Our God Is The God Of Order

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Sermon Notes:  1 Corinthians 11:1-16 (KJV)  Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.  [2]  Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.  [3]  But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.  [4]  Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.  [5]  But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.  [6]  For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.  [7]  For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.  [8]  For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.  [9]  Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.  [10]  For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.  [11]  Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.  [12]  For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.  [13]  Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?  [14]  Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?  [15]  But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.  [16]  But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

I am told that this is a very difficult passage of Scripture to preach. When I looked in the various commentaries and Bible study resources available that was the first thing that was said. One commentary written by a female Biblical scholar:

I suggest that a key to understanding 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 is to recognize its chiastic structure.”

I had to look up “chiastic” because, ignorant country preacher that I am, I have no idea what that means. When I looked the word up I found the definition was “In rhetoric, chiasmus, or less commonly chiasm, (Latin term from Greek χίασμα, “crossing”, from the Greek χιάζω, chiázō, “to shape like the letter Χ”) is the figure of speech in which two or more clauses are presented to the reader or hearer, then presented again in reverse order, in order to make a larger point.” Do you understand now?

I don’t understand.
We either believe the Scripture is the Word of God, or we don’t.
We have a Biblical Worldview or we don’t.

When someone twists and turns to explain away Scripture then I immediately get suspicious. It’s like a politician who will not “let his nay be nay, and his yea be yea” (Matthew 5:37). I believe the Scripture. I believe:

Proverbs 30:5 (NKJV) Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

Jesus prayed for us, saying:

John 17:14-17 (NKJV) I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

God’s Word is true. It cannot come back void. Every part of this Bible was a gift from God for us. The Bible tells us that

Holy men of God wrote the Scriptures as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).

The Bible says:

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

The Bible was given by God to bless us. We must read and absorb every bit of it. So why is this such a difficult passage. One commentary, written by a male Bible scholar, said:

This is a passage which is problematic because of various strong views associated with it.”

The text is difficult because of the baggage that we carry to it.

It is like studying Biblical passages dealing with slavery. As a nation we took this land from the native Americans, imported slaves, and in our history did things I am not comfortable with. Thus when we come to passages on slavery we want to look the other way, to skip it, for comfort’s sake. In this passage the Apostle addresses women and men. Again, we are uncomfortable. We have not had a good track record on how we men have treated women throughout human history. In Biblical times women were mistreated.

Jacob met Rachel and wanted to marry her, only to have her father Laban trick Jacob into marrying the less attractive Leah (Genesis 29:25). That is a horrible thing to do.

Abraham pretended Sarah was his sister because he was scared that he might be killed if he didn’t give her up (Genesis 12:13).

In our history as Americans women were treated as second class citizens. Women were not allowed to vote until the 19th Amendment of our Constitution on August 18, 1920. Women often are not paid equal wages for equal work. That is wrong. The workman – or the work woman – is worthy of her wages (1 Timothy 5:18). Women have been and continue to be mistreated, and God does not appreciate that. Neither do I.

When we look at this passage and see “the head of the woman is the man” we shrink back because we think – based on political correctness – that this passage is minimizing women. It is not. God is maximizing women, not cutting them down. This text emphasizes the creative order of God. Let’s look at it not from a worldly perspective, but from God’s creative perspective.

God Is The God Of Order

God is not the God of Chaos.
He is the God of order.

We see God in Genesis 1:1 reaching out and bringing order out of chaos. This is what the Creation Account is. God took a jumble of mess and made it orderly. God is the Creator of Order. Where there is disharmony and disorder, God is not.

Every business has a head. Try it. Walk into any business anywhere in this town and ask “Who’s in Charge?” and I’ll guarantee you there will be one Source, one Head, one ultimate Person who is in charge. If you walk in a place and ask “Who is in Charge?” and EVERYONE says “We are”, you had better run. I’ve seen a two headed goat in the Phillipines, but only one of those heads operated. I’ve seen two headed pigs in the circus, but one head flopped, and the pig was a mess. Anything with two heads is an aberration. Any business with multiple heads has no direction. Two people don’t drive a car with two steering wheels. It just won’t work. Anarchy never works. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 11:1 (KJV)  Be ye followers of ME, even as I also am of CHRIST.

Every Church has one Head, and that Head is Christ. Jesus is the Head of His Church. But Jesus calls human leadership that we can see. Paul was an Apostle. Some people didn’t like Paul. In a popularity contest Paul lost ground against a better preacher named Apollos. Apollos was eloquent, and mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:24). But Apollos was not greater than Paul. Both Paul and Apollos had their gifts, and Apollos was NOT an Apostle whereas Paul was. So Paul says “Follow me, as I follow Christ”. That’s fair.

You should follow your Pastor as he follows Christ.
You should follow your Sunday School teacher as he or she follows Christ.
You should follow servant leadership as they follow Christ.

God sets leaders in the Church as God sees fit. The Church has a human leader. Follow him as he follows Christ. When he doesn’t follow Christ, pray that God will replace him as He replaced Moses when that dear man fell. God will swap out the leader that doesn’t follow Christ. Follow the leader while he follows Christ. Paul told the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 11:2 (KJV) Now I praise you, brethren, that YE REMEMBER ME IN ALL THINGS, and KEEP THE ORDINANCES, AS I DELIVERED THEM TO YOU. 

There is great blessing in following the leader. It blesses the leader, and blesses the Church. I praise God daily for you, dear Ones, who love Jesus and work with me in following the Lord. You have been a great blessing to me, though some who wander are not. But I’ll not speak of that right now. Now I want to focus on how the Apostle EXPANDS the truth he just spoke.

1 Corinthians 11:3 (KJV) But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

The word translated “HEAD” in our text is the Greek κεφαλή kephalē which means “The Head, the Source, the Leader”. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon notes that “Since the loss of the head destroys life, kephalē is used in {Biblical} phrases related to capital and extreme punishments”. Though most people focus on the phrase “the HEAD of the woman is the man” and immediately shut down, kephalē is used in each phrase:

The HEAD of every MAN is Christ
The HEAD of the WOMAN is Man
The HEAD of Christ is God

Because of political correctness and modern feminism we look as the middle phrase “The HEAD of the WOMAN is MAN” as a bad thing. But it is not bad. The phrase no more subjugates woman than it does Christ, for “The HEAD of Christ is God”. Now we know that Jesus Christ is God. The Bible clearly defines Jesus as God:

John 1:1, 14 (NKJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus told the Pharisees in John 10:30 “I and the Father are one”. When Thomas saw Jesus he knelt down and cried out “My Lord and My God” (John 20:28). The Apostle Peter called Jesus “our GOD and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). The Heavenly Father saqid of Jesus:

Hebrews 1:8 (NKJV) … Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

God the Father said “to Me every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess” (Isaiah 45:23). The same Scripture is applied to Jesus Christ in:

Philippians 2:10-11 (NKJV) …. that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Throughout the Gospels Jesus was worshiped, and only God is to be worshiped. Jesus is very God of very God, God the Son. And yet, the Head of Christ is God. Jesus is not diminished in His person because He follows the leadership of the Father. Jesus is no more diminished than is the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus said:

John 14:16-17 (NKJV) And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

John 14:26 (NKJV) But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

The Holy Spirit was sent by God the Father in the Name of the Son, but this does not make Him lesser God. The person of God is not diminished by headship. Even in the Trinity there is but One Head. There is no denigration to those who are not heads.

Man Is The Head Of The Woman
But Both Have Priesthood Before God

1 Corinthians 11:4-5 (KJV) Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.  [5]  But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

Now we come to a clear part, and another part not so clear. In Paul’s day both men and women prayed and prophesied.

To PRAY is to Speak TO God.
To PROPHESY is to Speak FOR God.

Paul notes that both MEN and WOMEN pray. Both MEN and WOMEN prophesy. Every woman saved by faith in Christ is a priest before God. This same Apostle wrote in another place:

Galatians 3:24-29 (NKJV) …. the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

There are no second class citizens in the Kingdom of God. There is no black Christian, no white Christian, no female Christian, no male Christian. When God looks at you He either sees the Blood of Christ and your faith in His Son, or else He sees a lost person. Whether male or female you all have equal access to God. You all can and should PRAY. You all can and should PROPHESY. Women should witness for God. Women teach just as men teach.

But God is still a God of order.

In the union between man and woman we call “marriage”
one leads, and one follows.
Man is the head of the woman.

