Tongues and Edification

1_Corinthians_14_Tongues_And_Edification1 Corinthians 14:21-25 (KJV)  In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.  [22]  Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.  [23]  If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?  [24]  But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:  [25]  And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

Audio of Sermon: 

A careful reading on the Scripture is generally all that is necessary to clear up any confusion. So it is with the Gift of Tongues.

Several many years ago – back in the 60s in America – a group of Christians did not read the Scriptures and began to push speaking in tongues. A Wikipedia article notes that:

The Azusa Street Revival was a historic revival meeting that took place in Los Angeles, California, and is the origin of the Pentecostal movement. It was led by William J. Seymour, an African American preacher. It began with a meeting on April 9, 1906, and continued until roughly 1915. The revival was characterized by spiritual experiences accompanied with testimonies of physical healing miracles, worship services and speaking in tongues. The participants were criticized by the secular media and Christian theologians for behaviors considered to be outrageous and unorthodox, especially at the time. Today, the revival is considered by historians to be the primary catalyst for the spread of Pentecostalism in the 20th century.”

An entire denomination of Christianity believes that you are not baptized in the Holy Spirit unless you speak in tongues. They did not carefully read what the Apostle wrote. Hear his Words:

Tongues are FOR A SIGN,

NOT to them THAT BELIEVE,

BUT to THEM THAT BELIEVE NOT (vs 22)

We use “signs” every day. If you had never been to my house I give you specific instructions on what street to turn on, and how to notice 308 Evergreen when you go there. But once you come to my home a few times you no longer need the signs. I no longer need the signs. I’ve been there. I live there I can get home several ways, and at no point do I need the signs.

Tongues Are A Sign For Unbelievers, Not For Believers

You can disagree with this if you want, but this is what the Apostle states. If you are a Christian – saved by the glorious Grace of Christ and the Indwelling Spirit – you do not need the Gift of Tongues to affirm your salvation. Read it again with me.

1 Corinthians 14:22 (KJV) Wherefore tongues are for a sign, NOT TO THEM THAT BELIEVE, BUT TO THEM THAT BELIEVE NOT: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

Tongues were given as an evangelistic tool to share the Gospel with the lost. Prophesying or Preaching – the sharing forth of God’s Word – was given to those who believe. Though Jesus could have spoken in tongues – for He is the God Who created the many languages of the Tower of Babel …

Jesus never spoke in tongues throughout His entire earthly ministry
Jesus never spoke in tongues throughout His entire earthly ministry
Jesus never spoke in tongues throughout His entire earthly ministry

Jesus spoke in Koine Greek (the language of the people) and Aramaic (the language of the Jews). How do we know this? Because Jesus’ words are recorded in the New Testament in Koine Greek and Aramaic.

Jesus spoke to be understood. God gave us our tongues so we can communicate, so we can speak to one another. Jesus shared the Gospel – prophesying – preaching – calling people to follow Him. Jesus often spoke in parables not to make things easier understood, but to shut off deeper Biblical truth to those who were unsaved. A person must understand the GOSPEL before a person goes into the deeper truths of God.

Matthew 13:10-13 (NKJV) And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

The unbeliever cannot understand the deeper truths of God until they have been saved. It is for this reason I do not preach messages like the one tonight on a Sunday morning. Sunday mornings we have a higher likelihood of having unbelievers in our midst. They need to hear the Gospel, and it doesn’t hurt us either.

Tongues Were Prophesied As
A Sign To Unbelieving Israel

Tongues were given as a sign to fulfill the prophesy of Scripture. The Apostle says …

1 Corinthians 14:21 IN THE LAW it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

This is a quotation of …

Isaiah 28:11-12 (NKJV) For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, 12 To whom He said, “This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest,” And, “This is the refreshing”; Yet they would not hear.

Christ came to Israel FIRST. He came to save His Old Testament people FIRST. God called Israel to salvation. God sent the Messiah to Israel first. Yet Israel rejected Christ.

John 1:10-13 (NKJV) He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Christ came to the Jews first.
Though many Jews received Christ as Savior,
Israel as a nation rejected Christ, and rejects Him today.

Fifty (50) days after His resurrection on the Jewish Fourth of July called The Day of Pentecost the Apostles along with 113 others were gathered in an upper room praying. The power of God descended, and those in the upper room went out speaking in many different tongues. The unbelievers in that festival at first thought these people were speaking from drunkenness. Peter replied:

Acts 2:14-21 (NKJV) … Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: (quoting Joel 2:28-32) 17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. 21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’

Tongues were a sign for not believers but UNBELIEVERS. Tongues go the attention of the unbeliever. The unbeliever heard the Gospel in their own language. Through the gift of tongues the Gospel was shared on Pentecost, and on that day 3000 came into the Church not by roll but by faith in Christ.

The Tongues that were effective to save souls on the day of Pentecost were effective because the unbeliever understood what was being said. On the Day of Pentecost people from many different countries and in many different languages heard the proclamation of Christ.

Uninterpreted Tongues Serves
No Purpose But Confusion

What happens if an unbeliever comes to the assembly of the Church and many people are speaking many tongues that the unbeliever does not understand? The Apostle says:

1 Corinthians 14:23 (KJV) If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? 

To come together and speak a Word that people do not understand does not bless the unbeliever, but drives them away. They leave the assembly saying “These people are mad, or drunk with wine” as some purported on the Day of Pentecost. But then the Apostle says:

1 Corinthians 14:24-25 (KJV) But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:  [25]  And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

But if everyone prophesies – shares the clear Word of God so that all can understand -the unbeliever or unlearned can hear what is being said. The speaking of unknown tongues is not a blessing to the Body of Christ. None are saved where the Gospel is not clearly presented and the Word of God is not clearly expounded.

There must be clarity in what we say. We must be clear, and give a clear report of what God has given us, if the world will have a chance of being saved. The Apostle chastises the Corinthians, saying:

1 Corinthians 14:26 (KJV)  How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

Everything that is done in a Church is to be done unto edifying. Everything! That word “edify” is the Greek οἰκοδομή oikodomē which means “to build up or promote spiritual growth in the body”. Everything that is done in God’s Church should be upbuilding, nourishing.

To come together just to speak in tongues builds up no one. To come together to share the love of God and to witness of the glorious Gospel of Christ builds up everyone. Paul goes on to say:

1 Corinthians 14:27-31 (KJV)  If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.  [28]  But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.  [29]  Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.  [30]  If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.  [31]  For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

Every person is to work together in every way possible to aid in the Word of God going forth in an orderly and well understood manner.

If there’s a screaming baby, don’t just stare – BE THE CHURCH.
If there’s a ringing phone, don’t just stare – BE THE CHURCH.
If there’s a flying wasp, don’t just stare – BE THE CHURCH.
Listen. Learn. Grow. Share.
Work together to be a blessing by sharing the Word.

Paul did not forbid speaking in tongues or prophesying in the Church. But if there was no one who could interpret – convert into the understood language of the audience – then the Apostle said “let him keep silence in the Church”.

Without the interpreter present the person so gifted with Tongues was supposed to speak to himself and to God. He was to keep silence in the Church. Why? Because the uninterpreted tongue blesses no one.

And even in prophesy or preaching, teaching, witnessing not everyone was to go at the same time. The Apostle said let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge (listen). What is the point of this?

Can you imagine during the Worship Service I’m preaching, and dear Ruby jumps up and faces the audience. Interrupting what I’m saying she says “and that’s what our Sunday School lesson is going to be on today.” Then Ruby takes off, and starts teaching her Sunday School lesson.

As she gets into her lesson Jimmy jumps up and begins to share what he has for Sunday School. Now he’s trying to over-speak Ruby.

Then Beth Kirby stands up and starts putting her lesson before the Church. If someone were to walk in as a guest it would not be understandable, but confusion.

God does not want His Church confused, but comforted, blessed by the Word of God. All of you who are so gifted are to speak the Word one by one, that all may learn and all may be comforted.

The intent of the Spiritual Gift is never to confuse nor harm, but to build up. This is one of my favorite texts of Scripure, on I wish you all would take to heart:

1 Corinthians 14:32-33 (KJV)  And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.  [33]  For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

A Spiritual gift is operated in union with God. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the Prophets. God gives us Spiritual gifts, but we control their use. I control my gift every week. If I didn’t, you would get out of Church Assembly for several hours. I try to monitor my time, and do God’s will within the allotted amount of time we have scheduled. When you are restless and fidgety I know it’s time to close.

And it’s about that time … because we have a Business Meeting to attend to. May God bless your hearts with His Word!

Posted in 1 Corinthians, Sermons Preached, Spiritual Gifts, Witnessing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Mike Buffaloe preaching at Crosspointe Sunday November 12 2017 – Giving

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Audio of Sermon: 

A powerful sermon that every Church and every Christian needs to hear. We live in prosperity in America. Let’s live for Jesus!

Posted in Faithfulness of God, Following Disciples, General, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Love! Love! Love!

1_Corinthians_13_1t13_LOVE_Riverview_BIBLENOTES

Audio of Sermon: 

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (KJV)  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  [2]  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  [3]  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

When we hear the word “Charity” we think of giving to someone in need. The word translated “Charity” in our text today is the Greek word AGAPE, which should be translated not so much “Charity” as “Love”. Our New Testament was originally written in Koine Greek, and the ancient Greeks recognized four types of Love.

  1. There Is φιλέω Phileō Or Companiable Love. This is not the highest form of love, but a love based on affection or feeling, a fondness of, a liking. You can see how this love is by reading it in context. For instance, Jesus said:

Matthew 6:5 (NKJV) And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they LOVE {φιλέω Phileō} to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

Matthew 10:37 (NKJV) He who LOVES {φιλέω Phileō} father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who LOVES {φιλέω Phileō} son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

Luke 20:46 (NKJV) Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, LOVE {φιλέω Phileō} greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts,

Phileō is based on feelings, friendship. People bond together because of Phileō, the forge unions because of Phileō, but Phileō is an ever changing love based on how you feel at the moment. People fall into Phileō and fall out of Phileō. It is a very weak form of love.

  1. There is Στοργή (Storgē) or Natural Affection or Obligation. This is the kind of love that is found between parent and child because of their genetic or spiritual bonding. The word is compounded with Phileō in ..

Romans 12:10 (NKJV) Be KINDLY AFFECTIONATE {φιλόστοργος philoSTORGOS} to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

To show that Christians – all born into God’s family by the Grace of God – should show family love to one another. We are supernaturally brothers and sisters in Christ. My own brothers and sisters are related to me by blood. We have Στοργή (Storgē) for one another.

  1. There is Εροσ (Eros) Or Sexual Love. This type of love is king in America today. It says “I love you because you satisfy me sexually and make me happy”. What does God think of this type of temporal love? Though it was a word known to the ancient Greeks, the word Εροσ (Eros) is not used in the New Testament at all. What we in America so highly prize, God distains as the least of all loves.
  1. Then There Is Ἀγάπη Or Ἀγαπάω (Agapē Or Agapaō), God’s Standard Of Love. Agapē is the word translated “Charity” in our text today. It is God’s love. When the Bible says:

1 John 4:8 (NKJV) He who does not LOVE does not know God, for God is LOVE.

It is not saying that God is EROS or God is STORGĒ or even God is PHILEŌ. The love that God has is not sexual, familial, or even companiable. God is Agapē. Divine love is in no way selfish or self centered, self pleasing. It is a type of love that does good even when bad is done to it. It is a type of love that suffers for the good of others.

