Believe or Bust!

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Audio of sermon: 

Isaiah 7:9 (KJV) …. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.

We’ve been working our way through the Book of Isaiah. Last week we saw that God’s Church is His Garden, and His people His Beloved. We also saw that God calls His people – saved by faith in Christ – to speak the Gospel for His sake. We talked about how God often allows tragedy and valleys to come to our lives to cause us to look up, to trust in Him.

Choose To Serve God, Not Sin

It is in the storms of life that we gather together under the Rock that is our God.
He is our Shelter. He loves us so.

Last week we saw that King Uzziah – a good King who became prideful – died. This brought about national mourning. In the midst of this mourning Isaiah looked up and saw that God was still in control. God is always in control. Oh, that we believed that!

In Chapter 7 we are introduced to King Ahaz, the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah. Uzziah was a king who loved the Lord but became prideful, so God brought him low. Uzziah’s son Jotham ruled in his place, and Jotham was a good king who loved the Lord as well. Jotham built the upper gates of the Temple, but Jotham was a compromiser. Though he loved the Lord he did not destroy the pagan shrines. Jotham is a picture of the disobedient Church in the world today who, rather than profess God’s Word, tries to compromise with the darkness. It is through compromise to God’s Word – unlawful Compromise – that sexual and forbidden sins of every stripe have entered the Church today. God showed Jotham what He thought of compromise with the darkness by sending invading forces against Israel.

When you depart from God in a small way it has a ripple effect.
You may disobey God in a small way, but in time it balloons and grows.
A LITTLE LEAVEN leavens the whole lump (Galatians 5:9).
A LITTLE GOSSIP snowballs and destroys a life.
A LITTLE LIE comes back to haunt you.
A LITTLE ARROGANCE grows into outright narcissism.
A LITTLE FIRE CRACKER clenched in your fist may seem to be harmless,
but a LITTLE SPARK can cause it to blow a finger off.
There is nothing LITTLE about SIN and UNBELIEF.

So along comes Ahaz. His grandfather Uzziah became arrogant and tried to offer a sacrifice to God in the Temple. He became leprous for his trouble. His son watched Uzziah suffer for arrogance, so Jotham went in the other direction. He became so timid he wouldn’t even stand up for what God told him to do, and allowed idolatry in his kingdom.

Jotham was in a position to fix the evil, but looked away and ignored it.
And wickedness grew.

Then he had a son called ….

“Ahaz”. His name is the Hebrew verb אחז (ahaz), meaning “to take hold of, seize or grasp, to take possession of”. Ahaz had no faith in God. He was materialistic and greedy and idolatrous. The Bible tells us that Ahaz …

2 Kings 21:6 (CSB) … burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. (also see 2 Kings 16:3-4)

The Enduring Word Commentary states …

The pagan god (or, demon, more accurately) Molech was worshipped by heating a metal statue representing the god until it was red hot, then placing a living infant on the outstretched hands of the statue, while beating drums drowned out the screams of the child until it burned to death.”

Ahaz would have killed his son Hezekiah – the next in line to be king – but Hezekiah was hidden and saved by his mother. Under Ahaz the kingdom of Judah became corrupt, wandering far from the Lord. So the Lord brought judgment on Judah. Which brings us where you should be in Isaiah 7.

Isaiah 7:1-2 (KJV)  And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it.  [2]  And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.

Trials Get Our Attention

God often allows tragedy to come to a people to cause them to stop and look up. We all need to be following the Lord. Judah and it’s king had drifted from the King of Kings and Lord of Lord. Now here is a threat, a terrible threat. Syria and Israel are coming after Judah.

Syria is a picture of the unbelieving secular world.
Northern Israel is a picture of the unbelieving religious world.

These unbelieving worlds bind themselves together, and they are coming after Judah and its king. I love that phrase:

his heart was moved, and the heart of his people,
as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind

Jesus used the picture of the trees moving in the wind as a picture of the Holy Spirit operating in the lives of people. Jesus told a religious unbeliever called Nicodemus:

John 3:6-8 (KJV) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.   [7]   Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.   [8]   The WIND BLOWETH WHERE IT LISTETH, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

You must be born again. You must be moved by God. When Ahaz and Judah heard that defeat and death was coming their hearts – so sure of themselves – were moved. They weren’t moved by God’s Spirit, but were moved by fear of what was coming. There was something greater than they that was looming overhead. They were not with God – and their own strength could not prevail. What can they do?

Though Ahaz and Judah were hard hearted the Lord had compassion on that nation. The Lord told Isaiah to go and tell them:

Isaiah 7:4-7 (KJV)  And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah.  [5]  Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying,  [6]  Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal:

[7]  Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.

God said “Do not fear, and do not be faint hearted”. Though these were two mighty nations God called them “two tails of these smoking firebrands”. What that means is “two pieces of smoking wood that are just about to go out”. God is in control. God loves us. God calls to us. God promises to be with us, and to protect us, and guide us. But we must listen to God. We must believe God.

The Blessings Of God Come Only When We Believe Him

Our God deserves to be believed. He is God, and as God He cannot lie.

Numbers 23:19 (CSB) GOD IS NOT A MAN, THAT HE MIGHT LIE, or a son of man, that he might change his mind. Does he speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill?

What God has said, He will do. What God has seen comes to pass. God told Ahaz “these two nations are embers burning out in the campfire” but then God says this:

Isaiah 7:9 (KJV) …. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.

If you will not believe God, the blessing is not there.

1 John 5:10 (CSB) … The one who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony God has given about his Son.

God has always spoken truth. When He told Adam:

Genesis 2:17 (CSB) … you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.

Adam ate. Did he die? Yes, he died immediately spiritually when he dishonored God. “By one man sin entered the world, and death by sin” (Romans 5:12). When God told Noah “My Spirit will not strive with man forever, yet his days shall be 120 years” did He lie? No. 120 years after God told Noah to build an Ark the world flooded, and all died but those on the Ark. God has never told a lie. It is impossible for Him to lie.

Proverbs 30:5 (ESV) Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Psalm 33:4 (NLT) For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything He does.

God is true to His Word for He is true to Himself. He will not lie, nor recant His promise. God told Ahaz “believe me and you’ll be established. But if you will not believe, you shall not be established.”

People have doubted God’s Word before. But God says to them the same thing He said to Ahaz:

Isaiah 7:11 (KJV)  Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God;
ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.

God says “Try Me. Try and see if I am not true to My Word.” It is evil to provoke God, or to do that which dishonors Him, but God calls out to us saying:

Isaiah 1:18-20 (KJV)  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  [19]  If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:  [20]  But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

The Lord says:

Psalms 34:8 (KJV)  O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

To BELIEVE in God is to try Him, to bring Him intimately into your life. When I came my my office Monday morning I found a doughnut sitting on a plate with a fork in it sitting outside my office. As I looked at the doughnut – never eaten but sitting there wasted – the Lord spoke to my heart. I felt like the Lord was saying “That’s how many people treat Me. They hear My Word. They put it on a plate, stick a fork in it, then walk away never eating it.”

Isaiah 7:9 (KJV) …. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.

There is no blessing in a half belief. Jesus told those who followed after Him:

John 6:51-58 (KJV)   I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.   [52]  The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?  [53]  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.   [54]   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.

Believing God is receiving Him as if His Word is food. Believing God is not just HEARING but DOING what He says. You can look at a picture of food all day long but it will never satisfy your hunger. You can look at a bottle of water all day long but it will never satisfy your thirst. Believing God means to reach out to the promise, to take it to yourself, to try and do what God said try and do.

Faith in God means to cross the Jordan without first sending out spies.
Faith in God means to cross the Jordan, believing God is greater than the enemy.
Faith in God means advancing to the high ground with Him WHEN HE SAYS.
Faith in God means intimately taking Him into your life,
For His flesh is meat indeed, and His Blood is drink indeed.

God told Ahaz “Ask Me for a sign if you need it, and I will grant it”. How did Ahaz respond?

Isaiah 7:12 (KJV)  But Ahaz said, I will not ask,
neither will I tempt the LORD.

You are not tempting God when you do what He says. You are tempting God when you do NOT do what He says. The judge Gideon was fearful of following God, so he asked a fleece of the Lord. The Lord never rebuked Gideon, and will not rebuke you. Isaiah said to Ahaz:

Isaiah 7:13 (KJV)  And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?

Do you know the Bible says:

Isaiah 40:28 (ESV) …. The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary;

God is never weary or tired, exhausted from anything that He does. The Lord rested on the seventh day to show us that He wanted us to rest one day a week, to take time and worship Him (for He is worthy).

