Living the Christian Life

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How to walk with God

Living the Christian life

The simplest truth that we as Christians must understand is that the day we become Christians it is no longer about us. It is all about Jesus living in us. Galatians 2:20 states the following, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” The truth contained in that verse is life changing because it instructs us how to live our Christian life.

The first statement in the verse (I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live…) mentions what happens to a believer when they get born again. The first thing we must understand is our death with Christ. Death in Christ means submission in Christ. Jesus demonstrates this to us on His…

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Whence The Law?

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Exodus 20:1-6 (KJV)1 And God spake all these words, saying, 2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

When God brought Israel out of Egypt He did so by Grace. Israel was supposed to love and follow God. Yet over and over again Israel rejected the love of God, blaming Him and His chosen Moses any time life was difficult.

So God gave His Israel the Law.
The Law was not given to a Spirit filled loving people.

The Law was added, according to the Apostle:

Galatians 3:19 (KJV) …. It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made …

The Law was added because of TRANSGRESSIONS. What transgressions? Transgressions against God. Transgressions against your fellow man. The Law was a diagnostic tool to show what God’s standards were, and how far short Israel fell from that standard. The Apostle said:

Romans 5:20 (KJV) Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

The Law is like a mirror showing humanity as it is. The Apostle said that …

Galatians 3:22-26 (KJV) But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

The Law of God was never given to save anyone. Israel was saved from Egypt without the Law. The Law was given to establish order over a spiritless and rebellious people. The Law was given to keep order in God’s Israel. Not all of Israel is Israel, just as not all the Church is the Church. The Law was not given to Spirit Filled faithful believers. The Scripture says:

1 Timothy 1:9-10 (KJV) Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers sexually immoral, for them that defile themselves with mankind homosexuals, for men-stealers enslavers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

The Law is not made for a RIGHTEOUS person, a person who loves the Lord Jesus, who follows after Him. The Law was made for the UNRIGHTEOUS, for the person who is not saved by faith. We who are Christians walk not by the Law but by the Spirit of God.

Romans 8:1-4 (KJV) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

God Gave The Law To Teach Mankind Grace

God gave the Law – beginning with the Ten Commandments – to Moses. The Ten Commandments were written on tablets of stone. The Law was given to Israel to teach Israel that they needed the Lord. Every one needs to love the Lord. Moses loved the Lord, but the Law was not made for Moses, nor for any righteous saved by faith person in Israel. The Law was delivered to teach the unbeliever that there is a God Who made them. The Law was delivered to the faithless to let them know what is most valuable in life. The Law was given to the disobedient to show them what God’s standard is. The Law starts out with God’s declaration:

Exodus 20:1 (KJV) And God spake all these words, saying, 2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

I am the God that made you.
I am the God Who designed you.
I am the God Who gave you life and liberty.

We enjoy spectacular liberty in these United States, a freedom that many people in many nations around this world wish they had. We live in such a way that even our poor people are rich in comparison to the poor of other countries. It is God Who made this great Nation. It is God’s people who founded this nation.

The Ten Commandments Teach Our Need
To Love God And Love Others

The Ten Commandments that have been ordered out of courthouses, schools, and public places are the basis of our legal system today. The Ten Commandments are divided into two parts.

The first FOUR commandments direct us to LOVE GOD.
The last SIX commandments direct us to love others as we would be loved.

We Desperately Need FIRST To Love God Without Reservation

It is significant that the first four Commandments focus on loving God. A person without God first in his or her life is likely to be very self centered, selfish, narcissistic. A person without God is declared to be foolish. The Bible says:

Psalms 14:1 … The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

If there is no concept in the mind that there is a Great God and that one day we shall answer to Him then a person becomes a free agent, immoral, without any ties to humanity. People ask why so many school shootings are occurring in America today. I tell you it is because we have removed the Ten Commandments, a diagnostic tool to point the unbeliever toward Christ. Look at the Commandments.

  • The First Commandment is

Exodus 20:1 (KJV) Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

God is to be first and foremost in your life.
YOU are not God.
Your STUFF is not God.
There is but One God, and He is.

You shall have no other gods besides the God Who has revealed Himself to you. A Christian doesn’t have to be told this. A person who is walking in the Spirit knows that the most important relationship you have is to your Lord. He is first.

There are no other gods besides Him.
He saved me. He bled for me.
He suffered and died in my place so that I could be His son by adoption.
God has but one Begotten Son, Whom He gave to die for us.

Galatians 4:4-6 (KJV) But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

If you live in the Spirit then your daily walk is to say with the Prophet:

1 Samuel 3:10 (KJV) …Speak; for thy servant heareth.

We have life because God gave us life through His Son.
We are sons because God gave us His Son.
We are His for life because God indwelt us with His Spirit.
We have eternal life because we go Him Who is eternal and unchanging.

  • If we put God first, it is natural that the Second Commandment would declare:

Exodus 20:4-6 (KJV) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

While Moses was on the mountain receiving the Law from God Israel was in the valley breaking this Commandment. They took their jewelry off and, melting it down, turned it into a golden calf to worship. If you are saved by faith you have no desire to worship any God other than He Who saved you. Yet in our world today there are many who wear the cloak of Israel and the cloak of Christianity but who worship false gods. They take their money and use it for things which are shameful. They do not honor the Lord as the Scripture commands,

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

God saved us, and God is not glorified by us when we worship:

money
power
fame
sex
science

Oh, there are many false gods in the world today. Many make their own bodies false gods, and declare abortion – the murder of the innocent – to be righteous. Others glorify sex in any form as acceptable because – as they say – “at least they are happy”. We are not to bow down to the golden calf nor to anything that does not glorify our God. He is worthy. He alone is worthy. If He is worthy we will bow to Him and only Him.

  • Glorifying God, the Third Commandment declares that our lips shall speak only praises to Him.

Exodus 20:7 (KJV) Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Our lips shall honor our God. Our prayers and our praises will magnify His name. God is worthy of all praise:

Revelation 4:11 (KJV) Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

We dishonor God when we address Him in vain. We should cry out to Him as children. We should praise Him and thank Him. We should honor Him in our families, and speak well of God to our friends and neighbors. When a proposed Christian begins to speak well of Darwin and so called Evolutionary Science you are dishonoring the Lord Who made all things in Six Days, and Rested on the Seventh. The Scripture declares that God created all in six days:

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

  • Which brings us to the Fourth Commandment, the Day of Rest

Since God made all things in six literal days and rested on the seventh literal day, the Law declared that Israel was to rest on the Seventh Day. The Seventh Day Sabbath is the Fourth Commandment of God. It was a day set aside to honor God, to rest, and to remember all the good that God did for us.

I have been asked why we as Christians now do not rest on the Seventh Day but the First Day of the week. My response is two-fold. First,

Romans 6:14 (KJV) …. ye are not under the law, but under grace.

The Law was given to the disobedient and the lawless, but not to the righteous person. Israel was given the Law. We worship on the First Day of the Week because this is the Day that Christ rose from the grave (see John 20). The early Church started to do it’s Communion and worship on the First Day of the Week:

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

And offerings were collected on the First Day of the week:

1 Corinthians 16:2 (KJV)  Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

Being under Grace there is no mandate that we worship on any particular day. But the community of believers called the Church should meet at least once a week to look upward and worship the Lord Who saved us. God must be loved with all our hearts.

If God is loved first, then we will love others best.
If we love God in word and deed, we will love others.

The Apostle said:

1 John 4:19-21 (KJV)  We love him, because he first loved us.  [20]  If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  [21]  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Why is there racism in our world today? Because racists do not love God. Why is there sexual sin in our world today? Because that sinner – homosexual or heterosexual – does not love God. Why is there the legalized murder of babies in our world today? Because the woman who allows such things does not love God. Every sin that man or woman commits, no matter how big or small, is because of our rejection of God. He alone defines morality. He alone sets the standard.

The Law Demands We Love Others
As We Would Be Loved

If you love God, you will love your Father and Mother:

Exodus 20:12 (KJV)  Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

This commandment reminds us that God designed the family to be male and female, and that the children born of this union are supposed to honor those two who gave them life. If a child is not taught to honor their parents, then that child will grow up to be a bad citizen. Order and respect for authority are taught by the parents – or NOT taught by the parents. This commandment also destroys the progressive nonsense that teaches that a child doesn’t need a father. The child is taught by father AND mother. My heart goes out to mothers who are forced to raise their children alone because the father was a deadbeat. Children need their parents – regardless as to how politically incorrect this statement is today.

Those who are raised to be good citizens keep the sixth commandment:

Exodus 20:13 (KJV)  Thou shalt not kill.

Which is the Hebrew ra-tsakh’ or “You shall not MURDER”. The Bible mandates killing when people do murder. Noah and his descendants (of which we are):

Genesis 9:5-6 (KJV)  And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.  [6]  Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

It is a CAPITAL OFFENSE to murder someone, and the Bible mandated death for murder as well as for other grievous God dishonoring crimes. The Sixth Commandment prohibits murder, the unlawful taking of a life, because every life is precious. Every life is created in God’s image.

The Seventh Commandment:

Exodus 20:14 (KJV)  Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Prohibits sexual sin in which the marriage vows are violated. The Eighth and Ninth Commandments:

Exodus 20:15-16 (KJV)  Thou shalt not steal.
[16]  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Prohibit taking that which does not belong to you from your neighbor. And the Tenth Commandment:

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

Addresses the heart. We are not to dwell on what our neighbor has in comparison to what we have. The Bible says

Hebrews 13:5-6 (KJV)  Let your {way of life} be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  [6]  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

If you are a Christian walking with your Lord you know that you are called to love God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself. The questions we should ask of ourselves before doing anything toward our neighbor is:

Does my action honor the Lord Jesus?
Is this something Jesus would assist me in doing?
Would I want what I am doing to another to be done to me?
Is the glorious Gospel of Grace promoted by my actions?
Are my actions loving and respectful of God and others?

There are many who profess salvation by faith in Christ but are not saved. Like the Pharisees they look good externally. But Beloved, I repeat the words of my Lord Jesus when He was asked what was the Great Commandment in the Law. He replied:

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

Love God with all that you have. Love your neighbor as yourself. This is the foundational teaching of the Law our schoolmaster. BUT – you say – I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS. You can’t do it. But God can do it in you. You need Jesus in you lives. You need to realize you are sinners, and so very much need the Savior. Call upon Him. Trust in Him.

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The Devil Is A Loser

red dragon

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Revelation 12:1-5 (KJV) And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

As we come to chapter twelve we see past and future war between the Righteous and Satan. We start out with two signs – called WONDER in the King James. In verse 1 we read:

And there appeared a great WONDER in heaven

and in verse 3,

And there appeared another WONDER in heaven

The word WONDERis the Greekσημεῖον (sēmeion)which means “a sign or object with a special meaning”. The word is used in:

Matthew 12:38-39 (KJV) Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a SIGN from thee. 39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a SIGN; and there shall no SIGN be given to it, but the SIGN of the prophet Jonah:

This chapter starts with two significant events – a WOMAN and a DRAGON. Let’s look at these two signs.