Women Are To Dress In Modesty

1 Corinthians 11:6 (KJV) For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 

Paul begins to speak about HAIR and COVERINGS. Here’s where people get confused. When I was growing up women wore hats to Church because of this passage, but men would not wear a hat in Church. Some Churches today still feel that women should wear hats in Church. That’s not what this is about. In the Jewish household women often played an important role in family devotions, especially during the time of Passover. When the man prayed he prayed with his head uncovered. But when a woman prayed she covered her head with a shawl, denoting that she was under authority according to the will of God.

Corinth was a city filled with prostitution. The so called “Sacred Prostitutes of Corinth” watched over the Temple of Aphrodite, selling themselves to finance the Temple. These prostitutes shaved their heads, whereas good women covered themselves in modesty. The Apostle decreed in another place:

1 Timothy 2:8-10 (NKJV) I desire therefore that the men pray EVERYWHERE, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; 9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.

Men are to PRAY EVERYWHERE – not just in Church, but wherever we are, lifting up holy hands, hands dedicated to God. And women are to dress in modesty, following the man, supporting the man. Women should not dress as prostitutes leading men with their sexuality. You have seen women going into the marketplace dressed in tight fitting or brazen clothing exposing their bodies. I see young girls going out into the stores half naked, blending in with the sex crazed lostness that has become modern America. My Beloved, these things should not be.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee said:

The Woman is not to use sex appeal in approaching God.

The Corinthian prostitute did that, but no Christ like woman should do that. The Apostle said in ..

1 Peter 3:1-6 (NKJV) Wives, likewise, BE SUBMISSIVE TO YOUR OWN HUSBANDS, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

1 Corinthians 11:7-9 (KJV) For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.  [8]  For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.  [9]  Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

The Apostle refers back to the order of God’s Creation. Man was created first, then Eve. The man was not created for the woman, but the woman for the man. It was God’s plan to make man first. It was to man that God gave the decree:

Genesis 2:17 (KJV)  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

The command was not given to the woman, but to man. The Bible tells us that:

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

Romans 5:17 (KJV)  For if BY ONE MAN’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

Romans 5:19 (KJV)  For as BY ONE MAN’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

It was man who made first. But following creation, it is woman who brings forth man. Men do not come out of men, but out of women. Women are not second class nor lesser creatures, but without women there would be no humanity today.

1 Corinthians 11:11-12 (KJV) Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.  [12]  For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

The man needs the woman, and the woman the man. The “woman is of the man” for she is Adam’s rib, but also “the man is by the woman”, every man has a mother. He ends with:

But all things are of God.

God created man and woman. God created order. God created man to lead as he follows Christ, and woman to follow man as he follows Christ. Men and women are different, but God made the differences. We end with these verses:

1 Corinthians 11:13-16 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?  [14]  Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?  [15]  But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.  [16]  But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

Some have tried to say in verse 16 the Apostle negated everything that came before. That is foolish. He would not write 15 verses then say “If you don’t agree with it, forget it”. The Apostle is saying “If you want to argue about this, WE who are God’s Children have NO SUCH CUSTOM.” God’s children will not argue about what God has decreed. Our God is a God of order. We who are Christ’s are in the world, but not of the world. We are light, not darkness. We are respectful and loving to one another, and we follow God’s pattern for life.

Always.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in 1 Corinthians, Men and Women, Order, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Way To Shine

 

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A great deal of what is written in Isaiah is prophetic. From Isaiah’s perspective it looks forward 700 years to the First Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah speaks of our Lord Christ, and looks forward to the day when Christ shall rule this earth.

But Isaiah also looks backward, and tells us of the fall of an angel named Lucifer, someone we know as “The Devil” or “Satan”. I hate preaching about the devil. When you preach about the devil it gets dark in the Church. But God gives us a picture of the devil in our passage today, and wants us to see something in it. What can we see in this text?

As I prayed over this text the Lord told me to preach it as a negative. The sermon is called “The Way To Shine”, and we’re going to see that the “Way To Shine” is to do the OPPOSITE of everything Lucifer/Satan/Devil did.

Word Study The name “Lucifer” means “Bringer of Light”. Lucifer was created pure and perfect, just as Adam was. There are two, perhaps three ArchAngels mentioned in the Scripture, Gabriel, Michael, and Lucifer. Lucifer was designed by God to be a “Bringer of the Light” to the other Angels. Ezekiel tells us that Lucifer was …

Ezekiel 28:14-15 (NKJV) …. the anointed cherub who covers; (God said) I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones (a reference to the other shining Angels) 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.

We see Lucifer like a General walking back and forth in front of the troops, doing a review, making sure they were ready to go before God. God made Lucifer with a free will, the Angels with a free will. They could follow or not follow.

Then Lucifer – the Light Bringer – his bulb burned out!
He went from Light to Darkness
From Order to Disorder
From Fusion to Confusion
From Right to Wrong
From Good to Evil
From God follower to Godless Traitor

Lucifer is revealed as a DRAGON in Revelation:

Revelation 12:4 (NKJV) His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.

So how does someone go from the Top Job in Heaven, the job of the ArchAngel, and fall all the way down to “dragon status”?

How does “Lucifer”, the “Son of the Morning” become “The Father of Darkness”?

How in the world does a gorgeous creature like this – blessed beyond measure by God – become the hate filled creature who seeks to eat Christ when He is born?

Lucifer Rejected The Grace Of God

Let’s see what Lucifer did, and see if we can’t do the OPPOSITE!

Responsive Reading Isaiah 14:12-15 (KJV)  How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  [13]  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:  [14]  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.  [15]  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

There are five “I wills” in our responsive reading. Why is that significant? Because numbers mean something in the Scripture. For instance …

One is the number of “God”
Three is the number of the “Trinity”
Seven and Four are the numbers of “Rest”
Eight is the number of “Completion”

But what is FIVE?
FIVE is the number of “Grace”
Grace is so important to us as humans that
God gave us FIVE fingers on each hand.
Not so we can gobble greedily, grasping, taking,
But so we can lift our hands together in praise and prayer to Him.
We have FIVE fingers, but TEN Commandments that we MUST grasp,
For Grace is not LICENSE but LOVE in action.
Love to God, Love to others.
God gave us FIVE toes on each foot,
So we can walk with Him and not chase sin.
There were FIVE offerings in the Old Testament:
Burnt (Leviticus 1; 8:18-21; 16:24)
Sin (Leviticus 4; 16:3-22)
Trespass (Leviticus 5:14-19; 6:1-7; 7:1-6)
Grain (Leviticus 2)
Peace (Leviticus 3; 7:11- 34)
All FIVE were fulfilled in the once for all Offering of Christ on Calvary!

Here is Grace! Hebrews 10:12-15 (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.

I’m not done chasing rabbits yet – but these are good rabbits!

There are FIVE Books of the Law,
All fulfilled by our Jesus.

Praise Him, for … Romans 6:14 (ESV) For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

The Law decreed a Tabernacle, a place where animals were killed for our sins.

The Tabernacle was filled with FIVES:
Five curtains, bars, pillars, sockets
The Altar was FIVE cubits by FIVE cubits,
And the Anointing Oil was made of FIVE parts.

Because we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior we are His Temple, we are His Tabernacle, indwelt of the Holy Spirit and fed by His Word …

1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

Grace gives COURAGE, for
When David went to fight Goliath he carried a sling and FIVE stones,
Though he only needed ONE for our God fights for us.

Five is the number of Grace. Lucifer went from Light Bringer to Darkness because he rejected the Grace of God. His Five “I wills” struck at Grace. How do I know this? Because Lucifer decreed five I WILL statements. Here they are.

I Deserve To Be In Heaven

Isaiah 14:13 (KJV) For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven,

How many people are damned today because they believe like Satan “I deserve to be in Heaven”? The road to damnation begins right here. “I will ascend unto Heaven”. I am good enough to be in Heaven. I can build a ladder to Heaven. This was the first great work man tried to accomplish after the Noahic Flood. God told mankind through Noah

Genesis 9 (NKJV) So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.

Noah and his progeny were supposed to spread out, to “fill the earth”. What did man do? He stayed together. He clumped up like a mess in the kitty litter pan. Mankind got together and decided to build a Tower in Babel, to ignore God’s decree, to see if they couldn’t get to Heaven with the works of their hands. You can read about it in Genesis 11. What did God do? He confused our language, causing us to scatter throughout the whole world. The Name of that place became known as “Babylon”.

Babylon was a place of false gods. Babylon was a place of disobedience. Babylon was a place of arrogance and foolishness. Babylon was and still is evil. Babylon is the place of man made religion. Lucifer is the Pastor of that church, the Bishop and ArchBishop of that denomination. And it has many members. I see them all the time at funerals. Someone comes up to me and says of the deceased:

If anyone deserved to be in Heaven He (or She) did!