Labor does not weary God.
UNBELIEF and HARD HEARTEDNESS wearies God.

In fact, unbelief and hard heartedness wearies US. But when we trust in the Lord and do as He says the Bible says:

Isaiah 40:31 (ESV) but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Faith in God empowers us for living.

The Sign Of The Virgin Birth

Ahaz refused to trust God or even ask God for a sign, so God gave Ahaz a sign. What is interesting about this sign is that it was not given specifically just to Ahaz, but to the House of David, Judah.

This is the prophecy of the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s end with this wonderful sign.

Isaiah 7:14-16 (KJV)  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.  [15]  Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.  [16]  For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

The Lord Himself shall give you a sign”. The House of David, Judah, would have a sign, a miraculous sign from God.

Behold, a VIRGIN shall conceive”. Some have tried to twist this passage to say that the Hebrew ALMAH (which is rendered “Virgin”) could be “a young woman”. That’s stupid. God is going to show Judah a miracle, and there is no miracle in a young woman conceiving. 360,000 babies are born every day worldwide, or about 15,000 per hour or 250 per minute, or 4 per second. There is no miracle in young women conceiving! But a VIRGIN conceiving is a miracle! Life would come from where life had not been.

A VIRGIN shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name IMMANUEL”. The name “IMMANUEL” means “God with us”. God would enter humanity through a Virgin. How would we know He is God?

The King James in verse 15 is a little hard to understand. A better translation is the New American Standard here …

He will eat curds and honey at the time
He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good.

What does that mean? In ancient times babies were first fed mother’s milk, then milk curd and honey. Milk curd and honey is much like we would consider Gerber Baby Food today. From the time this Son left His mother’s milk and began to eat His first solid foods He would know enough to refuse evil and choose good. This is not normal in a child, but this is supernatural. This is God in the flesh, God with us.

This prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He was born of a Virgin (Matthew 1:23). The Holy Spirit came upon the Virgin Mary, and through God’s power she conceived the Christ (Luke 1:35). The Word of God Who was in the beginning with God (John 1:1-2) “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). God became Man, perfect Man, so that He could lead us to Himself. Of this miracle the Apostle said:

1 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Oh, that you would believe on Him! Oh, that you would receive Him as Lord and Savior. God finished by telling Ahaz …

BEFORE the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings

Before the Child comes the land of Israel will fall, and Jerusalem will lose both of her kings. She will lose the King of Judah, and she will lose the King of Kings. Why? Because of unbelief.

Isaiah 7:9 (KJV) …. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.

Without faith you cannot be blessed. Without faith you cannot be saved. Without faith God cannot give you His promise of eternal life and peace. Receive Him. Believe that He was born in this life for you, incarnate for you. Trust Him and see.

God will bless you!

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Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz

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Audio of sermon: 

Isaiah 8:1-4 (KJV) Moreover the LORD said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen concerning Maher-shalal-hash-baz. [2] And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah. [3] And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz. [4] For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.

God’s people were facing a great enemy.
That enemy was FEAR.
When we FEAR, we often do what we should not do.
FEAR leads to worry, stress, and sickness.
We should FEAR GOD, but that doesn’t mean to be terrified of Him.

Deuteronomy 10:12-13(ESV) And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?

To “Fear God” is to hold Him in higher regard than anyone or anything else. To walk in His ways, to love Him, to serve Him without reserve, to do what He says. This is fearing God. King Solomon said:

Ecclesiastes 12:13 (ESV) The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

In chapter 8 we are introduced to a child named Maher-shalal-hash-baz. Who is Maher-shalal-hash-baz? He is the second child of Isaiah.

Maher-shalal-hash-baz Is A Sign

God came to Isaiah and said:

Isaiah 8:1 (KJV) Moreover the LORD said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen concerning Maher-shalal-hash-baz.

Back in Isaiah’s day paper wasn’t something you just ran to Walmart and bought. The Bible of Isaiah’s day was written on long rolls of animal skins or papyrus, a paper-like product made by painstakingly crushing the stalks of the papyrus plant, then pressing them together under pressure until it dried.

Writing material was time consuming and costly. You didn’t just waste it. God told Isaiah “take thee a great roll” – a very big roll of writing material – and write in it with an ordinary pen “Maher-shalal-hash-baz”. What in the world is Maher-shalal-hash-baz?

In Isaiah’s day soldiers were paid a wage, but not much. Sometimes soldiers were paid in salt, hence the phrase “He’s worth his salt”. You didn’t get rich as a soldier. But there was a reward for being a really good soldier.

Soldiers were allowed to keep what they killed.

They were allowed the spoils of war. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 specifically prohibits the looting of civilian property during wartime, but this was not so during the American Civil (Sherman’s March to the Sea or the Savannah Campaign) nor among the ancients. When soldiers came into an area to attack they would cry out:

Maher-shalal-hash-baz

Which means “Quick is the loot, because easy is the prey”.
Maher-shalal-hash-baz was a cry of encouragement
to those ransacking another people.

It was a cry of confidence that the enemy made as he raped and pillaged his way through the countryside. No one wanted to hear this cry lifted up against their nation or against their family. It was chilling. God told Isaiah to take a large scroll – a journal if you would – and write Maher-shalal-hash-bazin it.

Isaiah 8:2 And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.

Since God commanded this Isaiah treated it with all reverence.
He took two faithful witnesses to watch him do as God said.

This reminds me of what Jesus said:

Matthew 18:20 (ESV) For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

God loves to see the obedience of His people.

Isaiah could have debated God. “God, why do You want me to write down that hideous word Maher-shalal-hash-baz? We often lose blessing when we debate God rather than honor Him. Isaiah loved and honored his Lord! God blesses us when we honor Him. What we read next is very interesting.

Isaiah 8:3 And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son.

What? When I first read this I was confused, but it’s not confusing when you understand who the prophetess is. The “prophetess” is Isaiah’s wife. Isaiah is the Prophet, and his wife is the Prophetess. Some of you call me “Preacher” and call my wife “Mrs Preacher”. That’s what is going on here. You see, when God brings a man and a woman together it is as Adam said:

Genesis 2:24 (ESV) Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and THEY SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.

When God calls a man, he also calls the wife. They are ONE FLESH. What God tells one to do, he tells the other. Isaiah was called to be a Prophet, and his wife – ONE FLESH – was a PROPHETESS. So Isaiah goes home that night after loving God and he loves his wife – and she conceives.

Psalm 127:3-5 (ESV) Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! …

Isaiah loves God, Isaiah loves his wife, God blesses them both with a child. But then God tells Isaiah:

Isaiah 8:3 (KJV) Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz.

In ancient times the father named the child. Mary will bear a Son and you, Joseph, shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). God tells Isaiah “Your son will be named Maher-shalal-hash-baz”. I would have liked to have seen his wife’s face when he told her that her child would be named a battle cry

Quick is the loot, because easy is the prey”

We don’t always understand the why or the purpose of God, but if God tells you to do something you should trust and obey. As that old song goes, “Trust and obey. For there’s no other way. To be happy in Jesus. Just trust and OBEY.
Isaiah trusted and obeyed.

Maher-shalal-hash-baz Is A Sign Of PUNISHMENT

Maher-shalal-hash-baz is first of all a sign of PUNISHMENT to all who put their faith in man. Assyria is coming after Judah, seeking to destroy it because of their unbelief. Rather than repent, Ahaz the King and much of the nation looked to other fallen nations – Syria and Samaria – for protection.

God said

Isaiah 8:4 (KJV)  For before the child (Maher-shalal-hash-baz) shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.

Those whom Judah trusted in will be defeated before the child Maher-shalal-hash-baz is able to say “Ma Ma” or “Da Da”. Syria and Samaria will fall. But those who trusted in Syria and Samaria will also fall.

Isaiah 8:6 (KJV) Forasmuch as this people refuseth the WATERS OF SHILOAH that go softly..

The “waters of Shiloah” refers to a small fountain that sent a little stream through the city of Jerusalem. It was a beautiful babbling brook that flowed quietly, and provided nourishment to the city.

The waters of Shiloah were symbolic of the quiet
but sure provision of God to His people.

The people turned away from the God Who provided their needs quietly and daily, and instead turned to two man made rivers called Syria and Samaria. Had Judah turned to God they would have found Him faithful.

Psalm 46:4-5 (ESV) There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.

God was in the midst of Judah daily. He flowed like a sure fountain of Living Water through Jerusalem, quietly loving His people by meeting their needs.