The Woman With Child Is A Sign

Revelation 12:1 (KJV) And there appeared a great WONDER in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

Who is this woman who is clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, with a crown of twelve stars on her head. The Roman Catholic Church believes that this is the Virgin Mary, the Queen of Heaven(as they call her). They worship Mary. But Mary is not to be worshiped. When Mary was told that she would bear the Christ Child she sang praises unto God:

Luke 1:46-49 (KJV) … Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in GOD MY SAVIOR.48 For he hath regarded the LOW ESTATE OF HIS HANDMAIDEN: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.

Mary gave glory to God and recognized her LOWLY ESTATE, and the fact that GOD WAS HER SAVIOR just as He is our Savior. She praised God, for He had graciously BLESSED her to carry the Messiah, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Mary is not the Queen of Heaven.
She is not to be worshiped, nor prayed to.

Mary should be respected as an honorable child of God – much like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, King David, and so on – who did as the Lord required of her. Let us glorify our God in all things, and not ourselves. He alone is worthy.

So who is this Woman? She is a woman who carried a very significant Child. We read:

Revelation 12:2, 5 (KJV) And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. … 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

The Child she carried would rule all nations with a rod of iron, be caught up to God, and taken to His Throne. This is Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. He is the One that the Psalmist spoke of, saying:

Psalms 2:7-9 (KJV)7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

He is the King of Kings that is coming again, as we read in:

Revelation 19:13-16 (KJV) And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

Christ comes forth from the Woman. This Woman is persecuted by the Dragon. We read later in the chapter:

Revelation 12:13-14 (KJV) And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a TIME, AND TIMES, AND HALF A TIME, from the face of the serpent.

The phrase “time, times, and a half time” is a reference to the three and one half year period of suffering Israel will undergo at the latter half of the Tribulation.

Time = 1
Times = 2
Half Time = ½
__________
3 ½

The Woman (Israel) is clothed with the sun and standing on the moon because through her would come the Light of the World. The Israel that is hidden and protected during the Great Tribulation is the remnant who are saved by faith in Christ. He is the Light He shines light through His people.

John 1:4 (KJV) InHimwas life, and the life was the light of men.

John 8:12 (KJV) Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 9:5 (KJV) As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

John 12:46 (KJV) I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

Israel is the Woman who brought forth the Child, the Son of God. But she is not the only SIGN we see.

Then There Is The Sign Of The Dragon

Revelation 12:3(KJV) And there appeared another WONDER in heaven; and behold a GREAT RED DRAGON, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

There is a Great Red Dragon. The Dragon is GREAT because he thinks himself so. He is arrogant. He has power, but his power was given to him by God. The Bible says that this Dragon – who was once an Arch-Angel called Lucifer – rebelled against God. Isaiah speaks of his fall:

Isaiah 14:12-14 (KJV) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I WILL ascend into heaven, I WILL exalt my throne above the stars of God: I WILL sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I WILL ascend above the heights of the clouds; I WILL be like the most High.

With his five I WILL statements Lucifer rejected the Grace of God (5 is the number of Grace in Scripture) and the Goodness of God. Lucifer rebelled against Heaven. He ceased being the glorious arch-angel Lucifer and instead devolved to become Satan, the Accuser of the Brethren. He is GREAT in power because he was made so by God, but GREAT in arrogance. I have had people ask me before:

Doesn’t the devil know he can’t defeat God?”

When I’m asked that question I don’t think of the devil, but of all the much lesser beings called HUMANKIND who reject God’s Word and refuse to do His will. My mind then responds:

Don’t we ALL know that God will triumph?”

The arrogance of sin blinds us to reality. God will win in the end. We should all bend the knee to Him NOW! I am reminded of a recent news article I read of a certain senator who did an interview on television saying we must be careful not to let a conservative judge go to the Supreme Court, lest Roe vs Wade and all of the women’s rights we overthrown. Dear friends, there is a court far Superior to our Supreme Court, and all – even this foolish politician – will stand before one day. She and all who have murdered the innocent will have to give an account to Him Who is the Great I AM. The Dragon may be Great, but God is GREATER still.

This Dragon is RED, for he has a murderous bloodthirsty character.
This Dragon is RED, for he is false religion incarnate, hiding the Blood of the Lamb.
This Dragon is RED, for he is of the flesh and of the world.

Revelation 12:3(KJV) having SEVEN heads and TEN horns,
and 
SEVEN crowns upon his heads.

The Dragon wants to be God.
He appears to have the authority of God –
note the SEVENS used for his description
(SEVEN heads and SEVEN crowns)
He has Ten Horns – Great Authority

He will have a child called the Anti-Christ or the Beast. The Beast, like his father Satan, will have seven heads and ten horns (Revelation 13:1). The Dragon will cause a rebellion and a war in Heaven:

Revelation 12:4(KJV) And his tail drew the THIRD PART OF THE STARS OF HEAVEN, and did cast them to the earth

The word “Stars” in Scripture can refer to the heavenly stars that we see in the night sky, but can also refer to angels. We saw this earlier in this very Book:

Revelation 9:1 (KJV)1 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.

When Lucifer revolted against the Creator he led a third of the angels of Heaven to follow him. The Dragon goes even farther than this. We are told:

Revelation 12:4(KJV) … and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for TO DEVOUR HER CHILD AS SOON AS IT WAS BORN.

The Dragon – that old Devil – did his best to destroy Jesus when He was born. He inhabited Herod and his jealousies. If you remember Herod told the Wise Men who were looking for the Christ:

Matthew 2:8 (KJV) …. Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

The Dragon did not want to worship the Child, but to KILL HIM. The Dragon has a son called the Anti-Christ or Beast that he wishes to rule the earth. The Christ must go! The Bible says:

Matthew 2:16 (KJV) Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.

Yet the Dragon did not win. The Lord warned Joseph to take Mary and the Christ Child to Egypt (Matthew 2:13)where they stayed until Herod died. The Dragon could not defeat God’s Christ.

her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne

The Christ finished the work that the Father set before Him, and has ascended unto the right hand of God the Father. Unable to destroy the Christ the Dragon now turns his attention to Israel.

Revelation 12:6 (KJV) And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

Here is a wonderful parallel to the Old Testament. When Jesus was born the Lord had Joseph take the Lord to Egypt, the wilderness, to protect and keep Him until old Herod died. When Israel was just a family and not a nation God had Joseph (of the coat of many colors) sold into slavery, then exalted as Regent of Egypt. Israel and his family hid in the wilderness of Egypt until they became a mighty nation. During the Great Tribulation, God will have His True Israel – the Israel that had received the Messiah – hidden for 3 ½ years. The Lord will preserve His Israel. Why? Because God WANTS to preserve His Israel. The Apostle Paul clarified:

Romans 9:6-7 (KJV) …. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:  [7]  Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

During the Tribulation, there will be a PHYSICAL Israel and a SPIRITUAL Israel. The SPIRITUAL Israel, those who are redeemed by faith in the Messiah – will be hidden as a nation in the wilderness. The PHYSICAL Israel will be inhabited and tread underfoot of the forces of the Anti-Christ. But God’s true Nation will be preserved.

The Dragon will not be able to destroy Israel because God will protect her. Since the Dragon cannot destroy Israel (for she is protected of God) he, like a mad dog, turns his attention to Heaven.

Revelation 12:7-9 (KJV) And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

The Dragon Has Six Names

In verse 9 we see all the names by which the fallen angel Lucifer now goes by. While he followed God he was “Lucifer” which means “The Shining One”. But now we see in verse 9:

The Great Dragon – fierce and destructive
That Old Serpent – the deceiver in Eden (Genesis 3:1)
The Devil – mostly evil
Satan – the accuser of the brethren
The Deceiver – he deceives the whole world

There is one more title given Lucifer in this chapter. He is the LOSER.

He could not destroy the Christ. He could not destroy Israel. He went to Heaven, and could not defeat Michael the Arch-Angel nor his forces. He is literally cast out of Heaven and forced to stay on the earth. There is rejoicing in Heaven:

Revelation 12:10 (KJV) And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Do you know how the Dragon-Serpent-Devil-Satan-Deceiver wins? He wins when we stop following God and start following the flesh. When we use the tactics of the world to do battle we bring shame to our God. The Bible says:

Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

The ongoing and future battle which all of God’s people are in is not against FLESH AND BLOOD but against SPIRITUAL FORCES. We cannot win the battle by misusing our tongues, by screaming at the darkness. We cast out Satan the same way that they will cast out Satan in the future:

Revelation 12:11 (KJV) And they OVERCAME him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

What defeats Satan?
The Blood of the Lamb.
The Word of our Testimony.
By a Willing Self Sacrifice.

  • The Dragon’s power is defeated by The Blood of the Lamb. It is the Blood that defeats SIN, which is Satan’s chain on the earth. What did we read at the beginning of this Book?

Revelation 1:5 (KJV) … Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

His Blood cleanses us from ALL SIN. His Blood POSITIONALLY CHANGES us:

Revelation 1:6 (KJV)  And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

We are no longer slaves to SIN but are Children of the LIVING GOD by His Blood. The Dragon-Serpent-Devil-Satan-Deceiver has no hold on a Child of God.

  • The Dragon’s power is defeated by The Word Of Our Testimony. We have a witness that we can share with the world. We can testify that HE IS IN US, and

1 John 4:4 (KJV) {you} have overcome them: because GREATER is He THAT IS IN YOU that HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD

I know that I am saved because I was there the day that Christ inhabited me. The Evil One is no longer my father, but I have a Father Greater than any – and you do, too.

  • Finally, the Dragon’s power is defeated by a Christ-like sacrifice of self. The Scripture says “they loved NOT their lives unto death”. If you belong to God, you will not be selfish but sacrificial in your lives. True Religion serves God and others, not self.

James 1:27 (KJV)  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

When the Dragon is cast to the earth during the last 3 ½ years of the Tribulation we read:

Revelation 12:12 (KJV) Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

The evil that he has instituted before will be nothing compared to the evil he will institute now. The last 3 ½ years of the Tribulation will be horrific because Satan will do all he can to destroy Israel, to kill the saints left on the earth, and to take over humanity. He will not be able to destroy the True Israel, though he will try.

Revelation 12:14-17 (KJV) And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Who is the True Israel?
Who is the True Christian?
The Scripture says“Which KEEP the Commandments of God”
“And Have the Testimony of Christ”

If you are His you do as He says.
You walk by His Spirit.
You love Him and others.
You also have the testimony of Christ!

There are many who profess to be Christ’s but who are not. They go to Church, but do not walk with God. These are no threat to Satan. But God – and Satan – knows who are Christ’s.

Posted in Revelation, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , , ,

The Water Tests Of True Faith

water-drop-macro-view

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Exodus 14:15-16 (KJV)  And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:  [16]  But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

I was reading an article the other day where the Author suggested that the God of the Old Testament was different from the God of the New Testament. The reason – he said – is because if you read the New Testament you read about

the BLIND seeing
the LEPERS cleansed
the LAME made to walk
The LUNATIC restored to a proper mind
The DEAF can hear
and the DEAD are raised

The New Testament seems to be filled with love and hope. Yet he said as you read through the Old Testament you read how that:

the Egyptians are drowned
the firstborn not under the Blood are killed
Nations undergo suffering
Canaan is invaded, and all are ordered dead

There are parts of the Old Testament that shock our modern permissive sensibilities. But I want to stress to you all that God is God. He has not changed from the Old to the New Testament. He is, He was, and He will be the same forever.