Do you know WHO deserves to be in Heaven? NO ONE. NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON. Lucifer was in Heaven because of the Grace of God. It was by Grace he was made, by Grace he was commissioned, by Grace he served.

Someone wrote Evangelist Billy Graham one time, saying:

I’m in prison, and everyone here is talking about an inmate who claimed he found God just a week before he died of cancer. How could he live like the devil most of his life but still get into heaven? He didn’t deserve to be saved.”

Billy answered “If God only let people into heaven who deserved to go there – then heaven would be empty! We all have sinned, and even one sin – just one – would be enough to keep you out of heaven. .. someone who has followed Christ all their life doesn’t deserve to go to heaven any more than this man who had been a Christian only a week. No one “deserves” heaven because we are all sinners. As the Bible says, “There is no one righteous, not even one … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23). This is hard for us to accept, because down inside we all think God ought to reward us and allow us into heaven if we’re good enough. But it isn’t true, because God’s standard is nothing less than perfection. This is why we need Christ, for only He can save us. He was without sin – but on the cross, all our sins were placed on Him, and He died in our place. Now God in His grace offers us salvation – not as a reward, but as a free gift. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).”

You didn’t “deserve” to be born.
That was a free gift from God and your parents.
You don’t deserve to be “born again”.
This is a free gift from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you want to SHINE in this life start by realizing you don’t deserve Heaven, you can’t work your way to Heaven, and both you and I deserve HELL. Thank God for Jesus! Thank God for His glorious, blood bought salvation. Praise God with Peter who wrote:

1 Peter 1:3-5 (NKJV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

The second “I WILL” of Lucifer said:

I’m Better Than Those Around Me

13 I will exalt MY THRONE ABOVE THE STARS of God:

Here is another thing that damned Lucifer, the thought that “I’m better than all the other Angels”. The “Stars of God” is a Biblical phrase for the other Angels, because Angels are beings composed of light. Lucifer looked at himself and said:

I’m better than all the other Angels
I am God’s gift to these lesser beings!

Illustrate I’ve bought shirts before and found a little slip of paper in the pocket that says:

Inspected by 23

or maybe some other number. Some people are just like that. They are what they consider themselves to be God ordained people inspectors. They should carry a stamp around, or little slips of paper.

Inspected by 23

The danger of the Judge and the Judged is this. Some people spend their whole lives trying to live up to someone’s standard. You’ll die and go to hell if that’s the way you live. You are to live to please GOD and GOD ALONE. Do what He says and you will shine. Every human is flawed at best, but God is perfect.

Ephesians 5:1-2 (KJV)  Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;  [2]  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.

Do you want to SHINE in this life? The way to SHINE is to IMITATE GOD. Remember that a day is coming where we will all be judged. Let me say that again:

A day is coming where we ALL will be judged.

The Scripture declares Romans 14:7-9 (NKJV) For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Live to please the Judge. The third “I WILL” of Lucifer was:

I Need To Make A Monument To Me

Isaiah 14:13 (KJV) I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation,
in the sides of the north:

Lucifer was so good, he thought, that he wanted a building named after himself.
He wanted the City of God named after himself.
He wanted to be looked at as the North Star would be looked at,
the bright and shining light that guided all others.

We live in a day of human monuments and American Idols.

It used to be that people had some semblance of civility and morality. People used to believe that there is a God, a Supreme Being, Someone greater than we are. There was a time when Americans believed in the Ten Commandments because they came from God. There was a time when life was considered to be precious, that abortion was abnormal and “Same Sex Love” was not what people did.

We are the WORST IDOLS!

Political correctness is no more than making a monument to be worshiped out of human opinion. Today it seems as if “He who shouts loudest is right”. However,

God is always right.
God’s Word is always right.
What God thinks is always right.

When you set the true north of your life on what Hollywood or a Humanist or a Politician thinks then you are never going to find shore nor stability. You will be constantly adrift at sea. People need the Lord. Children need to be raised according to the dictates of God’s Word. Marriages need to operate on the basis of what Gods has said. As long as we the people base our reality on the weird fantasies of the crowd we will be a nation going under.

God’s Word Is Our True North.
God Is Our Monument.

Psalm 119:105 (KJV) Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

James 1:22 (NKJV) But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Psalm 119:9 (NKJV) How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your Word.

Isaiah 40:8 (NKJV) The grass withers, the flower fades, But the Word of our God stands forever.

Jesus said (Luke 11:28 NKJV) … blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!

Psalm 18:30 (NKJV) As for God, His way is perfect; The Word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

If you want to shine stop living by OPINIONS and live by GOD’S WORD. Love Him. Put God and what He says FIRST!

The fourth “I WILL” of Lucifer said:

I Am So Full Of Myself

14 I WILL ASCEND above the heights of the clouds;

Earlier Lucifer was going to “ascend to Heaven”. Now he wants to soar above the clouds. Now let me ask you, “What is a cloud”? I found the following definition:

In meteorology, a cloud is an aerosol comprising a visible mass of minute liquid droplets, frozen crystals, or particles suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of a planetary body.”

Do you know what a “cloud” is? It has no substance. It has potential, but only when it dissipates. Lucifer wanted to be ABOVE THE CLOUDS. What’s above the clouds in the atmosphere?

Nothing.

A cloud hides the sun when it is there, but is nothing until it releases. The air above the clouds is just gas, hot air, thin air, useless other than to absorb pollution. Do you want to shine in this life? Be a cloud. Be willing to be used of God. Expend yourselves in service for His glory regardless as to whether you get “credit” or not.

Don’t be a Lucifer!
Don’t be an airbag.
Be a cloud!

The fifth and final “I WILL” of Lucifer was …

I Will Be God!

The final step that led Lucifer the Shining to become the Dark Devil is …

Isaiah 14:14 (KJV) … I will be LIKE THE MOST HIGH.

Many have tried to be God. What does God say to those who would be Him?

Isaiah 14:15 (KJV) Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

There is but one God.
The job is taken.
You can’t do it, and neither can I.

The True God is Triune in Person – Father, Son, and Spirit – but eternal, complete, and glorious. This God Who made all things made you. This God gives you life. And this God promises you eternal life if you receive the great gift of salvation available only through faith in His Son. Let Him be God, and you be His Child. Let Him be Savior and you be the saved. Let Him be the Shepherd, and you be His sheep.

The way to shine in this life and into the next life is to give it all to the Lord. Live in Him. Live for Him. Love Him as He loves you. Don’t go the way of Lucifer. Amen!

Posted in devil, Isaiah, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

God Is My Salvation

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8 AM Audio of Sermon: 

11 AM Audio of Sermon: 

Isaiah 12:1-6 (KJV) And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. [2] Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. [3] Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. [4] And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. [5] Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. [6] Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

I love children and their questioning innocence. One Sunday sermon a preacher started to pray. “Dear Lord,” he said, “without you, we are but dust….”. As the preacher paused to think of more weighty, impressive words to say, a little girl leaned over whispered loudly her mother:

Mommy, what is butt dust?”

The congregation broke out in laughter, and the prayer was over. I believe that this was the hand of God. It is true that we humans are “but dust”. Though we are not animals, we are composed of the same material that animals are composed of. The Lord said:

Genesis 3:19 (KJV) In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for DUST THOU ART, AND UNTO DUST SHALT THOU RETURN.

Our bodies are carbon based, just as an animals body is carbon based. Our bodies die, and we return to dust. But Christians are more than dust. Humans are meant to be more than dust. God made us in His image, and after His likeness (Genesis 1:27). We were meant to walk with God and talk with God. Since God is eternal, we were meant to be with God eternally. Not in this body, but in a Heavenly body.

That is why it it is so important that YOU can say:

Isaiah 12:2 (KJV) Behold, God is my salvation

No matter what life throws at you, if you can say “God is MY salvation” then you can overcome it. No matter how dark the day you can praise Him. Oh my goodness, our God is so GOOD! This is why the passage starts with ……

Isaiah 12:1 (KJV) And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee:

We have all had days where can we can look back and say:

Oh my goodness, it was THAT day!”

It was a terrible day. We have had landmark awful days. But if God is My Salvation that day will pass.

Psalms 30:5 (KJV) …. in His favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

God Is My Salvation From Sin

Years ago Pastor Adrian Rogers made a comment on the television “sitcom” or “situation comedy”. I can remember the exact quote – and couldn’t find it – but I’ll paraphrase him. He remarked that the “Sitcom” has made us laugh at sin, minimizing it, destroying our understanding of how terrible sin is. Adrian said that sin is no laughing matter. He said, and I quote:

First, sin will take you further than you want to go.
Second, sin will keep you longer than you want to stay.
Third, sin will cost you more than you want to pay.

