Well, Well (Reflections on John 4:1-29)

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John 4:1-7 (KJV)  When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,  [2]  (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)  [3]  He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.  [4]  And he must needs go through Samaria.  [5]  Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  [6]  Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.  [7]  There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

Thus far in the Gospel of John, we have seen Jesus witness to John, Andrew, Peter, Philip, Nathaniel, and Nicodemus. The number of those following Jesus has increased dramatically. Wherever Jesus goes He commands “follow Me”, and people begin to follow Him. Yet one crowd still resists Christ, and that is the self-righteous crowd, the Pharisees.

Jesus never baptized anyone but commanded His disciples to do so. As the number of those baptized by Jesus surpasses that of John the Baptist the Pharisees begin to worry about Christ. Who was this young Upstart who ran people out of the Temple? The Man was rocking the boat, and they didn’t like it.

But Jesus knew their hearts. Jesus knew their thoughts (Matthew 12:25). Jesus is not just some new fad, an undocumented Rabbi. We learned in John 1 that Jesus is the Eternal Word of God. He is co-equal and co-eternal with God.

Proverbs 21:2 (KJV) the LORD pondereth the hearts.
Jeremiah 17:10 (KJV)I the LORD search the heart…

Jesus knew what was in the Pharisee heart. Jesus had a mission to fulfill from God His Father. Rather than stir a boiling pot Jesus …

must needs go through Samaria

The Spirit led Jesus away from Jerusalem and into the strangest of places. He led Jesus to Samaria.

Samaria Is A Fallen Place

John 4:5 (KJV) Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.

As non-Jewish people, we would just read this text and not think about it, but to the Jew what is happening is significant. The Jews hated the Samaritans, and the Samaritans hated the Jews. No self-respecting Jew – particularly a Pharisee – wanted to be found anywhere near Samaria or near a Samaritan. What caused this hatred?

After King Solomon died his son, Rehoboam, ruled in his place. Rehoboam, unlike Solomon, was not a wise king. He did not seem to care for his people. Rehoboam took pains to take care of his tribe (Judah) and the tribe of Levi (the Priests), but used the other ten tribes horribly. He was not fair in taxation, nor in meeting their needs. A delegation from the ten other tribes of Israel went to Jerusalem to discuss the matter with Rehoboam. Their leader was Jeroboam. Jeroboam told Rehoboam:

1 Kings 12:4 (KJV)  Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.

The delegation asked for a lighter tax. What was Rehoboam’s answer?

1 Kings 12:14 (KJV) … My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

This is not diplomacy, nor was the answer well received. The ten tribes of Israel decided to break away from Rehoboam and Jerusalem and to form their own nation. Their capital city would be Samaria. Thus the Samaritans were born.

The ten tribes became Northern Israel. Jeroboam reigned from Samaria. Rather than worship at the Temple (which was what God decreed) the Samarian government established its own places of worship. As Samaria and the ten tribes drifted farther away from God the Lord caused the Assyrian Empire under Sargon II and his successor Sennacherib to overthrow Samaria and it’s tribes. The Samaritan population was flooded with Assyrian immigrants who intermarried with the population. As a result, many of those called “Samaritan” was blended Jews and Gentiles. The Jews of Judah and Levi despised these rebels and were in turn despised by the Samaritans.

John 4:6 (KJV) Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 

Though Samaritan and Jew were enemies, God still loved ALL of Israel. Jesus stopped to rest at a place called “Jacob’s Well”. This was an area that Jacob – the Father of Israel – purchased(see Genesis 33:18-20). It was here that Jacob rested after his encounter with his brother Esau, a brother that he had cheated and robbed of his birthright. Jacob expected Esau to destroy him and his family, but God caused Esau to forgive his brother. When Jacob and his family rested in Shechem he purchased this land, built a well on it, and built an altar to God which he called:

Elelohe-Israel, or
El Eloshe Israel

which means “to the Mighty God of Israel”. This was a well dedicated to God by the father of a united Israel. After Rehoboam’s failure and Jeroboam’s revolt, this area fell into the Samaritan territory. But it was a place where all of Israel should have come together under the love of God. Had Esau destroyed Jacob then neither Jew nor Samaritan would be alive today. Our God is gracious. It is here at this historic well and on this holy ground that Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman.

John 4:7 (KJV) There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

Jesus Loves To Save The Fallen

That Jesus – an obvious Jew by His dress and deportment – would speak to a Samaritan was shocking to this woman. She asks …

John 4:9 (KJV) …. How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

To her, this is like a member of the Ku Klux Klan asking an African American woman for a glass of iced tea. This woman has never been approached civilly by a Jew, and I suspect that she herself has never been civil to a Jew. This is how racism works. Rather than accept all people as precious because all people are made by God in His image

Acts 17:26 (KJV) {God}hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, …

racism looks backward to perceived injustices and unfairness that humans – ALL HUMANS – have made. We cannot look at any color of people from any nation and not look backward and see injustices perpetrated. Every human of every color need only honestly think just a few moments before we realize we have “all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). There is “none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). We have all failed one another, and have all failed our God.

But Jesus loves us.
He loves the Samaritan and the Jew.
He loves the Red, the Yellow, the Black, the White.
Jesus loves the sinner but wants to save them from their sin.
He loves you and me enough to approach us in our wrong,
And to draw us to His right.

Jesus replied to her in

John 4:10 (KJV) …. If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

This intrigued the woman. Jesus had no means by which He could draw water from Jacob’s well. If He didn’t even have a bucket, how was He going to give her Living Water? Jesus told her:

John 4:13-14 (KJV) … Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:  [14]  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Jacob’s well was a great blessing, but Jesus’ well is better. Those who drank from Jacob’s well – whether Jew or Samaritan – would be thirsty again. But those who drank from the well of Christ would never thirst. Jesus would satisfy those who put their trust in Him. The woman had to have this water. She said:

John 4:15 (KJV) … Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

This woman – like many people today – think that Jesus is offering convenience. Come to Jesus and get everlasting life … but no difference in your life now. Listen, Beloved – Jesus did not come to save us IN our sins, but to save us FROM our sins. He came to change our posture in life. Jesus illustrates this next. We read:

John 4:16-18 (KJV)  Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.  [17]  The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:  [18]  For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

This woman was in heterosexual sin. She was sleeping around. Jesus does not give living water to a person drowning in sin. Those who come to Jesus REPENT of their sin, no matter what it might be.

Nicodemus repented of his self-righteousness.
Zacchaeus repented of his thefts.
Peter repented of his selfishness.
This woman will repent of her sexual sin.

Jesus changes our want to’s to God’s want to’s. He transfers us from the Kingdom of Darkness and into His Kingdom of Light:

Colossians 1:12-14 (KJV)  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:  [13]  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  [14]  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Sins are not only forgiven, but their power is removed in Christ. He changes our posture in righteousness. Not only this, but God changes our posture in worship. The woman told Jesus …

John 4:20 (KJV)  Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.  

The Samaritans worshiped not in the Temple, but in the mountains of Samaria. The Jews told them they needed to worship in the Temple. Jesus corrected both Jew as well as Samaritan when He said:

John 4:21-23 (KJV) Woman, believe me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  [22]  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.  [23]  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

It is not the place that makes worship of God special – it is that we worship Him in spirit and in truth. God seeks those who will worship Him not just in the mountains, nor in the local Church building, but wherever they are.

Our lives should be filled with worship for the Lord if we are saved of Him. Every action we take in life should be to glorify our Creator and Savior. We are to live for Him!

John 4:24 (KJV)  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Jesus said, “God is a Spirit”. He is like the wind. He is everywhere. There is no place I can go to escape Him. The Psalmist said to God:

Psalms 139:7-14 (KJV)  Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?  [8]  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.  [9]  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;  [10]  Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.  [11]  If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.  [12]  Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.  [13]  For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.  [14]  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

Every moment of every day we should worship the Lord. Jesus came to save us from our sins. Jesus came to enable us to worship God as He wants to be worshiped. Jesus came as the Messiah. We close with:

John 4:25-29 (KJV)  The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when he comes, he will tell us all things.  [26]  Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.  …  [28]  The woman then left her water-pot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,  [29]  Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

When Peter was called to follow Jesus, he left his fishing boat.
WhenMatthewwas called to follow Jesus, he left his tax tables.
When Andrew was called to follow Jesus, he left John the Baptist.
When Nathaniel was called to follow Jesus, he left his fig tree.
And when this woman was called to follow Jesus, she left her water-pot.

They all left that which was GOOD to follow Him that is BEST. Are YOU following Jesus or religion? Are you worshiping God in spirit and in truth, or just going through the motions? Choose Him Who gives living water and eternal life. Choose to follow Christ.

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

Faith Of Our Fathers

Exodus 2:21-22 (KJV) And Moses was content to dwell with {the priest of Midian}: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. 22 And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.

Exodus 3:1-6 (KJV) Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. 2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. 5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

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There have been two recent suicides that have shaken Hollywood and the art world. Kate Spade was very successful in the fashion industry, and was worth an estimated $200 Million dollars. She took her own life at the age of 55 years old. What a terrible tragedy! Less than a week later Anthony Bourdain – a very successful celebrity chef and television host – took his own life. He was young – only 61 years old. He was also well off. His net worth was an estimated $16 Million dollars. They had fame. They had fortune. They had power. Yet they were not satisfied with the lives they had.

I do not know where their final destination is – only God knows this. And I am certainly not one to pass judgment on anyone. But I am convinced that the things of this life do not bring soul satisfying happiness. America is one of the most prosperous nations in the world. And yet suicide rates have increased nationwide over the last twenty years, and half of the states the rates are up by 30%. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15-34. Why?

One of the greatest warriors this world has ever seen was Alexander the Great. In his lifetime he conquered most of the known world – but died mysteriously at the age of 32. Before Alexander died he asked for three things:

Let my doctors carry my casket.
Take the gold and jewels from my treasury, and scatter them before my funeral procession.
Bury me with both of my hands outside of my casket.