John 7:37-39 (ESV) On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive

John 4:13-14 (ESV) Jesus said to {the Samaritan woman}, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The people refused the salvation and protection of God, instead putting their faith in the strength of man.

Isaiah 8:6 (KJV) Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah’s son;

They REJECTED God and REJOICED in the strength of Rezin (King of Syria) and Remaliah’s son (King of Samaria). For turning away from God the Lord said:

Isaiah 8:7-8 (KJV) Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks: [8] And he shall pass through Judah…

Because Judah refused the waters of Shiloah – of God – the Lord would cause the River of Assyria to overflow Judah. Assyria would come and possess the land that God’s people should have. Judah would not be fully destroyed.

he shall overflow and go over, he shall REACH EVEN TO THE NECK; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.

The River would cover Judah “up to the neck”. He would not drown Judah, but the River would possess, hinder, and make uncomfortable while controlling Israel. Thus it is when we put our trust in man. The Bible declares:

Psalm 84:12 (NASB) O LORD of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

Jeremiah 17:5-8 (ESV) Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. 6 He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

God wishes to bless His people, but cannot if His people will not trust Him. God promised all those who bound themselves to Assyria that they would be crushed. The Lord said:

Isaiah 8:9-10 (KJV) Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. [10] Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.

Those who bound themselves to Syria and Samaria would fall with them.
Be careful where you hitch the wagon of your faith.
We who are His must not bind ourselves to the darkness.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (ESV) Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

God will protect His own. Therefore do not bind together with the darkness, or God will yoke you with what you bound to.

Maher-shalal-hash-baz Is Also
A Sign Of PRECIOUS PROMISE

Maher-shalal-hash-baz is not only a sign to the unbelieving that judgment is coming, but also a sign of blessing to the believer who follows the Lord. Do you remember that God told Isaiah to:

Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen
concerning Maher-shalal-hash-baz.

Isaiah was to start a journal or a life history of Maher-shalal-hash-baz, a man who would be his son. This was a great roll. His son would live to a great old age. Furthermore, his son would be named Maher-shalal-hash-baz. What is the significance of this?

The only time Isaiah would hear the battle cry of Maher-shalal-hash-baz was when he or his wife called out his son’s name.
Isaiah and all those who loved the Lord would be protected.

While the unbelieving heard the shouts of the Assyrian soldier…

Quick is the loot, because easy is the prey”

this would not be shouted over Isaiah nor those who loved the Lord.

The Lord promises to care for His own.
As long as the believer stands WITH God the Lord stands OVER us.
The King’s heart is a stream of water directed by the Lord,
He guides it where ever He wants (Proverbs 21:1)

The Assyria that would be a cursing to the unbeliever would be a blessing to Isaiah and God’s Children. God told Isaiah:

Isaiah 8:11-15 (KJV) For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should NOT WALK IN THE WAY OF THIS PEOPLE, saying, [12] Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. [13] Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. [14] And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. [15] And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.

God said “Don’t you worry, Isaiah, and don’t let fear cause you to do as they do. Follow Me. Set your mind on Me. Do as I say. Love Me, and I will protect you. They will fall who trust Syria and Samaria, but those who love Me will be blessed!”

No matter how powerful your enemies may seem, God is greater. God is always greater!

Psalm 33:10-11 (ESV) The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. 11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.

God is the strength and Protector of His people.

Isaiah 12:2 (ESV) Behold, GOD IS MY SALVATION; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.

God is not only the God Who saved us by His Blood (Acts 20:28), but He is the God Who keeps on saving us. God did not save us by His Great Sacrifice of Calvary, only to abandon us whom He loved with His dying breath. God gave the greatest price He could for us on that old Rugged Cross. God will not abandon His Children – but we must be careful not to abandon Him.

Several years later Ahaz’s son, King Hezekiah would be threatened by Assyria. Hezekiah would not look for an alliance among the childfren of men, but unlike his father Ahaz turned to the Lord his God.

Isaiah 37:15-20 (ESV) … Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 16 “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 17 Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 18 Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19 and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 20 So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE EARTH MAY KNOW THAT YOU ALONE ARE THE LORD.”

Whereas Ahaz focused manward, his son Hezekiah focused Godward. He sought his salvation and the salvation for his nation from Almighty God. How did God reply?

Isaiah 37:33-35 (ESV) Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. 34 By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the Lord. 35 For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.

And God defended His people. The Bible tells us that that very night the “angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people rose early in the morning, these were all dead bodies. Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Ninevah. And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god … his sons struck him down with the sword… (Isaiah 37:33-35).

God will take care of you.

Just as God had Isaiah start a journal – from a LARGE ROLL – on his son Maher-shalal-hash-baz, God has a plan for your life. He wants to bless you. He wants to save you, and keep on saving you. God will not bless faith in man, but will bless faith in Him. We are called to do as Isaiah and say:

Isaiah 8:17 (KJV) And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.

God hides His face from unbelief, but looks with love upon the believer. Let us believe Him. Let us trust His Christ. Let us hear His Word, and do what He says. We are to hear Him, not Satan, not the world, but Him. He loves you. The Father sent the Son for you. The Son died, and rose again for you. The Son sent the Spirit to indwell you.

God will never abandon His own.

Posted in Belong To God, Isaiah, Law Of God, obedience, prophecy, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Something I Learnt About Joy

beautiful post!

elizabethwaweru

7 Ways to Cultivate Joy

 joy2

Want more joy in your day? Cultivate it! Joy springs from viewing the day’s events from eternity’s perspective. With this intentional focus, you’re sure to see today differently — with more joy and conviction that God is at work in your life.

1. Rehearse with God the reasons you trust Him. Tell Him which of His attributes is your favorite right now. Read the praises of Scripture back to Him — begin with Psalms 103:1. Join with another believer in prayers of thanksgiving, and delight yourself in His character.

2. Keep a “joy journal.” Record the reasons you have to rejoice and the reminders of God’s faithfulness that you encounter in your everyday life. In addition, why not press a leaf from your prayer walks into its pages or include a photo of a person that brings you joy each time you remember…

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When Numbers Don’t Count

been here many times, a wonderful word!

Hard Times Ministries

Some years ago, I lived with a minister, Pastor Walter T. Jones in his small church, a faithful congregation of about 12-17 members.

Pastor Jones had ministered to his flock for over 7 years.  His bed consisted of two chairs and a telephone book for a pillow of which we slept in the one room that housed his church.

Most nights, collections for offerings were about $3.00 and then again, from time to time, people from the streets would walk in:  all with special needs, of either food or transportation.

Criticism mounted over the years that his church didn’t grow.  Yet, time and time again, I saw this man preach and pastor to people, people who desperately needed assistance from the church.

Many would see this ministry as a failure.  I witnessed it as a huge success for all the attendees were people I know good and well would not…

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Let Love Reign

1_Cor_8

Audio of Sermon: 

Sermon Notes: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 (KJV)  Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.  [2]  And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.  [3]  But if any man love God, the same is known of him.  [4]  As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.  [5]  For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)  [6]  But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.  [7]  Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.  [8]  But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.  [9]  But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.  [10]  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;  [11]  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  [12]  But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.  [13]  Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

Knowledge without a proper foundation soon becomes
ugly, self centered, and mean.

I like to read. I think we as Americans would be better suited to turn off the television and read. Read not just newspapers, but other fine works of literature. We need to read more … and certainly need to read our Bibles more.

I was reading an article this morning called “Why Our Civil Discourse Is Broken”. Written by Annie Holmquist, she started the article by saying:

In an age where PARTISANSHIP reigns supreme, there seems to be one issue on which members of both the Left and Right agree, namely,
the DECLINING PRESENCE OF CIVIL DISCOURSE.”

In the article she examined why we no longer discuss things in America, but shout at one another across the aisle. Republicans shout at Democrats, Democrats shout at Republicans, and the so called “Free Press” throws gasoline on the fire. Why is this? The conclusion the article draws might surprise you. One of those she quoted was an Atheist and Liberal Feminist Camille Paglia who said that it was the “decline of religion and the wisdom of the ancients that is in large part responsible for this state of things”. Paglia said:

We have a whole generation of young people who are clinging to politics and to politicized visions of sexuality for their belief system. They see nothing but politics, but politics is tiny. Politics applies only to society. There is a huge metaphysical realm out there that involves the eternal principles of life and death.”

When you make truth fluid, and unhook it from the Divine Word of God, then the
only thing that makes truth truth is who can shout the loudest.

That doesn’t work. Jesus prayed for His Church long ago:

John 17:16-17 (CSB) They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your Word is truth.

Truth cannot be uncoupled from the Rock that is God, or else it becomes chaos.

