the Tree of Knowledge of Good and evil do not eat it”. The Serpent told Adam “Oh, God is just trying to deprive you. Eat! Enjoy!” Ungodliness cost us Paradise.

God made an example of Sodom and Gomorrah. Why? Because they lived ungodly – in a manner that was not honoring to God. The angels who rebelled in Heaven were punished for walking away from God. The whole world drowned in Noah’s day because:

Genesis 6:11-13 (KJV) The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

Sodom rejected the Godhood of God. We as a nation were at one time “One nation under God indivisible”. But now as a nation we reject God. His Way is ridiculed. God designed this earth.

Psalms 24:1-2 (KJV) The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. 2 For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

God made this creation, but man, rejecting God, is destroying that which He has made. No nation has drifted as far away from God as Sodom has and has not de-evolved. The Roman Empire ruled the world. But rejecting Christ and embracing evil that empire fell, and it’s fall was heard all over the world. Rome burned while it’s perverted ruler fiddled. It is no more. Rome. Egypt. Sodom. Gomorrah. Babylon. Every people who have rejected the way of God their Creator has eventually crumpled under the weight of sin and the judgment of God.

b Sodom Exalted Herself in Pride. Rather than glorify God Sodom was puffed up with pride. God speaks to Samaria just before He destroys that nation, saying:

Ezekiel 16:48-50 (KJV)48 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. 49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

Sodom’s chief sin was PRIDE. This is the first sin mentioned. There are seven particularly deadly sins listed in Scripture, and the first of these sins is PRIDE.

Proverbs 6:16 (KJV) These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look…

It is pride that caused Lucifer to become Satan. It is pride that caused Adam to fall. Jesus told the Pharisees “you should have no sin. But now you say, we see, therefore your sin remaineth” (John 9:41). Many people today puff out their chest before God, and strut to hell like Peacocks.

  • Sodom was not only prideful, but they were experiencing fullness of bread. They were more concerned with the physical than the spiritual. I have heard this among even those who profess Christ. They say “I know that this candidate believes in partial birth abortion, but I believe he or she can fix the economy. That I am FULL is what matters most!” Sodom was filled with people who had no care for their neighbors, but only for themselves. There was no “love your neighbor as yourself” – just “love thyself”.
  • Sodom Was Filled With Idleness. The Scripture says “abundance of idleness”. There is an old saying that

Idle Hands Are The Devil’s Workshop

Though this quote is not found in Scripture (I suspect Benjamin Franklin said it in his Poor Richard’s Almanac) it has its roots in Scripture. The Apostle Paul noted that those who did not work as God intended:

2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 (ESV) If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

God made us to work, and to work for HIM until the day we die. Adam was created perfect and put in a perfect Eden, yet even there he was to cultivate the Garden. One might wonder if Adam had been busy instead of listening to a Serpent if we would be in the mess we’re in today.

  • Sodom was self absorbed. They had no care for those who were genuinely in need. We are told “neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy”. Those who have been blessed by God are called to help those who are in need. We are to strengthen their hands. That doesn’t mean to give someone a hand OUT but a hand UP. We are not to promote idleness, but are to help those who have stumbled get back on their feet.

Just as Jesus Christ always did

Jesus was always reaching out to those in need, lifting them up, encouraging them. He never endorsed sin but He offered forgiveness to the sinner. Go and sin no more, lest a worst thing come upon you. Jesus pointed others to godliness.

  • Sodom committed abominations before God. When people draw away from God and become self absorbed, it is not long before they engage in activities that God called “abominations”. It is an abomination to do that which you were not designed by God to do. You were created to glorify God. You were created to be in God’s image. Nations die when they drift into abomination.

Isaiah 3:8-11 (KJV) For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of his glory. 9 The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves. 10 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. 11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.

Sodom committed abominations – sexual sins – before God. Heterosexual sin, Homosexual sin, Bestial sin. God made man and made woman from man and said “It is very good”. Sodom said “That’s not good enough” and pursued what God said do not do.

Romans 1:26-32 (KJV) For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

3 What Abraham Did Is A Pattern Of What Every Church Must Do. When Abraham realized what God was going to do the Bible tells us that:

Genesis 18:22-23 (KJV) And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. 23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

Abraham stood in the gap. Abraham stood before the Lord. He approached the Eternal and Loving I AM. He drew near to God in prayer – and Abraham interceded. Abraham prayed. Abraham was not arrogant before God, but humbled and broken. He drew near to God, and God drew near to Him. The Scripture says:

James 4:8-10 (KJV) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Too many Churches today have decided to fight ungodliness by becoming ungodly. Popular opinion says that this is now no longer ungodly, so we will go which ever the way the wind blows. We will draw near to ungodliness and hope for the best. But the Church must draw near to God. When it is cold and dark and you are outside in the chill you do not run to the darkness. No, dear ones, you run to the Light. You draw near to the Campfire, and huddle together in its light and heat. Abraham drew near to God. And Abraham prayed.

Abraham prayed.
Abraham prayed.
Abraham prayed.

God is looking over our nation. Two have gone down to see what is going on in Sodom, and will Abraham pray? Will His Church pray? Will His people pray? In the days of Ezekiel the Lord cried out ….

Ezekiel 22:30-31 (KJV) …. I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. 31 Therefore have I poured out Mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.

Our nation heads toward destruction. We are too busy to pray. But Abraham was not too busy. God looked for an Intercessor, and Abraham stood up. Lord, will you destroy the righteous with the unrighteous?

Will You destroy if there are fifty righteous in the city?
Will You destroy if there be forty-five righteous?
What if there are thirty righteous?
Oh Lord, what if just twenty?
Oh Lord, what if there are just ten?
And God said “I will not destroy it for ten’s sake”.

Our pattern, dear Church, must be Abraham’s pattern. We must not compromise with the spirit of Sodom that is crossing our land. But we must pray that the righteous will stand. We must pray that God’s Word and His Gospel still find a place in the hearts of our country. We must not be lukewarm like Laodicea, but must be passionate in our love for Him Who loves us. The same day Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from Heaven and destroyed them all (Luke 17:30).

Proverbs 14:34 (KJV) Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

May God lead you to a deeper, more Godly walk with Him.

Pray with me for our nation.

Stand with me for our Lord.

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Our God Is A Consuming Fire (Continuing The Names Of God Series)

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Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.

Some say that the name of God is Consuming Fire. Some say this is but a title. But in either case, God is clearly represented as a Consuming Fire in both Old and New Testaments.

By the end of this sermon we will together memorize a Bible verse, Hebrews 12:29

For our God is a consuming fire

If you have ever been camping, you have seen a camp fire. The camp fire provides heat and light when all around us is night. Fire is light. Fire is heat. Fire is not cold, nor is it lukewarm. Fire consumes wood as it burns.

Our God is first identified as Light in the Bible. The first command God gave was:

Genesis 1:3 …. Let there be light: and there was light.

God and man were to walk together, but you cannot walk with God in spiritual darkness. God made light. He didn’t make the sun and moon first – He made Light. Spiritual light. Physical light. The ability to see.

God created and walked with man in the Garden. God warned Adam against the darkness. “Eat of any tree, but the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you will not eat. If you eat it, you shall in that very day die!” (Genesis 2:16-17). Adam did as we do today. Our God is a Consuming Fire. He is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). Adam sinned, and though God covered man’s sin with the blood of the Lamb, He did not allow Adam to stay in Paradise. But the Bible tells us that:

Genesis 3:24 {God} drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Until the Lord led me to preach this sermon I always thought that God stationed Angels (that’s what Cherubim are) with flaming swords to keep man from the Tree of Life.

I’ve read Bible stories that have had illustrations showing the Angels holding swords. But that is not what the Bible says. There are Cheribums AND A flaming sword. What is this “Flaming Sword”?

Our God is a Consuming Fire. Sin cannot remain in His Paradise.

1 Our God Is A Consuming Fire. God came to Moses as he tended sheep on Mount Horeb.

a Our God Is A Consuming HOLY Fire. A man named Moses tended sheep for his father in law in the desert of Midian. Coming to Mount Horeb – the Mountain of God – Moses sees something fantastic.

Exodus 3:2-5 (ESV) And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” 4 When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Our God is a Consuming Fire. The fire burned, yet it was not consumed.
God does not destroy His Children, but approaches them in Light.
God is holy – we approach Him reverently.
When we come to Him He changes us. We are in His light!

He is the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James 1:17). God calls His Children out of darkness and into the Light. Moses is not the same anymore. He is set apart by God, just as every believer is set apart by God. He now has purpose. Our God changes us.

Psalms 107:14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

God has Children, sons of God who He calls out of darkness and into His light.

OUR God is a Consuming Fire.

When Moses went up into the Mountain of Sinai to receive the Law of God – a Law given because of the unbelief of Israel – the Bible tells us that

Moses went up but God went down

Exodus 19:16-18 (ESV) On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly.

Moses went up the mountain but God went down! God always has to lower Himself to approach us. And we have to rely on the Grace of God to approach Him. Our God is a Consuming Fire. The Law of God caused man to tremble. The LORD descended on the mountain in fire!

The holiness of God is no laughing matter.

The Law was given to show that we were as far from the Light of God as the east is from the west. Those who tried God in the Law were punished for that foolishness. Abominations were subject to death.

b Our God Is A Consuming Fire. He Judges Sin. The Altar of God did not operate without the Fire of Judgment. Every animal killed to make atonement for sin was subject to the fire of judgment. Sin is no trifle. God’s holiness is no trifle.

The Burnt Offering Was A Reminder That God Judges Sin

After the Burnt Offering was made the Priests were to take fire from that Offering and put it in the Golden Altar of Incense. Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu thought that God was NOT a Consuming Fire. The Bible says:

Leviticus 10:1-2 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. [2] And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

God Does Not Wink At Sin. He burns off sin. He is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all. Fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

God loves us, and we should love God.
But do you know the phrase “fear of the Lord” is found thirty times in Scripture?

Psalms 111:10 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.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.

Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.

Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

Proverbs 16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

Acts 9:31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

In America today it is popular to think that God is Love. And God is love. But our God is a Consuming Fire. He is not a man like we are. When He took upon Himself manhood – being born of a virgin – He was still no ordinary man.