His general assured him that they would do as he asked, but asked why he wanted these things done. Alexander replied:

I want people to know that no doctor can cure death.
I want them to know that I chased wealth my whole life, but I can’t take it with me.
I want all to know I came empty handed into this world, and leave the same way.

You may find happiness – brief happiness – in fame or fortune. But until you come to know the Lord Who made you, until you walk hand in hand with Him, you will be unhappy. Unhappiness and dissatisfaction left untreated can turn into depression, and when depressed you may be convinced your life is not worth living. Your life is worth living. God loves you, and made you not to be controlled by things, but to be with Him. God did not make you to walk about controlled by social media and the politically correct mind police. God made you to do great things WITH Him.

We Become Depressed When We Forget God

Exodus 2:21-22 (KJV) And Moses was content to dwell with {the priest of Midian}: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. 22 And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.

Our text starts out with “Moses was CONTENT”, but the context itself shows you this is not a good translation. If Moses is “content” then why would he name his child “Gershom” which means “stranger”? Why would Moses says “I am a stranger in a strange land” if he was “content”. He wasn’t “content”. He was – according to the Hebrew – YA’AL (יָאַל) which means he was WILLING”. Moses had settled in life. He was just existing. He had a wife, a job, a new family – and Moses was willing to settle down into this life.

But something was lacking.
Moses said “I have been a stranger in a strange land”.
He was not where he wanted to be.
This is why he named his child Gershom!

God made us to be complete only in Him. We are made “in His likeness, in His image” (Genesis 1:26). We have no control over how we are born into this life. Some are born with silver spoons in their mouths. Others are born poor.

Moses wasn’t supposed to be born at all.

Moses’ mamma and daddy were born slaves in Egypt. The King of Egypt wanted to hold the Israelites in bondage, and wanted to restrict the number of male babies they had. So the King issued a decree to the midwives who delivered babies:

Exodus 1:16 (KJV) … When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.

This was selective abortion, much like we see in America today. If a child is inconvenient or not perfect in it’s form then let’s abort that baby. Kill the child, satisfy the King. But the midwives refused to do so because they realized that every life has value. Do you understand this?

Every life has value.
Every life is created by God for a purpose.
You have purpose. God made you for a reason.
That person next to you has purpose.
You will only find your purpose in Christ!

Since the midwives didn’t do their jobs, the Pharaoh told all of the nation:

Exodus 1:22 (KJV)… Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.

Moses was born into this world. His mother was under orders to “cast her son into the river”. What would his mother do? She “cast her son into the river”, but only after making a little boat to put him in. A mother’s love for God and her son saved her child.

Technically Moses’ mother obeyed the Law, but she wasn’t about to destroy her son. This was not only a violation of God’s Law, a but also a violation of her Divine Design. God made women with the ability to bear and mother children. No mother wants to destroy her child. And God honored a mother’s obedience.

Little Moses floated down the river, and was rescued by none other than the Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses was raised in the King’s household. Moses was taught to read and write, for God had a plan for his life. But Moses was a stranger in a strange land. A Hebrew, he was raised in the Egyptian household. His mother was ordered to look after him, but he was a man between two worlds. He was a stranger in a strange land.

God had a purpose for Moses, and that purpose was the Cross of Christ, the salvation of mankind. When man fell from paradise by sin the Lord God promised the evil one that a Redeemer would come. The Lord said:

Genesis 3:15 (KJV) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Satan, your days will be numbered. The Seed of the woman will come forth and crush your head. He will destroy the sin and havoc that you through Adam brought into the world. Time passed. God called Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He promised first to Abraham:

Genesis 12:3 (KJV) … in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

It was through Abraham and his progeny that the Promised Redeemer would come. Abraham would have a child, Isaac, who would have a Jacob. From Jacob would come a nation and out of that nation “all the families of the world will be blessed”.

The Bible tells us that:

1 Peter 1:18-20 (KJV) Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain {way of life} received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

Christ would come through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Christ would come through Israel. Jesus Christ – Almighty and Incarnate God – would go to the Cross for us. God ordained this from eternity. God ordained Christ to die for our sins so that we would not be strangers to God. The Scripture declares of those who have received Christ as Lord and Savior:

Ephesians 2:19-20 (KJV) Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Moses felt himself a stranger in a strange land. Why? Because he was without God at this time. Moses is in Midian in hiding because he murdered a man he never should have murdered. He is dispossessed. He is a stranger in a strange land. But God is working in the background to bring Moses where he needs to be. Though the Bible says:

Romans 3:10-12 (KJV) …. There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

God seeks us. Though the Bible says:

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

God in His infinite love seeks us, calls us, loves us. Up to this point in his life Moses has followed his emotions, but not the Lord Who made him. The Lord seeks Moses. The Lord seeks you. He seeks our best, and knows our best will not come until we repent and follow Him.

Ezekiel 34:11-12 (KJV) For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

Gods seeks His people. He calls us to His side. Jesus said:

Luke 19:10 (KJV) {I have} come to seek and to save that which was lost.

We were made to walk with and worship God.
Not ourselves, but God.
Not money, but God.
Not sex, but God.
Not power, but God.
You were given eyes to look UP to Him.
You were given ears to hear His creation and His Word.
You were given hands to raise in praise, or to bow in prayer.
You were given feet to follow where He leads.
You were given lips to sing to Him, to pray to Him.
Your bodies are temples that should be inhabited by Him.

When We Meet Christ Life Begins To Make Sense

Moses is just existing. He has a wife, he has a son, and has a job. He is a shepherd. He’s doing his job, but he isn’t content. We read:

Exodus 3:1-3 (KJV) Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. 2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.

God reaches out to Moses. Moses sees a bush burning – but not burning up.
God reached out to the Apostle Paul on the Damascus Road.
He reached out to David when he was but a boy shepherd watching his father’s sheep.
God reaches out to Moses through a burning bush.
God controls events around us to bring us to Him.
He will not force us to Him. But He calls.

Exodus 3:4 (KJV) And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.

God approached Moses, just as He approaches every person at least once in their lives. God puts events and circumstances into our lives that make us turn toward Him. He calls – and we can choose or not choose to respond. Jesus said:

John 6:44 (KJV) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

The Father draws through His Spirit. He does not force. He attracts. He opens the door. He directs events to bring us to Him. Moses saw the burning bush, and turned to approach it. Moses could have passed on by, and never heard the call of God. But he saw the burning bush – and from this bush God calls out to Moses. The Lord says:

Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I

God distinctively called Moses. Moses, Moses! And Moses responded to the Lord. Here I am. God calls to us through His wonderful creation.

Psalms 19:1 (KJV) … The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.

We see God in creation. God approaches us through creation. Moses turns, and God now introduces Himself.

Exodus 3:5-6 (KJV) And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

God introduces Himself as the God of our fathers.
He is the God Who called Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to salvation.
He is the God Who promised Satan’s destruction, and Abraham’s blessing.

Moses was afraid to look upon God, but God loved to reach out to Moses. God calls Moses to salvation. Moses is to repent, to turn from the life that he was at, and begin life anew with the Lord. God tells Moses something astounding. He wants Moses to go back to Egypt, to come from hiding, and to lead His people out of Egypt.

God has not forgotten His promise.
God has not forgotten the Cross.
God has not forgotten our salvation.
God never forgets to reach out in love to us!

Exodus 3:9-10 (KJV) Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

Oh dear ones, salvation comes but with it brings the Cross. Jesus said:

Mark 8:34-35 (KJV)34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

You were not saved to sit on the sidelines, but to be like Christ. Moses, you have a Cross before you. Love my people. Lead my people from Egypt, from the godless world. Turn and follow Me, and call others to walk with us. This is salvation. It is not a selfish ticket punched to Heaven, but a life of love to God and to man!

J.D. Greear the newly elected President of the SBC wrote an article and a book called “Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart”. In this article he said:

The gospel is the declaration that Jesus is Lord and has made an end to our sins. We are saved by submitting to those two truths. Conversion is a posture we take toward the declarations that Scripture makes about Jesus. The point is not how we felt or what we said at the moment of conversion; the point is the posture we are in now.”

When God saved Moses He called Moses to His side. When God saves a person, He calls that person to His side. God says to us in salvation:

You are not your own.
You belong to Me.
I have something I want to do through you.

God told Moses “I am going to send you to Pharaoh. You will be my instrument, and I will be with you.”. Moses asked God “Whom shall I say has sent me?” God replied:

Exodus 3:14-15 (KJV) … I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. … The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

God Is Able To Use You

The God Who saves you is the God Who sends you. God stands with His children. God is able! God is able! God knew that Pharaoh would harden his heart and not let his people go. But God also knew – and told Moses – that in time Pharaoh would relent and let Israel go. God is in control. He is always in control.

I would like to say that Moses immediately did mighty things for God – but this would be untrue. Moses was newly saved. He was full of doubts about his ability to do what God asked him to do. As Moses came up with objections the Lord showed how He could use a lowly stick – so He could use Moses. God’s reply to Moses’ worry is:

Moses, I called you.
Moses, I will equip you.
Moses, just do as I say.

Moses did what God said, and became the instrument by which Israel was led from Egypt. God was going to save Israel because He promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God was going to send Christ through Israel because He promised He would do so. God will always do as He has said He will do. God is able. God is able. God is able to save whosoever will. Will you trust God in Christ today?

A little boy was riding around and around the block. A man asked him, “What are you doing?”

I’m running away from home,” he said. “But you’re just going around and around the block,” said the man. The little boy responded, “That’s because my mom won’t let me cross the street!”

You’re going to keep going around in circles until you give yourselves to the Lord!

Posted in Exodus, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , ,

Something Supernatural

Revelation 9:1-6And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. 5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. 6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

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In Revelation chapter 8 we saw “seven angels with seven trumpets”which were released on the earth because of the seventh seal. When Jesus released the Seventh Seal it is not the end of judgment, but that unfolds into Seven Trumpet Judgments:

  • TheFirst Trumpet destroyed the third part of all green things, the vegetation of earth.
  • The Second Trumpet turned the third part of the ocean into blood, killing a third of all fish life.
  • The Third Trumpet turned the third part of all fresh water bitter and undrinkable – killing wildlife and fish.
  • TheFourth Trumpet blotted out a third of the light from the sun, moon, and stars.

