Why The Name?

Great truths. Wonderful sister in Christ!

PoetByDesign

People often ask me; why do you go by the name, PoetByDesign?  Well, let’s go back …  

When I was one year old, my Mother passed away and although I was too young to actually remember her; her absence from my life was deeply felt. 

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Locking Out The Lord In Laodicea

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

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An embarrassed member told the Pastor at the end of the service, “I hope you didn’t take it personally when my husband got up and walked out of Church today.” The Pastor said “I didn’t take it personally, but it was a little distracting.”She said“It wasn’t out of disrespect to you. Fred has been walking in his sleep since he was a child.”

I hope everyone here today is wide awake and listening to the Lord. I remember several years ago I preached from the text:

Ephesians 5:14-17 (KJV)  Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.  [15]  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,  [16]  Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  [17]  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

As I preached the text I shouted “wake up”. One of those listening thought I was talking about his mother who, on medication, often drifted off to sleep during the services. I had no idea she did, but her son thought I was picking on his momma (for he was a momma’s boy) and he read me the riot act later. He carried a grudge against me until he and his “superior” family left the Church to go haunt another Pastor. But I digress.

I pray you are all attentive to this message. I pray you are not asleep, or if you sleep, that you not sleepwalk. Jesus said:

Behold, LOOK. LISTEN. Pay attention to Me.
I stand at the door and knock: I am locked out of the Church. Let Me in!
if any man hear my voice,
I need someone – anyone – to hear My cries
and open the door,
Yes, open the door
I will come in to him and sup with him,
we will fellowship TOGETHER
and he with Me.”

Jesus is LOCKED OUT. Who locked Him out? Was it the honky tonk or bar down the street? Was it a crack house, or a show girl den? Was it a liquor store? It was none of these places. The words that you read today are Christ’s Word TO HIS CHURCH. His Church has locked Him out.

This Church is Laodicea.

Laodiceastands in stark contrast to Philadelphia, a Church we learned of last Sunday. Jesus had nothing but praise for Philadelphia, a Church that loved Him and one another. But you can find no praise for Laodicea in our text. Philadelphia had little strength but a BIG GOD. But Laodicea has great strength but only a little god.

How Does A Church Become Laodicean? It Forgets Who Jesus Is

Revelation 3:14 (KJV) And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

When Jesus spoke to Philadelphia He revealed three things about Himself:

Revelation 3:7 (KJV)  And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saithhe that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, …

Jesus is HOLY, sinless, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.
Jesus is TRUE, and His Word is TRUTH.
Jesus has the KEY OF DAVID. He is the Covenant of God to us.

Now Jesus reveals three things about Himself to the Laodicean Church.

aJesus Said He Is The AMENOf God.

These things saith THE AMEN”

The word AMEN is the same in the Hebrew, the Greek, and the English. It means “This is Truth, So Be It”.It is a VERBAL AFFIRMATION of what is true. When Jesus walked this earth teaching the truths of God that …

Matthew 7:28-29 …. the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Jesus did not waffle. He said “This is what God has said”. When He spoke He did not do so with hesitation, but stood up against the wrongs of His day with the rights of God. This irritated the Pharisees, who asked:

Matthew 21:23 … By WHAT AUTHORITY DOEST thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

If Jesus was a Rabbi, a Master Teacher, then WHO was His Master? Who stood above Him showing Him this way? Jesus had no one showing Him the way, for Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes unto God the Father but by HIM.He is the Amen of God. What He says is true. His Word has proved itself over and over.

When people brought the demon possessed to Jesus He said

Hold thy peace and come out of him!”

and the demon left. The Pharisees, puzzled, asked:

Mark 1:27 …. What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

Why is that? Christ is the Amen of God. When He taught, He taught the truths of God because He IS God! When Jesus spoke truths He often said (in our King James texts):

Verily, Verily, I say unto you!

I love the King James, but that word is not VERILY. It is literally AMEN. Jesus said AMEN, AMEN, I say unto you.

To Nicodemus, a man who thought he was right with God because he studied God in the Seminary and had advanced degrees, our Lord said:

John 3:3-7 …. AMEN, AMEN, I SAY UNTO THEE, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, AMEN, AMEN, I SAY UNTO THEE, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

When the Pharisees sought to hurt Jesus because He healed on the Sabbath dayour Lord said:

John 5:19 AMEN, AMEN, I SAY UNTO YOU, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

When greedy followers sought food rather than Him as the Manna of Godour Lord told them:

John 6:26-27 AMEN, AMEN, I SAY UNTO YOU, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

When the Pharisees – mostly pretend believers in God – justified their sinfulness by declaring they were born in the Church(“we are ABRAHAM’s seed”) our Lord Jesus told them:

John 8:34-37 AMEN, AMEN, I SAY UNTO YOU, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

Jesus is the AMEN of God. What He says is always true. Laodicea compromised His Word – what He clearly said – and in so doing locked Jesus out of the Church. People are always saying to me “if I don’t compromisewith my unbelieving friend, or my friend that believes in others gods, then I will offendthem”.

Who would you rather offend: your friend or the Friend you have in Jesus?

bJesus Said He Is “The Faithful And True Witness”.Jesus Christ is the REVEALER OF GOD’S TRUTH. Phillip asked Jesus one day “show us the Father and we will be satisfied”. Jesus told His disciples:

John 14:9-11 …. Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

Jesus Christ is the ONLY MEDIATOR between God and Man. The Bible declares this without one blush. The Scripture says:

1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Jesus alone was sent to be the Mediator – the Go To between God and man. Jesus alone paid the penalty for sin, and therefore earned the right to be that Mediator. We are told in Hebrews that Jesus Christ …

Hebrews 8:6 … is the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

Hebrews 9:15 ….. is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

Hebrews 12:24-25 …. the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. 25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:

Do other religions know there is a God? I am sure they do, but they are not the Mediator to God. There is but one Way to God, and that is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

cJesus Said He Is THE Beginning Of THE Creation Of God. Jesus Christ is not only Creator God, He is the Creator of a New Race of People, the Family of God. We who have believed in Him are declaredadopted Children of God.

God gave His Only Begotten Son so that He could make more Sons. God made us in His image in the Garden, but we marred that image by sin. When the devil came to Eve and said “God wants to keep you from being like Him”both Adam and Eve should have replied, “We are already in the image of God”. God made us to be like Him, and we unmade ourselves by sin. Yet when we come to Him Who is the Amen of God, when we believe on Him Who is Faithful and True, then God:

Colossians 1:13-14 … delivers us from the power of darkness, and hath translates us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins …

Romans 8:14-15 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

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

What a glorious thing it is to be the adopted sons of God!

The Laodiceans locked Jesus out by fabricating a Jesus and teaching other people this fabrication. They took the Lion of Judah and turned Him into a stuffed lion fit only for children to play with. Many Churches in our world today are Laodicean because they do not receive the Christ of Scripture, but have built their own Jesus like you build a Mr Potato Head doll.Jesus – the Biblical Jesus – is Who we must follow!

Jesus Can Impact A Hot Or Cold Church – But Lukewarmness NO

Revelation 3:15-16 (KJV)  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  [16]  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Jesus knew the works of Laodicea, just as He knows the works of every Church. But it was just going through the motions. It was neither hot nor cold.

One of the Pastors I love to follow is a man by the name of Francis Chan. He wrote a bestselling book called Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God. In his book Francis defined lukewarm Christians. Listen to this:

Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church … as long as their giving doesn’t impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it’s easy and safe to give, they do so.

Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives.

Lukewarm people are moved by stories of people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for “extreme” Christians, not average ones.

Lukewarm people love God, but they do not love Him with all their hearts, soul and strength. They would be quick to assure you that they try to love God that much, but that sort of total devotion isn’t really possible for the average person; it’s only for the pastors and missionaries and radicals.

Lukewarm people love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love of others is typically focused on those who love them in return, like family, friends, and other people they know and connect with. There is little love left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, whose kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable. Their love is highly conditional and very selective, and generally comes with strings attached.

Lukewarm people think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focused on today’s to-do list, this week’s schedule, and next month’s vacation. Rarely, if ever, do they intently consider the life to come.”

Jesus doesn’t call us to be lukewarm, but on fire for Him. John the Baptist said of Christ:

Luke 3:16 (KJV)  John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

Where Jesus is, there is passion and love. There is fire and light. The Laodiceans found substitutes for their passion for Jesus in the things of the world:

Revelation 3:17 (KJV)  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

They thought all was well because they had a full bank account and were not hungry nor in need. This is a perfect picture of many Churches in America today. “We are increased with goods, and have need of nothing”. Jesus told His Church:

Revelation 3:18 (KJV)  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

There is a better gold than that yellow stuff the everyone chases after. That gold is the life well lived in Christ. When you approach the end of your days you will not be blessed by the amount of money you have in your bank account. The richest billionaire facing eternity would give all he has to have one more day of life.

We have eternal life in Christ.
Seek Him. Love Him.
He will clothe you for Heaven.
He will cover the nakedness of your sin.
He will walk with you, and never leave you.
He will open your eyes to see …

Jesus loved the Laodiceans though they did not love Him. He told them:

Revelation 3:19 (KJV)  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Jesus loved Laodicea, just as He loves every Church.
What makes a Church rich is that it is rich in Christ.

A little boy walked down the beach and saw a woman sitting under a beach umbrella. He walked up to her and asked:

Are you a Christian?”

She said “Why, yes I am”. The little boy asked:

Do you read your Bible every day?”

She said “Why yes I do honey. Every single day.”The little boy asked:

Do you talk to Jesus often?”

She smiled and said “Oh yes. I love Jesus, and He loves me. We talk every day.”The little boy then asked:

Do you mind holding on to my quarter while I go swimming?”

What a blessing it is to be in Christ Jesus, in love with Him. You are the light of the world, a city set on a hill.

Revelation 3:20-21 (KJV)  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.  [21]  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

We will rule and reign with Him in glory. Let Him rule and reign in US right now! May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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Snake Eggs and Spider Webs

1Isaiah 57:20-21 (KJV)  But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.  [21]  There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

Isaiah 59:1-5 (KJV)  Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:  [2]  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.  [3]  For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.  [4]  None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.  [5]  They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.

Back in 1998 the late Dr Adrian Rogers– then Pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church – preached a sermon called Snake Eggs, Spider Webs, and Traffic Jams. In that sermon Dr Rogers spoke of how sin was ruining America and the American Family. That was about 20 years ago. His sermon was very prophetic. Now I don’t intend to preach Dr Rogers sermon. I am not Dr Adrian Rogers. God made me to be David Buffaloe. A fellow I know – a member of Allensville Baptist Church – visited our Church last Wednesday. He told me as he left our service “If you keep trying you’ll one day be as good at preaching as our Pastor David Ward is”. I thought to myself “What a wonderful thing to have someone brag on their Pastor. I know David is blessed to have someone to help him in ministry.” But then I also thought “I don’t want to be like Brother David Ward, as good a man as he is. ”Dear friend, I want to be used of Jesus. I want you to forget me – for I am nothing – but focus on our Lord.