God in human package, He is still a Consuming Fire

Jesus is Immanuel, God become Man. Jesus said – heed His words –

Luke 12:49-53 (KJV) I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? [50] But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I {distressed} till it be accomplished! [51] Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: [52] For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. [53] The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

The Gospel that Jesus brought is a Gospel of Light,
A Gospel from a God Who is a Consuming Fire.
The Gospel does not save a man IN his sins, but FROM his sins.
God does not want PART of your love, but ALL of your love.
There is a “Gospel Lite” (L-I-T-E) and a Gospel Light (L-I-G-H-T)

The two are not the same.

In many places and many pulpits today it is preached that there are many ways to God, and God loves everyone just as they are. You can come to God a Gossip, a Troublemaker, a Sexual Pervert, a Thief, a Liar, a Drunkard, a Murderer, and God will save you and make you a better Gossip, Troublemaker, a better Sexual Pervert, a more exquisite Thief, a slick Liar and manipulator of the truth, a smooth Drunkard and a more expert Murderer. This is not true. Our God is a Consuming Fire. Where His Gospel is preached fires are started. Fire brings light and heat, and Satan with his followers do not care for either light or heat.

2 The Church Began When Our God – Who Is A Consuming Fire – Set It On Fire. The God-Man Jesus Christ had resurrected Himself from the grave. The Tomb was empty, and both Rome as well as religious Israel were upset and could do nothing about it. Jesus walked and talked among the people for 40 days.

Forty Days
Forty Days God brought rain on the earth, destroying all but eight
Forty Days Moses was in Mount Sinai receiving the Law (Exodus 24:18)
Yet Forty Days and Nineveh will be overthrown” preached Jonah (Jonah 3:4)
Jesus fasted Forty Days and nights in the wilderness after His baptism (Matthew 4:2)
Jesus preached 40 days following His resurrection (Acts 1:3)

Before He ascended to Heaven Jesus told His disciples…

Acts 1:4-5 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that 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.

Our God is a Consuming Fire. When Moses went up into the Mount when he came down his face shone with God’s fiery light. The light from his face so frightened the people that Moses wore a veil (see Exodus 34:33-35) on his face.

Meeting the God Who is a Consuming Fire changes you

Jesus told His disciples “Go and pray. Wait for the Promise, the Holy Spirit.” They cannot do His work who are not empowered by His Spirit. So they went into the Upper Room and prayed. And on the Day of Pentecost the Bible tells us that:

Acts 2:1-6 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. [2] And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. [3] And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. [4] And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. [5] And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. [6] Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

Oh how this text has been maligned and misused by our Pentecostal Brethren.

1 Corinthians 14:33 tells us that God is not the Author of Confusion, but of peace.

The Devil is the author of confusion. Humanity is often the author of confusion. But not God. God is a Consuming Fire. On the Day of Pentecost there were people of all nationalities, of all tongues, in Jerusalem that day. These were all people that Jesus Christ gave His life for.

Red and Yellow, Black and White
They are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little Children of the world!

There is a man from India. There is a family from France. Here are Italians. There are home grown Jews. These people are all of Israel, but an Israel that has been scattered because she forgot that our God is a Consuming Fire. God took Israel and through a series of exiles has scattered His nation all over the world. The displaced Jew has been displaced so long that many do not speak but the language they are in. How to share the glorious Gospel of Christ with them? Shall we build a United Nations? Shall we hire translators who will hear and tell them in their own language?

No, God shall make a way.

Our God is a Consuming Fire. He grabs hold of His people that day. Fire like cloven tongues rests on every person praying. And these 120 people go out and share the Gospel. And Fire consumes the darkness. Three thousand (that’s 3,000) people receive Christ as Lord and Savior that day. The Church grows. Our God is a Consuming Fire.

The Church of God is to be consumed of God!

The Gospel sets people on fire. It does not lull to sleep, nor does it justify sin. The Gospel of our God Who is a Consuming Fire divides light from dark. Those who are in the dark and wish to remain in the dark will hate the light of His fire. Our Lord Jesus told Nicodemus, a Rabbi who was seeking God:

John 3:16-21 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [17] For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. [18] He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [19] And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. [20] For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. [21] But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Those who wish to rest in the darkness do not belong to God. Jesus said “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light, LEST HIS DEEDS BE REPROVED”. Our God is a Consuming Fire. You cannot be with Him and be in darkness. So the Lord demands a choice from every person.

Repent from sin and come to Me to be saved, or
Remain in darkness.
For our God is a Consuming Fire. He is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

1 John 1:5-7 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. [6] If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: [7] But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Those who are saved walk in the Light.
They do not walk in darkness, secretiveness, and murmuring.
They walk in the Light.
They have fellowship with one another.
They are bound together in love for God and love for one another.
They are bound together despising sin, and rejecting worldliness.

3 The Light Of God And The Darkness Of The World Will Always Be At War – But Light Will Always Beat The Darkness. Our God is a Consuming Fire. He calls whosoever will to receive Him as Savior and Lord. God is a Consuming Fire, and God is the Gospel. We read in Hebrews:

Hebrews 12:25-29 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: [26] Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. [27] And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. [28] Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: [29] For our God is a consuming fire.

God will win in the end. Are you standing with God? If not, you need to remember our God is a Consuming Fire. We who are his “are receiving a Kingdom which cannot be moved”. God’s Kingdom cannot be moved, nor will it be moved. God will, through Christ, triumph.

Let us have Grace

We have Grace so that we can serve God ACCEPTABLY. Not as we think is acceptable, but as God thinks is acceptable. We who are His are to serve Him in a way HE considers best.

The other day I and Sherry went to Legends to eat lunch. We love that place – it’s a great place to eat. When we sat down the waiter came and took our order, brought our drinks – and we didn’t see him again. When our fruit tea drinks ran out I had to get up and go refill them. I didn’t see him even when he brought the bill – he dropped it on the table as he passed. Other customers received rolls and cornbread with their meal. We received the cold shoulder. Finally I flagged him down long enough to get him to take the check and our payment. When he brought the

Have a blessed day”

You may disagree with me, but I didn’t leave a tip for that young man. A tip is not a welfare payment. A tip is a reward given for good or acceptable service – ACCEPTABLE according to the customer’s standard. If you belong to God you are to “wait on Him”.

Isaiah 40:31 (KJV) But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

If you are the waiter, and God your Customer – are you living acceptably according to HIM? Are you pleasing HIM? God is not our Waiter, we are His. Our God is a consuming fire. Please Him. Serve Him. Read His Word and seek His Face daily.

Our God Is A Consuming Fire!

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Christ Our High Priest Is Better Than The Levitical Priest

abraham-meets-melchisedech

When the Bible was originally written each book – written by God – was written just like a letter. In fact I like to say that the Bible is God’s Love Letter to us. It was not until 1227 AD that a man named Stephen Langdon divided the Bible into chapters. The chapters were broken up into verses by Robert Stephanus (Robert Stephens) in 1551 AD. The very first Bible to have both chapter as well as verse divisions was the Latin Vulgate (1555), and the first English version of the Bible with both chapters and verse divisions was the Geneva Bible (1560).

The Bible is God ordained, God blessed, and Holy Spirit inspired. But the chapter and verse divisions are man made, just as the paper and leather that binds your Bible is man made. And sometimes these man made divisions make things confusing.

For instance, as we transition from Hebrews chapter 4 to Hebrews chapter 5 (man made divisions) we might wonder why the chapters were broken this way. From Hebrews 4:14 to 5:9 we see that the the text is comparing the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ to the High Priesthood of the Old Testament Levitical Priest. Why Stephen Langdon broke the text from chapter 4 to chapter 5 I do not know. A pastor named Don Stewart wrote:

The chapter and verse divisions are convenient for reference and quotation purposes. They make it easier to find certain statements and accounts in Scripture. Yet the chapter and verse divisions can cause a number of problems.

In our responsive reading today we will go from Chapter 4 to Chapter 5. The key point is:

Christ is a better High Priest

Hebrews 4:14-16 (KJV)14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 5:1-9 1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. 3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. 4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

1 Jesus Christ Is A Greater High Priest Because “He Is Passed Into The Heavens”. I love the way the King James says it – He IS passed. The word here is the Second Perfect Active Participle of διέρχομαι dierchomai. The word means “is passed” or even better “is ascended into”. Our High Priest is ascended into Heaven.

The High Priest of Israel never ascended unto Heaven. We read:

Hebrews 5:1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:

a The High Priest of Israel was taken from among men. He is MORTAL just as all men are MORTAL. The High Priest was the High Priest as long as he lived. He was taken from among men and ordained for men. But the High Priest was not eternal. The office was, but the man was not. Aaron was the first High Priest of Israel, but when he died his son Eleazar (see Numbers 20:28) took his place. When Eleazar died Phineas his son took his place. Each High Priest was ordained and anointed with oil. Each High Priest came from the lineage of Aaron. But every High Priest had one thing in common.

They died. They were replaced. They wore out.

They were not immortal. They served God for the people, making atonement year after year, but they had a shelf life. They came. They died.

Our High Priest Jesus Christ Was Not Taken From Among Men, But Is God Become Man

We were told earlier in Hebrews:

Hebrews 1:8-11 (KJV) But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;

Jesus Christ is not taken from among men, but is God come to man. He is a much greater High Priest. Though He was crucified on the Tree of Calvary dying a painful and shameful death, though He was hung as a Thief between two Thieves, He was no thief and was no mere mortal. Jesus is and will always be the Son of God. He said “no man takes My life, but I lay it down, and I have the power to pick it up again”. Jesus proved this. Dying on Calvary (and die He did) He was buried in Joseph of Arimathaea’s family tomb. Rising from the grave on the Third Day He proved Himself above death. Jesus is

1 Timothy 6:15-16 … he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

As God Christ has access – direct access – to God.
As God Christ is forever with God.

The Levitical High Priest lived among the people, and was anointed for the people, but just as the people died so did He die. But Jesus Christ our Lord is a greater High Priest. He never dies. The scripture tells us that Christ came from God and returned to God. Jesus told the Pharisees:

John 7:28-33 (ESV) … You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. 29 I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me….. 33 Jesus then said, I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me.

When Jesus Christ rose from the grave He walked and talked amongst His disciples for forty days. At the end of that time the Scripture tells us that:

Mark 16:19 (ESV) So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

The Levitical High Priest – from the line of Aaron – died.
Christ dying rose from the grave, stayed for forty days proving Himself,
and only then ascended to the right hand of God the Father.

