The Lost Sheep

Lost_SheepLuke 15:1-7 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. [2] And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. [3] And he spake this parable unto them, saying, [4] What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? [5] And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. [6] And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. [7] I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

In verse 1 we see that two kinds of people came to hear Jesus. They are called publicans and sinners. Those who were “Publicans” were people who worked with the public. These were people who were tax collectors for the Romans. The Jewish people didn’t like these Tax Collectors because Rome had conquered Israel, and the Jewish people didn’t feel that they ought to pay these Romans for anything. They hated the Tax Collectors! But alongside of the Tax Collectors are another group of people called merely “Sinners”. Now the Bible says that we are all sinners. The Scripture tells us that:

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

Romans 5:12 …. death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

We are all sinners who need the Savior. These Tax Collectors and “Sinners” drew near to Jesus so they could hear Him. Jesus loves everyone, and wants to save everyone. But you must come near to Him, to hear Him, to listen to what He has to say. Jesus said a lot of wonderful things. Jesus said that if you would draw near to Him and hear Him, and do what He said that your life would be blessed. Jesus said:

Luke 11:28 (NIV) … “Blessed … are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Matthew 7:24 (NLT) “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.

The Tax Collectors and the “Sinners” drew near to Jesus to hear what He had to say. But standing not far away was two other groups of people. These people were sinners just like everyone else are sinners, but they didn’t think they were sinners. These two groups of people are called Pharisees and scribesin verse number 2. Who are these people?

The Pharisees were those who thought that the things they did made them right with God. They were religious people, but they did not like Jesus nor even feel that they needed Jesus. Pharisees are people who think that they are right with God because:

  • They give money to charities. There are a lot of rich people in the world who are called Philanthropists, and they think that God is please with them because they give a lot of money to charities.

    If you are giving money because you are doing it for Jesus this is a good thing. If you’re giving money to make God love you this is not a good thing. You can’t buy God!

  • They have certain rituals they follow. They do certain things at certain times in certain ways because they think this will earn them points with God. God isn’t impressed with the rituals you do.

    God wants a RELATIONSHIP with you. God wants you to HEAR AND DO what He says because He loves you.

  • They dress a certain way. I have known people who preached in flowing robes, but do not know Jesus. Jesus wants you to live your life hearing and loving Him.

The Bible tells us that there were also people named “Scribes”. These were people who knew the Bible because they wrote it’s words down over and over again. They knew the Bible, but didn’t know the Lord Who wrote the Bible.

It’s good to know what the Bible says, but you need to understand WHO wrote the Bible. The God Who loves you wrote the Bible. These Scribes and Pharisees did not know God, nor did they want to know God. The Bible says that Jesus is the Son of God. Several times in the Bible God the Father said:

This Is My Beloved Son .. Hear Him!
(Matthew 17:5; Mark 1:11)

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. God the Father sent Jesus to this earth so that sinners like us could be made whole. God does not want us wandering and wallowing in sin. God wants us with Him, loving Him as He loves us. He wants us in Christ loving one another. The Bible tells us that (say this with me if you know it):

John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [17] For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

God wants us to have LIFE. He wants us to have a GREAT LIFE. He wants us to have a LOVING LIFE. God wants us to have ETERNAL LIFE. He doesn’t want us to just exist. He wants us to LIVE being blessed by Him.

Luke 15:1-2 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to HEAR him. [2] And the Pharisees and scribes MURMURED

The Sinners and the Tax Collectors drew near to Jesus to hear Him. But what did the Scribes and Pharisees do? The Bible says they murmured. They complained. Why did they complain? Jesus was right there. They could hear Jesus just as the Tax Collectors and sinners did. But they complained because Jesus was talking to the Tax Collectors and sinners. They were saying:

Luke 15:2 …. This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them

That word “receiveth” is the Greek PROSDEKOMAI (prosdecomai pronounced pros-dekh’-om-ahee), which means “to embrace, to bring into a place of intimacy or hospitality, to accept as an equal”.

These so called religious people were offended because Jesus was reaching out to Tax Collectors and “sinners”. The Pharisees and Scribes hated that. They thought that they were perfect before God because of the so called good things they did. Yet if they were right with God they would have listened to Jesus. If they were right with God they would have drawn near to Jesus.

God the Father sent Jesus to this world for every person, and Jesus calls out to every person. The Bible says:

2 Corinthians 5:15 {Jesus} DIED FOR ALL, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Jesus came for all people. He said (John 10:10) “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus Christ came to this earth to bring as many as He could into God’s Kingdom. Jesus came looking for sheep. Jesus is the Great Shepherd.

These Scribes and Pharisees start heckling Jesus about the people who were coming to Him. So Jesus told them a story. I love the way that Jesus told stories, because it makes what He says so much easier to understand. Jesus said:

Luke 15:3 {Jesus} spake this parable {a story} unto them, saying, [4] What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? [5] And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. [6] And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

Jesus said “If you had 99 sheep but one got away, wouldn’t you go find it?” When Jesus came to this earth He didn’t just come to the rich, to the privileged, to the well off. He didn’t just come to the well dressed Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes. We are told in

1 John 2:2 (ESV) {Jesus} is the propitiation {the satisfactory payment} for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Jesus is the Great Shepherd Who came looking for whosoever will. He is the Shepherd Who looked for the one that was lost. Jesus came seeking those who would admit they needed a Shepherd, someone who would admit that they were sinners in need of a Savior. He came offering, and those who drew near to hear Him would be embraced.

I want you to notice a few things about this story Jesus told.

  • The Shepherd Knew Exactly How Many Sheep He Was Supposed To Have. He looked at His flock, and saw that one was missing.
  • The Shepherd Went Looking For SHEEP, For Those Who Would Follow Him. He did not go out looking for dogs, or cats, or bats, or rats. He didn’t go looking for wolves. He went looking for those who would be SHEEP.
  • The Shepherd Went Looking For A LOST SHEEP. He left 99 Sheep in the pasture and went to get that Sheep that had wandered away. The 99 were precious to the Great Shepherd, but the lost Sheep was precious as well.
  • The Shepherd Went Looking For That Sheep Because The Shepherd Owned The Sheep. If you have been saved by believing on Jesus, by receiving Him as Lord and Savior, you belong to Him just as I belong to Him. The Bible says:

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

    Psalm 100:3 (ESV) Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

  • When You Belong To Jesus, He Looks After You. This Sheep that the Shepherd looked for was LOST. It was not lost because of what the 99 other sheep did. It is not lost because The Great Shepherd lost it. That Sheep is lost because it wandered away from the Great Shepherd. It went out on its own. That Sheep thought that it knew what was best for itself. “You know, this is pretty good pasture – but I think some grass I saw over yonder was much prettier and would be better for me.”

The Lost Sheep left the PROSPERITY of Christ’s Pasture and the PROTECTION of the Good Shepherd. The Shepherd found the Sheep when it cried out to be saved. God hears your cries. God hears your calling, and will come to you if you call out to Him.

  • When He Hath Found It, He Layeth It On His Shoulders, Rejoicing. When the Good Shepherd found the Sheep the Sheep rested in His arms. Jesus did not bring the Sheep back to the flock kicking and screaming. The Sheep rested in the Master’s arms. Jesus said:

    Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV) Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

    Jesus loves to pick up the weary Lamb, the broken Sheep. He rejoices over one sinner who comes home. The Scribes and Pharisees were so busy finding fault and murmuring that they could not be blessed. But the Tax Collectors and so called “Sinners” drew near to Jesus to hear Him. And they loved what they heard!

Luke 15:6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

The Shepherd finding the Lost Sheep carries the Sheep all the way home. When He gets home He celebrates with His friends and neighbors saying:

Rejoice with Me. I have found MY SHEEP which was lost.

Do you know that there is a party in Heaven every time someone comes and receives the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. That’s what Jesus said. He said:

Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Everyone needs to come to Jesus, to hear Him, to receive Him as the Good Shepherd. Jesus lay His life down for the Sheep. Jesus said He was the Good Shepherd, and He said that His flock would be whoever came to Him. He said:

John 10:14-16 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. [15] As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. [16] And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Those who belong to Jesus follow Him as the Good Shepherd. He laid His life down for us. And we who are His hear His Voice, and are united as One People following One Shepherd.

Yeashaxta_140813rs ago men were working a coal mine when the roof caved in, trapping about two dozen men. Tons of dirt filled the exit, and there was no way that they could dig it out. They were certain they were going to die. Then one old miner remembered that the shaft they were in connected with an older, little used shaft. He suggested that then men find their way out that way. They went to the shaft and started in. As they traveled the shaft got lower and lower. Finally they all had to get on their hands and knees. They kept going. Finally the old miner in the lead yelled out “I see the light!”. That made everyone move faster. They drew near to the light, and came out of a bad, lost place, and back into the world of the living.

There are times when my life seems dark. When it looks darkest, I look up for my Jesus, My Great Shepherd. I am His Child, His Little One, His Sheep. I found Him not by giving up to the darkness, not by laying down, but by getting on my hands and knees and calling out for Him. He brought His light to me – and will bring His light to you – if you’ll only call on Him. Remember that the Pharisees murmured,

This Man receiveth sinners and eats with them.

Jesus Christ will not turn you away. Ever! He calls out to whosoever will. Let Him pick you up and bring you into His flock today! All of Heaven will cheer when you come to Him!

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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God’s Word My Lamp

NunPsalm 119
has the distinction of being the longest chapter in all of the Bible. Composed of 176 verses it is larger in size than 14 Old Testament Books and 17 New Testament Books. It’s 176 verses are broken up into 22 stanzas, one stanza for every letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. The Fourteenth Stanza begins with the Hebrew letter NUN (pronounced “noon”), which looks like what you see on the left. Nun looks kind of like a burning candle. Psalm 105 emphasizes the light of the believer. Let’s read together:

Read Together Psalms 119:105 Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path.

1 Why Do I Need A Lamp And A Light? Frank and I were out walking today (I need to get fit) on Riverwalk when we saw a lady slumped over in her car. Concerned we went and knocked on her window. She roused up, and opened the window, telling us she had a headache and was resting. I apologized for disturbing her, but noted we were concerned. Then we asked if we could pray for her. She replied “I’d really like that”. Praying for her, the Lord seemed to comfort her, and we continued on our walk.

Darkness and Distress comes to every life. We all suffer.

The Prophet Job, a man who was perfect and righteous, who feared the Lord and turned away from evil (Job 1:1) said:

Job 30:26 When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness.

Our Lord Jesus cried from the Cross of Calvary …

Psalms 22:1 …. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? …

and the Prophet Jeremiah discouraged cried out …

Lamentations 3:19-20 Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. {20} My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.

Trials come on us all. Do they have a purpose? Yes, they do.

Adrian Rogers gave the following illustration. I read about a man who had a very fine dog who loved the water. One day the dog was playing in the lake and the man decided to leave. He called the dog, but the dog wouldn’t come. He called him several times; he wouldn’t come. It was a well-trained dog, but he just would not come. The man finally threw a stick out in the water. When the dog saw it, he swam over, got the stick, and came back and laid it at his master’s feet. It just may be that God has given you a burden because He can’t get your attention. He wants you to come and lay it at your Master’s feet.

When the trials come and the darkness seems to close in it is God’s Word that gives us light in the midst of darkness. It is His Word that gives us light and hope. God saved us by His Word, and feeds us by His Word. God saved you for His glory. He took clay vessels that were without honor, and through the offering of His own Dear Son He caused us to be born again. For this reason the Apostle said:

2 Corinthians 4:5-7 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. {6} For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. {7} But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We who believe and have called upon the Name of Jesus are saved from eternal damnation – not because we are worthy – but because He is worthy. We who have called on the Name of Jesus exist to glorify God. You exist for God’s glory!

God made us in His image and in His likeness. We were made to live for Him, to glorify Him. When trials come they are the darkness that drives us to the Light of His Word. You, dear Christian, are earthen vessels, jars of clay. When a potter makes a jar of clay he takes the clay through several processes. First he kneads the clay, pressing and pressuring all air out of it. Second he forms the clay by forcing it into the shape that he wants it to be. Third the clay must be air dried until it becomes what is called green ware Once it is air dried, the potter must kiln fire the green ware until it hardens into the unglazed pot. Lastly glaze is put on the pot, and it is placed into the kiln once more. At each stage the useless clay is placed under tribulation, but tribulation is not meaningless or fruitless, but it draws the clay toward the goal of being a work of art. Dear Christian, you are God’s work of art! “O LORD, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou art our Potter, and we are all the work of Thy hand.” (Isaiah 64:8) The trial has purpose. The Apostle Paul said:

Romans 5:1-5 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: {2} By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. {3} And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; {4} And patience, experience; and experience, hope: {5} And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

We glory in tribulations for we know that they have purpose.

2 Darkness Drives Us To The Lamp Of God’s Word.

Psalms 119:105 Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

A lamp is a tool that has absolutely no purpose in the daylight. If you’re walking in the light of the day it would be foolish to carry a lit lamp or a burning flashlight. It’s redundant. The wrong time to look for a flashlight – or a book of matches and a candle – is when the lights are out!

You need the Living Word of God in your life. There are a number of people who call themselves “Christian” but really are not Christian at all. If you are a Christian then the Word is a lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your path. The Word of God is both WRITTEN and BEGOTTEN. The WRITTEN Word is this Bible. The BEGOTTEN Word is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Of Him John wrote:

John 1:1, 14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was 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.

