Nobody’s Perfekt But God

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Numbers 13:1-2 (KJV) And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, [2] Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.

Last Wednesday we continued our study through the Book of Deuteronomy. In the newspaper when an error is made they post the “correction” usually in small print somewhere NOT on the first page. I made an error last Wednesday. I know it’s hard to believe, but I did. I know you all think I’m perfect (yes, you can laugh).

We were in Deuteronomy 1:22-23 and read the text …

Deuteronomy 1:22-23 (KJV) And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come. [23] And the saying pleased me well: and I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe:

Here’s where the error is. I said … begin quote …

Now this was not God’s idea, but the people’s idea. God merely told Israel to enter the land and possess it. A delegation from the people came from Israel and said in effect “Let’s not go directly into the land. Let’s send twelve spies who can tell us …”

This statement is wrong. I commend the one who came to me in private and told me that I erred. I read the text without cross referencing the Scripture in Numbers chapter 13. To say “this was not God’s idea” is wrong … but not totally wrong. As you read tonight God said:

Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them

The heads of each of the twelve tribes were to go into the land to “search” it, to survey it. God said “I have given the land to the children of Israel”. God wanted them to see what they had been given. It was not their idea to go into the land, but God’s. But IT WAS their idea to try and figure out “what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come”. I was wrong, and I wanted to make this right.

Nobody’s Perfect But God

None of us are perfect but God. I know it’s a business meeting night and I promise not to be too long. Your time is valuable. But God’s time is more valuable.

In Numbers 13 God tells Moses to send a leader from each tribe into the Promised Land. God knew that each and every one of these men were imperfect and unable. But God expected these imperfect and unable people to come together with Him and do as He said. These men were to step out in faith and go see the land that God had already given them. We read:

Numbers 13:3-16 (KJV) And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel. [4] And these were their names: of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur. [5] Of the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori. [6] Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh. [7] Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph. [8] Of the tribe of Ephraim, Oshea the son of Nun. [9] Of the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu. [10] Of the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi. [11] Of the tribe of Joseph, namely, of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi. [12] Of the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli. [13] Of the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael. [14] Of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi. [15] Of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi. [16] These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua.

When we are reading Scripture many times we are tempted to skip over things that we consider unimportant. I find myself often getting cross-eyed when I go through lists of names like those we have just read. Why did God put all the names of these men in His Bible?

God Knows Who Are His

The Bible tells us that:

2 Timothy 2:19 (KJV) … The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

God not only knows we are imperfect, but He knows them that are His. And He tells them that belong to Him to depart from iniquity. Every one of these men chosen were called specifically by God to believe God and do His work. When God said to choose:

of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur

he specified his TRIBE and his FATHER. This person was called to serve the Lord, not his own self interests. This man might have been a tribal headl, but he was first and foremost a servant of the Lord Who saved him.

Believers are called to imitate God, to DO what He says. We are blessed when we do as our Lord commands. But we as Christians are cursed when we depart from obeying our Lord.

Our God Knows Our Potential

Our God knows all things. The Bible says that He knows “the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done” (Isaiah 46:10). Our God knows what is in our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). Author and Pastor Max Lucado wrote in his book Facing Your Giants:

{When God looked at David the shepherd} God saw what no one else saw– a God-seeking heart. David took after God’s heart, because he stayed after God’s heart. In the end, that is all God wants or needs. Others measure your waist size or wallet. Not God. He examines hearts. When he finds one set on Him, He calls it and claims it.”

I believe that God had the twelve spies names recorded in Scripture not because He knew they wouldn’t fail, but because He wants us to understand that when we depart from Him we will fail miserably. Ten of the spies went into the Promised Land with their eyes not on the Promise of God, but on what they considered were insurmountable odds. How did God classify their action? We are told:

Numbers 13:32 (KJV) …they brought up an EVIL REPORT of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

These men brought an “evil report”. Evil? Absolutely. God told them to go into the land and possess it. They wouldn’t. The Bible says

to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17).

Every spy should have said “Yes, there are challenges, but God said GO and we must GO!”. But they didn’t. They looked at the challenges and made them bigger than our God. There were two spies that gave not an evil report, but a good report. We read:

Numbers 13:30 (KJV) … Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

Caleb, the son of Jephunneh was of the ruling tribe of Judah (see verse 6). He did what every leader should do. He heard God, and said “we are WELL ABLE to overcome it”. Why? Beloved, any believer walking with Christ is “well able to overcome it”. God is with the believer in fellowship – and there is nothing our God cannot do.

There was one other spy who encouraged the people to go into the land. He was “Oshea the son of Nun” from the tribe of Ephraim” (see verse 8). Oshea was a special type of person. We read previously:

Numbers 13:16 (KJV) … And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua.

Moses renamed Oshea. The name Oshea (הוֹשֵׁעַ Hôwshêaʻ, pronounced ho-shay’-ah) means “Salvation”. Moses renamed Oshea Jehoshua (יְהוֹשׁוּעַ Yᵉhôwshûwaʻ, pronounced yeh-ho-shoo’-ah) which means “Jehovah is our Savior”.

Our God Calls Us To Imitate Christ

When Israel finally went into the Promised Land (the second generation) Joshua led them into the land. Why? First, because God chose Joshua to lead them into the land.

Deuteronomy 3:26, 28 (KJV) … the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter. … [28] But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see (see also Deuteronomy 31:23).

I think that the second reason God called Joshua and not Caleb to lead Israel into the Promised Land is because his heart was focused on God our Savior. Moses changed his name from “Salvation” to “Jehovah is our salvation”. Joshua loved the Lord. His heart was on the Lord. He lived imitating Jesus.

This is what God calls every Christian to be. We are to live like we are Jesus. We are to move from a saved state (“Salvation”) to a Christ like state (“Jehovah is our salvation”).

Romans 8:28-29 (KJV) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. [29] For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

God has PREDESTINED every Christian to be like Jesus. This is the will of God for your life. Not that you have a big bank account, or be famous or powerful, but that you and I be like Jesus.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (KJV) Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. [18] But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The Holy Spirit of God is working in the life of every Christian (Ephesis 2:8-10) to make us like Christ, to change us into His image.

1 John 3:2-3 (KJV) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. [3] And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

We as believers work together with the indwelling Spirit to become more like Christ. We do this by imitating Christ is prayer, in Biblical study, and in doing good in a relatively bad world. We are not perfect, dear Ones, but we will be one day. When we see Him we shall be like Him. Our sins will be gone, and we will live with our Savior and Lord forever and ever.

There’s one other thing I see in this text with all these names.