1 Corinthians 8:1 (KJV) … Knowledge puffeth up,
but charity
(love) edifieth (builds up)
Knowledge PUFFS UP but Love BUILDS UP.

The Church at Corinth was in a shouting match, with the left and right sides of the aisle screaming at one another. They had forgotten that the reason Jesus left the Church on the earth was to share His Gospel.

It is because of Love that God saved us by His Gospel.

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

Jesus commanded those He saved to first and foremost LOVE.

John 13:34 (KJV)   A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also love one another.

If we belong to Jesus we are to CONTINUE In Christ’s Love.

John 15:9 (KJV)   As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

1 John 4:10-11 (KJV)  Herein is LOVE, not that we LOVED God, but that he LOVED us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  [11]  BELOVED, if God so LOVED us, we ought also to LOVE one another.

The truth is that the whole of God’s Law is fulfilled by Love.

Romans 13:8-10 (KJV)  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  [9]  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  [10]  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore LOVE IS THE FULFILLING OF THE LAW.

Galatians 5:14 (KJV)  For ALL THE LAW IS FULFILLED IN ONE WORD, even in this; Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself.

James 2:8 (KJV)  If ye FULFIL THE ROYAL LAW ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURE, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

I had a so called superstar pastor – a legend in his own mind who sadly was honored by too many—tell me,

There’s more in the Bible than loving God and loving one another”.

I disagree, and so, it seems, does the Scripture. Love is the main thing. We are to love God first, then we are to love others as God has loved us. God has given His Church a great blessing in Christ. He has given us salvation. He has also given us LIBERTY. We are freed from sin and the law so that we can serve a higher Law, the Law of the Spirit. The Law of the Spirit is Love, and the work of the Spirit is to produce a singular fruit …

Galatians 5:22-25 (KJV)  But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH,  [23]  MEEKNESS, TEMPERANCE: against such there is no law.  [24]  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  [25]  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Anytime Idolatry Enters, Sanity Leaves

Corinth as well as Rome were Pagan Capitals. People worshiped idols, both Roman and Greek, and you couldn’t walk through either city without seeing stone or wooden idols on display. Animal sacrifices were often made to these various idols by their worshippers, and so many sacrifices were made each day that a problem came up.

What do we do with the meat?

The pagans were capitalists. Many capitalists are pagans, worshippers of mammon or money. As the animals sacrificed to the false gods were without spot or blemish, some beef, some goat, and some sheep, the pagans got an idea.

Let’s set up a meat market outside of the pagan temple,
and sell this good meat at a reduced price”

I’ve been to Dollar Stores before. I found a dollar steak – frozen of course – in a dollar store. The dollar bill would have been tastier. The steak tasted like it was cut from the hoof of the critter, it was that tough. And it didn’t taste like any beef I’ve ever tasted. Dollar store steak is nasty.

But what if you could go to the store and find New York Strip steaks for a dollar a pound? What if you could find Filet Mignon for $1.50 per serving, or a T-Bone about an inch thick for $3.00? What would you do? I’d want to snap it up. I’d buy a few at first to test the quality, and if it was good, then I’d fill my freezer. I love good beef, good pork, and I even like lamb (which is usually $9.00 per pound around here). I wouldn’t even ask where it came from as long as it was good.

But what if it were previously offered up as a sacrifice to an idol? That’s what was happening in Corinth, and also happened in Rome. The pagan temples started meat markets, and many of the Christians in the Church at Corinth and Rome began purchasing this meat. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 8:4-6 (KJV)  As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.  [5]  For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)  [6]  But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

We who are mature in Christ know that an idol is nothing.
An idol is a made up, man-made god or goddess.

There is a child’s riddle that asks:

What has eyes, but cannot see?”

The proper answers are “a potato, a needle, a picture, a hurricane, and a tornado”. There is one other thing that “has eyes, but cannot see”, and that is the IDOL. The Psalmist said:

Psalm 135:15-17 (CSB) The idols of the nations are of silver and gold, made by human hands. 16 They have MOUTHS BUT CANNOT SPEAK, EYES, BUT CANNOT SEE. 17 THEY HAVE EARS BUT CANNOT HEAR; indeed, there is no breath in their mouths.

Idols are not real, but they are figments of the imagination. Buddha is an idol. The Hindu gods are idols. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young started a religion based on idols. Money can be an idol, as well as power. But these idols have no cognizance, no intelligence, no abilities to do or undo anything.

1 Corinthians 8:6 (KJV)  But to US there is but ONE GOD, THE FATHER, of whom are all things, and we in him; and ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST, by whom are all things, and we by him.

We who are Christians, born again by faith in Him, we who are mature in our faith know that there is but One Father, of Whom are all things. We know that there is but one Lord Jesus Christ, our Messiah and Savior, by Whom are all things. It is He Who saved us, and not we ourselves. We who are mature in Christ know that idols are make believe. For us to eat meat that had been previously offered to idols in sacrifice – discounted meat – means nothing. But then Paul says this:

1 Corinthians 8:7 (KJV)  Howbeit there is NOT IN EVERY MAN THAT KNOWLEDGE: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

My Focus Should Be To Build Up The Church
By Lifting Up The Gospel

Not every Christian understands that idols are nothing.
Not every believer is at the same level of spiritual maturity.

Paul told the Roman Christians (who suffered under the same problem):

Romans 14:14-18 (KJV)  I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  [15]  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.  [16]  Let not then your good be evil spoken of:  [17]  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  [18]  For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

Though there is nothing wrong with buying discounted meat that had been offered to idols, the weaker Christian was offended by that. Though I have liberty in Christ to eat meat offered to idols, the Law of Love demands that I consider my fellow Christian, and do nothing to wreck his or her faith. The Apostle told the Romans:

Romans 14:20-21 (KJV)  For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.  [21]   It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

We are under Christian liberty, but we are foremost to be under Christian LOVE.

1 Corinthians 8:8 (KJV)  But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.

In the Old Testament God decreed what was clean to eat, and what was unclean to eat. In Leviticus 11 God gave an extensive list of what foods were clean, and which were unclean. Unclean animals were:

Camels
Rabbits
Pigs
Any fish without scales (no catfish!)
Eagles
Vultures
Ostriches
Owls (Briscoe Darling of Andy Griffith would be astonished)
Storks
Herons
Bats
Weasels
Mice
Lizards

You could, however, eat beef, lamb, fish with scales, locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers.

To eat something unclean would cause you to be unclean, and separate you from God.

In the New Testament the Blood of Christ changed everything. In Acts 10 Peter while praying had a vision from God.

Acts 10:9-15 (CSB) …. Peter went up to pray on the roof about noon. 10 He became hungry and wanted to eat, but while they were preparing something, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and an object that resembled a large sheet coming down, being lowered by its four corners to the earth. 12 In it were all the four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth, and the birds of the sky. 13 A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 “No, Lord!” Peter said. “For I have never eaten anything impure and ritually unclean.” 15 Again, a second time, the voice said to him, “What God has made clean, do not call impure.” 16 This happened three times, and suddenly the object was taken up into heaven.

God made all things clean through Christ. You can eat a bug now if you want to. I don’t want to, but I love my pig! You can eat pig – which I prefer over crickets or locusts. Under Christ meat commendeth us not to God. You can eat any meat, any food. God does not care! But what God does care about is that WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 8:9-11 (KJV)  But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.  [10]  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;  [11]  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

The Bible tells us God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him SHOULD NOT PERISH, but have everlasting life. Christ gave Himself for us so that none would perish. As a Child of God I need to take care that I do not cause my weaker brother in Christ to perish. My liberty must never be a stumblingblock to another believer.

I want to be quick to point out that this passage is NOT justifying sin.
I want to be quick to point out that this passage is NOT justifying sin.
I want to be quick to point out that this passage is NOT justifying sin.

You cannot say “my meat is sexual sin or alcohol or drugs … so I’ll do this and be saved”.

I’m sorry, but God has forbidden certain things as sinful.

Galatians 5:19-21 (CSB) Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things—as I warned you before—that those who practice such things WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

What God has said is sin is still sin, and we are suppose to say the same thing about sin that our Father has. However there are areas that have nothing to do with sin that I should not do for one reason.

Because it would cause a weaker Christian to fall away.

1 Corinthians 8:12-13 (KJV) But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.  [13]  Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

We are to reject sin, but also not to elevate something not forbidden as sin to the level of a sin. We are to love God, love one another, and love the stranger among us.