Our America is in a desperate situation. Children are killing children in our public schools. What is the solution that our leaders suggest? Let the child defy authority and walk out of class. Let them skip school while leadership justifies it so that we can enact more government legislation that fixes nothing. Oh Beloved, do you not know that the sign of lunacy is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result?What does the Lord say?

Isaiah 57:20-21 (KJV)  But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.  [21]  There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

The wicked – those who promote and do that which is SIN – are like a troubled sea. The waters cannot rest until it turns from itself and toward Christ. The wicked must stop their wickedness – not in their own power – but turn to Him Who controls the waters. Hear His Voice Who says:

Mark 4:39 (KJV) ….Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

We must turn from sin and turn back to God. Oh how God cries out to the sinner, saying:

Isaiah 30:15 (KJV)  For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.

God is able to save anyone who will come to Him. In 1962 the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Engel v. Vitale removed voluntary prayer from public schools. The prayer in question was:

Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and
we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country. Amen.

Based on this ruling (from Wikipedia)In Wallace v. Jaffree (1985), the Supreme Court ruled Alabama’s law permitting one minute for prayer or meditation was unconstitutional. In Lee v. Weisman (1992), the court prohibited clergy-led prayer at middle school graduation ceremonies. Lee v. Weisman, in turn, was a basis for Santa Fe ISD v. Doe (2000), in which the Court extended the ban to school-organized student-led prayer at high school football games.”

Young people were no longer allowed to have even student led prayers. This evil began in 1962 and expanded to where the youth of America no longer recognize God in any form whatsoever. I have heard people justify this as the Constitution “Separation of Church and State” but if you read our Constitution you will see there is no such provision there. The Constitution reads:

CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The subject of the sentence is CONGRESS. CONGRESS cannot mandate a state religion, nor prohibit anyone from their freedom of religion. There was no mention of taking prayer out of schools. Young people today are playing video games where blood letting is considered fun, but in no way are being taught that there is a God Who loves everyone and Who watches our every move. Prayer is to speak to God. Students are told NOT to speak to God, but to the flesh. Is it any wonder that children are killing children.

In 1963 in the case of Abington Tp. V Schempp the Supreme Court ruled “no state law or school board may require that passages from the Bible be read or that the Lord’s Prayer be recited in the public schools of a State at the beginning of each school day — even if individual students may be excused from attending or participating in such exercises upon written request of their parents. Pp. 374 U. S. 205-227.”

Students were not to talk to God. Now God’s Word was not to speak to the students. In 1980 the Ten Commandments were removed from the walls of schools. Our children are now taught that they are ANIMALS descended from a primoral ooze, evolved from goo to you.

Is it any wonder that our children kill one another? In 1982 schools were told not to teach creationism, but only evolution. And with God removed from the child’s mind, homosexuality, promiscuity, and socialism have captured the child’s mind. Legislation that does not address the heart issues will not effect the safety of children, nor will it soften the corrosion of our society.

We must return from sin and turn toward God.

What Is This Thing Called “Sin”?

Isaiah 59:1 (KJV)  Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

God is able to save anyone who will come to Him. The Bible says:

The Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save”

God is not getting feeble in His old age.
The Ancient of Days does not get old, nor change.
Our God is able to save for He is ALL MIGHTY.

Jesus’s disciples asked “Who then can be saved?”He replied:

With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26)

God is able to save. He is able to reach anyone.

Neither is His ear heavy that He cannot hear”
God is not getting hard of hearing.
Some of you are getting that way because of age.
That’s understandable. I have the problem sometimes, too.

An older couple are out walking together, enjoying the day. The husband says “I think I LOVE you”. The wife replies, “Well, I LOATHE you, too!”. Unperturbed he says “It’s WINDY isn’t it!” The wife says “No you idiot, it’s THURSDAY”. Her husband smiles and says “I’m THIRSTY too – let’s go home!”

God isn’t hard of hearing. He isn’t senile. He is able to hear. But we read:

Isaiah 59:2 (KJV)  But your INIQUITIES have separated between you and your God, and your SINS have hid his face from you, that HE WILL NOT HEAR. 

SIN hides God’s face from us. Why? Because when we SIN, we wander away from Him and hide ourselves from Him. In America today and in the American Family we no longer recognize what SIN is.

We take the “S” off of SIN and make it IN.

But SIN is not IN. It is OUT. It separates us from God. The Bible has several lists of what IS SIN.

Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV) Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NKJV) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Timothy 1:9-10 New King James Version (NKJV) … knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,

Sin is a “work of the flesh”. Sin sees the good that God offers and rejects it. Sin is Adam in Eden choosing the forbidden fruit instead of that which God blessed. Sin leaves us hiding from God, covered with fig leaves, ashamed and broken. Sin rejects God’s best for what we think is best.

Isaiah 59:3 (KJV) For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. 

Sin defiles us. Sin that enters into our EYES and our EARS goes into our MINDS and comes out in our HANDS. I was reading a International Mission Board fax the other day that reported on a town overseas where there was a bad sewage blockage. People were dispatched to clean the sewer out when they discovered the source of the blockage – the sewer was filled with tiny, aborted babies. How horrible that is! A child is precious to God. How does such a thing come about? They researched and found out that many of these babies belonged to mothers who were but 15 years old. Children having children. They succumb to sin – sexual immortality outside of Biblical marriage – then there is blood on their hands as they abort the child. Sin entraps, and drags all into its pit.

Sin makes us participants in its antics. Our fingers stained with iniquity, and our lips lie and our tongues speak perverse things. There is no such thing as a little sin. It is like a little poison ivy. Some people are not susceptable to poison ivy, but I am very allergic. I can let a leaf just brush my leg and that starts it. The itch grows, and if I scratch to satisfy it it speads until it consumes me. What is the solution if I get in poison ivy? Don’t scratch it. Bathe the area with soap and water, and put something on it to let it dry out. But for heaven’s sake, don’t scratch it.

Galatians 5:9 (NKJV) A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Oh Beloved, a little leaven leavens the whole lump. A little poison ivy spreads if you let. A little sin creeps in, and consumes the life.

I am reminded of a time when

John 8:3-6 (NKJV) … the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, IN THE VERY ACT. 5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

This woman – according to them – was caught “IN THE VERY ACT”. If she was “IN THE VERY ACT”of sexual immorality, then they should have also cast down the MAN before Jesus. But here is sin’s deception. Sin may quote Scripture – for the devil quotes Scripture – but Sin judges one and lets another go. We will the WOMAN to Jesus but let the MAN keep his dignity. After all, he is but a man with male urges. Let him go, but let’s STONE her. The sin of self righteousnessjudges not according to God’s Law, but cherry picks what is right and wrong. So Jesus – shall we stone her or not?

(testing God, but not trusting God, those horrible horrible hypocrites!)

What did Jesus say? They did not bring her to Jesus to be saved, but brought to Jesus to be condemned, or He Himself to be condemned. But Jesus did something extraordinary. He said:

John 8:7 (NKJV) “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

The hypocrites slunk away, from the oldest to the youngest. After they were gone Jesus asked her:

John 8:10-11 (NKJV) “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.”And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

This woman was cast at Jesus’ feet by her sin. Jesus came to save sinners – not just from hell, but from the hell of sin. For sin brings with it its own hell.

The alcoholic would not be an alcoholic if he never drank.
The baby would not be aborted if the mother never committed fornication.
The murderer would not be imprisoned had he not pulled the trigger.

Jesus Christ died on Calvary because of sin. He told that woman “neither do I comdemn you. GO AND SIN NO MORE.”I forgive You. By my blood I have saved you. Jesus is the Mediator between God and Man. He gave Himself for us.

Sin Is A Cockatrice Egg And A Spider’s Web

Isaiah 59:4-5 (KJV) None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.  [5]  They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.

God wants His people to speak up about sin, and to share the Gospel that is in Christ. God likens sin to a “cockatrice egg”. You might ask “what is a cockatrice”?That’s an Old English word for a viper, a rattlesnake, or any poisonous snake. God gives us a picture of sin as if it is a snake’s egg. God says:

he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which
is crushed breaketh out into a viper

Sin looks good. It looks like it will taste good. You take it into your life. You take a bite of it, and swallow. You swallow what it says, believing what the devil and his populace says. Then swallowing you feel a burning in your stomach. The snake egg you swallowed was harmless till you took it into your life. But piercing the shell with your teeth it is now in your belly. It breaketh out into a viper. You took that sin in, and now it has destroyed you.

I have seen a Church destroyed because its members would not love one another, but carried grudges and hatred in their bellies. In time the Church died from the poison of that snake.

I have seen several good preachers – men to whom God led many to salvation – consumed by a mouthful of sin. One preacher – many times my elder, a Doctor of Theology – ruined his ministry because he swallowed the serpent egg of sexual immorality. I know another preacher that I thought God would use in mighty ways – a dear friend – now consumed of the flesh by drugs. His marriage is in tatters, his wife embittered, and he is shipwrecked.

Isaiah 59:5 (KJV) … weave the spider’s web:

Sin is a spider’s web. It is tricky, nearly invisible. It hides itself until you run into it. But once you hit it it wraps its arms around you, sticky, clinging. It holds you in its weave until the devil like a spider comes to suck your innards outward. Oh do not be deceived. Turn from sin. Do not take it lightly.

Spider webs are pretty.
They are beautful and inviting.
But they are snares, traps.
Death hides at the edge of a spider web.

The devil has entrapped many in the spider web of sin. He has used TELEVISION to ensnare our minds. Years ago what happened in the bedroom was supposed to only happen between husband and wife. The devil through television began to normalize sexual sin. If a man and woman fell in love they came together in the bedroom. I was watching a show one day – a crime show called Law and Order– when a man was killed. When the police went to that man’s home to notify his wife a man opened the door. He said “Yes, I am his wife”and began to cry, sobbing for the one he lost. My heart was pulled by that, touched by that. The spider web of sin says “It doesn’t matter what God has said – as long as they love one another”. It is a trick. Do not touch it. It is sticky, and it will grab you if you let it.

Many of you watch hours of television where your minds are fed spider webs. Yet you spend little time in God’s Word. You spend little time seeking Him Who loves you. Oh that you and I would read His Word, believe His Gospel, and seek His face daily!

Christ Is Able

For you who still – with hardened heart – still think that sin is but a pittance, I beg you to see how God sees sin.

Look at Christ on the Cross

While we continue to go our way we will not be blessed. Our way has not worked. From 1962 to today we have tried our way. What have we accomplished?

Isaiah 59:9-10 (KJV)  Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.  [10]  Wegrope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.

We can grope in darkness, or we can see Jesus. What does God think of sin? See Jesus. See Him beaten. See His flesh in tatters, like a leper’s robe. See the blood of the Lamb. See the crown of thorns on His head. See Him. See Him carrying His Cross on bleeding back. See Him fall down in the way, and another help him. See Him as He arrives at Calvary. See Him. See Him laid upon the Cross, beaten once more. See that executioner step on His wrist as another drives the nail. See Him. See His right hand, then the left hammered to the Cross. Now His feet, the most tender place on the human body, folded over, nailed through. See Him lifted up. Do you see Him? Do you see Him? Do you see Him handing there? What put Him there.