In Genesis 49:10 the Patriarch Jacob prophesied before he died, saying:

Genesis 49:10 (KJV) The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

When God called a King to be over Israel He called David the Shepherd. God promised David the heritage of an eternal throne. The Lord said:

2 Samuel 7:12-13 (KJV) And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. [13] He shall build an house for my name, and I WILL STABLISH THE THRONE OF HIS KINGDOM FOR EVER.

When Jesus Christ entered humanity He was born of the tribe of Judah, of the Household of David. This is what makes our Lord the future and eternal King of Israel. Judah was where the throne was vested. However, Joshua was not of the Tribe of Judah, but of Ephraim. Who was of the Tribe of Judah?

Caleb, the son of Jephunneh

Why didn’t God called Caleb, and not Joshua, to be the leader of Israel? I believe it was because

though Caleb honored and trusted God,
Joshua was more like Jesus
.

God wants you to be like Jesus.
God wants you to love like Jesus.
God wants you to forgive like Jesus.

God wants you to give like Jesus.

Oh, that we would all be like Jesus! This is where the victory is!

Posted in Deuteronomy, Numbers, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , , ,

Wells Without Water

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Photo by Finding Dan | Dan Grinwis on Unsplash

2 Peter 2:1-2 (KJV)1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

2 Peter 2:17 (KJV) These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

The Apostle Peter – under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit – takes a complete chapter in this small 3 chapter epistle to discuss and condemn false prophets.

Before we can ever discuss “false prophets” we need to define them. In the previous chapter Peter wrote:

2 Peter 1:19-21 (KJV) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Prophecy is a teaching of absolute truth that comes not from man, but from GOD. The Church (which is Christ’s people saved by Grace) has a more SURE WORD of prophecy. God called and spoke through people to make our Bible. They spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead.

Prophecy is absolute truth clearly expressed
from our Almighty God.

False prophets are therefore people – whether believer or not – who speak saying they represent truth but who in reality are promoting non-truth or opinion as truth. You may say “What does this have to do with me? I don’t listen to false prophets.” Beloved, yes you do.

False prophets are on the radio, television,
and movies.
False prophets are in newsrooms spinning truth.
False prophets speak without God’s blessing.
False prophets teach our children in schools.
False prophets are in our government.
False prophets permeate our churches.
False prophets are in “Christian” publications.
False prophets focus on “I” and not God.
They tickle the ears rather than teach truth.

What the false prophet says effects our worldview, and therefore effects how we live. They look good, and what they say sounds good. Yet their message cannot be tied to Scripture. Peter – a true Prophet of God – tied the false prophets to two vivid illustrations:

2 Peter 2:17 (KJV) These are wells without water,
clouds that are carried with a tempest …

They are “wells without water” and “passing clouds without water”.

In my front yard is a “wishing well” that I made for my wife. When we moved into our home she told me she’d love to have a wishing well. So I made her one. The base of the well is red brick, and there is a small tin roof over it, with a steel bucket hanging from a rope. The “wishing well” looks, in my opinion, very nice. Sherry is satisfied with it. It looks like a well. But when you get up close to it you will see it’s a well without water. I didn’t even dig a hole to make the well. It just sits on the ground. The inside is filled with bricks, spiders, and I think a bird’s nest or two. The wishing well has no practical value whatsoever. If we didn’t have running water in the house and depended on this well, we’d WISH we had a real well. It’s pretty. It looks good. But it’s nothing.

In the days when Peter was moved by the Spirit to write this letter there was no such thing as running water in a home. People need water. You need water, I need water. We need water to drink. We use water to cook our food. We use water to bathe our bodies. The average person’s body is 60% water. The brain and heart are 73% water, the lungs 83% water, muscles and kidneys are 79% water. Even your bones are 31% water.

A person can live without food for 21 days – and some longer.
A person can live without sleep for 11 days, but ..
But a person can live without water for only 3-4 days.

We need water to live. A well with water blessed the community. A cloud with water blessed the farmer. Wells and clouds without water look good, but bring no blessing, only cursing.

Peter said that these false prophets …

2 Peter 2:13-14 (KJV) …. shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

America has been sold on the idea of sexual contact without the marriage contract. False prophets come into our homes through godless media, telling us and our children that what we feel is more important than what God has said.

Sin enslaves it’s host. We read “EYES FULL OF ADULTERY, and that CANNOT CEASE FROM SIN”. Jesus warned us of the danger of rejecting God’s standard. He told the Pharisees:

John 8:34, 36 (KJV) …. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. … 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

And the Apostle Paul reiterated:

Romans 6:16 (KJV) Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Sin enslaves. The false prophets of modern media invade our households and tell us that “it’s all about how I feel. If I am in love then hook up with my lover. Put the I first, and you will be blessed.” This type of message has radically effected our families and our communities.

Back in 1939 Elmo Roper – considered the forefather of modern surveys and polls – asked whether sexual relations for young people before marriage were all right, unfortunate, or wicked. Only 10% to 11% of women and men said that pre-marital sex was “all right”. That meant that in Billy Graham’s world about 90% of adults believed in what God’s Bible said about sex. Compare this to today. In a Gallup survey (June 2018) 69% of Americans believe that sex between an unmarried man and woman is “morally acceptable”. What happened? The false prophets spoke, and Americans listened.

When Adam was introduced to Eve what did he say?

Genesis 2:23-24 (KJV) … This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Jesus used this very illustration when He was asked about marriage. He said:

Matthew 19:4-6 (KJV) … Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Regardless as to what your favorite television show promotes, physical contact without the wedding contract does not bless anyone. The effects of sexual sin are:

broken hearts
broken homes
aborted babies
broken children
and has promoted a broken society!

The “Sure Word of Prophecy” – our Bible says:

1 Corinthians 7:2 (KJV) … to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

Hebrews 13:4 (KJV) Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Marriage as defined by the Scripture is
one man and one woman bound together
in a contract relationship.

Galatians 5:19 (KJV) … Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Those engaged in sexual sin are warned that their activities rob them of blessing in THIS life as well as in the NEXT life.

Sexual contact outside of the wedding contract is strongly forbidden in Scripture (see Galatians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). God will judge sin, Beloved! But God will save and heal those who come to Him by Christ.

2 Peter 2:4-6 (KJV) For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

  • God judged angelic sin. When the angels revolted against God, the Lord cast them into a hellish pit (see Jude 6; Revelation 20:3).
  • God judged heterosexual sin when He brought a flood on the entire world. The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they took of them wives of all which they chose (Genesis 6:2). The righteous mingled with the unrighteous, and the marriage contract was not observed.
  • God judged homosexual sin when He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:5). The mob saw the angelic messengers who came to Lot’s home and cried out “Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know (intimately know) them.”

God judges sin, & sin has a consequence.
Angels were imprisoned because of sin.
A world was flooded because of sin.
Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of sin.