It is through love and the SPOKEN GOSPEL that the soul is saved. May someone be led to Christ and His Church by this Word. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Posted in 1 Corinthians, General, Hospitality, Love One Another, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lord Is Calling

Isaiah_6_8_The_Lord_Is_Calling

Audio of Sermon: 

Sermon Notes: Isaiah 6:8 (KJV)  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV)  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.   [19]   Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:   [20]   Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

When we preached through the Book of Matthew I never preached the so called “Great Commission” at the end of the Book. Why? Because I had covered the Great Commission before. But also because I wanted to speak of Christ’s Commission to His Church when I came to this passage in Isaiah.

The “Great Commission” is not new. In fact, God has commissioned His people from the beginning of time to go forth and tell others for Him, to represent His Saving Cause to a lost and dying world. God called people to Himself in the Old Testament, and calls people to Himself in the New Testament. The Gospel was meant to be spoken, to be shared.

The only way for a person to be saved is to hear the Gospel through another person.
The only way for a person to be saved is to hear the Gospel through another person.
The only way for a person to be saved is to hear the Gospel through another person.

This New Age never spoken Gospel is not in the Bible. The Apostle said:

Romans 10:13-17 (KJV)  For whosoever shall CALL upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  [14]  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not HEARD? and how shall they HEAR without a preacher?  [15]  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!  [16]  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For {Isaiah} saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?  [17]  So then FAITH COMETH BY HEARING, AND HEARING BY THE WORD OF GOD.

People must HEAR the Word of God. This is why Jesus gave us a Great Commission before He ascended into Heaven. Jesus said:

All power is given unto Me in Heaven and earth …

There is no salvation nor power to save outside of Christ.
There is no god other than the God of Scripture.
There is no strength to salvation except through His Son.

Go ye therefore, and TEACH all nations …

You TEACH with the mouth. You TELL, you SHOW.
You TEACH without regard to race.

Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit …

Immerse the saved in water as a show of their dedication to the Triune God.
Ceremonially wash every professing saved person as a public witness of their obedience to God.

TEACHING them to OBSERVE or DO ALL THINGS I HAVE COMMANDED YOU.

What Jesus said, we DO.
We need to STOP DOING what Jesus did not say.
We need to START DOING what Jesus did say.
We who belong to God are not called to entertain or satisfy goats.
We are not to blend with the world.
We are to feed the sheep, TEACHING what Christ said do.

Lo, I am with you, even to the end of this Age.

Jesus is with His Church, the Church that does as He COMMANDED.

Having examined the New Testament Great Commission, let us look at the Old. God asked the Question:

Isaiah 6:8 (KJV)  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?…

The Lord (אֲדֹנָי ‘Adonay) asks two questions that are very interesting.

Whom shall I send?
Who will go for US?

God is One, unified in mind and purpose. But God is also US, a Trinity, Father – Son – and Spirit. Who will represent the Immense God of the Bible? Who will go before humanity? Will the Angels? No, the Angels cannot. The Angels do not understand us. The Angels do not understand the Gospel. When Lucifer became Satan by rebelling against God, light choosing darkness, and took a third of the angels of heaven with him in that rebellion, God turned His back in these creatures. John the Revelator said:

Revelation 12:7-12 (NKJV) … war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

The fallen angels are destined to be cast from Heaven to earth. Satan periodically visits the Throneroom of God today (see the Book of Job), but Satan has no place in Heaven. His rebellion has effectively damned both him as well as his traitorous followers we today call “demons”. The Bible says that the Angels “long to catch a glimpse of the things of the Gospel” (1 Peter 1:12). The Angels do not understand salvation, for salvation was not offered to them.

But Angels are not created in the Image of God.
We are.
In the image of God created He him.”
Male and female created He them” (Genesis 1:27)

Man is not an animal, nor an Angel, but created in the image of God. When Adam fell and plunged creation into sin God promised to send a Savior. He sent the Savior in Christ. The Bible asks in Hebrews:

Hebrews 2:6-8 (CSB) …. What is man that you remember him, or the son of man that you care for him? 7 You made him lower than the angels for a short time; you crowned him with glory and honor 8 and subjected everything under his feet.

Man was not made an angel, but “lower than the angels”. And when man fell, God became man to save us.

Hebrews 2:9 (CSB) But we do see Jesus—made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace he might taste death for everyone—crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death.

Angels cannot go to man for the Triune God because Angels have not been offered salvation. But God became Man to die for our sins. Only we who are human can experience salvation by faith in Christ. So a man or woman must go. A human must go. A person must tell the glorious Gospel. This is why Jesus told His Church:

Go
Teach
Preach

The Humble Are Sent To Tell The Fallen Of Christ

Isaiah 6 begins with:

Isaiah 6:1 (KJV)  In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

Who was King Uzziah? He was one of the good Kings of Israel who ruled with righteousness. Uzziah was mentioned in the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ (see Matthew 1:8-9). However, Uzziah became prideful, and did something he should not do. He followed the sin of King Saul in trying to take the place of the priests.

There is only one King in all of History that can be Priest as well, and that is Jesus Christ our Lord. He is King by lineage through David, and Priest of Melchizedek. What Saul and Uzziah tried to do was take Christ’s place – and suffered for it!

Uzziah stepped outside of what God called him to do, and burned incense in the Temple. God caused Uzziah to become leprous, so much so that he had to have his son Jotham rule in his place (see 2 Chronicles 26:16-20). Uzziah was greatly successful until he departed from God’s will. Instead of being buried in the tomb of the Kings in Jerusalem he was buried outside of the city (see 2 Kings 15:7; 2 Chronicles 26:23). He reigned 52 years and the nation was blessed under him, but he did not finish well. Why? Because instead of seeing God high and lifted up, Uzziah himself became high and lifted up.

When Uzziah died, the nation mourned. But in the middle of all this darkness, Isaiah looked UP. It was in the midst of national tragedy that Isaiah was blessed to look into Heaven. He saw the Lord enthroned. “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne”. God was not worried. God was at rest, for God is high and lifted up. Uzziah tried to be high and lifted up, but was brought low, because he is but a man.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NLT) This is what the LORD says: Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. 6They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. 7 But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. 8They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (CSB) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.

God sends the humble to tell others of Himself. Only God is high and lifted up. We are not. What does God say of the proud?

Proverbs 16:5 (NLT) The LORD detests the proud; they will surely be punished!

God only is God. God only is “high and lifted up”. We also read:

his train filled the temple

I have a friend named Ricky Allen who led me to the Lord. He loves model trains. When you go to his house, model trains are on shelves, running around most of the rooms, on walls and on floors. It is quite amazing.

This isn’t the kind of train we’re talking about here.

In ancient times a king wore a long robe that trailed well beyond what was needed to cover his body. The part of the robe that would drag the floor was to be carried by men who honored the king. The longer the train, the more important the king. When Isaiah saw the Lord in Heaven His train filled the Temple. Heaven was covered with the train of God’s robe. This is symbolic that God is the king of Kings and Lord of Lords. He alone rules Heaven and earth.

Psalm 115:3 (CSB) Our God is in heaven and does whatever he pleases.

Proverbs 16:9 (CSB) A person’s heart plans his way,
but the Lord determines his steps.

2 Chronicles 20:6 (CSB) Lord, God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven, and do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in your hand, and no one can stand against you.

God has given us free will, the ability to choose to follow Him or to follow someone lesser. In His Sovereignty God allowed His only Begotten Son to die on the Cross of Calvary, making payment for our sins. But though we have free will we must never forget that God is God and we are not. He chooses to love us. He chooses to offer us salvation through His Son. But God ultimately is in control. And God is HOLY.

Isaiah 6:2-4 (KJV)  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  [3]  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.  [4]  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

The holiness of God filled the earth. The holiness of God moved the doorposts of Heaven’s throneroom. The holiness of God caused the Angels that served Him to cover their face and feet. The holiness of God caused the very air to smoke. God is holy. The Father is holy. The Son is holy. The Spirit is holy. The Triune God is holy, holy, holy! And …

Only A Holy People Can Represent A Holy God

Isaiah looks into Heaven and is immediately dismayed. He cries out:

Isaiah 6:5 (KJV) … Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

An unholy and unsaved person cannot go forth and tell others about the Lord. Many who profess to be “Christian” do not witness because they themselves are not saved. If you are uncertain as to your status before God you will be uncertain as to whether share the Gospel or not. The Bible tells us that the world and Satan is overcome …

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.