As creatures created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) we were designed to best operate from AGAPE, the love of God. Though we love in other ways we do not profit personally nor as a people unless AGAPE in what we operate by.

1 Corinthians 13:1 (KJV)  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not AGAPE, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

In 1 Corinthians 12 the Apostle spoke of Spiritual Gifts in the Church, and noted how these gifts are actually manifestations of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle told us that the Gifts are given to profit the WHOLE CHURCH. Now the Apostle tells us if the gift in operation does not come from AGAPE, God’s love, then that gift itself is just NOISE. Let me put it this way. If you sing a special song for the Church but are doing so for the applause of man (PHILEO) then it is PROFITLESS to either you, or to those who heard you. If you preach a sermon to gain a smile of approval, or to please a parent (STORGE), then what you preached is no more than noise.

AGAPE is for God, from God, to God, and because of God.
AGAPE glorifies God.

1 Corinthians 13:2 (KJV)And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not AGAPE, I am nothing.

Without AGAPE, the love of God that God gives, no matter how spectacular the gift you may display, it is as if there was nothing. AGAPE is what gives the gift power. AGAPE is like salt on a bland food. Without salt it is all as the tasteless white of an egg.

1 Corinthians 13:3 (KJV) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

I can give it all and leave it all on the table, but without AGAPE there is no profit to me or to others. Anything we do that has self as the motivator is useless. We gain no reward from God for our acts if they are not AGAPE, from the Love of God.

What Does AGAPE Look Like?

This past Tuesday, October 31st of 2017 a misguided Muslim rented a Home Depot van. He drove down the Hudson River Park bike path and ran over 23 people, killing 8 and injuring 15. As he did so he shouted “Allahu Akhbar”—“God is Great” in Arabic. His action was useless. The love He showed did not come from God, but from a demon and a demon possessed heart. The love of God – AGAPE – changes things. Nothing is changed by hatred and hateful acts, nor by love of self or a deluded religion.

What does the Love of God look like?

1 Corinthians 13:4 (KJV) AGAPE suffereth long, and is kind; AGAPE envieth not; AGAPE vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

The love of God is long suffering, patient, kind. The love of God does not envy nor become green eyed over what someone else has. And the love of God is not puffed up, arrogant, or prideful. The Bible says of God that …

Psalm 86:15 (NKJV) But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.

God is longsuffering, patient, and kind. The love that comes from God does not seek to destroy an enemy but does good to those who do badly. God tells us to show love even to our enemies. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:43-48 (NKJV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall LOVE {ἀγαπάω agapaō} your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, LOVE {ἀγαπάω agapaō} your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you LOVE {ἀγαπάω agapaō} those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

The lost soul and the pretender of religion twists AGAPE, God’s Love. But those who are the Children of God show AGAPE – Divine Love – to our enemies. We do good to those who do bad to us. We pray for those who despitefully use us. We emulate our God Who blesses both good and evil with sun and rain. And God rewards us for doing good even when others do bad to us. He rewards us with blessings, better health, and a crown that fades not away, reserved in Heaven for us (1 Peter 5:4).

How can we do this? When someone beheads a Christian with a dull knife, or rapes a child, or backbites us and smears our reputation, how can we show AGAPE to these MONSTERS? The truth is, they are not monsters. Every human was created in the image of God for more. Every human is precious. How do I know? Because Jesus Christ …

1 John 2:2 (NKJV) … is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but ALSO FOR THE WHOLE WORLD.

1 John 4:9-10 (NKJV) In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son INTO THE WORLD, THAT WE MIGHT LIVE THROUGH HIM. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

John 3:16 (NKJV) For GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

God sent the Christ into the world to save the world, because every human is precious. So God does good to those who do bad. God sends His Sun on the good and the bad, and offers His Son to all. We must not dehumanize the sinner, but always remember that the sinner that is unsaved is bound by chains of darkness to the devil and his lost world. Christ’s Gospel is for every person who will receive it.

1 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV)  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

AGAPE or God’s Love “does not behave itself UNSEEMLY”. It shows respect to others, and does not conduct itself in a rude or mean way. God’s Love is always Godward. It “seeketh not her own”. It is not in it for itself. Today people ask the question:

What’s in it for ME?”

AGAPE or the Love that God expects of His Children doesn’t ask this question. The greatest illustration of Love as God wants us to live it is in Jesus Christ. We read:

Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Love does not seek itself, it is not selfish but is willing to give up all in order to better its object. Jesus is very God of very God, yet He humbled Himself and took up the Cross of shame. In so doing He purchased salvation for each and every one of us who believe.

Love kneels and serves as Jesus served. In the ancient world of Christ only a slave washed another person’s feet. One day Jesus knelt and washed His disciple’s feet. He told them:

John 13:13-15 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for [so] I am. (14) If I then, [your] Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. (15) For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

Love is not easily provoked. It does not wear a chip on its shoulder. As Jesus hung suffering on the Cross He said:

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do
Luke 23:34

Jesus tells us that when offended we are to …

Matthew 5:39-41 (NKJV) But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.

Love is patient with those in darkness. Love does not think evil. It does not spend its nights dreaming of harming those who harmed you, of being hateful.

1 Corinthians 13:6 (KJV)  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

When you were a little child your momma would come in the room and put a thermometer in your mouth. You’d want to talk but momma would say, “Now hush! Keep this under your tongue until I tell you.” You’d sit for what seemed an eternity until momma came back and, pulling the thermometer out, she’d hold it up to the light and look. Momma was looking to see if the mercury – the colored stuff in that glass tube – was lined up with 98.6 degrees. If it was you were fine. Your temperature was normal, and you could resume your life as a kid. You could go back to school (yuk) or go outside and play. That thermometer governed what you did with your life. So it is with love. If you’re where you need to be with God, if your temperature is fine, then love will show in your life. You will be willing to work for God through His Church, just as He has commanded you to do. You will follow your design, not your own whims, knowing that your cooperation with with God and others will be instrumental in winning others to Christ.

The love that God would have us have does not secretly chuckle when our enemy falls. It does not dance on that poor person’s grave. But love does love the TRUTH. It loves the Word of God, because the Word of God is the blessing of God on His people. The Apostle says that Agape …

1 Corinthians 13:7 (KJV)  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Agape looks up, not down. It looks Godward, not fleshward.

And because of this Love – God’s Love – endures. Everything we have now will pass away or cease to be. There will be a day in Heaven when we have no more Bible, for on that day we will stand before the Living Word of God.

1 Corinthians 13:8, 13 (KJV) AGAPE never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. …. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, AGAPE, these three; but the greatest of these is AGAPE.

An ancient preacher named Jerome said:

The church of Christ has been founded by shedding its own blood, not that of others; by enduring outrage, not by inflicting it.”

Our world desperately needs to see Christian love. They will never see that Love unless they see it through you. The success of the local Church is found on its ability to love like Jesus – no matter what may come. I encourage and exhort you to this type of True Love.

This is what Christ wants for His Church.

Posted in 1 Corinthians, Church, Cross of Christ, Faithfulness of God, Following Disciples, Love One Another, Men and Women, obedience, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Blessing Of Naked Obedience

Audio of Sermon: 

Isaiah 20 The Blessing Of Naked Obedience Riverview BIBLENOTES

Isaiah 20:1-6 (KJV)  In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it;  [2]  At the same time spake the LORD by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.  [3]  And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia;  [4]  So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.  [5]  And they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory.  [6]  And the inhabitant of this isle shall say in that day, Behold, such is our expectation, whither we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria: and how shall we escape?

711 years before Christ was born Egypt promised Ashdod, a Philistine town about 35 miles west of Jerusalem, that it would protect it if they stood against the Assyrians. The King of Assyria named Sargon (this is the only place in the Bible his name is mentioned) sent his second in command to Ashdod. Rather than send assistance to Ashdod Egypt, scoundrels that they were, reneged on their promise and turned Ashdod over to Assyria.

God despises a lie.
God despises injustice.

God says of the liar who does not do as he promises:

Proverbs 12:22 (NKJV) LYING lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.

Revelation 21:8 (NKJV) But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and ALL LIARS shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Liars and deceivers are grouped sexually immoral people and murderers. This shows us that God hates a lie. God says of deception, injustice, and false weights:

Isaiah 61:8 (ESV) For I the LORD love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

Proverbs 20:23 (NLT) The LORD detests double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales.

The Egyptians may have justified their dishonesty by saying “But they are Philistines. No one likes Philistines, so let’s treat them dishonestly and use them for our own advantage.” God does not honor this, nor will He bless the deceiver or the liar.

God sent His Son into the world to save whosoever will. Our God …

1 Timothy 2:4 (NIV) wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

He does not hate any one people group. God establishes the nations to afford a certain level of protection for the people so the Gospel can go forth. To use someone as if they were but an animal, to treat someone so disrespectfully, God will not bless it. God will not bless meanness!

The Naked Obedience Of Isaiah

So God told His Prophet Isaiah:

Isaiah 20:2 (KJV) …. Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, WALKING NAKED AND BAREFOOT. 

Say what?
Isaiah was told by God to become a visible sermon.

God specifically told Isaiah to ….

loose the sackcloth from thy loins (the groin)
put off your shoe from your foot

And Isaiah did so, walking NAKED and BAREFOOT!

Let me say two things about this text. First, I’m glad God never asked me to preach naked to you. And I hope you all will AMEN that! But secondly to a Hebrew to be NAKED (עָרוֹם `arowm) can mean “BARE NAKED”or the word can mean “in your Fruit of the Looms” or “Loincloth”. A good example of this is when King David had the Ark returned to Jerusalem. When the Ark of the Covenant was brought back into Jerusalem King David danced before the Ark “wearing a linen ephod” or loincloth.

2 Samuel 6:14, 20 (NKJV) Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod (loin cloth) …

David was not BARE NAKED, but he was in his “Fruit of the Looms”. You could tell whether he was wearing boxers or briefs! But when David returned home his first wife Michal chewed him out.

2 Samuel 6:20 (NKJV) Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How glorious was the king of Israel today, UNCOVERING HIMSELF today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows SHAMELESSLY UNCOVERS HIMSELF!

For the King to show his underthings was highly politically incorrect – Ark or no Ark! One of the commentaries I consulted stated:

“With the great importance attached to the clothing in the East, where the feelings upon this point are peculiarly sensitive and modest, a person was looked upon as stripped and naked if he had only taken off his upper garment. What Isaiah was directed to do, therefore, was simply opposed to common custom, and not to moral decency. He was to lay aside the dress of a mourner and preacher of repentance, and to have nothing on but his tunic (cetoneth); and in this, as well as barefooted, he was to show himself in public. This was the costume of a man who had been robbed and disgraced, or else of a beggar or prisoner of war.” (Delitzsch, 1:372)

So we have Isaiah – barefoot and in his Fruit of the Looms – walking around in public for three years. He was supposed to do this for THREE YEARS! We see that in verse:

Isaiah 20:3-4 (KJV) And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath WALKED NAKED AND BAREFOOT THREE YEARS for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia;  [4]  So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.