2 Peter 2:3 (KJV) And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

Right after Jesus rose from the grave He met with Peter and asked him in John 21:15-17):

Simon, do you love Me?”

Peter answered “Lord, You know that I love You”. Jesus told Peter “Then FEED My sheep”. The mark of the true Prophet is that he feeds the Child of God. He promotes the Word of God. He tries to build a Christian worldview in your heart. The false prophet wants POWER and MONEY. He does not love you, nor the God he claims to represent. The false prophet …

2 Peter 2:10 (KJV) … walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

They do not want to be a part of God’s Kingdom, nor of any kingdom. They want to be their own Lord, anarchists, doing evil and darkness rather than coming to God’s light. Like their father satan they desire to be in charge. God declares of them:

2 Peter 2:12 (KJV) But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

These false prophets will ultimately self destruct. They have forsaken the way of Christ. They …

2 Peter 2:15-16 (KJV) … have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbade the madness of the prophet.

Balaam was an Old Testament false prophet who sold his services to the highest bidder. He did not love people. He did not love Jesus. He loved money. When Balaam went to prophecy against God’s people one day the Bible says “the Lord was very angry with him” (Numbers 22:21-39). The Lord caused Balaam’s donkey – his jackass – to crush his foot against the wall. Let’s read the text cited by Peter:

Numbers 22:28-33 (KJV) And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? 29 And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. 30 And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay. 31 Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. 32 And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me: 33 And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.

That jackass saved Balaam’s life. God was going to kill Balaam for what he – as a false prophet – was getting ready to do.

The false prophet will be judged. Do not stand with the false prophets.

2 Peter 2:19-21 (KJV) While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

Stand with Jesus.
Stand with the Living Word.
Seek God’s Will in His Scripture.
This is the way to life everlasting!

One day Jesus met a woman at a well. “Give Me to drink” He said. She replied, “I am a Samaritan. Why would You ask me for a drink of water?” Jesus said “If you knew who I was, you’d ask Me for water, and I would have given you LIVING WATER”. Christ is not a well without water. He is a well flowing with divine and supernatural water. To drink of Him and His word is to “never be thirsty again”. Jesus told her “Go, call your husband, and come back with him”. The woman replied:

John 4:17-18 (KJV) The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

This woman was living as many live today. She had heard the word of the false prophet, and was living without satisfaction or blessing. She had been with five men, and now was with a sixth. But once she met Jesus her life changed.

John 4:28-29 (KJV) The woman then left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

She went back to her home and told the MEN that had previously known her that she had met the Messiah. Her life was changed. She was now in contract with the Living and Eternal Savior.

Jesus can change your life, too! You will never find power for living in the false prophets of this world. Power for living is possible only for those who come to the Living Savior and then – in the power that God grants you – to read and study His Holy Word. May God lead your hearts to follow Him wholeheartedly!

Posted in 2 Peter, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , ,

The Judgement Is God’s

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Photo by Steven Ritzer on Unsplash

Deuteronomy 1:16-17 (KJV) And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. [17] Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.

Last Wednesday we started studying through the Book of Deuteronomy. The name “Deuteronomy” does not come from the Book itself (such as 1 & 2 Peter were written by Peter the Apostle) but from what it is. Deuteronomy means “second law”. The first giving of the Law to God’s Israel was when they left Egypt, and God wrote Exodus through Moses. The first generation of Israel broke the Law by refusing to obey God at the Jordan River, refusing to enter the Promised Land. Their failure caused God to condemn the first generation to wander for forty years in the land until that generation passed. Deuteronomy was written to the second generation of Israel as a second giving of the Law. Deuteronomy repeats many of the Laws of Exodus as well as the Ten Commandments, but also adds a running commentary on the Law and on Israel’s sin.

Why Study Deuteronomy?

First, because it’s part of the Bible, and God wants us to study it. The Bible refers to the first generation of Israel in the New Testament, saying:

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

1 Corinthians 10:4-6 (KJV) And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. [5] But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. [6] Now THESE THINGS WERE OUR EXAMPLES, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

God gave us the Old Testament as an example of what to do, and what NOT to do. Deuteronomy was given to the second generation of Israel AND the Church so that neither group of believers would fall into the same traps and same sins that caused others to lose the Promised Land.

As the Bible says “(Romans 15:4) For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

God wants His Children, whether the Old Covenant Israel or the New Covenant Church to walk victoriously in this present world. We are to be VICTORS NOT VICTIMS.

A second reason we study this Book is because our Lord Jesus quoted more from Deuteronomy and Psalms than any other Biblical text. Jesus wanted the precepts in this Book applied to His Church.

In Deuteronomy chapter 1 Moses recounts the failures of the first generation of Israel. He basically summarizes what happened in Numbers 13-14 which was a shameful blot on Israel’s history. But before Moses summarizes what the first generation of Israel did he talks about organizing the people under leaders and judges. Moses then gives the people a mandate to follow. He said:

Deuteronomy 1:16-17 (KJV) And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. [17] Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; YE SHALL NOT BE AFRAID OF THE FACE OF MAN; FOR THE JUDGMENT IS GOD’S

The leaders and judges were supposed to be totally impartial and totally just. They were not to be driven with fear of man. Moses told them …

For The Judgment Is God’s

The Righteous Are Bond Servants Of God

When Israel was enslaved to Egypt, the people of God in a pagan land, they had to obey what their masters told them to do. There was no choice in the matter. The master was in effect their Lord. If they failed to do as the master said as slaves they would be cruelly punished. The judgment was the master’s. What the master said was true regardless as to what you thought. You had to live according to his will.

When God saved Israel from Egyptian slavery the nation then belonged to Him. God told Pharaoh:

Exodus 7:16 (KJV) … Let my people go, that they may SERVE ME in the wilderness

Exodus 8:1 (KJV) … Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may SERVE ME.

God did not free a nation of slaves just to allow them to be bound to another master. God freed Israel so that in their freedom they would lovingly and willingly serve God.

God has a very simple parameter for either Israelite or Christian. We are saved to serve HIM.
We are freed from slavery to sin to serve the Master.

Beloved, if you are a Christian you are saved to serve the Lord. You are called to be a willing slave to God. I know is a radical thought, but it is nonetheless true. The crowd pleasing Christianity preached from many pulpits today does not accurately present what God has called us to do. We are to serve God. We are to be His bondservants. Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 10:20:

Matthew 4:10 (KJV) … Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him ONLY shalt thou SERVE.

And the Bible says: Colossians 3:23-24 (KJV) And whatsoever ye do, DO IT HEARTILY, AS TO THE LORD, and not unto men;… FOR YE SERVE THE LORD CHRIST.