When Israel was founded the Lord wrote His Word on Tablets of Stone and Animal Skins
When the Church was founded the Lord HIMSELF became the Living Word
Israel carried the Word in the Ark of the Covenant
We – His Church – have the Word in our hearts, and are carried by The Word made flesh

The Word Who is God took on Himself humanity. He came to this earth with the express purpose of glorifying God by saving creatures like us. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. He grew up in Nazareth, a small and nondescript town. At around thirty years old Jesus went out and began to bring glory to God by healing people.

By His Word Jesus healed the epileptic (Matthew 9:8).
By His Word Jesus healed the cripple (Mark 2:12).
By His Word Jesus raised the widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:16).
By His Word Jesus healed the woman afflicted eighteen years (Luke 13:13).
By His Word the leper was cured of this terrible disease (Luke 17:15).
By His Word the blind were made to see.
By His Word Christ raises the spiritually dead.
And By His Word we are adopted into His Family.

The Scripture declares that Light can only come through faith in His Word. Without Him we are in darkness. With Him we are saved.

Romans 3:23-28 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; {24} Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: {25} Whom God hath set forth to be a {satisfactory covering for sin} through faith in his blood … {26} To declare … his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. {27} Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. {28} Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Light comes when we focus on His Word. Israel came out Egypt by following God as a Pillar of Fire. We follow His Word. We cherish His Word.

His Word is A LAMP. Not our opinions. Not what we think, but what He has said and continues to say. His Word is SINGULARLY A LIGHT unto our path. We follow what He says. His Word is first in our lives. We say with the saints of old:

2 Samuel 22:29-34 For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness. {30} For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall. {31} As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. {32} For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God? {33} God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. {34} He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet: and setteth me upon my high places.

What a glory it is to be in Christ, to know that we will rule and reign with Him one day! Glory unto God in the highest! Glory that He would give us such a precious gift!

3 Those Who Are Christ’s Must Not Out Run His Light.

Psalms 119:105 Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

God’s Word is a lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your path. Stay in step with Christ. Stay in step with the Word of God. The Prodigal Son found himself eating the slop of the hogs because he left the blessing of his Father’s lighted home. Jesus bids us to remember that He is the light. He said …

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

Why do people fail? Why do people get discouraged, depressed, and sometimes – Lord forbid – commit suicide? Because they have not formed a habit of staying in the light. They get off the path where the Word is! They try to lead Jesus rather than be led of Jesus. We are saved by focus on Christ. We are blessed by focus on Christ.

Jesus said “he that followeth Me SHALL NOT WALK IN DARKNESS”. If you’re born again by faith in Christ, stay on the path with Christ. You were saved by believing what Jesus said:

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

You believed that Jesus was the only Way to God and the only Way to life. You trusted His claims, and believed that He suffered, died, and rose again for you. Your faith brought you into the Light. You need to stay in the Light.

You cannot be saved by trusting in Jesus, and then expect to keep on being blessed by trusting in you!

Jesus said:

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

We are not made for darkness. We are made for the Light. We are made for His light. Listen Beloved: the Lord has said His Word is a lamp unto my feet. He didn’t say “my opinion” or “my feelings” or “what I want to do” or anything else! His Word is a Lamp unto my feet. Jesus said “I am the Light of the world”. He alone must be followed. His Word alone must be read and adhered to. Your prayers flow up to God through Jesus Christ our Mediator:

Hebrews 12:24 …. Jesus the mediator of the new covenant …

If you are born again you will only live a victorious life by walking with the Word. You will only see victory over the darkness by trusting in His Word. You must stay on the path of faith in the Word.

You must remember that God’s Word is the lamp unto our feet, and the light unto our path.

Stay with the Word when your days are bright.
Stay in His Word when darkness falls as night.
Stay on the Path, in prayer draw near
Focus on the Word, not on fear.

Charles Stanley’s grandfather told him, “obey God and leave all the consequences to Him”.

That’s very good advise. God is in control of all things. Obey God. Heed His Word. Obey His Spirit. Trust that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28), and let God take care of the rest. He knows what is best (Isaiah 55:8-9). Climb when God tells you to climb. Rest when He tells you to rest. Stop depending on yourself – cut the rope, and depend on God! May God touch your hearts with His Word!

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God Is Yahweh Shammah: The LORD Is There (Names Of God Series)

Hebrew-Names12For the last several weeks we have studied the various Names of God in the Scripture. Why does God give us so many Names related to Him? His Names reflect His unchanging character. C.H. Spurgeon stated:

Let us meditate upon the Lord’s holy name, that we may trust Him the better and rejoice the more readily. He is in character holy, just, true, gracious, faithful and unchanging. Is not such a God to be trusted? He is all-wise, almighty, and everywhere present; can we not cheerfully rely upon Him? Yes, we will do so at once, and do so without reserve.”

The name of God we are examining tonight is Yahweh Shammah which means “The Lord is There”. It is found in the last verse of the last chapter of Ezekiel. Let’s read it together.

Ezekiel 48:35 It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.

What is the context of this Name of God? Yahweh Shammah (יְהֹוָה שָׁמָה) is the last word of promise written to a broken nation called Israel. The nation was founded by God. The nation was blessed by God. Yet Israel rejected the Lord.

Israel loved the land more than the Lord Who gave them the land.
Israel loved the Temple more than the Lord Who gave them the Temple.
Israel loved their own pleasure than they did the Lord Who made them.
Israel like America loved stuff but not the Sovereign God.

When Israel became like the lost world around it the Lord promised to pour out wrath on this nation. God saved Israel for His Name’s Sake:

Ezekiel 20:9-11 But I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt. [10] Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. [11] And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them.

God is holy, and calls to Himself a people Who will love and respect Him. God punishes sin among His Children. God called Israel out of Egypt and established them in the Promised Land for His Name’s Sake, but Israel continued to rebel again Him. So God promises to destroy His people. His people have rejected Him, so He will destroy. But God said:

Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

God does not wish to destroy Israel, but He will if she will not return to Him. God is There – but He will not be where sin and rebellion is. God tells Israel:

Ezekiel 36:22-23 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but FOR MINE HOLY NAME’S SAKE, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. [23] And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.

God expects His Name to be honored by His people, particularly in the midst of the unbelieving world. People need to see in Israel and in the Church that God is There. This is the emphasis. When we come to the last chapter of Ezekiel we see that God promises His people that once He restores them that He will build a Holy City, a New Jerusalem. The name of that city will be God is There, Yahweh Shammah.

1 We Cease To Be The People Of God When God Is NOT There. God from the very beginning of creation put Himself in the lives of His people. God created Eden perfect and holy, without thorns or thistles. There was no rain in Eden, but a mist came up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground (Genesis 2:6). There were no tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms nor floods. Everything was clockwork perfect. Eden was perfect. It was only after Eden was complete did the Lord form Adam of the dust of the ground.

Genesis 2:7-8 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. [8] And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

What made Eden perfect? What made it Paradise? It is Paradise because God is There. God came into the Garden daily to walk with Adam. God told Adam he could have any fruit of the Garden but the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:17). Why was this Tree forbidden? Because God is There. If you want to know right from wrong it does not need to come from YOUR heart, O man, but from God’s Heart. God knows. He knows. God is There. He is in the Garden. He made it perfect, and whole, and pure, and holy. God is There. We do not need to be gods – little “g” creatures making up our own rules. We were made by God to follow God. God is There. When Adam did what he was not supposed to do God did not change. God is STILL There. But the Bible tells us that:

Genesis 3:7-8 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. [8] And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Several things happened in the Garden of Eden when Man brought sin into that which was perfect.

  • Man Thought That He Was Self Sufficient. The “eyes of them both were opened”. We no longer relied on Yahweh Shammah, the God Who is There. We relied on OURSELVES. We became little g “gods”.
  • Man Thought That He Was Sin Sufficient. Adam and Eve saw their own nakedness, and created religion that day. Man made religion says “I don’t need God to fix me – I can fix myself”. So they sewed aprons of fig leaves to cover themselves. But in their hearts they knew this wasn’t enough.
  • Man Thought That He Didn’t Need The God Who Is There. Sin caused a gulf between us and Yahweh Shammah. “Adam and his wife hid themselves from the Presence of God”.

What made Eden an Eden was not that it was perfect, without thorns and thistles, without death and killing. What made Eden an Eden was that prior to the Fall of Adam
God is There.

God walked with man, and man with God. God talked to man, and man to God. God and Man were in perfect union, loving one another. God was not an absentee Landlord. God was in Man’s midst until man turned from God.

When God came to Abram and called him out of ancient Babylon He told him:

Genesis 12:1 (NASB) Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you;

God did not tell Abram to go by himself. He said “I will go with you. I will be the God Who is there”.

Many years later when Joseph (you remember Joseph, Jacob’s son who had the coat of many colors) was betrayed by his brothers and sold into Egyptian slavery Joseph kept the faith. Imprisoned unjustly Joseph relied not on his circumstances but on Yahweh Shammah, the God Who is There. When Joseph’s brother’s stood in front of him and he – as co-regent of the King could have killed them – what directed Joseph to have mercy and not avenge? Yahweh Shammah, the God Who Is There. Joseph said:

Genesis 50:19-21 (KJV) …. Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. 21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

God is there, He is with His people.

When God raised up Moses and brought His people out of Egypt 400 years later God p;romised to lead His people to the land of Canaan.

Moses spoke to the God Who is There, Jehovah Shammah.

Exodus 33:13-17 (KJV) Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. [14] And {God} said, My Presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. [15] And {Moses} said unto {God}, If Thy Presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. [16] For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. [17] And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

God is in the midst of His people. It is not the music that makes the Church, but that Yahweh Shammah, God is There. It is not the Programs that makes the Church, but that Yahweh Shammah, God is There.

The distinctive characteristic of the Children of God is that:

Psalms 46:5-7 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. [6] The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. [7] The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Our REST is in God.
Our POWER is in God.
Israel saw the Temple and thought “this is magnificent”.
The Temple was NOT magnificent unless the Shekinah Glory of God was there.
The Temple is just a building.
The Church building is just a building.
The Church building is just a building.
The Church building is just a building.

When Solomon built the Temple he declared:

1 Kings 8:27-30 (KJV) But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded? 28 Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day: 29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place. 30 And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.

The Temple was just a fancy building if there was no Yahweh Shammah. If God’s Glory did not shine from it it was no different than a Publican’s House or a Honkey Tonk.

When Ezekiel wrote these prophecies Israel was in ruins, captured and carried off into captivity. Why? Why were they desolate? Because Israel began to worship without God. The Pharisees had taken over the faith that Abraham and Moses established.

Moses was called to Divine Services through a burning bush. Take off your shoes, for you stand on Holy Ground. Why was the ground Holy? Because of Yahweh Shammah. God is there. He was there in the burning bush. He was there in the pillar of fire by night, and the pillar of cloud by day. He was there in the Tabernacle, and He was there in the Temple. People went to where God was not to see a show but to be with God.

The Church in America has turned into a traveling side show.
We need God in our midst.
We need Yahweh Shammah.
We need His Presence in all that we do.
We don’t need another Program, another Person, another Prop.
We need God in our midst, Yahweh Shammah.

2 When We Come To The New Testament Yahweh Shammah Does A New Thing. God is There. He was with His People in the Old Testament. Israel was broken in Ezekiel’s Day, and was broken when the Gospels are written. Herod has rebuilt the Temple. It is glorious! The Pharisees and Sadducees have taken over the Temple. They are glorious! But the Glory has departed the Temple. The Shekinah Glory is no longer there, for Yahweh Shammah is not there. But God promised that He would be with His Temple.

A young carpenter named Joseph of Nazareth is told that the Mary he is engaged to is with child.

Matthew 1:21-23 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

The name “Jesus” means “God Our Savior”. The name “Emmanuel” means “God is with us”. God came to man in a burning bush, a pillar, in many different ways in the Old Testament. God came to walk with man as God. But in the New Testament God became man so that He could walk with us and talk with us.

Jesus Christ both reveals and fulfills Yahweh Shammah.
God is with us in Christ.

We are told in …

Colossians 1:19-22 (KJV) For it pleased the Father that in {Christ} should all fulness dwell; [20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. [21] And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled [22] In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

God is there. God is there in Christ. God reconciled us to Himself through Christ. Adam brought sin into the world and put a wall between us and our God. But now Christ reconciles us to God by His Cross. Dying on the Cross as Perfect Man He paid for the sins of all. Rising from the grave as Incarnate God He ever lives to make intercession for us.

John 1:14 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.

God’s glory – His Shekinah Glory – was returned to the Temple in Christ. The Pharisees hated Jesus because He disturbed their religion. Jesus is a religion disturber. He did not come to put a stamp of approval on ritual. Jesus came as God to be Yahweh Shammah, the God Who Is There. A woman taken in adultery is brought and cast down in front of Jesus. Jesus says:

John 8:7 …. He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

The religious accusers depart. Jesus was left alone with the woman. God is there. God says,

John 8:10 … Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

The woman replies, “No man, Lord”. Then God Who is There says:

John 8:11-12 …. Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. [12] Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

When God is There – Yahweh Shammah – Grace and Truth are there.
Neither do I condemn you is all of God’s Grace.
Go and sin no more is all of God’s Truth.

Where God is There then there is Grace. But where God is there there is also truth. You cannot have Grace without truth. God is Holy, and demands that sin be repented of. But God is gracious, and forgives the repentant sinner.