Isaiah walked around town barefooted and looking like some of these confused people with their pants hanging down around their ankles for three years! Can you imagine the ridicule that Isaiah went through?

Isaiah did what God said without question.
And kept on doing it for three years!

Yet Isaiah never questioned God, but immediately responded and did as the Lord asked him to do. He did not hesitate. He did not argue. There is no indication that even GOD told Isaiah why he was to do as he did. God just said:

Shoes off.
Strip to the Fruit of the Looms.
Walk in public.

and Isaiah did it. What did Isaiah get out of doing what God said? Notice how God address Isaiah:

Isaiah 20:3 (KJV) And the LORD said, Like as MY SERVANT ISAIAH

Isaiah is MY SERVANT. I claim Isaiah. He has a special place in My Eternal YAHWEH Heart, because Isaiah loves me more than he loves anything or anyone else.

Isaiah loves Me more than he loves himself.
Isaiah is willing to go against political correctness, against the darkness.
Isaiah is not a dim bulb in the midst of the darkness.
He is willing to obey Me above all else.
Isaiah is MY Servant!

God Blesses Obedience

God blesses the Child who does what He says without question, without debate, without argument. What did Christ say?

John 14:15-16 (ESV) If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever …

Obedience leads to blessing. If you love Jesus, you obey Him. If you obey Him, He sends his Spirit to be with you. One follows the other.

Beaten and mocked for preaching Christ, the Jewish rulers dragged Peter and the Apostles in front of an angry crowd. “Stop telling people about Jesus!” they were told. But Peter and the Apostles replied:

We must obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)

The Church today has capitulated to the darkness. We know what God has said. We know what He has endorsed, and what He has not endorsed. But rather than go against the world, rather than lose our tax exempt status and our financial perks, rather than be chided as haters and racists we would rather back away from His Word and go with public opinion. I watched a clip the other day where a comedienne I personally like named Ellen Degeneres thanked President Obama for changing her life. Thank you, President Obama, because I am now legally married to my wife”. I would that Ellen knew Christ and the power of His Word, and that such a lifestyle is not blessed by God. It is disobedient to His will. But many people live this way. Many who profess Christ live this way.

There is no blessing in disobedience, no blessing in delay in doing as God has asked. What did John say?

1 John 5:3 (ESV) For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

What God asks us to do He will bless us in doing, if we will but trust Him. Isaiah immediately stripped down to his loin cloth and did as God said for three years. God told Isaiah at the beginning of his Book:

Isaiah 1:19-20 (NKJV) If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; 20 But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

I have known men who professed they knew Christ, and yet refused to be baptized in water in obedience to our Lord’s command. Those men have gone beyond the veil into death. Are these professors with Christ or in a burning hell this very moment? I do not know. But I do know that if God has commanded it, it must be done. To be baptized in water is no grievous thing, nor is it a hardship. Walking around in your underwear for three years is grievous but bearable if God tells you to do it. Would you rather be baptized in water – something that takes only a few seconds – or walk around in your underwear three years. Tell me, quick. Which?

I have known professors of Christ who refuse to give but a pittance to God. God has given us everything, and asks that we in generosity give a small portion back. There are believers who skip Church on Sunday morning but attend other services so they can keep all their green paper in their pockets. I have known people who are niggardly, stingy, cheap, penny pinching for the things of God but extravagant in what they give to themselves. God tells His people:

Malachi 3:10 (ESV) Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Several years ago at another Church I asked the members to bring food to the Church Pantry. One of the members – I know not who – brought several sacks of expired food to the Church. By expired I mean the date stamp on the cans were 2-3 years out of date. They went shopping, replenished their cabinets, and brought the out of date food for the poor. God is not pleased with such stinginess. I have often gone through Church storage sheds and thrown away “donated” broken items that were given to God, while people kept the newer for themselves. God is not pleased.

Witnessing The Bible tells us that …

John 3:16 (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.

God sent Jesus to save the world, and commands us to tell others about Him. Thankfully we do not need to do it in our underwear. God loves everyone, and just wants us to tell everyone that God made them and loves them. Look at your neighbor and tell them:

God made you and loves you!

That’s not hard. I was at a Bookstore with my wife last week, found a book I wanted, and went out to the car to wait on my wife. When she’s shopping I go sit in the car and read. A man with a long beard pulled up next to me, got out of his car, and said with a smile:

Are you here selling Bibles?”

He saw the Riverview signs on the side of my van. I said “No, I’m sitting here reading. But I’d love to tell you about the Lord.” As he walked away he said “What can you tell me about the Lord?” Before he went into the store I loudly said “The Lord made you and He loves you”. He stopped, turned and looked at me, and said …

I can agree with that”.

He went in the store, and I thought that was the end of it. So I went back to reading. After about 15 minutes (my wife is still shopping) the door opens and the man comes out, heading to my car. I prepare to tell him about the love of God in Christ when he walks up and says “I got this for you”. He grins as he hands me a little Gideon Bible that had a “Free” tag on it, something the store was giving away. I took it and thanked him for it. Then he handed me an old book he found, an old Bible Story book printed in 1904. He showed me the illustrations in it, and I went to hand it back to him. He said, “No, you keep it”, and walked away, got in his car, and drove off. What was God doing in all this? It was a test. Did I plant a seed of the Gospel? Or was this a Christian brother, or an angel entertained unaware? I don’t know. But God rewards faithfulness.

God Punishes Disobedience

Isaiah was to walk around in his underwear for three years. Put that in perspective with what God has asked US to do. I am reminded of how God came to a man named Jonah and told him …

Jonah 1:2 (KJV)  Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

What did Jonah do? He ran away from what God told him to do. Jonah was – just as we are today – politically correct. He didn’t like Ninevites. Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria, and Assyria was an enemy of Israel, and Jonah hated Assyrians. So Jonah refused to do what God told him to do. Jonah only had to go to Nineveh and “Cry against it”, tell them they were dishonoring God and God was fed up with it. But Jonah refused. He ran away.

You can’t run away from God.

God found Jonah, and Jonah was thrown into the sea in the midst of a storm. Then God sent a Great Fish (Jonah 1:17) to swallow Jonah. Not a whale, but a great fish, a creature that God designed specifically for Jonah. God can do that. God can do anything God wants to do. So God sends a Great Fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah sits in the gastric juices of this Great Fish for three days and three nights. His clothing is digesting, his hair bleaching. It had to stink. When you disobey God there are consequences. Finally Jonah cries out and begs God to deliver him from the belly of this fish (Jonah 2:1). The Bible says:

Jonah 2:10 (KJV)  And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

Jonah was vomited out on the shores of Nineveh, and here he went into the city preaching as God had commanded. I suspect that Jonah was preaching nearly naked at this time, because the gastric juices of a fish would have partially digested his clothing. Jonah still did what God told him to do, did it badly, but God reigned. God always reigns.

When you do what God says there is blessing, but when you disobey God there are always consequences. And what God wants done will be done. If you disobey God, God will raise up another. But God’s will will always be accomplished!

God told another or His people called Abraham …

Genesis 22:2 (NKJV) … “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

Abraham waited a hundred years for this boy to be born. Now God wants him to execute him. You would expect Abraham to say to God “I’d rather preach in my underwear”. What did Abraham say? NOTHING. Abraham rose early in the morning, and took his son Isaac to kill him as God asked. Once they got to the mountain Abraham tied the boy to the altar, took his knife, and prepared to end his life. God stopped him.

Genesis 22:12 (NKJV) … “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

There may be times when God asks us to do difficult things, but if God brings us TO it God will take us THROUGH it. We are to obey Him and His Word. Though all the world be against us, though no one stand with you, to obey God is always where the blessing lies. The writer of Hebrews said:

Hebrews 11:19 (NKJV) … {Abraham concluded} that God was able to raise {Isaac} up, even from the dead …

God had promised Abraham a seed, and God would not break His Word. What God asks us to do, to believe, to obey God will bless. Faith means to listen for the Voice of God, to hear what He says, and to obey Him. What God asks us to do is not unreasonable, nor is it overly difficult.

Why Did God Have Isaiah Preach In His Underwear?

God used Isaiah to start a conversation among the Egyptians that could lead to a conversion. The question God wanted the Egyptians to ask is:

Isaiah 20:6 (KJV) And THE INHABITANT OF THIS ISLE SHALL SAY IN THAT DAY, BEHOLD, SUCH IS OUR EXPECTATION, whither we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria: and HOW SHALL WE ESCAPE?

God wanted the lost to examine their hopeless and helpless situation and ask “How shall we escape?”. How indeed?

Hebrews 2:2-3 (NKJV) For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,

The inhabitants of the isles cannot rely on themselves, nor on Egypt. How shall they escape destruction? Only through God can they be saved. God will save whosoever will. But there must be repentance, there must be obedience. Oh, how God would save you, dear Sinner, as He saved this sinner, this awful grievous sinner. Oh how God would bless your life if you would quit debating Him and begin instead to walk with Him. He calls you to His side. Isaiah preached naked knowing God would protect him, and God will protect you. But you must hear Him. You must come to Him by His Son. You must receive Christ as Lord and Savior, then live following Him for blessing. God blesses naked obedience, but will not honor the disobedient and half hearted. Receive Him as He is and learn of Him this very day. For Christ’s sake, and for yours.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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The Church As Christ Planned It

Audio of Sermon: 

1In 1 Corinthians 11 we talked about God’s created order. We also discussed the order and ministration of the Lord’s Table. Now the Lord talks about the Church as Christ meant it to be. We read:

1 Corinthians 12:1-7 (KJV)1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. 3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit with all.

The Christian Church has three sources of power that the world does not have.

The Church Is Empowered By God’s Word

The Church has as a source of power The Word of God. The Word of God instructs us.

I saw a friend trying to put a baby crib together one time, and all the time he was fussing. “Who is the world thought this thing up! Nothing fits. It makes no sense!”. I asked him “What do the instructions say to do?”. His reply? “I don’t need any instructions. I can do this myself!”

This is what the world does today in nearly every part of life.
Is your marriage falling apart?
Could it be because you’re not following the Manufacturer’s Instructions, the Bible?
Is your family in disarray?
Could it be because you’re not following the Maker’s Plan?

God says of His Word:

Isaiah 40:8 (NKJV) The grass withers, the flower fades, But the WORD OF OUR GOD stands forever.”

Jesus’ Words when attacked were “It Is Written”. God’s Word makes for growth and order. The Bible says that in the early Church when …

the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7)

There is NO SALVATION without the Word of God. It is the Word of God that gives us the Gospel promises. It is the Word of God that must be believed to be saved. There is NO SANCTIFICATION or growth without the Word of God. The Bible says:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

It is this Word of God today that will instruct us on …

1 Corinthians 12:1 (KJV) Now concerning SPIRITUAL GIFTS, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

The Church Is Empowered By The Spirit Of God

The first word in SPIRITUAL Gifts is SPIRITUAL or SPIRIT. The Holy Spirit of God. There are Spiritual Gifts in the Church, but before the Apostle speaks of Spiritual Gifts he speaks of the HOLY SPIRIT. Why? Because …

The power of the Christian – the power to understand Scripture and the power to do great works is in the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.