Here He makes intercession for those who call on Him. The High Priest of the Levites stood in the Holy of Holies making intercession first for himself then for the people. But our High Priest, Jesus Christ, He sits on the right hand of the Heavenly Father:

Romans 8:34 (ESV) Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

To make intercession for us.

b The High Priest Of Israel Was A Sinner Just As We Are Sinners. Though he was ordained and anointed of God

Hebrews 5:1 … that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:

The Levitical High Priest was a man just like every man is a man. He was not special. The High Priest of Israel was a sinner just like every person is a sinner.

Romans 3:23 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Isaiah 64:6 (KJV) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Every person among humanity is fallen into sin. There are none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, none who seek after God! All are sinners. The High Priest of Israel was a sinner, a fallen being, just as susceptible to sin as we are. He was ordained for men in things pertaining to God so that he might offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He was anointed with oil. He was chosen by God to do this. But the Levitical High Priest was still a sinner. When Aaron (the first High Priest of Israel) offered sacrifice it was first offered by his own hand for himself. We are told in ..

Leviticus 16:6 (KJV) And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.

He could not offer for the people until he first made offering for Himself. Aaron and his children who served after him made an atonement for themselves first, then for the people. The atonement was imperfect, for an animal died for the sins of a non-animal. The High Priest would two young goats and a ram.

Leviticus 16:5 (KJV) {the High Priest} shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.

These animals were used to make atonement for the sins of Israel. The Bible tells us that:

Leviticus 16:8-10 (KJV) …. Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.

The High Priest cast lots over the two goats. One goat would then be chosen as the sacrifice for sin, bearing the punishment for sin in the people’s stead. The other goat would symbolically carry the sins of the nation far away from the people. The High Priest would lay his hands on the goat, confess sins before God, then this “scapegoat” would be released in the wilderness.

Animals would bear the burden of the people’s sin.

In Christ we have a High Priest who is untouched by sin

Hebrews 4:14-15 (KJV) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

The High Priest of Israel was a sinner as the people are sinners. But our High Priest, Jesus Christ, was, is, and will always be without sin. We are told that:

1 Peter 2:22 (ESV) {Jesus} committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.

1 John 3:5 (ESV) You know that {Jesus Christ} appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.

The High Priest of Israel – a sinner – took animals from sinful creation and at the graciousness of God was allowed to sacrifice sin fallen animals for sinful men. But Christ is a much better High Priest. He did not have to offer animals for Himself for He Himself is without sin. Furthermore, He offered Himself for our sins. The Scripture says:

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) For our sake {God the Father} made {Christ} to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Jesus did not carry two goats and a ram into an earthly Holy of Holies. Jesus allowed Himself to be carried to the Cross. Sacrificed for our sins, He bore our penalty on the savage tree.

1 Peter 1:18-19 (ESV) knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

As our High Priest it is HIS Blood, His SINLESS Blood, His PERFECT Blood, that covers or atones for our sins. The High Priest, even if he were a good man, could not do this. But Christ did this for us.

2 Christ Is A Better High Priest Because He Is After The Order Of Melchisedek, Not Levi.

Hebrews 5:4-6 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Why was the Law added? The Law was added because people are stubborn, people are hard headed. God saved Israel without the Law. God sent ten plagues on Egypt without the Law of Sinai. God parted the waters of the Red Sea without the Law. God destroyed the Egyptian army and Pharaoh without Law.

The Law was written on stone tablets, but it was preached to stony hearts. The Law of Moses was called the Law of Levi because Moses was of Levi. The Law was added because of transgressions, because of hard headedness. The Bible tells us:

Galatians 3:19-26 (KJV) Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

No Law was given to the Father of Faith, Abraham. God called Abraham and said “Follow Me, and I will bless you”. So Abraham followed God. When God said “go” Abraham went. When God said “stop” Abraham stopped. Abraham loved God. Abraham loved God more than anything or anyone else.

Abraham, take your first born son, your only son Isaac, and sacrifice him on a mountain that I will show you (Genesis 22:2). Abraham did not complain. Abraham did not delay. He got up early the next day and took his son to that mountain. He tied his son down, and would have killed that boy if God had not stopped him. Abraham put God first. And Abraham’s High Priest was not from the Tribe of Levi. Abraham was saved apart from the Law of Sinai. Abraham was saved by loving God.

Abraham had a High Priest after the order not of Levi, but of Melchizedek. One day following a successful battle against unbelievers Abraham was returning home. As he traveled with his men a mysterious figure approached him. We read in

Genesis 14:17-20 (ESV) After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Abram was met and blessed by a priest called “Melchizedek”.
The name “Melchizedek” means King of Justice.

Melchizedek brought out bread and wine, bread and the cup. This Priest blessed Abraham, broke bread for him, and gave him wine to sustain him. Who was this Melchizedek? He was the first High Priest of God. The Law that drove him was the same law that drove Abraham.

The Law Melchizedek and Abraham followed was loving God. Abraham loved God, and God loved him. Together they walked, and Abraham was blessed in this relationship.

Jesus Christ is a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. He is not a High Priest after the order of Levi, of the Law of Sinai. Melchizedek was before Sinai. Melchizedek was 400 years before Sinai. The Law Abraham followed is the Law that we are called to follow today.

It is the royal law. It is the Law of Love. James spoke of this Royal Law:

James 2:8-13 (KJV) If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

Abraham was saved by love. Abraham was blessed by following God out of love. Abraham was saved without the Law of Sinai. He was saved by loving and following God as a child follows a parent. We close with:

Hebrews 5:6-9 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Jesus Christ went to that Cross to pay for our sins. He died for us. And He is THE Author of Eternal Salvation UNTO ALL THEM THAT OBEY HIM. We who are saved love our High Priest Jesus. We trust Him. And we rely fully upon Him. He speaks to us, and we obey Him and His Word out of love, just as Abraham did.

May God touch your hearts with His Word!

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God Is Abba – Pater – Our Father Celebrating the Names of God

our-father

One of the most interesting and intimate names of God is in the Aramaic ἀββα (Abba) or in the Greek πατήρ (Patēr) which means “Father”. You find a few places in the Old Testament where God is referred to as a “Father”. For instance, the Psalmist wrote:

Psalm 68:4-5 (KJV) Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him. 5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.

In that text “Father” is the Hebrew אָב ‘ab. Sounds like part of the word Abba, doesn’t it? And in ..

Isaiah 63:16 (KJV) …Thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.

In the Old Testament God is called the “Father” of Israel (see Deuteronomy 32:6; Jeremiah 3:4, 19; 31:9; Malachi 1:6; 2:10). God called Himself the “Father” of Solomon (2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chronicles 17:13). But the Jews never addressed God as their Father. The teaching of the Fatherhood of God is obscured because of the Law of Moses. The Jews regarded the names of God with an almost fearful and superstitious reverence. The Bible tells us that the Law came by Moses, but Grace and Truth by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). The reference to God as Father is found only fifteen times throughout the Old Testament. But we find God as Father mentioned over one hundred and sixty five (165+) times in the New Testament. This is because “Father” is favorite name that Jesus Christ used for our God. Sixty five (65) times Jesus referred to God as “Father” in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. One hundred (100) times Jesus referred to God as “Father” in the Gospel of John. One of the most significant uses of “Father” is when Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene. Let’s read this responsively:

 John 20:15-18 (KJV) Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

1 Please Note That Jesus’ Sonship Is Different Than Our Sonship. Notice how Jesus refers to the Father. He says “I ascend unto My Father, and to Your Father”. No where in Scripture does Jesus refer to the Father as “our Father” with Himself as part of the our. When He spoke the Lord’s Prayer the disciples said “Teach US how to pray”, and Jesus told them to pray saying “Our Father Who art in Heaven” (see Matthew 6:9). He was teaching the disciples collectively how they ought to pray. Jesus Christ is the distinct Son of God.

Jesus is by nature the Son of God.
We who are saved by faith are by adoption the sons of God.
Jesus Christ has eternally been the Son of God.
We are given the power to become sons of God through Christ.

John 1:11-13 (KJV) {Jesus} came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

When the seeker receives Christ as both Lord and Saviour the Holy Spirit of God comes to our souls, and through His power adopts us into the Family of God. The Bible declares:

Galatians 3:26 … for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

Galatians 4:4-6 … But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

The adoption of sons is not something you just receive by nature. The Bible says that “by nature we are the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3-5). We who are Adam’s descendants (and that is all of us) are born into this world by nature sinners, by nature alienated from God, by nature the enemies of God. The Bible declares …

Romans 3:23 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

Romans 5:12 (KJV) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

There is a terrible doctrine being taught in pulpits all over the world, a false doctrine not found in Scripture. It is the doctrine that “all are the children of God”. That is not true. Jesus told the Pharisees who would not believe on Him:

John 8:41-44 (KJV) 41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Those who do not love the Son of God by nature are – by nature – the children of the devil. A person who cannot hear Christ’s word, nor affirm His gospel is not a child of God. We are all born by nature children of the devil, fallen beings. When we come to the Son of God by nature and ask Him to save us, then He empowers us and brings us into His family. We become adopted Children of God.

We become radically different!

A man in a small village went to see his priest. He as a professing Catholic wanted to confess his sins and receive absolution. He said “I stole three sacks of potatoes”. The priest listened and said “I heard about two sacks of potatoes being stolen, but not three”. The man replied, “That’s true, I stole only two. But I’ll steal the third sack tomorrow!”

If you are adopted into the Family of God through faith in Christ, you become heirs of God at the same time you become children of God. You are not what you were. Before salvation you were a pig or a dog. After salvation you are a Child of the King, a son of God, and are made joint heirs with Christ. The Scripture says:

Romans 8:13-17 (KJV) For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Though we were by nature the children of the devil and the children of wrath when God enters our lives He begins to change our nature to be like that of Christs. This is called theologically Progressive Sanctification. God changes us, and promises us that we will not only inherit Christ’s Heaven, but we will inherit Christ’s heavenly nature. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Christ Who is the Son of God by nature was led of the Spirit of God. We also are led of Him.