These are all horrible – but as Chapter 8 ends we are told:

Revelation 8:13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

An angel flies out crying three woes – “Woe! Woe! Woe!”. This angel makes it clear that the first four Trumpets were nothing compared to what was coming. The Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Trumpets are triple Woe! Trumpets. The first four were scary – the next three are hide under your bed scary! What can be that bad?

Woe 1 – God Releases Locusts

Revelation 9:1-3 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

When the fifth angel sounds a Star falls to the earth. Though stars in the Bible are often celestial bodies, in this case, it refers to an angel (see Job 38:7). Why is this angel called “A Star”? Because all eyes are upon him. He has one job – to open the ABYSS. What is the bottomless pit or the ABYSS? Both Peter and Jude spoke of this pit.

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

and Jude said:

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

When Satan led his revolt against God there were some Angels who followed the devil that God did not allow them to go free. Though God allowed Satan to roam the earth as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8), and though Satan was allowed to enter and exit the Throne Room of God even after his rebellion (see Job 1:7), these Angels were cast into a Pit, an Abyss, “Held until this time of Judgment”. These things look like Flying Scorpions.

Though I’ve never been bitten by a scorpion I’ve been told by those who have that it is terrible! These things released from the pit are given very specific instructions:

Revelation 9:4 And IT WAS COMMANDED them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but ONLY those MEN WHICH HAVE NOT THE SEAL OF GOD in their foreheads.

These “Demon Locust Scorpions” are commanded to hurt only the unbelieving, those who have rejected the Lord Jesus. The order to these Locust/Scorpions is very specific. They are NOT to hurt the earth or any green thing, but just the unbeliever that “has not the seal of God in their foreheads”. These creatures are intelligent. They can tell who is saved and who is not.

If these “Locusts” which are unbelieving demons can tell who unbelievers are, don’t you think the LOST can tell a fake Christian?

Those who have the seal of God in their foreheads may have to worry about the anti-Christ – but they do not have to worry about these creatures. They are tormentors of the lost world.

Revelation 9:5-6 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when he striketh a man. 6 And in those days shall SEEK DEATH, AND SHALL NOT FIND IT; AND SHALL DESIRE TO DIE, AND DEATH SHALL FLEE FROM THEM.

These creatures will torment the unbelieving, but will not kill them. As a matter of fact, no one will be able to die even if they want to. Men and women will be driven to suicide, but will not be able to take their own lives

The Demons Described

Revelation 9:7-10 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle, and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. 8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. 10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power WAS TO HURT MEN FIVE MONTHS.

Men may not die. They cannot kill these creatures. They must torment the unbelieving for five months. What relief is available? The unbelieving can REPENT and TURN TO GOD. They can seek Christ as Savior, and the mark of God will then be placed in their foreheads. The anti-Christ has not started marking anyone with 666 yet, the Mark of the Beast. There is time for man to repent – but WILL NOT – even though this is the only way out!

If the unbeliever would turn to God then
he would receive the mark of God
and relief from the torment of the locusts!

As a Pastor I have tried to preach God’s Word faithfully but there are those who REFUSE TO HEAR. Just like these poor lost souls during the Tribulation, they sit in the audience, number heads, stir trouble, and try to lead others down the pathway of hell. They hear Christ’s command to love and be loved but hate and teach hate. They are poisoned with unbelief. They will not be reached, and it is THEIR fault, not ours. In the end, you make your own choice.

The fifth Trumpet sounds LOUD AND CLEAR, saying “Choose salvation. Choose Christ and the torment will end”. Like the case of Ananias and Sapphira who lied to the Holy Spirit in Acts 5, Peter gave them every opportunity to repent and tell the truth. They wallowed in their sin and suffered for it. So shall it be with the unbelieving at this time in history.

Revelation 9:11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

Because they would not receive Christ as King, they suffer under King Abaddon Apollyon – which means “destruction”. They choose destruction over peace with God.

Five Months – The Number Of Grace – Then Woe #2

The Fifth Angel plays the Fifth Trump, and mankind suffers for five months. Five is the number of Grace – and God gives mankind time to repent.

After five months the terrible demons – flying scorpions – are removed, and along with them the power NOT to die. We now read of the Sixth Trumpet:

Revelation 9:13-16 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. 15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. 16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.

During World War II America had 12 million men serving in the combined Armed Forces. That pales in comparison to what we see in this section of Revelation, an army of 200 Million soldiers. That is a HUGE army. The population of the United States in 2014 was 318.9 million people, so this army is almost as big as our nation itself! This army will be led by Four Angels on Horses from the Euphrates. This is a supernatural Army, not composed of normal soldiers.

Under the Fourth Seal (Revelation 6:8) one-quarter of humanity died. Under this Sixth Trumpet or Second Woe, one-third of humanity will die. At the end of these two judgments over half of humanity (.58333) will be destroyed.

This is a supernatural attack force that cannot be defeated. John wrote:

Revelation 9:17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions, and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.

The “horses” were like fire-breathing lions.

Revelation 9:18-19 By these threefire, smoke, and brimstonewas the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. 19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.

It is the smoke, the fire, and the brimstone that kills one third of humanity. If mankind would just repent and turn to Christ their destruction could be averted. But humanity has become hardened to God and His Grace. The Bible tells us in Exodus 12:40 that Israel was in Egypt 430 years. Why so long? Because they would not cry out to God. They would not repent. It was only when the Children of Israel cried out by reason of their bondage that their cry came up to God, and God heard their groaning and remembered …” (Exodus 2:23-25). God raised up Moses and sent seven plagues on Pharaoh, securing the release of His people Israel. God will bless, but there must be repentance! What of the unbelieving during the Great Tribulation? Will they repent? No! They are attacked and tormented for FIVE MONTHS by flying Scorpion Demons. A third part of humanity dies from a supernatural army of 200 million fire breathing horses. What happens? The Bible says:

Revelation 9:20-21 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues YET REPENTED NOT of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

They refused to repent of their idolatry.
They refused to repent of their evil.
They refused to repent of their sexual sins.
They refused to repent of their worship of money.
It’s MY BODY and I’ll do what I want to do.

Of all the scary things in the Book of Revelation this is, indeed, the scariest! A hardened heart that refuses to turn to God in spite of clear evidence that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Oh Beloved, harden not your hearts as they did in the provocation, in the rebellion of the wilderness (Hebrews 3:8). The scariest thing of all is the hardened heart. Guard your hearts against this terror!

God has room in His heart for you if you have room in your heart for Him. Turn to Him. Love Him. Worship only Him. Cherish one another, and praise God if you are in His family by faith in Christ – for Revelation 9 will never happen to you!

Posted in Revelation, Sermons Preached

Making Daniels – a Vacation Bible School Message

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Daniel 1:1-6 (KJV) In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. 3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; 4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. 5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. 6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: … 8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Every year about this time we as a Church sponsor a Vacation Bible School. Some of our members will take this as a time to “take off from Church”, to go to the park, to take a vacation. Some will justify their taking off by saying to themselves, “My children are grown, my grandchildren are not here. I don’t have anything to do, so I’ll just make myself scarce”.

May I say dear friends that the children are the future of our country and the future of our Church. As goes the children, so goes our nation.

When God was going to send Israel into the Promised Land He cried out to His people, saying:

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (KJV) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

God commands His people to love Him with all they have, but also to teach the children to love Him with all they have.

Children are fertile soil.
They can be taught hatred, or they can be taught love.
A child can be taught to trust in God or to trust in man.
A child can be taught to believe in a Loving Creator or to be Socialist in their faith.

The Bible says:

Galatians 6:7 (KJV) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Children must be taught, and will be taught. A child will be taught respect for authority and how to be a good citizen in the land and in God’s Kingdom, or else the child will be taught that he or she is god above all. A child is taught humility or narcissism. A child will record – from its earliest days – what it is taught by you or by someone else. It is a fact that the first things learned are what the child will do as an adult.

Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

A child trained to love the Lord will more often than not love the Lord later in life. A child trained to love himself will grow up selfish and greedy. We see this in the Book of Daniel. Daniel grew up in a Judah that was fallen from God.

Jehoiakim Was A Child Before He Was A King

Daniel 1:1 (KJV) In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.

As we start reading the Book of Daniel we don’t start with Daniel but Jehoiakim. Who was Jehoiakim? Jehoiakim was an evil King of Judah. He came to the throne when he was 25 years old. The Bible tells us:

2 Kings 23:36-37 (KJV) Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. … And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.

Though Jehoiakim reigned eleven years in Jerusalem, all but three of those years he reigned as a puppet king or a vassal of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar came into Jerusalem and overthrew Judah, taking over Jehoiakim’s kingdom. But it was not Nebuchadnezzar who really conquered Judah. The One that conquered Judah was GOD. Jehoiakim was raised without Christ, and when he took the throne “he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his FATHERS had done”. He did what he was taught. The Bible commands us:

Ephesians 6:4 (KJV) … fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Children must be taught the things of God.

I read with bemusement an idiotic article the other day written at the liberal and obnoxious Huffington Post. In the article the author accused Christians and brainwashing their children by taking them to Church, reading Bible stories to them, and having them attend Vacation Bible School. The author accused those who did so of being child abusers. How foolish! What a child is taught is what the child will grow up to be, and if we do not teach our children someone will. It is not abusive to teach a child the Gospel of salvation and that God loves them. The Scripture says:

Psalms 127:3 (KJV) Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Children are precious gifts from God, but children must be taught of God. They must be taught of His Word. They must be taught of His Gospel. This is the responsibility of EVERY ADULT, whether you have children in your home or not. If you will not assist in training them they will grow up like Jehoiakim,

doing evil in the sight of the Lord

You say “but this will not impact MY life”. I beg to differ. We read:

Daniel 1:2 (KJV) … the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into {Nebuchadnezzar’s} hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

Because Jehoiakim was not raised to love God, and because he as that Judah’s king “did evil in the sight of God”, the LORD GAVE THE NATION INTO A HEATHEN KING’S HAND. Failure to train the children to love the Lord in our nation has caused this nation to become postChristian and godless.