We were all “Gentiles” or lost people before we were saved by the Grace of God.

1 Corinthians 12:2 (KJV) Ye know that ye WERE Gentiles,
carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

We WERE Gentiles. You were a Gentile before you were saved. As Gentiles YOU WERE “carried away by dumb idols”. You followed NOTHING. You followed:

Flesh
Feelings
Foolishness
Fantasies

You made gods of these nothings, these imaginings, these desires. You were “carried AWAY” by these things.

Psalm 115:4-9 (NKJV) Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. 5 They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; 6 They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; 7 They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat. 8 Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them. 9 O Israel, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.

As Gentiles we were carried away by dumb idols.
The lost today are carried away by their nothing gods.
But the saved are empowered by their God.

1 Corinthians 12:3 (KJV) Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

The Mark of the Christian is how that person perceives and expresses Christ. The person who is lost “calls Christ accursed”. They use Jesus’ name in foul curse words. They mock His teachings.

The lost dissect what God has said, and throw away the parts that they do not like,
but keep the parts they do like.
Like the Deist Thomas Jefferson they take a knife to the Bible,
and cut out what they disagree with while retaining what they like.
“God is love” is in, but “God commands” is out.

You say “but I know Christians who do not believe the whole Bible”. They may be “Christian” but they are operating as if lost. The Christian proper and genuine follows the Word of God and the Spirit of God. The Christian is indwelt by the Spirit of God, also called the Spirit of Truth. Jesus said:

John 16:13-15 (NKJV) However, when He, the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, HAS COME, HE WILL GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

John 14:15-17 (NKJV) “If you love Me, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, WHOM THE WORLD CANNOT RECEIVE, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

The Holy Spirit indwells every Christian who is saved by faith in the LORD Jesus Christ. As our text tells us:

no man can say that JESUS IS THE LORD, but by the Holy {Spirit}.

It is the Holy Spirit that promotes the preeminence of Christ in SALVATION and in CHRISTIAN LIVING. It is the Holy Spirit that causes God’s Church to be in one accord.

The Church Is Blessed By The Manifestation Of The Spirit, The Spiritual Gifts

1 Corinthians 12:4 (KJV) Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

The Spiritual Gift when it operates is the MANIFESTATION of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle tells us “there are DIVERSITIES of GIFTS”, that is, there are many different spiritual gifts in the Church, but “the same Spirit” – only One Holy Spirit behind that gift.

1 Corinthians 12:5 (KJV) And there are differences of ADMINISTRATIONS,
but the same Lord.

“Administrations” is the Greek διακονία diakonia which means ministry or service to those in need. God raises up and empowers people to act as servants, ministering to the needs of the saints of His house. There are different types of DIAKONIA, but the same Lord is behind every gift.

1 Corinthians 12:6 (KJV) And there are diversities of OPERATIONS, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

“Operations” is the Greek ἐνέργημα energēma which means “workings”, a focused expenditure of energy. Some spiritual gifts do not so much as minister to a weakness so much as they supply other necessary functions. Though there are different out-workings, the same God works all in all. It is not a human function, but a Divine enablement.

What is the point the Apostle makes here? Regardless as to what is done in the Body of Christ, the Church, everything is to be done through the power of God’s Holy Spirit. This necessitates that every action done be done PRAYERFULLY and FOR GOD’S GLORY.

This is where many Churches fail today, and why so many Churches close their doors every year. The Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development noted that 4000 Churches close every year compared to 1000 new Church starts. Why is this? The Churches that close rely on human effort rather than God’s Empowerment. Jesus said:

John 15:4-6 (NKJV) Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

The local Church in America today is in many cases trying to compromise with the world rather than align itself with God’s Power and God’s Word. As Light aligns with darkness it becomes part of the darkness. This is why many close. There is no more value in going to a dead, spiritless Church than there is in going to a movie theater whose projector bulb is blown out.

Abiding in Christ we bear MUCH fruit. Abiding in the darkness we bear NO fruit. Abiding partway in Christ and partway in self we bear LITTLE fruit. We must abide in Him. And here is a key passage:

1 Corinthians 12:7 (KJV) But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit {with all}.

The Spiritual Gift exercised is a MANIFESTATION of the Holy Spirit. The Gifts are given not to bless just the person who wields the gift, but to BLESS THE CHURCH ITSELF.

No Spiritual Gift is operated SELFISHLY but SELFLESSLY.

The King James says the “manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit WITHAL”, which is the Old English word for “With All”. Where a gift functions, if it is a gift, it profits the Body of Christ. These “Gifts” are given as God sees fit to bestow them. They are “Gifts”. We do not earn nor deserve them. God gives them to each member to bless His Church.

Part 2
The Church As Christ Planned It

Last Sunday night we discussed the Church as Christ planned it. Let me share with you a common conversation that your Pastor often has with others. This conversation was between myself and someone who is NOT a member of our Church.

Do you visit Nursing Homes?” I am asked. “Why yes. I visit where ever our people are.” Then he looks at me. “Well, so and so is in this Nursing Home, and you haven’t visited him. You know that he’s a member of this Church”.

Of course I’ll go and visit so and so at this Nursing Home he’s in. But the individual that is a “member” of our Church has not entered the building since I’ve been pastor here these five years. Someone is in the “Membership Roll” but never attends the Church, is never a part (unless it’s a non-preaching eating meeting), never tithes, and never contributes in any way, no one knows them. Yet this person or persons are “Members”. I had a similar conversation years ago when someone lamented that “This Church doesn’t take care of its members”. I asked, “Who are we not taking care of?” They told me someone’s name that I have NEVER met, NEVER seen in Church, wouldn’t know if they came up and smacked me.

The Apostle saw the Church as an operating Body of Believers,
DISCIPLES who follow the Lord TOGETHER.

A DISCIPLE is a believer who follows the DISCIPLINES of the Scripture.
DISCIPLES believe the Word of God, study the Word of God, and live by the Word of God. DISCIPLES who grow allow the indwelling Holy Spirit to operate through them.

1 Corinthians 12:8-12 (KJV) For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

It’s impossible to read through this text and not see the Spirit of God as the main Subject. In this text we learn that …

The Same Spirit Manifests
The
Various Gifts In The Body

vvs 12 … as the body is ONE, and hath MANY members, and
all the members of that one body, BEING MANY, ARE ONE BODY

MANY can be ONE when the Holy Spirit is operating through them all.

The Church is likened to a Body, a human Body. Just as the human body has many members – eyes, ears, mouth, tongue, head, hands, fingers, feet – both seen and unseen – heart, lungs, stomach, bowels – so does the Church. Each “Member” in the Church is not a “Member” on paper alone. Each “Member” is a “Member” because God set them in the Body. Each “Member” is a “Member” because each person has a function in the Church. And though each “Member” has differing “manifestations of the Spirit” the “Members” function together for the overall spiritual health of the Body, the Church.

That is why saying “so and so” is a “member” but “so and so” never attends the Church meetings is so foolish. I knew a man years ago (he is now with the Lord) who was in a tragic accident, one which severed his right leg from his body. As a result he wore a prosthesis, an artificial leg to take the place of that member that was lost. He didn’t keep the old leg. That leg was dead. Though it WAS a member of his Body, it no longer is because it was severed.

And here is another thing that the Apostle’s writing clears up. I have heard people say “I am a Christian, but I do not attend Church. I can worship Jesus fishing on Sunday just as well as I can coming to a Church”. The Apostle illustrates that every member of Christ is a member of some Body some where. To say “I am a Christian” but to deny the assembly of the Body is Biblically unsound. The Apostle says in another text:

Hebrews 10:23-25 (NKJV) Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Part of “holding fast our confession of hope” is that we gather together as Christ’s Body stirring one another up to love and good works. We come together as Christ intended as a Body. Before our Lord Jesus began His earthly ministry He …

  1. was Baptized in water (Matthew 3:13-17)

  2. called others to minister with Him, people He called “disciples” (Matthew 4:18-22)

Now Jesus is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (1 Timothy 6:15) to Whom “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess” (Philippians 2:10). If it were possible that anyone be a “Church of One” it would have been Jesus. But Jesus Christ surrendered to water Baptism and faithful attendance with His people. You are NOT being a Christian if you are not part of a Body of believers, a functioning part.

1 Corinthians 12:8-10 (KJV) For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

It is the Holy Spirit of God Who gives the gifts. The Apostle does not list all of the Spiritual Gifts here, nor do I believe He lists every spiritual gift that is possible. A Spiritual Gift is a manifestation of the Spirit designed to bless and edify the whole Body.

Word of Wisdom
Word of Knowledge
Faith
Gifts of Healing
Working of Miracles
Prophecy or Preaching
Discerning Of Spirits
Many Types Of Tongues
Interpretation Of Tongues

The Apostle Paul lists spiritual gifts here, as well as in:

Romans 12:6-8 (KJV)  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;  [7]  Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;  [8]  Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Ephesians 4:11-13 (KJV)  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  [12]  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  [13]  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

What is interesting is that the Apostle Paul is the only Apostle who lists spiritual gifts. Each gift is given by the Holy Spirit to members of the Body of Christ as He wills. We do not earn nor deserve the gifts, nor can we work our way up to them. The Apostle Paul became an Apostle on the day Christ knocked him down on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:5-6). When God told Ananias to go to the newly converted Paul He said:

Acts 9:15 (KJV)  But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

Paul was God’s Apostle cause God said so, and God gives His calling and gifts as He sees fit.

The Spiritual Gifts are designed to work together. You can see this in the Gifts that Paul mentions. There is wisdom, which is the ability to apply knowledge. Then there is the gift of knowledge. God gives some members a great ability to KNOW, and others a great ability to APPLY WHAT IS KNOWN or Wisdom. God binds the Body together through His Spirit.

The Gifting And Forming Of The Church Is Of The Spirit

1 Corinthians 12:13-14 (KJV) For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  [14]  For the body is not one member, but many.

There are FOUR THINGS the Holy Spirit does to the believer at the point of salvation:

  1. You are BORN AGAIN by the Spirit. Our Lord Jesus told Nicodemus,

John 3:5 (NKJV) … “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

  1. You are INDWELT by the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV) Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

  1. You are SEALED by the Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13-14 (NKJV) In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

  1. You are BAPTIZED by the Spirit. We are baptized or united into one Body by the Holy Spirit. The Baptism of the Spirit places the believer into union with Christ and with other believers in the Body of Christ. The Baptism of the Spirit occurs in every believer’s life at the point of salvation. Note the Apostle said:

by one Spirit are we ALL baptized into one body

and

have been ALL MADE to drink into one Spirit

The Baptism of the Spirit is not just a special experience for a select few. This is what many “Pentecostals” believe, but this is not supported by the Scripture.

It is through the Spirit’s Baptism we are separated from the sinful world, translated into Christ’s Kingdom. The Apostle said:

Romans 6:1-4 (NKJV) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

It is not water baptism that causes us to die to sin, but Spirit Baptism.
Water Baptism is an outward expression of faith in Christ.
Spirit Baptism is an inward change wrought by God the day you were saved.