Deuteronomy 4:35 (KJV)  Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.

Deuteronomy 4:39 (KJV)  Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.

Isaiah 43:10-11 (KJV)  Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.  [11]  I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior.

There are hundreds of verses in Scripture that declare God has never changed.
The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament.
The Grace that saved Abraham is the Grace that saves us.
The Grace that saved Israel from Egypt is the Grace that saves us.

We are told in Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, forever
Sin is just as destructive today, but God is just as good.

Our God is good and faithful. He offers His love to whosoever will!

God Proves Himself Faithful
When There Is Too Much Water

As Israel stood at the edge of the Red Sea they needed to look upward and trust the God Who saved them. Moses is their preacher and leader.

God tells Moses to tell Israel to go forward.
Do not look backwards to Egypt.
God did not save you to let the world destroy you, but look forward.
Look up. God is on your side.

God tells Moses to do something strange, something that has nothing at all to do with common sense. He tells Moses to listen to Him by faith. The Lord says to Moses …

Exodus 14:16 (KJV) But lift thou up THY ROD, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

Moses you take that same Rod you used for the sheep in Midia, the same Rod that you used to kill that Egyptian taskmaster … lift that Rod you used (and misused) as I COMMAND and you’ll see a new thing!

Trust God with what He has put in your hand. If God leads you TO it, God will lead you THROUGH it. God has a purpose for you and your things. Let God guide you and you will be blessed.

Now come the words that disturb our modern, politically correct sensibilities. God tells Moses..

Exodus 14:17-18 (KJV) And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honor upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

If you read these words out of context it seems as if God is overly harsh. But Beloved, remember that God gave Pharaoh and Egypt TEN CHANCES to repent, and even now they will not repent.

So God is going to show Egypt something.
God is going to show Israel something.
In fact, God is going to show US something.

The Egyptians will follow their hearts, and suffer for it. There is blessing and promotion in following God, but death in following self and selfishness. God can part the sea for you, or crush you under its waves. Who will you follow? Will you follow God or your desires? Will you follow God or sin? Sins robs of the greatest gift, the Gift of God’s Presence. That is a poor choice.

The Egyptians are following the god of themselves.
They are letting the flesh drive them.

That which is of the flesh is flesh, and that which is of the Spirit is Spirit”.
“You must be born again”.
The Spirit must govern you, not the Flesh.
To follow God is life and peace.
To follow God is to see the impossible happen.

It happened just as God said. Israel went across on dry land, even in the midst of the sea. But the Egyptians, filled with the flesh, died in the midst of the sea. Why? The Scripture declares that the works of the flesh shall not prosper.

Galatians 5:19-21 (KJV) … the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that THEY WHICH DO SUCH THINGS SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

The Promised Land is not for those who love the world or the things of the world. The Promised Land is for God’s Children. The Promised Land is for those who trust in the Lord and do His will.

Last week I was asked if I was a Pastor by a strange homeless man. When I said I was this individual came up and began cursing me, trying to get me to respond in the flesh. I tried addressing him and telling him that he needed Jesus, but in the end I just got in my van and drove away. God would bless this man if he would turn to the Lord by faith, but he will not. His heart is hardened by sin, and by disobedience to God. He would not hear the Lord, nor His Gospel. And so he drowns in a sea of his own misery. That is what the Egyptians did. They made a choice to charge into the corridor of the parted sea, believing they had power over it. Only God can part the waters. Only God can save. He will save, if we will trust in Him.

When Israel came out of the Red Sea and saw Egypt crushed under its waves they sat on the shore of the sea and sang a song of praise unto God.
In Exodus 15:1-21 we see the first song of the Bible.

Exodus 15:1-2 (KJV)  Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.  [2]  The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

The Red Sea is literally Red with the blood of the defeated. Yet God’s people sing and praise Him. His people unite in song to praise the Lord Who saved them. The Lord took an impossible situation and turned it around. The enemy ended up defeating themselves.

Did you know that most of the songs of praise unto the Lord in the Bible are in the OLD Testament, not the NEW Testament. Why? Because God overwhelmed His people with Grace, even in that “OLD” Book! We should call it the OVERWHELMING Testament!

I wish I knew the tune to this song so I could sing it. Hebrew songs are different from ours. Ideas are rhymed rather than words. Listen to the song (in part):

Exodus 15:3-6 (KJV) The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. 4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. 5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. 6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

That may seem like a harsh song, but Israel had been bitterly held in slavery for 430 years. Their children had been sold as slaves, molested, raped. God saved Israel with a great Grace, just as He saved us with a great Grace. God would have saved Egypt had they turned to Him. Yet they would not – and were destroyed.

Having been saved by a mighty hand you would think that Israel would trust God no matter what. Yet Israel is fickle. We are fickle. How often has God blessed us when something seemingly bad happens – and we doubt the Lord. God saved Israel from TOO MUCH WATER. Now God will put His people to the test to show us that …

God Is Faithful Even When There Is BITTER Water

Exodus 15:22-23 (KJV)  So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. [23]And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.

The word MARAH means BITTER.
MARAH was not Israel’s destination, but VICTORY.

God saved His people from too much water. Now His people do as He commands – they go three days into the wilderness. Israel is obeying God. That’s the right thing to do. Beloved, when we obey God we may be challenged by life itself, but God is in control. We are to trust the Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV) Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Psalms 56:3-4 (KJV) What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. 4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

When the people went three days into the wilderness and found no water they began to get bitter in their hearts. They began to QUESTION God rather than trust Him. God knows what they are thinking. God knows what you are thinking. Do not let the trials of life embitter you – trust Him. With bitterness in their hearts they found water in a place called Marah which means Bitterness. What does the Bible say about BITTERNESS?

Ephesians 4:31-32 (KJV) LET ALL BITTERNESS, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And BE YE KIND ONE TO ANOTHER, TENDERHEARTED, FORGIVING ONE ANOTHER, EVEN AS GOD for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Israel became bitter against God, so God let them go to Marah or bitterness. When they got to Marah they found water – but the water was BITTER just as the people were BITTER. When you are bitter then it effects all that God can do for you.

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

But Moses went to the Lord. We read:

Exodus 15:25 (KJV){Moses} cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him A TREE, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them

The bitter waters were made sweet when a tree was cast into the water.
The Tree is a picture of the Cross.

Galatians 3:13-14 (KJV)  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, CURSED IS EVERY ONE THAT HANGETH ON A TREE:  [14]  That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

When the Cross of Christ was cast into my life, the Lord took the bitterness and despair and made my life sweet. When I trust Him and obey Him even in the darkness of life He will be my Sunshine! He will be my Savior!

Now Israel has not yet received The Law at Sinai, and yet Moses says something very significant. I’ve read through this text many times and never noticed this till just now. Moses warned the people – those saved by Grace and not by Law (for the Law was not yet given):

Exodus 15:26-27 (KJV) And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.  [27]  And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

God tells His people – those He has saved by Grace – “You must hear My Word and Do what I say if you want to be blessed”. Too many times the American Church has preached a salvation by Grace but has called none to RESPONSIBILITY. If you are saved by His Grace like Israel was, then you are His and not your own.

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.

When Moses threw a tree in the bitter water it was a beautiful image of the Cross of Christ. We enjoy the blessings of God because of the Tree. We drink of His waters because of the Tree. We have life because of the Tree. And we belong to Him because of the Tree. What was the watchword of the early Church?

Acts 5:29 … We ought to obey God rather than men …

It is God Who we follow.
It is Christ Who saved us.
It is His Spirit that leads us.

Right after Moses tossed a tree into Marah to make the waters sweet Israel traveled on to Elim (which means “Palms”) where they found twelve wells of good water and 70 palm trees – a wonderful oasis in the desert. Had Israel trusted God and passed on by Marah (Bitterness) singing they would have come to God’s abundance. The Lord knows what is ahead of us – will we trust Him or our senses? The Lord calls us to trust Him, to love Him, to follow Him, to do as He says. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:24-27 (KJV) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

We are not just to HEAR, but to HEAR AND DO. We are to trust our Lord if He will bless us.

God Is Faithful Even When We Are Not

So Israel leaves Elim, a place of abundance because of the Lord. Do they trust God? No. Coming to Rephidim we read:

Exodus 17:1-4 (KJV)  And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.  [2]  Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?  [3]  And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?  [4]  And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. 

The people were moving according to the commandment of the Lord, doing as God told them to do. Then they come to Rephidim … and find no water here. The name of the place should have given them a hint. “Rephidim” means “The Resting Place”. God is not going to bring Israel to “The Resting Place” and let them die of thirst.

They have just left Elim where there was a virtual oasis in the desert provided by God. Now they see no water. Do they trust God? No, they rebel against Moses and the Lord. Moses cries out to God, and the Lord tells him:

Exodus 17:5-7 (KJV)And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.  [6]  Behold, I WILL STAND BEFORE THEE THERE UPON THE ROCK IN HOREB; and THOU SHALT SMITE THE ROCK, AND THERE SHALL COME WATER OUT OF IT, THAT THE PEOPLE MAY DRINK. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.  [7]  And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?

Moses is to take his Rod, the same Rod he struck the Red Sea with, and he is to stand before a Rock in Horeb.

What is HOREB?
HOREB is another name for Mount Sinai.
It is the Mountain that Moses will receive the Law from God.
The Law has not yet been given,
But Israel has had an abundance of God’s Grace.
God told Moses,
“I will stand BEFORE YOU at Horeb, and you shall STRIKE THE ROCK”
Do you see the picture of the Cross?
Moses strikes the Rock, but God is BEFORE Moses.
God is struck. God our Rock is struck.

Psalms 18:2-3 (KJV) The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. 3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

God led Israel to Rephidim, which means a “Resting Place”. But they refused to rest in Him. Saved from Egypt, they continued to live like the world. God gave them water from the Rock, but Rephidim became Meribah Massah which means “temptation and strife”. Saved from Egypt, they were not blessed. This generation of Israel would receive the Law from Horeb, and wander aimlessly in the wilderness until all were dead.

They would take a knee and run out the clock of life, so close to the Promised Land, but never entering in.

I grieve because so many Christians die never knowing the fullness of God. They leave this life and yes, enter Heaven because of the Blood of Christ. But the only find His joy and peace fully in Heaven. Christ came to save us to take us to His Promised Land. God came to bless us not just in the sweet by and by, but in the NOW. For God is good, and God is able, and God is to be trusted. Oh, that every person would understand that the blessings of life are only found in following the Lord where He leads.

For God is able.
Christ is able.
Let us serve only Him!

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

Why There Must Be A Great Tribulation

tree-and-storm-2

 image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net

Coming through the Book of Revelation we have talked about the Church, the Rapture of the Church, and a terrible time on the earth that has yet to come called the Great Tribulation.

Why must there be a Great Tribulation?

Before we go into Revelation 11 let’s review what we learned last week.