Sin destroys God’s best for us. Sin angers God. Isaiah declared:

Isaiah 12:1 (KJV) … though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.

The Christian praises God because though God was angry with us, but God’s wrath has been turned away from us. Why was God angry with us? God is angry with the sinner, with the wicked, with the evil. God cannot look on sin because sin is so against the nature of God. Evangelist Billy Graham wrote:

We in the church have failed to remind this generation that while God is love, He also has the capacity to hate. He hates sin, and He will judge it with the fierceness of His wrath. This generation is schooled in the teaching about an indulgent, soft-hearted God whose judgments are uncertain and who coddles those who break His commandments. This generation finds it difficult to believe that God hates sin. I tell you that God hates sin just as a father hates a rattlesnake that threatens the safety and life of his child. God loathes evil and diabolic forces that would pull people down to a godless eternity just as a mother hates a venomous spider that is found playing on the soft, warm flesh of her little baby.”

God hates sin because it separates man from the God Who made him. It was sin that separated Adam from paradise, and separates man from God today. The Scripture declares:

Isaiah 59:2 (NASB) …. your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.

Sin is not a trifle with God, but is a horror, an abomination, something to be destroyed. Sin is totally opposed to God’s nature. The Psalmist said (5:4 – ESV):

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.

God does not see sin as a laugh track on a sitcom. When God sees sin in His creation He sees …

Putrefying Sores (Isaiah 1:6)
Heavy Burden (Psalm 38:4)
Defiling Filth (Titus 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:1)
Binding Debt (Matthew 6:12-15)
Darkness (1 John 1:6)
Bloody Stain (Isaiah 1:18)

Oh, that people would understand how horrible sin is. God has promised to those who follow pathways of evil …

Isaiah 13:11 (ESV) I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless.

A payday is coming one day, and on that day God will punish the unrepentant sinner. That will be a day like no other.

The Lord has promised “what you have sown, so shall you reap” (Galatians 6:7).

God has said “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

A payday is coming for the sinner who rejects God.

But we who are His praise Him. We praise Him because,

Isaiah 12:1 (KJV)… though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. 

With God As My Salvation My Sins Are Covered

God’s anger is turned away from me. Why? Why is God no longer angry with me? Because of Christ. Jesus Christ died for my sins, and for your sins. If you have received Jesus as Lord and Savior God was angry with you because of sin, but now God’s anger has passed.

He comforts His faith-child as a Father would comfort a son.

His Son bore my sins on Calvary! Praise Him! Praise Him!

Galatians 3:13-14 (ESV) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Jesus went to the Tree of Calvary. Being nailed to that Tree, He hung there for me. The nails that held His hands should have held this sinner’s hands. The nails that immobilized His feet should have been my feet. The beatings He took should have been placed on all of us. And as He cried out:

My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

That should have been our cry. Jesus Christ died in my place, and in your place. He died for our sins.

1 Corinthians 15:3 (ESV) …. Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures …

Jesus died for our sins. There is an interesting passage in Isaiah chapter 53 that I just discovered as I worked on this message. The passage is prophetic of the Christ Who had yet come in Isaiah’s time. God said of His Son:

Isaiah 53:2-9 (KJV) For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. [3] He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. [4] Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. [5] But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. [6] All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. [7] He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. [8] He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. [9] And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

What a picture is painted of Christ, and how true it was. Jesus was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. He was stricken, beaten of God, wounded for OUR transgressions, bruised for OUR iniquities. These are fantastic truths. But what fascinated me above all else is the last verse, verse 9:

He made His grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in His DEATH

I am told by Hebrew scholars much smarter than I that the word translated “Death” (מָוֶת maveth) is an Intensive Plural. His death was so violent that it was as if it were many deaths. Jesus died for every sin every person would ever commit. One sin is worthy of death. Jesus died for all sins. Pastor Adrian Rogers wrote:

It means that Jesus, being infinite, suffered for a finite amount of time what you, being finite, would suffer for an infinite amount of time. A great exchange took place. He suffered upon that cross an eternity of hell for every one of us.”

Jesus died a thousand deaths so that you and I will never die.
Jesus suffered a thousand hells so that I will not suffer.
What a great exchange His love bestowed upon those who believe.
What a great gift God has given to me in Christ!

Hebrews 10:11-12 (ESV) And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,

We are joyous, praising God, for our sins are fully paid for. We are set apart from this world, sanctified, children of the Most High God.

Hebrews 10:14 (ESV) For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation;

God is my salvation. God became man so He could die in my place. Salvation is a work of God, a great work, and salvation is only found in Christ Jesus our Lord. God became man and dwelt among us. The Word became flesh and became our salvation.

Not too long ago a Presbyterian Church USA Pastor – pastor of the fourth largest Presbyterian Church in America – declared that you don’t have to be a Christian to go to Heaven. In the article it was stated that around 45% of Presbyterians believe there are many ways to Heaven. This is the world we live in today, a world of foolish tolerance. Yet the message of the Scripture, the message that the Apostles preached, was:

Acts 4:10-12 (KJV) Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. [11] This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. [12] Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

When Peter preached this message over 2000 years ago,
the WORLD marveled at it in unbelief.
Today many so called churches marvel at this message in unbelief.
Yet the Scripture has not changed.

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

Salvation is a free gift from God, but a free gift that can only be received by faith in Christ’s finished work. The world is under the condemnation of God but for the Blood of Christ. The Scripture declares:

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

To believe on Christ is to have all condemnation covered. God is angry no more with the Christ follower, the lover of God. But those who do not receive Christ as Lord and Savior are condemned already, because you have not believed in the name of the only Begotten Son of God.

If your rest is not in Christ, then your rest is false.
If your hope is not in His Cross, then your hope is uncertain.

Those who are Christ’s come to Him by faith, and walk in Him by faith. Those who are Christ’s live for the smile of God. They love Him, and follow Him in the light that is the righteousness of God.

If God Is My Salvation I Live A Blessed Life

Isaiah 12:2 (KJV) Behold, GOD IS MY SALVATION;
I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song;
HE ALSO IS BECOME MY SALVATION.

Look at this passage as if it were an Oreo cookie. Who likes Oreo cookies? You’ve seen Oreos. They are two deliciously fattening chocolate cookies with a creamy, sweet center. Look at the cookies in this passage. It starts with “God is my Salvation” and ends with “He has also become my Salvation”. Life is sweet when your life starts and ends with the knowledge that God is your salvation.

The salvation based in Christ is an overcoming, sure salvation. When we who are His enter into valleys we trust Him and reject fear. God did a great thing for us at the Cross. The Eternal God, The LORD JEHOVAH, the Great I AM gave Himself for us. Christ said of Himself:

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

This same Jesus also said:

Revelation 21:6-8 (KJV) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. [7] He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. [8] But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

His people are neither fearful nor unbelieving. To those who received Him, to them gave He power to become sons of God, even to those which believe on His name. We are people of Light headed toward a city of Light. So we praise our God for Jesus Christ our Savior. We trust Him. We call upon His name, declare His doings, and exalt Him.

Isaiah 12:4-6 (KJV) And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. [5] Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. [6] Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

Great is our God, and greatly to be praised. And we will not fear, but trust Him forever more.

Is God your salvation? If not, today is the day to call upon the Name of Jesus. Believe that He died for your sins. Receive Him as Lord and Savior. If you will, God will become your salvation. My heartfelt prayer is that you commit yourselves to Him today!

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in Blood of Atonement, Cross of Christ, Faithfulness of God, General, Isaiah, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tribute to Terry Oliver

Terry Oliver FamilyOur dear friend and servant-leader Terry Oliver went to be with Jesus today. We will miss him. Though we know he is with Jesus, we will miss his sweet spirit and wonderful heart to serve. Our evening service today was dedicated to remembering Terry.

He leaves a big gap in our Church family, but I know he is at peace today. Oh, how I love Jesus!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio of Service: 

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The Rod, The Branch, The Spirit

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Audio of 8:30 am Sermon:

Audio of 11 am Sermon: 

Isaiah 11:1-5 (KJV) And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: [2] And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; [3] And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: [4] But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. [5] And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

June of 2016 A heavily armed gunman who had reportedly pledged allegiance to Islamic State stormed into a packed gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. It was early on a Sunday morning. He began rapidly firing into the crowd, killing 49 people and wounding 53 in the then “worst mass shooting in U.S. history”. The talking heads cry out, wondering what could cause this, and how to solve it.