My relationship with the world changed the day that Christ came into my life, and yours did, too. You became buried with Christ, identifying with His death. Because of Spirit Baptism we walk in newness of life. Dr. Charles Stanley notes in his book The Wonderful, Spirit Filled Life:

Every believer has been baptized by the Holy Spirit. Baptism symbolizes our identification with the body of Christ. To be baptized into the body is to be placed into the body, which happens at the moment of salvation.”

Dr. Billy Graham wrote in his book The Holy Spirit:

In my own study of the Scriptures through the years I have become convinced that there is only one baptism with the Holy Spirit in the life of every believer, and that takes place at the moment of conversion.”

Dr. R.C. Sproul wrote in his book The Mystery Of The Holy Spirit:

The Bible does not support the notion that one group of believers has the baptism and another group does not: “There are not two levels of believers—–gifted and non-gifted, baptized in the Spirit and not baptized in the Spirit.”

If you have been saved by faith in Christ you have been baptized by the Spirit. You are transformed from the Kingdom of Darkness into Christ’s Kingdom.

Someone asked “Should I seek to be baptized by the Spirit?”. Dr. Ray Pritchard writes:

The answer is no. Nowhere in the New Testament are believers told to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We are exhorted to be FILLED with the Spirit, to WALK in the Spirit, to QUENCH NOT the Spirit, to make sure that WE DO NOT GRIEVE the Holy Spirit. All these things are ongoing commands for the people of God—and all should be on our hearts and minds everyday. But NOWHERE IN SCRIPTURE ARE WE COMMANDED TO BE BAPTIZED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT. {this is something God does to YOU}

If we ask why there is no such command, the answer is not difficult to find. If you are a Christian, you were baptized with the Spirit the moment you were saved so you don’t need to seek what you already have. If you aren’t a genuine Christian, you don’t need to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, you need Jesus first and foremost.”

We are baptized in the Spirit so that we can …

We Walk TOGETHER In Newness Of Life

If God has saved you, you are INDWELT, SEALED, BORN AGAIN, and SPIRIT BAPTIZED. Those whom God has changed and is changing He calls together to walk in newness of life.

We work together for the glory of our God! Just as the human body is comprised of many different parts, and every part equally important, so is the Church, the Body of Christ. Every Church member is important. Every part of your body is important.

1 Corinthians 12:15-18 (KJV)  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  [16]  And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  [17]  If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?  [18]  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, AS IT HATH PLEASED HIM.

Just as every part of the human body has a distinctive gifting and ability, every part of the Church of Christ has a distinctive gifting and ability. Some say “But I had no idea I have a spiritual gift”. This is perhaps because you have not been surrendered in your life to the Spirit of God. Let me ask you:

Do you READ His Word daily?
Do you DO what God says do, or do you critique His commands?
Do you PRAY and seek God’s will in your life?
Are you ABIDING in Christ?
Do you seek out opportunities to PUT LOVE IN ACTION?
Do you just USE people, or do you LOVE people?

How you answer these questions will determine whether you are used of God or not. And if God has gifted you, praise Him, because every gift is important. God sets the gifts as it pleases HIM, not us, but HIM. We use the gifts to glorify and magnify the Name of our Lord.

1 Corinthians 12:19-25 (KJV)  And if they were all one member, where were the body?  [20]  But now are they many members, yet but one body.  [21]  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  [22]  Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:  [23]  And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.  [24]  For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked:  [25]  That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

In the next Chapter (1 Corinthians 13) the Apostle focuses on what the King James called “Charity” or Love. Why did God require His Children to be gathered together as a Church? Because through the Church the Father teaches us LOVE.

The Kingdom of God is based on LOVE. I’m going to preach 1 Corinthians 13 this Sunday morning. Love is outward as well as inward. The world needs Love as God has defined it. There are many members in the Body of Christ, the Church, but each member requires the loving operation of the other member to function.

Vs 21 the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee:
nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 

As God gave each human a body with varied members that work together for the good of the body, so has God given us His Church. Every member needs the other. The human body was not given to us with its various giftings to be used selfishly for us, but to glorify God. As the Scripture says:

1 Corinthians 10:31 (KJV)  Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

We who are born, sealed, indwelt and baptized by the Spirit are not enemies of the Cross and partners with darkness. These who do not love God are those of whom the Scripture says:

Philippians 3:19 (KJV)  Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things…

Our God is the God of the Bible, the God of true Scripture, the God Who saved us by giving His Blood for us. His Spirit flows through us, empowers us, causes us to ever move forward and ever reach upward. God gave us His Church so that we can learn love.

Vs 25 …. that the members should have the same care one for another

The Scripture says “God hath tempered the Body together”. It is God Who adds to the Body. It is God Who takes away from the Body. It is God at work in us, doing what He feels we need for His glory.

1 Corinthians 12:26-31 (KJV)  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.  [27]  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.  [28]  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.  [29]   Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?  [30]  Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?  [31]  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

As Paul enumerates the gifts he emphasizes that not all have the same gifts. Each member is gifted as God sets the gifts.

The Pentecostal will say – incorrectly so – that you must speak in tongues before you are baptized in the Spirit. Pastor Dr. Charles Stanley gives a wonderful explanation as to why tongues were used in the early Church. On pages 152-162 of his book The Wonderful Spirit Filled Life Dr. Stanley notes than in each instance when tongues were used as a sign in the early Church, a major new group was introduced into the Body of Christ.

The Jews entered the Church in Acts 2.
The Samaritans entered the Church in Acts 8.
The Gentiles were incorporated into the Church in Acts 10.
And the Disciples of John the Baptist entered the Church in Acts 19.

This was the beginning of the Baptism, and tongues were used as a sign so the early Church could believe. But by the time the Apostle wrote 1 Corinthians he declared:

29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?  [30]  Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

The rhetorical question Paul was asking requires a firm NO. Not all are Apostles. Not all are Prophets. Not all are Teachers, nor Miracle Workers. Not all have gifts of Healing. Not all speak in Tongues, nor Interpret Tongues. The Pentecostal second blessing teaching does not stand the test of Scripture.

The purpose of the Spiritual gifts was not elitism, nor schism, but the same Spirit working all in all. The Church that loves and unites in love will experience the blessing of the Spirit’s manifestation not just this Sunday, but every time it meets.

May God touch your hearts with His Love.

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Burden of Egypt, Blessing of Grace

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Isaiah 19:1 (KJV) The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.

Isaiah 19:18-25 (KJV) In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts; one shall be called, The city of destruction. [19] In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. [20] And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and He shall send them a Savior, and a Great One, and He shall deliver them. [21] And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it. [22] And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them. [23] In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. [24] In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: [25] Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.

Audio of Sermon:

8:30 AM 

11 AM 

There is a wonderful prophecy, part of which was fulfilled and part which is yet to come, found in our text today. God spoke through Isaiah and prophesied that the LORD was to ride upon a swift cloud and come into Egypt. God was coming to destroy the idolatry, the worship of false gods and goddesses, in that place. And God would take the heart of the Egyptians and cause the heart of Egypt to melt. He would soften their hearts after He destroyed their idols.

God sent Assyria into Egypt, and Assyria overthrew this world power. In verse 22 we see the reason for the destruction of Egypt:

the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.

The reason that God strikes a person or a nation is not to primarily destroy, but to heal them. God brings tragedy into the arrogant life to cause us to look upward, to trust Him, to love Him. We become so self focused at times that we forget that life is but a gift from God, a stewardship that He has placed in our trust.

Ecclesiastes 5:19 (NKJV) As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—THIS IS THE GIFT OF GOD.

We do not earn nor deserve the lives we have. It is God Who has given us life. The Lord says

Ezekiel 18:4 (NKJV) Behold! All souls are MINE; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine!

We belong to God. We forget this. Nations belong to God. Nations, composed of people, forget this. God raises up nations, and God causes nations to fall. The Apostle said:

Romans 13:1-3 (NKJV) Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For THERE IS NO AUTHORITY EXCEPT FROM GOD, AND THE AUTHORITIES THAT EXIST ARE APPOINTED BY GOD. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.

President Obama was in office 8 years because the Lord granted it. President Trump is in office now because God granted it. We vote, and should vote, but God is in control. Everything we have and are as a nation is because God has allowed it. He – in the words of the Old King James – suffered us. And God suffers much because of us. He owns everything. Your bank accounts are His, for your souls are His, and He controls what happens to us. And God, like He did with Egypt, can bring or allow to be brought tragedy into a nation. But His intent is not raw destruction, but the desire to draw us back into a sane relationship with Him.

Egypt fell under Assyria, but God had another prophecy in this text that has yet to be fulfilled, a Millennial Kingdom where Grace reigns. God speaks in our text of a time when the Lord is acknowledged and Christ rules, a time when peace is restored to the land.

Where Grace reigns, and people turn to the Lord, wonderful things happen. That’s what our text now focuses on. Oh that God would melt the hearts hardened against Him today. Oh that you would love Him as He loves you. Oh, that you would call upon Jesus, and trust Him to live your life through. Oh that you would see life as a stewardship of God! Oh that you would see life as a stewardship of God!

Where Grace Reigns The Hardest Hearts – and Tongues – Are Changed

Isaiah 19:18 (KJV) In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts …

In the history of the Bible there was no more hardened heart than the hearts of the Egyptians. The first nations mentioned in the Bible are Havilah (Arabia), Cush (Ethiopia), and Assyria (Genesis 2:11). Egypt is not mentioned until the calling of Abraham by God. The Egyptians looked upon Abram’s wife Sarai and Abram told them she was his sister to protect his own life. When the Pharaoh of Egypt took Sarai to himself the Lord judged him by sending plagues to his house (Genesis 12:17). The first Pharaoh that God encounters quickly repents, and returns Sarai to her foolish husband Abram.

The future Pharaoh would not be so soft hearted.

Egypt was a land where, the philosophers said, “people grew gods in their gardens”. Joseph would be sold into slavery to Egypt, and the nation of Israel would become slaves to Egypt for over 400 years. God would raised up Moses and demand through him to Pharaoh “Let My people go, that they can worship Me in the wilderness” (Exodus 5:1). But Pharaoh would harden his heart until ten plagues nearly destroyed all of Egypt. Pharaoh’s heart was so hard that he led his army to destruction into the parted Red Sea. Egypt is a picture of idolatry. But

Isaiah 19:18 (KJV) In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts …

When the Lord touches the heart with His Grace He changes the language of a person. Before I knew Christ my language was foul, cursing, evil. I followed the pattern of my masters, the flesh, the world, and the devil. But God put a new word in my mouth, and a new song in my heart. We who are saved may have been hard hearted as Pharaoh before meeting the Spirit, but God melted that heart with His Grace. God says to us:

Isaiah 51:16 (NIV) I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand– I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.'”

God’s people learn the language of Canaan. We learn His Word as He teaches us. Just as a parent takes his newborn and begins to speak love to the babe, God takes us and through His Word teaches us to speak. We who are saved learn and love the language of Canaan, the Promised Word. And we speak His Word regardless as to the lesser word of the world. As God said in Jeremiah …

Jeremiah 1:9-10 (NKJV) Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. 10 See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, To root out and to pull down, To destroy and to throw down, To build and to plant.”