1 Corinthians 6:20 (KJV) For ye are BOUGHT with a price: therefore glorify God in YOUR BODY, AND IN YOUR SPIRIT, WHICH ARE GOD’S.

1 Corinthians 7:23 (KJV) Ye are BOUGHT with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

Just as Israel no longer belonged to Egypt, you, dear Christian, no longer belong to this world. You belong to God! You are His, bought and paid for.

Romans 12:10-11 (KJV) Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; [11] Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; SERVING THE LORD;

Romans 6:20-22 (KJV) For when ye were the SERVANTS of sin, ye were free from righteousness. [21] What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. [22] But now being made free from sin, and BECOME SERVANTS TO GOD, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

The Christian as well as the Israelite was saved from Egypt
(
i.e. sin & the world) to serve the Living God!

Hebrews 9:14 (KJV) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to SERVE THE LIVING GOD?

We are His servants. We are His slaves. We are to obey God, and do as He wills. We were not freed from Egypt to become anarchists or free agents. We are called to be His bondslaves.

1 Corinthians 7:22 (KJV) For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.

As bondservants together we are to work together for the glory of God.

2 Timothy 2:24 (KJV) And the SERVANT OF THE LORD must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient

As bondservants we reject other masters. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON” (Matthew 6:24).

The benefits of being God’s servant or slave is that He owns me, and must take care of me. As long as I follow His directives I will pass through challenges – just as Israel passed through the Red Sea – unharmed. But what happens when we cease to serve God, and begin to serve ourselves?

The Danger Of Not Serving God

Deuteronomy 1:19-21 (KJV) And when we departed from Horeb, we went through all that great and terrible wilderness, which ye saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites, as the LORD our God commanded us; and we came to Kadeshbarnea. [20] And I said unto you, Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the LORD our God doth give unto us. [21] Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.

Horeb” is Mount Sinai, where Israel received the Law of Exodus. God told Israel:

Deuteronomy 1:8 (KJV) Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.

The land was given to Israel. God told Israel “go in and possess the land”. God tells Israel this over 50 times in Deuteronomy. The land was theirs already. The Lord brought Israel out of Egypt with a mighty hand, destroying their enemies, and transporting them safely through the Red Sea. When Israel arrived at the boundary that passed into Canaan it was marked with a mountain. Moses said:

Deuteronomy 1:20 (KJV) … Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the LORD our God doth give unto us.

The Amorites were highland mountaineers who were the descenants of Canaan, the son of Ham. Ham looked on his father Noah’s nakedness and because of this God cursed the Amorites as well as the other Canaanites. God said:

Genesis 9:25-26 (KJV) … Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. [26] And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

The Canaanites occupied the land of Promise, but they were a God cursed people. The land was given to Abraham, the Father of the Faithful. It was given to Abraham’s Israel. The land belonged to Israel and all they had to do was go in and possess it. Bible scholar Warren Wiersbe said:

faith is not believing in spite of evidence—that’s superstition—but obeying in spite of circumstances and consequences.”

God told Israel to enter the land.
If you belong to God, you should enter the land.
God told Abraham & his descendants to be circumcised.
God told Christians to be baptized.
If you belong to God you do as HE says without murmuring or complaint.

God told His people to fear not, neither be discouraged. Just trust the Lord and do as He says. But then the people begin to stray. We are told:

Deuteronomy 1:22-23 (KJV) And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come. [23] And the saying pleased me well: and I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe:

Now this was not God’s idea, but the people’s idea. God merely told Israel to enter the land and possess it. A delegation from the people came from Israel and said in effect “Let’s not go directly into the land. Let’s send twelve spies who can tell us …

Deuteronomy 1:22 (KJV) … what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come …

God had told them which way to go. He had told them to take ALL the land. The spies were going to be advisors to God. Our Heavenly Father is longsuffering:

Exodus 34:6 (KJV) “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, …”

I am so glad God is longsuffering, patient with His Children. Moses heard the proposal then agreed to it himself. Even great leaders like Moses and King David can make bad decisions! It was not Moses’ place to be God to these people. He was to lead them, to love them, and to obey His Lord and Master. The Bible tells us:

A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump (Galatians 5:9)

In my life I can tell you, the less there is of me and the more of God the better my life works out. There was a song out a few years ago called Slow Fade. The song said:

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white are turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away, People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade…

It is never a good idea to put yourself in the place of God. The spies went into the land, and wandered throughout it for 40 days. When they came back their report was not encouraging, but discouraging.

Deuteronomy 1:25-27 (KJV) And they took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought it down unto us, and brought us word again, and said, It is a good land which the LORD our God doth give us. [26] Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God: [27] And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.

God loved Israel, just as He loves every one of His Children by the Blood. The spies looked at the inhabitants of the land rather than at the God Who saved them. They said …

Deuteronomy 1:28 (KJV) … The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.

Beloved, our God is bigger than any obstacle this life can throw against us. Our God is able to do immeasurably greater than we can even imagine. The Judges in Israel were told to render a fair judgment to each person, to not show respect of persons. What is happening here? Israel is judging God as unable to keep His Word. They are even judging God as Someone Who hates them! They are claiming that God saved them from Egypt just to have them executed by the Amorites. That is utter hogwash! Moses tries to reason with the people.

Deuteronomy 1:29-33 (KJV) … Dread not, neither be afraid of them. [30] The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes; [31] And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place. [32] Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God, [33] Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day.

God was visibly protecting His people. Beloved, can you think back to a time in your lives when God blessed you? Can you not remember the day you met the Crucified Christ at the altar of repentance? Do you not remember how grievous and evil your sins were, and yet the Father forgave you for His dear Son’s sake? Do you not remember the times God intervened in your life, lovingly saving you and blessing you? I can. I can remember numerous answers to prayer, especially the prayer I prayed on the day that Christ Jesus became my Savior and Lord. God bore you as a man would bear a son. He carried you when you could not walk. God did not save you from Egypt and escort you through the deserts in order to kill you at the end. No, God is not like that. God is good, loving, and kind. But God is also just, and holy. And GOD! So the Lord told them:

Deuteronomy 1:35-36, 38 (KJV) Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers, [36] Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the LORD.  … [38] But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.