God turned Judah over to Babylon. He in effect said “If you’re going to act like unbelievers, I’ll let you be run by unbelievers”. That was God’s judgment. But God even went farther. Nebuchadnezzar took “part of the vessels of the house of God” to Babylon, and used these vessels to worship his false god.

God shut the Church down!
God shut the Church down!
God shut the Church down!

Judah is under siege. The nation has been invaded by a foreign power. The people can no longer worship God in the Temple because many of the necessities and furnishings have been taken away. This is like a bad nightmare. But what else is going on? We read:

Daniel 1:3-4 (KJV) And the king {Nebuchadnezzar} spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; 4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

King Nebuchadnezzar decided that he would take the best children from Judah and send them to Babylon to indoctrinate them and use them in that godless land. These were called “children” (the Hebrew BEN orבֵּן) in verse 3, and (יֶלֶד yeled) in verse 4. These are words used for young children, probably (based on the fact that they had to be:

skillful in wisdom
cunning in knowledge
understanding science (able to reason)
ability to stand (and not run around)

This tells us that the children were not to be very young, but probably were TEENAGERS who were gifted. These children were taken from their families through no fault of their own. They were placed in a godless and foreign environment to be taught the ways of the unbeliever.

Daniel 1:5 (KJV) the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.

These children were put into a THREE YEAR training program. At the end of those three years they were going to have to stand before King Nebuchadnezzar and be tested. If they did not make the grade it was highly likely these children would either be killed, or at the least sold as slaves into hard service.

Daniel Was A Child Before He Went Before The King

Daniel 1:6 (KJV) Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:

You may recognize the name of Daniel, but the other three names you may not. We find out shortly though who these other three young people are.

Daniel 1:7 (KJV) Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

This is Daniel, and his three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These young teens were in a terrible place. Taken from their parents, and robbed of their homeland, they are put in a foreign palace and forced to learn Babylonian things. Babylon took everything away from Daniel and his friends. They took their names away.

Names mean something in the Bible.

Daniel” means “my Judge is God”
He was renamed “Belteshazzar” which means “The god BEL is my father”

“Hananiah” means “Yahweh Gave Me Grace”
He was renamed “Shadrach” which means “A Little Friend Of The King”

“Mishael” means “Imitator Of God”
He was renamed “Meshach” which means “The Guest Of The King”


“Azariah”
means “Yahweh Helps Me”
He was renamed “Abednego” meaning “A Servant of the god Nebo”

These four teenagers were renamed in an attempt to remove their identities. They lost their mommas and daddies, their brothers and sisters. They were taken from school and bused away from their friends. They lost everything, but that which is greatest.

They know Who Their God is!

Daniel and his three friends loved the Lord. They had been taught the truths of God. In this foreign palace strange foods were set before them. As a follower of God there were certain things that Daniel could not eat at this time. The Bible says:

Daniel 1:8 (KJV) … But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank:…

I love how this is written. Think of it. Dwell on it!

Daniel purposed in his heart

That which defined Daniel was not his name, nor peer pressure, nor what was going on around him. His heart was set on God. Daniel had been taught by his parents:

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

Neither Nebuchadnezzar nor his circumstances defined Daniel. What defined Daniel was his living relationship with God. Christ walked with him. He had been taught:

Colossians 3:1-4 (KJV) If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

What did Daniel purpose in his heart? The Bible says:

Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile HIMSELF

Daniel saw any compromise with the godless a defilement of HIMSELF. Listen Beloved. When you get drunk you do not defile God, you defile YOURSELF. When you do drugs you do not defile God, you defile YOURSELF. When you sleep with a woman not your wife you defile YOURSELF. When you lay down with a man who is a hound dog, you defile YOURSELF. The Bible says:

Romans 6:23 (KJV) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

When you do that which God says is SIN then SIN will DO YOU IN!
Sin never defiles God.
It defiles us. It hurts us.

Carry a grudge, defile yourself. Eat what God told you NOT to eat, defile yourself. Don’t believe me? Ask Adam. He ate himself out of Paradise. Sin destroys. Daniel and his three friends had been taught this. Daniel did not want to defile himself by sinning against God. So what does he do? Is he defiant? No. He respects those in authority over him. He was raised to respect authority in the family. We read:

Daniel 1:8 (KJV) … {Daniel} requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

He “requested”. He did not demand. He respected the authority that God allowed over him. The Scripture says:

Romans 13:1 (KJV) Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Daniel was where he was because God ordained it. But Daniel did not want to dishonor himself by dishonoring God. So Daniel went to his boss and asked that he not eat that which would dishonor his God. Do you know what happened? God supported Daniel. We read:

Daniel 1:9 (KJV) Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

God can control a heart. The Scripture says:

Proverbs 21:1 (KJV) The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

God touched Daniel’s master. Daniel and his earthly master began to discuss the matter. The Eunuch said:

Daniel 1:10 (KJV) … I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.

The Eunuch was in charge of training and feeding these young slaves. If he failed in his duties then he would literally lose his head. But Daniel replied:

Daniel 1:12-13 (KJV) Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. 13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

Daniel proposed a ten day trial. He and his friends were to be given zeroa` or vegetables and water for ten days. They went on a vegetarian diet. At the end of that period if they were not as healthy as the other youth then Daniel said “we’ll go back to doing it your way”. Daniel trusted God, and left the matter in God’s hands. What happened? It was just as Daniel said. God gave the youth healthier appearances.

God is in control. God is always in control.

God was in control when the little baby Moses was placed in an ark by his mother, and floated into the arms of the Princess of Egypt. Had Moses remained a slave he would never have been able to write. But as an adopted child of the King he was given an education, and wrote the Books of the Law.

God is in control. God is always in control.

When Joseph was sold as a slave into Egypt by his brothers, it was because God is in control. Joseph became right hand man to the King of Egypt, and through him Israel grew into a mighty nation.

God is in control. God is always in control.

When Daniel and his friends were taken into captivity, it was so that one day wise men would come to announce the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Daniel and his friends were trained by parents who loved them, and taught them of Jesus. Their relationship with Christ would carry them through many bad times. In fact, at the end of their three years of training Daniel and his friends would not only succeed, but …

Daniel 1:20 (KJV) And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

Do you want your child to succeed in life? Teach them of Christ. Teach them to love God. The children we teach this week will grow up in Christ or in Satan. Which do you think is best for our nation?

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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What Does It Mean “To Believe”?

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John 3:16-18 (KJV)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  [17]  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  [18]  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:36 (KJV)  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

The word “believeth” or some form of the word “believe” is found in the Scripture some 312 times. Most of these occurrences are found in the New Testament. That isn’t because God didn’t require faith to save the Old Testament Saint – for the Scripture says

Genesis 15:6 (KJV) {Abraham} believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Believe is absolutely necessary for salvation to occur. But what does it mean to “believe”? Last time we saw a well known Rabbi and Politician by the name of Nicodemus come to Jesus by night. As Nicodemus addressed Jesus the Lord told him:

John 3:3 (KJV) … Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

How can a person be “born again” in his own effort? He cannot. Jesus made it clear to Nicodemus that New Birth is not something that we as humans can work out. New Birth is a gift of the Spirit of God. So how does one go about being “Born Again”? You must BELIEVE. But WHAT does it mean to BELIEVE? How does GOD define belief? We see in our text

We Must Believe In God’s Narrow Gate

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. 

Everyone is familiar with this text. Many of you have it memorized. But have you ever really EXAMINED the text? These are Jesus’ words to Nicodemus. What do we read in His words?

For God so loved the world

God loves the world. He made the world, but the world walked away from God. Like a prodigal son the world took the grace of God, the good He daily bestows, and walked away from the lover of our souls. God loves this world. This is amazing not because the world is so BIG, but because the world is so BAD. God through His Son seeks to save the world. God does not rejoice in judging and condemning, but in giving of life and love. How did God show His love?

that He gave his only begotten Son

How is God going to show love for His world? He gave us His Son. He gave us Jesus. Jesus is the only begotten Son. He was born into this world of a virgin. Jesus Christ is and has always been Infinite God. The Bible declares that He is the Word of the Lord:

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

Jesus Christ was with God from eternity past. But God sent His Son into this world. By man came sin into the world, and only by man could the debt for sin be paid. Jesus was co-equal and co-eternal with God from eternity past. When Jesus prayed He asked the Father:

John 17:3-5 (KJV)  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.  [4]  I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.  [5]  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

Eternal life is only found when the belief we have is certain in Christ. We believe that He and He only is the “only begotten Son of God”. God the Father “gave” His Son to the world so that we can receive Him as Lord and Savior. He is the ONLY Begotten. There is no one else you can believe in to be saved.

Philippians 2:5-11 (KJV)  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.  [9]  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  [10]  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;  [11]  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus humbled Himself by coming to this earth. He lowered Himself into the pool of humanity and, being perfect and sinless, died in our place on Calvary. He is the ONLY MEANS by which salvation can be secured.

I read in a Christian news article the other day that a large Church hosted a Muslim Ramadan. During Ramadan – the holiest month of the year for the Muslims – commemorates when “Allah” presented the Quran to Mohammed, the Prophet of their faith. Now certainly every person has every right in America to worship or not worship the god or goddess of their choice. Our First Amendment guarantees this right. But for a professing Christian Church to celebrate a holy day of another faith smacks of idolatry. The Muslim faith does not teach that there are many ways to Allah, and the faith of Christ does not teach that there are many ways to God. As Jesus spoke to Nicodemus and to us He was very clear that “believing” is only “believing” when it is HIM. Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten!

that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Christ never presented multiple pathways of belief. He said “you must believe in the Only Begotten”. God only gave ONE WAY to Heaven, and that is faith in His Son. Shame on any Church or Christian who would say otherwise, for it is no more than hypocrisy. Jesus said in another place:

Matthew 7:13-14 (KJV)  Enter ye in at the straitnarrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  [14]  Because straitnarrow is the gate, and narrowcompressed is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The Way unto salvation is through Christ and Christ alone. There are many false prophets and many false paths, but Jesus presented Himself as the ONLY Way. One of His most famous sayings was:

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

To “believe” unto salvation is to believe that Jesus Christ is the unique and only way to be saved.