God’s Word is pure and holy and right. “Every Word of God is pure: He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him” (Proverbs 30:5). It is a such a shame that so many alleged believers have compromised His Word. I have heard the oft repeated statement “Times are changing, but the Bible doesn’t change with the times.” Beloved, when has right ever changed with wrong to be part of the darkness. What God has said is true. “Let God be true, and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

Our Master has said: Matthew 4:4 (NKJV) … “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

The Father teaches His children the language He speaks. A parent who speaks English teaches his child English, not Spanish. A parent who is German teaches his child German, not Portuguese. The Father of Heaven teaches His Children the language of Canaan, the language of the promised Land above. Though you may have been as hard hearted as the Egyptian, you are now His Beloved Child by Christ’s Blood. Though once you spoke the ga ga goo goos of the world, the nonsense of futile darkness, you now speak His language. Your marching orders are to:

Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV) Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may IMPART GRACE TO THE HEARERS.

Furthermore, whereas we once cursed God, making His Holy Name a joke and a mockery, those born into His Family magnify His Name.

Isaiah 19:18 (KJV) In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts …

Our tongues called upon His Name to be saved. Our tongues now exalt Him Who loved us,

Titus 2:14 (NKJV) … Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Galatians 1:4 (NKJV) Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

We were given the language of Canaan because that is our destination, that glorious Beulah Land where love reigns. We are not darkness, but we are light in the Lord. The dog no longer barks, the pig no longer oinks, but we sing a new song to our Master as we ascend to glory!

Where Grace Is, The Savior Is!

Isaiah 19:19 (KJV) In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD.

Egypt is the land of pyramids and stone gods. When people think of the capital city of Egypt, Cairo, they think of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids. These were great monuments not to God, but to death and falseness. But where Grace comes, death does not dominate, but worship of the Lord does. Whereas the middle of Egypt used to be an altar to a Great Pyramid, now there is an altar to the Great God Who created all things. Whereas there were pillars where people clung to, now people worship at the pillar of God. Our trust was in other things, but now the saved Child trusts in God our Father.

Psalm 62:7 (NKJV) In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God.

Psalm 18:2 (NKJV) The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

We worship the Lord because He has saved us. What has He saved us from? God sent unto us a GREAT SAVIOR. Our text says:

Isaiah 19:20 (KJV) And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a Savior, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.

For years we tried living our lives in this sad, dark world. We tried doing it our way. We made brick to please the masters, but then the masters took away the straw and demanded more and more. The devil cannot be pleased. For every inch you give the world, it will demand another. The flesh cannot be satisfied. We tried it our way, and were miserable. Like the Egyptians we sat by the fleshpots and ate. We made up gods to follow.

So we cried out.

Romans 7:24 (NKJV) O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Sin and death oppressed us, so we cried out. And the Father sent us a Savior, a GREAT Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus came with but one mission in mind, to seek and to save the lost.

In a crowded mall a mother and her small daughter were shopping for Christmas presents. As she became frustrated by the crowd and the long lines at the register she turned, and in irritation asked her daughter “What is the reason we do all this? What is the reason for this season?” Her daughter smiling said “Jesus”. Jesus is the reason for not just Christmas, but every day.

I cried out as a young man, seeking purpose in life. I wondered why we die. I lay in bed at night frightened of death, and wondering what the next life would bring. Then one day I heard the preacher speak of life and Christ, and I realized that I did not have to stay imprisoned. Jesus Christ is the Savior sent of God, and a GREAT Savior. I needed a GREAT Savior, and so do you.

I still need a GREAT Savior, for I am a GREAT Sinner!
And so are you!

Praise God that Jesus came. Jesus Christ was sent to save the chiefest of sinners. The Apostle said:

1 Timothy 1:15 (NKJV) This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

When I was lost I compared myself to others, and thought “I’m not that bad”. But the day I was saved God the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and made me realize that I am not to compare myself to others, but I am to compare myself to God. Compared to God I am a great sinner. Compared to God I fall far short of His standard. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. ALL HAVE SINNED and FALL SHORT of the GLORY OF GOD.

We are GREAT Sinners, but we have, praise the Lord, a GREAT SAVIOR!

The Pharisees thought and think today that they are above sin. I have heard of preachers preaching on women wearing open toed shoes or slacks. Listen preacher, we have no time for foolishness and falderal. We have no time to preach silliness or novelties. We need to preach a Great Savior. We need to preach what Jesus said:

Mark 2:17 (NKJV)… “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

I have heard people say “I don’t want to go to Church with those hypocrites”. Well do you want to go to HELL with them, because you will, if you do not come to Christ and obey His Word. The Church is Christ’s Church, and it is filled to the brim with sinners saved by Grace. Praise His Holy Name! If you are a sinner Jesus came looking for you. He said:

Luke 19:10 (NKJV) … for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost, but once saved we are of His flock and of His Church. He gave His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28) and has told us:

John 10:10-11, 14-16 … I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. … 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

Christ saves His people, His sheep, then brings us into His flock. That is His Church, His flock, the Family of God. The Savior is building His Kingdom, and every local Church is the place where Christ rules and reigns.

Love is spoken here.
Forgiveness is spoken here.
Grace is spoken here.
Not license, but GRACE!

Jesus is King of His people.

Where The Savior Is, Love Is The Order Of The Day

Isaiah 19:23-24 In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. [24] In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land

There were never three more people who hated one another as much as Egypt, Assyria, and Israel hated. The Egyptians are cousins to the Israelites, both formed from the loins of Abraham. One by Isaac the child of promise, the other by Ishmael the child of the bondswoman. The Assyrians were cousins to neither Israel nor Egypt, but loved power and the flesh.

But where the Great Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ is, there is peace. Under the banner of His love, a Great Love:

1 John 4:10 (NKJV) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God loved US, US all. Red and yellow, black and white, we are PRECIOUS in HIS SIGHT. God sent His Son for us all. And though we may have been enemies in our unsaved life, now in Christ we are God’s Children. Where Christ is, peace is.

Listen Beloved, the world would have you believe that you can legislate morality. You cannot. The liberal would have you believe all people are inherently good. This is experientially untrue. The lawyers got together and make two layers of crime, standard crime and hate crimes, and said they would penalize the hate crime the more. Did this stop racism and hatred? No, not at all. The Klan marches in Tennessee have solved nothing. The Gays march in San Francisco and solve nothing. African Americans march in on Washington and solve nothing. The confused burn American flags and solve nothing. Others fly a Confederate flag and solve nothing. We tear down statues and solve nothing. We have placed into the Presidency of the United States both white and black men and solved nothing. Our Congress, Supreme Court, and Schools are desegregated, and nothing is resolved. As a nation we are confused. What is our hope?

Our hope is Christ. Your hope is Christ. My hope is Christ. And where Christ is, there is real solution. Where Christ is your skin color does not matter, but rather “What think ye of Christ?” You are my brother, former Assyrian, if you love Jesus and receive Him as Lord and Savior. You are my sister, former Egyptian, if you love Jesus and receive Him as Lord and Savior.

Isaiah 19:25 (KJV) Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.

Peace will not return to our homes, our communities, our cities, our states, and our nation until Christ reigns in every heart. In Him there is no confusion. In Him is peace and the blessing of God forever more.

May God lead you to Him today! Holy Spirit, please touch our hearts.

Posted in Belong To God, Blood of Atonement, Isaiah, Jesus, Love One Another, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Church As Christ Planned It

1_Corinthians_12_The_Church_As_Christ_Planned_Riverview_BIBLENOTES

Audio of Sermon: 

In 1 Corinthians 11 we talked about God’s created order. We also discussed the order and ministration of the Lord’s Table. Now the Lord talks about the Church as Christ meant it to be. We read:

1 Corinthians 12:1-7 (KJV)1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. 3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit with all.

The Christian Church has three sources of power that the world does not have.

The Church Is Empowered By God’s Word

The Church has as a source of power The Word of God. The Word of God instructs us.

I saw a friend trying to put a baby crib together one time, and all the time he was fussing. “Who is the world thought this thing up! Nothing fits. It makes no sense!”. I asked him “What do the instructions say to do?”. His reply? “I don’t need any instructions. I can do this myself!”

This is what the world does today in nearly every part of life.
Is your marriage falling apart?
Could it be because you’re not following the Manufacturer’s Instructions, the Bible?
Is your family in disarray?
Could it be because you’re not following the Maker’s Plan?

God says of His Word:

Isaiah 40:8 (NKJV) The grass withers, the flower fades, But the WORD OF OUR GOD stands forever.”

Jesus’ Words when attacked were “It Is Written”. God’s Word makes for growth and order. The Bible says that in the early Church when …

the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7)

There is NO SALVATION without the Word of God. It is the Word of God that gives us the Gospel promises. It is the Word of God that must be believed to be saved. There is NO SANCTIFICATION or growth without the Word of God. The Bible says:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

It is this Word of God today that will instruct us on …

1 Corinthians 12:1 (KJV) Now concerning SPIRITUAL GIFTS, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

The Church Is Empowered By The Spirit Of God

The first word in SPIRITUAL Gifts is SPIRITUAL or SPIRIT. The Holy Spirit of God. There are Spiritual Gifts in the Church, but before the Apostle speaks of Spiritual Gifts he speaks of the HOLY SPIRIT. Why? Because …

The power of the Christian – the power to understand Scripture and the power to do great works is in the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.

We were all “Gentiles” or lost people before we were saved by the Grace of God.

1 Corinthians 12:2 (KJV) Ye know that ye WERE Gentiles,
carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

We WERE Gentiles. You were a Gentile before you were saved. As Gentiles YOU WERE “carried away by dumb idols”. You followed NOTHING. You followed:

Flesh
Feelings
Foolishness
Fantasies

You made gods of these nothings, these imaginings, these desires. You were “carried AWAY” by these things.

Psalm 115:4-9 (NKJV) Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. 5 They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; 6 They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; 7 They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat. 8 Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them. 9 O Israel, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.

As Gentiles we were carried away by dumb idols.
The lost today are carried away by their nothing gods.
But the saved are empowered by their God.

1 Corinthians 12:3 (KJV) Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

The Mark of the Christian is how that person perceives and expresses Christ. The person who is lost “calls Christ accursed”. They use Jesus’ name in foul curse words. They mock His teachings.

The lost dissect what God has said, and throw away the parts that they do not like,
but keep the parts they do like.
Like the Deist Thomas Jefferson they take a knife to the Bible,
and cut out what they disagree with while retaining what they like.
“God is love” is in, but “God commands” is out.

You say “but I know Christians who do not believe the whole Bible”. They may be “Christian” but they are operating as if lost. The Christian proper and genuine follows the Word of God and the Spirit of God. The Christian is indwelt by the Spirit of God, also called the Spirit of Truth. Jesus said:

John 16:13-15 (NKJV) However, when He, the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, HAS COME, HE WILL GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

John 14:15-17 (NKJV) “If you love Me, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, WHOM THE WORLD CANNOT RECEIVE, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

The Holy Spirit indwells every Christian who is saved by faith in the LORD Jesus Christ. As our text tells us:

no man can say that JESUS IS THE LORD, but by the Holy {Spirit}.

It is the Holy Spirit that promotes the preeminence of Christ in SALVATION and in CHRISTIAN LIVING. It is the Holy Spirit that causes God’s Church to be in one accord.