The first generation of Israel lost the blessings of the Promised Land. God allowed Joshua and Caleb – the two spies who stood with Him – to go into the land. But all the other adults lost out. Why? Because of unbelief and disobedience. Beloved, God is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 10:13; 2 Thessalonians 3:3). God’s Word is true. Let us who are His strive to obey Him in everything, to heed His Word, to follow our Lord where ever He leads. God is able. And God will bless if we will obey Him in all things.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in Deuteronomy, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

Doctrine of Reconciliation

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Photo by Arthur Poulin on Unsplash

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (KJV)  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  [18]  And all things are of God, who hath RECONCILED us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of RECONCILIATION;  [19]  To wit, that God was in Christ, RECONCILING the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of RECONCILIATION.  [20]  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye RECONCILED to God.  [21]  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

One of the most important doctrines in the Bible is the Doctrine of Reconciliation. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word “Reconciliation” as “The state of being reconciled”. Thanks – that really didn’t help. So I looked up “Reconciled” and found the following definitions:

To restore to friendship or harmony”

We Are Not All Children Of God

It is common to hear people say “We are all God’s children”, but that statement is not Biblically true. Jesus told the Pharisees “If God were your Father you would love Me … you are of your father the devil.” (John 8:42-44). It IS true that all people are God’s creation:

Colossians 1:16 (KJV)  For by (God) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

It IS true that all souls – the part of you that gives you life – belong to God:

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.

But it is NOT true to say that “we are all God’s Children”. Those without Christ as Lord and Savior are never referred to in Scripture as God’s Children. It IS true to say that God would have all people to be His Children. God loves everyone regardless as to race or position in life. But not all are born into this world as God’s Children.

We are born into this world sinners.
When we receive Christ we are born again to be God’s Children.

The Bible teaches that humans in their natural or unsaved state walk in opposition to God. In the Book of Romans the Apostle said:

Romans 5:6-11 (KJV)  For when we were yet without strength1, in due time Christ died for the ungodly2.  [7]  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  [8]  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners3, Christ died for us.  [9]  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  [10]  For if, when we were enemies4, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  [11]  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Before God reached out to us in Christ we were “without strength”1, totally unable to turn to God. We did not turn to God because we did not WANT to turn to God. We were “ungodly”2, the opposite of godly. We opposed God by our actions and our lives. We were “sinners”3, doing the things that God asked us not to do. God hates sin. God hates sin because it is against His nature:

Psalms 5:4-5 (KJV)  For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.  [5]  The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou HATEST ALL WORKERS OF INIQUITY.

God is holy, righteous, and just. His actions all are without blemish.

Isaiah 6:3 (KJV) … Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

Psalms 92:15 (KJV) … the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Theologian Charles Ryrie wrote: “The Bible presents God’s attitude toward sin with strong feelings of hostility, disgust, and utter dislike. For example, sin is described as PUTREFYING SORES (Isaiah 1:6), a HEAVY BURDEN (Psalm 38:4), DEFILING FILTH (Titus 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:1), a BINDING DEBT (Matthew 6:12-15), DARKNESS (1 John 1:6) and a SCARLET STAIN (Isaiah 1:18).”

Sin causes us to be the enemy of God. It separates us from our Creator. The Bible says:

Isaiah 59:2 (KJV)  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Jeremiah 5:24-25 (KJV)  Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.  [25]  Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.

Sin is a wall between us and God.
Sin makes us the
enemies of God4.
Sin makes us disagree with God.

Sin is to like the things that God dislikes, and to dislike the things that God likes. Sin is to be in opposition to God.

Romans 3:10-18 (KJV)  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  [11]  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  [12]  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.  [13]  Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:  [14]  Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:  [15]  Their feet are swift to shed blood:  [16]  Destruction and misery are in their ways:  [17]  And the way of peace have they not known:  [18]  There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Every Human Has The Potential To Be A Child Of God

God is righteous – but NONE are righteous. God knows – but NONE understand. God offers life and light, but all turn from it. Before God intervened on our behalf we were His enemies. We were not good people who needed to do a little better, but we were universally and absolutely sinners. But while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. While we were the enemies of God, God reached out in love to save whosoever will.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (KJV)  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  [18]  And all things are of God, who hath RECONCILED us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of RECONCILIATION;

Outside of Christ we are old creatures, sinners without regard for God. But “in Christ” – believing in Him, trusting Him, committing yourself to Him – we are “new creatures”. Our first birth into this world brought us physical life but spiritual death.

You must be BORN AGAIN.
You were born a sinner.
You must be BORN AGAIN a son.

You were not born the first time by your own power. Your parents in love created you, and you were born into this world without your effort or knowledge. The New Birth is likewise something that God brings to you because of what Jesus did on Calvary. When Jesus went to the Cross of Calvary He did so willingly and deliberately for every person. The Scripture says:

2 Corinthians 5:19 (KJV) To wit, that God was in Christ, RECONCILING the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of RECONCILIATION.

Jesus Christ came to this earth to make payment for the sins of all the world. When John the Baptist saw Him he declared:

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

The late Adrian Rogers wrote in Jesus – Our Redemption Provided: “Can you imagine John the Baptist standing there on the banks of Jordan saying ‘Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the elect’? No, the sins of the world.”

The writer Hal Lindsey stated in his book The Gospel of John: “The Israelites thought (Jesus) came to take away the sin of Israel. He says that He came to take away the sin of the world.”

William MacDonald wrote in the Believer’s Bible Commentary page 2295: ““…by His death on the cross, the Lord bought the world and all who are in it. But He did not redeem the whole world. While His work was sufficient for the redemption of all mankind, it is only effective for those who repent, believe, and accept Him.”

Our Lord Jesus told Nicodemus that “you must be born again”. How was Nicodemus to be “born again”? Jesus said it was through the power of the Holy Spirit that a person is “born again”:

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

What makes the New Birth possible? Jesus was very clear on this. He told Nicodemus – and us – that:

John 3:16-17 (KJV)  For God so loved THE WORLD, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  [17]  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that THE WORLD THROUGH HIM MIGHT BE SAVED.

It is very clear that Christ came to give Himself for the world, not just for an elect few. Every person has the possibility of being reconciled to God. The Samaritans that Christ witnessed to testified …

John 4:42 (KJV) … this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Jesus said: John 6:32-33 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.  [33]  For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life UNTO THE WORLD.”.

John 6:51 (KJV)  I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if ANY man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD.

John 12:46-47 (KJV)  I am come a light INTO THE WORLD, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.  [47]  And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but TO SAVE THE WORLD.

The Apostle wrote: 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (KJV)  For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that IF ONE DIED FOR ALL, then were all dead:  [15]  And that HE DIED FOR ALL, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

1 Timothy 2:5-6 (KJV)  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  [6]  WHO GAVE HIMSELF A RANSOM FOR ALL, to be testified in due time.

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.

Mankind stood in a state of war with God. When Christ went to Calvary the sins of the WORLD were placed on Him and judged. He paid the penalty for the sins of all. He RECONCILED us to God by His action. When we receive Christ as Lord and Savior what Christ did is placed on our account.