To understand chapter 11 you have to understand chapter 10.

I hope you weren’t asleep as we talked about chapter 10. In chapter 10 we are in a period of time before the Seventh Angel blows the Seventh Trumpet. Another mighty angel came to earth – we saw last week – with a little bookin his hand. John was told to get that little book (the Word of God) and eat the book– let it become a part of his life. Then God told John something we’re going to read together now.

Revelation 10:10-11 (KJV) And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up, and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. 11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

Revelation 11:1-2 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

John must preach the Word that God has given him.
An angel gave John the Gospel, but John must share it.
An angel told the shepherds that Christ was born, but they had to tell others.

Right after John receives his commission to preach the Word the Lord gives him …

Revelation 11:1 … a reed like unto a rod:

Often in Scripture when preachers preached God had them use props or illustrations. God gives John a reed like unto a ROD. A REED is used to measure things. It is first mentioned in Ezekiel 40:5, and is used twice in Revelation, here and in chapter 21:15-16. The length of the Reed is about 6 cubits or about 10 feet long. What is interesting about this “measure” is that it is a reed like unto a ROD.

Now what is a ROD? A shepherd had two tools that he kept close to hand, both of which he used to tend his sheep. The shepherd had a STAFF. The staff was a long heavy stick with a crook or hook on one end. Sheep are often foolish, and would often get into places where they trapped themselves. Sometimes sheep ran TOWARD danger instead of running AWAY. In cases where the sheep were trapped or running in the wrong direction, the shepherd would use the crook end of the staff to hook or grab the sheep by the leg, to pull them from harm or stop it from going toward harm. This was the STAFF. But the shepherd also carried a ROD. Barclay writes:

He [the shepherd] had his rod and his staff. … He carried the rod at his belt. It was a stout piece of wood, perhaps three feet long, with a lump of wood the size of an orange at one end of it. With this the shepherd fought the battles of the flock, using it to drive off wild beasts and to defend the flock against the robbers who would steal the sheep.”

The ROD was a weapon used to strike the enemy. When the Psalmist David wrote of the Lord he wrote:

Psalms 23:1,4 (KJV) … The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. … 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

The sheep – the Child of God – is comforted both by God’s STAFF (which guides us) and ROD (which protects us). Sometimes the shepherd used the Rod on his own sheep. If a sheep kept doing dangerous things then the shepherd would resort to the Rod. The Bible tells us that God disciplines His people.

Hebrews 12:5-6, 8 (KJV)… My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. … 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

TheRODis used to stop an enemy or punish the wayward. We are told that …

Revelation 11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod:

John was given a REED (used to measure things)like unto a ROD (used for punishment or defense). What is John to do with this Reed/Rod?

Revelation 11:1 … Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar,
and them that worship therein.

John was to measure the Temple of God with this instrument of punishment. Now who worships in the Temple of God? In the New Testament the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. With the beginning of the Church Age the TEMPLE is no longer a building where you worship, but each believer in Christ. The Scripture says:

1 Corinthians 3:16 (KJV) Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

1 Corinthians 6:19 (KJV) What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

In New Testament, every believer is a living and moving Temple of God. The Holy Spirit indwells you, and you are to walk by the Spirit. But in the Age of Israel, they had a building they called a Temple. Within that Temple was the Holy of Holies, and in that Holy of Holies, God stayed.

John was told to take this Reed/Rod and “measure” three things:

The Temple
The Altar
The Worshipers therein

There Is A Great Tribulation Because Israel Rejected Christ

John must preach the truths found in the “Little Book”, and this “Little Book” speaks from start to finish of Christ. It was Christ Who – working with both Father and Spirit – created the world.

John 1:10 (KJV) HE WAS IN THE WORLD, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

Jesus Christ was in the beginning with God, and was God (John 1:1-3).

  • The Temple Is Measured.

Israel had a Temple, but the Temple was not what wanted His people to have. God wanted His people TO BE A TEMPLE, resurrected and lifted up to worship Him. The Temple was a place where you went to be with God, but God wanted to be wit His people ALWAYS. He told His Israel:

Deuteronomy 31:6 (KJV) Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

God wanted to stay with His people. But until Christ came and made a way through His Blood no one could be united to God in that way. Sinful and imperfect people – YES, I MEAN YOU – cannot have the indwelling God with them always. Yet Christ made a way through the veil of His flesh so that God could be with us. We are told in Hebrews:

Hebrews 10:19-25 (KJV) Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having a high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Christians come together as a Church today to worship God and love one another. But the Jews were forced to the Temple to worship God. Why? Because Christ had not yet come. But Jesus HAS COME. The Bible declares that He came for the Jews first, THEN the gentiles. Jesus Christ ….

John 1:11 … came unto his own, and HIS OWN RECEIVED HIM NOT.

John is given a Reed/Rod to measure the Temple – that which is rebuilt during the Great Tribulation by Israel. This rebuilt Temple is INSUFFICIENT, just as it has always been INSUFFICIENT. God does not want a people just to walk with Him when in the Temple.
HE WANTS YOU AS HIS TEMPLE.

Thus the Reed/Rod measures the Temple and declares it NOT UP TO SNUFF.

  • The Altar Is Measured

When Jesus came to this earth He came to do the Father’s will. In the Temple was the Altar of God. Before Christ came the Jew was to sacrifice an animal without spot or blemisheach year to cover sin. But there’s a problem with this. God tells us in Hebrews:

Hebrews 10:1-10 (KJV) For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices, there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will, we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

The Law which made the Temple also made the Altar. The Altar had to be visited over and over again because the sacrifice of animals – no matter how pure – were insufficient to pay for the sin of man. Do you know why?

Because MAN is NOT an ANIMAL.

I don’t care what the godless Darwin and his worshipers declare,
MAN is NOT an ANIMAL.
And NEITHER is WOMAN!

Mankind was made apart from animals in the image of God. No animal can pay for our sins. Sin came by Man, so a perfect Man must pay for our sin. The only perfect Man Who ever was is Jesus Christ.

Christ was born of a Virgin.
His Body created by the Holy Spirit.
He never sinned.
But came forth for one reason – to pay for our sins.

Galatians 4:4-6 (KJV) But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

The Altar of the Temple is measured with the Reed/Rod of John because human works are measured and found wanting. Christ came to be the Lamb without spot or blemish to save us from our sins.In the Tribulation, Israel will worship at their rebuilt Temple, but the Altar they sacrifice on will be insufficient. At one point the Anti-Christ will enter the Temple and defile it by offering a sacrifice to himself on the Altar. The Altar is insufficient. Christ’s Blood has once and for all been shed, and presented to the Father for us in Heaven.

  • The Worshipers In The Temple Are Measured.

The Prophet Daniel foresaw that the Anti-Christ would rise up during the Tribulation and form an alliance with Israel. Daniel wrote:

Daniel 9:27 (KJV)27 And he {the Anti-Christ} shall confirm the covenant with many for one week:{a “week” is symbolic for a 7 year period) and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

The Temple will be rebuilt during the Great Tribulation or just before it by the Anti-Christ. Israel will worship in this Temple – a Christless and humanistic worship such as occurs in many American Churches today. John measures the worshipers. Without Christ, they are found wanting as well.

Revelation 11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

The Court of the Gentiles is not measured. Why?


Because the Great Tribulation is a time where ISRAEL is measured, punished, and trodden underfoot because they have not come to Christ for salvation. For 3 ½ years Israel was blessed by going along with the world and the Anti-Christ. But the last 3 ½ years (forty and two months) Jerusalem shall be TRED UNDER FOOT by the unbelieving Gentiles. This reminds me of what Christ warned:

Matthew 5:13 (KJV) Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and TO BE TRODDEN UNDER FOOT OF MEN.

Israel rejected Christ and so they are trodden underfoot of the Gentiles. Our power and strength is to be in Christ.

The heat of the Great Tribulation willrefine Israel, separating the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the chaff, and the silver from the dross. The Great Tribulation was foreseen by Daniel as the seventieth week(a prophetic “Week” is Seven Years) or the Seventieth Seven Year Periodprior to the return of Christ:

Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

Daniel saw the Great Tribulation as a time “determined upon Thy people and Thy Holy City (Jerusalem)”. This time of Tribulation would “finished the transgression, make an end of sins, make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness”. For years Israel as a nation has rejected the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of this God will allow an anti-Christ to rise up, and Israel to be afflicted. This ROD SHAPED LIKE A REED will not kill Israel but it will whip the nation. The Temple of God, the Altar, and those that worship therein will be spanked by this rod. This means that no unbelieving Jew will escape suffering during this time.Our Lord Jesus spoke of this terrible time for Israel in

Matthew 24:14-21 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation-the anti-Christ, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, STAND IN THE HOLY PLACE, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

The anti-Christ – one that Israel thought they could trust in – will rise up and STAND IN THE HOLY PLACE. He will be in the Holy of Holies, a place that only the High Priest should have gone. When the anti-Christ does this he does it with the intent of taking over Israel’s place of worship along with the nation itself. Jesus told the Jews “when that time come – RUN! Run to the mountains and hide, for THIS is the Great Tribulation!” Going back to our focal text we see that “the temple of God, the altar, and them that worship therein” are measured – disciplined by this Rod. Every unbelieving JEW will be under discipline. This doesn’t mean that the Gentiles will not suffer. They will suffer and have suffered. BUT the focus is on Israel, not on the Gentile nations. We read:

it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city (Jerusalem)shall they tread under foot forty and two months”

The Tribulation is a seven year period – the Seventieth Week of Daniel. The last forty-two months or 3 ½ years when unbelieving Israel shall be under intensified discipline. The Holy City (Jerusalem) shall be tread underfoot by the Gentiles. The height of this discipline (which comes from the Gentiles, by the way) shall be when the anti-Christ sets himself up to be worshiped in the Temple. Paul wrote of this in :

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 8-10 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. …8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. ..

The Great Tribulation must come because Israel will not repent. But God will send two witnesses and 144,000 Hebrew Evangelists to Israel and the world to share the Gospel of Christ with all.

The Two Witnesses Will Preach

Revelation 11:3-5 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

Who are these “Two Witnesses”? They belong to God. The Mighty Angel – who came from Heaven and represents God Almighty – calls these Two Witnesses “my two witnesses”.We are told that “they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth”. That figure is equal to 42 months of thirty days or 3 ½ years. These Witnesses will stand and issue a Gospel call to the world – and to Israel in particular – as she suffers 3 ½ years of persecution under the anti-Christ. Who are these two Witnesses?

aThese Two Witnesses Are Olive Trees. In Romans, the Apostle Paul speaks to us Gentiles and tells us that

Romans 11:17-18 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them, partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

Romans 11:24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

Israel is “the Olive Tree” and the Gentiles, saved by faith in Christ, are “the wild Olive Tree”. We Gentiles were grafted into the promises that God made to Israel because Israel rejected the Christ. Israel is “The Olive Tree”. These two witnesses are “Two Olive Trees”, two Jews who have received the Gospel of salvation.

bThese Two Witnesses Are “Two Candlesticks Standing Before The God Of The Earth. God is watching them, and they are standing – firm and immovable – on the Word of God. They are His Ambassadors and under His protection. They are mortal men.Just as candlesticks burn down as they give light, these men burn down as they give light. Their lives are finite – but they trust in God. Though only two men, they stand up for God in a lost and Satan following world. They refuse to compromise …. even unto death.

cThese Two Witnesses Use No Weapons For Defense Other Than The WordThat They Have Been Given. The text states “fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed”.They use no weapons other than the Word of God.