I am so glad that God is There – Yahweh Shammah – in my life. I am so glad that God is with us, whosoever believeth in Him. Christ the Light of the World – the manifest Yahweh Shammah – draws us out of darkness and into His Light. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

3 God Fulfilled The Promise He Made Through Christ And His Spirit. After Jesus rose from the dead He …

Acts 1:4-5 …. commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. [5] For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Jesus spoke of the “Promise of the Father”. What promise was this? It was the Promise that God made in our focal text:

Ezekiel 48:35 …. the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.

God would dwell with His people. God dwelt with His people at times in the Old Testament, but He did not dwell with His people. Before Jesus was crucified He told His people that He was going away, but that He would send the Comforter to His people. Jesus said:

John 14:15-17 If ye love me, keep my commandments. [16] And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [17] Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

In the Old Testament God’s people had a Temple. In the New Testament God’s people ARE a Temple. God is There. He is in every believer in Christ. God abides with us FOREVER. God is there. He is there in the good times, and He is there in the bad times. When we gather together He is in our midst. But when we depart this place, He is still in us and with us.

Yahweh Shammah is there to comfort us in our sorrows. He is the God Who is There Who teaches us the things of God. Jesus said:

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

 John 16:7-14 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. [8] And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: [9] Of sin, because they believe not on me; [10] Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; [11] Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. [12] I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. [13] Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. [14] He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Jesus is Yahweh Shammah, the Incarnate God Who is There. The Holy Spirit is Yahweh Shammah, the Indwelling God Who Is There. God is There. He is with us. He will abide with us if we love Him.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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Continue In Prayer (Continuing our Colossal! Series)

Man Praying

I don’t remember where I heard this – I am sure it was in a sermon I heard – but it came to my mind as I was praying over and studying this final chapter of Colossians.

One Sunday morning at a small church, the Pastor called on one of his older members to lead in the opening prayer. The member stood up, bowed his head and said,“Lord, I hate buttermilk.” The Pastor opened one eye and wondered if he had made a mistake. The older gentleman went on “Lord, I hate lard.” Now the Pastor was totally perplexed. The Elder went on, praying “Lord, I ain’t too crazy about plain flour. But after you mix ’em all together and bake ’em in a hot oven, I just love biscuits. Lord help us to realize when life gets hard, when things come up that we don’t like, whenever we don’t understand what You are doing, that we need to PRAY AND WAIT TO SEE WHAT YOU ARE MAKING. After you get through mixing and baking, it’ll probably be something even better than biscuits. Amen.”

As we come to this last chapter of Colossians I can tell you many people – preachers included – have skipped over this chapter. Yet the Bible tells us that all Scripture is given of inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Colossians chapter 4 is the shortest chapter in this Book, but it isn’t unimportant. The focus of this chapter is prayer.

Every time I turn around someone is coming out with another PROGRAM, something that is supposed to revolutionize the Church and turn our culture around.

We don’t need another PROGRAM, we need PRAYING PEOPLE.
We don’t need another CELEBRITY. We need to CALL ON CHRIST.
We don’t need another PERSON. We need the POWER OF THE SPIRIT.
We need the PRESENCE OF GOD.
We need to get serious about PRAYER.

The Church began with PRAYER and therefore began with POWER. Jesus told a little gathering of 120 people – about the size of most small churches today – to go into an Upper Room and PRAY. On the Day of Pentecost the Apostle Peter came out preaching Christ and the 120 became 3120. Three THOUSAND souls gave their lives to the Lord Jesus that day. Was it because Peter preached a phenomenal sermon? Absolutely not! If you read Peter’s sermon in Acts chapter you’ll see that the sermon was only about 25 verses long. It wasn’t a long sermon, nor was it particularly eloquent. But 3000 people came to Jesus in a Jesus hostile environment that day. Why? Why? WHY? Because the Church prayed. Let’s read our text today:

Colossians 4:2-18 (KJV) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. 7 All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord: 8 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; 9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. 10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) 11 And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. 15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. 16 And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. 18 The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.

1 Every Person Mentioned By Paul In This Text Is Someone Who Was Once Lost But Is Now Found. People Are Saved Only Through Prayer. No one is born saved. All are born needing to be born again. All are born in sin. King David – a man after God’s own heart – said:

Psalm 51:5 (KJV) Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

No one is born saved. Every person who enters this life enters it naked, but also dead in trespasses and in sins. The Bible unashamedly declares:

Romans 5:12 (KJV) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned–

Romans 3:23 (KJV) …. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

If all have sinned, and all are in darkness and in the death grip of sin, then how can any be saved? How can the dead live? How can the blind see? How can the deaf hear? Only God can open the eyes. The Apostle said:

Colossians 4:2-3 (KJV) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3 Withal praying also for us, that God would OPEN UNTO US A DOOR OF UTTERANCE, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

Continue to pray, Church”. Pray that God will open the eyes of the blind. We are in a battle for men’s souls. Pray! The Bible says that Satan is continually standing against the Gospel, that Satan …

2 Corinthians 4:4 … the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

God must open the eyes. No one is saved because of the expertise of the preacher nor because of the beauty of the facility. The Pharisees were lost, and refused to come to Christ to be saved. They led the worship in a beautiful Temple. They followed hard after religion, and did all the acceptable rituals. No one but the Holy Spirit of God can open the eyes of the blind. The Apostle said “With all – with all other believers – PRAY FOR US that GOD would open unto us a DOOR OF UTTERANCE to SPEAK the MYSTERY of CHRIST”. Oh Beloved, I wish that you all understood how important your prayers are to the success of God’s Gospel.

Prayers open doors.
Prayers open hearts.
Prayers empower the preaching.
Prayer releases the Spirit.
Prayer opens the eyes of the heart and the ears of the soul.
I have heard people say “Oh that my child or my loved one would be saved”
Have you prayed for them? Do you continue in prayer for them?

The Gospel will save whosoever calls on His name – but THEY MUST CALL. We cannot save them, but God can. But their eyes must be opened.

  • TYCHICUS came to Christ because God intervened. Tychicus was a Roman who gave his life to Jesus. The Apostle said of Tychicus that he …

Colossians 4:7-8 (KJV) … is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord: 8 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;

Who was Tychicus? He was someone who was born into this world lost, but born again by faith in Christ. Saved by faith in Jesus, he became through the operation of God’s Spirit a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow servant in the Lord. Tychicus was gifted with the ability to encourage and build up others. Paul sent him to Colossi to comfort their hearts.

  • ONESIMUS is a runaway slave that came to God in Christ by faith.

Colossians 4:9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you.

Onesimus was a slave to a Christian named Philemon of Colossi. Only in America was slavery a white and black thing. In the ancient world conquered people were often made slaves. Onesimus was someone who had been conquered, and who ran away from his master Philemon.

Running Away From Philemon, Prayer Brought Onesimus Face To Face With Christ

When Onesimus gave his life to Jesus the Apostle sent him back to Philemon carrying a letter. That letter is found in our Bibles, and encourages Philemon to receive Onesimus as not a slave but now a brother in Christ, saved by the Blood of the Lamb. Tychicus went with Onesimus to Colossi to see Philemon. The Bible says:

Galatians 3:26-28 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Oh how I wish I had time to tell the story of each of these precious Saints that we will one day see in Heaven. Read with me:

Colossians 4:10-14 (KJV) ARISTARCHUS my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and MARCUS, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) 11 And Jesus, which is called JUSTUS, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. 12 EPAPHRAS, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. 14 LUKE, the beloved physician …

  • Aristarchus who was arrested with Paul for preaching the Gospel
  • and Marcus or John Mark who abandoned Paul during his First Missionary Journey. The Bible says in Acts 13:13 that John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem. John was uncomfortable with carrying the Gospel to the non-Jews so he abandoned Paul and Barnabas (his uncle). Eventually John Mark returned to the faith, and became a blessing to Paul and the Church.
  • Justus is a converted Pharisee
  • and Epaphras of whom little is known, but he is loved of God in Christ.
  • Luke is a Gentile Doctor, the Blessed Physician, who accompanied the early Apostles and recorded the work of the Gospel in the books of Luke and Acts.

Prayer opens the heart doors. Oh that believers would pray! When we pray lives are changed. When we pray OUR LIVES are changed. When we pray our community changes. Prayer changes lives.

2 How Does God Ask Us To Pray? Prayer is not to be a spare tire that we pull out only when we get in trouble. We are told

Colossians 4:2 (KJV) CONTINUE in prayer …

a We Who Are His Children Are To DEVOTE Ourselves To Prayer.

The word translated “continue” is the Greek Present Active Imperative of προσκαρτερέω (proskartereō) which means “be steadfast in” or “devote yourselves to”. This is a command, not an option. The Bible says “keep on devoting yourselves to prayer”.

Be persistent. The Apostle commended Epaphras …

Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always LABORING FERVENTLY FOR YOU IN PRAYERS, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

Persistent prayer is like a wrestling match. It is a LABOR OF LOVE. Epaphras kept on praying for the Church at Colossi that the Church would succeed in the world, being the Light that Christ meant it to be.

Are you praying for your Church?
Are you praying for its workers?

The early Church grew by leaps and bounds because:

They all joined together CONSTANTLY in prayer” (Acts 1:14).

They DEVOTED themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).

Pastor S.D. Gordon wrote: “The greatest thing anyone can do for God and man is pray. It is not the only thing, but it is the chief thing. The great people of earth are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer; nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor yet those who can explain about prayer; but I mean those people who take time to pray.”

God loves to hear from His Children. We are told in …

Proverbs 15:8 (KJV) The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the PRAYER OF THE UPRIGHT IS HIS DELIGHT.

God loves to hear from His Children, adopted by faith in Christ. He “delights” in our prayer. We are told in

Isaiah 65:24 (KJV) And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

The Bible tells us in Revelation 5:8 that God keeps the prayers of His Saints in a golden bowl in Heaven. Oh how God would bless if we would but pray. God is glorified when He answers our prayers. His power is magnified. God wants us to understand that He is the El Shaddai, He is the God Who provides, He is the God Who Sees, the El Roi. When we pray we recognize that we are helpless but He is mighty to help. We recognize that we are powerless but He is Almighty.

b We Who Are His Children Are To BE ALERT In Our Prayers. We read:

Colossians 4:2 (KJV) Continue in prayer, and WATCH in the same with thanksgiving;

Be alert and pray. Pray frequently. Pray without ceasing. Pray!

Speak to Jesus your High Priest. If you are saved by faith in Christ He is our Advocate.

1 John 2:1-2 (KJV) My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, WE HAVE AN ADVOCATE WITH THE FATHER, JESUS CHRIST the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Jesus Christ died for our sins, and rose again to be our Advocate and High Priest. The Bible says that you are kings and priests unto God:

Revelation 1:5-6 (KJV) And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and PRIESTS UNTO GOD and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

You, dear Christ Follower, are a King because the King of Kings died for you. You are a Priest because Jesus Christ your High Priest has brought you into the Family of God. We pray because of who we are and because of Who He eternally is. Prayer keeps our eyes on the Lord Who loves us and protects us. One of the people that Paul mentions in this text is a man named Demas. Of the others mentioned in this text Paul commended nearly every one – but he had little to say of Demas. We read:

Colossians 4:14 (KJV) 14 …. and Demas, greet you.

Demas says “Hi”.

That’s it. Who was Demas? Demas was called a fellow laborer by Paul in the Apostle’s letter to Philemon:

Philemon 24 (KJV) Marcus, Aristarchus, DEMAS, Lucas, my fellow laborers.

He’s mentioned with John Mark (the writer of the Gospel of Mark), Aristarchus (imprisoned with Paul for preaching the Gospel), and with Luke (the Gentile Physician who wrote Acts and the Gospel of Luke). Demas is in GREAT company. There are great believer’s with him. Yet when Paul writes to to the Colossians he merely says of Demas

Demas says “Hi”

Why was that? Because Demas had begun to backslide. Look around the Church of God and you’ll find someone whose name will begin with “whatever happened to”. You know what I mean. “Whatever happened to _____”.

I had a Deacon years ago at another Church that loved to come into my office on Monday morning. Every time I saw him I’d roll my eyes. Monday’s are hard days for Pastors. Some people make it harder. Nearly the first words he’s say every time he came was …

Whatever happened to …”

then he’d throw a name in there. I’d tell him “I don’t know”. BUT I DO KNOW. They walked the walk of Demas. They professed Christ, they joined the Church, then they disappeared off the face of the map. What was the problem? I guarantee you the problem is they slipped away from God. They ceased praying. They stopped looking to the Master. When the Apostle wrote his letter to young Timothy he wrote:

2 Timothy 4:10-11 (KJV)10 For DEMAS HATH FORSAKEN ME, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica … 11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

Demas hath forsaken me. He has wandered from the Church. He loved this PRESENT world. He is not living for the Master nor for His Kingdom, but for “THIS PRESENT world”. He stopped praying. He stopped seeking Christ’s face. He turned his eyes from Jesus and instead chose this world.

We need to watch and pray. If you are Christ’s then you need to watch and pray. Peter tells us that we need to be …

1 Peter 5:8-9 (KJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because YOUR ADVERSARY THE DEVIL, AS A ROARING LION, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom RESIST STEADFASTLY IN THE FAITH, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

The Devil is always looking for someone to destroy. He looks – like a roaring lion – for the sheep that have wandered from the Shepherd. If you stay close to Him, close to Jesus the Great Shepherd of the sheep, you cannot be harmed.