October of 2017 a madman stashes guns at a Las Vegas motel, and on a Sunday evening from the 32nd floor of that place begins to fire. When he is finished he would kill 58 people, and wound 527 more before he was killed. This is the new “worst mass shooting in U.S. history”. Once more the political parties war over what causes such tragedy.

Colleges and universities are meant to be places of learning and growth. Recently students at Louisiana State University text one another about a “Bible Study” that is going to be held at a fraternity. Coming together for the so called “Study” where there was no Bible they begin drinking until one young man dies from alcohol poisoning. University officials wring their hands and wonder what caused such a travesty.

I find it interesting – and tragic – that the two “worst mass shootings in U.S. history” all occur on a Sunday, a day set aside to recognize the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Coincidence? Maybe, but I don’t think so. Not too long ago a Muslim wearing a ski mask carried a gun into a Nashville Church, killing one and wounding eight. This happened on a Sunday. People wring their hands during every tragedy that happens. Politicians point, blaming guns, and calling for greater government regulation. Human government cannot fix what ails us. You could take away every gun from every person worldwide and there would still be killing. The first murder recorded was between the brothers Cain and Abel, and they had no guns. Ancient wars like those of the Mongolian and Roman Empires claimed millions of lives with spears, swords, and arrows. The solution we need is not more human government.

We All Need The Lord

We all need to submit our hearts to Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 11 begins with the picture of a cut down tree, a tree whose stump is all that is left.

Isaiah 11:1 (KJV) And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

A “Branch” doesn’t normally grow out of the roots of a tree, but grows out of it’s trunk.

Common sense tells us this. When you see a Branch from a tree, it comes from the trunk, and the trunk is attached to the Branch. The Branch has life in it. In a trunk only the outermost ring of that trunk has life in it, just a few centimeters. This is what we normally have seen. God speaks of a Branch coming from the roots of the tree. There are some trees, like the Oak, that if cut down will still continue to grow from the stump. I have seen trees cut down and, if the stump were not removed, a Branch would grow out of that stump, and the Branch would eventually become a tree. This is the picture the Lord gives us of Israel. Israel had drawn away from God. Judah – the House of Jesse – was supposed to rule Israel under the leadership of the Lord. But the nation departed from God because the leaders of that nation departed from God.

As goes the Head, so goes the Body.

Israel was fallen. It had fallen to sin, just as America has fallen to sin today.
Our marriages are in disarray because sin rules.
Our families are mangled because sin rules.
Our communities are in disarray because sin rules.
It’s Sunday, but many are in Casinos, at Country Music Festivals, on the Lake fishing.
God is not in their hearts, nor do they worship His rule.
Satan swings an ax on the trunk of the tree of America,
slowly chopping it down with evil while clueless people suggest useless remedies.

We need the Lord.

God gives us Bible prophecy not to just interest us, but to tell us the good that can come if we cling to Him. God tells Judah – the House of Jesse – that there are better days coming. It is in our passage today that God foretells the Coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the …

ROD out of the stem of Jesse

The ROD is symbolic of the governing power of the Savior.

Jesus Christ came to this world to save Sinners. How does Jesus save a sinner? Jesus first of all is the Good Shepherd Who lays His life down for the Sheep. This is what Jesus said.

John 10:11 (NIV) I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

The God Shepherd doesn’t lay His life down for the dogs, nor for the pigs, or even the goats. He lays His life down for the SHEEP. The Shepherd puts Himself between the sheep and danger. The Shepherd carries a ROD, a weapon by which He strikes the evil and punishes the bad. When King David saw Jesus Christ he said:

Psalms 23:1-4 (KJV) … The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. [2] He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. [3] He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. [4] Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

The Shepherd Jesus Christ carries both a ROD and a STAFF.

We All Need To Follow The Lord

With the STAFF He reaches out and draws His sheep to safety and sustenance. With His ROD He punishes the wolf, destroys the viper, and prods the foolish wandering sheep. The Shepherd rules His sheep. “He MAKETH ME to lie down in green pastures”. The sheep follow the Shepherd.

John 10:27 (CSB) My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me.

I was talking to a professing Christian the other day who told me that she loved Jesus, but would not do what He said. Her feelings were hurt, so she quit the Church rather than obey Jesus and go to the one who hurt her (see Matthew 18). She hops from Church to Church like a movable locust plague, absorbing resources but never being a real part.

This lady may PROFESS Christ, but she is not POSSESSED of Christ.

Jesus said My sheep HEAR My voice
I know them
They follow Me

Christ is the ROD out of the stem of Jesse.
He is the Ruler of His people,
the Shepherd of the sheep,
the Light in our days,
the Love of our lives.

We love Him for He laid His life down for us, and lays His life down even now. Christ died for me on Calvary, standing between me and the wrath of Almighty God:

1 John 3:16 (ESV) By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us …

1 John 4:9-12 (ESV) … In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have 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 also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

Jesus Christ laid His life down for us. He bore our sins on Calvary’s Tree. The Rod from the stem of Jesse and the Branch from the roots bound Himself to the Tree of Calvary. My sins were poured out on Him and judged. My failures were placed on Him. He died because of my wrongs. He rose again, show us all that His payment was received of God.

Isaiah 11:1 (KJV) And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

The Branch grew out of the roots, the stump of Judah. Everyone looked at the stump and thought it was dead, but Christ rose from the dead. He lays His life down for us even now. Having saved us by Calvary, He keeps on saving us as our Shepherd. Christ watches over us. Christ guards our souls. Christ makes intercession for us.

Romans 8:31-35 (ESV) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

Hebrews 7:25 (KJV) Wherefore {Jesus} is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

The Branch is a symbol of life from death. Jesus said:

John 10:28 (CSB) I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.

Christ lives, and we that love and follow Him live. Oh Beloved, if your life is a mess, if you feel like a stump, hopeless and without ability to move forward, come to Christ. He will bring life out of death, light out of darkness, good out of evil, and blessing from cursing. Jesus is able!

Isaiah 11:2 (KJV) … And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

The Spirit of the LORD, the Eternal God, rests on Christ. Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, the Almighty I AM become Man. He is no mere prophet or teacher, but is Immanuel, God with us. Those who follow Christ and hear His Word will find wisdom and understanding, good counsel and might, knowledge and a healthy fear of the LORD. The reason our nation is staggering is because we have “In God We Trust” on our money but no God in our hearts. We run to educated politicians to find solutions for what is ailing us. What we need to do is run to Jesus. He will not lead us astray. Jesus trusted is sin busted. Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of God, and invited all who would come into His Kingdom.

Jesus is the best King, the Great Shepherd. Led by God and in union with God – for He is God among us – He always leads us in the right direction.

Isaiah 11:3-4 (KJV) … he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: [4] But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

There is coming a day when Jesus will judge the earth, and rule over all creation. The Bible speaks of a Millennial Reign of Christ where He shall rule mankind, a thousand years of peace and prosperity. No earthly kingdom has ever brought peace and prosperity, because every earthly ruler has been plagued with sin in himself and in those around him. Other earthly rulers have judged “after the sight of their eyes” or after “the hearing of their ears”. Other earthly rulers pronounced judgments based on external or outward appearances. But Jesus will not judge this way.

Being God, Jesus judges the “thoughts and intents of the heart”.

1 Chronicles 28:9 (CSB) … the Lord searches every heart and understands the intention of every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will reject you forever.

Only Jesus In Charge Can Bring Peace

When Jesus rules the poor are blessed, and the humble lifted up. Where Jesus rules His Word will punish the wicked, and bring peace to the world. Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Socialists, and Communists have all tried ruling mankind, yet each group has brought with it failure and harm. As human government grows, so grows corruption. But where Jesus rules there will be a unified peace.

Isaiah 11:5 (KJV) And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

Where Jesus reigns political correctness will not be the order of the day, but that which is right in the sight of the Father will be promoted. Human government demands that we become tolerant of everything regardless as to what God thinks. As a result our society is falling apart. And no wonder, for the wages of sin is always death (Romans 6:23). When we compromise with sin we invite the Grim Reaper in. But Christ shall reign in righteousness and faithfulness. The will of God will be the order of His Kingdom.

Isaiah 11:6-8 (KJV) The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. [7] And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. [8] And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.