Who are these witnesses? The Bible does not tell us who they are for a reason. We can speculate on who they are. Some have suggested Moses and Elijah, others Enoch and Elijah since these two men never died. All of this is just speculation. The text doesn’t tell us who the two witnesses are, BUT it tells us whatSpirit these men have.

Revelation 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

These witnesses have power to shut Heaven so that it will not rain, much like Elijah did when he prophesied. They also have the power to turn water to blood and bring plagues, much like Moses did. This does not make them Moses and Elijah, it just tells us that they have the same power that God gave to these great Prophets of old. Though they will be doing a hard job, God will be with them.

God never sends the equipped, He equips those He sends. If God gives you a job to do He will be with you. Trust Him, no matter how hard that job might be.

God bless you all!

Posted in Revelation, Sermons Preached | Tagged

When Chariots Come

broken-wagon-wheel

image courtesy of  publicdomainpictures.net

Exodus 14:13-14 (KJV)  And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever.  [14]  The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

What are we to do when trials and tribulations come our way?
What do we do when chariots come?
Soldiers heavily armored that we cannot defeat?
Sometimes chariots sneak up on us, coming in the night.
At other times we hear their roar in the distance long before they arrive.

When Chariots Come, Do A Life Inventory

The least productive thing you can do when chariots come is to play the blame game. You know what the blame game is. You see it every day in the political world. Something bad is happening, but it’s never MY FAULT. It’s always someone else’s fault. When chariots came for Israel how did they respond? The Bible tells us:

Exodus 14:10-12 (KJV)  And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.  [11]  And they said unto Moses Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?  [12]  Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.

When chariots came initially the Israelites did right. They cried out unto the LORD. They cried out to the Eternal Father, the One Who was able to help them. But rather than keep their eyes on the Lord they looked for someone to blame.

They looked at Moses.
They get SARCASTIC.
“Is it because there are NO GRAVES IN EGYPT that YOU – a lone man –
carried US – 6 million people – into the wilderness?”

This is sarcasm. Egypt is a land known for its graves. The PYRAMIDS are graves for kings. In fact, the only place I know there are PYRAMIDS is in Egypt. I’ve been to the Great Pyramid. I’ve got pictures of these giant tombstones. When I was in the military we watched light shows shown on pyramids. These are gigantic tombstones.“Moses, wasn’t there ENOUGH tombstones in Egypt that YOU had to DRAG US here?”Nothing good ever comes of the blame game.

The blame game is the oldest game in the world. It started in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. Adam had been told NOT to eat the forbidden fruit. Implicit in this statement is the understanding that ADAM WAS TO KEEP HIS WIFE FROM DOING THE SAME THING. If a man loves a woman, and a woman loves a man, they want what is best for their partner. They will stand idly by while their partner does the wrong thing. This is what Adam did. We are told in Genesis …

Genesis 3:6 (KJV)  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and DID EAT, AND GAVE ALSO UNTO HER HUSBAND WITH HER; and he did eat.

Adam was with Eve when she ate the forbidden fruit. Rather that point her back to God he went along with her sin. Oh, how often we go along to get along. How often do we allow peer pressure rather than the love we have for God to draw us to the right path?

After the fall came the sound of chariots. Oh, it wasn’t really chariots, but it was the sound of God walking through the forest. “Adam, where are you? Eve, where are you? I love you. Come out, let’s talk as we have always done. Adam and Eve, why are you hiding in those bushes?”

What Adam should have done was taken a life inventory, looking at what he had done. Instead, Adam tells the Lord:

Genesis 3:12 (KJV) …. The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

Lord, the woman YOU gave to me messed up (and YOU messed up, too). You gave me a defective woman. She ate and forced that fruit on me. Eve knocked me down and sat on my chest until I ate what YOU said not to eat. Playing the blame game shifts responsibility. So God asked Eve what she did. She followed her husband in a bad decision.

Genesis 3:13 (KJV)  And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

It was the serpent’s fault. He tricked me. He tricked me. The blame game did not stop Adam and Eve’s punishment, but it did stop them from being honest with themselves. When chariots come have they come because I have not listened to and obeyed my God? This is what happened to Adam and Eve. In fact, this is what happens to us many times. The Bible says:

Romans 6:23 (KJV) For the WAGES of SIN is DEATH …

Sin is anything that stands away from God.
Sin is anything that does not come through Jesus Christ.
Sin glorifies me and ignores the Lord.
Sin is an EMPLOYER who PAYS a SALARY called DEATH.

II was watching an old television show on Hulu (an Internet stream) the other day called “Hillstreet Blues”. I always liked to watch Hillstreet when it came on back in the 80’s and found it to be fairly clean compared to today’s standards. In an episode, I watched the other night a detective called “Henry” saved a woman from muggers. Taking her home this rather attractive woman – a widow – invited Henry to spend the night with her. Henry replied “No, I can’t. I’m happily married.”She said, “That doesn’t matter to me.”Henry ran from her apartment, and I applauded him. Later on, Henry was discussing what happened with the Captain of Hillstreet and said: “As I talked to the woman I began to think What’s the harm?. The captain told him “You can bring a lot of complications to your life if you do.”Henry said, “I guess you’re right”. The show ended with Henry knocking on that woman’s apartment door, and she opened it and let him in. “What’s the harm?”Oh, Beloved, there is always harm in sin.

Sin destroys marriages.
Sin destroys families.
Sin brings disease and disgrace into your life.
Sin enslaves you.

When chariots come because of sin in our lives we do not need to blame others, but to LOOK UP and turn to the Father of Lights. We need to take our sin to Him Whom it offends, and let Him cover it with His love.

I heard a story once of a little boy and his sister playing in the farmyard. The little boy had a slingshot. Though he had been told to not shoot at the chickens like most little boys he forgot the rule, and in a flash loaded his slingshot and let fly. The rock hit the head of one of grandma’s best laying hens. The chicken ran around in circles, and the little boy, frightened, chased after it. Then it fell over dead. The child took the bird out into a field and buried it there, hoping to hide his sin. But his SISTER saw him. “Ooooh – I’m telling Grandma!” The little boy begged her. “Please don’t tell grandma. I’ll do whatever you tell me to do.” With those words, he became a slave to his sister. For the next seven days, he did every chore – both his and his sister’s. Finally, he had enough. He went to grandma.“Grandma, last week I killed one of your chickens. I am so sorry. She said “Honey, I knew you killed that chicken. I was washing dishes and saw you from the kitchen window. When you grabbed that chicken its blood got on your clothes, and I had to scrub it out. I knew all about it. If you had brought that chicken to me we could have eaten fried chicken that night – but you buried it and got nothing but suffering and death.

When chariots come ask yourself “Am I where I need to be in my relationship with the Lord?”If you are not, then is the time to draw close to God in Christ. The Lord died for your sins on Calvary. Confess your sins to Him, and believe that He is able to save. God loves to save.

1 John 1:5-9 (KJV) … 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.  [8]  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  [9]  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If You Are In God’s Will Then Know That HE Is In Control

When you hear chariots coming do a life assessment.
And if you are walking with the Lord trust that He is in control.

Before Israel ever saw the chariots coming the Lord told Moses what He was going to do. God knew exactly where He was going to lead Israel. Israel was not at the impassable Red Sea because God made a mistake. We read in the previous chapter:

Exodus 13:17 (KJV)  And it came to pass when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them NOT through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest PERADVENTURE THE PEOPLE REPENT WHEN THEY SEE WAR, AND THEY RETURN TO EGYPT:

God knew that His people were tender in faith, so God DID NOT lead them the shortest path from Egypt. The shortest path from Egypt was in land occupied by the Philistines, a terrible godless and warlike people. If Israel passed through Philistia there would have been attacks from the city-states of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath. Israel had been newly freed from slavery. They had no standing army. So God led them in the way that was best for them at that time.

When the Apostle Paul spoke of the Exodus and how God led Israel he said:

1 Corinthians 10:13 (KJV)  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but WILL WITH THE TEMPTATION ALSO MAKE A WAY TO ESCAPE, THAT YE MAY BE ABLE TO BEAR IT.

If you are doing your best to love the Lord and obey Him when you hear the sounds of chariots – when chariots come –
know that what is happening is God’s best for you.

God knew EXACTLY where He was leading His people. He knew His people’s heart. He knew what they – and WE – are capable of. God controlled where Israel was at. He told Moses:

Exodus 14:2 (KJV)  Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: BEFORE IT SHALL YE ENCAMP BY THE SEA.

Israel is EXACTLY where God wanted them to be by the sea.
When they heard chariots they were where God sent them.

When I am doing what God wants me to do,
God will protect me when chariots come.
If I am not where I need to be with God then REPENT and turn to Him!
He can defeat the chariots! He can defeat anything.

God told Moses:

Exodus 14:4 (KJV)  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I WILL BE HONORED upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the EGYPTIANS MAY KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD. And they did so.

God put Israel where they were so that the UNBELIEVERS could see the power of God. When God sends us to the hospital bed have you ever considered that this is so an unbelieving NURSE or an unbelieving DOCTOR can see the power of God in you? When God brings trials to us the unbelieving world looks at us to see if our God is real, or if He is but a figment of the imagination. I have seen Christians in hospitals, nursing homes, and funeral parlors who were absolutely indistinguishable from an unbeliever. God is not glorified in that, and neither are you.

I remember years ago a young man was diagnosed with incurable liver cancer. While in the hospital he gave his life to Christ. He left the hospital long enough to be baptized, then went back to the hospital. I went to visit him. When I stepped into the room he was beaming like the Son. We didn’t talk of his cancer, but of his salvation and the glories that he was going to see very soon. The Scripture says:

James 1:2-3 (KJV)  My brethren, COUNT IT ALL JOY when ye fall into divers temptations;{many trials}  [3]  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

This young man exemplified this. The chariots were coming, but he was trusting God. He wasn’t worried. Then one day God sent a chariot for him, a chariot of fire like He sent for Elijah– and my friend went to be with our Jesus. His was one of the few bodies I saw laying in a casket with a smile on his face!

God Is In Control So DO NOT FEAR

Exodus 14:13 (KJV)  And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not,

When Moses says“Fear ye NOT”this is not a SUGGESTION but a COMMAND. God commands His people in the Scripture to NOT FEAR. He says in:

Isaiah 43:1-2 (KJV)  But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.  [2]  WHEN THOU PASSEST THROUGH THE WATERS, I WILL BE WITH THEE; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

God CREATED us. He CREATED us in our mother’s womb. God FORMED us. The Scripture says:

Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  [9]  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  [10]  For WE ARE HIS WORKMANSHIP, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Israel is where they are because God MADE Israel. God FORMED Israel. And God LED Israel to where the chariots are. God is controlling the approach of the chariots. We read:

Exodus 14:19-20 (KJV)  And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:  [20]  And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

I love this passage! Here come the chariots! They are going to kill Israel! But then the Lord takes the pillar of cloud that was leading Israel and moves it between Israel and Egypt.