If you have never met the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior you have no testimony. You are like the Angels who fell who have no standing before God. “Christian” is more than a cultural thing or a default religion. To be “Christian” is to be set apart by Christ, to be marked by God as His Child. The world doesn’t mind a hypocritical Bible thumping know it all. It laughs at that type of person. When John the Revelator looked into Heaven what did he see? He saw martyrs to our faith, saying:

Revelation 6:9 (KJV) … I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

It is the Word of God and the TESTIMONY of salvation that enables us to tell about Christ. Isaiah cried out when he saw the thrice Holy God of Heaven. “Woe is me! I am undone! I am a man of unclean lips. I have not confessed Christ. I have not called upon His Name! I cannot go for the Master until fire comes to my lips. I cannot serve Him until I am cleansed by His power!”

Isaiah 6:6-7 (KJV)  Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:  [7]  And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

The Angel “took a live coal from the altar”. What is this coal? In ancient Israel the coals of the altar were the remains of the burnt offering, the Animal without spot or blemish killed then burned under the judgment of God. This coal represents the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 3:18 (ESV) For Christ also SUFFERED ONCE for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, THAT HE MIGHT BRING US TO GOD, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

Hebrews 10:12-14 (ESV) … when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

The Angel took the live burning coal and placed it on Isaiah’s lips.

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

Isaiah neither earned nor deserved what was given to him. The Angel touched his mouth with the coal of the burnt offering. The believer confesses Christ as Lord and Savior. And the iniquity is taken away, and the sin purged.

Oh praise God for the salvation of Christ!

It was only after his sin was purged that God asked:

Whom shall I send?
Who will go for US?

God does not send the lost or uncertain to speak of His salvation. But He calls us.

But” you say, “what if they will not hear?”

What did God say to Isaiah?

Isaiah 6:9-10 (KJV)  And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.  [10]  Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

God told Isaiah “Son, they WON’T hear. Tell them anyway.” Share Jesus because of God. Share Jesus because of what God has done for you. Share Jesus whether they hear or not. We are not responsible for the results, but we are responsible for being obedient. God told Isaiah that only one in ten would hear what he was saying – the rest would care less. Tell them anyway.

Tell them because the Lord loves you, and you love the Lord.
Don’t tell them because you HAVE to.
God forces no one to tell another.

But He asks:

Who shall I send?
Who will go for US?

Go for the Lord.

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The Beloved’s Garden – A Communion Message

Isaiah_5_1t2_The_Beloveds_Garden_Grapes.jpg

Audio of Sermon: 

Sermon Notes: Isaiah 5:1-2 (KJV)  Now will I sing to My Well Beloved a song of My Beloved touching his vineyard. My Well Beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:  [2]  And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes …

and it brought forth wild grapes.

Today we will take the Lord’s Table. This is a time of self inspection and recognition of God’s love to us. God’s people are called by God to be God’s people. I’ll say that again:

God’s people are called by God to be God’s people!

The Bible uses the image of the grape vineyard to describe God’s people.
In the Old Testament the people of God were called Israel.
In the New Testament the people of God are called the Church.
God’s people – whether Old or New Testament – are likened to God’s Vineyard.

Isaiah 5:1 (KJV)  Now will I sing to my Well Beloved a song of My Beloved touching his vineyard.

God sings to His Well Beloved a song about the Well Beloved’s vineyard.
Who is the “Well Beloved”? It is Jesus Christ.

The Father spoke of Jesus at His baptism, saying:

Matthew 3:17 (CSB) … This is MY BELOVED Son, with whom I am well-pleased …

While the Pharisees plotted His death, God declared of Christ:

Matthew 12:18 (CSB) … Here is my servant whom I have chosen, MY BELOVED in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on Him, and He will proclaim justice to the nations.

As Peter tried to decide whether to hear Jesus, Elijah or Moses at the Mount of Transfiguration, the Father spoke from Heaven saying:

Matthew 17:5 (CSB) … This is MY BELOVED SON, with whom I am well-pleased. Listen to him!

Christ is the Father’s Beloved, and the people whom He has saved His Beloved Garden. Throughout the Scripture the word “Beloved” is used either for Christ or for His People. God loves His Son. And if you love His Son and have received His Son as Lord and Savior, YOU are Beloved for His sake. You are …

Beloved of God, called to be saints (Romans 1:7)
Dearly Beloved, who runs from idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14)
Beloved brethren, abounding in the work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Beloved who are made accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6)
Holy and beloved, merciful, kind, humble, and patient (Colossians 3:12)
Oh How The Beloved Loves His Garden!
Oh, How He Loves His People!

God plants His people. Christ plants His Garden. We read:

Isaiah 5:1 (KJV) … My WELL BELOVED hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill …

Christ’s Vineyard Is PLANNED

The Garden of God is planted in a place where it is to be very fruitful. Vineyards that are very fruitful are not accidents or come about by happenstance. God plants His Vineyard where it will be fruitful. The people of God are a people of purpose. The Bible says:

Ephesians 3:10-11 (CSB) This is so that God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens. 11 This is ACCORDING TO HIS ETERNAL PURPOSE ACCOMPLISHED IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD.

God places His Garden where He wants it to be, in a place that fulfills His Eternal Purpose.

2 Timothy 1:9 (CSB) He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but ACCORDING TO HIS OWN PURPOSE AND GRACE, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.

The purpose of every believer is to bring forth fruit for God.

The purpose of every Church is to magnify and show our love for our glorious Savior.

Christ’s Vineyard Is PURCHASED

When we think of “purchase” we think of money and inflation. When I was a boy I could purchase a Marathon Bar – a caramel and chocolate candy bar that was about 1 foot long – for about 10 cents. Today the candy bars are tiny. I bought a small Snickers bar the other day and paid $1.38 for it! I remember gas being 35 cents a gallon. No more. That’s inflation.

What purchased us? The Bible tells us:

Titus 2:14 (CSB) … {Jesus} gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself A PEOPLE FOR HIS OWN POSSESSION, eager to do good works.

Jesus purchased us. He did not purchase us with money subject to inflation, but purchased us with His own blood and His own body. He died for us on Calvary, suffering the shame and agony. He paid for our sins on that tree, that Bloody Tree. Christ chose the nails so that we could receive His Heaven. Jesus paid for our sins in His own Body on the Tree. The Apostle declares:

1 Peter 2:9 (CSB) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, A PEOPLE FOR HIS POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

When we eat the Bread of this table and drink the Cup of this table we are reminded that

His Body was broken for me
His Blood was shed for me

As His Child I am His Purchased Possession. The Bible tells us that Christ made peace with God through His Blood shed on the Cross (Colossians 1:20).

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (CSB) …. You are not your own, 20 for YOU WERE BOUGHT AT A PRICE. So glorify God with your body (KJV adds “and in your spirit, which are God’s”)

The Vineyard belongs to the Beloved. He purchased us with His Blood. We are called to live for Him.

Christ’s Vineyard Is PLANTED And PROTECTED

Christ bestows a five-fold Grace on His Garden, His people. We read …

Isaiah 5:2 (KJV) And he FENCED it, and GATHERED OUT THE STONES thereof, and PLANTED IT WITH THE CHOICEST VINE, and BUILT A TOWER in the midst of it, and also MADE A WINEPRESS therein: and HE LOOKED that it should bring forth grapes

God loves His Garden, His Church. Purchasing it with His own Blood (Acts 20:28) Christ FENCES or BUILDS A HEDGE around His Church. God protects His Vineyard with His Word. The Church that departs from the Word of God clearly presented is the Church endangered. Jesus told us:

Matthew 7:15-16 (CSB) Be on your guard against FALSE PROPHETS who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. 16 You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles?

There are false prophets today who teach that a person can go to Heaven without Christ, that any old god will do. This is wrong. There is no other name given under Heaven by which a person can be saved (Acts 4:12). Jesus stated:

John 14:6 (CSB) Jesus told him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.

There are false prophets that teach that which Christ did not teach. Christ said:

John 13:34 (CSB) I give you a NEW COMMAND: LOVE ONE ANOTHER. JUST AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, YOU ARE ALSO TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

The false prophets teach racism, division, and hatred. The Garden of God is called to show forth love, just as Christ loved us. Back biting and bickering are foreign to God’s Garden. These are wild grapes which do not please our Master. The Lord:

gathers out the stones thereof …

Removing that which is non-productive. Sometimes we wonder why trials come in our lives. Trials come because God stirs the soil, pulling out the non-productive. We are told in …

1 Peter 1:5-7 (CSB) You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials 7 so that the proven character of your faith—more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Someone once said “An untried faith is an uncertain faith”. It is through the trials that God brings to us that we are made more fruitful. The Garden must be weeded, and the soil stirred. Rocks must be removed, and branches pruned. Only then are we able to – relying upon our Christ – bring forth fruit to the glory of Christ our Lord. Christ …

planted it with the choicest vine …

Do not let the Devil tell you you are unworthy.
You were unworthy, but now in Christ are made worthy.
His Blood cleanses you.
His Spirit indwells you.
God called you to be part of His Garden – He chose you.