Prayer is the cry of the sheep.
Prayer is the call to the Great Shepherd.
Jesus will not chase you. He loved you, but He will not chase you.

God our Savior says in Jeremiah 33:3 :Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Be watchful. Pray. Keep your focus on Jesus, or else become a “Happy Meal” for the Devil!

c We Who Are Christ’s Children Are To Pray With THANKFUL Hearts.

Colossians 4:2 (KJV) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

Prayer will fill your heart with thankfulness. Prayer will remind you – as it does me – that the trials of this life are only temporary. Prayer reminds us that this world is but a passing place. One day we will pass from Here to There,

from Corruption to Incorruption
from Sin Infested to Eternally Blessed
from Weakness to Power

One day we will be with our Jesus forever. One day we will be given glorified bodies, and sinless souls. One day we will walk in eternal day and leave this sometimes endless night.

Psalms 107:1 (KJV) O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.

Ephesians 5:20 (KJV) Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Hebrews 13:15 (KJV) By {Christ} therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.

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God Is Adonai/ Kurios Series The Names Of God

He-is-Lord.015-400x400Swimmer Michael Fred Phelps II broke the world record in the 200 meter butterfly in 2001 when he was only 15 years old. Most recently he again made history as he won his 22nd gold medal in the 2016 Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro. Reporter Eric Metaxas noted that four years ago no one would have believed Michael would have made such a come back. Michael was without purpose. Though he had won many times in the Olympics, he said “I was a train wreck. I was like a time bomb waiting to go off. I had no self esteem, no self worth. There were times I didn’t want to be here. It was not good. I felt lost.” Michael became suicidal. Then his friend – a former All Pro Linebacker named Ray Lewis gave him a copy of Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life. After Michael read it he turned to the Lord. He turned to the Lord Jesus. Repenting and following the Lord turned his life around, and he is again winning medals.

We belong to the Lord.

The name of God we’re looking at tonight is in the Old Testament the Hebrew word ADONAI and in the New Testament KURIOS. Translated “Lord” in the King James this name of God emphasizes that God is owner of all that He has created. There’s a famous poem called Invictus that ends with these words:

I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

That is absolutely not true. We were all created by a Loving and All Powerful God Who gives us life day by day.

1 God Is Adonai (Kurios) – He Owns And Controls Everything That Is. The Bible says:

Psalm 24:1 (NASB) The earth is the LORD’s, and all that it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.

In America it is popular to say “It’s my body, and I’ll do with it as I wish”. Yet God says:

Ezekiel 18:4 (KJV) Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

God gives you life. Every day He allows your heart to beat, your lungs to draw air, your liver to process and filter your blood, your kidneys to cast off pollutants. He is LORD. Everything belongs to Him.

In the King James we have discussed how the word YAHWEH (the I AM name of God) is translated L-O-R-D (all capital letters). But when you see the name L-o-r-d (Large L small ord) this is in the Old Testament “Adonai”, in the New Testament “Kurios”. The Hebrew Adonai is plural, but is translated singular or “Lord”. It is plural just as Elohiym is plural because the Godhead is One but Three (Father, Son, and Spirit). This is called the Trinity, and our Triune God is Lord of all. He owns everything. In the Old Testament Adonai occurs 434 times, 200 times in the writings of Ezekiel alone, and 11 times in Daniel chapter 9. The first use of Adonai is found in the life of Abraham in Genesis 15:2. Let’s start out there.

Genesis 15:2  And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

Genesis 15:6-18  And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.  [7]  And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.  [8]  And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?  [9]  And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.  [10]  And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.  [11]  And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.  [12]  And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.  [13]  And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;  [14]  And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.  [15]  And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.  [16]  But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.  [17]  And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.  [18]  In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

Two names of God are used throughout this Responsive Reading. Where you see the name LORD or the name GOD in all capital letters this is the eternal name of God YAHWEH. But every place where you see Lord (capital L small ord) this is the name of God ADONAI. Where Abram calls God “Lord GOD” in verses 2 and 8 this is actually ADONAI YAHWEH. Yahweh is normally translated LORD but the King James translators thought it would confuse people if they translated ADONAI YAHWEH as Lord LORD. So in instances like this they translated the name of God as Lord GOD. Here’s the key.

YAHWEH emphasizes that God is eternal without beginning or end. He is I AM.
ADONAI emphasizes that God is owner and controller of everything. He is Lord.

Notice Abram’s words. He says to the Eternal Owner of everything “What will YOU GIVE ME seeing I am without a child?” (verse 2). Then in verse 8 “how shall I know that I shall INHERIT it?” How do I know that I am going to have children and nations will come out of me? He says to God prove yourself. Promise this. And this is exactly what God did. God told Abram to take animals out of the herd:

a heifer (a female cow that has not bore a calf) of three years old
a she goat of three years old
a ram (a male sheep) of three years old
a turtledove (a dove)
a young pigeon

These were all creatures from Abram’s stock – but they were not Abram’s. God is Adonai, He is Lord. Everything that Abram had God allowed and gave. So when Abram took these animals from his herds he was giving back to Adonai what Adonai had given him. Abram took one of everything Adonai had given him. The larger animals were divided, that is they were killed and separated into two piles. The dove and the pidgeon were not separated, but they were killed. And then God told Abram what He promised to do.

God told Abram that his nation (Israel) would be in bondage 400 years
God promised Abram that his nation (Israel) would be freed from bondage
That Israel would prosper
God promised Abram that the land he stood in would be his people’s

God made all these promises to Abram because God is Adonai. God is Lord of all He created. He is owner of all that exists because God made it all. If you own it, you control it. God is Adonai. He is Lord.

2 Understanding The Lordship Of God Clears Up A Lot Of Confusion. God owns everything. He is ADONAI. He is Lord. He is the Maker and Designer. We get confused and wrapped around the axel when we don’t understand this.

God owns everything you think you possess

God owns you. There’s no need in arguing about “Free Will” verses “Sovereignty” because we are not gods. We are God’s. We are bought with a price. We belong to Him. Everything we own belongs to God.

Your homes belong to God.
Your bank accounts belong to God.
The cars you came to Church in belong to God.
The pews you’re sitting on belong to God.
The books in those book racks belong to God.
The ground you stand on belongs to God.
The air you breath belongs to God.
Your very flesh and soul belongs to God.

I have heard parents who have lost children say “I don’t understand why my baby had to die so young”. They become angered with God. I understand. I sympathize. I’ve been there. But He is Lord. He is Adonai. The soul of the child is His, not mine, and He has the right to take what He has given. He is Lord.

When God raised up the Prophet Malachi He was angry with His Old Testament people. The wife you have belongs to God. The husband you have belongs to God. The family in Israel had disintegrated. The parents were not teaching the children to love God as He commanded in …

Deuteronomy 6:5-7  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  [6]  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  [7]  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

The LORD thy God – YAHWEH thy Adonai – was not being honored. The family was disintegrating. The worship was polluted. They robbed God of the TITHE, which was consecrated to God.

You know what a TITHE is?
It is giving back to God a small portion – a tenth – of what is really all His.

Israel did not take animals without spot or blemish to the Temple for sacrifice. They did not take the FIRST FRUITS to God. They went through the herds and gathered out the blemished, the crippled, the blind, the diseased, the broken and brought these to the Temple. They took the least to Adonai and kept the best for themselves.

When I was at another Church we had a clean up day, hauling off all kinds of broken stuff that had accumulated in the Church. Mismatched plates and silverware that people “donated” to the Church when they bought themselves new stuff. Broken baby swings in the Church nursery. I found a vacuum cleaner that could not be used because the handle was broken off. I found out later that one of our little old ladies “donated” this vacuum when she couldn’t use it and bought herself another. God got the broken, she the new. Israel did the same thing at the altar. Crippled cattle. Blind sheep. Diseased goats. Birds that wouldn’t fly. They brought this to the altar for sacrifice – a sacrifice that was no sacrifice at all – and expected blessing from God. The Lord told Israel – let’s read this responsively:

Malachi 1:6-13  A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?  [7]  Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible.  [8]  And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.  [9]  And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the LORD of hosts.  [10]  Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.  [11]  For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.  [12]  But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible.  [13]  Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD.

What a sad statement this is! God is ADONAI, He owns everything. He raised up Israel out of nothing. From Abram and Sarai came Israel by His promise. God blessed His people, and is a Father and a Master to them. We honor Him when we give Him the best. We do not give God our leftovers and our broken, but the FIRST FRUITS, the best that we have. His name is to be honored by His people.

IIf you are parents or grandparents you have seen children at play. Two children are playing in a sandbox that they did not make. In the sandbox are toys they did not purchase nor deserve. One child sees a bright toy truck. He grabs it, saying “Mine!” The other child ignored the truck until then, but now reaches out. “No, it’s mine!” It is “mine” because the parent loved the child and gave it, but the child doesn’t own the toy. And neither do we.

We all have the mistaken idea that we own this or we own that. With ownership comes frustration. The air conditioner goes out at “my house” and then it costs more of “my money” to get it fixed. Roofs leak. Toilets plug up. We get frustrated when what is mine doesn’t go they way I want. But we are looking at things wrong.

God is ADONAI. He is Lord. He owns it all. We are simply STEWARDS of what He has let us hold. I read this suggestion in Ken Hemphill’s book The Names of God and really liked it. He wrote:

Sit down during your devotional time, take out a piece of paper and make up a deed signigover everything to God, the rightful owner. Say ‘Lord, this has never been mine. Somehow I just took over what is yours by creation. I am excited to acknowledge that I am a steward and that You are Owner of all the possessions represented on this deed”.

When we understand that we are STEWARDS and God is ADONAI (Lord) then things get much better.

One man said that when his family washing machine quit working he and his wife knelt and prayed in front of that machine. They prayed “Lord, your washing machine has broken down. What do You want to do about it?” After praying they were told the Lord needed a new washing machine. They thanked the Lord for His provision and, instead of frustration, joy flooded their lives. God is Adonai. He is Lord!

3 If God Is Lord (Adonai) And We Are His, We Are To Serve Him Where And When He Says. When God called Moses to follow Him and to go to Pharaoh, Moses began to argue with God. Let’s read this

Exodus 4:10-16  And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.  [11]  And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?  [12]  Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.  [13]  And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.  [14]  And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.  [15]  And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.  [16]  And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.

Moses was frightened, and did not want to do what God wanted him to do. So God told Moses that he could speak through Aaron his brother because Aaron was eloquent. This ended up being a hindrance to Moses rather than a help. If Moses had trusted the God Who made him there would have never been an Aaron making a golden calf in the wilderness, nor an Aaron heckling him about his Ethiopian wife. In many ways Aaron was a hindrance to Moses’ ministry.

Throughout this reading we see the word LORD and Lord. Where you see LORD this is YAHWEH, the Eternal Name of God. The other occurrence – Lord – is ADONAI. Moses said to God in verse 10:

Great I AM – My Lord

He recognized God as the Eternal Creator of all. But then Moses immediately capitalized on his perceived inabilities. Listen Beloved, what God calls you to do, God equips you to do. God told Moses “Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?”

God made us on purpose the way we are. God calls us to do what He has equipped us to do. Our purpose is found in Him Who made us, not we ourselves. Our purpose is not defined by what PEOPLE think of us, but what ADONAI requires of us. Our disabilities are abilities when we live for Him. If God gave us life, He can use the lives He gave.

God’s anger burned against Moses when he kept making excuses. When we call Him Lord we are to obey Him. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:21-23   Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.   [22]   Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?   [23]   And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

There will be many who will leave this life thinking they deserve Heaven because they did good things. But did they do what the LORD told them to do? If not, we work iniquity. We are called to obey the ADONAI, the Lord Who saved us. Jesus went on to say:

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

If you have received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior then you belong to God. God is our Adonai, our Lord. Our strength is found in following Him. Greatness in His Kingdom is only achieved by serving the Lord in the capacity He has made you. Jesus promised:

John 12:26   If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

He is Lord. He is Adonai. When we call Jesus our Lord we surrender to His ownership and commit ourselves to serving Him in the ways He has said. We are bondslaves to God in Christ. His Lordship is seen in how we live our lives.

We who are saved are to live as His Stewards.
He is Lord!

Adrian Rogers put it this way:

Well, suppose I perform a wedding ceremony and say to the young man, “Would you take Susan to be your lawfully wedded wife?” And he responds, “Well, I’ll take Susan as housekeeper.” And then I say to her, “Would you take John to be your lawfully wedded husband?” And she says, “Well, I’ll take him as provider.” We can’t pick and choose what we want from Jesus. We take Jesus as Lord over all!”

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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Christ Is All And In All – Continuing Our Colossal! Series

The one thing that is great about preaching through a Book of the Bible is that you must preach the next thing. The one thing that is uncomfortable about preaching through a Book of the Bible is that you must preach the next thing. You can’t skip the hard stuff. The tough sayings are to be examined. But the one thing the Lord has put on my heart over the years of pastoring and preaching is that we are always to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) even if the truth hurts, even if the truth is not politically correct. So brace yourself. This is going to be a bumpy ride. Keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times!