It was sin.
It was our sins.
Sin nailed Christ to the Cross.
So we do not revel in sin.
We hate it.
We confess it to God.
We turn from it.

Jesus was delivered to the Cross because of our offenses (Romans 4:25).

Jesus Christ suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust,
that He might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18)

Repent of your sins. Come to Christ. Agree with God what is sin, and turn from it in His power. God will bring you into His Kingdom if you will but trust in Him. Reject the spider web and the snake egg, and cling to Christ Who loves you so very much.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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Why We Love Jesus

1John 1:1-14 (KJV)1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made 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.

If you ask a Christian why they LOVE Jesus Christ, each person will probably have a different answer. For instance, if you asked Peter the Chief Apostle why he loved Jesushe would tell you:

1 Peter 1:3-5 (KJV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Peter loved Jesus because our Lord conquered death, and promises that we shall conquer death in Him. Peter loved Jesus because he was kept in a sure salvation. As Peter often misstepped and messed up (and who of us doesn’t) I can say that’s one of the reasons I love Jesus. He gave me a better life NOW and assures me of a GREAT LIFE LATER.

If you asked John Mark why he loved Jesus he would probably tell you that it was because he was saved through the testimonies of Peter and Paul.There is no Biblical evidence that the Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark walked with Jesus while our Lord was on the earth. But Mark was an Evangelist touched by the Spirit of God. He was one of us of whom Jesus spoke when He told Thomas:

John 20:29 (KJV) ….Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

John Mark – like many of us – failed the Lord at one time. When Paul and Barnabas went to Pamphylia John Mark refused to go with them (see Acts 15:36-41). Because of that Paul didn’t want to team up with Mark anymore, and Mark began to accompany Barnabas while Paul went with Silas. Our God is the God if second chances, the Lord Who can turn a MESS into a MESSAGE. He gave Mark a second chance, and used John Mark to not only spread the Gospel of Christ but also to write the Gospel of Mark.

I must hurry.

Why did MatthewLOVE Jesus so? Because Matthew was a sinner – a tax collectorwho had betrayed his people. Matthew left his crooked ways to follow Jesus, the One he was sure was the Messiah promised of God.

There are a lot of reasons to love Jesus. If you were to ask John why he loved Jesus he would tell you that:

God spoke from eternity,
And the Sound God made was Jesus.

When you speak several things happen at the same time. You first of all form the THOUGHT to speak. You decide you want to say something. It comes from your mind. Then you flex your vocal cords, exhale, and form words with your mouth. What YOU say comes from YOU. You cannot say what I’m thinking unless I say it FIRST and then you repeat it after me. Let’s try it.

What am I thinking now?
Say what I’m thinking.
You can’t – it’s impossible.
MY words come from ME.
Jesus is God’s Word.

We Love Jesus Because We Were Created To Love Jesus

John 1:1 (KJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

When John speaks of Jesus he says that He was “In the beginning”. John takes us to the first line of the Bible that says:

Genesis 1:1 (KJV) In the beginning Godcreated the heaven and the earth.

When God spoke “in the beginning”creating all things it was through Christ He spoke. The writer of Hebrews said:

Hebrews 1:1-2 (KJV) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds…

Jesus is The WORD of God by Whom God made the worlds. This is the Word Who was WITH GOD. The Apostle says:

Colossians 1:15-16 (KJV) Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth,visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

This Jesus – the Word of God – is no mere Rabbi. He is the image of God, the manifest image. If you want to see God you must look to Him. He is the Creator of all things, and all things were created BY Him and FOR Him. He is the One that Adam walked with in the Garden of Eden. And when Adam fell it was Jesus Who promised as the seed of the woman to one day crush Satan’s head (Genesis 3:15).

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

If Jesus was the One through Whom God made all things this makes Him very exclusive. Not inclusive, but exclusive. “Without Him was not anything made that was made”. Jesus was involved in the biggest to the smallest of everything made. He brought the animals to Adam so Adam could name them – but Jesus made them. Jesus’ fingerprints are on every aspect of creation, from the stars above to the tiny hummingbird.

Jesus made the world. Jesus gave the world to Adam. Adam disobeyed Jesus, and gave the world to the devil. But Jesus came to redeem the world. He wanted what was rightfully His returned to Himself. But only He could do this. We were made by Jesus to walk with Jesus. Only when we do so are we in a Paradise.

We Love Jesus Because He Is Life And Light

John 1:4-5 (KJV) In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Jesus came to a world that should have known Him. He introduced Himself as the source of LIFE and LIGHT. Jesus told us:

Matthew 10:39 (KJV)  He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

When I was younger I used to hear people would take off and wander in order to “find themselves”. Young people would leave high school and home and wander through the world “looking for myself”. Jesus said “If you find your life apart from Meyou will lose your life. There is no life apart from Me.”Jesus is the only Source of life.

Matthew 19:29 (KJV)  And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall RECEIVE AN HUNDREDFOLD, AND SHALL INHERIT EVERLASTING LIFE.

Life is in Jesus.
Joyous life is in Jesus.
Happy life is in Jesus.

Consider the Pharisees. They sought life OUTSIDE of Jesus. They looked to ritual, to clothing, to good works done to be seen of men. They did not understand that life was in Jesus. He kept telling them, but they kept ignoring Him. John Mark the Evangelist tells us of the time Jesus met a man with a withered hand.

Mark 3:1-2 (KJV) {Jesus}entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.  [2]  And{the Pharisees}watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.

This man had been going to Church regularly. He was in the Synagogue, which is the Jewish Church. This man came to Church because his hand was withered. He couldn’t work. He couldn’t do what he needed to do with that useless hand. So he came to Church looking for help.What did the man with the withered hand find at the First Pharisee Church? He found people watching him, but not helping him. He found judges but not helpers. In fact, the Pharisees watched Jesus to see if He might heal this poor man on the Sabbath day. They saw the Sabbath Day as a ritual, not as a time when people came together to worship the Lord.

Did you come tonight to worship Jesus or to just come and occupy space?
If you’re here you should want to enable Jesus.
You should be praying that Jesus will manifest Himself and heal others.
You should be praying that someone finds life in Christ.

We come to Church to see Jesus. We study our Bibles to see Jesus. The Pharisees were in Church just to judge, to find fault. God help us when we are Pharisees!

Mark 3:3 (KJV) {Jesus} saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.

Jesus called to the man with death in his body. Stand forth. Stand up. Let Me deal with your deadness.”At that point the man had a choice. He could let the Pharisees influence him and ignore Jesus … or he could do as Jesus commanded. This is the way of salvation. When God calls, we must move. When Jesus says “Follow Me”we must ignore all else and follow Him. When Jesus says “Stand up and come to Me”we must do this. The CHRISTian way is first of all CHRIST. Do as He says.

Mark 3:4 (KJV) {Jesus} saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.

The darkness has no reply to the Light that is Christ, and death cannot ever understand Life. They could not openly dispute Jesus for they knew their argument was foolish. If Christ could heal, then Life was in Christ and God was His Father.

Mark 3:5-6 (KJV)  And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.  [6]  And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

The answer of the world is to kill the Light that is Christ, to destroy Him, and to offer no hope for anyone. The darkness hardens the heart of those who embrace it. But Jesus is life. He is light. He is able. He brings life where all others bring condemnation and death.

We Love Jesus Because John The Baptist Endorsed Him

John 1:6-9 (KJV) There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

In the Old Testament God promised that He would send a Herald before the Messiah, the Greatest of all Prophets.

Isaiah 40:3-5 (KJV)  Thevoice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  [4]  Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:  [5]  And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Malachi 3:1 (KJV)  Behold,I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

John the Baptist was this Messenger. He would “clear the way of the Lord”. The Bible tells us through Matthew:

Matthew 3:1-3 (KJV)  In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,  [2]  And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  [3]  For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet {Isaiah}, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

When John preached, he preached of One Who was greater than he was.

Matthew 3:11-12 (KJV)  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy {Spirit}, and with fire:  [12]  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

John preached Christ as He is. He is LORD. He is JUDGE. He is JURY. Jesus would baptize the faithful who followed Him with the Holy Spirit and with a fire in their souls. But those who reject Christ shall be burnt as chaff with unquenchable fire. Christ has the keys to death and hell. He gives life, and gives light. But He separates those who reject Him into eternal damnation. John witnessed that he was not the Christ, but that Jesus was coming. On the day that Christ came to John’s camp meeting he declared:

John 1:29 (KJV) …Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

John saw Jesus as THE Lamb of God. Not “One of His Lambs” but “THE LAMB”. John preached an exclusive Jesus Who came to save whosoever will.Not everyone is saved because not everyone believes in Christ. But John believed in Christ, and taught that those who believed in Him would be saved and anointed of God. The Bible says in Hebrews:

Hebrews 4:2-3 (KJV)  For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.  [3]  For we which have believed do enter into rest,…

John preached Christ as the Only Lamb of God, and asked his hearers to believe this. When we believed Him and received Him we were blessed by Him.

We Love Jesus Because He Gives Us New Life

John 1:9-13 (KJV) {Jesus} was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Christ must be received as He is in order to receive the benefits He offers. The world does not receive Christ’s benefit because He was in the world and the world was made by Him, but the world does not know Him. The Bible declares:

2 Corinthians 5:15 (KJV)  …{Christ}died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Receiving Christ makes a change in our lives, a change for the better. We become Sons of Godbecause of Him. We live like we are God’s offspring. We love life, we love one another, and we love the Lord. Sons of God are born into the Kingdom of God. As Jesus told Nicodemus:

You must be BORN AGAIN.

Born not of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. When we receive Christ Christ gives us life. He offers this life to whosoever will.

John 1:14 (KJV) And the Word was made 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.

Christ was made flesh so that we could be made Sons.
The Eternal Christ was made flesh and dwelt amongst us because He loves us.
He took upon Himself our flesh and, dying once, defeated death.
So that in Him we can have eternal life both now, and into eternity.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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What Christ Wants In A Church

downloadRevelation 3:7-13 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; 8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Have you ever heard of a Charge Coupled Device? You may not know what it is – I didn’t – but you’ve probably used it. CCD technology made it possible to capture images digitally. If you own a digital camera it uses CCD technology. The man who discovered it – and put Kodak Film Company out of business because of it – was a scientist named Willard Boyle. The technology he developed not only allowed us to make digital cameras, but also the Hubble Telescope. In 2009 Boyle was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics because of CCD Technology. A few years after he invented CCD Technology Dr. Boyle went into an electronics store to purchase a digital camera. The saleman began talking,  trying to explain how the camera worked but in the middle of the explanation stopped, arrogantly saying “This is probably too difficult for you to understand”. Dr. Boyle told him “No need to explain – I invented it!” When the salesman laughed Dr. Boyle told him to look up his name, “Willard S. Boyle” on the Internet and see for himself. The young man apologized and – before Dr. Boyle left the store – asked to have his picture taken with him.

We do the same thing to God all the time. God invented life and Christ invented the Church. As the Creator of both Life and the Church the Lord Jesus knows how it is supposed to operate. He knows what is right and good. Jesus sets the parameters – after all it is His Church that “He as God purchased with His own Blood” (Acts 20:28). The Church belongs to Jesus. Jesus knows what He wants His Church to do and be.