John 15:16 (CSB) You did not choose me, but I CHOSE YOU. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.

The Devil and his evil agents – often so called “Brother” or “Pastor” or “Reverend” or even “Doctor” – have many times slandered my calling and my fruits. Yet Christ tells me “Keep your eyes on Me. I called you, not these satans. I called you to my Vineyard, not to a thorny rose patch. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. They accused Me, and they will accuse you. Lived for Me. Bring forth fruit to Me. Abide in Me.” Christ tells us:

Romans 16:17-18 (CSB) Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to WATCH OUT FOR THOSE WHO CREATE DIVISIONS AND OBSTACLES CONTRARY TO THE TEACHING THAT YOU LEARNED. Avoid them, 18 because such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites. They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words.

2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14 (CSB) Now we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to KEEP AWAY FROM EVERY BROTHER OR SISTER WHO IS IDLE AND DOES NOT LIVE ACCORDING TO THE TRADITION RECEIVED FROM US. 14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take note of that person; don’t associate with him, so that he may be ashamed.

Oh how the devil loves to attack the Garden of God. Keep your eyes upon Jesus. Do as the Scripture says and our Lord declared:

John 15:1-6 (CSB) I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

Cast aside the accuser and his disciples. Bear fruit for Jesus. Abide in Him. Cling to Him. Trust Him. He is our Beloved, and we His Garden.

and built a tower in the midst of it …

God watches over His people.

The TOWER is a WATCHTOWER, a place to oversee the Vineyard. God paid so much for your salvation. He will not abandon you whom He has saved. The Psalmist said:

Psalm 121:3-8 (CSB) {God} will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber. 4 Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep. 5 The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side. 6 The sun will not strike you by day or the moon by night. 7 The Lord will protect you from all harm; he will protect your life. 8 The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever.

God looks after His people. His eye is on the sparrow – I know He watches me. He has promised:

Psalm 34:15 (CSB) The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry for help.

He will protect His own.

The Vineyard Is To PRODUCE For Christ

and made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes …
and it brought forth wild grapes

Christ expects His Vineyard to bring forth GRAPES … but not WILD GRAPES. What is the difference? A GRAPE grows from a cultivated plant on cultivated soil. A GRAPE comes from a domesticated vine. A WILD GRAPE grows without being planted or tended or overseen by the gardener.

Many today who call themselves “Christian” are wild grapes. Christ does not have to protect wild grapes. In fact, wild grapes are not valuable for anything. You will not find the fruit of wild grapes on supermarket shelves. They are often bitter, unstable, unusable.

The wild grape is not concerned over glory to God, but chases profit.

Isaiah 5:8-9 (KJV)  Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!  [9]  In mine ears said the LORD of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant.

The wild grape cares not for the Lord nor His Vineyard, but cares for their own profit. God promises that in due time they shall be desolate.

The wild grape chases self pleasure rather than God’s pleasure.

Isaiah 5:11-12 (KJV)  Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!  [12]  And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands.

The wild grape is all about the party, the pleasure, themselves. The wild grape does not live nor love for the Lord.

Isaiah 5:18 (KJV)  Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope:

The wild grape pursues sin, drawing it to themselves.
The wild grape justifies sin and redefines sin.

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

God is the definer of sin. What He says is wrong will always be wrong. We who are His are to turn from sin as a destructive force, to love Him with all our hearts, and to love our neighbors as Christ has taught us how. We do not argue with our Lord, our Beloved. The wild grape does, but we do not.

Isaiah 5:22-23 (KJV)  Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:  [23]  Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!

We who are Christ’s love Him so we love His Word and stand in it, rejecting sin, knowing that, in the end, our Lord will triumph. Praise Him! Praise Him, oh Beloved’s Garden. We now come to the Lord’s Table. Prepare your hearts to receive His lesson.

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LIVING IN HARMONY

great words. Love this!

THE JOB CHAPTER

Romans 8:38-39
I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord
When I was born physically I had a father. As Ian Lee’s son, is there anything that I could possibly do which would change my blood relationship to him? What if I ran away from home and changed my name? Would I still be his son? Of course! We’re related by blood and nothing can change that. But is there anything I could do which would affect the harmony of our relationship as father and son? Yes, indeed! The harmony of our relationship was interrupted countless times by my or his behaviour.

In the spiritual realm, when I was born…

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I press on

great words!

HOPE

I press on

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 – (New American Standard Bible)

When my strength is seeping faster than I can walk

When it does not make sense to try anymore

When logic says it is OK to let it go

When no one is  watching or , when no one notices or even cares

When the only eyes on me are Yours

When friends give their green light for me to go ahead and throw in the towel

When no one else knows the details of the story apart from You and myself

When doing the right thing will only rock the boat more fiercely

When my opponents make offers and are calling for a truce

When it is just easier to take the money and run

When fighting for the truth…

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Slave!

1_Corinthians_7_20-24_Amazing Grace

Audio of Sermon: 

Sermon Notes: 1 Corinthians 7:20-24 (KJV) Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. 23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

The Bible defines what is and is not sin. God gives us an extensive list of what He considers to be sin, and declares:

Ezekiel 18:4 (ESV) ….. all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

Our text today speaks of the calling of God unto salvation:

1 Corinthians 7:20 (KJV) Let every man abide in the same calling
wherein he was called.

God calls people to Him from all walks of life.
He calls the rich, the poor, the red, yellow, black, or white.
He calls educated people and illiterate people.

God calls whosoever will to hear the Gospel, receive Christ as both Lord and Savior, and then to follow Him.

The unspoken question Paul answers today is …

If I am a SLAVE and am called to serve Jesus, what should I do?”

The word “SERVANT” in verse 21 is the Greek δοῦλος doulos, which means “SLAVE”. It doesn’t mean “Servant” like a maid or a butler is a servant. It means someone who has lost their freedom, and who now MUST do as a master says. So what should a slave who is saved by the Grace of God do? The Apostle says:

1 Corinthians 7:21-22 (KJV) …. care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.

The Apostle says “Don’t worry about it. If you are able to become free, do that. He who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freeman; and he who was called while free is Christ’s slave.”

The Apostle tells those who are in slavery that they are not to worry, but to serve Jesus where they are called. Now I ask you a loaded question:

Does God Define Slavery As Sin?

I’m not talking about human emotion here. People are having battles and riots over statues of people who owned slaves. Personally, I could never own a slave. I believe that every person is made in the image of God. God did not create us to be enslaved. The Bible declares:

Genesis 1:27-29 (NASB) God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and SUBDUE IT; and RULE OVER the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you …

Humanity was created to rule over creatures and plants, not to dominate other humans. As God ruled us, we were to rule creation for God. Slavery was not in God’s original intent in creation. However, God allows certain types of slavery.

God Forbids Chattel Slavery

What is “Chattel Slavery”? Chattel slaves are people who are conquered, kidnapped, and forced into slavery as property. Chattel slaves are owned forever. Their children, and children’s children are automatically enslaved at birth.

This was a common form of slavery in the ancient world, and the slavery that was shamefully prevalent in early America. Presidents ….

George Washington 1st President

Thomas Jefferson 3rd President

James Madison 4th President

James Monroe 5th President

Andrew Jackson 7th President

Martin Van Buren 8th President

William Henry Harrison 9th President

John Tyler 10th President

James K. Polk 11th President

Zachary Taylor 12th President

…. all owned slaves, though George Washington freed his slaves following the Revolution. Slaves were captured from Africa, stacked like cordwood on slave ships, and brought into America for sale. All human rights were suspended.

This type of slavery is forbidden in Scripture as “kidnapping” of as the King James puts it “menstealing”. The Bible says:

Exodus 21:16 (CSB) Whoever KIDNAPS a person must be put to death, whether he sells him or the person is found in his possession.

People were not to be stolen, nor their will taken from them. God made us in His image to rule the earth, not to be enslaved against our will. Kidnappers were put to death in ancient Israel for forcing people into slavery. God told His people:

Deuteronomy 24:7 (CSB) If a man is discovered kidnapping one of his Israelite brothers, whether he treats him as a slave or sells him, the KIDNAPPER MUST DIE. YOU MUST PURGE THE EVIL FROM YOU.