Colossians 3:11-25 …. there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. [12] Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; [13] Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. [14] And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. [15] And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. [16] Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. [17] And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. [18] Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. [19] Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. [20] Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. [21] Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. [22] Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: [23] And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; [24] Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. [25] But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

Introduction When a person is saved, that person is saved by receiving Christ as Lord and Savior. Christ Is All, and In All. God will save everyone freely if a person would be saved. Jesus Christ is the

Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

Jesus Christ is the Son of God Who

is the satisfactory payment (propitiation) for our sins;
and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)

He is the Son of God sacrificed for us who would be sons of God. In that famous verse that every grade school child used to know we read together:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son,
that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Emphatic! Christ died for all. Christ died for all. He did not just die for one or two, or some imagined group. He died for all. He died for all.

He died for the RICH.
He died for the POOR.
He died for the BROKEN.
He died for those BLINDED BY SIN.
He died for the SEXUALLY ENSLAVED.
He died for the LOWEST PERSON who ever lived.
Believe it or not, He died for
Jesus died for PEOPLE OF ALL COLORS.
If there are RACISTS among us, Jesus died for you.
There will be people of ALL COLOR in Heaven.
None will be at the back of the bus.
There are no segregated water fountains in Glory.
All can drink from that River,
And the fruit of that Tree of Life is for the healing of NATIONS.
Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him He died for all us broken down people.

Colossians 3:11 …. there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 

Jesus died for the Jew. He came unto His own and His own would not receive Him. He was made a Jew so He could fulfill God’s promise to Father Abraham. But Jesus did not just come to the Jews. He came to the Greeks, the inventors of sodomy and sexual sin. The Jews practiced circumcision, for God commanded Abraham and his seed to be circumcised, but the Gentiles were not circumcised.

When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well He shocked the world around Him. The Samaritan woman said “Why do you speak to me, a Samaritan? Don’t the Jews despise the Samaritans?” Jesus came for the Samaritans. When the lepers ran to Jesus saying “Lord Jesus, have mercy on us” Jesus shocked the world around Him. How dare He touch those lepers! But Jesus came for the lepers. “You are healed. Go and show the priest.” When this Gentile woman – a Greek, hated of the Jews, came to Jesus saying “Please cast the demon out of my daughter” Jesus replied:

Mark 7:27 (ESV) ….. Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

Those who were Jews hearing this, I know, stood there thinking

Uh huh! “That’s right. Messiah came for US, not for THEM PEOPLE”.

Then the woman in broken humility and with broken heart said …

Mark 7:28 (ESV) Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.

and Jesus healed her daughter. Oh dear ones, Jesus came for everyone. He came for Barbarian, Scythian, bond and free”. He came for all. He came equally for male and female:

Galatians 3:28 (KJV) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Giving Himself equally for all. He gave Himself to free us from our sins. He gave Himself to restore us to the image of God. The Bible says:

2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should NOT HENCEFORTH LIVE UNTO THEMSELVES, BUT UNTO HIM WHICH DIED FOR THEM, AND ROSE AGAIN.

Jesus Christ gave Himself to us so that we could be His and so that we could be part of His Kingdom. We are citizens of His Kingdom if to us “Christ is all, and in all”. If “Christ is all and in all” then we acknowledge His rule. His salvation permeates every facet of our lives.

You are saved by believing “Christ Is All”. Once you believe in Him “Christ is in All”

1 If Christ Is All And In All Then “How We Be” Will Be Under His Rule. We are not saved by our works, but we are saved when we in our hearts declare “Christ is all”. We realize our brokenness, and cling to His wholeness.

IAn Air Force Drill Instructor stood in front of a new group of recruits. He hollered out “Who thinks he can whip me! Step out right now!” Out of the group stepped a huge young man. He was about 6′ 5” and looked like he was as wide as he was tall. The Instructor said “What’s your name, boy?” The monster said “My name’s Jimmy, and I think I can whoop anyone here”. The Instructor said “All right Jimmy, you come up here and stand next to me.” Once Jimmy got there he looked at the new recruits again and said, “All right now. Who thinks he can whip me and Jimmy?”

That instructor knew his limitations, and we should know ours.
A broken person cannot make themselves right with a perfect God.
Salvation does not come to us because of our abilities and strengths.

The Scripture says ..

Titus 3:3-7 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 NOT BY WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH WE HAVE DONE, BUT ACCORDING TO HIS MERCY HE SAVED US, BY THE WASHING OF REGENERATION, AND RENEWING OF THE HOLY GHOST; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Salvation is all of grace. Christ is all. He is all of Who saves us. It is His work on Calvary and on the basis of the empty tomb we are saved. Christ is all. But once saved Christ is in all. The proof of salvation is what is in the glass!

(Holding up an empty glass) I have some really good tea in this glass. It is some of the best I’ve ever tasted. And in a Masob Jar, which is how every Southerner should drink Southern Ice Tea. You’ve got to taste it to believe it! And the glass is full of it (well, one of us is full of it). Jerry would you taste this tea and tell me what you think? No, it is the best tea! What do you mean there’s nothing there? I tell you, it’s there. And it’s good. No? You don’t believe it? Well, neither do I. I forgot something. There’s no tea in the glass – and it shows!

If Christ is all, then Christ is in all. If you were saved by believing Christ is all, then He is in all. He is in all of you. He is not just in your Sunday, but He’s in your Monday too. He permeates you. He changes you.

I like my coffee, but I don’t usually drink it black. I can, but it’s a bit bitter to me. So I put a little cream and sugar in my coffee. When I put cream and sugar in my coffee it blends with ALL the coffee, it effects ALL the coffee. You don’t look in the cup and see half black and half with cream. It is ALL in ALL.

If Christ is all to you, then you have been saved. But JESUS has come inside. He is all in all. He’s not just with you sometimes, but He’s with you all times. He changes you. You become different. We read:

Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the ELECT of God, holy and beloved

God changes you. When Christ is all and in all then you become elect. That word “elect” means “chosen, people of purpose”. You are “chosen” of God. God chose to shine though you. Jesus said:

John 15:16,19 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it 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.

Jesus is the Chosen of God, and He is all and in all of you. You are Chosen for He is chosen. You are not of the world but you are in the world. We are told in

1 Peter 2:9-10 But ye are a chosen (or elect) generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Christ is all and in all. He is chosen, His people are chosen. He has Kingdom purpose, His people have Kingdom purpose.

As His Chosen we are to exemplify …. meditate on these words with me …

Colossians 3:12-15 … mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering [13] Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. [14] And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. [15] And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Just as Father, Son, and Spirit worked together for our redemption Christ is all and in all, producing in our hearts

Peace – oh thank God for peace in His kingdom,
that peace of God that passeth all understanding
and Thankfulness

Where Christ is all and in all these qualities will always be. And where these qualities are, God’s Kingdom is.

2 If Christ Is All And In All, Then He Will Permeate Our Worship. His Children Love His Word. We read:

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

When Christ is all and in all the Word of Christ dwells in us richly. The poorest congregations are the weakest in the Word of God. The power of the Christian life is only attained by the Word of Christ in us. The Bible says:

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

God’s Children love God’s Word. The Bible tells us that while Annas and Caiaphas were High Priests in the Temple of Jerusalem, the Word of God did not come to them. They had ceremony. They had the building. They even had the Holy of Holies, the sacrifices, and the feasts. But Annas and Caiaphas turned their hearts from God, while a simple man named John the Baptist preached in the wilderness.

Luke 3:2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

Multitudes came to hear John preach the Word of God, but few came to Annas and Caiaphas, these wolves in sheep’s clothing. Where Christ is all and in all the Word of Christ dwells richly. Behold, there is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world! Where the Word of God indwells there the Word of God works. The Church is a people filled with His Word. And because we are filled with His Word His Spirit manifests Himself. There is teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.

Teaching His Word – not our opinions.
Admonishing or encouraging one another to shine for Him
Singing Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

I was talking with a young man the other day about whether we should be using hymnals or praise songs, whether we should be singing our of books or looking at the powerpoint on the wall. I do not think God cares which way we worship. He just bids us to worship.

If Christ is all and in all we WILL be filled to overflowing with praise for Him

This world is not my home
I’m just a-passing through
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore.
Oh Lord, you know
I have no friend like you
If heaven’s not my home
Then Lord what will I do.
The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore.

Colossians 3:16 …. singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

If Christ is all and in all the singing is to the Lord, from Whom we get our Grace. Grace, grace, glorious Grace! We sing with GRACE in our hearts to the Lord. If Chrisy is all and in all we live for Him, we love for Him, we praise Him! He is in our hearts.

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

We are not here because we HAVE to be here. Because Christ is all our Savior and Lord, and because Christ is IN all, He is in our hands, our feet, our hearts, and our heads. And whatsoever the whosoever will does we do it for Jesus.

3 Finally, If Christ Is All And In All Then This Not Only Effects Your Church Life, It Effects Your Home And Your Work Life.

Two elderly, excited Southern women were sitting together in the front pew of church listening to a fiery preacher. When this preacher condemned the sin of stealing, these two ladies cried out at the tops of their lungs, “AMEN, BROTHER”. When the preacher condemned the the sexual sins of homosexuality and casual living together, they yelled again, “PREACH IT, REVEREND”. And when the preacher said how the Scripture condemned the sins of lying and hatred, they jumped to their feet and screamed, “RIGHT ON, BROTHER TELL IT LIKE IT IS… AMEN”. But when the preacher condemned the sin of gossip, the two got very quiet. One turned to the other and whispered, “He’s quit preaching and now he’s meddlin’.”

If Christ is all and in all, then it effects your home life. These are not my words, but God’s Words. We read:

Colossians 3:18-21 …. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. [19] Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. [20] Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. [21] Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

The reason America is in disarray is because the devil has convinced our families to be dysfunctional. Shows like Modern Family celebrate this dysfunctionality. I don’t have time to beat this to death, so I’ll just say it.

God created Adam, and then Eve.
Adam was created to lead, Eve to assist Adam.
Children were to honor their parents, not run the household.
Fathers are to instruct their children, not discourage them or anger them.

What got humanity into trouble in the first place was when Eve did what Adam was suppose to be doing, and Adam meekly followed. Yet God blamed Adam and not Eve for the Fall. The Bible says “By one Man sin entered into the world, and death by sin” (Romans 5:12). Woman is not blamed because man was to be the leader in the marriage. Eve took the forbidden, gave it bto her husband who was with her, and he ate (Genesis 3:6).

  • Ladies, you are to SUBMIT to the Godly leadership of your husbands. SUBMIT is not a bad word, regardless as to what feminism may say. Submission is the basis of order. Even in the Godhead there is submission.

The Father sent the Son to die for us.

God so loved the world that HE GAVE His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON

The Father said “Son, go redeem My people. Go die for My Beloved. Go suffer on that Cross for the sins of the world.” And Jesus went. Jesus submitted. Jesus follows the Head.

Our Lord Jesus said:

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

When Jesus died on that Cross and rose again, He went to sit on the right hand of God the Father. He said “Father, send the Holy Spirit for My sake to My people”. The Father said, “Spirit, Go”, and the Holy Spirit submitted. Submit is not a bad word, it is a God Word. Wives, submit to the Godly leadership of your own husbands.

  • Husbands, you are to love your wives and not be bitter for them. You are to love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25). If Adam had loved his Eve he would not have allowed the devil to talk to her in the first place. He would have led and not been led. He would have loved her and cherished her,

1 Peter 3:7 (KJV) …. giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

You will not be the man that God wants you to be unless you are cherishing and not crushing your wife!

  • Children, you are to “obey your parents in ALL things”. You may not understand this right now, but you are children. CHILDREN. You are CHILDREN not ADULTS. And parents, quit letting your CHILDREN make all the decisions. A little discipline goes a long way. You are the PARENTS, they are the CHILDREN.
  • Fathers, you are NOT to provoke your children. You are to love them, and train them. The Bible says:

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. [6] And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: [7] And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Finally we read:

Colossians 3:22-24 …. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: [23] And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; [24] Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

In the workplace, in the marketplace, where ever you are, if Christ is all and in all “you serve the Lord Christ”. One day we who are His shall see Him face to face. We shall know Him as we are known. We who love Him now will love Him then. We who are saved by Him now shall be saved of Him then.

We shall inherit all things, because Christ is all and in all.
What a glorious promise awaits the Children of God!

May Christ touch your hearts with His Word.

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Five Fold Grace Of God

gracechangeseverything4-w855h425Psalms 146:1-9 Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. [2] While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. [3] Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. [4] His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. [5] Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God: [6] Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever: [7] Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners: (8) The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous: (9) The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.

Baseball legend Yogi Berra (Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra) passed away September of 2015. He was a professional baseball catcher, manager, and coach who played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball, and an 18-time All-Star and 10-time World Series champion. Whether you followed his career or not I’m sure you’ve heard some of his “Yogisms”, cute little sayings he made. He made statements like:

“A day without sunshine is like night”
“Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool”
“If the shoe fits, get another one just like it”

He was burning leaves one day when the fire got out of hand. He ran into the house and called the fire department, telling them that his yard was on fire and he needed help. The dispatcher asked, “How do we get to where you are?” Yogi responded, “Don’t you guys still have those little red trucks?”

Here’s a Yogism that is one of my favorites:

Light travels faster than sound.
That’s why some people appear bright until you hear them speak”

I’ve never heard an atheist speak where I wasn’t astounded by his ignorance. The Bible says that the atheist is a fool. We are told twice in the Scripture The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God(Psalm 53:1; 14:1). Because he has said in his heart “there is no God” the atheist is corrupt, and he himself – like the leper of old – corrupts those whom he touches.