2 As Adopted Sons Of God, We Live By The Rules Of The Father. When a seeker enters into saving faith with Christ he changes from what he was into an adopted son of God. As a son of God we are all under the Father’s family rules. We are adopted into His family, according to the good pleasure of His will (Ephesians 1:5). The Bible tells us that:

Hebrews 12:1-8 (KJV) 1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

No child of God can enjoy a life of sin. The Son of God by nature was born without sin, and never sinned. The sons of God by adoption realize what the Son of God by nature did to cover our sins.

No Child of the King would trample underfoot the Blood of Christ:

Hebrews 10:28-29 (KJV) He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Corrie Ten Boom put it this way:

Please understand you are not responsible for what you are, but for what you continue to be. Falling into the water doesn’t necessarily mean you will drown, but you will, if you stay in the water.

A pickpocket who professed to be saved by Christ said “I have become a Christian. I used to steal about sixty wallets and purses a week, but I don’t do so anymore. Now I only steal five or six a week”.

That is not right, and that person is not right.

Christians can and do sin, but they are not comfortable or content living a lifestyle of habitual, ongoing sin. If people say that they are saved but are living in a clearly unsaved state, doing the things that the Father says we ought not to do, then that person is not a child of God. That person is in the words of the King James Bastards and not Sons. The Apostle said:

1 John 2:19 (KJV) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Someone asked me why I said I wouldn’t chase after Church members. This is why. I am a child of God by faith in Christ, and am running my race for His glory. I don’t have time to run your race too. If you are a Child of God by faith in Christ then lay aside the sin and run the race for Jesus. If not, your lack of faithfulness proves that you were never of us. We had a saying in the military.

Lead
Follow
or get out of the way

3 If God Is Your Father By Adoption, You Have A Right To Expect Certain Things From Him. As our Father God loves us. God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten (by nature) Son. But there are different loves.

The love that God has for all of His Creation is very deep, very profound. When our Lord Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to His crucifixion He prayed:

Mark 14:36 (KJV) …. Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

The Father’s Son by nature was going to face the greatest trial any person has ever faced. He Who knew no sin would become sin for us. He who is the Son of God Eternally is going to be punished for something He never did. He would die for us. He would cry for us. He would thirst for us. He would be beaten and shamed for us. The Father would turn His back on the Son. And Jesus would pay it all. He would bear the full weight of sin on His back. God loves everyone this much.

But when you become His Child by faith God loves you even more. And you have the right to expect the love of God.

One of my favorite shows is the Andy Griffith Show. I often wonder how it would be to live in Mayberry. A few years ago I read a rather sad story about the lady who played Aunt Bee – Francis Bavier. She died on December 6, 1989. In a Los Angeles Times article (January 17, 1990) the newspaper reported:

The 86-year-old Miss Bavier died Dec. 6 in the spacious two-story Siler City home to which she retired in 1972. She rarely left the house, town residents say. Of an estimated $700,000 estate, Miss Bavier left the house to a hospital foundation and its antiquated contents to the public television network. An appraisal put the value of Miss Bavier’s belongings at $31,683, excluding the Studebaker, last driven in 1983 on a trip to a grocery store. The stench from the actress’ 14 cats coupled with peeling plaster, frayed carpets and worn upholstery indicate Miss Bavier either was unable or unwilling to spend much time keeping up the home. Her cats apparently used a basement room and a shower stall as a litter box. Evidently, the reclusive actress spent most of her time in a large back room plainly furnished with a bed, a desk, a television and an end table, where she kept her reading and opera glasses, black licorice and a bell. “I think she was a person who obviously valued her privacy. She . . . could have had non-stop fans if she had opened her doors,” said {Diana} Hatch (Communications Specialist at NC PBS).”

Mayberry is such a beautiful place, but there is no joy in a life unless God is in the midst of it. Frances Bavier could have had the world. But she died alone, lonely, without friends or family. God loves everyone, and calls whosoever will into His family. He wants to adopt each of us as His child by faith.

And He will care for us as no one else can. He is our Father.

I heard a preacher call God his “Daddy God” one time. I think that’s a little off. But God is our Father – exclusively our Father – if we have received Christ as Savior. Jesus said:

Matthew 23:9-10 (KJV) And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

Christ is our Master, and God is our Father. He is the Head of this Family, and we love Him with all our hearts. We address our prayers and needs to Him. Jesus taught His disciples to pray to the Father, making their requests known to Him. Jesus gave us a precious pattern of prayer. Let’s read this together:

Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV) After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Notice that in the Family of God the Lord promises certain things, and we the right to expect those things. God is to give us bread. To feed and clothe us. To protect us from the evil one. But God also expects something from us.

We are to hallow His Name, to glorify Him.

I remember a preacher once getting into the Pulpit and diminishing the Lord with a silly joke. In the joke he made out like God didn’t recognize someone. I’ll not tell the joke, for it is blasphemous. Beloved, we are to glorify God. The Chief Purpose that we continue to live on this earth is to glorify our Creator. The old Puritans used to say:

Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

We honor God’s name when we love as we are loved, when we forgive as we are forgiven, when we cherish God our Father as He cherishes us. If you are in His Family, you are to live as one of His own. When people see you, they should see Christ reflected in you.

That comes only through the surrendered life, letting the Father lead you through all of life.

A little boy was walking into the big city with his Father. In order to get to the city they had to cross a suspended foot bridge – and the child was afraid of heights. He plead with his Father to let him stay on this side of the bridge. “I’ll wait for you here, Father. I’m too afraid to go across”. His Father looked at him and said, “son, do you trust me?”. The child said, “Yes Father, I do”. With that the Father picked up the child and pulling him to his chest, said “Rest in my arms, my precious. I will not drop you.” The Father crossed the bridge carrying the child, and they both went into that beautiful city.

Our Father is in Heaven, and He will carry us through all trials until the day we enter that Celestial City called Heaven. He will not fail, but we must surrender.

May God touch your hearts with His Spirit!

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God’s Rest (Continuing Series “Better Than” part 4)

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Hebrews 4:1-11 (KJV) Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

God offers a “rest” to His people. This is the main thought of this text. Eight times the word “rest” is used (the Greek κατάπαυσις katapausis), which means “a state of rest or relaxation of mind as well as body”. The Bible speaks of three different rests in this text.

1 There Is The Immediate “Rest” Of The Gospel CALL. We read in …

Hebrews 4:33 For we which have believed do enter into rest…

God offers a “rest” to those who will believe on Him. God offers a rest to whosoever will receive His Gospel. God is the Gospel. God offers us Himself in His Gospel. When the Prophet Moses was told to lead Israel out of Egypt that precious man told the Lord:

Exodus 33:15-16 (KJV) …. If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. 16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? …

What God offers in the Gospel is His continuing presence. God told Moses

Exodus 33:14 (KJV) …. My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

God promises an immediate rest to those who believe in Him. Look at our text for a moment. God says “for we which HAVE believed DO enter into rest”. Look at the tenses of those verbs. When we HAVE believed (past tense) we DO enter into rest. When you come to the Lord and receive Him as Savior and God He promises:

Hebrews 13:5 (KJV) …. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

God makes a promise to those who come to Him by faith. He says “I PROMISE I will never leave you”. God promises to never leave His Child. When the bad things come and the creaks in the night God has promised.

Deuteronomy 31:6, 8 ESV Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. 8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

The God Who put the sun in space and this third rock from the sun called the earth, this God Who made both Heaven and Earth has said “I will neither LEAVE nor FORSAKE you”. God’s people hear this promise and live on that promise.

Isaiah 41:10-13 ESV Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

What God offers in His Gospel is Himself. God says “come to Me, believe in Me, trust in Me, and I will give you rest”. This was the promise that God made to His Israel. He said “go into the Land – I will be with you”. But Israel would not go. Israel heard the promise of God, but failed to trust Him. We read …

Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached DID NOT PROFIT THEM, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

The Promises of God, His glorious Gospel, is absolutely useless if it is mixed with FAITH. FAITH in God’s character is what saves. God told His people “go into the land, I am with you”. The people sent spies into the land. When the spies returned they gave an evil report. Joshua and Caleb trusted God, but the other spies did not. We read:

Numbers 13:28-33 (KJV) Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan. 30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. 31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. 32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. 33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

Why did Israel lose the blessing. Because they heard the Promise of God that “I will never leave you nor forsake you” and hearing that Promise mixed the promise with FEAR, not with FAITH.

The lost allow EMOTIONS – wayward emotions – to get in their way. The Gospel promises of God cannot be secured if they are not mixed with faith. NOT FEELING, but FAITH. Faith in God. Faith that God is truthful and able.

You can hear the Gospel. You can hear that Jesus Christ died for your sins so that He can bring us to God. That’s what the Gospel is. Hear it!

1 Peter 3:18 (ESV) For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. …..

Jesus died for your sins, to cover your sins. See Him yonder on that Cross. He did not die JUST to bring you to Heaven. Certainly He will bring you to Heaven, but it is not JUST to bring you to Heaven. Jesus died to bring Heaven to YOU. He died so that we can have a moment by moment relationship with God. God is the Gospel. God offers you Himself in the Gospel. God says:

Matthew 11:28-29 (KJV) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

You cannot enter the Gospel Rest by FEELING, but by FAITH. You trust God and believe His Word. Israel did not do that, and lost the Presence of God. And losing Him you lose EVERYTHING. Do not lose Him. Receive Him. Believe Him. Take His yoke upon you, and learn of Him!

2 There Is A Weekly Rest The Gospel COMMANDS. We read:

Hebrews 4:4 For He (God) spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.

When God created the earth and all that is in it He set aside a day of rest. This is what the Jew called a Sabbath. God “rested” on that day not because He was tired (for God does not get weary) but because the work was complete. God commanded the Sabbath to His people Israel.

Exodus 20:8-11 (KJV) Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

God gave a Sabbath to mankind that we might take one day and remember the Lord and all His blessings. The seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God. God rested one day in seven, and asked those who believed in Him to rest one day in seven. The Sabbath was a remembrance, a time to remind ourselves that God is in control, and that God has created all things complete.

Israel kept the Sabbath as a time to rest and together to worship the Lord. When our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the grave on the First Day of the week …

Mark 16:9 (KJV) Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene …

the early Church began to meet not on the Jewish Sabbath but on the “Lord’s Day” or the first day of the week. Why?