John 3:17 (KJV) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him MIGHT be saved. 

God sent His Son to this world that we MIGHT be saved. Each person has a choice. Nicodemus had a choice. He could believe what Jesus was saying, or go back to his old life of living by the laws of Judaism.

I am certain that Nicodemus was a “good” man as men are measured. I am certain that Nicodemus was a better man than I am. I am certain that there are people in other religions that are better people than I am. Yet whether I am better or they are better morally or otherwise does not make the difference. You see, unless I am “Born Again” I cannot see the Kingdom of God. And the only way I can be “Born Again” is to believe Jesus. He said:

John 3:18 (KJV) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

God says “Believe in My Only Begotten Son and you will be saved”. Believe that Christ is the Only Way to salvation. Repent and turn to Him and you shall be born again.

To “Believe” Is To Turn And Follow Jesus

John 3:19-21 (KJV)  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  [20]  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  [21]  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

In this section Jesus levels an indictment against Nicodemus. You see, Nicodemus came to Jesus by night (John 3:2). He wanted to come and talk to Jesus, but he didn’t want anyone else to know that he came to talk with Jesus. Nicodemus are like many “secret agents of the Church”. They hide their faith in Christ. But such faith is not faith. You may come to Jesus by night, but you need to follow Him in the light if you are saved. What does the Scripture say?

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

Those who love evil and darkness do not come to Christ because they love evil and darkness. When we come to Christ He reproves or rebukes our ungodly deeds. The Christian who has believed in Christ believes ALL of God’s Word, not just the parts we like. We follow Jesus openly. We are not ashamed of Him – we love and promote Him. We live in Him and through Him. Jesus said:

Luke 9:23-26 (KJV)  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.  [24]  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.  [25]  For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?  [26]  For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.

Jesus expects His Children to openly and willingly follow Him. Nicodemus would later be saved. How do I know? Because later on when the Pharisees began to plot to destroy Christ Nicodemus spoke up:

John 7:50-51 (KJV)  Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)  [51]  Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?

The Pharisees turned their anger on Nicodemus, but he stood his ground. And much later when Christ was crucified – when He died on that bloody Cross – the Bible tells us that Nicodemus was part of the funeral detail that took our Lord from the Cross.

John 19:39-40 (KJV)  And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.  [40]  Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

The person who is born again is not ashamed of Jesus nor of His Word. We cherish Him. We love His Bible. We praise God daily for His great mercy.

To Believe Is To Represent Christ In Your Life

Following His teaching of Nicodemus we read that:

John 3:22 (KJV)  After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

When Jesus moved into Judaea people started flocking to Him and leaving John the Baptist. This caused the disciples of John concern. Their Master was the most popular for the longest time, but now …

John 3:26 (KJV)  And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.

Was John troubled by this? No, for John understood what every born again believer must believe. Life is not about ME, it’s about JESUS. John told his disciples:

John 3:27-30 (KJV) …. A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.  [28]  Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.  [29]  He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.  [30]  He must increase, but I must decrease.

We are nothing, but Christ is everything! We are of the earth, but Jesus is of Heaven. We receive Christ’s testimony to be born again. We believe in HIM, not in ourselves. We have no blessing outside of Christ. John then said:

John 3:35-36 (KJV)  The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.  [36]  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

The way to salvation is ONLY through faith in Christ. Let us follow Him. Let us celebrate Him. Let us love Him, and share Him with others.

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What Will Impress God?

Isaiah_66_1t2_What_Will_Impress_God.jpg

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Isaiah 66:1-2 (KJV)  Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?  [2]  For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

What would impress God?
What would get God’s attention?

There are many who are puffed up. They think they created themselves and the earth on which they stand. They themselves believe that they are the highest and best. They start their days by gazing in the mirror, by worshiping the idol of themselves. They ask themselves “What shall I do today to please myself?” then coming from this act of worship begin to order their day according to their royal will. Is God impressed by such as these? These who are arrogant, self sufficient, puffed up and proud? Is God impressed by them? What does God say?

Isaiah 66:3-4 (KJV) He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.  [4]  I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

To those who consider themselves gods, who take His place. To those who do not value life thinking to kill an ox and to kill a man is the same. To those who mock God, who say to God:

I choose my own way.
I will not hear your word, nor obey your command.

God is not impressed with them. God gives them over to delusion, and brings their fears upon them. There is no blessing in rejection of God. There is no blessing in rejection of God’s command and God’s Word. The Lord says in another place:

Romans 1:17-25 (KJV)  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.  [18]  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;  [19]  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  [20]  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:  [21]  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  [22]  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,  [23]  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.  [24]  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:  [25]  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

When man rejects the call of God, the Lord is not impressed. What God does then is “give them over” to their delusions. God calls, but after calling if His Word is rejected finally God says “Fine. You chose this. Now sleep in the bed you have made.” This is where most of America has gone. Many come to “Church” to be pampered and petted. They want to hear sweet nothings that support their doing nothing. In my lifetime I have heard 59 years of “God loves you” preached from pulpits all across our nation and all over the world, and yes, I fully agree with this. God does love you. But if you truly understand that God loves you, then YOU WILL HEAR AND DO HIS WORD WITHOUT DEBATE. If God loves you it goes to reason that WHAT GOD COMMANDS IS WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU. God does not ask if it is popular or whether any agree with Him. For God is God, and He knows what is best.

Only God Is God

Isaiah 66:1 (KJV)  Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? 

Only God is God.
Man is not God.

We make big things. We make sky scrapers go thousands of feet into the air. We made a Hubble telescope that sits in space, looking out over light years of infinite stars. We have made medical advances, doing heart or liver or kidney transplants. We have grown in our ability to forecast weather, and have created weapons that can destroy millions in nuclear holocaust. We have even advanced to where we can kill a life before it ever walks the earth. We can, through medical procedures, now murder the innocent and appease our conscience by saying cute phrases like:

It’s MY Body, and I Can Do What I Want To

Is God impressed by our godness? No, He is not.

Thus saith The LORD!

Some 854 times throughout the Bible you have God’s “thus saith the LORD”.

In the King James the name that God uses for Himself in this phrase is fully capitalized to show its significance. LORD is the most holy and significant name of God. It shows God as He truly is.

As His creatures we have a PAST, a PRESENT, and a yet undisclosed FUTURE.
We do not know what tomorrow will bring.
I do not know. You do not know. We all have regrets.

We have have all had crossroads in our lives when we chose one direction or another, only to later deeply regret that decision. It looked like a good decision at the time.
Oh, the regrets I have!

I do not regret marrying the love of my life, Sherry. That is one great decision made.
I do not regret giving life to my children.
I do not regret giving my life to Jesus, nor to following the LORD.
There are no regrets in following HIM.

Yet oh, there are so many times I wish that I could push the reset button, rewind the clock, go back to another time and place and undo what I did. I am sure many of you are that way. I am sure you would – at least – love to wake up tomorrow and see the winning lottery number, then rewind the clock and buy that ticket today. Don’t look smug and self righteous at me. You know you would if you could. But we can’t.

God has no crossroads.
He is the LORD.
This is the name that He gave Moses.
Moses asked “Who shall I say sent me?”
God said “I AM that I AM”
“Tell them I AM SENT YOU” (Exodus 3:14)

Out of this exchange God presented Himself to those who would listen. God is not like us. He is the Infinite, the Immortal, the Unchanging God. God is not bound by time nor limited by events. He is above all things.

God is the Eternal Present Tense. He knows a thousand thousand thousand years from now just as He knows yesterday or a million yesterdays past. God knows. He knows what the Lottery number will be – and does not care. He knows what the effect of every crossroad you will reach will be, and knows the outcome for good or bad. God knows. God is immense in His knowledge, infinite. He is immense in power. The Scripture declares:

Psalms 33:6 (KJV)  By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.

God spoke all things into existence. Do you not see the irony here? God SPOKE US into existence, and yet WE WILL NOT HEAR HIS WORD. Is this not the height of arrogance? God gave us life by speaking it, and yet we think we shall ave life by ignoring His Word.
How foolish!

Isaiah 44:24 (KJV)  Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens ALONE; that spreadeth abroad the earth BY MYSELF;

God needed no helpers to help Him create creation. God made what is. The Ever Present I AM made the earth we stand on, and the feet by which we walk on it. God did not take an opinion poll before He created. God did not call up NBC, CBS, ABC nor even FOX or HBO before He created. He did not consult the Republicans or Democrats or even the Independents. He did not wait for Ireland to cast its vote, nor did He ask the Pope with all his Cardinals what they thought. God did not contact the Southern Baptist Convention and ask what its messengers thought of the situation. God does not care what the Presbytery thinks, nor what the so called Independent Baptists agree upon. God did not even ask your pastor his opinion. God created all things alone.

Jeremiah 32:17-18 (KJV)  Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:  [18]  Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name,

God is immense in His ability. He is no fairy tale to be mocked, nor a man that can be killed outside of His willing Cross. God is God. God made the birds in the trees – and the trees themselves. God made the grass, the soil, the sand, the sea. God made every star and planet known and unknown. God says:

Isaiah 66:1 (KJV)  Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?  

God is enthroned in Heaven, and the earth is but His footstool. His footstool. His footstool! God sits in Heaven and puts His feet up on the earth. To those who think they are something, you are but tiny creatures – mites – resting and rowing and rooting on the footstool of God. You and I are nothing compared to the immensity of God. God says “where is the house YOU can build Me? How can YOU give Me rest?”. The truth is, God does not need us. God loves us, but does not need us.