In a world without God there are no moral absolutes.
Without moral absolutes there is no agreed on right or wrong.

It is God – not democracy – that tells us what is right and what is wrong. The farther we draw away from the God of the Bible the more we are imprisoned by our lusts. The farther we draw away from the God of the Holy Scripture the farther we are from the light of truth. The more we try to carry our own burdens apart from the God Who loves us the more bowed down we are by the weight of life. We need God. We need to turn to God and trust Him with all our hearts. We need to love Him, and love the Lord Jesus Christ His only Begotten Son.

When I drive at night I can only see the few feet that are illuminated in front of my headlights. Sometimes when I’m driving and on a curvy, Tennessee road I want to tense up. I’ll begin to think “What about the road ahead? Is it there. Will it make a sharp turn or a twist too quickly for me to navigate? What if there’s a bridge that’s out?” As these thoughts pass through my mind I find myself riding the brakes and tensing up more and more. At those times I have to tell myself that it is not my job to build the road, nor is it my job to place signs along the side of the road. I must trust the road builders that they maintained the road I’m traveling. I must trust the sign builders that they will have a warning posted in advance of a stop or a sudden turn. In short, my job is to stay in the light and drive between the lines.

I didn’t build the highway or the terrain, nor even the car I’m in. But if I stay in the car and keep between the lines I am assured of a safe trip.
It is foolish to turn off the headlights and drive!

In our text today the Psalmist begins by praising God. Then the name of God, LORD, is used in FIVE STATEMENTS that I want us to briefly examine. There is a God, and we need Him!

1 Psalm 146:7 The LORD Looseth The Prisoners. The Great I AM Through Jesus Is The GREAT EMANCIPATOR. Our LORD Frees Us From Sin. We saw earlier in the text that man is temporary and created, but our God is the Creator. He is the One who made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is” (vs 6).

The word “looseth” is the Hiphil Participle of the Hebrew NATHAR (pronounced naw-thar’), which literally means “keeps on causing to be set free”. The Bible tells us that the Lord – the Eternal I AM – keeps on causing the prisoners to be set free”.

Are you in bondage to moral slavery? Come surrendered to the Lord and He will set you free. In our world today people have redefined “sin” to be “disease” or “a life style choice”. Alcoholism is no longer sin, but it is a disease. Homosexuality is no longer sin, but it is a lifestyle choice.

Sin is not a disease, but it leads to disease. Sin cannot be treated with medicine. Only God can loose a person from the bondage of sin.

The Bible tells us that man is bound by chains of sin.

Romans 3:9-12 …. both Jews and Gentiles …. are all under sin; [10] As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: [11] There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. [12] They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Both Jew and Gentile are under sin. Sin covers man, woman, and child. We are born totally without goodness. Our God through Jesus Christ His Son entered this world to:

Matthew 1:21 …. save His people from their sins.

Jesus saves His people. He saves His people from their sins. He saves and keeps on saving. Those He saves do not stay in their sins. Jesus declared ….

John 8:34-36 … Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. [35] And the servant abideth not in the house forever: but the Son abideth ever. [36] If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Those who sin and keep on sinning are the servants of sin.
The LORDthe Great Emancipator – FREES His people from sin.

2 Psalms 146:8 … The LORD Openeth The Eyes Of The Blind. Our Jesus Is The Great Illuminator. Man has never needed MORE LIGHT. Man needs MORE SIGHT. America needs to be made able to see.

You can put a blind person in a room and put as much light on him as you want, he still will not see it. We don’t need LIGHT. We need SIGHT.
We don’t need RELIGION. We need a RELATIONSHIP with Christ.

Jesus told the very religious Pharisees:

John 8:43-44 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because YE CANNOT HEAR MY WORD. [44] Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. ….

The unbeliever apart from God’s intervention cannot hear nor see the things of God. The Lord must open his spiritual eyes so that he can make a choice for or against Christ. Man is blind.

The great need of man is not more light. Man needs sight.

We have light, but light to a blind man means nothing. Hold the bulb to his eyes and – no matter how bright – the blind man cannot see. The God Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness must open your eyes if you will ever see the things of God. The Bible declares that the

2 Corinthians 4:4 … god of this world (that’s Satan) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

The little “g” god Satan, also called the Devil, he and his minions love to blind.

They blind through advertising.
They blind through the sitcom.

Adrian Rogers once said that – and I paraphrase him – the sitcom (situation comedy) is the greatest tool that Satan uses against the Kingdom of God.

  • Will and Grace taught us that homosexuality is good.

  • The Modern Family that same sex couples can raise children in a humorous balanced household

  • Through Cosby we were taught that men are idiots and women the head of the household

  • And through Cheers (which is now on the children’s network Nicolodian) that drinking and drunkenness are not only acceptable, alcoholism is humorous!

The Devil, like Moe on the old Three Stooges programs,
is going around poking people in the spiritual eyes.
America needs SIGHT. It needs The Great Physician, Dr. Jesus!

3 Psalms 146:8 … The LORD Raiseth Them That Are Bowed Down. God Is Our COMFORTER. We are told in …

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (KJV) Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

God is the One to Whom we run for comfort in our troubles. Our LORD Jesus Christ raises up those who are bowed down. We have all had times when trials seem to crush us. From the pauper to the prince, from the least to the most, from the famous to the infamous all have been tried by life. King David cried out:

Psalms 57:6 They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.

That which bows down our souls is the circumstances and people that come in contact with us every day. Every attack can make us better or make us bitter. If we cling to God in the attack we will be made better.

David cried before God. But in the very next verse he said:

Psalms 57:7 … My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.

Yes life sucks us down. It crushes our spirits. What shall we do when it seems as if all is falling down around me? Look up. Look to Jesus. Look to the LORD. He is The Comforter Who promises to be with us. Jesus invites the weary …

Matthew 11:28-30 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.

Sadly, most who are burdened the most stayed home from Church tonight
They thought “I’m just too tired to go”
Yet staying home, they did not open their Bibles.
They did not seek The LORD’s Face.
did not go to Him in prayer.
They turned the television on and lost themselves in the foolishness of it.

They forgot the trouble, rather than letting Christ solve the trouble. There is no blessing in this! Remember you have no better friend than the LORD. Remember those words of that great old song:

I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
The Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and MAKE ME FULLY WHOLE.
In sorrow He’s my COMFORT, in trouble HE’S MY STAY;
He tells me every care on Him to roll.
He’s the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

4 Psalms 146:8 … The LORD Loveth The Righteous. The LORD Is The Great Lover Of His People. He gave us His righteousness through that Bloody Cross of Calvary. The Bible says that Jesus was

Romans 4:25 …. delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.

When you see a wormhole in an apple it’s there not because the worm is eating its way into the apple. The worm is eating its way out of the apple. The worm got in the apple because its egg was laid in the apple blossom. The apple forms around the worm egg. Humans are born into this life with sin in their core. The worm of sin is there when we are born. The problem is in our hearts.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

God knows the heart, and God can fix the heart, broken as it is, if we bring it to Him.

The Bible declares that in His love …

Romans 5:8-9 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. [9] Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Galatians 4:4-7 …. 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.

God loves the world – but will not allow the unsaved worldling into His Heaven. God is redeeming a people to Himself through the Cross of Christ. If you are His by faith, He loves you. If you are not His then I tell you He died for you because He loves you. Come to Him surrendered and be saved, you and your whole household!

5 Psalms 146:9 … The LORD Preserveth The Strangers. This Has A Double Meaning.

a God Preserves Those Who Are Strangers To Him. God wants every person to be saved. He gives the wicked one more day of life because He wants that person to come to know Him through Christ. God wants those who are strangers to Him to come to Him and be saved. The Scripture says:

Ezekiel 33:11 (KJV) Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

2 Peter 3:8-10 (KJV) But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 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.

God will judge the wicked. Those who die rejecting Christ will go to a Devil’s Hell and be judged before a Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15). “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Damnation will come – but God preserves the strangers, giving them one more day, one more invitation, one more second to call on the name of Jesus.

b God Preserves His Church.

He Preserves His Church. The Bible says that we who are His are saved are …

Ephesians 2:19 (KJV) …. no more STRANGERS AND FOREIGNERS, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

We are not strangers to God. We are sons of God. But we are strangers to this world. We are a people set apart from this world because of Christ. God tells us as His Children to not minimize our distinctions, but CAPITALIZE and MAGNIFY them. Jesus tells us:

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (KJV) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

If you are born again you are not like you were before. You do not belong to Satan’s World, but to God’s Kingdom. You are strangers on this earth. God wrote in Peter …

1 Peter 2:9-12 (HCSB) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you as STRANGERS and TEMPORARY RESIDENTS to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you.

We are “strangers and temporary residents or pilgrims” on this world. The world does not understand us. The world will not embrace us. But Beloved, The LORD will take care of us. He will “preserve” us as we cling to Him.

The word “preserves” is the Hebrew SHAWMAR (XNY pronounced shaw-mar’), which means, “to set a watch over, to guard round about, to set a protective hedge of thorns around”.

God cares for His Church. God watches over His Church. But His Church, His people, must stay in the boat with Him. We must walk with Him. We must talk with Him. We must magnify Him. Too many Churches have lowered the standard and let the darkness in in order to placate the world. This world and Christ’s Kingdom will always be at odds. Relax. God is always right. Stay on His straight and narrow.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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God Is El Shaddai – The Names of God

Preached To The Saints at Riverview Baptist August 7, 2016

I like the old television shows, those produced when t.v. had a conscience. I was watching one of those old shows on Netflix the other day – the Dick Van Dyke Show – when I noticed it was written, produced, and directed by Carl Reiner.

The show was made in the ’60s, and I thought at first Reiner might be deal. So I looked up Carl Reiner. Reiner not only produced Dick Van Dyke, he also produced a number of other comedies. He has won 15 Emmy Awards, a Grammy Award, and was elected to the Emmy Hall Of Fame and the Television Hall of Fame. When asked about God, Reiner said:

I am a Jewish Atheist. I have a very different take on who God is.
Man invented God because he needed him. God is us.”

How sad that is. Carl Reiner has been given everything by God. God made him “fearfully and wonderfully”. God gives us life. God gives us talent. “It is He that made us, and not we ourselves”. With all his fame Reiner, now 94, is looking backward over a wonderful career. But what of eternity? The Atheist has no belief that there is a tomorrow beyond this. This life is all you get. Carl – if he leaves this life without Christ – will regret forever his decision.

Carl Reiner’s God is Himself
Many are like Reiner, whether they acknowledge this or not

The following are quotes from the late Chuck Colson. He noted that a Fifth Grade Social Studies book stated …

“Today, when people lose their jobs, they can get some money from the government.” A few pages later the book says, “Today, families who do not have enough money for food can get money from the government.” And a few pages later we read, “Today families who cannot afford to pay their rent can get help from the government.”

Quoting a Junior High Civics Textbook he read:

“People were no longer content to live as their forefathers had lived. They wanted richer, fuller lives. They wanted the government to help make their lives rich and full.”

Our Children are being taught that The Government is God

The Government is limited. Politicians have promised to balance the budget since the 70’s, but we go more and more in debt every day. Governments rise and fall. People, no matter how talented they are, rise and fall. But God is forever. He is not a figment of our imagination. He was not created by man. God created us. It is His design we see all about us. And it is God Who made us.

God is El Shaddai, the God of All Provision

In His Name El Shaddai God declares that He is able to fix the broken. The first time this name of God is mentioned is to Abram, the model of faith. Turn with me to Genesis 17.

Read Together Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

I want you to pay careful attention to this text, for God said three things to Abram:

1. I Am The Almighty God (אֵל שַׁדַּי El Shaddai).
2. You Are To “Walk Before Me” (פָּנִים paniym, literally “In My Presence”).
3. You “Are To Be Perfect” (תָּמִים tamiym, to be “Whole” or “Complete”).

Let’s look at these three statements from our Creator God.

1 The God Of Our Bible – The God Who Came To Abram – Is The Almighty God, the El Shaddai. Each Name that God gives us for Himself tells us something about Himself. Abram is 99 years old, long past child bearing years. For 24 years he has trusted the promise of God. Why did God wait so long before giving Abram a child?

Because God reveals Himself to us in our brokenness.

I agree with Reiner that we need God, but we did not invent God because we needed Him.

God is always there but we often do not know Him as He really is until we are in a state of complete surrender. C.H. Spurgeon said:

Whether we know him as Jehovah, Elohim, Shaddai, or Lord, or by whatsoever other name he has been pleased to manifest himself, that title becomes the ground of our confidence, and is the means of fostering faith in his people’s minds, when they come to understand its meaning. To a trembling people the Lord enlarges on his wonderful names. I think he also does it to excite our wonder and our gratitude. He that loves us so much as Jehovah: he that can create and destroy; he that is the self-existent God; he, even he, has set his heart upon his people, and loves them and counts them precious in his sight. It is a marvelous thing. The more one thinks of it, the more shall he be overwhelmed with astonishment, that he who is everything should love us who are less than nothing. It is the Holy One who has deigned to choose, and to love unholy men, and to look upon them in grace, and save them from their sins. That you may bow low in loving gratitude, God lets you see who He is.”

God was God Almighty, El Shaddai, long before Abram walked the earth, and He will be El Shaddai long after Abram leaves this earth as Abraham. He is El Shaddai. This name means that God is the “All Sufficient Provider”.