Jesus Wants His Church To Love Him
And To Love One Another

As we have come through the Book of Revelation we have seen Jesus address – and rebuke – nearly every represented Church.

Ephesus needed to love Christ more.
Pergamos the Fortress began to undervalue the Word of God.
Thyatira allowed the spirit of Jezebel in their midst.
Sardis failed to finish what they started.
Smyrna Suffered For The Lord.
Jesus did not rebuke Smyrna,
Nor did He rebuke Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is made up of two Greek Words. PHILOS which means “Family Love” and ADELPHOS which means “Brothers Together”. Philadelphia means “A Family where Brotherly Love is”. If the name Philadelphia sounds familiar to you it is because we have an American City by that name. Philadelphia was originally founded as a Christian Quaker Colony by William Penn. It’s not that anymore!

The Church at Philadelphia was characterized by love. They loved one another – and loved Jesus as He is. Some people think that you are not a Church unless you love one another and are accepting of everything people do. The Church that loves and embraces sin is not the Church of Philadelphia.

God’s Church can be Seeker Sensitive but not not Sin Embracing.
His people are to reach out to a lost and dying world, but are not to be worldly.

Jesus is …

Revelation 3:7 …. he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

Jesus says FIVE THINGS in this text about Himself. FIVE is the number of GRACE. What does Jesus say of Himself?

  • He that is HOLY. Jesus is HOLY as God is HOLY. Jesus saves us to HOLINESS. The love that impresses Jesus is a HOLY love, a love devoid of selfishness and self centeredness. God expects His Church to love with a godly love.

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 15:12-14 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Jesus is HOLY, and the love He shows us is HOLY. Jesus laid His life down for the undeserving. This is why Jesus came to this earth. The HOLY came to make us HOLY, to bring us into God’s Family. Mary was told that she

Matthew 1:21 ….. shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

It is not love to promote sin.

Our Lord Jesus came to this earth, and for thirty three years kept the Ten Commandments and every single Law of God. He then went to a Tree of Mocking, a man made thing of wood and iron, designed to torture and torment. Above His Head was written I.N.R.I.

Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum

Which meant (see John 19:19) “Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews”. What Pilate wrote was meant to mock, but what Jesus did was no mockery. He died on that Cross to show us the Love of God. Love lays down its life. Love does this to cover sin, not to elevate sin. Love offers the weak a way out. Love offers admittance into the Family of God, a holy and righteous Family, a Family bathed in the light of God’s Glory!

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

  • He that is true. Jesus’ Way is TRUE. Love does not lie. It does not hide. The Bible says that a Church is to …

Ephesians 4:14-15 … be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

As we learn of Jesus we become more like Him. Our love always reflects Jesus. Our love always follows Jesus.

Romans 12:9-10 (ESV2011) Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Revelation 3:7 …. These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

  • Jesus has the Key of David. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It is Jesus who opens the door that no one can shut, and shuts the door that no one can open. This is a quotation from:

Isaiah 22:22 (ESV2011) And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

People have always underestimated the Lord Jesus Christ. They see Him and His works and think “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild”. Jesus was humble and kind when He walked this earth, the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world. But Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Revelation 17:14 (ESV) They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.

Revelation 19:11-16 (ESV2011) Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

Jesus Christ watches over His Church.

Christ’s Church Will Be Attacked But Not Defeated

Revelation 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

Philadelphia is not only a Loving Church, but a Working Church. Jesus tells them “I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it”. When the Church binds together both Godward and Manward in love then God opens doors of opportunity. He said “No man can shut it”. One person can not stop a loving Church. God walks with His own because they walk with Him. He’s holding the door open.

The Church that moves forward in love with God and in love with one another cannot be stopped. Jesus is holding the door open for us. With the little strength the Church had, it did two things that Jesus wants us to do.

Philadelphia guarded Christ’s Word,
and did not deny His Name.

What does that mean? We hear and live by Christ’s Word. We present His Gospel as the Only Way to Life. Attacks are inevitable. Jesus said:

John 15:18-20 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

God’s people have always been persecuted by the world. The Bible says that Christ came into the world to save the world. But the world resisted salvation. Why? The Bible says:

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

1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

Jesus sets an open door that no one can close before His Philadelphia – but His Philadelphia must neither turn from His Word nor deny His authority and power. Many Churches do that today. Like the Church at Corinth they justify sin rather that declare the Gospel that saves from sin.

All are sinners. All are broken. But Jesus came for all! The message we carry – His Gospel – is to repent. Turn to Christ. Receive Him as He is. Believe Him as He has said. Follow Him in Baptism and loving works. His Way is the Way that His Church must be!

We Will Be Victorious In Him

Revelation 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

Jesus had very harsh words for those who say that they are Jews, but are not but do lie. He called them “the Synagogue of Satan”. They were the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” that Jesus warned us against in Matthew 7:15:

Matthew 7:15-16 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Those who are Christ’s love Christ and His people. Those who are Philadelphia love God and love one another. Jesus says of the false ones “I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and know that I have loved you”. Those who stand up against Christ’s Philadelphia will, in the end, be bowed down. But those who bow down and worship the Lord Jesus will be lifted up by His glorious hand!

Jesus makes an interesting promise to Philadelphia, a unique promise that is found with no other Church. Jesus says:

Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

The Church that loves Jesus will be spared from the “hour of temptation”, that 7 year Great Tribulation that God will allow to fall on the earth. Jesus told Philadelphia “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.” The end times are coming. The “Hour of God’s Wrath” is coming. We live today in the Age of Grace, but one day Jesus will come and lift up His Church from this earth. When that happens seven years of Tribulation will come. God’s Children by faith in Christ will not have to go through this – but pretenders and deniers and Judaizers will. The Apostle wrote of this when He said:

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Oh how I look for that change. Oh, how I yearn for that day! Christ tarries to allow one more moment, one more hour, one more day for one more soul to enter the Ark that is the Church. Will you come? He might come today, and call for you. Will you come? Everything is ready. Pastor Adrian Rogers once said:

When will the Rapture take place? At any moment. We are not looking for some sign. We’re not looking for some prophecy to be fulfilled before Jesus can come for His Church.”

All things are ready. Are you ready? May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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The Eyes Of The Lord

Isaiah_57_15_In_God_We_Trust.jpeg

Isaiah 57:15 (KJV) For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

2 Chronicles 16:9 (KJV) For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. …

Purpose Of Sermon: To Make Us Aware That God Is Watching Us, And Blesses Those Who Live In Him Through Christ.

The 84th Congress of the United States passed a joint resolution declaring “In God We Trust” is the national motto of the United States. The resolution passed both House and Senate unanimously and without debate. Then President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Law on July 30th, 1956. That was about a year and a half before I was born.

In God We Trust” became our national motto in 1956, and since then has been displayed on American currency and coins. Yet “In God We Trust” predated 1956 according to the Department Of The Treasury. Our Congress passed the Coinage Act of February 12, 1873. It said that the Secretary of the Treasury “may cause the motto IN GOD WE TRUST to be inscribed on such coins as shall admit of such motto”.

Florida state legislators met on February of this year (2018) to pass a measure related to schools. HB 839 would require every public school in Florida to prominently display the STATE motto of “In God We Trust”. House members passed the bill 97-10. Democrat Representative Kimberly Daniels said the bill is “so simple, just saying put a poster up to remind our children of the foundation of this country”. The bill must still be approved by the Florida Senate.

March 2018 a bill requiring Tennessee schools to prominently display the national motto “In God We Trust” has been sent to our Governor for his signature. The legislation – sponsored by Republican Representative Susan Lynn – passed the State House 81-99. Like-minded legislation is coming in Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming even as we speak. Why? Because we are reaching a critical junction in our nation.

In the wake of school shootings there are numerous marches that address gun control,
but gun control without heart control will do no good.

When I grew up in Garner North Carolina many young people carried knives and some even guns, but no one shot or cut anyone that I can remember. No one went into a school and held it hostage. Oh, we had fist fights at times, wrestling matches, and yes, bullying. But no one considered cutting or harming another. Do you know why?

We knew that God was watching us.
Most of us were drug to Church every Sunday.
And we had parents that not only LOVED us,
But PADDLED us when we were bad.
Ma Ma read us Bible stories as we went to bed.
We prayed to God, knowing He was watching us.

We need to get back to God. We need to get our children and youth back to God. It’s not too late, but we need to do it.

Verse 1: Who Is This God In Whom We Trust?

Putting “In God We Trust” in the schools – on the blackboards or the walls – is a start. But Who is this God? Why should we trust Him? The Bible tells us:

Isaiah 57:15 (KJV) For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place …

God is HIGH above us. His thoughts are perfect and pure. What He has said is right establishes what is right. The Scripture says:

Psalm 113:4 (KJV) The Lord is HIGH above all nations, and His glory is ABOVE the Heavens.

In the United States the HIGHEST Court that determines laws is the Supreme Court. Yet God is above that. God is the Maker of Heaven and earth, and the Ultimate Arbitrator of what is right and wrong. His Name is Holy. He is far above all evil, pure and righteous. God made all that we see. God made us in His image and after His likeness. But God did not make us to be gods.

Job 36:26 (KJV)  Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.

Some people make themselves to be gods, but they are not. We cannot be God. God is greater than you can imagine. The Apostle said that God is everywhere:

Acts 17:24-31 (KJV)  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;  [25]  Neither is worshiped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;  [26]  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;  [27]  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:  [28]  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.  [29]  Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.  [30]  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:  [31]  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

God made us, and God loves us.
God is everywhere.
He is here in this place today.

He is in the Methodist Church down the street, the Catholic Church on Cayce Lane, the Lutheran Church, the Pentecostal Outreach and the Church of God of Prophecy and the Church Of God In Christ. He is in every Church of every denomination and business and temple and synagogue watching what is going on among humankind. He made every person – man, woman and child – regardless of color in His image. We were all made to walk with God, but because God is HOLY many do not.

So God sent His Son Jesus to bring us to Him.

1 Peter 3:18 (KJV)  For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that HE MIGHT BRING US TO GOD, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

Jesus died for our sins to bring us to God. God wants to walk with us, to guide us, to be our God. But we must come to Him willing to be saved. Jesus died for the sins of all. He died for the sins of the world. But sadly, few will know Christ because they themselves want to be their own god. You cannot be god and walk with God. We read in Isaiah:

Isaiah 57:15 (KJV) For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, WITH HIM ALSO THAT IS OF A CONTRITE AND HUMBLE SPIRIT, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

God is HIGH and HOLY. But He only keeps company with the one who is “of a CONTRITE and HUMBLE spirit”. What does that mean? The word “CONTRITE” is the Greek DAKKA which means “CRUSHED” or “CAST DOWN”. To those who are broken – not arrogant or prideful but broken and needy – God says “I can help you”. God will help those who come to Him with empty but needy hands, to those who humble themselves before Him. The Psalmist said:

Psalms 34:18 (KJV)  The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Many of you wonder why a God Who is good would allow bad to come to His creation. The truth is that the bad is often good, for it draws us close to the Lord. The Lord has placed the image of Christ by the Pool of Siloam. It was near that Pool that Jesus met a man blind from birth. The disciples asked Jesus:

John 9:2 (KJV) Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

(Jesus told them) John 9:3-5 (KJV) … Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.  [4]  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.  [5]  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

Jesus knelt down, spat on the ground, and from that made a little mud that He put on the man’s eyes. He told the man “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” – and the man did so. When he did as Jesus said God gave him his sight. Later on that day the man went home, and his family and friends all wondered why his eyesight was restored. The Pharisees began to ask the man what happened. They said “Jesus is but a sinner – we know He could not have done this!” But the man who had been blind said:

John 9:25 (KJV) … Whether {Jesus} be a sinner or no, I know not:
one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.