The Pillar that led Israel became the Barrier that blocked Egypt!

When that pillar of cloud moves it brings darkness on the Egyptians, but light on Israel. God redeemed us. God redeemed Israel. He is not going to let His children be defeated by the chariots. God has a plan for His people, and defeat is not in the plan. Let me say that again:

God has a plan for His people, and defeat is not in that plan!

If we have taken a life assessment and we are in a right relationship by faith with our Lord we should not fear when chariots come. Fear paralyzes us. Fear makes us focus on the wrong things. Focus on Him and His glorious purpose. Has He not said:

Deuteronomy 31:8 (KJV)  And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: FEAR NOT, NEITHER BE DISMAYED.

God has a purpose for the chariots and a purpose for you. The Scripture declares:

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

Focus On Your God, Not On Your Enemy

Exodus 14:13 (KJV)  And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, STAND STILL

Moses said YARE’ (do not fear) YATSAB (be still). “Stand still” doesn’t mean to do nothing. It is a military term that many of you probably won’t understand, but I understand. “Stand still” means ATTENTION! I’ve been out of the military for 24 years now but if someone comes in a room and says ATTENTION I snap to. ATTENTION means to SHUT UP. To get focused. To stand up straight and await further orders. This is not an uncommon phrase in the Scripture. When Moses was to receive the Law he told Israel:

Numbers 9:8 (KJV) ….STAND STILL, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.

Stop moving about like 6-year-old children in a church pew. ATTENTION. Pay attention. Focus on God. When Samuel was preaching to Israel he said:

1 Samuel 12:6-7 (KJV)  And Samuel said unto the people, It is the LORD that advanced Moses and Aaron, and that brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt.  [7]  Now, therefore, STAND STILL, that I may reason with you before the LORD of all the righteous acts of the LORD, which he did to you and to your fathers.

Stop. Pay attention to what I’m saying. Get off your smartphones and listen. If you want to be blessed, listen to what the Lord says and DO IT. Then Moses says:

Exodus 14:13-14 (KJV)… and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever.  [14]  The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

When you are focused on God God will fight for you. When you are obedient to your God, God will bless you. Are you focused upon God, or are you screaming at the sea of trouble facing you? If you will honor your Lord (if He is YOUR Lord) He will bless you. The Egyptians will die shortly under the weight of the sea, but God’s Children shall cross over as if on dry land.

God is able.
God is able to save you.
God gave Himself for you on Calvary.
God rose again, defeating death.
God is able.
Christ is able.
Will you turn to Him and believe?

Posted in Exodus, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , ,

Wilt Thou Be?

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John 5:1-18 KJV “After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. {2} Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. {3} In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. {4} For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. {5} And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. {6} When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

I was thinking about Heaven last Friday as I sought the Lord in prayer. I began to think about how people view Heaven. Several many years ago I watched Billy Graham appear on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Johnny loved to ask Billy teasing questions – and Billy was always quick to respond with good-natured love. Johnny asked Billy “Billy, why would you come on a show with worldly people like us?”Billy with a smile answered,“Johnny, even Jesus ate with publicans and sinners!”Johnny asked Billy a question about Heaven. He asked:

Will there be golf in Heaven?”

Johnny loved to play golf. I wondered how Billy would answer that question. He replied:

Johnny, I believe if it’s necessary for our joy God will give us golf in Heaven”

That was a good answer. People view Heaven as a place where we’ll go one day – all of us – where our every need will be catered to. But that’s not what Heaven is. Heaven is a place where we will finally be complete. God will be the center of Heaven, and we will be face to face with our God. There will be no suffering nor pain in Heaven because God will give us glorified bodies. We will not lounge in Heaven, but spend forever serving God in love and worship as we love one another. Heaven will be a place where “we will know as we are known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). There will be no misunderstandings, but unity in Heaven. I will speak, and you will understand what I meant, not just hear what I said. We will be complete because things will not define us, but relationships will. Our relationship with God will be most important, followed by our relationship with Christ and those He has redeemed.

On this earth, we suffer.
That’s a good thing.
Suffering is the scalpel of God that cuts sin and silliness out of us.
Suffering can bring us face to face with Jesus so that one day
We can be face to face with God in Heaven.

God Calls Us Into Relationship With Him

Our text today begins with a RELATIONSHIP. We read:

John 5:1 After this there was a FEAST of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

What is this FEAST? God established FEASTS that His Israel was to have at certain times during the year. We read in …

Leviticus 23:4 (KJV)  These are the FEASTS of the LORD, even holy CONVOCATIONS, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.

A “holy convocation” was a sacred assembly– times when God’s Israel was called to come to Jerusalem and worship. These Feasts were celebrations of love and were supposed to be much like Heaven on earth. Jesus went to Jerusalem because He was in a union – in a RELATIONSHIP – with the Father. He was going to Jerusalem to celebrate just as Israel should be doing. In this midst of this celebration – joy in the Lord –, what do we see?

Suffering.

John 5:2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda1, having five porches2.

There is a sheep market near the pool called Bethesda. What does “Bethesda” mean? It means “House of Kindness”. Now a sheep market is not a place of kindness. The sheep are sold at this market to be sacrificed on the altar at the Temple. The sheep will suffer. They will die for the Festival. They will die screaming. This is not a picture of kindness for the sheep – but it is a picture of kindness for humanity.

You see, we are all sinners. Sin is in the world because we are sinners. Sin separates us from the God Who would love us. The sheep die because of sin. God told the Israelite to sacrifice the “lamb without spot or blemish to be a covering for your sin”. The sheep dying is a picture of what God would do for us in Christ. Christ will go to the Cross. He will die in my place. His Blood will be shed to cover my sin and your sin.

1 Peter 1:18-19 (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:

The pool called Bethesda is a place of kindness. Jesus goes to this pool. Around the pool are five porches or flat spots where people can lay. We are told:

John 5:3 KJV “In these {porches}lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. “

I want you to see what Jesus saw. He is in Jerusalem for a Feast to celebrate God and His love. But here – in this place – there is no celebration. The blind are groping in the darkness, hoping for a bit of light. The halt or crippled are dragging themselves about, leaving trails of agony behind them. The withered need the sustenance of God. Who will hire a blind person when a sighted person is there? Who will protect a blind person? Will not thieves rob them, and rapists take advantage of them. Blind, and unable to see – what will they do? But there weren’t just blind people here, but there were people who were halt(limping, crippled), withered(shrunken or dried up, scorched), and impotent(sick or weak) people around this pool. These people were in various stages of suffering, of misery, of agony. Can you hear the moans, perhaps even the screams of these people? These people waited for the water of the house of Kindness to begin to boil, to stir. The Bible says these poor suffering people were …

John 5:3b-4 KJV “… waiting for the moving of the water. {4} Foran angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.”

I’ve never heard anyone preach a sermon about the angel who went down at a certain season into the pool to stir the water. We see the word angel and immediately assume that this is a creature from God. Some, like Robertson in his Word Pictures3say that this verse is not in the original manuscripts of Scripture. The New International Version even omits the translation of this text, skipping it entirely. I have a problem with that on a couple of grounds. First, I admit that I’m not the brightest tack in the pack, but when Jesus asks one of the sick men wilt thou be made whole? that man answers in verse 7:

John 5:7 KJV “… Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.”

It’s obvious that the man equated healing with the stirring of the waters but, because he couldn’t get down into the waters he couldn’t be healed. The man was looking to the waters to be healed. He was looking for someone to help him into the stirring waters4. So something stirred those waters.

Isn’t it interesting that we so often look to things of this life to make us better rather than looking to God? I don’t know whether the “angel” that stirred the waters was righteous or unrighteous, godly or devilish. But I do know that GOD IS THE SOURCE OF HEALING. The people should have been looking UP, not AROUND. When we are suffering we should be looking to our God, looking to Jesus.

God will bring judgment on the sinner, but GRACE to those who love Him.

2 Peter 2:4-7 KJV “God …. spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth [person], a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; {6} And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned [them] with an overthrow, making [them] an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; {7} And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked”

God saved all who would get on the Ark.
He saved all who would follow Him out of Sodom and Gomorrah.
God wanted to save Nineveh, and sent Jonah to that place:

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

because God wants everyone who will hear the Gospel be saved. The Bible tells us that God is

2 Peter 3:9 (KJV)  The Lord is … is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

God loves to save those who will turn to Him.

John 3:14-17 KJV “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: {15} 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. {17} For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

God Saves All Who Will Respond To Him

God wants you to stop looking at the House of Kindness and start looking at the House of Christ. He wants you to stop looking at the House of Human Effort and start looking at the House of Divine Power.

Please notice the text:

John 5:5-6 KJV When JESUS SAW HIM LIE, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

The man doesn’t come to Jesus – Jesus comes to the man. This is the Way of salvation. In our suffering and in our need God comes to us. He asks us “Wilt thou be made whole?”Do you want a life where God is a very real presence, enabling you to walk in faith? Do you want a Companion Who will walk with you through this life, giving you the confidence you need to live apart from this evil world? You cannot heal yourselves – but Christ can heal you. Human strength and good works cannot heal you – Christ must heal you. Wilt thou be made whole? The man does much like we all do. He replies to Christ’s question almost defensively:

John 5:7 (KJV) …. Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.

Christ asks “Will you be made whole?”He asks that of each and every person He approaches. Our reply? “Jesus, it’s my brother’s fault, my neighbor’s fault. I could get down in the water if they would help me, but they’re so selfish. Why, just the other day, I was near to the water with that rascal Billy stepped over my body and got the blessing. He knew I had been waiting for 38 years to be healed, but did he care? No! It’s not my fault. I’m doing my best!”

Oh, the excuses we make. We cast the world into hell, but know we’re going to Heaven. Jesus doesn’t debate with the man. He says:

John 5:8 KJV “Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

Quit looking at the water. Quit waiting for the scrubbing bubbles. Do what Jesus said do. Hear His Voice. What has God said:

Hebrews 3:15 (KJV) … Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

Israel would not hear God’s Voice, and so became crippled as a nation. Hear Christ’s Voice. Do what Jesus says to do. Get up! Pick up your bed and walk. Let others see that you are following Christ. Be baptized. Make the waters bubble. Quit waiting for bubbling waters, and do as Jesus said to do.

John 5:9 KJV And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the Sabbath. “

The man responds to Jesus’ voice. The man hears Jesus. He was made whole. And hearing Jesus, he obeys Jesus. The Christian obeys Jesus. He hears the Word of the Lord. He does not live by the Laws of the Pharisees. When you start following Jesus the Pharisees will come. Here comes one now. Hear his whiny voice…

John 5:10 KJV “… It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.”

God gave the Law to lead us to Christ. The Apostle wrote in …

Galatians 3:24-26 (KJV)  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  [25]  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.  [26]  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

The man who was healed didn’t know Jesus’ name – but he knew it was Jesus who healed Him.