He is all that we need, all that we should need … yet there are too many who chase after happiness and satisfaction without Him. Our God is able to overcome any obstacle, any threat, anything whatsoever. He will provide for those who are His.

When Isaac (the son that Abraham would have) blessed Jacob (the grandson that Abraham would have) before he left home Isaac told him:

Genesis 28:1-3 (ESV)…. You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women. 2 Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother. 3 GOD ALMIGHTY {EL SHADDAI} bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a {multitude} of peoples.

In essence Isaac was saying: “Do not try and find a blessing from among the unbelievers. Seek your blessing from El Shaddai Who alone can prosper you as He prospered Abraham”. We can hunt among the lost of this world for blessing, but true and everlasting blessing can only come through El Shaddai, our Almighty God.

When God changed Jacob from a weasel to a prince of God at Bethel the Lord told him:

Genesis 35:10-11 (NASB) God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; You shall no longer be called Jacob, But Israel shall be your name.” Thus He called him Israel. 11 God also said to him, I am God Almighty {El Shaddai}; Be fruitful and multiply; A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, And kings shall come forth from you.

All of Jacob’s tricks brought him prosperity, but every trick also came with cursing. He had alienated his brother Esau and his uncle Laban. But now God came to a crippled Jacob, a broken man, and promised that He would lift him up and help him. From Jacob would come Israel. Jacob would call on El Shaddai once more (see Genesis 43:14) when famine was in the land. He would send his sons to Egypt, not knowing that Joseph was the Prince of Egypt. El Shaddai had placed Joseph in that place in order to bring blessing on Israel, and to change his little family into the nation promised Abraham.

In the Book of Ruth – truly a Book of Blessing – Naomi loses her husband and Ruth her husband, who was Naomi’s son. Naomi was destitute. Naomi says to Ruth:

Ruth 1:20-21 (KJV) And she said …. Call me not Naomi (which means “Pleasant”), call me Mara (which means “Bitter”): for the Almighty (El Shaddai) hath dealt very bitterly with me. [21] I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD (Yahweh) hath testified against me, and the Almighty (El Shaddai) hath afflicted me?

Naomi was saying what many people often say when life gets hard. “El Shaddai let me down”. Yet God did not let Naomi down. God left Naomi was a great daughter in law named Ruth, and God sent Boaz to Ruth and Naomi to care for them both.

God is faithful to His people. God provides for His children. The Bible promises:

James 1:17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

2 El Shaddai Told Abram “You Are To Walk Before Me”.

Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God (El Shaddai); walk before me, and be thou perfect.

Word Study When you read the command that God gave Abram “Walk Before Me” you may not understand it. The Hebrew word (פָּנִים paniym) literally means Abide In My Presence”. In fact, the Hebrew is reflexive, and is best translated “You yourself abide in My Presence”. To receive the blessing of El Shaddai, live your life as if God IS El Shaddai. There are many people who SAY they believe God can meet their needs, but God is often the LAST Person they turn to. God will not take second place. The Bible tells us:

James 1:2-7 (NASB) Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

When tried do you immediately doubt El Shaddai? God never said there would be no trials – He just said that He was El Shaddai whether trials came or not.

When trials come our way (and they will) they are but tests to strengthen us, tests to let us see whether our reliance is on El Shaddai or on ourselves or some other lesser god. The times change. Things happen. God is still El Shaddai, still our provider.

It is fear and a misunderstanding that God is ALWAYS El Shaddai that leads us to do the WRONG thing. Rest in El Shaddai. Trust Him. He has said …

Jeremiah 32:27 (KJV) Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

There is nothing that our El Shaddai cannot do. When God asks us to walk before Him, it is not because God needs our help. It is because

God wants to bless us, to show us His Power and His Might
He wants to show us how He loves us and will provide for us against all odds

God came to Rebekah (Abraham’s future Daughter in Law), the mother of Jacob and Esau, and told her:

Genesis 25:23 (NASB) The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.”

El Shaddai did not ask for her help in this matter. He would bring this to pass. So what happens?

  • Father Isaac sends Esau out for meat and promises that he will give him the blessing when he returns.
  • Rebekah, not understanding that God is El Shaddai, decides she must tell lies and teach Jacob to tell lies, too.
  • Jacob covered in sheepskin creeps in to his blind father, and lying, tells Isaac that he is Esau.
  • Esau returns and finds out that his family has betrayed him, and the blessing has been stolen by his brother

God is not honored in any of this.

God is not glorified when man in his foolish and feeble way tries to help out El Shaddai.

God can keep the Ark from falling off the ox cart without Uzzah’s hand. When we try to help God, when we do not walk before Him and accept Him as He is then we bring death to ourselves, to our dreams, to our family, to our friends.

  • It was the will of God that Nineveh be evangelized, that Christ be preached among the lowest of the low. El Shaddai decreed it. But Jonah decided he knew better than El Shaddai and thus he ran. He ran and ran until he found himself in the belly of a fish. Then he repented, and agreed (howbeit sullenly) to do as El Shaddai said he should do. God could have killed Jonah and killed another, but loved Jonah enough to use his broken life to bring other broken lives to Him. When Jonah asked why El Shaddai cared for Nineveh the Lord told him:

Jonah 4:11 (NASB) Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand ….

Those who “do not know their right hand from their left” are children.

There were 120,000 children in Nineveh, little broken babies the Lord wanted to save.

El Shaddai doesn’t tell us WHY or ASK US PERMISSION, He just says “walk before Me knowing I am El Shaddai. Live your life knowing that I am El Shaddai, and that what I ask you to do is for your good and for My glory”.

Our Great God put it this way when He walked the earth. He said:

John 15:4-8 (KJV) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. [5] I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. [6] If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. [7] If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. [8] Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

When we abide in God our Savior we bear much fruit. But if we do not abide in Him we take ourselves out of the shadow of El Shaddai. We cease bearing fruit. We become cast forth as a branch, withered, and MEN gather us up and cast them into the fire. HOW MANY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS DOES THIS DESCRIBE?

How many times have the children of El Shaddai trust a politician over Himself? And how many times HAVE WE BEEN BURNED? WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN? WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN?

Quit listening to the flesh, to the world, to the chatter of darkness. Walk before El Shaddai, be in His Presence. He has said:

Job 5:19-27 (ESV) {El Shaddai} will deliver you from six troubles; in seven no evil shall touch you. 20 In famine he will redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword. 21 You shall be hidden from the lash of the tongue, and shall not fear destruction when it comes. 22 At destruction and famine you shall laugh, and shall not fear the beasts of the earth. 23 For you shall be in league with the stones of the field, and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you. 24 You shall know that your tent is at peace, and you shall inspect your fold and miss nothing. 25 You shall know also that your offspring shall be many, and your descendants as the grass of the earth. 26You shall come to your grave in ripe old age, like a sheaf gathered up in its season. 27 Behold, this we have searched out; it is true. Hear, and know it for your good.”

God tells Abram “walk before Me, your El Shaddai. Trust Me. You are my Child. I have got your back!”

3 God Tells Abram “You Are To Be Perfect”.

Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

The word “Perfect” is the Hebrew (תָּמִים tamiym) which means “to be “Whole” or “Complete”.

When I first read that I said “whoa God. Perfect? I’m broken. How can I be “Perfect”?” But that’s not what God is saying. He’s saying “be complete IN ME. Find your COMPLETION in Me”. I could preach a whole sermon just on those words. In the morning sessions we have been studying in Colossians. Do you remember studying this?

Colossians 2:8-10 (KJV) Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

We are “complete in Him”. We find our fulness “in Him, in Christ”. Jesus told the Pharisees:

John 8:56 (KJV) Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

When El Shaddai spoke to Abram it was Jesus Christ Who spoke. We are complete in Christ. Our sins are covered completely in Christ. We are forgiven in Christ. In Christ we bear much fruit. In Christ, the El Shaddai, we are blessed. Our Jesus told us:

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

How can I be perfect. I cannot by myself. I cannot be complete by myself. But I can in Christ. When I come to Christ and believe on Him God counts that for righteousness. Let’s look back at our Genesis text. Abram is standing before El Shaddai.

Genesis 17:3-5 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, [4] As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. [5] Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

Abram stopped trying to be El Shaddai. Knowing he was broken Abram “fell on his face before God”. He surrendered. He rested in God. And once he rested in God then El Shaddai was free to bless him. Abram waited 24 years for this blessing.

Surrendered he went from Abram to Abraham
Willing he went from “High Father” to “Father of Many Nations”

God is El Shaddai, but God cannot bless you while you are trying to be your own god. You cannot make your own Isaac. Only Christ can bless you. Only Christ can make you complete. And you will not be complete while you are standing belligerent and demanding before God. You and I are but dust. Cast yourselves into the hand of El Shaddai.Do as He says. Let His Word be your life.

We who have believed on Him are Kings and Priests in His Kingdom – but we are not the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Live for Him. Love through Him. Let others see Jesus in you. That is, IF Jesus is in you. Let His love shine through you. That is, IF Jesus is in you. Jesus 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.

Love the unlovable, just as El Shaddai loves you and I when we were and still are unlovable. That is, IF Jesus is in you. For if God has not changed you from Abram to Abraham, then you are still Abram, listening to your Sarai rather than your Savior. Is Jesus in you? Is Jesus in you? Has He marked you as His own? If not, today would be a great day to get on your face, and seek El Shaddai.

Oh how He loves you and me.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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If You Are Risen You Are Not Dead – Continuing Our Colossal! Series

Preached to the Saints at Riverview Baptist, August 7 2016, Columbia, Tn

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

Mrs. Jones was 92 year old. Legally blind, she was forced to move to a nursing home when her husband of 70 years passed away. When she was helped into her new small room she said “I love it”. The attendant said “Love it? You really love this?” She said “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged. It’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and thank my Lord Jesus for the ones that do.

That’s a Kingdom Mind Set!

When Jesus came to this earth, God came bringing His Kingdom of God. Sixty nine times Jesus tied His Gospel to the Kingdom of God. Here’s just a few examples:

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

Matthew 12:28 (KJV) But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

{To the Pharisees} Matthew 21:31 (KJV) …. Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

Mark 1:14-15 (KJV) Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

The Gospel is very much about the Kingdom of God. God is calling a people to Himself, a people that He died for and rose again to lead. Salvation is not about fire insurance. It is about God coming to earth to bring His Kingdom to earth.

Jesus changes those He touches. Jesus elevates those He blesses. Salvation is about ELEVATION. It is about change.

When Jesus touched the leper that person – once estranged from his family and unclean to the world, was restored. He did not go back to the leper colony. He was elevated. He was restored.

When the blind beggar was healed he did not continue begging in the street. No, he did as Jesus said. “Take up your bed, rise, walk!”. The man was restored to where he should be. He was elevated.

When the woman taken in adultery was tossed to the ground in front of Jesus no man stood in self righteousness over her. Jesus said Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one condemn you?” She replied “No, Lord!” and Jesus said “Neither do I condemn you. Go and SIN NO MORE”. She did not leave that place and go back to sexual sin. She left that place elevated, blessed of God, a member of His Kingdom.

Jesus did not come this earth to slap a band-aid on our boo boos. He came to elevate us. We were made in the image of God, but following Satan we marred that image. Jesus came to lift up the broken. He came to restore to prodigal. He came to make darkness into light.

Jesus came to change those who were …

Colossians 2:13 (KJV) ….. being dead in your sins ….

and to make them alive.

The Bible tells us that Jesus came as a Light into the world, but the Darkness did not comprehend Him (John 1:5).

1 IF You Are Risen With Christ God Commands You To Seek Upward, Not Downward.

Colossians 3:1 (KJV) If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

The first word of our text is IF.

  • IF you are risen with Christ.
  • If you were sin sick, and the Savior saved you.
  • IF you were the Prodigal Son who came home and Jesus embraced you.
  • IF you were that man hopelessly laying by Siloams Fountain, unable to get to the healing waters.
  • IF you were the woman of Samaria in sexual sin, drawing water when the Water of Life came.
  • IF you are saved by faith in Him – if you have believed the Gospel, that Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose again for your salvation – then you are not a pauper or a stranger to Heaven. The Kingdom Gospel declares:

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

Our Jesus came to save everyone who would be saved. When the Leper, broken by his disease came to Jesus pleading Jesus said “be thou clean” and he was healed. When the blind man stumbled toward the sound of his voice crying “Thou Son of David, have mercy on me” Mercy reached out and gave him sight. When the widow cried because her only living relative – a son – lay dead Jesus said “Rise” and that young man lived. And when the sinner comes to Jesus He touches that broken life, raising that person up from darkness, death, and depression.

If You Are Risen With Christ, Seek Upward, Glorifying God.

Lift your hands and hearts in praise to Him.

Colossians 3:1 (KJV) If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

Do you notice that the text says “Christ SITTETH on the right hand of God”. The Right Hand is the place of honor and power. The Right Hand is the place of preeminence. Jesus Christ is alive, the Risen Savior, and we who are His look upward to Him.

Are you saved? The proof is in the LOOK, in the SEEKING. We LOOK upward. We SEEK upward. We glorify Jesus by obeying Him as King of Kings. What has our King decreed?

John 13:34-35 (ESV) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

The dark unsaved world loves downward.
The world asks “What’s in it for me?”