Jesus Christ came to this earth at the direction of God the Father to give light to those who are bound in darkness. We are all sinners in need of the Savior. Jesus said:

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

John 10:10 (KJV)  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.

God will bless those who humble themselves before Him. He is with those who trust Him as God, believing on His Son for eternal life.

Verse 2: God Is Looking For The Broken & Dependent

2 Chronicles 16:9 (KJV) For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. …

God is looking over the earth to see who loves Him. The “perfect” heart is the devoted heart, the heart focused on Him. There is no Bible verse that stands by itself. Every verse has a background and a context. What is the background of this verse?

These words were written to one of the good Kings of Israel. His name was Asa. Asa became King of Israel when his father King Abijah passed away. The Bible tells us that when Asa came to power:

2 Chronicles 14:2-3 (KJV)2 And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God: 3 For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves:

Asa stood firm against all idolatry. He obeyed his Lord God. He was given the power to bring law into the land, and he did everything he could to turn people from following the false gods of the world around them. Asa ..

2 Chronicles 14:4-5 (KJV) … commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment. 5 Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him.

Asa did what he could to serve the Lord. God doesn’t ask his people to do what they can’t, but to do what they can. We are told in Galatians 6:10 …

..as we have opportunity, let us do GOOD to all people ..”

We are to do God’s good His way. We are not to be people pleasers, but God pleasers. As Asa sought to obey the Lord the Heavenly Father saw what he did, and saw what Judah did.

There was a ten year peace in the land.

Asa had NO war in those years, because the LORD had given him rest”
2 Chronicles 14:6

There was prosperity in the land.

Asa said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls,
and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us;
because we have sought the LORD our God,
we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side.
So they built and prospered. ”
2 Chronicles 14:7

This reminds me of the words of Jesus, Who said:

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

Asa put God first, and lived as if he put God first. After ten years a war lord called Zerah the Ethiopian led a million armed troops against Asa and his kingdom. Asa was outnumbered two to one. He was up against impossible odds according to human standards. But Beloved, when God walks with you and you with God NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE.

Asa prayed.

2 Chronicles 14:11 (KJV) … LORD … help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.

What happened? God empowered Judah to defeat the enemy. Not only that, but Judah conquered the cities of the enemy.

Our God is able.
Our God is able!
Our God is ABLE!

Following this great victory God sent word to Asa, saying:

2 Chronicles 15:2-7 (KJV … The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. 3 Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. 4 But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them. … 7 Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.

This reminds me of a text in …

Jeremiah 29:11-14 (KJV) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD …

Oh how God loves us! Oh how He wants the best for us. God is watching. Each time there is a killing at school I believe God weeps. I believe each time a mother kills her child through abortion God grieves. I believe God was incensed when that father and mother colluded together to beat their 5 year old son to death and bury him in an unmarked grave. I believe God hurts when He sees us rise up – black against white, white against black – knowing He made us all in His image and after His likeness. I believe God despises the hurtful things we do to one another.

We need to find God. We need to know God is watching.

God encouraged Asa. He told Asa to keep on doing the good that he knew to do. God tells us who are His:

Galatians 6:7-9 (KJV) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

When Asa heard these words he responded to them. He took courage and continued to cast down idolatry. He dealt even with family sin.

2 Chronicles 15:16-17 (KJV) … concerning Maachah the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron. 17 But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.

For 35 years Asa followed the Lord. But as he aged and as time passed his heart began to drift. He stopped being faithful to the Lord. He stopped reading His Word. He stopped doing the good he should do. He stopped praying. It is like those who have ceased attending the worship of the Church. There were some who were faithful members, then they skipped a Sunday. Then they skipped two. Now they languish at home on Sundays because it is too hard to “dress up” or to “comb their hair”. These are but excuses, though.

A preacher visited the home of a Christian who had ceased to assemble with his brothers on Sundays. The man made many excuses as to why he wasn’t active in the Church. Too many aches and pains. Not enough good clothes. So tired after working all week, he just needed that day off. As the member spoke the preacher quietly listened while the fire crackled in the fireplace. Finally the preacher stopped the excusing member and said “Watch this”. He took the fireplace poker and reached into the flame, and pulled a burning ember out onto the hearth. They quietly watched it as it glowed ever dimmer, then died. The preacher picked it up and held it in his hand. “While this was in the fire it was too hot for me to handle. I couldn’t put my hand on it. But it left the fire, and now is cold. So it is with the Christian. Together we draw close to our God, and He ignites a fire within us that Satan cannot touch. But when we walk away we grow cold.”

Asa drifted from God, then grew cold. He put his hope in humans, not in the Lord. That is why the Lord sent word to him:

2 Chronicles 16:9 (KJV) For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.

When we walk away from God we will have wars. We will have uncertainty. We will have kids killing kids. We all need to get our lives back to God. The Bible says:

1 Peter 3:12-13 (KJV) For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. 13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

If we follow the Lord and do the good as His Family no one can harm us. On fire for Him we will prevail. Let us live our lives in Jesus, for Jesus, and through Jesus. For the glory of God forever. Amen!

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Serve God Not Syncretism

1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

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When the Church was first formed the Devil attacked it with martyrdom. Christian after Christian was led to the Coliseum to die gruesome deaths. But a strange thing happened. As Christians met their deaths with bravery and faith the watching crowds began to believe in this Jesus Christ that they died for. The martyrdoms had the opposite effect – they drew people to Christ. So the devil went back to his old tactics, tactics he had used even in the Old Testament days of Israel.

He went back to SYNCRETISM.
What is SYNCRETISM?
It is the blending of different faiths.
The merging of different truths.

By around 300 AD the visible Church had become bound to the Roman Empire and Christianity was considered the state religion. Rather than exist to glorify God and magnify Christ the visible Church began to worship humans and pray to “saints”. The bones of dead people were cherished. The preachers dressed up in special garb and mimicked many of the Old Testament shadow rituals. God had a remnant that still worshiped Him, and many of those were martyred at the hands of the so called visible Church.

This was not the first time the devil used Syncretism.
He used it on Israel in the Old Testament.

Syncretism is subtle. It sneaks in. It begins by glorifying man rather than God. And it spreads like cancer throughout society. When God’s Church begins to absorb worldliness the nation itself becomes endangered.William Penn, the first great hero of American liberty, and founder of Pennsylvania, said “Men must be governed by God or ruled by tyrants”.

We must choose Who we will glorify, Who we will obey. Elijah called Israel to make a choice.

Proverbs 14:34 (KJV) Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

Righteousnessaloneexalts a nation, a people, a family, a person. When a person stands right with God though trials may come, in the end all things will be right. When a person stands wrong with God nothing they do will ever turn out right. The Ten Commandments are not the Ten Suggestions. God calls us to stand with Him if we expect to be empowered.

To Do Nothing Is To Compromise

When Elijah asked the people to make a choice I want you to notice their response:

And the people answered him not a word.

This is the problem of every age. People know right from wrong, but rather than speak up they say nothing. “I don’t want to get involved”.When Elijah was led of God to go and see the evil King Ahab he met Obadiah, the governor of Ahab’s house. Obadiah was like the Butler in Charge. And Obadiah was a righteous person. The Bible tells us that:

1 Kings 18:3-4 (KJV) … Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly: 4 For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.

That was a wonderful thing to do. Obadiah secretly served the Lord. But he did not do so openly. When Elijah comes to see Ahab he tells Obadiah“Go and tell Ahab I am here”.Obadiah’s responsewas:

1 Kings 18:12-14 (KJV) And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from thee, that the Spirit of the LORD shall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth. 13 Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of the LORD, how I hid an hundred men of the LORD’S prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water? 14 And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here: and he shall slay me.

Obadiah served the Lord – but only in his comfort zone. He was willing to sneak about and hide the prophets of God from death. But he was not willing to openly do anything to support Elijah or the Word of God. He allowed FEAR to drive him. We manufactured darkness in his mind.

What if I go and Elijah is not here when Ahab comes?
What if Ahab is in a bad mood?
What if – What if – What if!

We let doubts and fears stand between us and God and we lose the blessedness of life. The Bible says:

1 John 4:18-19 (KJV) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Faith – genuine faith – is to step outside of your comfort zone in your love for Christ. To trust God no matter what may come. Fear should not dictate our lives, but love of God.

Elijah refused to let Obadiah off the hook. Elijah told Obadiah …

1 Kings 18:15-16 (KJV) … As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely shew myself unto him to day. 16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him: and Ahab went to meet Elijah.

Elijah spoke up, and this made Obadiah look up.
If we would each look up and speak up, the courage of Christ
Would rub off on others as well.
Cowardice is
contagious, but so is Courage!

Was Elijah a superman among Christians?I hear people speak of Billy Graham as if he were a god among men. Don’t get me wrong – I loved Billy Graham. But Billy Graham was a man just like we are men. Billy Graham was a sinner – not a Protestant Pope as some have arrogantly tried to preach. Billy was a simple man who chose to serve the Lord without apology. God blessed his efforts, and used him as God will use any of us who live the same way. The Bible says of Elijah:

James 5:17-18 (KJV) {Elijah} was a man subject to like passions as we are, and HE PRAYED EARNESTLYthat it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

Elijah was serious about God. Though a man of like passions– with all the failures we all have – he trusted in an extraordinary God.

Elijah was a world changer because he chose to follow God and God alone. He didn’t have a divided heart!

James 1:6-8 (KJV)… ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways.

Elijah was not double minded – he was focused on God. It was this man who came before a fallen nation. The Bible says that Elijah came unto all the people and said ….

1 Kings 18:21 … How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. …

Each person is asked to make a choice. “If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him”.Do not ride the fence. Now is the time to take sides. Now, not tomorrow. There is no middle ground. The Lord Jesus demands all or nothing. Jesus Christ said:

Matthew 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

It Is Not Faith When It’s Comfortable

Faith is never comfortable.
Faith is not an armchair.
Faith is not a full bank account.
Faith is not good health.
How does the Bible define Faith?

Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) Now faith is the substance of things HOPED FOR, the evidence of things NOT SEEN.

The New American Standard Version translates this text as:

Now faith is the assurance of things HOPED for,
the conviction of THINGS NOT SEEN.

Faith is to look up and trust the God you know when you’re walking into the unknown. Faith is to believe the promises of God toward you though outwardly it looks as if God is no where to be seen. Faith trusts God. Faith believes Christ. Faith says, as tried and troubled Job said:

Job 13:15-16 (KJV) Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. 16 He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.