Isaiah 66:2 (KJV) For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD

If it is made, God made it. You say “Oh no. God did not make a Porsche. God did not make a Lamborghini. God did not create a cure for polio. God did not do this or that.” Beloved, God did it all. If it is made God made it. Man may have made the Porsche or the Lamborghini, but God made the materials that man put together to make it. God made man. He gave us our design. God has made what is, what was, and what will be. God holds the very atoms – the building blocks of our universe – together. The Bible says of God’s Son:

Colossians 1:17 (KJV)  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

The word “consist” means “to hold together”. It is by Christ that God created all things, and it is by Christ that God holds all things together. As the Scripture declares:

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

God is the LORD, and the LORD made all things by His Word. Oh the immensity of God, and the smallness of man. The Psalmist David was greatly blessed because he declared:

Psalms 135:5-6 (KJV)  For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.  [6]  Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.

God is God. God is LORD. He is above all time and above all things. He made all, and He loves all. So what can impress God?

How To Impress The Infinite God

Isaiah 66:2 (KJV) … but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

God asks “Who is the one to Whom I Will Look?” Will God take heed of the godling that thinks he or she hung the moon? No, but God will look to the creature who behaves as he or she was made.

We were not made to be gods, but we were made to be God’s.
If you hear me speaking this you will not understand, so I will spell it out.
We were not made to be “little g – gods”, but we were made to be “Big G – od apostrophe s”

Who is the creature that God looks to to bless? It is the man who understands that next to God he is impoverished. It is the woman who, no matter how outwardly beautiful she is, knows that she is ugly without God’s presence. It is the businessman who has made millions, but gives God and not himself the glory for the achievement. It is the successful person who, though fame and fortune has found him, realizes that he would have neither were it not for the love of God. The Bible tells us that:

Matthew 5:45 (KJV) {God} maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Pastor John Piper gave a wonderful illustration I’d like to share with you. “Suppose the president of the United States invited you and a few of your friends to the White House for a reception. As you enter the cozy green room, the president is sitting by the fire place and you walk right by him without a glance or a greeting. For the whole evening you neither look at him nor speak to him nor thank him nor inquire why he called you together. But every time the one reporter asks you if you believe in the existence of the president, you say, “Of course.” You even agree that this is his house and that all this food came from his kitchen. But you pay him no regard. Practically speaking you act as if you do not believe he exists. You ignore him. He has no place in the affections of your heart. His gifts, not himself, are the center of your attention.

The vast majority of people who say they believe in God treat him this way. He is like hydrogen. You learned once in school that it is in the air you breathe, but after that your belief in it has made no difference in your life. Every time someone takes a poll, you say, “Of course, hydrogen exists.” Then you return to things that matter.”

God is not impressed with the self made man or woman, or the person who only wants His hand and not His face. God wants us to come to Him as we are IMPOVERISHED. We come to Him with empty hands.

He is God, and we are not.
He is able, but we unable.
He can, but we can’t.

When we come to God POOR and broken then God can and will bless us. He blesses us everyday. He has given us rain in due season. He gives us life and light. He gives us the minds we have, and if we have earned anything, it is because He has given us hands and feet to do so. Oh praise Him! Praise Him if you realize your poverty as I often do. Praise Him, for God works not on a canvas of light but of darkness.

I remember many years ago I had followed God – or so I thought – to a ministry far from this place. Everything I found was hard. No matter what I tried to do flopped. Finally the hardness of that ministry began to effect me physically. I had been told by the devil’s whisper that I could do all things. This was only partly true. I can do all things, but only through Christ Jesus Who strengthens me. I am the Branch and He the Vine. Apart from the LORD I can do nothing. But still I tried. Perhaps if I do this it will work. Perhaps if I do that. But then, it all fell apart. It was so bad I began to have panic attacks. The darkness frightened me, I put night lights in every room of our home, and yet I feared closing my eyes at night.

Then God came to me.
“David, do you not know I work on the dark canvas.
I work where there is brokenness.
I do not look to use the sel
f sufficient,
But the broken, the poor, the unable.”

When you realize your poverty and God’s richness, here is when you can be blessed. This is the truth the televangelists will not tell you. God looks on the poor. He looks on the broken. In the very beginning of Scripture the word LIGHT is NOT THE FIRST WORD, but DARKNESS.

Genesis 1:1-2 (KJV)  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  [2]  And THE EARTH WAS WITHOUT FORM, AND VOID; AND DARKNESS WAS UPON THE FACE OF THE DEEP. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

God was moved by the darkness. The darkness was His canvas upon which He said “Let there BE LIGHT”. And there was light. The darkness and the brokenness is where God’s treasures lie. He told His Israel:

Isaiah 45:3 (KJV)  And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.

The self sufficient will never find God. The self made man, the fully endued woman, the rich satisfied with their richness or the Church impressed with its Laodicean glories will never be looked upon by God. It is in the brokenness that God calls. When Abram realized he could have NO CHILDREN NOR LEGACY then he looked up – and God answered. When Daniel realized that what he had he had of God he looked up – and lions prayed. Oh, hold on to your arrogancy, dear fool! Hold on to your science, your body, your choice, your desires. Hold on to anything but the hand of God, feminist! Hold on to your sexual desires, regardless as to what they might be. Hold on to your political party, your conservatism or liberality, but do not hold on to God.

But you will not be blessed.

To Impress God, Humble Yourselves –
And Let God BE God

Isaiah 66:2 (KJV)  Thus saith the LORD …. saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

To whom will God look to bless? To the one of a CONTRITE spirit. What is this? When God told Moses “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt” (Exodus 10:21) the Lord did so that – perhaps in the darkness – the fallen would repent. It is in the darkness that we realize that God is God. If God has allowed darkness into your life it is not to damn you, but to woo you to Him, to wake you up, to stir you to your need of Him. Author Kassie Prather writes:

If you’re in a season of darkness (confusion, waiting, conflict), take heart. You’re not in the dark alone … The same God who used a lack of light as His creative canvas can shape a Genesis week in you if you wait on Him. He will share with you the hoards of secret places, showing off His power and pursuit of you, drawing you in and enjoying your company as you sit together. Who knew the dark could be such a gift?”

When we humble ourselves before God then He will bless us.

James 4:10 (KJV)  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

1 Peter 5:5-6 (KJV) … be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.  [6]  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

God blesses those who realize He alone is God. Let us “tremble at His Word”. Do you “tremble at His Word”? … Or do you act as if you are the autocorrect of the computer, debating God and His Word rather than submitting?

Micah 7:8 (KJV)  Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.

Do we tremble with fear at disobeying our God? Or do we tremble at what the crowd may say, while poo pooing God’s Word. For what God has said, He has said in His infinity. God has looked forward into the future, and knows what is good and bad for me, for you, for all of us.

When I surrender the idol of my life to God, He will then be willing to bless me. As the Apostle said:

Galatians 2:20 (KJV)  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

In my helplessness I come to Him. In my inability I rest in His arms. I am the blind man crying out for Jesus. I am the leper chasing after Him, saying “Lord, if Thou will, You can make me whole”. I love Him for Who He is, and tremble with fear at what He says is wrong. I tremble with joy at what He commends and commands. He is my all, and in all.

And only through Him do I have salvation today, tomorrow, and forever. Blessed be the Name of the Lord! I will love and trust Him!

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Prayer Before Judgment

Revelation 8

image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures

Revelation 8:1-6 (KJV)  And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.  [2]  And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.  [3]  And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.  [4]  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.  [5]  And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.  [6]  And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

As we have studied through the Book of Revelation we have seen Jesus address and then take His Church from the earth. We watched as John looked into Heaven and saw a scroll with seven seals. In Revelation chapter five we saw Heaven mourn as none were found worthy to open the seven sealed scroll. Then Jesus came forth, and we read that all Heaven rejoiced:

Revelation 5:9-10 (KJV)… they sung a new song, saying, Thou {O Jesus} art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;  [10]  And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

In chapter six Jesus began to open the scroll, seal by seal. As the seals are opened the Anti-Christ is released on the earth and along with him war, sickness, famine, and death. In the midst of the horror of the Great Tribulation we see:

Revelation 7:9-12 (KJV)  After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;  [10]  And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.  [11]  And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,  [12]  Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

These are the saints who are saved out of the Great Tribulation. God wants to show us that before the great judgment falls on the earth that there are many who He will cause to be saved. But as we come to chapter eight we see:

Revelation 8:1 (KJV)  And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. 

Heaven to this point is seen as a place of worship and praise, a ceaseless activity of joy. But as Jesus opens the seventh seal there is silence in Heaven for about the space of half an hour. This is significant, because Heaven is a place of eternity, a place of one long and endless day. There are no clocks in Heaven. Our earthly lives are marked by time. We use phrases like:

wasting TIME
spending TIME
saving TIME
we have TIME on our hands
we make up for lost TIME
and act like we have all the TIME in the world!
You may be thinking I wish the preacher would shut up.
Don’t he know his TIME IS UP?

No, it’s not! I’ve just started. Heaven is “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Revelation 21:23; 22:5). To God time is insignificant. He nor His Heaven is controlled by time. We are told:

2 Peter 3:8 (KJV)… one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Yet here we see silence in Heaven for about half an hour. This is a dramatic pause, something that never occurred in Heaven before and will never occur again. Why this silence?

  • The Silence Signifies That A Terrible Judgment Is About To Fall. We are told in 2 Peter 2:5 that Noah was a preacher of righteousness. He preached as he built the Ark. For 120 years he preached. Then 7 days BEFORE the great flood God told Noah to get in the Ark, for He said “in seven days I will cause it to rain on the earth for forty days and forty night, destroying all life (Genesis 7:4). The silence in Revelation 8 precedes a terrible judgment on the earth.

Revelation 8:2 (KJV) And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.