… but we who are His cherished Children are to love as He loved. We are to love one another. We are to love our enemies. We do the hard thing. We do the God thing.

Luke 6:27-28; 32-36 (ESV) … But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. …. 32 If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and YOU WILL BE SONS OF THE MOST HIGH, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

We who are saved do not love alone. God the Holy Spirit is in us and with us. Together with Him we do not ACT UP but we LOOK UP. We live for our King. We let His light shine through us. He is the S-O-N and we are His moon. His light reflects from us. Every saved is God’s Child in the midst of the Devil’s world.

You say “But I am human, and I often fail at this”.
Even the sun seems to dim as it sets each day.
God tells us “SEEK anyway”.

Matthew 7:7-8 (ESV) Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Do not seek to be like the world, nor even like your old you, but seek upward, seek to imitate Christ. Be like Him Who saved you. Live for Him. Be like the Apostle Paul who said ..

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

You are not who you were. God lives in you now. You are a new creature in Christ – old things have passed away, behold, BEHOLD, ALL THINGS are NEW (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I love to go swimming. As a fat man, I often go swimming with a shirt one – that’s all I’ll say about that. One thing I like about swimming is that the fat that binds is a blessing in the water. You can’t hold a fat man down! I love to go underwater (especially if we’re at the beach) and look around if I have my goggles or swim mask on. I can only stay underwater for about a minute, maybe a minute and a half. After just a little while my body will start telling me it’s time to get up ABOVE the water, to get my head in the light and the air. If you get in my way I’ll hurt you trying to get to the top, to get air. Why? Why do I do that, and yet the fish do not. If you take a fish out of the water and darkness the fish will fight you to get back in the water. It will spear you. It will struggle to get back to what is to me a watery grave – but to the fish it is HOME. Yet I struggle to get up. Why? Why? Because I was made for the air and the light, the fish was made for the water and the dark. If you are saved by faith in Christ God has made you His Child. You are no longer a child of darkness and of Satan, but you are a Child of God. The Bible declares:

Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV)8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

If you are risen with Christ – if you are born again, saved by faith in Him – you are designed to do good, to glorify God, to magnify Christ. To look upward, for our Savior is watching you.

Christ sitteth on the right hand of God –
for His Church is to be His Hands and Feet on the earth

2 We Who Are Saved Are Not Only To SEEK Upward, We Are To SET Our Affections Upward.

Colossians 3:2 (KJV) Set your affection on things above, NOT on things on the earth.

Those who are saved are RISEN with Christ. We are LIVING creatures, the SONS of God. We are told in …

Ephesians 2:1-6 (ESV) And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were BY NATURE CHILDREN OF WRATH, LIKE THE REST OF MANKIND. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus

The mark of the unsaved person is that they are enslaved to their own affections “by nature the children of wrath like the rest of mankind.” But now as children of God you are no longer enslaved to this world.

We are to “set our affection” on things above and not things on the earth. The words “set your affection” is the Greek Present Active Imperative of φρονέω (pronounced phroneō). YOU are to control your desires. YOU are to seek to do the things that God says are best. YOU are to be active members of His Kingdom, knowing that Christ’s Spirit is in you. This is an IMPERATIVE in the Greek, a COMMAND.

God would not command us to do something that we could not do

  • God sent Israel out of Egypt – but controlled the Red Sea.
  • God sent Israel into Canaan – but gave them the power to defeat the giants.
  • God sent David to Goliath – but controlled the throw.
  • God sent Peter to Pentecost – and brought 3000 to salvation in one day.

What God commands, He controls. Trust in God! SET your mind!

Colossians 3:3 (KJV) For ye are dead{to the world},
and YOUR LIFE is hid with Christ in God.

We are dead to the world but alive to God in Christ. Our lives are hid with Christ in God. We are His Children, citizens of His Kingdom. His Word governs our actions, and His Spirit guides us into His Word.

Through the power of the Spirit and the spiritual disciplines of prayer and meditation of His Word we turn from the darkness and fully to His light. We …

Colossians 3:5-7 (KJV) Mortify (put to death) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

Believers are not to be involved in:

  • Fornication – the Greek πορνεία (porneía) which describes all types of sexual sin outside of Biblical Marriage: adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, and so forth.
  • Uncleanness – the Greek ἀκαθαρσία (akatharsía) which refers to physical of moral impurity.
  • Inordinate Affection – πάθος (páthos) which is lust that leads to suffering.
  • Evil Concupiscence – κακός ἐπιθυμία (kakós epithymía) or worthless desires or cravings that dishonor God.
  • Covetousness – πλεονεξία (pleonexí) a greedy desire to have more, which leads to idolatry.

God’s wrath comes on people who do these things. We all used to be involved in these dark things at one level or another. However, if you have received Christ as Savior and Christ has received you as His Child, God has changed your hearts. We put off these old things. The Apostle says:

Colossians 3:8-10 (KJV)8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

We put off those old dark ways:

Filthy Communication

These things are not pleasing to God our Father, nor do they glorify Jesus Christ our Lord. Put them away. But put on the new man.

Colossians 3:12-15 (KJV) Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Make a HABIT of doing the God thing and not doing the Dark. Let the Light of Christ shine!

If you belong to God you are holy and beloved. God loves you so much. Be like Jesus.

Be MERCIFUL as Jesus is merciful.
Be KIND as Jesus is kind.
Be HUMBLE as Jesus is humble.
Be MEEK as Jesus is meek.
Be PATIENT as Jesus is patient.
FORGIVE as Jesus forgave you.
Put on LOVE.
Let God’s PEACE rule in your hearts.

God will bring all these characteristics to the forefront in your lives, dear Christians, if you will seek and set upward. Look to Christ’s Scripture. Look to Christ’s Spirit.

3 Live Upward, For Jesus Is Coming Again.

Colossians 3:4 (KJV) When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Our Jesus is coming again. When He comes again He is coming for His Church, the people He loves and the people He died and rose again for. Jesus washed us from our sins in His own blood and has made us kings and priests unto God and His Father (Revelation 1:5-6). He saved us by His Gospel, and left us on this earth to be His hands and feet, His Church.

Be faithful, dear Church. Be faithful to love one another, to love the unlovable. Be faithful to read and heed His Holy Scripture, doing as He has commanded. Remember that you are citizens of His Kingdom. He has promised:

Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV) Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE ADDED TO YOU.

If you live for the Lord as a good Child and a good Citizen the Lord will take care of you. God has never abandoned one of His little ones. Keep your lives focused on Him.

IF you are risen with Him.

There are two major bodies of water in the land where Jesus walked: the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee is the place where Peter, James, and John were fishing when Jesus told them “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”. Jesus walked on the Sea of Galilee. He taught while on Peter’s boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is a place where life is, where fish are, where blessing has been. The Dead Sea, on the other hand, is a place of death. The Dead Sea is saturated with salt – the water is up to 35% salt. Both the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee are fed by the Jordan River. But what makes the Dead Sea dead is that there is no outlet. It receives water from the Jordan, but water never runs out. The sun evaporates the water in it, and it kills everything that accidentally gets in it.

If you belong to God He – the Living Water – has come into your life. But He came to change. If you are alive, that Water flows out of you. You live for Jesus. You love for Jesus. You know He is coming soon. Be like Him until the day He receives you into glory.

May God touch your hearts with his Word.

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Why Is “Keeping Your Word” So Important?

iStock_000000381585SmallJames 5:12 (ESV) But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

Matthew 5:33-37 (ESV) Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Acts 18:18 (ESV) After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow.

How important is it to keep your word? If you tell someone you will do something is it particularly important that you do what you said?

I was raised in a generation of people who were taught the importance of keeping your word. If you told someone you were going to do something, you just flat out did it. You didn’t hem and haw. You didn’t make excuses. You just did it. If something occurred that prevented you from keeping your word (what we called “Being Providentially Hindered”) we called or contacted the person we gave our word to and explained that we could not do as promised. In such a case both parties understood, and all was forgiven. The word was not broken.

This actually happened to me recently. A good Christian friend and I go walking several times a week, something we started because we both need more exercise. After we finished our last walk my friend had told me “I’ll see you at Church Wednesday night”. Wednesday afternoon he calls me. He’s started his job, and it has worn him out. His wife is also under the weather. He says: “Brother, I’m exhausted. I’ve got to get some sleep. I hate going back on my word, but I’m not going to be able to make it tonight”. My response? “I understand brother. Come if you can, but if you can’t that’s ok”. Most of America today would mock this exchange, but not those who were raised to respect integrity. Integrity is important.

Keeping your word is important. When you give your word but fail to follow through, and fail to contact those who have given your word to, then you break trust.

I do not trust a liar, nor any person who gives their word then repeatedly breaks it. And neither does God.

When our Lord walked the earth He was often surrounded by people who were called “Pharisees and Sadducees”. Not all of these people were bad. Some were trustworthy, like Nicodemus who helped bury the crucified Savior (John 19:39). But many of them were unfaithful to their word. Jesus called them “hypocrites” or “two faced people”. These so called religious people were supposed to be committed to the honor of God. Yet they were deceitful, untrustworthy, two faced.

They did not keep their word to God.

Christ follower, when you came to God it was with the promise that you would love Him and love others. It was with the promise that you would follow Jesus. Jesus told those who came to Him to “count the cost”. He said:

Luke 14:26-33 If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

To be saved by Christ means to give your word to Him, to surrender to Him. Your word matters. When you come to Christ you commit all that is you to all that is He, and He promises to never leave you nor forsake you. He promises eternal life. He promises undying love. He promises to be with you.

Are you with Him?

Not too long ago I endorsed a man to pastor a local Church not far from ours. He was called to the Church based on my recommendation. This man made a commitment to God and to the Church- and to me! After he was dismissed from his posting I found out from His Church members that he never visited, never ministered to those in need. When he went to the hospital to see a member he had little care for the sick. He could preach, but he would not minister. He broke his word to both God and his Church, and hurt others in the process.

This is not an isolated incident. I know of many “leaders” in the Church – pastors, deacons, elders, teachers – who have given their word but are (as we used to say in the military) A.W.O.L. (Absent Without Leave). There are a lot of professing Christians who do not keep their word. I meet them in the market. “Sorry I missed Church last Sunday, but I’ll see you this Sunday”. Sunday rolls around and they are not even in my dreams. People join the Church, making a commitment to the fellowship. I know one couple who joined but never returned. When I saw them at the market they tried hiding from me. Two weeks later they’re joining another Church.

Their word is untrustworthy.
They get angry, deflecting their sin on others if confronted.
But God knows what you did.

Not too long ago a well known politician stood in front of the Republican National Convention. Earlier in the year he promised in the debates that whoever won the Convention would be the person he endorsed. He said this live and on recorded television. From

On March 12, three days before the Florida primary, Cruz said he would support the nominee. . . “I committed at the outset, I will support the Republican nominee, whoever it is.” Cruz told reporters at a suburban St. Louis high school. A day later, he made a similar comment to MSNBC’s Chuck Todd:

Todd: “You’ve said some tough things on Trump. Why are you comfortable supporting him as the nominee if he ends up the nominee.”

Cruz: “Well, listen, I pledged at the outset I will support the Republican nominee, whoever it is … when I give my word for something, I follow through and do what I said.”

There were caveats there, no “but ifs”. It was a straight out promise, a giving of his word. When the Convention came and he had lost he was given an opportunity to speak. He refused to endorse the candidate that won. When asked later his remarks – again recorded on national television – he stated – and I quote: “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father”.

But what of your word?

Frankly, Trump says things he shouldn’t say. I get that. Sometimes he’s like a six year old kid on pop rocks. There’s been a lot of mud slinging this election year, entirely too much. But if you’re in a public office (or running for one) you will be attacked, and so will your family. People have attacked my wife, one of the sweetest people I know. But those who attacked her and mocked her are still people. Loving your neighbor means doing good to those who do bad to you. We are to love others for Christ’s sake. We are to love God by keeping our word.

We are in quite a quandary this election year and, frankly, I like none of the candidates. When push comes to shove I will vote for the candidate that is least pro-abortion and most pro-family. And no, I do not buy into the weird sexual revolution that is going on right now in America. Jesus said:

Matthew 19:4-6 … Have you not read that He Who made them in the first place made them man and woman? 5 It says, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will live with his wife. The two will become one.’ 6 So they are no longer two but one. Let no man divide what God has put together.”

Enough said. Having said that, I will not tell you who to vote for. My vote is between my God and myself. But I am frightened, and I think we who are Christ followers should be praying daily for our country, for our Churches, and for our communities. A failure to keep your word in a small area is to be considered untrustworthy in a larger thing.

In our day many Politicians are not keeping their words.
In our day many Pastors are not keeping their words.
In our day many Church leaders are not keeping their words.
In our day these breaches are teaching the people
that they do not need to keep their word.
And this is destroying America.

From a President who ran on family values and traditional marriage, but who “changed his mind” once he got into office to the Pulpetteer who will not love God and love his neighbor, our nation is rotting from within. Are you keeping your word? Are you keeping your word in your marriage, to love, honor, and cherish one another? Are you keeping your word at work, at home, at Church? Does your word matter? The Bible says that those who are excluded from Heaven are …. now read this carefully …

Revelation 22:15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

It does matter. It matters in the marketplace, in the media, in the marriage, every moment of where ever you are. If your word is no good, you are not good. Think about it. Think about it.

May God the Holy Spirit touch your hearts and guide us into all TRUTH.

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