  • The first Gospel sermon preached on the Resurrected Jesus was preached BY the Resurrected Jesus on Sunday. Right after Christ’s resurrection that Sunday two men headed down the Road to Emmaus. As they mourned over the death of Jesus a third Man joined them (for He shall never leave nor forsake His people). He listened to them moan and groan for a while until finally He – the Resurrected Jesus – spoke up, saying …

Luke 24:25-32 (KJV) ….. O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

It is in the Breaking of Bread that they saw Jesus. We worship as the early Church worshiped, on Sunday. When Jesus revealed Himself to these two disciples they ran back to Jerusalem, back to where the disciples were hiding.

  • The Resurrected Jesus Appeared To The Disciples All On That Sunday. We read:

Luke 24:36-39 (KJV) … And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. 38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 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.

We come together on Sunday because our Lord fulfilled His promise on Sunday. Jesus defeated death for us. Jesus beat the devil for us. Jesus is with His people. Jesus is with His people. It is on Sunday that Jesus appeared to doubting Thomas and said (John 20:26-27)

Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

Oh, do not be without faith! Without faith you cannot please God. Without faith you will never have His Presence. Feelings come and go. Doubts and depression may, like dark clouds, blow over your lives. Have faith Thomas. Believe in Him Who is your Lord and your God. As Pastor John MacArthur said:

“… on that Sunday, as I said, He pledged to them that they would have the power of the Holy Spirit. The great new covenant had been ratified. Forgiveness of sins for all sinners of all ages who came to God was accomplished. What a day. What a day. And it was a Sunday, and prior to that, Sunday had absolutely no significance, none. But from that day on, Sunday took on a completely different meaning. Sundays would never be the same again. Sunday became new covenant resurrection day in their minds because God had chosen that day. If the seventh day was designed by God for delighting in Him as Creator, and then having been corrupted by the fall, if the seventh day was also designed by God to put fear in the heart because of the violation of His holy law, here was another day. This was not a day to celebrate creation or to celebrate sin, or the sinfulness of sin, this was a day to celebrate salvation. Resurrection was the dawning of a new day, and so the new covenant has a new day. The sabbath is gone, and the new day has come, and it is the day of celebration of the work of Christ.

When the early Church gathered in the Upper Room to pray, it was on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, that Pentecost came. According to Leviticus 23:16 the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost occurred 50 days after the Sabbath preceding the Feast of First Fruits. The first Gospel message preached after the resurrection of Christ was preached on Sunday by Christ.

  • The Second Gospel Message Preached After The Resurrection Of Christ Was Preached By Peter On The Day Of Pentecost. It Was Sunday Again. The Church has since that day held its services on Sunday. We partake of the Lord’s Table on Sunday, not on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was part of the Law, a Law that told us to rest and contemplate the Lord. The Lord’s Day is a new Day, a resurrection Day, a Day of Promise, a Day when God has promised to be with His Children forever. The Apostle said:

Acts 20:7 (KJV)7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

Many of you will be glad that I am not Paul, for he preached on the First Day of the week until MIDNIGHT. He preached Christ, and the disciples “broke bread”. The Lord’s Table was observed. Collections were taken for the ministry on the First Day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:2).

We who are His come together in a weekly rest. This is the Lord’s Day. Those Who are His come together to worship Him, to break Bread, to remember what our Jesus did for us.

3 There Is An Eternal COVENANT Which God Makes With Those Who Believe. We read:

Hebrews 4:9-10 (KJV) There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

The text tells us “there remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God”. God has promised Heaven to His Children, His people who have come to Him by faith.

It is a glorious rest, a time when we shall not only be in the Presence of the Father forever, but will see our God with every sense.

1 Corinthians 2:9 (KJV) But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

There is an eternal rest coming, but only for those who are the people of God. For those who have received Christ as Lord and Savior, and who follow Him, they will find the Promised and Eternal Land. The Beulah Land. Will the so called Nominal Christian die and go to Heaven? What did Jesus say?

1 John 5:4-5 (KJV) 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Revelation 2:7 (KJV) 7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Revelation 3:5 (KJV) 5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Revelation 21:7 (KJV) 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

We who are saved are called to have an overcoming faith in an overcoming Lord. The Lord’s Table that we take today commemorates the death of Christ, a death He died for us. His body was broken for us. His Blood was shed for us. He established this Table as a memorial of His sacrifice, and a reminder that He is Risen and we are His.

Forever. By. Faith.

May God touch your hearts by His Spirit.

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God Is Yahweh Rophe (The God Who Heals)

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Exodus 15:22-27 (KJV) So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. 23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 25 And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, 26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. 27 And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

I am the LORD that Healeth”. This is the fourteenth name of God that we have studied, YAHWEH RAPHA or ROPHE (Hebrew יְהֹוָה Yĕhovah רָפָא Rapha’), The LORD Who Heals.

God’s Israel had just come through the Red Sea, and had seen God destroy the armies of Egypt and their Pharaoh under its crushing waters. Having been blessed by God you would think that Israel would have their hearts filled with faith. But they weren’t.

Israel was not FAITH controlled but FEELING controlled.

FAITH looks to God – the God of Scripture – even when things are not going my way.
FEELING looks to ME, not to Yahweh.
FAITH trusts God.
FEELING murmurs and complains.
FAITH addresses God, calling out to Him in the pain.
FEELING curses and blames God.
FAITH is willing to wait on the Lord even when things are not optimal.
FEELING demands immediate satisfaction and relief.

Israel is running on FEELING not on FAITH. There a lot of Churches and a lot of Christians who run on FEELING and not on FAITH. But running on FEELING you will never experience God’s best for you. Running on FEELING you will waste your lives satisfying self, but never experience the VICTORY that God wants you to experience in this life.

God’s people are called to be overcomers. Faith in God is supposed to be ovecoming. The Scripture declares:

Hebrews 11:6 (KJV) 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Nothing displeases God more than the faithless life. The unbeliever has misplaced faith in idols, and that dissatisfies God. God calls His people to be overcomers. He says:

1 John 5:2-5 (KJV) 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Overcoming faith in an immense God is what our Lord wants us to have. So God tests us. He tested Israel.

Exodus 15:22 (KJV) 22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.

God took His people into a wilderness, a desert area called Shur. Shur is southwest of Palestine and still within the borders of Egyptian territory. Israel is walking through this desert and the Bible tells us that three days into the wilderness there is no water. The human body can go without food for forty or more days (depending on how much fat you have). But the human body

demands water. Survival experts use the Rule of Threes.

Three minutes without air
Three hours without shelter in a harsh environment
Three days without water
Three weeks without food

But these are just general rules. Some people have survived 8 to 10 days without water. But water is desperately needed. Israel has gone without water in the harsh desert climate of Shur for three days. Then they come to an oasis called Marah. What does Marah mean? It means “bitter”. Someone had discovered this Oasis before and, trying to drink the water, they discovered that it was bitter.

Can you imagine this? You are literally dying of thirst. In the distance you see palm trees and the sparkle of water. You were staggering before, but now you start marching faster and faster toward that Oasis. There are about 6 million of you, a large nation moving faster and faster. As the first ones get to the Oasis they dive in, grab a mouth full of water, and then spit it out. It is horrible, bitter, alkaline. Who led you to this bitter water?

Moses did. God did.

Now God knows what you need. As King David said:

Psalm 23:1-3 (KJV) The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

God led His people to this place. God wants His people to cry out to Him, to seek His blessing when the bad things come. The people do not go to God in prayer. They do not seek His face. Instead they murmur against Moses:

Exodus 15:24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?

1 Murmuring Fixes Nothing. When Tried – Pray In Faith To God! All grumbling and complaining does is irritate God. We are told in:

Philippians 2:12-16 (KJV) 12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

Those who are saved from Egypt are to be God’s Children. Those who are God’s Children are to reflect His Light and His Love. The people did two things that were wrong.

  • First, They Grumbled Instead Of Praying. They should have sought God for a solution to their problem. God did not lead 6 million people out of Egypt through the Red Sea just to let them die at Marah. God saved them when they stood before too much water. God will save them now that they stand before tainted water. Grumbling is a sin. Murmuring leads to destruction.

1 Corinthians 10:8-12 (KJV) Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

  • Second, They Murmured AT Moses Instead Of Praying TO The LORD. Moses can’t fix the water problem, but God can.

So Moses goes to God in prayer. We read:

Exodus 15:25 And he cried unto the LORD …

What did Moses pray? The Bible doesn’t tell us. It just tells us he CRIED unto the Lord. I think that’s what Moses did. He cried. Moses was suffering just as the people were suffering. Moses was thirsty just as the people were thirsty. He was tired. He was wore out. And now Moses has the added burden of 6 million people blaming HIM because the water is no good.

And Moses cries.

He doesn’t complain. He comes before God, and pours out his heart. He weeps tears he can little afford to lose.

Psalm 34:17 (ESV) When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

Psalm 18:6 (ESV) In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.

And one of my favorite texts …

Psalm 56:8 … You (O Lord) put my tears in Your bottle

The murmurings of God’s people upset the Lord, but our cries He hears. Moses cried out. And God gave Moses a beautiful solution.

Exodus 15:25 And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,

God showed Moses a tree, and Moses took that tree and cast it into the bitter waters, and the waters were made sweet. Why a Tree?

Because it is by a Tree that God has redeemed us. The Tree cast in the waters of Marah was an Old Testament type or shadow of what Jesus Christ would do for us on His Cross. The Bible says:

Galatians 3:13 (KJV) 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Jesus Christ hung on a Cross – a Tree – on a hill called Calvary. On that Tree He suffered and died. It by faith in Him, trusting Him, receiving Him as Lord and Savior, believing that He died for us that the bitterness of our lives are turned sweet. From Christ we receive the water of everlasting life. From Christ we receive Rivers of Living Water, the Holy Spirit of God.

The Devil and his followers hate the Cross of Christ. When Peter and the Apostles were preaching Christ and faith in Him as the only way to salvation the religious leaders corrected them, commanding them NOT to preach Jesus. The Apostles replied:

Acts 5:29-32 (KJV) …. We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

If you are God’s Child God will prove you. He will test you. Testing by trials strengthens your faith. As someone once said:

An Untried Faith Cannot Save
An Untested Faith Is That Of The Slave

If you belong to God He will test you. Cry out to Him!