Who are these “seven angels”? We are not told in this context, but we have clues as to what they represent. Context is key. The last time we saw “seven angels” in this Book was in the first three chapters of this Book. Do you remember:

Revelation 1:20 (KJV)  The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

As the Lord Jesus addressed each of the seven Churches:

Ephesus
Smyrna
Pergamos
Thyatira
Sardis
Philadelphia
Laodicea

He does not address the Churches directly, but through their angels. Christ says “unto the Angel of the Church in” … write. There were seven Churches addressed showing the seven types of Churches throughout human history. The Churches were candlesticks, and each Church had an angel. Now we see seven angels. I do not believe this is a coincidence. These seven angels are before the Throne of God and to them is given seven trumpets. The Angels of Revelation 3-4 were in Christ’s hand, and these Angels are before the Throne. The trumpets they are given are being used to signal judgment. Numbers 10:1-12 tells us that trumpets were to be used to notify the people of Israel that certain events were about to occur. Trumpets were used to all to battle. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 14:8 (KJV)  For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

I believe these seven angels are representative of the Church of Christ. You may not agree, but I believe this is appropriate. Jesus told those who believe in Him:

2 Timothy 2:12 (KJV)  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

and King David wrote: Psalms 8:4-6 (KJV)  What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?  [5]  For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.  [6]  Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

It is to the redeemed that God gives His Kingdom. God did not set satan over Eden, but Adam. Adam gave away Eden by disobedience, and satan became the god of this world because of his foolishness, but God never intended angels to rule earth. Man was given dominion. God became man to redeem fallen man, and so to reclaim the earth. So now as God prepares to punish the world Christ’s Church stands with the Lord they love.

  • The 30 Minutes Of Silence Emphasizes The Importance Of The Prayers Of The Saints As God Judges The World.

Revelation 8:3 (KJV) And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.  

Prayer Is Important

Before judgment falls the prayers of all saints are offered on the altar of God. Have you ever wondered as to how God regards your prayers? Does He hear them? Does He care? Here we see that yes, God not only cares, but stores our prayers up in Heaven. Our prayers are not wasted, but cherished by God.

What are the prayers that God hears? They are not frivolous prayers. A parent had his child pray for show for the visiting preacher. With a grin on his face the child went around the table. “God bless his food, and her food, and his food, and my food”. There was no sincerity to the prayer, just a prayer for show, to let the important visitor see that “such a good job I did training my child”. It is like the prayers of the Pharisees who – praying to be seen of men – used great and swelling words to impress the listeners – but God was not listening.

The prayer that God honors is the prayer that honors God.
The prayer that God honors is the prayer that honors God.
The prayer that God honors is the prayer that honors God.

Jesus said: (John 14:13-14) Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

John 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

The prayer that abides in God and for His glory is cherished by God. The prayer that asks:

Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven!

is a prayer that God cherishes. We are told that it is the prayers of all SAINTS that introduces the judgment of the world. In various commentaries we read:

The fire comes from the very altar on which the prayers of the saints have been offered. This surely means that the prayers of God’s people play a necessary part in ushering in the judgments of God. “What are the real master-powers behind the world and what are the deeper secrets of our destiny? Here is the astonishing answer: the prayers of the saints and the fire of God. That means that more potent, more powerful than all the dark and mighty powers let loose in the world, more powerful than anything else, is the power of prayer set ablaze by the fire of God and cast upon the earth.” (Thomas Torrance, quoted in Morris, Revelation, p. 121)

This verse [5] dramatically pictures the fact that it is in answer to the prayers of the saints that God’s judgments will fall upon the earth. (George Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John, p. 125f.)

If the seven angels are symbolic of the Church, then judgment will be called forth on the world through Christ and His Church. These judgments are in response to the prayers of all Christ’s saints, those set apart by the Blood of the Lamb.

Prayer is so very important. Jesus taught us God honoring prayer when He told us to say:

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

In this chapter God shows us that His people are important to Him. As judgment is unleashed on a thoughtless and uncaring world, it is the Church and her prayers that initiate that judgment. Pastor John Piper wrote:

There are at least two practical implications of this for us. One is what Jesus said in Luke 18:1, “We ought to always pray and not to lose heart.” This truth—that prayers are stored up on the altar of God and made the power for great divine interventions in history—should encourage us that it is not pointless to pray again and again, “Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

And I can’t help but conclude from this that the principle applies to answers to prayer in the shorter run—that is, as we pray for any given thing, our prayers are stored up on the altar of God with the prayers of others for that thing until they reach God’s appointed proportion and then God pours them out in blessing in the best way for all concerned. So that no believing prayer is in vain. Ever.

Revelation 8:4-6 (KJV)  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.  [5]  And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.  [6]  And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

Destruction Comes But God Is Still Merciful

Revelation 8:7-12 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the THIRD PART of trees was burnt up, and ALL green grass was burnt up. 8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the THIRD PART of the sea became blood; 9 And the THIRD PART of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the THIRD PART of the ships were destroyed. 10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the THIRD PART of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; 11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the THIRD PART of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. 12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the THIRD PART of the sun was smitten, and the THIRD PART of the moon, and the THIRD PART of the stars; so as the THIRD PART of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a THIRD PART of it, and the night likewise.

As you read this section again with me, what is the most used word phrase in the text? It is the phrase “THIRD PART”. As destruction comes from the first four angels playing the first four trumpets we see that destruction is not total, but only a THIRD PART. Yes, the GRASS is totally destroyed, but only a THIRD PART of the trees. Only a THIRD PART of the sea becomes blood. Only a THIRD PART of the waters become bitter, and a THIRD PART of the creatures in the sea die.

The world has TOTALLY rejected the Lordship of Christ, but the love of God still offers Grace! Only a THIRD PART is destroyed. There is time left to repent and be saved!

The Bible tells us that ….

Romans 8:32 (KJV)  He that spared not his own Son, but DELIVERED HIM UP FOR US ALL, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Preach! God paid an immense price to save the soul of ever person who will receive it. Jesus paid the price for sin. God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell and bound them in chains of darkness. God spared not Noah’s world, but brought a universal flood on the ungodly while sparing those who received His Grace. (see 2 Peter 2:4-5). Now in this Great Tribulation the Lord punishes a third part, but spares two thirds. Why? To allow Grace to go forward. To give them one more chance.

He spared you, o lost soul, and has given you one more day to repent, if you would but come! Oh, how God would bless your souls if you would but come submitted to His Grace!

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount out poured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

God does not want anyone to experience a third part of the oceans blood, and a third part of the rivers bitter. God wants all who will – whosoever will – to receive Christ while you can. His Judgment is no illusion nor exaggeration – it is sure and pure, and it must be. Come to Christ and God will set you free of it! In today’s world people do not believe in the Judgment of God, nor for that matter, even in Hell. Pastor A.W. Tozer said:

The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions.”

Many think that God will not judge, God will not punish, the Judgment of God is an exaggeration. No, that’s not true. When we see Christ, bloody and bleeding, hanging in agony on that Calvary Tree, we know that Judgment is sure. When we see the mocking crown of thorns tearing His brow we know that God must judge, else the Cross was a horrible miscalculation.

If there is no judgment the Cross has no meaning. But there is judgment. There is a hell. There is a Great Tribulation. Turn to Christ and receive Him as Lord and Savior while you can.

If Christ is rejected, what is to come? We read:

Revelation 8:13 (KJV)  And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

Rejecting Christ what is left? Woe, Woe, Woe! There is the Woe of a life only vaguely fulfilled. Not life really, but mere existence, a fruitless search for happiness. There is the Woe of walking without God, without Christ, without hope in this life. Then there is the final Woe of future impending judgment, of damnation without end, of eternal separation from God. Do not wait. Repent. Turn now while there is time. Receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you shall be saved!

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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You MUST Be Born Again

John_3_1t7_You_Must_Be_Born_Again.JPG

John 3:1-7 (KJV)  There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:  [2]  The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.  [3]  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  [4]  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?  [5]  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  [6]  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  [7]  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

The first person Jesus called to salvation was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother (see John 1:40). Nicodemus was not the first. He was not even in the top five. but Nicodemus was the first powerful man who humbled himself to come to Jesus.

Nicodemus did not TOTALLY humble himself. The name “Nicodemus” literally means “Victory of the People”. His name shows us that he was a politician and as a politician was loved by the people.

Jesus said: Luke 6:26 (KJV)  Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you!for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

If you live for the Lord you will have a few enemies. The darkness hates the light! The world of dark light – the Luciferian darkness – hates the Light of God and His Children. So Nicodemus as a politician was well loved. Further, Nicodemus was powerful. The Bible says that he was:

a ruler of the Jews

The“rulers of the Jews” were members of the Sanhedrin, a council of 70 leaders who oversaw the nation. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a powerful man. He was drawn by God to Christ, and humbled himself, but just so much. The Bible tells us that Nicodemus:

The same came to Jesus by night

The Pharisees were conservative in their religion. When Jesus came and cleansed the Temple of the money changers, was chasing out those who had allowed the liberal practice of using the Temple to make money. The Sadducees were the liberal element that perhaps encouraged this behavior. The Pharisees would not have despised Christ for chasing the Sadducees out, though they disliked Jesus for other reasons. Nicodemus came to Jesus “by night” for two reasons.

Nicodemus wanted to meet Christ but didn’t want his people
nor his power base to know what he was doing.
Nicodemus was in spiritual darkness.
Though he had a name as being a Bible scholar,
he was resting not in God but in darkness.

There are many like this in God’s Church. Jesus said:

John 11:10 (KJV) … if a man walks in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

Nicodemus was stumbling around in the darkness. He came to see Jesus but was ashamed to publicly profess his need. When Nicodemus came to Jesus by night the first word he said was:

Rabbi

Jesus, You are a Rabbi”. Nicodemus meant to honor Jesus, but he honored Christ, not as He is but as he – Nicodemus – though He was. Jesus to Nicodemus was not LORD.