Oh how God despises the hypocrite! As Elijah went before Ahab he had no idea if he would live or die, but he did not fear Ahab. We read:

1 Kings 18:17-18 (KJV)… when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, [Art] thou he that troubleth Israel?18 And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.

Elijah did not mince words, but stood in the presence of Ahab armed with the Word of God. When Ahab tried to blame the nation’s woes on him Elijah said, “I’m not the one troubling this nation. It is you, for YOU are not following God’s Word. Not only this, YOU are following Baal, the false god of the Canaanites”.

Listen to me, Beloved. God not only wants you to get off the fence, but He demands you get out of your comfort zone and do what He said do.

The proof of faith is in the COMMITMENT not in the CREED.Jesus said “Follow ME”. We are to follow Him! “If the Lord be God, FOLLOW Him. If Baal, THEN FOLLOW him“.

Elijah told Ahab to gather Israel Israel on Mount Carmel. There was going to be a showdown.

1 Kings 18:19-20 (KJV) Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table. 20 So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.

There are 450 prophets of Baal there – but there are also 400 prophets of the groves. I’ve preached this text many times but have never noticed the “prophets of the groves”. These were the devotees of the female goddess Astarte. The 400 “prophets of the groves”are never challenged by Elijah, only the 450prophets of Baal. Some commentaries suggest that the prophets of the grove never came to the meeting, but I find it hard to believe that these people who ate at Jezebel’s tablewould refuse the command of the King. What I suspect is the “prophets of the groves”were much like the people themselves. They followed a religion of convenience and comfort. They were wishy washy in their faith, whatever it might have been. The prophets of Baal however were committed to what they believed, and were therefore worthy opponents of Elijah.

That’s just my opinion, and I may be wrong – but it seems right to my spirit.

Faith Is Not Afraid To Call On God

Elijah stood before the assembled people and showed us what faith is. He said:

1 Kings 18:23-24 (KJV)… give us two bulls; and let {the 450 priests of Baal}choose one bull for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bull, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: 24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

Elijah let the 450 priests of Baal go first. They killed their animal, and laid the pieces on the altar. They danced around that altar, singing and pleading to an idol that is nothing. An idol is but …

Psalms 115:4-7 (KJV)… the work of men’s hands. 5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: 6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: 7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.

An idol is a thing of the imagination and no god.
A lifeless lucky rabbit’s footthat was not even lucky when it was on the rabbit.

The Priests of Baal screamed and hollered and cut themselves with knives, slinging blood and doing no good at all. Why would their antics make any difference? An idol is nothing – a foolishness – an invention of man’s imagination. Elijah got into the game and began to cry out:

1 Kings 18:27 (KJV)… mock(ing)them, {saying}Cry aloud: for he [is] a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, [or] peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.

Elijah mocked them all day long until they were hoarse and exhausted, and lying all about the sacrifice. Idolatry and the worship of gods is the religion of fools. The Bible says that the unbeliever becomes

Romans 1:21-25 … vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. {22} Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, {23} And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. {24} Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: {25} Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

They change the truth of God into a lie, an idol, a thing of imagination. Elijah believed in God. The Bible tells us that:

1 Kings 18:30-35 (KJV)… Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD [that was] broken down. 31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: 32 And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid [him] on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour [it] on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. 34 And he said, Do [it] the second time. And they did [it] the second time. And he said, Do [it] the third time. And they did [it] the third time. 35 And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.

Elijah did three things beforehe ever went to God in prayer, and wants us to do the same things.

Elijah glorified God.The Scripture says that Elijah “repaired the altar of the LORD [that was] broken down”. Elijah did not make his own altar, but honored God by repairing His altar.

Elijah recognized God as the Nation’s Founder. It is He that made us and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. God founded Israel, so Elijah had the bull laid out on the altar and twelve barrels of waterpoured over it. Each barrel represented a tribe of Israel.

Elijah obeyed God’s Word. We read:

1 Kings 18:36(KJV)And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou [art] God in Israel, and [that] I [am] thy servant, and [that] I HAVE DONE ALL THESE THINGS AT THY WORD.

It was only AFTER Elijah glorified the Lord and obeyed His Word that we read:

1 Kings 18:38 THEN the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

We want God to actthough we do nothing. God says, “Act, and I will act. Obey, and I will bless. Do what I have saidand I will provide!”

Jesus Christ said:

Matthew 9:29 (KJV)… According to your faith be it unto you.

Only when we’re led by God will we lead the world. People in America today are open to genuine spirituality, and are open to the Great Commission of Christ. We need in America today committed men and women who will stand up for what they believe. We need people who – if saved – will live like they are saved. We need Christians who are not ashamed to stand with Christ and say with Him:

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

You cannot be saved sitting on the fence. Choose! Choose God and choose blessing. Choose Christ and receive salvation. Choose Baal and go to hell! The choice is yours!

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Serving Christ In Sardis

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Revelation 3:1-6 (KJV) And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. (2) Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. (3) Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. (4) Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (5) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (6) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

That which is alive … lives.
Those who are alive in Jesus live for Jesus.
It is not the crowd that defines the Church,
But he HEART of its members.
Where is YOUR heart?

Tonight we’ll be looking at Christ’s words to an end time Church called “Sardis”. The name “Sardis” literally means “Prince of Joy”. The Church in Sardis – in fact every Church – should have been a place of joy. Joy is the heritage of the Christ Follower. The Bible says that

Galatians 5:22-23 …. the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance ….

Romans 15:13 (ESV) May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Proverbs 10:28 (NIV) The prospect of the righteous is JOY, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.

A Church should be a joyful place filled with joyful people. But Sardis was not joyful. Sardis had a good reputation. But Sardis had stalled – they had a bad heart problem!

The Lord Sees The Heart

Revelation 3:1 … unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

This is highly symbolic, so bear with me. Jesus says that He has “the seven Spirits of God”. This is a reference to the sevenfold manifestation of the Spirit of God. The Prophet Isaiah foresaw the First Advent of Jesus Christ, and wrote of Him:

Isaiah 11:1-2 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;

The “Seven Spirits of God” that are on Christ – the Rod out of the Stem of Jesse – are:

Eternity (the Spirit of the LORD)
Wisdom
Understanding
Counsel
Power or Might
Knowledge
Fear of the Lord

When Jesus looks at His Church – His people – He is not fooled by outward appearances. The busy and bustling Church that looks successful to our eyes is not the same thing the Lord sees. The Bible says:

God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7)

He looks on the heart of every person, and knows the motivation behind everything that we do.

A Church was having a picnic, and invited the community to come. Someone brought a bushel of fresh picked apples. On the basket was a note:

Take only one apple please – God is watching”

On the other end of the table was a plate of cookie. A child put a hand written note on the plate:

Take all the cookies you want – God is watching the apples”

This is what children think, and we often think. We forget that God is watching us. But He is not just watching what we do, but He is watching our HEARTS. Jesus said of the Pharisees:

Matthew 6:2-5 (KJV) Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. 5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

We are to do what we do for God, because we love Him. We are to serve Him from the heart.

The rest of the world is just existing. The Christian is to LIVE! God has given us life so we can live. He has given us light so that we can SHINE for Him.

Sardis worked … but not for God.
Judas Iscariot was busy, walking with Christ
and the other Disciples.
But His heart was not directed toward glorifying God.
His works were for HIMSELF, not for others.
Sardis had the NAME that they were a great Church, but the Master knew.
Jesus always knows.

Sardis Was Dead Because It Lived For The Wrong Audience

Revelation 3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works PERFECT BEFORE GOD.

Circle the word “PERFECT” in your text. This is the Greek πληρόω PLEROO (play-roh’-o), which means “Complete, Finished”. There are two words for “perfect” in the Bible. There is PLEROO and teleios. Jesus used a form of TELEIOS (TELEO) when He said on the Cross:

It is FINISHED”

He used TELEIOS when He said to His disciples that we are to love our enemies, and do good to them that despitefully use us (Matthew 5:44-47). Jesus said that love even to our enemies is the mark of PERFECTION – the goal that God would have us follow. When Jesus commanded us to ….

Matthew 5:48 (KJV)  Be ye therefore PERFECT, even as your Father which is in heaven is PERFECT.

we are commanded to love as He loved, to do as He did, even on that horrible Cross of Calvary. As He spoke through bruised and bloodied lips, as blood flowed from His side and head, blinding Him, Jesus did not stop. When He said:

It is FINISHED”

He showed us what the goal of the Christian life is. It is to love even the unlovable. And when Jesus said to Sardis …

I have not found your works PERFECT before God”

He was also speaking of love. Not love MANWARD, but love GODWARD.

Teleios is love toward GOD
Pleroo is love toward MAN

Sardis’ works were not being done for the right reason. They were running a race as are all Christians, but they were running for the wrong audience.

 I remember watching a 440 relay race one time. The man who was winning the race was well out in front of his opponents. There was no doubt in my mind that he was going to win the race that day. Then the crowd started cheering him on, and as he focused on their cheering he stopped running the race for the judges and the finish line and started running for the cheers. When he did this his closest opponent came up behind him and, as he was distracted, the opponent won the race. He was so close to winning, but stopped running the race for the right audience.

The Church at Sardis started well, but in time stopped running for Christ and for the glory of God and began to run for the watching world. There are many great believers who have done the same thing.

Moses – a great man of God – let anger take him.
Instead of obeying the Lord, he struck the Rock and took to himself
The glory that belongs only to God.
He brought and early death and lost the Promised Land because he forgot God.

King David stopped serving God and served himself to Bathsheba.
He brought the sword on his house because of it.

We as Christians are called to “Be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect” by loving our enemies as well as our friends. But we must love God first and foremost. We are to live for Him, in Him, and through Him. The Apostle says in another place:

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

You are running a race for God. You were left on this earth to shine for Him, so that others might see Christ in us. Run! Run the race and keep on running. Keep running, though the race seems hard. Run though it may seem as if the Devil and Darkness might be winning. Run and keep on running. The Scripture tells us:

Hebrews 12:1-3 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

All eyes on Jesus.
Run, and keep running.
Never give up.
Never quit.
All glory to God in the highest!

People are watching. God is watching. The angels are watching. There are so many Churches and so many Christians today that look good on the outside, but they are dead for they are not running the race for Jesus. I’ve seen a lot of STARTERS in my ministry as a Pastor, but many are not FINISHERS. Sadly this is true even of those in full time ministry. Do you know that only 1 in 10 Pastors run the race until the day Jesus calls them home? Trained and ordained, they quit too soon. If you have life keep on running, keep on going, keep on doing for Jesus. There will come a day when your body can lay down and quit, and that is the day that you are DEAD INDEED and put in a casket. Run until Jesus calls you home!

Jesus Christ kept running His Race even though their pinned His Hands and Feet to the Cross. He kept running His Race though they jammed vinegar in His mouth to quench His thirst. He kept running His Race though they mocked and spit on Him. Why? Why? IT WAS FOR THE JOY THAT WAS SET BEFORE HIM! God wins. Grace saves. The Family is born. Jesus walks out of that Tomb, and so do we who are His!