2 Corinthians 5:19-21 (KJV) To wit, that God was in Christ, RECONCILING the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of RECONCILIATION.  [20]  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye RECONCILED to God.  [21]  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Reconciliation means that when we give ourselves to Christ that the Father does not count our trespasses against God against us. Jesus paid for our sins, so when we receive Him HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS is imputed or placed on our account. As Christians the message we have been given to share will all is that Christ died for all so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. The reason the word MIGHT is placed in the text is because YOU MUST CHOOSE CHRIST. If you choose Christ, believing He gave Himself for you, then you are reconciled to God. If you choose to remain in Adam or your natural state then you are NOT reconciled to God. Christian scholars have called Reconciliation “The Great Exchange”.

In Adam I have death.
In Christ I have life.
In Adam I am a sinner with the world.
In Christ I am a son of God apart from the world.
In Adam I have condemnation.
In Christ I have justification and consolation.
In Adam I am in bondage to the world.
In Christ I am set free to live for God.

What is the message that God has given us His Church? It is a simple message.

2 Corinthians 5:19-20 (KJV) To wit, that God was in Christ, RECONCILING the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of RECONCILIATION.  [20]  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye RECONCILED to God. 

We pray for you. We pray that God’s Holy Spirit will open your eyes to Christ. We pray that you understand that Christ died for you, and God loves you. We pray that you will be obedient to God, and call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus so that you can be saved.

Romans 10:9-13 (KJV)  That if thou shalt CONFESS with thy mouth the LORD Jesus, and shalt BELIEVE IN THINE HEART that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  [10]  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  [11]  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  [12]  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  [13]  For whosoever shall CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.

Christ died for all – and that includes you. Call on Him. Believe Him. Receive Him as Savior and Lord. May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in 1 Corinthians, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

Jesus Is No Myth

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Photo by Jenny Caywood on Unsplash

2 Peter 1:16-21 (KJV) For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; where unto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Every year around Christmas and Easter so called educated people make it a point to ridicule the Christian faith. We expect ridicule from the lost soul. It has always been so. The Scripture says:

1 Corinthians 1:18 (KJV) For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

The lost soul mocks our faith because they do not want to come to the light. Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil (John 3:19). The unconverted sinner enjoys the sin they are in, so much so that many ignore the truth of God and the truth of the Cross. The lost many times will mock our faith. The unsaved or natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him (1 Corinthians 2:14). In order to “debunk” our faith the lost look for reasons to disbelieve it. They invent “cunningly devised fables” to make light of the Scripture and what it professes. I can think of two instances off the top of my head.

  1. Several many years ago one meteorologist said that the time when Israel passed through the Red Sea it was no miracle, but the Sea was at low tide … only a few inches high. If that is true then how did God destroy the Armies of Pharaoh in a few inches of water? The Bible tells us that after Israel passed through the Sea:Exodus 14:28 (KJV) … And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. The destruction of Egypt’s Army makes sense only if the walls of water fell in on them, crushing them in the impact.
  2. Another “scientist” stated that when Jesus walked on the water He was not walking on water, but on ice. He claimed that the Sea of Galilee froze. But the Bible tells us that when Jesus walked on water:Matthew 14:24 (KJV) But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. The eyewitnesses saw the waves of the sea. It was not frozen, but stormy. Jesus walked on waves. It was also Peter – the writer of this Book – who walked next to Christ for but a moment on those same waves. Peter tells us today:

2 Peter 1:16 (KJV) For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

No part of Christianity is a myth, but it is all fact. Our faith is based on physical and spiritual eyewitnesses, eyewitnesses who were willing to lose their homes, their livelihood, and even their lives for the truth of what they saw. Dr. Voddie Baucham stated:

{Our Bible} is a reliable collection of historical documents written down by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses.”

Peter tells us that “We were eyewitnesses of His majesty”. Every supernatural and natural claim made in the Scripture was verified by two or more eyewitnesses who actually saw and experienced the event. In God’s Law He decreed that:

Deuteronomy 19:15 (KJV) … at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

Christianity Is Based On Physical Eyewitness Accounts

The Virgin Birth Was Witnessed

Many people do not believe in the Virgin Birth of Christ, but if Christ were not Virgin Born then He could not be the Messiah or the Christ. One of the oft quoted prophecies of the coming of the Messiah – the Savior of the world – was that He would enter humanity through a Virgin. The Virgin Birth was first proclaimed in the Garden of Eden when God threatened the Tempter:

Genesis 3:15 (KJV) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Many years later the Prophet Isaiah declared:

Isaiah 7:14 (KJV) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

The sign of the Messiah was that He would be Virgin Born. Who witnessed this Virgin Birth? Mary and Joseph (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38) were both witnesses of this miracle, and both spoke to Angels. Mary’s cousin Elizabeth along with her yet born son John (Luke 1:43) were witnesses to the Virgin Birth. The Shepherds (Luke 2:8-20) witnessed the Virgin Birth. Eight days after Christ was born his stepfather and mother took Him to the Temple to be circumcised (Luke 2:21). While in the Temple an old man named Simeon met Jesus and declared Him Messiah, saying:

Luke 2:29-32 (KJV) Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Because TWO witnesses were needed to establish the truth that Jesus is the Only Christ a prophetess named Anna also affirmed Christ as Messiah:

Luke 2:38 (KJV) {Anna} coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Both Anna and Simeon spent their whole lives looking for the Virgin Born Messiah – and fulfilled their mission when they met Christ.

The Miraculous Life Of Christ Was Witnessed

When Jesus started His earthly ministry He was never without a witness to what He did. As a Child in the Temple teaching the sage Rabbi’s eternal truth (Luke 2:41-52) our Jesus had the witnesses of those He taught as well as Joseph and Mary.

Before Jesus formally started His earthly ministry He was witnessed by John the Baptist and the Heavenly Father as well as the Holy Spirit. John testified that Christ was:

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

While the Spirit descended to Christ, and the Father declared “This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17). These are His impeccable Witnesses!

When Christ started His earthly ministry He called twelve Apostles as witnesses, men who followed Him where ever He went. They saw and reported on His miraculous ministry. Midpoint in His ministry Jesus took Peter, James, and John – three witnesses – to the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36). While on this Mountain the disciples saw Jesus speaking with Moses and Elijah – two witnesses from the Old Testament. Following this encounter the Father affirmed Christ once more:

Matthew 17:5 (KJV) …. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

Peter speaks of this wonderful moment in our focal text:

2 Peter 1:17-18 (KJV) For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

Jesus’ ministry was marked with miracles. The blind were given sight, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed, the deaf had their hearing restored, and the dead were caused to live by Jesus (Luke 7:22). Witnesses saw Jesus do these things. He was no charlatan, but the Messiah!