John the Baptist came to “Make straight the way of the LORD” (John 1:23)
The disciples told Jesus “LORD, to Whom shall we go?
You ALONE have the Words of Life” (John 6:68)
The sinning woman forgiven by Jesus said “No man condemns me, LORD” (John 8:11)
The blind boy received his sight when he told Jesus “LORD, I believe.” (John 9:38)
Martha told Jesus “Yes, Lord: I believe that You are the Christ,
the Son of God (John 11:27)

And Jesus said, “You call Me Master and LORD, and you are right, for I am!” (John 13:13)

Jesus is LORD! He may have taught, but He is more than a Rabbi. He is LORD. He is God incarnate, God among us, God in the flesh. He is LORD. His Words are LIFE and LIGHT. Nicodemus went on to say:

we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him

Jesus is God with us. Nicodemus saw Jesus not as “God with us” (see Matthew 1:23)but as“God is with Him”. God is with Jesus, but Jesus is no mere man. He is the Son of Man and the Son of God. Nicodemus was a Rabbi himself and saw Jesus as his equal. That was why he addressed the Lord as he did. Notice that Jesus does not correct Nicodemus – He IGNORES what he said.

Jesus Does Not Argue Light With A Blind Man

Too often today the Church has tried to be “seeker sensitive” in order to reach the world. People study apologetics and spend time trying how best to win arguments with the lost. A person who does not know Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior is in darkness. Jesus came:

Luke 1:79 (KJV)  To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Jesus said in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Nicodemus was in darkness. He was in physical darkness because he came to Jesus by night. But he is in spiritual darkness because he does not know the Lord. He knows God as one might know Abraham Lincoln or George Washington. He knows God by studying the Scriptures. But Nicodemus needs something, and Jesus cuts right to the point. He says:

John 3:3 (KJV) … Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he CANNOT SEE the kingdom of God.  

A person must be born a second time – born again– or else that person cannot SEE the Kingdom of God. This is the big problem in the Church and in the world today. A blind person does not know light nor color because a blind person cannot SEE. That blind person must be GIVEN NEW EYES. Those who are spiritually blind cannot be argued nor persuaded into believing in the light. God must open their eyes. When God came to save us:

Isaiah 35:5 (KJV)  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

Nicodemus, you must be born AGAIN. You were born ONCE from your mother, but you need to be BORN of God. You need to be BORN AGAIN:

1 Peter 1:23 (KJV)  Being BORN AGAIN, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.

We have always had many religious people in temple and church, but we need those who are BORN AGAIN. Jesus said:

John 9:39 (KJV) … For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

Nicodemus thought he saw – but he did not. Jesus showed him he was lacking, blind, in need of a new birth. Nicodemus is puzzled, as all lost people are puzzled. He asks:

John 3:4 (KJV) Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

To the lost the FLESH is everything, the PHYSICAL is what matters the most. All Nicodemus could understand at this point is that Jesus was talking about a second birth, and all he could think of was his mother’s womb. When we are born into this world we are born sinners. David said:

Psalms 51:5 (KJV)  Behold, I was shapened in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

That little baby – so cute and cuddly – is born in sin. If you do not think so watch your child in the sandbox with other children. Another child comes to play. One child will drop the toy he is playing with to grab another child’s toy. This is sin. Sometimes one child will crown another child with a toy. THUNK! This is sin. In our first birth, we are born sinners. This is why the Scripture declares without reservation:

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

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

We are all sinners because Adam passed on his old sin nature to us all.“And so death passed upon all mankind, for ALL have sinned”. We are all sinners because the nature of Adam is upon us. We are all sinners because we sin. Nicodemus couldn’t understand this. Neither can many people today.

Many see God as a Cosmic Santa Claus, and so they sing with their lives:

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So BE GOOD FOR GOODNESS SAKE!

We can’t “be good for goodness sake”. The Scripture declares:

Psalms 14:2-3 (KJV)  The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.  [3]  They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is NONE THAT DOETH GOOD, NO, NOT ONE.

You Must Be Born Again

John 3:5-7 (KJV) … Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  [6]  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  [7]  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

What does it mean
“to be born of water and of the Spirit”?
What does it mean “to enter into the Kingdom of God”?

Let’s answer these questions one at a time.

  • To Enter The Kingdom of God Is To Obtain Eternal Life. Jesus said in another place:

Mark 9:43-48 (KJV)  And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:  [44]  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.  [45]  And if thy foot offends thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:  [46]  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.  [47]  And if thine eye offends thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee TO ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:  [48]  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Those who leave this life without God do not enter into the Kingdom of God, but into a place of burning where the fire is not quenched. To enter into the Kingdom of God you must be born again. To avoid a future hell you must be born again. Birth is something we cannot do for ourselves. It is something that God must do for us. We were born physically into this world totally apart from our own effort. We are born into God’s Kingdom totally apart from our effort.

  • To Be Born Of Water And Of The Spirit does not refer to any work that we can do, but to a work that only God can do. In the PHYSICAL world, we are born of water and of the flesh. We come forth from our mothers into this world. In the SPIRITUAL world, we are born of water and of the Spirit. In the Old Testament (and the Old Testament was the Bible that Nicodemus read from) God is often depicted as cleansing water. We read:

Jeremiah 2:13 (KJV)  For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken ME THE FOUNTAIN OF LIVING WATERS and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

God is “The Fountain of Living Waters”. It is He Who cleanses the sinner and makes us pure. It is God that David spoke to when He said:

Psalms 51:7 (KJV)  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

God washes His people from sin. The LORD is the “fountain of living waters”.

Jeremiah 17:13 (KJV)  O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have FORSAKEN THE LORD, THE FOUNTAIN OF LIVING WATERS.

It is God the Holy Spirit Who must cleanse us from sin. It is God the Holy Spirit Who must make us born again. It is the Blood of the Christ that cleanses us:

1 John 1:7 (KJV)  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the BLOOD of Jesus Christ his Son CLEANSETH US FROM ALL SIN.

To be “born again” is to be washed at the soul level by God.
To be “born again” is to be changed supernaturally from Adam’s child to God’s Child.
To be “born again” is to be part of God’s Kingdom both now and into eternity.
To be “born again” is to be changed from one creature to another Creation.

When you are “born again” you are “born from above” as says the Scripture:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (KJV)  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  [10]  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  [11]  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Those who are “born again” are WASHED by God. They are SANCTIFIED, set apart for God. They are JUSTIFIED or declared righteous by the Blood of Christ. Salvation is entirely an act of God. God must make us BORN AGAIN. God must change us. God must do this. God must make us new creatures in Christ where the old has passed away, and behold, all things are made new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus emphasizes our inability to be BORN AGAIN when He illustrates God’s ministry of salvation, saying:

John 3:8 (KJV)  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

You can hear the wind in the trees. You can feel its cool breeze on a hot day. You can see the leaves rustling. But you neither make the wind blow nor control the wind. God does. Only God does. I cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless I am born again, and being born again is something I can experience, but not something I can force or work toward.

So how to be born again?
We must receive and believe the Lord Jesus.
He must be more than a Rabbi to me.
Nicodemus, you are not His equal.
Jesus is God’s Son.

John 3:13 (KJV)  And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

As Jesus spoke to Nicodemus He referred to Himself as “The Son of Man”. He said, “no one ascends to Heaven but He (Jesus Christ) Who came down from Heaven”. Jesus is the Messiah Who came from Heaven. And then Jesus said something mind-blowing. “Even The Son of Man which IS IN HEAVEN”. He said, “I came from Heaven, but as I stand before you Nicodemus I AM IN HEAVEN”. Jesus is both mortal, and immortal. He is both Sinless Man and Perfect God. Why did Jesus come?

Jesus Gave Himself So We Can Be Born Again

John 3:14 (KJV)  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so, must the Son of man be lifted up:

Jesus came to be LIFTED UP on the Cross of Calvary. When sin brought snakes in the camp of Israel in the Old Testament – deadly snakes – God told Moses to put a bronze serpent on a pole and lift it up. When the people looked at that serpent believing they would be saved (see Numbers 21:9ff). Jesus must be “lifted up”. He came from Heaven as the “Son of Man” to die for our sins.

John 3:15-16 (KJV)  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  [16]  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

When we believe in Jesus as He is – not just as a Rabbi but as the Messiah Who died for our sins – then God’s Holy Spirit comes to our lives. We become “born again” as the Spirit separates us from the world and binds us to God. Jesus came so that believing in Him we could be brought into God’s Kingdom. God does not wish us to perish, but to be with Him forever. Christ is the Key to the Kingdom. Believe Him. Receive Him. Trust Him. Follow Him. May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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Jesus, John, and Paul – Amen!

good words!

Dana S. Bicks LLC, Author

I told my wife I felt as if I am starting off in the middle of this blog, with no beginning nor an end. It all began with research on questions plaguing my brain about the simple word, amen. For example, do you know what it really means? I read the footnotes of articles which brought me to an inconclusive decision so, I dug deeper. Where I ended up is mind-blowing, especially for those growing up in the era of the sixties. I am from a generation of influential music such as the Beatles, and I even have to contemplate the answers I found to be true.

We all know the biblical story of God’s conception of a special child named Jesus. He was given to us for our salvation and to spiritually guide us in life on earth. But did you know the Lord, himself, never uttered amen

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“Church” is the Object of God’s Supreme Regard, but what is a “Church” ?

good article. Thank you!

The Red Horse War.com a book of Bible Symbols

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;…(Ephesians 5:25)

"THE CHURCH" A building? With eminence political power and ties to all Governments of the World. "A position of prominence or superiority!" “THE CHURCH” A building? With eminence political power and ties to all Governments of the World. “A position of prominence or superiority!”

What manner of love is this that Jesus laid down His Life, for His Bride as Christ loved the “church.”

He gave Himself, He humbled Himself, He sacrificed Himself for His Bride, His Wife, His Church.

When a humble priest came from Germany to the see the Pope, He was frightened by the beauty, pomp and ceremony, riches and splendor of Rome! How could God use such “glory and power,” to honor the name of the lowly Jesus, hanging in shame, among the Idols, once venerated and worshiped as the gods of Jupiter, sun gods, women gods, idols, the Pagan gods of Rome!

Painted by Givanni-Paolo the Great Halls dwarf humans to the size of an ant. Painted by Givanni-Paolo the Great Halls dwarf humans…

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