2 A Faith That Will NOT Look To God Will NOT Lead To Blessing But To Cursing. God told Israel following this incident:

Exodus 15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

God told His people several things. He said:

Listen to Me – “diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God”
Do what I say – “do that which is right in His sight”
Listen to Me – “give ear to His commandments”
Do what I say – “keep all his statutes”

If you are saved, you follow the One Who saved you. God said “Listen to Me” and “Do what I say” two times for emphasis. Then warned …

If you’ll do this, I will not put on you what I put on the Egyptians

God brought ten plagues on Egypt because they would not receive Him as Lord and Savior. Rather than murmur when trials come, look up. Trials grow the Christian. But trials also sift the wheat from the tares, the true believer from the false.

Exodus 15:26 for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

God heals His people. God takes the bitter and makes it sweet. He takes the broken and makes us complete. He takes the strangers and makes us sons.

If we receive Him.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord Jesus!

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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God Is Alpha And Omega, Beginning And End (Names of God Series)

alpha-omega

(Revelation 21:1-8) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

We often wonder why there is suffering in this world. No one suffered like John the Apostle. Boiled in oil for his faith, he was not killed. When they could not destroy his body nor defeat his spirit (for John loved Jesus more than any have ever loved Him) they cast John out on a deserted island called Patmos. Unlike Gilligan’s Isle there was no comedy, no bumbling Gilligan nor a directionally deprived Skipper. John was alone. John was abandoned. But John loved God, and looked up.

And there was God.

1 The Alpha And Omega Is God. We are first introduced to the Alpha and Omega name of God in the last book of the Bible. God spoke to John, abandoned John, lonely John, hurting John, and said …

Revelation 1:8 (KJV) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Why is the Alpha and Omega name of God found at the end of our Bibles, and not at the beginning? Because Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the GREEK language. In the Old Testament Greece was not a superpower. Egypt was a superpower. Egypt was the first place that God planted His Israel. He sent Joseph to Israel (you remember Joseph of the coat of many colors?) and raised Joseph up so that Israel and his small family would have a place to go and be protected. Joseph told his brothers who betrayed him:

Genesis 50:20 (KJV) 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.

Joseph understood that God is always there, and that God works to bring all things together for the good of His people. The Bible declares without reservation:

Romans 8:28 (KJV) 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

How can we know that all things work together for Good to us who love God? Because God is the First and God is the Last. Though He was not called Alpha and Omega in the Old Testament (because Greece was not a superpower) God was called the First and the Last. We are told in …

Isaiah 41:4 (KJV) 4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.

The Eternal God, the LORD (notice the ALL CAPITAL LETTERS? This is YAHWEH speaking, the Great I AM of Moses). The LORD is the first and with the last. God has always been. God is absolutely the beginning and absolutely the end. He is the First Cause of Creation. If this universe started with a BIG BANG it was our God who did it. Man manufactures, but God God creates. We take things and make things out of things. God makes things out of nothing. Someone once said that when God created, He stepped out on a stage of nothing and spoke into that vast nothingness and said “let there be” and there was something.

Man manufactures. The first three letters of manufacture is MANufacture. We take something from something and make something else. But God is ALPHA – the First, the Beginning of Creation. There was nothing before God, and no things exist apart from Him.

Isaiah 44:6 (KJV) Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

The LORD, the I AM our Redeemer is the First and the Last. He says “beside me there is no God”. The gods that this world chase after are false gods, imposters, created from man’s mind for man’s pleasures. God is alone the First and the Last. Allah is a false god. How do I know? Because the First and the Last tells me so. The god of Joseph Smith, the Mormon god, is a false god. How do I know? The First and the Last tells me so. The Hindu gods are but imaginations of fevered and off put minds. The idea that a man may become god, forwarded by that confuses Buddha idol, is foolish. The little fat gods that sit in the Chinese restaurants. The men who would be gods. To all these false and foolish statues pretending to be gods and goddesses the True God of Scripture says I am First, I am Last, and beside Me there is NO GOD.

Isaiah 48:12-14 (KJV) Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. 13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together. 14 All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these things? The LORD hath loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans.

Our God, the First and the Last, calls a people unto Himself. Israel was not a great people. They were a nation of slaves before God called them out of Egypt. Pharaoh thought that he was god. He thought that he could hold back the people of the First and the Last. His armies died in the Red Sea. He died screaming, breathing water, crushed under tons of fluid. God is First and Last. He controls the nations. Israel got cocky, God sent Babylon to whip His children. God punishes. God loves. God is in control.

So how did God come to be known as Alpha and Omega? Because God used a Grecian named Alexander. About 356 years before our Lord Jesus came to this world through a virgin named Mary there was a man named Alexander of Macedonia, son of King Philip II. Alexander had a desire to rule the world. Trained by the Philosopher Aristotle Alexander led his armies to attack and conquer Persia, and then over a period of thirteen years came to rule all of his known world. Alexander required all those he conquered to learn Koine or Common Greek. His armies and his people all spoke the same language, the Greek language. The First and Last letters of the Greek language is Alpha and Omega.

It was not Alexander’s power that made him great.
God allowed Alexander to rise to greatness.
The Alpha and Omega is in control of all things.

In due time, God allowed Alexander and his empire to die out and be taken over of Rome. But the language of the people – of the common man – in the Apostle John’s day is GREEK, and the first and last letters of the Greek Alphabet are Alpha and Omega. So when God told John …

Revelation 1:8 (KJV) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

He was not endorsing Alexander the Great, nor any other king. The language of that day was GREEK because GOD Who is FIRST and LAST caused it. God is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He has not changed. The world changes. World powers change. But God never changes.

He was Lord at the beginning of creation, and will be Lord when the sun no longer shines.

2 The Alpha And Omega Is Jesus Christ Our Lord. People say “All right, I believe in God. I believe in the Alpha and the Omega”. Yes, but do you believe in Jesus Christ? Because Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. The Eternal God speaks to us through Christ. We find this out as we continue to read. John writes:

Revelation 1:10-18 (KJV) I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day {on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the Day He rose from the grave}, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. 12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. 17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

God commissioned John to write what you see in a Book. This is where God told John to write the Book of Revelation. Do you know what language John wrote this Book in? Greek. Koine Greek. The same Greek that has Alpha and Omega as the first and last letters. Do you see the irony here? The Alpha and Omega God we serve told John to write this Book. This Book was written to His Church, the Church He loves.

What does the text say about the Alpha and Omega God Who speaks?

  • He looks like unto the Son of man. This was one of the favorite phrases that Jesus used to describe Himself. The phrase “Son of man” in the Old Testament is a reference to fallen and weak man:

Numbers 23:19 (KJV) 19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Psalm 8:4 (KJV) What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

But in the New Testament our Lord Jesus – God become flesh – took the title “Son of man” to Himself. Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of man 81 times throughout the Gospels. Why? To show the love of God for us. We separated ourselves from God, so God came down and became one of us (but without sin). Someone once said that the Author of The Story of Mankind wrote Himself into His own Book. The one who looks like unto the Son of Man is Jesus. What else did John see?

Revelation 1:14-16 (KJV) His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

  • His head and hairs white like wool. He is pure and holy. His eyes as a flame of fire. This is God, the Judge of Heaven and Earth. He is holy and righteous. And His feet are like brass. He never slips. He stands on solid rock, and is the Rock of Ages. His voice as the sound of many waters. He is the Living Water of God. This may not declare Him to be Jesus, but the next words do.

Revelation 1:17-18 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

This Alpha and Omega is Jesus. He is the first and the last. He is the One Who lives, and was dead, and is alive for evermore. Our Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins and for mine. He is the Redeemer of His people. It is His Blood shed that gives us righteous access to God.

1 Peter 3:18 (ESV) For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (ESV) For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Hebrews 2:14-15 (KJV) 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

This is Jesus. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He is not just another man, He is the God Man, the Son of God become Son of Man.

3 The Alpha And Omega Is Calling A People To Himself. Our destiny is a New Heaven and a New Earth. We started out reading this text:

(Revelation 21:1-8) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

The Alpha and Omega is calling His people to a new reality. This present earth and this present heaven will one day pass away. God will destroy all that is broken by sin, and create a new Heaven and a new Earth. This new Heaven and new earth is not for old, broken mankind. It is for NEW CREATURES. We are told in

(Galatians 6:15) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but A NEW CREATURE.

Preach This! The Christian is a NEW CREATURE. We are different than the lost. We walk with God, and God walks with us. You say, “Yes preacher, I know we are ‘new creatures’. The Bible says this. And yet, we seem to suffer just as other lost souls suffer. We experience pain as other lost souls experience pain. We leave this life as other lost souls leave this life. How then are we ‘new creatures’?” To which I reply … God is not finished YET! New creatures need a new place to be.

Right now we who are saved are NEW creatures in an OLD broken world. But God tells us that this will not always be so. One day our present will be different.

Revelation 21:3-4 Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

There is coming a day – glorious endless day – when the Tabernacle of God will be with men. We shall see the Alpha and Omega every single moment of that endless day. God Himself shall be with them – with us. And as we sit with Jesus – our Alpha and Omega – He will wipe away all tears from our eyes. There will be no death, no sorrow, no pain. All the old ugly of sin will be gone.

There Will Be Only Sons Of God On This New Earth

(Revelation 21:6-7) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Who will be in this glorious new Kingdom? Those who have drank of His water of life. Those that overcome through Him. Those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. To those – to us – God says “I will be your God, and you shall be my son”.

Who is NOT in the new creation? Those whose god is self and sin!

(Revelation 21:8) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

The inheritance of the unsaved is the unparadise. The inheritance of the sinner is sizzling. Those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ and sing “I did it my way” throughout this life have no part in God’s glorious new creation. But those who have believed on Him – overcomers because they follow Christ daily – these will be on that glorious earth.

Let us close with this final responsive reading.

Revelation 22:13-17 (KJV) 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

May God touch your hearts with His Word!

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Wherefore (Continuing our series through Hebrews “Better Than”)

apostle-high-priest
Hebrews 2:17-18 (KJV) 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.

Hebrews 3:1-6 (KJV) 1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; 2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. 3 For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honor than the house. 4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. 5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

Today marks the fifteen anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. That was an awful time in our country’s history. Up until that time Pearl Harbor was the largest number of Americans killed on American soil. 2403 people died when Japanese forces launched a cowardly attack on our naval base at Pearl Harbor. The September 11th attacks killed 2996 people, and injured 6000 others. The attacks were orchestrated by cowards who claimed to do what they did for a god named Allah. Allah is a false god.