During Christ’s future Millennial Reign the effects of sin will be diminished, even eradicated. Jesus ruling from Jerusalem will even effect the animal kingdom. The wolf which today looks for the young lamb as a tasty meal will lose its appetite for that weak critter. The wolf will not eat, but dwell with the lamb. The leopard that loves to prey on the young will lie down with the kid. The calf, the young lion, and the fat juicy young shall come together and a little child shall lead them. God in Christ will bring a worldwide peace. Every day we wake up and look in the newspaper or television and read of horrifying things that horrible people do to one another. But when Christ reigns the hearts of even the wildest beasts will be restrained. The cow and the bear will feed alongside of one another, the young ones of all types shall lie down together and rest. The lion shall not eat the weak, but will eat wheat. And the child yet on its mother’s breast will play in a sandbox where the deadliest snake rests and no harm shall come. The Lord says:

Isaiah 11:9 (KJV) They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

As the knowledge of the Lord increases, evil decreases. Where Jesus is and the knowledge of Him reigns sin diminishes. What is the solution the world desperately looks for. Will gun control fix things? No. Will more legislation fix things? No. Will a nanny government intruding into our every life fix things? No. What will fix things?

The knowledge of the Lord.
Salvation by faith in Christ.
Surrender to His Word and Will.
Christ reigning in the human heart.
The life in disarray is the life without Christ.
The marriage in a mess is the marriage without Christ.
The Church in confusion is the Church without Christ.
The community in the commode is the community without Christ.
The nation acting like a ninny is a nation without Christ.

We need Jesus. We need the Rod out of Jesse, the Branch from his stump.

Isaiah 11:10 (KJV) And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

Jesus Christ came to save all. He came for the Jew and the Gentile. He came for the male and the female. He came for the broken and the broken hearted. Jesus came for sinners like you and I. He came to save us, to rule us, to protect us, to make us stable and healthy and whole.

Jesus gave Himself for you.
Give yourselves to Jesus!

Posted in Following Jesus, Isaiah, salvation, sin | Tagged , | Leave a comment

God Is Faithful

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Audio of Sermon: 

1 Corinthians 10:1-14 (KJV) Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; [2] And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; [3] And did all eat the same spiritual meat; [4] And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. [5] But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. [6] Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. [7] Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. [8] Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. [9] Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. [10] Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. [11] Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. [12] Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. [13] There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. [14] Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

Our God is faithful.

Tonight we’re going to look at what the Bible says about “trials” or “temptations”. We are told in Job:

Job 5:6-7 (KJV) Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; [7] Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

We live in a trying and a tried world. Affliction and pain is not something we inherit from the dust. When God made Adam in the Garden, He did not build into Adam affliction and trials. Adam was in a trial free Eden. But then Adam listened to the serpent rather than the Word of God. He heeded the hiss of the snake rather than the firm Word of the Savior. That was when evil came into the world.

Every Human Is Afflicted And Tried

vs 13 …There hath no temptation taken you but such as is COMMON to MAN

When we are tried, when bad things happen, when the storm comes into our lives we are tempted to think we are the only ones who have ever experienced such a thing. This is not true.

To believe that your trial is somehow special, that God is singling you out above all others, is a dangerous and destructive thing. No matter what you are going through your suffering is common to man. I don’t mean to diminish your pain, but this is what the Scripture teaches. Every temptation, every trial, every bad thing that comes your way is something that someone else has been through or is going through right now. The Prophet Moses said:

Psalms 90:10 (KJV) The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

We are born crying in this life for a reason. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote:

Ecclesiastes 5:15-17 (CSB) As he came from his mother’s womb, so he will go again, naked as he came; he will take nothing for his efforts that he can carry in his hands. 16 This too is a sickening tragedy: exactly as he comes, so he will go. What does the one gain who struggles for the wind? 17 What is more, he eats in darkness all his days, with much frustration, sickness, and anger.

We all suffer because we live in a fallen world. Every person has felt the pain we feel.

Have you gone through a bitter divorce, being betrayed by the one you loved?
So have others.

Have you lost a spouse, the love of your life to death?
So have others.

Have you battled alcohol or drug addiction, being afflicted yourself,
or suffered with a loved one?
Yes, others have gone through this too.

Have you been in a terrible accident, tearing your body apart?
Yes, others have suffered so.

Have you been betrayed by a trusted friend?
Did not Jesus have Judas?
Did not every one of His disciples deny Him?

Have you or a loved one been afflicted by disease, wasting away?
Yes, many have experienced the same thing.

I was at the hospital the other day ministering to a family going through a valley when a visitor came in. As we talked she mentioned she lost her son this year, a young man of only 25 years old. She was still grieving and missing him. I told her I still grieve and miss my young son who died at 17 years old. If you look around, you will find someone going through trials and temptations just as you are. Jesus told us His disciples:

John 16:33 (NIV) I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. IN THIS WORLD YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

In the world we live in you always have trouble, trials, tribulations. These things will come. Right after Jesus’ baptism the Bible tells us that:

Matthew 4:1 (CSB) Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

God the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness – a dry and parched land – to be tested by the Devil. Why did God do this? To show us that in this world the devil will test, but that Jesus is greater than any trial or temptation. Jesus was hungry when tested. He had fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. He was famished. His stomach was eating His backbone. And here comes the devil:

If You’re really the Son of God command these stones be made bread.
Go ahead, Jesus. I’m waiting.

What did Jesus do? He could have commanded the stones be made bread, fresh warm bread, and could have turned the grass into butter and honey. But Jesus didn’t listen to the whispers of the devil but instead heeded the Word of God. He looked upward rather than around. He didn’t use His abilities, but rested on God’s faithful word.

Man must not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from God’s Mouth!

Jesus trusted the faithfulness of God. He did not allow the darkness to control Him, but instead allowed the light of God to shine forth in truth.

God Is Faithful!

Vs 13 … God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

No matter what the trial or temptation is you are going through, God is faithful. God is with His Children. God has proven that over and over again. Our chapter started with:

1 Corinthians 10:1 (KJV) Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

The “fathers” of our faith – the founders – all suffered terribly. God’s Israel suffered over 400 years in a pagan land called Egypt. Their children were killed. They suffered under the whip of the taskmasters, and were themselves slaves. But God is faithful. At the right time God moved, and caused Egypt to release Israel.

Our Fathers Were Under The Cloud …

When Israel came out of their trials, God led them out by a Pillar of Cloud by day and a Pillar of Fire by night (Exodus 13:21).

They out of their trials following God and His Word.
They listened to God and His Word.
They focused on God and His Word.

When Israel got the Red Sea and were unable to cross they cried out, not to God but against Moses.

Exodus 14:11-12 (CSB) Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Isn’t this what we told you in Egypt: Leave us alone so that we may serve the Egyptians? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.

They did not look up, but looked out and found fault with Moses, blaming God’s man. When trials come blaming someone for that trial does not help. Cursing Moses will not get Israel through the Red Sea. Being angry at others doesn’t fix the problem, dear One. No. But God is faithful! Moses looked upward, and told his people:

Exodus 14:13-14 (CSB) … Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation that he will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you must be quiet. …

Look up. Look up in the midst of the trial. God is faithful.

1 Corinthians 10:1-2 (KJV) …. all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; [2] And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

When Israel looked up, God parted the waters. When Israel trusted God, they ALL went through the sea. They ALL were BAPTIZED unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea. What does that mean? It means they all went under the trial, they all looked up, and God took then through the trial. Not one Israelite was lost in the water. Not one little baby was left in the mud. The unbelievers were crushed, destroyed by the water, but God’s people were saved by the water. God is faithful. He is always faithful.

The Faithfulness Of Christ Is Our Escape

vs 13 …. God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it

I have heard people say:

God will not put more on you than you can bear.

That is a half truth. That’s really not what the Bible says. The Bible says “God will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, BUT WILL WITH THE TEMPTATION ALSO MAKE A WAY TO ESCAPE”. That’s the full promise. God watches you in trials and tribulations and ALWAYS provides an escape. What is that escape?

It is JESUS.
It is HIS PRESENCE.

Let’s look at the Fathers again. We read:

1 Corinthians 10:3-4 (KJV) {the fathers} … did all eat the same spiritual meat; [4] And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Christ was with His people as they went through the wilderness. It was Christ Who provided spiritual meat and spiritual drink to Israel. As long as Israel looked upward our Lord blessed them. He gave them Manna to eat when there was no bread. He gave them Meat to eat when there was no meat. Christ was the Rock that brought forth water, satisfying the thirsty soul. When Israel came to a place where the water was too bitter to drink they grumbled, saying “What are we going to drink?”

Exodus 15:23-25 (CSB) They came to Marah, but they could not drink the water at Marah because it was bitter – that is why it was named Marah. The people grumbled to Moses, “What are we going to drink?” So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he threw it into the water, the water became drinkable. The Lord made a statute and ordinance for them at Marah, and he tested them there.