If You Are Saved, You Are In A Relationship With Jesus

Though Jesus healed this man and then left, the Lord returned to him later. We read

John 5:14 KJV “… Afterward, Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”

I love this! Jesus came to where the man was in his suffering and called to him. The man responded and was healed. Then Jesus comes back to this man. Beloved, this is a picture of the Christian Way of Life.

Those whom Christ saves stay saved because Christ stays with them.
And Christ molds them.
We become His workmanship, “Created in Christ Jesus to do good works”.
We are not saved to SIN,
We are saved to SERVE.

Jesus tells the man:

sin no more, lest a WORSE thing come unto thee.

Sin is deadly. The Scripture 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.

Christ does not save us to enable us to sin freer but saves us to serve the Living God. Sin grieves the Holy Spirit Who indwells the believer (Ephesians 4:30). Sin brings a barrier between us and God. Sin also brings with it its own punishment. We are not to sin, but to DRINK OF CHRIST. Jesus said to the Samaritan woman:

John 4:14 (KJV)  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.

When you follow Jesus He brings the water to you, not you to the water. Jesus comes to you, comes to live inside you, and causes you as a new creature in Him to become a pool of life.

Those who are Christ’s are creatures with the potential to bring Living Water to all around us. Those who are Christ’s take the message of Jesus to a lost and dying world, a thirsting world, a parched world. We carry the hope of Eternal Life by faith in Christ in us, with us, and are supposed to be stirred not by the Law nor by an angel but by Grace and love and service to the King.

John 5:15-16 KJV “… The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. {16} And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.”

This is what religious people do. They set the standard of life by their own laws, and not by Christ. But our confidence is in Christ. Our confidence is in Him.

Is yours?

1G964 (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries) ΒηθεσδάBēthesda {pronounced bay-thes-dah’} Of Chaldee origin (compare [H1004] and [H2617]); the house of kindness; Bethesda, a pool in Jerusalem: – Bethesda.

2G4745 (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries) στοάstoa {pronounced sto-ah’}Probably from G2476; a colonnade or interior piazza:– porch.

3Robertson states “All of this verse is wanting in the oldest and best manuscripts like Aleph B C D W 33 Old Syriac, Coptic versions, Latin Vulgate. It is undoubtedly added, like the clause in Joh_5:3, to make clearer the statement in Joh_5:7. Tertullian is the earliest writer to mention it. The Jews explained the healing virtues of the intermittent spring by the ministry of angels. But the periodicity of such angelic visits makes it difficult to believe. It is a relief to many to know that the verse is spurious.” (Robertson’s Word Pictures)

4Oh, by the way, no one disputes verse 7 as spurious or added text, so I stand alongside the King James here!

Posted in John, Law Of God, Living God, Love One Another, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

A Long Vision And A Little Book

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Revelation 10:1-11 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: 2And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, 3And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.4 And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. 5And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, 6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: 7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. 9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book.And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. 10 And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. 11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

As we come to Revelation chapter 10 we are given the longest vision that John has had up to this point. As John received visions he always introduced them with the words:

“I saw”

When John saw the Churches as 7 golden candlesticks (1:12)
When John saw Jesus as Almighty God (1:17)
When John saw the Church in Heaven, the 24 elders (4:4)
When John saw the Tribulation saints martyred for their faith (6:9)
When John saw the 7 Trumpet Angels (8:2)

I haven’t listed every instance of the “I saw” statements of John for my time is limited. With this “I saw” in chapter 10 John does not say “I saw” again until chapter 13. The sixth trumpet has sounded, but before the seventh trumpet is played this long vision unfolds.

There Is ANOTHER Mighty Angel

Revelation 10:1-2 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:

Who Is The Angel At The Beginning Of Chapter 10?
This is NOT the Seventh Trumpet Angel.

We are told in …

Revelation 10:7 But in the days of the VOICE OF THE SEVENTH ANGEL, when HE SHALL BEGIN TO SOUND, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

The seventh trumpet angel is standing by. This is ANOTHER mighty angel. Some have suggested that this angel is Jesus Christ. I don’t believe this is Jesus. Jesus is the One who opened the Seven Seals, the “Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David”.We read in our text:

Revelation 10:1 And I saw ANOTHER MIGHTY angel come down from heaven

This Messenger is called “Another Mighty Angel”. He is“Another” like unto the first Six Trumpet Angels, but he is not a Trumpet Angel. He is not called the “Lamb of God” but a “Mighty Angel”.

When Jesus returns He will return nine Chapters from now in ..

Revelation 19:11-16 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

When Jesus returns He will rule this earth and sin will not be winked at. No, I do not believe this Angel is not Jesus – nor is he the Seventh Trumpet Angel. This Is Another Angel – A Mighty Messenger Like Gabriel Who Announced The Birth Of Christ. The Angel is described as:

Revelation 10:1 And I saw ANOTHER Mighty Angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:

This angel comes down from Heaven. He represents God. The Angel is immense in size. He is “clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow was upon his head”. I’ve never seen either rainbow or cloud that I could touch with my hands – they are high above me. The Rainbow is a reminder of God’s mercy. After Noah left the Ark with his family the Lord told him:

Genesis 9:12-13 …. This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I doset my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

The Rainbow is not human symbol of unity, but it is God’s symbol of mercyto a world that rejects Him even today. Though Judgment is coming and the Seventh Trumpet will reveal the anti-Christ, even in this 11thhour God is merciful and loving. God’s saving arms are extended. God is, indeed, LOVE!

The Angel has a face like unto the sun.

When Moses went up into the Mount Sinai to receive the Commandments from God the Bible says that when he came down that mount that …

Exodus 34:29-30 …. Moses {did not know} that the skin of his face shone while he talked with {Aaron}. 30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come nigh him.

This Angel’s face is shining like the sun, for it came from the Presence of God.
The message this Angel brings is not its own, but the Lord’s – and his face proves it.

The Angel’s feet were like pillars of fire, again symbolic of God, for it was with “pillars of fire” that God led His Old Testament Family out of Egypt (Exodus 13:21). This is God’s Angel, a huge and mighty Angel.

Revelation 10:2-And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.

Imagine what John saw. Here is an Immense Angel who’s right foot is on the sea and left foot is on the land. He is holding “a little Book”. The Word of God is often discounted by the world, and the Bible often disparaged by even professing Christians. What this Angel does will affect both land and sea – but it is not the angel that is doing it. It is the “Little Book”, the Word of God.

  • God Is Still In Control. No matter what may come next – and we will see the anti-Christ and Satan revealed – God is still controlling events. The Angel is not running, but he is holding God’s Word in his hand and in his heart. He is not retreating but he is OCCUPYING. God is in control. GOD IS IN CONTROL!

Proverbs 19:21 ESVMany are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

1 Chronicles 29:11 ESVYours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.

Isaiah 14:24 ESVThe Lord of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand,

Thomas a Kempis wrote in his book Of The Imitation of Christ:

Man proposes, but God disposes.

  • God’s Word Is Going Out Across The Land. This“Little Book” so despised by the world now takes center stage. We often think that we hopelessly preach God’s Word, but His Word is power. TheAngelstands on LAND and SEA,Little Book” in hand, and SEVEN THUNDERS utter their voices.

THUNDER precedes a storm!
These “Seven Thunders” have a voice.
They convey a message.
The message is only for believing John.

Revelation 10:4And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I WAS ABOUT TO WRITE: and I heard A VOICE FROM HEAVEN SAYING unto me, SEAL UP THOSE THINGS WHICH THE SEVEN THUNDERS UTTERED, AND WRITE THEM NOT.

John hears what the seven thunders of the angel say, but God tells John to “seal up these things and do not write them”. What the angel said was not to be written. Why? Because God said so. We can surmise that the “seven thunders” were all impending judgments on the earth, for thunder comes before a storm. But God did not want what the angel said to be exposed.

Why?
We have a good example in John 12.

In John chapter 12 Jesus is teaching His disciples about His upcoming crucifixion. As Jesus speaks to His disciples He Himself is overwhelmed by the thought of Calvary. Jesus says:

John 12:25-28 (KJV)  He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.  [26]  If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.  [27]  Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.  [28]  Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

John – the same John writing Revelation – heard the prayer of Jesus and Heaven’s response. John heard the Father say:

I have both glorified My Name, and will glorify it again!

But look at the verses that follow:

John 12:29 (KJV)  The people, therefore, that stood by, and HEARD IT, SAID THAT IT THUNDERED: others said, An angel spake to him.

John heard what the Father said to the Son because he believed in Jesus. The people who stood around Jesus – there but not believing – heard only thunder. I believe the same thing is happening in the Book of Revelation in this chapter. John believes in Christ and so hears the words of God from Heaven. But the Lord says “seal it up – do not reveal it” because it is not for the unbeliever.

Those who believe hear God’s Word, but those who will not hear only thunder. John understood the Seven Thunders from God for to him they were not Thunders but God’s Word! If you will not believe, you cannot hear. If you will not believe, you cannot receive!

The “Little Book” Is To Be Taken By John

Revelation 10:8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.

The Words of that Book are to be cherished by John, even in the midst of his trial. John knows what the Seven Thunders said. He receives the little open Book from the Angel. Then the Voice from Heaven says:

Revelation 10:9 … And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.

God’s Word is so sweet and satisfying to the believer.
We take it and cherish it.
We literally eat it up until it becomes part of our very lives.

Tempted and tried by a fallen world we who love the Lord say with Jeremiah

Jeremiah 15:16 THY WORDS WERE FOUND, AND I DID EAT THEM; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

Ezekiel 3:1-3 (KJV)  Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this {scroll}, and go speak unto the house of Israel.  [2]  SoI opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll.  [3]  And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.

The seven thunders promised judgment on the earth, but John was safe. Why? Because John loved the Word. The Christian loves the Word of God. We love His Bible. We do not make excuses for it. We do not try and modify it to make it more palatable to a sinful and dying world. We do not compromise it to satisfy the sons of men. We cherish His Word. We believe His Word. We eat it, we digest it, we take it into our souls and grow by it.

Jesus illustrated this one day when He told those following Him:

John 6:54-58 (KJV)  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.  [55]  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.  [56]  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.  [57]  As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.  [58]  This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

We are not called to be “fans” of Jesus, but are to take that which He has said and live by it. It is to enter our souls, to be our sustenance and our strength. I am saved from judgment because of what God’s Word has promised. Shall I cherry pick what I believe? No! My God’s Word will not

Isaiah 55:9-11 (KJV)  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  [10]  For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:  [11]  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

The world cries out for a gentle, Christ rejecting Word. It is to them a “Little Book”.

Isaiah 30:10-15 … Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: 11 Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. 12 Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: 13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. 14 And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters’ vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit. 15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.

If we “return and rest”in what God has said we have peace in the midst of the storm. John takes the “Little Book”.

Revelation 10:10 … And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up, and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.

Seal up these words –store them in your hearts. They are sweet to the mouth, but bitter in the stomach. What is this “bitterness in the stomach”? Receiving Christ’s Word – the Word of God – you are obligated to share it with those around you. The chapter closes with:

Revelation 10:11 (KJV)  And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

You must share what God has given you with others. We are to share His Cross, His salvation, and the impending judgment to come for those who will not hear Him. It makes us nervous – we are in a spiritual battle. But we can do no less! Let us live out His Word and share Christ with others.