The Brutal Torture And Death Of Christ Was Witnessed

2 Peter 1:16 (KJV) For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Some have claimed that though Jesus was beaten and crucified, He did not suffer death but merely swooned. Many witnesses saw the crucifixion of Christ. The Scripture says:

Matthew 27:35 (KJV) … they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my venture did they cast lots.

The Crucifixion of the Christ was foretold by the Psalmist in Psalms 22:16-18. There is no doubt that Jesus was placed on the Cross. But how do we that He died on that Cross? There were witnesses to His death. The soldiers whose business it was to crucify people witnessed that Jesus died:

John 19:32-35 (KJV) Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.

A professional executioner knew that when a person died blood and water would come out of the stabbed body. The soldiers knew He was dead, and witnessed that death. When He was taken from the Cross witnesses prepared His body:

John 19:40 (KJV) Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

Jesus’ death was witnessed by more than a handful of people. He did not swoon, nor was His death an elaborate hoax. He was crucified and that crucifixion and death was witnessed by both believers and non-believers.

The Victorious Resurrection Of Christ Was Witnessed

The Apostle Paul wrote:

1 Corinthians 15:3-8 (KJV) … Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

When Jesus resurrected from the grave He was seen by many people. He was seen by the guards who watched over His Tomb (Matthew 27:62-66). The Pharisees were afraid that Christ’s disciples would come and steal His Body from the grave, then declare that He had risen. Pilate agreed to put a watch on the Tomb, and that the door be sealed:

Matthew 27:65-66 (KJV) Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. 66 So they went, and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

And yet Christ rose from the grave and taught His disciples for 40 days (Acts 1:3) before ascending into Heaven. If Christ’s death was not real then there is no way that the disciples could overcome a trained militia to rob His grave site. No, Jesus died. He was buried. But He rose again on the third day. He was seen of many witnesses. Jesus Christ is alive forever more!

We Have A Sure Word Of Prophecy

The Prophecies that we have in this Grand Old Book we call the Bible is a “sure word”. The Prophecies that Christ fulfilled are not myths, but every bit that is written is witnessed by two or more witnesses. I myself am a witness of Christ, for I was there the day that He touched me, cleansed me, and made me whole. Every Christian who is a Christian indeed has experienced the supernatural touch of the Risen Savior. Every Christian who is a Christian has met with the Holy Spirit of God, and can go back in their minds to that day they encountered God.

The Apostle tells us all to “take heed”:

2 Peter 1:19-21 (KJV) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; where unto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

If you have heard of Christ but are still sitting on the fence – TAKE HEED! God came to this earth for YOU. He came to this earth to pay for your sins. He came to this earth to be with you, helping you through this life. God came to this earth as a light shining in a dark place.

God loves you.
Jesus Christ loves you.
See Him surrendered as the Babe in the Cradle.
See Him seeking you as the God-Man ministering peace.
See Him suffering, dying on Calvary for you.
See Him shamed, hanging between two thieves.
See Him silent, committed unto death.
See Him sinless, risen from the grave.
See Him saving all who will come to Him.

Oh, that day would dawn upon you! Oh that you would let the Son Rise in your hearts. He comes bringing love to all who believe. If only you would trust Him, calling not on a myth but on the Master. The Bible promises:

Romans 10:9 (KJV) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

He is real. He is living. And He will hear your prayers. Call upon the Name of the Lord and you will be saved. Believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). The witnesses have spoken. The Lord Jesus Christ is the one and only Messiah, the Savior. Will you receive Him?

Posted in 2 Peter, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , ,

Eleven Days From Destiny

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Deuteronomy 1:1-8 (KJV) These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab. [2] (There are eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadeshbarnea.) [3] And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them; [4] After he had slain Sihon the king of the Amorites, which dwelt in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, which dwelt at Astaroth in Edrei: [5] On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, saying,[6] The LORD our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount: [7] Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates. [8] Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.

God’s people are people of purpose. God never saves a person then ignores that person, or allows that person to ignore Him.

God not only saves His people from – but He saves them to.

God saves His people from condemnation, from death, from slavery, from Satan, from defeat and despair, and from hellfire. God also saves His people to glorify Him, to tell others about Him, to win the land for Him, and most importantly to be like Him.

Look at Abraham. The son of unbelieving parents, God called Abraham out of ancient Babylon. God told Abraham “If you follow Me I will use you to bless this entire world”. Abraham was saved from the pagan gods to worship the Living God. He was saved from childlessness to become a great nation. Through Abraham the Christ was given. God blesses those who trust Him.

Let us consider Moses. Moses was supposed to be aborted and murdered. But God saved Moses from death and moved him to the palace of the one who ordered his execution. Moses murdered a man, and ran away from home. God saved Moses from exile to raise him up to lead Israel, the nation God promised Abraham. God saves a person to use them for His glory. You are always saved from so that you can go to.

Let us consider David. David was a shepherd, considered the runt of his father Jesse’s offspring. God saved David from the shepherding to raise him up as supreme leader over Israel. God saved David and trained David to be the greatest mortal king Israel would ever know outside of Jesus Christ.

God’s people are always people of purpose. The unbeliever – like the firefly – dances from leaf to flower, bobbing in the breeze of whim and fancy. God has a greater purpose for His people than to be will ‘o wisps. We were not saved to be carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, by the cunning craftiness of those who lie in wait to deceive (Ephesians 4:14).

God saves us from sin to serve Him, to bring Him glory.
We are to conquer the world through God our Savior.

1. God’s People Are Purposefully Saved By God

Deuteronomy 1:6 The LORD our God spoke unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount:

Beloved, this world is lost, just as Canaan was lost. God saved Israel from Egypt to take the land of Canaan. Why? Because that land was lost. Sin had so imbedded itself in Canaan that child sacrifice abounded.

When sin is uncontested it grows and spreads like a rot.

This world is sick. God came as a Physician to call sinners – those that are sick – to repentance. Jesus said:

Mark 2:17 … They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Israel was given a command by God: “Go into Canaan, and take the land for Me. Do as I say! You are My People. “The Lord our God SPOKE UNTO US in Horeb”.

God did not speak to Canaan. In fact, God did not speak to Israel until after Israel was saved from Egypt.
What principle does this show us from Scripture?

God does not speak to the unbelieving and the defiled. God does not speak to those who are not His by faith. God spoke to US at Horeb – to US at the Mountain of God. Horeb is the same as Mount Sinai, the place where God gave the Law to Israel.

God never speaks to the unbelieving,
nor to the believer living as an unbeliever.
He speaks to the obedient saved,
To the Seeker in need,
To those who dwell in the shadow of His Presence.

God offers salvation to the lost, and bids that all repent and turn to Christ Jesus as both Lord and Savior. Yet to those who reject Him so that they might wallow in sin God says..