Moses tossed a Tree into the bitter waters of Marah, and the waters became sweet. What is our blessing in trials? It is Christ. It is that our Jesus loved us so much that He came to this earth. Born of a Virgin, He grew to manhood. He walked and talked amongst us. Then in the greatest show of love ever, Christ went to Calvary. The Bible declares:

1 Peter 2:21-25 (KJV) For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: [22] Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: [23] Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: [24] Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. [25] For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Jesus Christ allowed Himself to be nailed to the Tree. He died to pay for your sins and mine. The reason that we suffer death, disease, and the devil is because of sin in this terribly fallen world.

I was listening to the chorus of liberal newscasters once more talking about “the greatest mass shooting in American history”. Last Sunday night (October 1, 2017) a gunman killed 59 people and injured 527 people from a 32 floor window of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Immediately the talking heads began their tired cries for gun control. Sadly, gun control isn’t the problem. People murdered one another long before there were guns. The first murder in the Bible – brother killing brother – did not have the smell of gun smoke to it.

The world has a heart problem.
It needs Jesus.
In the midst of every trial our escape is Jesus.

Colossians 2:13-14 (KJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; [14] Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

What keeps my heart going in the trial and the temptation is that Jesus loves me and gave Himself for me. He blotted out my sins, and gives me a right relationship with God. I stand clean before my Lord, and He promises never to leave nor to forsake me.

Galatians 3:13-14 (KJV) Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: [14] That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Jesus Christ became a curse so that I might be blessed. In this world I will have trials, but my God in Christ has defeated this world. He watches over me, and you too. Oh how He loves us! When trials come we need to know that Jesus, like a Great Shepherd, watches over us. He said:

John 10:7-11 (KJV) Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. [8] All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. [9] I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. [10] The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. [11] I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Jesus is where our gaze should go in the trial. What caused an overwhelming trial in Israel? Israel fell under overwhelming trials! What caused that trial was a loss of focus on Christ. We read:

1 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV) But with many of them God was not well pleased: for THEY WERE OVERTHROWN IN THE WILDERNESS. 

Can a trial come your way that is MORE THAN YOU CAN BEAR? Absolutely. If you take your eyes off of Jesus you can become overwhelmed, not because God is unfaithful, but because YOU are. When we take our eyes off of Jesus the trial becomes unbearable because of US. What are the things that people have done instead of looking upward?

1 Corinthians 10:6-11 (KJV) … we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. [7] Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. [8] Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. [9] Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. [10] Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. [11] Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and THEY ARE WRITTEN FOR OUR ADMONITION ….

The fathers who fell under temptation lusted after evil things. They did not “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33), but chased after things God told them not to chase.

The fathers who fell under temptation were idolators. They did not remember His Word that said “do not turn unto idols, nor make unto yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:4). When faith is placed in the wrong god, God will not bless it.

The fathers who fell under temptation committed fornication, sexual sin. There are many who profess Christ today who dishonor their bodies sleeping around rather than trusting God. They go from bed to bed, bringing trials into their own lives. Your body is not your own – you are bought with a price. Glorify God in your body, and your spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:20).

The fathers who fell under temptation tempted Christ. Jesus told the devil “You shall not tempt the Lord your God (Matthew 4:7). To tempt God is to do what He has forbidden, or to not do what He has commanded.

The fathers who fell under temptation murmured and complained. Murmuring is a sign of unbelief. God calls us to be gracious in our speech, loving Him, loving one another.

Christ is our Hope. He is our Lord, our Shepherd, our Redeemer, and our Friend. Let us look to Him and His Word in the trials of life, trusting God no matter what might come.

For God is faithful!

1 Corinthians 1:9 (KJV) God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

God is faithful!

May someone draw closer to Christ, the Light of God, in the midst of your trial.

Posted in 1 Corinthians, Cross of Christ, Faithfulness of God, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

“Las Vegas: Why We Have Mass Shootings” 

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Monopoly

Love this! It all goes “back in the box”. Great Blog!

Morning Story and Dilbert

Capture

Today I heard a story about the game Monopoly. I remembered playing the game many times in my life. Sometimes it was fun and sometimes it was not. Very much like life! It’s not always fun!

We all gather around the table and set the board up. Someone is the banker and they hand out the money. As the game goes on we can buy and sell property. It’s a great feeling to own Boardwalk, Park Place and to trade in those tiny green houses for red hotels. Since the hotels were red you know that’s what I wanted.

As the game goes on it’s fun if you’re the one buying the red hotels and winning the game. But the game comes to an end at some point. It isn’t very long and it’s time to put the game away. As the story I heard this morning was told, the…

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Don’t Lose Your Head, Lift It Up Instead

great blog

Humble Mumblings

mental_stress

Do you ever let an issue play on your mind?  Do you waste your time and your energy thinking it over and over…….and then over and over again? Do you ever find it hard to let things go?  You want to let it go, of course you do, but for some reason that nagging thought or issue will just not shift  no matter how hard you try to forget about it?  It’s stuck in your head like chewing gum on your shoe!

I’ve experienced this very recently.   I don’t really need to share the intimate details of the situation but needless to say the whole situation had left me feeling frustrated, angry and as though an injustice had been done.

Apart from this isolated incident, life is good.  I’ve married my best friend this year, back in April (Yes, I know….yawn…..I’ve mentioned this a trillion times in previous blogs….old…

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The Danger Of Pride

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Isaiah 10:10-25 (KJV)  As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria;  [11]  Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?  [12]  Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.  [13]  For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man:   [14]  And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped.  [15]  Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.  [16]  Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.  [17]  And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day;  [18]  And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standard-bearer fainteth.  [19]  And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.  [20]  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.  [21]  The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.  [22]  For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.  [23]  For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.  [24]  Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.  [25]  For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction.

Audio of Sermon: 

I have heard of preachers plagiarizing sermons, stealing from other pastors for one reason or the other. I have been tempted at times to do so myself, though I have never done so. A sermon must come from God through the heart of His preacher. God must speak to me, so I can speak to you. To plagiarize a sermon is to take another man’s voice and lift it up. The preacher is to lift up God’s Voice, to speak the hard things though none want to hear it.

Tonight’s text is a difficult text. It deals with something that plagues all of us. It deals with PRIDE. God despises PRIDE. God says:

Proverbs 8:13 (ESV) The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Pride takes the glory that should belong to God alone and places it on frail and fallen man. Pride treats the Scripture as if it were not, as 1 Peter 1:25 tells us …

The Word of the Lord which endures FOREVER!

Pride treats God’s Word as if it were printed on Select-A-Size perforations like paper towels. Pride is Thomas Jefferson’s Bible – the one he made by cutting out all passages he didn’t like, and retaining the portions he agreed with. Pride ignores what God says unless it pleases us, saying “That was THEN but this is NOW”, as if the Eternal and Immovable God of the Scripture changes with the times as we do.

There was a meaning THEN, and there is a meaning NOW.
There was a point THEN, and there is a point NOW.

God Will Not Bless The Prideful

What was happening THEN?
God’s people whom He had established had ceased glorifying Him.
They became prideful, idolatrous.
God was going to sent a lost nation against them called Assyria.
But Assyria was also prideful and idolatrous.
And God HEARD it.
God hears what you say.
God knows what you think.

Isaiah 10:12 (KJV) Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon MOUNT ZION AND ON JERUSALEM, ….

God was going to do a “work” on His people. What was that “work”? God was going to send affliction because they had ceased glorifying Him. His people stopped living for the Lord Who saved them. The Bible warns us:

Proverbs 16:18-19 (ESV) Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. 19 It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.

This is not just true for the unbeliever, but for the believer as well. Pride robs God of His glory. God was going to use the nation of Assyria to punish His people, to cause them to cease their pride and look up, to glorify the Lord their God.

But God also will punish Assyria because of their pride.

Isaiah 10:12 (KJV) … I will PUNISH THE FRUIT of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.

What is “the FRUIT of the STOUT HEART”?

That fruit is arrogance against God.

God said “After I use Assyria as an ax against the tree of Judah, I will punish the pride of the Assyrians.” God would punish the King who made himself a god over the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Lucifer – God’s Chief ArchAngel – lost his job in Heaven because of arrogance.

Isaiah 14:12-15 (NKJV) How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.

The Bright Star and beautiful Lucifer allowed pride to creep in, and rejecting the Grace of God he said “I will”. He placed his will above the Lord’s will, and lost everything.

Adam – who was God’s prototype Man – lost his job in Eden because of pride. Pride is self worship. Pride takes that which is God’s, and places it on man. We skirt pride when we glorify man. The current controversy concerning NFL athletes kneeling during the National Anthem is both caused and fueled by pride. God alone is to be glorified. God alone is to be knelt to.