Posted in Revelation, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , ,

Let My People Go

jesus-the-good-shepherd

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Exodus 5:1 (KJV) And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.

Exodus 7:16 (KJV) And thou shalt say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness …

Exodus 8:1, 25-28(KJV) And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me. … 25 And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land. 26 And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us? 27 We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us. 28 And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: entreat for me.

You might wonder why we would study Israel and the Exodus that they had from Egypt. When I was a young Christian I often saw the Bible as two books. One – the Old Testament – I saw as a book of history, and the New Testament as current teaching for the Church. I focused a lot of my studies on the New Testament. But as I was reading through Corinthians one day I found out I was wrong. You see, the Old Testament is the foundation for the New Testament. The Bible that Jesus used in His ministry was the Old Testament. The Scriptures that He quoted were the Old Testament. When Jesus was attacked by the devil in the wilderness He fended off the devil quoting Old Testament texts. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3

Matthew 4:4 (KJV) …. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

and Deuteronomy 6:16

Matthew 4:7 (KJV) …. It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

and Deuteronomy 6:13

Matthew 4:10 (KJV) … it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

When Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount He preached from the Old Testament, relying heavily on the books of Deuteronomy and Numbers. And when Jesus spoke of the Greatest Commandments He quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5, 10:12, and Leviticus 19:18when He said:

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

When the Apostle Paul preached, he often quoted Old Testament text. When Paul preached of Israel and the Exodus he said:

1 Corinthians 10:6 (KJV) Now these things were our EXAMPLES, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

1 Corinthians 10:11-12 (KJV) Now all these things happened unto them for ENSAMPLES: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

What happened to Israel is a τύπος tupos (too’-pos) –a “MODEL” or a“TYPE”, an example for we who are Christians in the Church. When we look at the Book of Exodus Israel was literally led out of Egypt by God. This is true. But Israel is a model of the Church, and what happened to Israel an example we need to take heed of.

Israel is a Type of the Church
The Israelite a Type of the Christian
Pharaoh is a Type of the devil
Egypt is a Type of the sinful world

God is giving us not only a historical account but a picture of what He wants and expects from us. TEN TIMES God sent Moses before Pharaoh with a message. Over and over again God tells Pharaoh:

Let My people go

Over and over again God brings a judgment on Pharaoh and on the nation of Egypt. Over and over again we see a struggle between God and Pharaoh, between Israel and Egypt. We see the persistence of evil – but the superiority of God.

God Can And Will Free His People

Israel was a nation of slaves bound to Egypt. This was literally true. But this is also the model of every person who has ever been saved by God. We are born into this world bound by the sin that indwells us. We are born enslaved to sin.

The Apostle Paul quoting Psalm 14:3 and Psalm 53:3states:

Romans 3:10-12 (KJV) As it is written, 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.

The Israelite was born in bondage to Egypt, a picture of the sinful world. Every person born into this life is born in bondage to sin. We are told in

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

We – like the Israelites – are hopelessly enslaved to sin and to this world. The Lord Jesus said:

John 8:34-36 (KJV) …. Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth SIN IS THE SERVANT OF SIN. 35 AND THE SERVANT ABIDETH NOT IN THE HOUSE FOREVER: BUT THE SON ABIDETH EVER. 36 If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

God wants His people to be free from the world. He sends Moses to Pharaoh. “Let My people go”He says. Let My people go” from what? From Egypt. From Sin. Sin is no pleasure, but a terrible thing that robs us of our joy.

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

If you stay in Egypt as a slave eventually you will die. If you stay in the world enslaved eventually you will die. The wages of sin is ALWAYS death. We see this in the trials that come on Egypt. God tells Pharaoh:

Let My people go that they may serve Me in the wilderness”

Pharaoh that old Devil says:

Exodus 5:2 (KJV) …. Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.

This is sin. Sin says “Have the slaves make bricks without straw”. Sin is never a blessing. It may seem a blessing, but it is not. Sin hurts people. Sin brings oppression and the judgment of God. Our world today is under sin, and nearly falling over because of it. If you are saved you do not embrace sin but HATE sin. The Apostle said:

Romans 6:6-11 (KJV) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth WE SHOULD NOT SERVE SIN. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise, RECKON YE ALSO YOURSELVES TO BE DEAD INDEED UNTO SIN, BUT ALIVE UNTO GODthrough Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Israelite could not save themselves – God had to save them.
The Christian cannot save himself – God has to save us.

IllustrateOne the greatest songs – and one of my favorites – is Amazing Grace. Listen to the words. Sing it with me if you know it.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a WRETCH like me;
I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see!

A preacher told me once that he had a relative that was playing this song on the piano. He said that this relative had scratched out the word WRETCH and put in its place, SOMEONE. The reason he scratched out that word is that he thought he wasn’t really a WRETCH. He was a nice guy. He went to Church. He paid his taxes and his tithes. But Beloved, if you weren’t a slave to sin prior to meeting Christ, then you never met Christ. Who did Jesus come to save? He said:

1 Timothy 1:15 (KJV) …Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

Luke 19:10 (KJV) For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

And Jesus, quoting from Hosea 6:6 and Micah 6:8said:

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

God did not come to save the Egyptians satisfied in their sin. He came to save His people from their sins.

Sin’s Hold Is Broken So We Are Able To Serve The Lord

Exodus 5:1 (KJV) And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.

What does God do when He frees the Israelite? They are freed from the world to serve the Living God. What does God do when He frees the Christian? We are freed from the world and sin so that we can serve the Living God. Israel wasn’t freed so they could go live however they wanted. They were freed to serve God. The Apostle wrote:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV) What?know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

God’s people are saved from serving sin TO serving God. We are saved not to just occasionally to look to God, but to live for Him Who saved us. We are to glorify God in all that we do.

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

We do not glorify God when we sin. We glorify God when we do the things He has commanded us to do. We glorify God when we love one another. We glorify God when we give Him our first consideration. We glorify God when we forgive, and do good to our enemies. We glorify God when we brag on Him and let Him use us to reach others. We do not glorify God when we sin.

Romans 6:14-18 (KJV) For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death or of obedience unto righteousness?17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

God wanted Israel out of Egypt so that they could go out and serve Him in the wilderness. God saves us to serve Him. He said, “so they can have a FEAST in the wilderness”. God is not hungry. God is not thirsty. But God wants us to celebrate Him, to glorify Him. Why? Because though sin was persistent, God was MORE persistent in seeking our salvation. Israel didn’t save Israel. God saved Israel. David didn’t save David. God saved David. But now saved, God calls Israel and David to celebrate and worship Him.

We do not glorify God when we compromise with sin.

We live in a compromising age. Church after Church compromises with the world in order to “reach more people”. Our God does not compromise with sin. At one point Pharaoh called for Moses to compromise:

Exodus 8:25 (KJV) And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.

This is what the devil and the world say to every child of God. You can live for your God – just don’t leave Egypt. Stay here with us.”Moses replied:

Exodus 8:26-27 (KJV) … Moses said It is not meet so to do …We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us.

We will do what our God has told us to do. Oh, Beloved, we must never compromise with the world. To compromise with the world is to reject God. The stepbrother of Christ James wrote:

James 4:4 (KJV) Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son. But God does not love sin. God does not compromise with Egypt. If you are His you are called out of Egypt.“Out of Egypt have I called My Son” (Matthew 2:15; Hosea 11:1).

Being rebuked, Pharaoh offered another compromise:

Exodus 8:28 (KJV)28 And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away:…

You can worship your God – but don’t be a fanatic! Don’t take it too seriously. Stay close to the world. The devil is not threatened by the person who is uncommitted, the one who sits on the fence hanging between two worlds. Yet this is not what God has said. When Israel left Egypt they went where God went. The Bible says that God went before them as a pillar of fire by night and pillar of cloud by day:

Exodus 13:21-22 (KJV) And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: 22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

You cannot be a servant of God and hide it. If you are following God people we see His Pillars in your life. Coming to Christ changes your life. There’s been a lot of talks recently about the nature of salvation. Some say “God will save me as I am, and allow me to rest in my sin”. That’s not true. God didn’t save Israel by leaving her in Egypt, and God doesn’t save the Christian to leave him wallowing in his sin. Sin is persistent. The devil is persistent. But God will conquer sin. God will break sin’s hold on your life.

Redeemed People Worship The Lord
By Changing Our Position

Moses told Pharaoh …

Exodus 8:27 (KJV)… We will go THREE DAYS’ journey into the wilderness,

Why did Moses tell Pharaoh “we will go THREE DAYS journey”to worship God? Why not just say “We’ll go”?Because that’s what God told Moses to say in:

Exodus 3:18 (KJV) … now let us go, we beseech thee, THREE DAYS’ JOURNEY into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.

Three days was God’s demand. Moses did not compromise the Word of God. I don’t know that Moses knew why three days was important, but what God said Moses stayed with. There’s a lesson in that. What God has said is true even if the entire world vote against it. Stay true to God.

Why three days?
Three days is a change of position.
It is an act of obedience.
It is a willingness to step outside the comfort zone for God.

When God told Abraham to sacrifice his only child
it took him three days to get to the mountain (Exodus 22:4).

When Jonah was swallowed by the great fish he stayed in its belly
three days and three nights until he repented(Matthew 12:40).

In obedience to the Father Christ stayed three days and three nights
in the tomb (again, Matthew 12:40)– He changed His position for us!

When you are saved by faith in Christ YOUR POSITION CHANGES. You become Christ’s possession, not the world’s. You are to live for Him and in Him. Jesus died for us so that we can attach ourselves to Him. He said:

John 15:5-7 (KJV)  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  [6]  If a man abides not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.  [7]  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

Our strength and power for living are in Christ. We must live for Him. If you wish to be a child of God – one of His people – then you must receive Christ as He is. You must ADMIT your need for Him. ADMIT you are a sinner in need of the Savior. You must BELIEVE that Christ and Christ alone is the only way by which we can be saved from Egypt and death. The Israelite took a Lamb without spot or blemish and, killing that Lamb, placed its blood on their homes. Christ died for you. He took your place of punishment on Calvary. Finally, we are to CONFESS Christ before men. To do as He said without argument. To be baptized because He commanded it. To walk distinct and loving, in the world but not of the world.

Jesus Christ came in the flesh to conquer sin. Sin was a barrier between us and God.

Galatians 4:4-7 (KJV) But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

We who are saved are saved because we have heard and believed what God has said. We know that Jesus Christ came – born of a virgin – to die for our sins. We know that His Blood was shed to cover our sins. He is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. God changes our position when we are saved. Positionally we are no longer sinners but are sons of God. The Blood that Jesus shed on Calvary was a covering for our sin. Being saved, we no longer serve sin nor this world but are to serve our Lord. Why did God save Israel? “That they may serve Me in the wilderness”. We are not saved to sit but are saved to serve. We are saved to celebrate Him!

Posted in Exodus, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , , ,

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

well.jpg

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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.

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