Finish what you start. YOUR FAITH IS YOUR FAITH. Live it! God is watching how we do. We must never be Sardis. There will be a harvest if we continue to follow Him in the race.

John Egglen had never preached a sermon in his life. Never! A member of a small Church in Colchester, England, it never occurred to this poor man to preach. He loved the Lord, loved His Church, and ever Sunday walked six miles to Church because this was what God called him to do. One Sunday morning he woke up and there was several feet of snow on the ground. At first John thought about staying home – after all, they would probably cancel Church anyway. But he reconsidered. As a Deacon in the Church he had a responsibility to be a good example. So John dressed warm and walked the six miles to Church. When he got to Church there was only thirteen people there counting him. Even the Pastor stayed home that day. Twelve members, and a thirteen year old boy who was a visitor was all that was there. Someone said, “Why don’t we just go home?” John was the only Deacon there. He saw the visitor, and thought “I’ve just got to share the Gospel!” So he stood up read from …

Isaiah 45:21-22 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

John didn’t know how to preach, and so what he said lasted only about ten minutes. But as he spoke and spread the wings of his faith the Holy Spirit became the wind beneath his wings. He lifted his eyes and looked at the thirteen year old boy, challenging him. “Young man, look unto Jesus. Look! Look! Look at Him and Him alone”. That young man would be saved through this preaching, and would later preach what this man preached to him in one of his own sermons:

It was about twenty-six years ago,—twenty-six years exactly last Thursday,—that I looked unto the Lord, and found salvation, through this text. You have often heard me tell how I had been wandering about, seeking rest, and finding none, till a plain, unlettered, lay preacher … stood up in the pulpit, and gave out this passage as his text: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” … I remember how he said, “It is Christ that speaks. ‘I am in the garden in an agony, pouring out my soul unto death; I am on the tree, dying for sinners; look unto me! Look unto me!’ That is all you have to do. A child can look. One who is almost an idiot can look. However weak, or however poor, a man may be, he can look; and if he looks, the promise is that he shall live.” Then, stopping, he pointed to where I was sitting under the gallery, and he said, “That young man there looks very miserable.” I expect I did, for that is how I felt. Then he said, “There is no hope for you, young man, or any chance of getting rid of your sin, but by looking to Jesus;” and he shouted …. “Look! Look, young man! Look now!” And I did look; and when they sang a hallelujah before they went home, in their own earnest way, I am sure I joined in it. It happened to be a day when the snow was lying deep and more was falling; so, as I went home, those words of David kept ringing through my heart, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow;” and it seemed as if all nature was in accord with that blessed deliverance from sin which I had found in a single moment by looking to Jesus Christ.”

The young man that was saved was C.H. Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers. Because John was faithful to the finish THOUSANDS were saved. God will not bless that which is started – however fervently – but not finished. We serve a Risen Savior, and we are called to serve Him until the day He calls us home. Jesus said to Sardis – and to every Christian:

Revelation 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

What God gives us – what we have received and heard – we are to hold fast, to keep on doing. We are not called to be half hearted but whole hearted in serving our Lord. Jesus said “I will come on thee as a Thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee”.

Jesus used the “thief in the night” metaphor throughout the Scripture to refer to Judgment Day. We read:

1 Thessalonians 5:2-5 (KJV) For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

Do what you’re supposed to do while you have life, for we do not know when the Lord will come and take us home.

2 Peter 3:10-12 (KJV) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

We as well as Sardis are to live every day as if it were a gift from God (and it is), never knowing when our last day will be. Live for Him today and every day. Jesus says, “Tomorrow might not come. The finish line can be any day, any moment, any second.” Jesus can call us home anytime. Run the race until the Master says “Well done, My Child …welcome home!”

It Is The Overcomers Who Will See The Prize

Revelation 3:4-5 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (5) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Those who are genuinely saved are in the Family of God. Those who are saved keep on living for God. Jesus says “there are a few in Sardis who have not soiled their garments – they shall walk with Me in white”. A saved person may sin, but a saved person does not live in sin. A saved person who sins is convicted of sin by the Spirit that indwells them, and that saved person confesses their sin to God:

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

The Lord says to His people “he that overcometh shall be clothed in white raiment, and I WILL NOT BLOT OUT HIS NAME FROM THE BOOK OF LIFE”. Those who run the race for Jesus – loving Him – will overcome. They will keep on keeping on. Those who do not may not be saved.

Finish well.

The first Missionary from America overseas was a young man named Adoniram Judson. He was a brilliant young man. The son of a Pastor, he learned to read in one week at his mother’s knee when he was only three years old. He entered college when he was only 16 years old, and graduated at the top of his class just three years later. Judson’s parents thought that he was a Christian, and he knew the words and the ways. But he just never gave his heart to Christ. When he was in college he met a man named Jacob Eames, and fully turned from God. Judson said that he lived “a reckless, vagabond life, finding lodgings when he could, and bilking the landlord where he found opportunity”. Eames went his way and Judson his, with neither living for the Lord.

One night Judson took a room in a small village inn. The innkeeper told him “I apologize, but in the next room there’s a man critically ill. He may keep you awake tonight, but I have no other rooms.” All night long Judson heard people coming and going, and the horrible moans and cries of the man in the room next door. Judson began to think about his own life and how it might be if he ended in such a state. Early in the morning the moans ceased. When Judson got ready to leave he asked the innkeeper, “Is that man better? The moans stopped during the night.” The innkeeper said “He is dead”. Judson asked, “Do you know who he was?” The innkeeper replied, “Oh yes. He was a young man from the college in Providence. His name was EAMES, JACOB EAMES.”

The man that led Judson from Christ died a terrible death. It wasn’t long after that that Adoniram Judson gave his life to Christ. He met and married Ann Hasseltine, and he and his wife ended up as missionaries to Burma. They both ran their race in Burma, dying for the Lord in that country, leading many to Christ.

As Pastor John Piper said, “God does not call us to ease, but to faithful joy”. Run the race. Never give up. Trust the Lord, for He runs with us. Finish what you start for HIM.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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Take Hold Of God’s Covenant

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Isaiah 56:3-8 (KJV) Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. 4 For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; 5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. 6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; 7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. 8 The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.

Goal of this sermon: To Share the Covenant of Grace so Others will follow Jesus.

Twice God tells His people that He is looking for those who will:

Take Hold Of My Covenant

God speaks …

To The Broken: Take Hold Of My Covenant

In verse 4 the Lord speaks to the eunuchs, to those who were broken by life, unable to bring forth children because of mutilation or disease. Most people are broken in one way or another. God says to those poor souls:

vvs 3 …. neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree

Do not think that you are not good enough, not wanted, not desired. God wants you who are broken. He calls out to you, blessed Child, saying …

vvs 4 … keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me,
and take hold of my covenant

In Israel the Priest – the one who had access to God – could not be mutilated nor disfigured. The Lord told Israel:

Leviticus 21:18-21 (KJV) For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach {Me as Priest}: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, 19 Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, 20 Or crookbacked, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; 21 No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.

The priest was to be without defect. I myself could not be a priest under the Old Covenant of works. My eyesight is bad, as was the Apostle Paul’s (though I am in no way close to where Paul was in faith). I am broken footed. The eunuch had his stones broken and could not be a priest. But God had a reason as to why the priest was to be physically unblemished, and that reason is

the Old Testament Priest was a picture of the New Testament Christ

The Christ Who has access to God is God Himself, the Son of God, perfect and without sin. He makes intercession for us because He is without sin.

Hebrews 4:14-15 (KJV) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus never sinned. He is the sinless and without blemish Lamb of God Who taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29). So the Old Testament priest was without blemish. That was a picture of Christ.

But the Priest’s lack of blemish did not mean that God did not call to those who were broken. The Pharisees misinterpreted the Old Covenant that way, but God wants all to come to Him. We see this in Christ.

Right after Jesus called Matthew to follow Him He went home with Matthew. We read:

Mark 2:15-17 (KJV) And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in {Matthew’s} house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

God has never rejected the broken. He called Israel to salvation when she was broken, enslaved in Egypt. God calls the broken to Him. He calls the eunuch to His side, to His covenant of Grace. God calls the sinner to repentance. He says:

keep my sabbaths
Rest in Me!

Rest in God. Rest in Christ. The sabbaths of Israel were many. They not only had 52 weekly sabbaths or days of rest, but:

The Passover Sabbath
The Shavout, or Pentecost Sabbath
The Sabbath of Trumpets
The Sabbath of Atonement
The Sabbath of Tabernacles
and The sabbath of the 8th Day of Assembly
All in all Israel had 70 Sabbaths each year.
A Sabbath is a rest when you focus on God.

These Sabbath or Holy Convocations were times when God’s people rested and reflected in their Covenant Relationship with God. They ceased to labor, and LISTENED to God. I was reading an article the other day that said our problem (mine and yours) is that too often we talk TO God but do not rest IN God. We do not listen. God wants you to listen to Him, to reflect on Him, to follow Him.

Listen to me, all who are broken. God loves you. He cries out to you keep My sabbaths. Rest in Me. Bring your burdens to Me. Trust Me. Jesus says to the broken:

Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV) Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Oh, take hold of the Covenant of Grace. If you are broken, a eunuch in life, come to Him. Receive Him. Trust Him.

II find it interesting that one of the first Evangelists in the Church was Phillip. Phillip was in prayer one day and the Holy Spirit told him “Go into the desert on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza”. Phillip obeyed, and in that very area found a high ranking Ethiopian Eunuch who was reading Isaiah 53:7-8:

Isaiah 53:7-8 (KJV) 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.

Phillip asked “Do you understand what you are reading?” The eunuch – a well off but broken man – said “Will you explain it?” And Phillip began to tell the eunuch about Jesus, how Christ came to be the Lamb of God, how He stood in our placed on Calvary, then rose from the grave after three days and nights. As the eunuch heard these words his heart began to sing. He had been broken by life, emasculated, left without hope.

Christ came for the hopeless,
the broken,
the lonely,
the depressed,
the sinner trapped in iniquity.

Jesus came for them, for us, for us all. For we are all broken in one way or the other. The eunuch reached out, and grabbed the Covenant of Grace. He rested in Christ. God cries out to the broken:

keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me…

Choose the things that please ME. As they rode alone – Phillip and that eunuch – he saw WATER enough to be baptized in. “Here is water – why can’t I be baptized now?” The preacher didn’t have to beg him to be baptized. Jesus commanded baptism. Baptism pleases the Father. Jesus said:

Matthew 28:19 (KJV) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

He didn’t say “Drag them to the water and make them be baptized”. No. If you are broken the Covenant of Grace commands that you come follow Him. If Christ commands baptism, you are baptized. We rest our souls in Him. We are obedient to Him. Jesus said:

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15)

Baptism is a commandment – perhaps the easiest that He has given us. He has also commanded that we:

Love one another.
Love our neighbor.
Forgive, and love our enemy.
Love God above all else.
Follow Him in love.

There are many more commands that our Lord has given us. If you love Him you will obey Him. “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word” (John 14:23). Obedience is not optional. The eunuch understood this, and sought baptism. Phillip told the eunuch:

If you believe with all your heart you may be baptized.” To which he replied:

I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37)

To take hold of His Covenant is to come to Him as Savior and Lord.
To be Christ’s disciple.
To be all in with God!