What was the reason for 9-11? Some people suggested that 9-11 was our God’s way of punishing America for her sins. I don’t believe that’s the case. When Israel rejected God’s leadership He was very clear in the punishment that He meted out to them. They were punished for provoking God. When God speaks, He speaks clearly. I don’t believe that 9-11 was orchestrated by God to punish anyone. I believe 9-11 is a testament to what happens when a people get away from the True God. When you draw away from God you get confusion, darkness, lovelessness, and destruction.

A firefighter going through the rubble of 9-11 in March 2002 found the pages of a Bible fused into a chunk of steel from the destroyed Twin Towers. The Bible can be read very easily. What was exposed in this chunk of steel were the words of Christ Jesus our Lord:

Matthew 5:38-40 (KJV) Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Where God is there is ….

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV) …. the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

… the fruit of the Spirit – the fruit that God wishes to cultivate in His people – is not racist. It is not hateful. It is not destructive. It is not sinful. It is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness …. oh please be kind to one another … goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. God did not direct terrorists to do as they did. Satan did this! Satan takes hold of the life that takes hold of sin.

The wages of sin is always DEATH. When people draw away to Allah, Moroni, Beelzebub, Venus, or any of a thousand false gods that are out there, they draw toward destruction and death.

God did not rejoice when those hijacked aircraft slammed into the Twin Towers in New York City. God was not gleeful when people died at the Pentagon. No, God says:

Ezekiel 33:11 (ESV) Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?

God calls from the rubble of America and says “Come to Me. Come to Christ”

1 The Reason Christ Became Jesus Was To Bring Us To God. God loves us.

There are four “wherefore” statements in our text today. They are found in Hebrews 2:17; 3:1; and two related “wherefores” in Hebrews 3:7 & 10. Now here is where it gets interesting.

Though the King James translators make the word “wherefore” in all these verses, this is actually two different Greek words. The word translated “wherefore” in Hebrews 2:17 and 3:1 is the Greek ὅθεν hothen which means “for which reason”

The word translated “wherefore” in Hebrews 3:7 & 10 is the Greek διό dio which is a conjunction that means “for which cause”.

Let me put it this way. The first two wherefores teach us that there is a REASON that Jesus Christ went from Almighty and Eternal God and took upon Himself the simplicity of humanity. And when we get away from this God given scriptural reason, then we “cause that which God does not wish on us to be on us”.

God loves the humanity that He made in His image. But we have drifted so far away from what He made us to be. But God loves us. He reaches out to us.

Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God,

Wherefore – HOTHEN – for this reason Jesus was made like unto “His brethren in all things”. Christ became Jesus and walked amongst us. He became exactly like us. He hungered like we hunger. He thirsted like we thirst. He is tired as we get tired. His Body was without sin, but it was afflicted just as we are afflicted.

in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren

In the Old Testament the High Priest was set apart in both dress and duty from the common man. The High Priest in Jesus’ day had become so separated from the people that he was seen as almost a living god. But the Old Testament High Priest was not better than anyone else. He was a sinner who must first make atonement for sin for himself, and then for the sins of the people.

But not Jesus. Jesus walked amongst us. He was not too proud or holier than thou to sit with the weakest person. You cannot define God nor even attempt to uncderstand the heart of God without Christ. God loves us, and calls us from wasted lives.

  • To the miserable Zacchaeus Jesus said, “You come down – I’m going to your house today” (Luke 19:1-10).
  • To a lonely Matthew, a Tax Collector Jesus said “Follow Me” – and he got up, left his tables, and followed Him (Matthew 9:9-13).
  • To a group of weary fishermen Jesus cried out “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Jesus never elevated Himself, but He came seeking family. He came calling people to follow Him and enter the Kingdom of God.

Jesus came to be our High Priest. Jesus represents us before God. And as our High Priest:

Hebrews 2:17 … that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

He is both merciful and faithful to us His Children by faith. He makes reconciliation for the sins of the people. Look at how that is phrased.

RECONCILIATION for the sins of the people

“Reconciliation” is the Greek ἱλάσκομαι hilaskomai, and it is only used two times in the Bible. Here, and in a parable Jesus told to those who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others:

Luke 18:10-13 (KJV) Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven,

but smote upon his breast,

saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

When the publican said

God, be MERCIFUL to me a sinner

he was actually saying

God, ἱλάσκομαι hilaskomai me a sinner
The King James says “God show MERCY to me a sinner”
What he was actually saying was God in Your mercy COVER MY SIN!God I am not like You. I am not holy as you are holy.
God make me different.
God make me holy.
God, bring me into union with you.

It is Christ Who becoming Perfect Man makes us holy before a holy God. God cannot look on sin, but He can both look on and love those who love His Son. Christ makes reconciliation for the sins of the people. By His Blood He brings forgiveness of sins.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my cleansing this I see—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
For my pardon this my plea—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Nothing can my sin erase
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Naught of works, ’tis all of grace—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
This is all my hope and peace—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
This is all my righteousness—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Jesus died on Calvary to cover our sins in His Blood. He does not as our High Priest offer the Blood of animals to atone for our sins, but offers up Himself.

1 John 1:5-7 (KJV) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, WE LIE, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Our High Priest stands between us and God, and it is HIS sacrifice on Calvary that makes us acceptable to God.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He {God the Father} hath made Him {Christ His Son} to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we {the sinner} might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Jesus Christ came to make us acceptable to God. Jesus Christ came to bring us into union with God. For this reason Christ was made like us. When you believe on Him, you are brought into God’s Family. You become one of God’s people of purpose.

2 The Reason Christ Became Jesus Was To Bring Us Into God’s Family. God loves us, and we follow Him. In our second “wherefore” (Greek hothen – for this reason) we read:

Hebrews 3:1-2 (KJV) Wherefore, holy BRETHREN, PARTAKERS of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; 2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.

The text begins HOTHEN, “for this reason, holy brethren”. If you belong to the House of God in Christ – the Family of God – then you are both “holy” as well as “brethren”. You are set apart for God’s use and destined to become like Christ.

Everything that happens to a Christian happens for a purpose.
God calls you into His Family to PARTNER with Him.
We are not called to SIT AND SOAK.
We are called to GROW and GOD.
Once you enter the family of God you become a people of purpose.

When God saved Israel, He saved them to send them into the Promised Land. The Promised Land was a place inhabited by unbelievers and idolators. God’s Israel was supposed to go into that place and occupy it in the Name of God. They were to bring the Light of God to a dark land. When Israel went into the Land they were led by Moses. Now Moses was one of the greatest Prophets God ever raised up. But Moses was different than Jesus. We read:

Hebrews 3:5-6 (KJV) Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a SERVANT, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 6 But Christ as a SON over his own house…

Moses was faithful – but a Servant of God. But Jesus is a Son. The House of Moses was led by a Servant and Israel was supposed to be servants. But Jesus is not making Servants. He is making SONS. Jesus is a Son over His own House, and those who follow Him are Sons of God.

A SERVANT works to please his Master
A SON lives to please his Father
God is your Father if Christ is your Savior
We are to LIVE so as to PLEASE OUR FATHER
To have lives that are pleasant to Him

God saved Israel – a nation of slaves – from Egypt and raised them up to serve Him. But when Christ came He came as our High Priest to reconcile us to God not as slaves, but as sons. The Scripture declares:

Galatians 4:4-7 But 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. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a SERVANT, but a SON; and if a SON, then an HEIR of God through Christ.

God’s Israel followed Moses, who was a great Prophet. But Jesus is greater than Moses. Moses led a people, a nation of servants, to follow God. But Christ calls a people not to be servants of God, but SONS of God. How does one KNOW that he or she is a son of God? How do we know if we are of the House of Christ, and heirs of God? The text tells us:

Hebrews 3:6 (KJV) But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, IF we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

Do you see that little word IF?
Whose House are we IF”
If” what?
IF we HOLD FAST the CONFIDENCE and the REJOICING
of the Hope firm unto the end

How do I know that I am His and He is mine? My focus is on Jesus. My life is on Jesus. I consider Him, the Apostle and High Priest of our profession. He is my Apostle. He is my Captain. Christ is not my co-Pilot, but my Pilot. My eyes will be on Him. My confidence in Him.

Faith in Christ is no passing fancy. We come together as a Church to remind one another that it is Christ that we follow. The text tells us:

Hebrews 3:12-19 (KJV) 12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

The first generation of Israel lost the Promised Land because they would not heed God’s direction. They would not listen to Him. God calls a people to Himself to encourage one another, to lift one another up, to point one another to Christ. We are charged as sons of God to despise sin but to love sinners. We are charged as sons of God to warn others of the deceitfulness of sin, to stand against it, to reject it.

Sin destroys a people.

Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people.

Sin has destroyed our nation.
Sin brought 9-11.
Sin killed many in that Satan inspired plot.
Sin is destroying our Churches.
Sin like cancer is deadly and ever invasive.
Sin is no trifle.
Sin and wrongdoing hinders any from entering God’s best.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV) Or do you not know that WRONGDOERS WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 John 1:6 (NIV) If we CLAIM TO HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM AND YET WALK IN THE DARKNESS, WE LIE and do not live out the truth.

Sons of God do not do the things which are offensive to their Father.

We reject sin, and look to Jesus. We follow our Christ as our Apostle, our Captain, our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And when sin is exposed in our lives we carry to to our High Priest Jesus Christ, confessing that it is wrong. We repent, and turn to Him.

3 It Is Not God’s Desire That Any Perish. Do not harden your hearts. The last two “wherefore” statements deal with HEART MANAGEMENT.

Hebrews 3:7-9 (KJV) Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.

These last two “wherefores” are the Greek διό dio which is a conjunction that means “for which cause”. For this cause the Holy Ghost speaks”. The Holy Spirit speaks to your hearts today and says “do not harden your hearts”. When you harden your hearts against God you cause your own destruction.

Why could not Israel enter the Promised Land? Was God too weak? Was God powerless? Was God unfaithful? Was God an indian giver? NO! God was able, but God will not force the Promised Land on anyone. We must follow Him.