The Church Is Blessed By The Manifestation Of The Spirit, The Spiritual Gifts

1 Corinthians 12:4 (KJV) Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

The Spiritual Gift when it operates is the MANIFESTATION of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle tells us “there are DIVERSITIES of GIFTS”, that is, there are many different spiritual gifts in the Church, but “the same Spirit” – only One Holy Spirit behind that gift.

1 Corinthians 12:5 (KJV) And there are differences of ADMINISTRATIONS,
but the same Lord.

“Administrations” is the Greek διακονία diakonia which means ministry or service to those in need. God raises up and empowers people to act as servants, ministering to the needs of the saints of His house. There are different types of DIAKONIA, but the same Lord is behind every gift.

1 Corinthians 12:6 (KJV) And there are diversities of OPERATIONS, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

“Operations” is the Greek ἐνέργημα energēma which means “workings”, a focused expenditure of energy. Some spiritual gifts do not so much as minister to a weakness so much as they supply other necessary functions. Though there are different out-workings, the same God works all in all. It is not a human function, but a Divine enablement.

What is the point the Apostle makes here? Regardless as to what is done in the Body of Christ, the Church, everything is to be done through the power of God’s Holy Spirit. This necessitates that every action done be done PRAYERFULLY and FOR GOD’S GLORY.

This is where many Churches fail today, and why so many Churches close their doors every year. The Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development noted that 4000 Churches close every year compared to 1000 new Church starts. Why is this? The Churches that close rely on human effort rather than God’s Empowerment. Jesus said:

John 15:4-6 (NKJV) Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

The local Church in America today is in many cases trying to compromise with the world rather than align itself with God’s Power and God’s Word. As Light aligns with darkness it becomes part of the darkness. This is why many close. There is no more value in going to a dead, spiritless Church than there is in going to a movie theater whose projector bulb is blown out.

Abiding in Christ we bear MUCH fruit. Abiding in the darkness we bear NO fruit. Abiding partway in Christ and partway in self we bear LITTLE fruit. We must abide in Him. And here is a key passage:

1 Corinthians 12:7 (KJV) But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit {with all}.

The Spiritual Gift exercised is a MANIFESTATION of the Holy Spirit. The Gifts are given not to bless just the person who wields the gift, but to BLESS THE CHURCH ITSELF.

No Spiritual Gift is operated
SELFISHLY but SELFLESSLY.

The King James says the “manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit WITHAL”, which is the Old English word for “With All”. Where a gift functions, if it is a gift, it profits the Body of Christ. These “Gifts” are given as God sees fit to bestow them. They are “Gifts”. We do not earn nor deserve them. God gives them to each member to bless His Church. The Apostle writes:

1 Corinthians 12:8-11 (KJV)  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;  [9]  To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;  [10]  To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:  [11]  But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

What are the various gifts that the Apostle mentions?

Word of Wisdom
Word of Knowledge
Faith
Gifts of Healing
Working of Miracles
Prophecy or Preaching
Discerning Of Spirits
Many Types Of Tongues
Interpretation Of Tongues

These gifts are all given by the Holy Spirit to members of the Body of Christ as He wills. We do not earn nor deserve the gifts, nor can we work our way up to them. The Apostle Paul became an Apostle on the day Christ knocked him down on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:5-6). When God told Ananias to go to the newly converted Paul He said:

Acts 9:15 (KJV)  But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

Paul was God’s Apostle cause God said so, and God gives His calling and gifts as He sees fit.

No Gift Is More Important Than The Other

Sometimes we get bound by the flesh thinking one gift is better than another. This is not true. Every Spiritual Gift is given by God, empowered by God, and needed by the Body of Christ. The Apostle explains this in detail.

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

Just as the human body is comprised of many different parts, and every part equally important, so is the Church, the Body of Christ. Every Church member is important. Every part of your body is important.

1 Corinthians 12:15-18 (KJV)  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  [16]  And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  [17]  If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?  [18]  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

Just as every part of the human body has a distinctive gifting and ability, every part of the Church of Christ has a distinctive gifting and ability. Some say “But I had no idea I have a spiritual gift”. This is perhaps because you have not been surrendered in your life to the Spirit of God. Let me ask you:

Do you READ His Word daily?
Do you DO what God says do, or do you critique His commands?
Do you PRAY and seek God’s will in your life?
Are you ABIDING in Christ?
Do you seek out opportunities to PUT LOVE IN ACTION?
Do you just USE people, or do you LOVE people?

How you answer these questions will determine whether you are used of God or not. And if God has gifted you, praise Him, because every gift is important.

1 Corinthians 12:19-25 (KJV)  And if they were all one member, where were the body?  [20]  But now are they many members, yet but one body.  [21]  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  [22]  Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:  [23]  And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.  [24]  For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked:  [25]  That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

Every part is important. Every member working together, caring for one another, prevent schism or cancer in the Body. And every member is so very important.

Years ago I never thought about my feet. As I get older, my feet and legs hurt, some days just throbbing. I used to take my feet for granted. I told Sherry my wife the other day that as I get older, I take better care of my feet and my teeth. Every part of me is necessary.

And every one of you is necessary.

Grow, dear Christian. Abide in Him, in His Word, and do as He says. Find your gift and let the Spirit enable for His glory and our sake. May Christ touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in 1 Corinthians, Church, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

TELL TODAY THAT YOU LOVE THEM, BEFORE THEY ARE GONE

great truths. Love while you can.

Candles Online

We were all set to celebrate the 50th marriage anniversary of my Buaji and Fufaji (paternal aunt and uncle). It was going to be a great event with most of the family members getting together for the big celebration. Dresses and gifts were decided and I was making a photo album for the “Golden Couple”. Creating a customised gift takes time and when the network or website issues come, then the effort grows manifold. It was late night when I was having trouble in putting up a picture on a page. I gave up finally and went to bed, thinking to start afresh the next day.

It was in the morning when my mom called me up. I thought the call must be regarding the golden celebrations only, because that’s what we have been doing lately, planning what to wear and what to gift. When I answered the call, my…

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The Lord’s Table

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Audio of Sermon 8 AM: 

Audio of Sermon 11 AM: 

Sermon Notes: 1 Corinthians 11:23-33 (KJV) For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: [24] And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. [25] After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. [26] For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. [27] Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. [28] But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. [29] For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. [30] For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. [31] For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. [32] But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. [33] Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

I always love the times we take the Lord’s Table. It is a time where we as a Church are to be the closest to one another and to Christ.

I remember years ago when I was just starting in ministry my mentor served the Lord’s Table backwards. He didn’t mean to, but had a senior moment like we all have. He served the “Cup” first, then the “Body”. Afterwards he told me he was so ashamed that he had done so, but I don’t think anyone noticed but we two. The order of the Table is important. Christ is the Vessel in which the Blood is in. The Body is broken, the Blood spilled. The Body of our Lord was beaten and bruised and whipped to bear the penalty of our sins.

Isaiah 53:5 (KJV) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

The Lord’s Table Is A Time Of Self Examination

The Lord’s Table is a time when we do two examinations.
We examine what Christ did for us, but we also
must examine our own lives.
Not our neighbor’s, but ours.

The Apostle says:

[28] But let a man EXAMINE himself, and so let him eat of that bread,
and drink of that cup. 

The word translated “EXAMINE” is the Greek δοκιμάζω dokimazō, a Present Active Imperative. This is a command. This word is used in the testing of something precious to determine whether it is genuine or not. I have often seen sales clerks who have been given a large dollar bill, a denomination like a 50$ or a $100, and mark on it with a felt tip marker. If the bill is genuine the mark will look a certain way. If they don’t have the test pen I have seen the clerk hold the bill up to the light to look at the watermarks that are supposed to be there. They test the bill because they are responsible for the till. That’s what dokimazō means – to test yourself. To take out your faith and hold it up to the light. Is the watermark of Christ in your life? If it is, then your faith is valid. If not, your faith may only be a feeling, and feelings do not save.

Do I have a genuine relationship with God in Christ? Is Jesus Christ real to me in good times as in bad? The Psalmist David said:

Psalm 26:2-7 (NKJV) Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart. 3 For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth. 4 I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, Nor will I go in with hypocrites. 5 I have hated the assembly of evildoers, And will not sit with the wicked. 6 I will wash my hands in innocence; So I will go about Your altar, O Lord, 7 That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works.

David prayed “Lord, mark on me with that ‘test pen’. Prove me. Show me that I am yours.” If God is yours then your faith is genuine, and genuine faith reflects in the life that we live. The Church at Corinth was not showing love for God and love for one another, but divisiveness, such divisiveness that Paul had heard it through the grapevine though he was imprisoned and unable to cone to them. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 11:18-19 (KJV) For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. [19] For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

There were divisions and heresies manifested in the Church. The Lord’s Table is a time when the Family of God comes TOGETHER in LOVE, remembering what Christ did for us. God’s Children are not to be divided but in one accord following one Lord. A “heresy” is a false doctrine manifested in bad behavior. The Corinthians had turned the Lord’s Table into a greedy Roman Banquet. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 11:20-22 (KJV) When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. [21] For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. [22] What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

They were bringing more than bread and the cup to the Table. They were fighting over food, and drinking wine to drunkenness. It was a Roman feast! And it was not honoring to Christ.

The Lord’s Table is not a time to fill your belly, but a time to remind yourself of the great Sacrifice of Christ. His Body was broken for us. He willingly chose the nails. He did so to bring us together as family, the Family of God.

Lamentations 3:40 (NKJV) Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the Lord;

2 Corinthians 13:5 (NKJV) Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

If Christ is in you then you will not greedily seek the table, nor live your lives in selfishness. As we humble ourselves before God He will bless us. But if we live as if we are part of the world and not part of His Kingdom God will chastise us. This is what was happening in Corinth.

[29] For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. [30] For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
[31] For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

Jesus gave us the Lord’s Table to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith or not. The Corinthians were not passing the test. They were mocking the test.

Our God is patient, and our Heavenly Father loves us. But if we who are His do not heed His direction, then He withdraws His blessing. Many of the Corinthians were weak and sickly. Sickness is not always a punishment from God, but it can be. When we forget the God of our Salvation He can withdraw His blessed hand. Sickness can come. Disease can consume us. Many of the Corinthians slept, that is, they died a Christian death. The Christian does not “die” but “sleeps”. His body sleeps, and his soul goes to be with Jesus. They were dying because they would not pass the test.

[32] But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

God punishes His Children when they stray from the path of love. If we are “in the faith” we will love one another and love the Lord Who saved us.

[33] Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

Christian love decrees that we “wait on one another”. At the Lord’s Table I am not there to feed myself, but to serve as Christ served. To sacrificially love.

The Lord’s Table Is A Time Where
We Examine What Christ Did

[23] … the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: [24] And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

Jesus is LORD. He is “The LORD Jesus”. He is the Creator God, the One of Whom the Scripture says:

Colossians 1:16-18 (NKJV) For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

No one took Christ’s life but He laid it down for us. He gave Himself for us. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus. Our Lord sent him from the Table BEFORE He served it. The Betrayer was gone. Then Jesus broke the Bread. Jesus broke the Body. He knew that there was no way that we could come to the Father, no work that we could do, that we were sinners, lost and undone. So He willingly gave Himself over to death. The Scripture says:

1 Timothy 2:6 (NKJV) {Jesus} GAVE HIMSELF a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,

He gave Himself. He gave Himself at that Table, and gave Himself at that Cross. What did He say?