In the New Testament the Bible declares kidnapping or chattel slavery to be equal to the sins of murder, patricide or matricide, homosexuality, and lying:

1 Timothy 1:9-10 (CSB) We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, for SLAVE TRADERS, liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching …

John Newton, the writer of that glorious hymn Amazing Grace was a former slave ship master. After he received Christ as Lord and Savior and ceased this horrible practice he wrote about it.

There are three lodging-rooms below deck {of the slaver ship} (for the men, the boys and the women). The slaves lie close to each other, like books upon a shelf. The poor creatures are cramped for room and chained, two together, by their hands and feet. This makes it difficult for them to turn or move, to attempt to rise or lie down, without hurting themselves, or each other. Sometimes the weather keeps them below deck for a week and they have to breathe hot and corrupted air. Diseases often break out and I believe nearly half of the slaves on board have sometimes died. On one trip the ship, in which I was mate, left the coast with 218 slaves on board; and though we were not much affected by disease, 62 died on the journey.”

None of God’s creatures should be treated this way. Chattel slavery is still practiced today. According to the Walk Free Foundation there are some 30 million chattel slaves in the world today:

forced laborers
forced prostitutes
child soldiers
child brides

The West African nation of Mauritania has one out of every 25 people enslaved.
In Haiti and Pakistan more than 1% of the population lives in slavery.
In India there are 14 million slaves.
You could equate this to forcing all of Pennsylvania into slavery.

Chattel slavery is evil, and forbidden. The 13th Amendment to our U.S. Constitution states:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

  • The Bible makes allowances for BOND Slavery. Bond slavery is not based on skin color nor is it forced on anyone. In the book Hard Sayings Of The Bible (Kaiser, Davids, & Brauch) we are told:

A fellow Israelite who needed to raise money to pay for debts (could) … sell the only asset he possessed: his labor power. However, there were strict rules that governed his or her treatment during the maximum of six years that such a relationship could be entered into with another Israelite. Should any master mistreat his slave with a rod … the owner forfeited his whole investment (Ex 21:20–21, 26) and the slave was immediately released, or if the master caused the slave’s death, the master was subject to capital punishment.”

The Bible allowed “Bond Slavery”, where a person willingly sold themselves to another to work off a debt. The Bond Slave entered into a contract with another, promising to labor for that person until the debt was paid.

If you’ve ever been in the United States Military you were a type of bond servant. I remember one young man telling the Sergeant that he wasn’t going to do what he was told to do. The Sergeant replied:

You’ll do what I say NOW, or take an all expense paid holiday to For Leavenworth

The young man did what he said. Every four years I signed a contract with the US Air Force, raised my right hand, and swore to obey all lawfully given orders. When I was newly wed I was sent to Saudi Arabia for 90 days, minus my wife. The Commander told me when I complained:

The Air Force didn’t issue you your wife!

I’ve been all over the world, worked in sub zero temperatures and in heat up to 140 degrees. No one asked me if I wanted to go or not. No one asked my preferences. I was a bond slave to America, and would do it all over again if I could. I loved doing what I did, though it was harsh and hurt my body. But it was my choice.

The Bond Slave makes the choice.

In Israel the Bond Slave could only serve up to 6 years, then was released on the year of Jubilee. The Bond Slave could decide to “join up again” or could “Put his ear against the post” (see Exodus 21:6) and have an awl placed through the ear id he wanted to be “slave for life”. This was a person’s choice.

Bond Servants were not abused. God told His people:

Leviticus 25:38-41 (CSB) I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God. 39 If your brother among you becomes destitute and sells himself to you, you MUST NOT FORCE HIM TO DO SLAVE LABOR. 40 Let him stay with you as a hired worker or temporary resident; he may work for you until the Year of Jubilee. 41 Then he and his children are to be released from you, and he may return to his clan and his ancestral property.

Brothers and sisters in the faith were not to treat one another as slaves, but as children whom God has saved. No one saved by the Blood of Christ is to treat another brother or sister as anything but precious in the sight of God. Dead people do dead things, but believers consider every life to be precious.

A man was feeling terribly sick, so he finally went to the family doctor. “Doctor, I just feel terrible. What’s wrong with me?” The doctor examined him, took some blood samples, and the next day called him into the office. “Were you bitten by an animal lately?” the doctor asked. “Why yes, about a month ago a stray dog came in my yard. He bit me as I was trying to run him off.” The doctor said, “I have some really bad news. You have rabies. If you had come in earlier, I could have helped you, but it’s now in your blood stream. You’re dying, and will be gone in perhaps another week.” The man though about this for a minute, pulled out a pieces of paper and a pen and started writing. “What are you writing?” the doctor asked. “I’m making a list of everyone I want to bite before I go.”

This man is a slave. Facing eternity, he is a slave to his hatred and grudge carrying. He willingly sells himself into this type of slavery, just as the addict willingly enslaves himself to the pill or needle, or the alcoholic to the bottle. These are willing slaves, bond slaves.

God Wants The Christian To Be
The Bond Slave Of Christ

1 Corinthians 7:20-22 (KJV) Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.

Paul tells those who were enslaved or in bad or less than desirable situations to:

1 Don’t worry or obsess about your situation. “Care not for it” or better “Don’t let it overwhelm you”.

2 Seek betterment, or an upward path from where you are if you can. “If you mayest be free, use it” or better “if you can become free, by all means take the opportunity”.

3 Remember WHOSE you are. Not WHO you are, but WHOSE you are. I am Christ’s slave.

These are three goods pieces of advice. Dear Christian – if you are a Christian –

1 Corinthians 7:23 (KJV) Ye are bought with a price;

You were the slave of sin and of Satan. You used to belong to his evil kingdom of darkness. But you are now translated because of the Blood of Christ. Jesus died on Calvary for you. He purchased your salvation. He knew who you were when He called you to salvation. He said to you:

Ephesians 2:12-15 (CSB) At that time you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been BROUGHT NEAR BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. 14 For he is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In his flesh, 15 he made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that he might create in himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace.

The Bloods of Jesus Christ shed for us purchases us from Satan and this evil, fallen world. We were the devil’s chattel but are now Christ’s Bond Servants. The Blood of the animal sacrifices saved no one, but the willingly shed Blood of our Savior brought us to God.

Hebrews 9:13-15 (CSB) For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow, sprinkling those who are defiled, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works so that we can serve the living God? 15 Therefore, he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance, because a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

We are not defined by our life status, but by our God. We belong to God. Does your situation look bad? Look up. God owns you. He purchased you, not with silver or gold, but with the Precious Blood of Christ. This makes you precious to Him. Christian, you belong to God.

1 Peter 1:18-19 (CSB) For you know that you were REDEEMED from your empty way of life inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb.

Whatever your situation, it is not bleak because you belong to God. Do not become overwhelmed by what faces you, but serve Him in all that you do. If God opens a door of opportunity to better yourself, then take it. But do not forget that:

Colossians 3:23-24 (CSB) Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people, 24 knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. YOU SERVE THE LORD CHRIST.

Life is short.

Psalm 102:11-12 (CSB) My days are like a lengthening shadow, and I wither away like grass. 12 But you, Lord, are enthroned forever; your fame endures to all generations.

Whatever is today shall not be forever. Serve the Lord. Praise His name when you move into the valleys of life, and He will light your pathway. God called you to salvation for a reason. He left you where you presently are for a reason. Serve Him.

I have been in many miserable jobs in my lifetime. I choose to serve Him and glorify Him where ever I may be.

Psalm 145:14-21 (CSB) The Lord helps all who fall; he raises up all who are oppressed. 15 All eyes look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16 You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. 17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all his acts. 18 The Lord is near all who call out to him, all who call out to him with integrity. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry for help and saves them. 20 The Lord guards all those who love him, but he destroys all the wicked. 21 My mouth will declare the Lord’s praise; let every living thing bless his holy name forever and ever.

The Lord looks after His people. We belong to Him.

1 Corinthians 7:24 (KJV) Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called,
therein ABIDE WITH GOD.

There is an old saying:

Bloom where you are planted.

Do all things WITH God. Abide IN Christ. Trust God, and serve God with all your heart. God will bless you in due season. God can and will change your situation, but serve HIM in what you do. Let others see the Gospel worked out in you. This is the greatest witness that you have, the life witness of Christ in you.

1 Peter 1:23-25 (CSB) …. you have been born again—not of perishable seed but of imperishable—through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like a flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this word is the gospel that was proclaimed to you.

God will transform the world through His Gospel, but it must be seen in us first. Let us live for our Jesus!

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