  • The Hardened Heart Causes God To Grieve. He grieves over every person who rejects His Gospel call. God wishes to raise you up, to save you from a lost and fallen world. He wishes to make you like Christ, an Overcomer, a Victor. To show you victory over the things that are pulling you down. But you must come to Christ. You must bow your knee. You must surrender to Him. You must go when He says go, and stop when He says stop. His Word must govern you. His relationship with you must matter to you. His Bible must stop collecting dust.

You can’t get into the Promised Land sitting on your behind. You need to follow Him to victory.

  • The Hardened Heart Exposes You To The Wrath Of God. God said to those who continually rejected His leadership:

Hebrews 3:10-11 (KJV) Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

You cannot enjoy the rest of God unless you heed God.
You cannot be blessed of God unless you hear Him.
God blesses His Children by faith in Christ.
But God does not promise blessing to those who reject Christ.

John 3:16-21 (KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

So the choice is simple. Follow Christ, believe on Him, live in Him, and be blessed. He will take us all to the Promised Land. But reject Christ at your peril. He that believeth on Him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only Begotten Son of God. A focused faith in Christ brings blessing. A focused faith in Christ brings the love of God. A focused faith in Christ brings sonship to all who believe.

Believe and receive Him today. Do not harden your hearts. Someone once said:

Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it. Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.”

What will you choose. WHO will you choose?

May God touch your heart with His Word!

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Preparing your heart to hear His Word

We are told men ought not to preach without preparation. Granted. But, we add, men ought not to hear without preparation. Which, do you think, needs the most preparation, the sower or the ground? I would have the sower come with clean hands, but I would have the ground well-plowed and harrowed, well-turned over, and […]

via Preparing to listen to the preaching of the word — A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

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God’s Name Is Jealous (Continuing our Names of God series)

godisjealous1

Exodus 34:5-17 (KJV) And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. 8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. 9 And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance. 10 And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee. 11 Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: 13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: 14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: 15 Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; 16 And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods. 17 Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.

One of the more interesting names of God is JEALOUS. God told Moses:

Thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD (I AM),
Whose Name is Jealous, is a jealous God …

I have heard people say “If God is perfect and holy, how can He be jealous?” Jealousy is not a sin in it’s proper context. Envy or Covetousness is always sinful. What’s the difference?

Envy or Covetousness is when you see what someone else has and long for it. When you drool over something that God has given to someone else you may be led to go after it. This is why the Tenth Commandment states:

Exodus 20:17 (KJV) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

To “covet” (Hebrew חָמַד chamad) means to “desire” or “lust after”. What God has given to your neighbor you should not covet or envy. Envy is to desire what another possesses. But
“jealousy”
is to desire or treasure that which is yours. The Corinthian Church was founded by the work that the Apostle Paul did. He labored – even while imprisoned – to help these people come to a strong fellowship in Christ. But while Paul was imprisoned and unable to come to them other false teachers came in and tried to twist the Church to their ways. The Apostle said:

2 Corinthians 11:1-3 (KJV) Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

There is a godly Jealousy, and an UNgodly Jealousy. Paul labored in love for the Corinthians, suffering to bring them into union with Christ. When other false people came in Paul was jealous, and rightly so. He invested his life in those people. Paul and the Corinthians were together in a covenant of love.

There is a godly Jealousy and an UNgodly Jealousy. The husband or wife who smothers their mate, guarding every inch of their lives lest anyone or anything consider them, this is unreasonable Jealousy, ungodly Jealousy. But every good marriage or every good family has a certain amount of godly Jealousy. The husband should cherish and guard the wife, and the wife should cherish and guard the husband. What God hath joined together let not man put asunder. Godly Jealousy belongs in a marriage.

God was in a covenant of love with Israel.
God is in a covenant of love with His Church.
God is Jealous over His own.

1 If We Are Saved By God, We Belong To God And God Belongs To Us. As a Pastor over these many years I have had to counsel both men and women who came home from work to find their spouse in bed with another person. Such a thing is horrible to imagine. To find that person you shared your most intimate secrets with is having a fling with another truly must tear at the soul.

This very thing happened to God.

God saved Israel from Egypt. Had God not intervened the Israelites would have died a slow and truly painful death as slaves to these idolatrous Egyptians. God led them through the Red Sea, through dry deserts, and up to the foot of Mount Sinai. At the foot of Mount Sinai God told Moses to come up into the Mountain, that He was going to give His Beloved His Law. There were not just Ten Commandments on these stones, though the Ten Commandments were the first part of the Covenant. These two Tablets were called called “Tables of Testimony”:

Exodus 31:18 (KJV) And {God} gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

What was the first three of the Ten Commandments? God told His people:

Exodus 20:2-7 (KJV) I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto 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 water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to 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; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. 7 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.

It is God that saves us, God Who delivered us from this world. God translates us, the Bible says. We are by faith:

Colossians 1:12-14 (KJV) Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us {partners} of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who 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:

God translated Israel from the bondage of Egypt. God translates every believer in Him from the darkness and enslavement of this world and into the Kingdom of His Son. We come from darkness and into His marvelous light.

1 Peter 2:9-10 (KJV) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

God says to His Israel, “I am the God – the Big G God – that saved you from the horror of Egypt”. You remember Egypt don’t you? The daily beatings. The poor rations. The many little g gods. That was Egypt. Moments of happiness, separated by hours and days and weeks of misery. Before the Red Sea the nation of Israel was but slaves. After the Red Sea they are now the people of God. Before Christ you were but a voiceless slave to Satan and this world. Now after Christ you are the people of God.

God saved us. This is why the first three commandments say:

  • Recognize God is first (with your minds). Thou shalt not have any other gods before Me! God is first and foremost in the minds of His people. It is He that made us, and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100).

  • Recognize God is first (with your bodies). Thou shalt not make any graven image, nor bow down to them. God alone is to be worshiped.

  • Recognize God is first (with your lips). Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain. The Lord will not hold Him guiltless who takes His Name in vain.

God saved Israel because He loved Israel. God saved you because He loves you. 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.

1 Corinthians 7:23 (KJV) Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

God bought us from the slave market of Egypt, of this world. We no longer belong in that place. We belong to Him, and He belongs to us.

2 Idolatry Is When We Define Who God Is. God Only Can Define Who God Is. Moses went up into the Mountain in Exodus 20 to receive God’s Law. The Bible tells us that …

Exodus 24:18 (KJV) Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

Time passed as God gave Moses the Law. The Lord could have given Moses the Law in one second, but God wanted Moses to understand so that he could explain this Law to the people. As time passed the people got restless. Sinai is in Arabia, the country of Esau and Ishmael, ancient enemies of Israel. So the people started getting nervous. Moses was gone. They were exposed. Rather than look UP they looked AROUND. As God spoke to Moses, Israel spoke to one another and Satan whispered to their hearts.

Exodus 32:1 (KJV) …. when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

Where the King James renders this as “make us gods” what the text literally says is “make us Elohiym {אֱלֹהִים}”. Elohiym is one of the names of God. In fact, Elohiym is the FIRST name of God used in the Bible.

Genesis 1:1 (KJV) In the beginning God {Elohiym {אֱלֹהִים} created the heaven and the earth.

Elohiym is the name of the Triune God. Israel said “make us a Trinity which shall go before us”. Make a god in our image. So they called Aaron and demanded that he make them a Trinity. Aaron – a beautiful picture of the false religion of our day – said

Exodus 32:2-4 (KJV) Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

An idol is a representation of God, a false god, an untrue god. God does not need our money. God owns a thousand cattle on a thousand hills. The earth is His, and the fulness thereof. He gives us our money, and our power to earn our money. But God is not made with our money. We cannot melt gold down and make God. God is.

God is not a golden calf, either. Israel made a golden calf because idols expect things of you. Give your money and God will give you milk. Give your firstborn and God will give you something in return. An idol is a representation of God, a manufactured god, and no true god at all.

An idol is a slap in the face of the True God.
An idol is US defining God apart from His Word and His Law.

God told Moses:

Exodus 32:7-8 (KJV) … the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

God was going to destroy these people. Idolatry is one of the greatest of all evils. When Churches turn away from the Living God to the golden calves, the Gospel is hidden. Idolatry is evil. God loves His people, but will not tolerate idolatry. He has said:

Deuteronomy 4:23-24 (KJV) 23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee. 24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

God is passionately in love with His people, and wants His people to be passionately in love with Him. He says

Nahum 1:2-3 (KJV) God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. 3 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

An idol cannot save, nor can an idol defend us. God loves us, and will avenge us, because He loves us. God demands our love in return, and is hurt when His children care little for Him.

3 How Does God Define Himself? God is not a golden calf! Moses comes down the mountain and runs the idolaters out of the camp. Israel broke faith with God, and Moses broke the Tablets of Testimony. Yet God is faithful. God tells Moses to return up the Mountain, to receive the Law once more. Before God gave the Law the second time – once more written with the finger of God – we are told:

Exodus 34:5-7 (KJV) And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

The LORD proclaims the Name of the LORD. What does God say of Himself?

  • He is the LORD, the Self Existent God. The Great I AM. Without beginning, without end, above all, and the Maker of all.

  • He is the LORD God. There is no other God than the God of Scripture.

Isaiah 45:5 (KJV) I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

Isaiah 44:6 (KJV) 6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

This Sunday night we will see that God is Alpha and Omega. There is no God besides our God.

  • Our God is merciful and gracious. Israel did not deserve the salvation of God, yet He saved them nonetheless.

Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV) because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.

It was all of Grace that God saved Israel. It was all of His merciful Grace that He did not destroy that stiff necked people.

  • Our God is longsuffering, patient.

Psalm 86:15 (KJV) But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

  • Our God is abundant in goodness and truth.

Exodus 34:7 (KJV) Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

God forgives transgrssion, iniquity, and sin – but will not clear the guilty. To those who repent and turn to Him He is ever faithful. But God does not condone sin. And God jealously guards His people. He loves us in Christ. And God warns His people:

Exodus 34:12-15 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: 13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: 14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: 15 Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice;

The policy of the Child of God is that we love our God and Him alone. We make no provision for other gods in our lives. We make no compromise with the unbeliever, for light has no compromise with darkness. We will not compromise with their altars, their images, their groves. We love Him Who first loved us.

He loves us. We love Him. Forever!

May God touch your hearts with His Word!

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