No man takes My life, but I lay it down of Myself, and I have power to take it again”
John 10:18

Jesus laid His life down for you and for me. Blessed be His name, the One Who …

Galatians 1:4 (NKJV) … who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

Jesus gave Himself for us. We break bread together to remember and examine what He did.

[25] After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

The Blood of the Lamb paid for sin from the time of Adam until the time of Calvary. Lamb after lamb was slain, its blood shed on an altar in front of the Temple’s Holy of Holies. But the sacrifice of the Lamb was done every year at the same time, a time called among the Jew Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The Old Testament was temporary, fleeting, pointing to another day.

Hebrews 10:1-4 (NKJV) For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

Hebrews 10:9-14 (NKJV) then {Christ} said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

The blood of animals sacrificed on the Temple Altar offered a temporary covering for sin. But when God died for us (Acts 20:28) His offering was once and for all. That …

whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16)

Have you received Him as Lord and Savior? If so, we celebrate Him at this Table. Come, celebrate with us. Do you tarry to receive Him? Do not do so. Receive Him without delay. Call on the Name of Jesus, believing He died for you. Trust Him with your life both now and into eternity.

[26] For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup,
ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 

Do not make this an empty show. Trust Him. Receive Him. Love Him. For He loves you!

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in 1 Corinthians, Communion, Following Disciples, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Burden of Moab

Isaiah_15t16_Burden_Of_Moab

Audio Of Sermon: 

Sermon Notes: As we are preaching through Isaiah the Lord took me to the next text, Isaiah chapters 15-16 (page 1000-1001 in your Pew Bibles). Let’s read responsively:

Isaiah 15:1 (KJV)  The burden of Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; Matthew 11:28-30 (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.   [30]   For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

I looked at this text, these two chapters, and asked the Lord “How do I preach this text? My first response was to skip it. But as I prayed and sought His Face, His blessed Face, the Spirit began to speak to my heart. Of faith. Of what genuine faith is, and isn’t. People today are burdened – weighed down – because they have placed their faith in the wrong vessel. This is the story of the Moabites, the children of almost faith.

What Does Genuine Faith Look Like?
It Looks Like Abraham

The Bible tells us that:

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

Faith is not a light hearted belief like we have in a lucky rabbit’s foot or a four leaf clover.
Faith believes that God IS – no matter what the circumstances.
Faith believes that God rewards those who keep on seeking Him.

The story of Moab begins in our Bible with a man named Abraham and his nephew Lot.

Abraham loved the Lord. In fact, Abraham was initially called ABRAM. It was as ABRAM that he was called to believe in God. It was through the death of his father and multiple trials that ABRAM became ABRAHAM. God gave Abraham his name, and his strength. Abraham believed beyond what his eyes saw. Abraham didn’t serve God perfectly, but he served God the best he could. He diligently sought God. When he moved he moved where God told him to go. When he had no direction Abraham would stop and wait on God. Faith is waiting on God in good times and in bad, seeking His face and His direction. Faith is doing as the Psalmist said:

Psalm 27:14 (NKJV) Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!

When you don’t know what to do, wait on the Lord. This is doesn’t mean to do nothing. We are to serve God with all our hearts while we wait. But we we wait if we have no direction. We set up our tent in the desert. We do not fret, but we wait. We do not worry, but we wait. We do like Abraham did.

Just as George Washington is the father of our country,
Abraham is the father of true faith.

Abraham believed God. Abraham “saw Jesus’ day and was glad” (John 8:56). Abraham believed in God, put his faith in God, loved God.

Romans 4:18-22 …. {Abraham} contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Abraham believed God. Abraham followed God, and Lot his nephew followed Abraham.

Now who was Lot?
Was Lot a believer?

Yes, he was. The Apostle says that God …

delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by
the filthy conduct of the wicked (2 Peter 2:7)

Lot is called “righteous Lot” because he, too was saved. He believed in God. But Lot as a believer was not as Abraham was a believer. Lot judged things not according to the Promise of God, but according to his eyes.

One day Lot’s shepherds got in a fight with Abraham’s shepherds. The shepherds and the herdsmen were responsible for feeding their master’s sheep, but the land could not support two huge groups of animals. God had blessed Lot just as he blessed Abraham for following Him. Do you know that God promises that if you …

Matthew 6:33 (KJV) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

If you want to be blessed in this life, put God first.
If you want to be blessed in this life, put God first.
If you want to be blessed in this life, put God first.

Both Lot and Abraham loved the Lord, and were following the Lord. But now comes a fight between their herdsmen and shepherds. What to do? Now Abraham was the senior, the elder, and he should have first choice. But Abraham wasn’t worried – he knew God was going to take care of him. Abraham told Lot:

Genesis 13:8-9 (NKJV) Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.

Choose which way you want to go, Lot. Let peace reign between us.
How did Lot respond?
He took what looked like the best land!

Genesis 13:10-11 (NKJV) Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east.

Lot let his eyes lead him rather than the Lord lead him. Abraham took the other path, and God promised Abraham and his descendants the area known as Canaan or the Promised Land. But Lot headed toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and set up his home in that place. Lot began a compromising faith. And this is what led to Moab.

Lot’s Faith Was Compromising
Compromising Faith Leads To Moab

Lot settled in Sodom, a place known for grievous sexual sin. He had two daughters while in that place. The wages of sin is death, and in time God decided to destroy Sodom because of the abounding evil that was there. But God was not willing to destroy Lot and his family with the Sodomites. Two Angels of God went to Sodom, and on entering the city they went to Lot’s home. Arriving at Lot’s home the Bible tells us that …

Genesis 19:4 (NKJV) Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.”

Lot went out to these wild and sinful men. Lot didn’t stand against sin, but compromised with the evil. When you compromise with darkness you are darkness. When you compromise with evil you are evil.

Genesis 19:7-8 (NKJV) …. “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! 8 See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.”

What a travesty that Lot would so compromise as to offer his virgin daughters to this evil crowd! God did not allow this, nor did He allow Sodom to remain standing. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorra that very night, and led Lot and his daughters to a cave to rest while he poured out his judgment on evil. God will judge evil. God despises sin. A judgment day is coming, dear ones. Are you following the Lord?

While in that cave Lot’s daughters, believing the world had ended (so terrible was the judgment of God on Sodom and Gomorra), they believed that there were no men left on the earth. Their father’s faith was based on his eyes and heart, and so was Lot’s daughters. So they got Lot drunk, and in an act of incest became pregnant. We are told in …

Genesis 19:37 (NKJV) {Lot’s} firstborn {daughter} bore a son and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day.

The Moabites were cousins to the Israelites, of the same blood line as Abraham. The Moabites were born not of faith but of compromising faith, wayward faith, faithlessness.

It took us a while to get back to Isaiah, but you needed to know where Moab came from. Moab is born of compromise. Moab is born of weak faith. Moab is born of the flesh. Moab wallows in the darkness.

The “Burden” Of Moab

Isaiah 15:1 (KJV)  The burden of Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence;

  • The “Burden” Of Moab Is That They Rejected God. The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself for the sins of the whole world to bring us to God.

1 John 2:2 (NKJV) And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

God offers salvation by faith in Him. Abraham believed God and God protected Abraham. Lot believed God partially, and brought much misery in his life. But Moab grew up watching a compromising parent, a Lot who was little in faith. Moab rejected faith in God. The darkness came, and Moab’s chief cities fell. Our nation today is falling under the weight of sin and faithlessness.

  • The “Burden” Of Moab Is Pride And Misplaced Faith. In our country today people march in pride supporting things they should not be proud of. In our country today preachers proudly preach what God has said is wrong.

Isaiah 16:6 (KJV)  We have heard of the pride of Moab; he is very proud: even of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath: but his lies shall not be so.

People speak a lie and swear it to be the truth. People depart from God, live a half faith, and wonder why their children grow up imprisoned, immoral, in trouble. The Bible tells us what you sow, you shall reap:

Galatians 6:7-8 (NKJV) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

Where faith in God and love for others is sowed the same shall be reaped. But the lies of Satan and the lies of Moab shall not prosper. Evil breeds evil.

  • The “Burden” Of Moab Is Suffering Brought On By Faithlessness.

Isaiah 16:7 (KJV)  Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, every one shall howl: for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn; surely they are stricken.

Moab cannot fix itself, but needs the Lord. We cannot fix ourselves, but we need the Lord. There is no hope looking to ourselves for the solution. We all need Jesus!

  • The “Burden” of Moab Is The Heavy Heart Of The Saved. As Isaiah looked on Moab and delivered judgment against that people his heart was heavy. He said:

Isaiah 15:5 (KJV)  My heart shall cry out for Moab …

Oh, how the mother weeps over the child who will not hear God’s Word. Rivers of tears have been cried for children who rejected the loving call of God. Isaiah saw Moab as his cousin, a people who should have been children of the promise. But they would not hear. They hardened their hearts against God. They brought anguish upon themselves. The legendary man of God W.A. Criswell wrote:

There was brought to my hands one time a letter. “Read this” they said. “It is addressed to you.” It was from a young woman who had taken her own life. … What happened was syphilis. Venereal disease had begun to attack the soft tissues of her eyes, and she was going blind.”

How sad that this young woman did not repent and come to Christ. What a burden she put upon the Pastor at her burial. What a burden she put on her parents, and not just this, but on herself. The self righteous Pharisees murmured against Jesus because, they said with a sneer,

Luke 15:2 (KJV) … This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

But what is it that Jesus said?

Mark 2:17 (KJV) …. They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Jesus Offers Hope And Peace For The Burdened

Jesus came for the broken, the hurting, the Moabite. He calls to the Moabite and to you to …

Matthew 11:28-30 (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.   [30]   For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Jesus Christ came to this earth to save sinners, the broken, the wandering, the lost. He came for the burdened.

Days are filled with sorrow and care
Hearts are lonely and drear
Burdens are Lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Calvary, Calvary
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

Cast your care on Jesus today
Leave your worry and fear
Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary
Jesus is very near!

Faith in Christ brings us into – as Criswell used to say – “The Land of Beginning Again”. He said:

I don’t have to die. I don’t have to be judged. I don’t have to be condemned. In Christ there is a great intervention, a great breaking off of the judgments of God, and in the Beloved I can be safe. The hands that were nailed to the tree are the same hands of grace and goodness that are extended to the whole world, and it reaches even unto me.”

I hope you’ll go home and read chapters 15 & 16 of Isaiah. Jesus came to bring us to God, to give us God’s mercy if we would have it.

Isaiah 16:5 (KJV)  And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.

There is hope for all in Christ. Jesus gave Himself so that no one need live diminished lives.

In another Book of Scripture a Moabite woman loses her husband to death, but stays with her aging mother in law. When her mother in law tells her she can go free this woman named Ruth said:

Ruth 1:16 (NKJV) Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.

Ruth put her faith in God, so God put her in His Family. When Jesus Christ’s family tree is mentioned, Ruth is in that tree (see Matthew 1:5). Jesus Christ is the place of beginning again. He is a wonderful Savior and Lord. Follow Him, dear One. Follow Him. Let Him have your burdens. Moab held on to his burden. You need not do so. Give it all to Him.

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