The Lord promises to the broken who take hold of His covenant:

Isaiah 56:4-5 (KJV) For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; 5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

God offers to the broken everlasting life. Though the broken may not be able to bear children God says “If you come to Me I will give you a better place and a better name, and everlasting name. This name will never be cut off … it will live on forever.” Those who come to God by Christ are give the power to become Sons of God:

John 1:12-13 (KJV) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

As a Son of God you have eternity before you, eternal life within you, and Almighty God as your Father. Heaven is your destination, and victory your promise.

God also speaks to the “stranger”.

Israel was to reach out to the “stranger”, the one who was NOT an Israelite. Sadly Israel failed to do so. When Christ told His disciples to go into “Jerusakem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world” the early Church stayed in Jerusalem until God raised up Saul to run them out of there. God changed Saul to Paul to reach the stranger. Oh that God would raise up those to reach out to the “strangers” today, for sadly, many Churches are social clubs that just reach out to their own families. This is not what God wants of us. We are to reach out to the STRANGER, the odd ones, the people we do not know. That is how the Church grows!

To The Stranger, Take Hold Of His Covenant

Isaiah 56:3, 6 (KJV) Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people … 6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;

In the Old Testament Israel had ceased to offer the Gospel of Grace to the Gentile. To those who were of Israel, the Children of Abraham, they invited to the Temple, to the Synagogs, to the sacrifices. But the Gentiles were excluded from the Covenant. They were considered “Strangers” or “Sons of Strangers”. Yet God never wanted this to be. Christ was to be:

Luke 2:32 (KJV) A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Christ came to bring light to both Gentile and Jew. Yet when Christ came Israel as a nation rejected Him. Though many Jews came to Him and followed Him, the nation itself rejected Him. Some of the saddest words in Scripture are:

John 1:11 (KJV) He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Jesus came for all. He brought the Covenant of Grace for all. Not just for the Jew, but for the Gentile. Jesus reaches out to people we know, and people we do not know. Jesus reaches out to all.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (KJV) For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that {Jesus} died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

God is not pleased when we make Christ about ourselves and not about God’s Covenant. Jesus came bringing His Covenant to Israel FIRST, but then He turned to us who were strangers, the Gentiles. Our culture is very different from the Jewish culture, yet God loves us as He loves them. The stranger should not say ,,,

The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people

For that’s not true. God wants the stranger. He wants more than “we four and no more”. He wants everyone who will come to Him to come to Him, for Christ gave Himself for all. The Apostle wrote:

Romans 10:16-21 (KJV)16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For {Isaiah} saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. 20 But {Isaiah} is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. 21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

Sadly, Israel – the oreiginal possessors of the Gospel – did not follow the Lord when He came. So the Lord reached out to the stranger, offering salvation to all who would follow Him. God reaches out to you today. God asks that you …

love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant

Love God. Fall in love with Him Who loves you aqnd wants the best for you.
Serve God. Live for Him Who loves you and gave Himself for you.
Rest in Christ. He has paid your admission into the Family. Receive Him.
Take hold of His Covenant.
Become one of the whosoever will.

When you take hold of His Covenant God has promised:

Isaiah 56:7 (KJV) Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

May God lead you to Christ’s side this very day! He loves you. He wants to bring you JOY. He wants you in relationship with Him. He came for all people.

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Finally, Farewell

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2 Corinthians 13:5, 11-12 (KJV) [5]   Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? … [11] Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.  [12]  Greet one another with an holy kiss. 

Many years ago I read an article – I forget who wrote it – that stated there are five different types of Christians. I found that interesting because I thought there was only ONE type of Christian. Anyway, the article said that the five types were:

Active
Professing
Liturgical
Private
Cultural

The “Active” Christian is self explanatory. This is the believer who ACTS like a believer, following Jesus daily in prayer and application of the Scripture. The other four “types” do not have a daily faith.

The “Professing” claims to be a Christian but lives like the rest of the world. The “Liturgical” ties their Christian faith to some Church and some ritual. They may go to Mass frequently or count beads but believe their affiliation with a Church – whatever type it may be – is what saves them. The “Private” claims to love Jesus but rejects the Scripture and its teachings as man made. The “Cultural” claims to be a Christian because they do not want to be a Muslim, Buddhist, or some other faith. Of all the “religions” they like the one called “Christian” the best.

When I read that article I said then to my congregation “This will not last”. It didn’t. Those who are not Active Christians dissolved over time and have become today those who are called “Nones”. The false Christian does not endure. The Bible tells us:

2 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV)  Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Are you in “THE Faith”?

How do we know that we are in “THE Faith”, the genuine faith, the Christ authored blood bought Spirit empowered never to depart faith?

We walk with Jesus. We love our Jesus. We do His Word.

What did Christ repeatedly tell the Churches in Revelation?

Revelation 2:7 … To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Revelation 2:11 … He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

Revelation 2:17 … To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Revelation 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

What did Christ tell us through the Apostle?

1 John 5:4-5 (KJV)  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  [5]  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

I am not speaking of a works based salvation, and neither is God.
The Christian who is the Christian indeed IS ACTIVE.
God has come to that person.
The Holy Spirit indwells that person.
That person sees and wants to do the will of Him Who saved us.

A little boy was visiting his grandma one day when he said, “Grandma, do you know how you and God are the same?” The grandmother beamed, internally polishing her halo. “No, how are we the same?” The little boy said “You’re both old”!

We should be more than “old” in our likeness to God.
We are to be a living people following a living Christ.

The Christian who is a Christian indeed is indwelt of Christ, endued of Christ, and cannot help but follow Christ. Do we get off course? Of course! I do not pun. We are all born of Adam, and have within us a sin nature that draws toward the wrong. Yet God will not allow us to wander off too far. As David said:

Psalms 37:24 (KJV)  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

We who have received Him as Lord and Savior are firmly in His hand. Jesus has said:

John 10:27-30 (KJV)  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  [28]  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  [29]  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.  [30]  I and my Father are one.

Those who claim to be Christian who are Christian will live in the reality of their faith.

The hand of Christ embraces us.
The hand of Christ is wrapped around us.
The territory we occupy is His hand.
When we seek to squeeze out of His hand He grabs us, draws us back.
We are His and He is ours.

I have no choice but to serve Christ, and neither do you.
I need no beads to count, nor Pope to serve.
I serve a risen Savior, and so do you.
It is a privilege to serve, and a duty I must do.
For I love Him, and He loves me.

Know ye not your own selves, how that JESUS CHRIST IS IN YOU,
except ye be REPROBATES?

There are only two states that you can be in. The ACTIVE state – “Jesus Christ is IN YOU” or the DEAD state – “Ye be REPROBATES”. What is a “Reprobate”? This is the Greek ἀδόκιμος ADOKIMOS which literally means “not standing the test, not approved, unfit, worthless or a failure, that which is cast away as counterfeit”. If “Jesus Christ is in you” – you are born again and indwelt of His Spirit – then you are genuine. You are not false gold.

How Do Children Of God Act?

The $20 has value because of who backs it, and because of who made it. It is backed by the U.S. Government because it is made by the U.S. Government. So it is with the Christian. We are backed by Christ because we are made by Christ. He is in us, through us, around us. Thus we will be driven to behave as His people.

2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect,

WHOA Preacher. There’s no way I can be PERFECT. You can only understand this word in the context of Scripture. Jesus said …

Matthew 5:48 (KJV)  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

What is “perfection” to God? Is it sinlessness? No. Jesus tells us what “perfection” is. He said:

Matthew 5:43-48 (KJV)  Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.  [44]  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  [45]  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  [46]  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?  [47]  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?  [48]  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

A young couple invited their pastor for Sunday dinner. While they were in the kitchen preparing the meal, the minister asked their son what they were having. Old Goat” the little boy replied. Old Goat?” replied the Pastor, “Are you sure about that?” The child said “I heard Daddy say to Momma, ‘We might as well have the old goat for dinner today as any other day’.”

The mark of perfection is to LOVE, to love everyone just as our Father loves everyone. Love is not so much an emotion as it is a DOING. The Father does not love sin, yet allows the good sun and rain to fall on even those who despise Him. One day God will judge and punish the wicked. But daily He shows love to them by giving them life though they have done nothing to deserve life. He gives them bodies to use for good or evil, and often prospers the wicked by His kindness. We love because – as Children of God – we have been loved.

Colossians 3:12-14 (NKJV) Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

Love is the bond or mark of perfection. Love. Love controls the actions, guides the tongue. As the Apostle closes his letter to us and the Corinthians he writes

Finally, brethren …. BE perfect

BE love.
Let love BE in your hands and feet, in your tongues.
If tongues were knives some “Christians” would slash their own throats.
Don’t BE that way.
BE Love.
BE like your Heavenly Father.

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.

Walk in love. Walk sacrificially. Take up your Cross and follow Him. The Cross is hard love. But this is our pattern of perfection. Love as Christ loves.

2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort

“Be of Good Comfort” is παρακαλέω PARAKALEŌ which means “to call alongside”. Call one another alongside. Lift up one another. Call one another to the Christ, our Great Shepherd.

Quit asking me “Who was that masked man who attended service … sitting just in front of me this Sunday?” I want to reply “He was the Lone Stranger and his sidekick Tonto”. REACH OUT to those around you. Call them alongside you and us. Love them. Find out their names. They may become your relative in Christ.

Quit asking me “Whatever happened to ____”? Pick up the phone. Call them. Love them. Call them alongside you and us.

We each are to encourage one another to walk together with Christ, to do the things He wants us to do. It is not the responsibility of the pastor to call and beg people to Church. It is, however, each of our responsibilities to call out to the other sheep and encourage them to obedience in following Christ. It takes a Church to make a Church. If God puts someone on your heart call them, visit them, encourage them. Call them alongside of us, the flock of Christ. Relationships matter. The Pastor cannot be the only one reaching out … it takes the whole Church.

2 Corinthians 13:11 … Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind,

The Bible says:

Let this MIND be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus … (Philippians 2:5)

and

We have the MIND of Christ … (1 Corinthians 2:16)

The MIND that should be in every Christian is the MIND of CHRIST. That is the ONE MIND we must have. How did Christ MIND? Though Eternal God the Son He lowered Himself for us. He became a servant so that we could be saved. This is the MIND we must have. Jesus did not do what He did for acclamation, fame, or fortune. He did not seek to enrich Himself. He sought to enrich US. This is the MIND we are to have. Not selfish, but selfless. The MIND of CHRIST.

2 Corinthians 13:11 … Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace;

Some people are always wandering around looking for trouble. Do me a favor. I don’t think it’s you, but if it is, GO FIND SOMEWHERE ELSE TO BE. I’d rather pay the electric bill of this Church out of my own pocket than be around a troublemaker. The Bible says:

Romans 16:17 (ESV) “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.”

Proverbs 6:16-19 (ESV) There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

When we live in peace then God responds. We read:

2 Corinthians 13:11(KJV) … live in peace;
and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

God comes where love and peace are. Let us love one another, and let it be shown in how we live out our lives.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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