The King of Assyria emulated both Lucifer and Adam in his thoughts and pride. The Lord heard him that King, just as He hears your hearts today, and broadcast why this nation would fall. It was because of pride.

Isaiah 10:13-14 (KJV) For HE saith, By the strength of MY hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a VALIANT man:   [14]  And MY hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped.

The King of Assyria boasted, over and over again, that it was HIS prowess and HIS power and HIS purpose and HIS engineering that caused HIM to rule the world. He placed HIMSELF at the center of all things. He was LIFTED UP with PRIDE, powerful PRIDE. He knew better than God Himself. As a matter of fact, He was, in His estimation, GOD HIMSELF.

Isaiah 10:15 (KJV) Shall the AXE boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the SAW magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the ROD should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the STAFF should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.

God said to the Assyrian king:

You are just an Ax in My hands.
The Ax has no right to boast that it cuts down the tree.
You are just a Saw in my hands.
The Saw has no right to boast in how much wood it cuts.
You are just a Rod lifted up.
No Rod can lift itself up.
I lifted you up.
You are just a walking stick, a staff.
God does not lean on you, but uses you.
You are nothing without God.
And you are certainly NO GOD.

Oh, how dangerous is pride and it’s twin arrogance. Good people become evil people through pride.

It was pride that caused the first fall of man. It was pride that said to Adam:

You will not surely die if you eat the forbidden.
God is just depriving you.
He knows the day you eat of it you will be like Him.
A god of gods. (Genesis 3:4-5)

It was pride that caused the first murder, when Cain killed Abel.

It was pride that caused the wickedness that led to the Noahic Flood.

It was pride that caused Lot to go to Sodom and Gomorrah,
And pride that caused the destruction of those magnificent twin cities.

It is pride that will cause the Lake of Fire to be packed with citizens,
But only a few by comparison to enter into God’s glorious Heaven.

Pride Says “God Will Look The Other Way For ME”

Isaiah 10:10-11 (KJV)  As My hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria;  [11]  Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, SO DO TO JERUSALEM AND HER IDOLS? 

It is pride that says “God will punish the sinner for his or her sins, but will overlook mine”. Pride is a trap that says to it’s victim “God will hold THAT PERSON accountable, but I am cherished, and I have a free pass”.

God despises favoritism and racism!
God despises favoritism and racism!
God despises favoritism and racism!

He says (2 Chronicles 19:7 (ESV)) Now then, let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the Lord our God, or partiality or taking bribes.

God is not a Crooked Judge, and does not tolerate crookedness in any, whether unsaved, Israel, or the Church. God expects His people to DO GOOD. God judges NOT DOING and DOING WRONG. Pride whispers:

Because you are a Child of Christ you have a pass.”
Because you are God’s Israel, you can have idols”
God punished Samaria and her idols”
But God will not punish yours because YOU are SPECIAL”

Oh Beloved, this is so wrong. Our God is even handed. We are told in …

Romans 2:6-11 (ESV) {God} will render to each one ACCORDING TO HIS WORKS: 7 to those who by PATIENCE IN WELL-DOING seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for THOSE WHO ARE SELF-SEEKING AND DO NOT OBEY THE TRUTH, BUT OBEY UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, THERE WILL BE WRATH AND FURY. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but GLORY AND HONOR AND PEACE FOR EVERYONE WHO DOES GOOD, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For GOD SHOWS NO PARTIALITY.

Salvation is by faith in the free gift of Christ our Lord, but whether you suffer the paddling of God or enjoy the promise of the Father is based on WHAT YOU DO. It is pride that says “we do not have to do what He says, but we are saved nonetheless”. You may be saved but to ignore God’s Word is to do so perilously. God is faithful to Himself, and expects our unquestioned obedience!

Samaria or Northern Israel was punished by God because of pride, because His people did not honor Him and Him alone. Will not God punish equally all wrong doing?

Pride Brings With It Suffering

Last Thursday Hugh Hefner – the founder of the Playboy Magazine – died at 91 years old. He made millions of dollars, riches untold, by objectifying women and treating them as objects rather than God’s creatures. He led the way in the so called sexual revolution, enslaved millions to pornography, and was instrumental in destroying marriage as God intended. And the world celebrates his life. Though what he did filled his pockets, he sold his soul and the souls of countless others who followed his dark path.

Pride and selfishness caused God to take away the blessings that He had bestowed on His people. He said:

Isaiah 10:16-19 (KJV) Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.  [17]  And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day;  [18]  And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standard-bearer fainteth.  [19]  And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.

The Bible tells us in

Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.

Those who are “poor in spirit” or humble will be blessed of God. God blesses those who love Him, who glorify Him, who live for Him. But God says to the arrogant and prideful “I will send leanness, and burning. My glory shall consume your glory. The forest that you thought you were, I will burn it down until it has so few trees that a little child can count them”.

I’ve been watching the PBS Special on the Vietnam War on PBS. Actually I’m using Netflix, but it’s the same thing. It’s a great special, and I’ve learned a lot I never knew about that war. I found out that it was a war we inherited from the French, and a war that none of the United States Presidents thought we could ever win. President John F. Kennedy didn’t think the war was winnable, but continued to publicly support it because, in his words, he didn’t think he could be re-elected if he pulled troops out of Vietnam. JFK never got a chance to be re-elected, as a sniper assassinated him on Friday November 22, 1963. The Presidency passed to Lyndon B. Johnson who felt that he would not be re-elected unless he supported the war. After re-election Johnson often told his closest friends that he thought the war was not winnable. But Presidential pride and ambition for office kept him publicly supporting a war that would eventually kill 58,000 of our brave troops. LBJ told one friend:

I feel like a Texas mule in a hailstorm. I can’t run.
I can’t hide. I can’t back up. All I can do is stand still and take it.”

There was something he could have done – he could have sought the Lord in prayer.
He could have repented of his pride.
He could have pulled our brave troops out of Vietnam.
He could have done the right thing.

Our President could – and SHOULD—just as any of us –
seek the Lord in prayer, read His Word, do His will.

One of the most telling moments that I saw in the PBS special was one Marine who said – and I paraphrase from memory his words …

When I came to Vietnam I killed a person, and for nights afterwards had nightmares. It is horrible to kill a person. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t kill any more people, and I didn’t kill any more people the whole time I was in Vietnam. I killed gooks. I killed slants. I killed sub-humans. I didn’t kill people. That’s what racism is for. It makes people not people.”

People are people, and every person is made in God’s image. Pride tells one people that they are greater than other people. Pride tells us that that other person doesn’t matter, though they do. All people matter to God. Red, yellow, black, or white, they are precious in His sight. No person is worthless, but none of us are gods. There is but one God, and He sets the standard by which we are to live.

To Break The Yoke Of The Enemy,
Humble Yourself Before God

We read:

Isaiah 10:20-23 (KJV) And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.  [21]  The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.  [22]  For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.  [23]  For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.

God promised His people that “a remnant shall return to the land”. Who is this “remnant”? It is those “who STAY upon the LORD”. Those who seek God and make Him first in their lives will be the remnant that God will bless. This remnant will be consumed with God, the mighty God. They will be focused upon Him.

Do you know what breaks the hold of the enemy? It is our loving relationship with God. The Lord says:

Isaiah 10:27 (KJV)  And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.

The burden of the enemy is taken away, and his yoke is broken from our necks, when God is with us and God is pleased in us. The word “anointing” in the above text is the Hebrew שֶׁמֶן shemen, which means “to let the fat or oil run down”. There is a beautiful picture drawn by the Lord where. A yoke is placed around the neck of an animal to control it. When we depart from glorifying God and make life about ourselves, being lifted up with pride, God takes away His blessing and we get thinner for it. The enemy then slaps a yoke around our thin and emaciated necks. But when we love God and glorify Him first and always. When we:

Matthew 6:33 (ESV) …. seek FIRST the kingdom of God AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE ADDED TO YOU.

When we put God first God puts us first. The yoke is around our scrawny necks when we depart from God. But when we – like a remnant – return to Him, God brings fatness back to our lives. Our necks swell, and under His blessing the yoke of the oppressor breaks. One translation puts it this way:

and the yoke will be broken because of the fat (ESV)
or even better
the yoke will be broken because your neck will be too large (CSB)

God will bless you, dear One, if you will put away pride and love Him with your whole heart. Do not delay. Love and trust Him. Live for Him. Follow Christ and love one another. May God lead you to a deeper relationship with Him through this Word.

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