Psalms 50:16-21 But UNTO THE WICKED God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? {17} Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. {18} When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. {19} Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. {20} Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother’s son. {21} These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.

And again,

Proverbs 15:29 The LORD is FAR FROM THE WICKED: but he HEARETH THE PRAYER OF THE RIGHTEOUS.

God wants His people – people who are saved from this world, from the slavery of Egypt – those who are Christ’s – to go forward into Canaan and tell others they can be freed too!

  • TELL THEM that Jesus Christ loved us before we ever loved Him. Tell them that God sent His Son to be the payment – the atonement – for our sins (1 John 4:10).

  • TELL THEM that Jesus Christ was manifested – brought to this earth – to take away our sins (1 John 3:5).

  • TELL THEM that God will forgive no man’s sin unless they call upon the Name of Jesus. Our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake (1 John 2:12) – not because we have worked our way into God’s good graces.

  • TELL THEM that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God (John 1:29) Who takes away the sin of the world. The sin of failing to believe in Jesus, of failing to surrender the life to God in Christ, is the chief sin that will send every soul unto eternal damnation. What is Christ’s promise to all who believe?

John 6:35-40 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. {36} But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. {37} All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. {38} For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. {39} And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. {40} And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

God saved Israel to follow Him. God saved the Church to follow Him. We are purposely saved by God. God’s People are also

2. God’s People Are Purposefully Set Apart By God

Deuteronomy 1:6 The LORD our God spoke unto us in Horeb, saying, YE have dwelt LONG ENOUGH in this mount:

When God saved Israel from Egypt He did not immediately send them into Canaan. He led them to Mount Horeb – also called Mount Sinai – where the Lord instructed them and made them into a cohesive nation. Israel had to grow in their faith before they stepped out into Canaan. The Lord does the same thing to the Christian.

The Lord gives you and I times of peace and prosperity so that we can grow in our faith. We abide in the shadow of the Mount of God to grow – then when the time is right we move outward to do as our Lord has commanded.

The Grace you are saved by is not
the Grace you move forward by.

What do I mean by that? Believer, you are to GROW IN GRACE AND IN KNOWLEDGE. The Scripture says:

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.

The world cannot understand the things of God – but they can see your life, and what God has done in it. You are to grow in grace, to grow in faith while you dwell in the relative peace of God’s Mountain. God has a goal for each and every Christian’s life. His goal is not that we wander in the wilderness of this sinful land, nor is His goal that we live defeated lives. The Bible tells us that each Christian is:

Romans 8:29 … predestined to be conformed to the image of God’s Son, {that Jesus} might be the firstborn among many brethren.

On the day that God saved you He predetermined that He wanted each and every one of you to be conformed to the image of Jesus. God wants us to be like Jesus! He wants us to be like Jesus in the way we love others.

God wants us to be kind like Jesus ..
To be giving like Jesus ..
To be worshipful like Jesus ..
To go out and be like Jesus in a non-Jesuslike world.

You come together and assemble together because Jesus commanded it. You worship together because – like Jesus – we who are saved by His shed Blood are kings and priests unto God (Revelation 1:6). We are kings and priests because God made us so (Revelation 5:10) – not because we made ourselves. You who are saved by faith in Him:

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Were saved to be greater than you naturally are. You are predestined by God to be like Jesus just like Israel was predestined to enter the Promised Land. The Almighty God Who

Philippians 1:6 … hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

The first generation of saved Israel refused to enter the land of Canaan as God commanded. They died off … then the second generation went in. God will get His way. It is far better to follow the Lord and be blessed. If you choose to refuse the Lord Who saved you, I am certain that God will not mind taking you to glory where there you can meet your destiny!

God’s people, changed by faith in Christ, should be world changers. We should expect change. We should not expect to stay in the same place at all times. You have dwelt in this mountain long enough. There is no water more bitter than stagnant water. The Christian way of life is about change. What saith the Lord?

Matthew 4:19-20 … Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. {20} And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Immediately the disciples left their nets and followed Jesus.
Abraham left his home and followed Jesus.
Moses left the Desert of Midian to follow Jesus.
David left his sheep to follow Jesus.
God’s people follow Jesus to the glory of the King!

God’s people are not rooted to this earth, but our ultimate inheritance is in Heaven. You must leave the Mountain of God and go about your Father’s business. There’s an old song that truly says:

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.

Jesus said the same thing in the prayer He said for His Church before He was crucified. He said:

John 17:15-18 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil {one}. {16} THEY ARE NOT OF THE WORLD, EVEN AS I AM NOT OF THE WORLD. {17} Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. {18} AS THOU HAST SENT ME INTO THE WORLD, EVEN SO HAVE I ALSO SENT THEM INTO THE WORLD.

Those who belong to Jesus by faith are no longer of this world. We are here – but we are changed creatures. We are no longer of the sons of Adam, but we are sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus (John 1:12). We are agents of change. God changed us, and embraces us daily. He equips us – through prayer and the study of His Word – to go into all the world.

Israel complacent would not enter the Promised Land.
So the land stayed in pagan hands.
The Church complacent allows the land to fall to Satan.

Grow in Him. Pursue your faith, because …

3. God’s People Are Purposefully Sent By God

Deuteronomy 1:2, 6 (There are eleven days journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadesh-barnea.) … {6} The LORD our God spoke unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have DWELT long enough in this mount:

If you are saved, you are saved for a greater purpose. Israel was not saved from Egypt so that she could bivouac or mark time in the shadow of God. God does not save His people just so they can huddle together in the meetings of their local Church, safe and content, protected by four walls. His people are saved so that they can go out and win others to Christ. We are, like the early Church, to “give testimony unto the Word of His Grace” (Acts 14:3) – to tell others what Jesus did for us in our lives.

What is the significance of the statement: “there are eleven days journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir unto Kadesh-Barnea”?

The most profound statements in God’s Holy Word are often ignored or overlooked because we don’t carefully examine them. For instance, in this text we read “There are eleven days journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir unto Kadesh-Barnea”. You might read this and say “So what – who cares how far it is between those two areas?” Yet that eleven days journey is very important. You see, God’s Israel came to the Mountain of God – a place where they were to grow in their relationship to the Almighty – in the third month following their amazing departure from Egypt. Israel dwelt in the shadow of God’s Mountain for nearly a year – eleven months – as God lovingly trained them in what He wanted them to do. God fed them bread from Heaven. The Lord prospered them. He gave them their meat in due season (Psalm 145:15), quail for meat and water to drink. Israel grew fat in the shadow of God’s Mountain. Then one day …

God told His people “It’s time to move. Go and take the Promised Land. Leave this Mountain and do what I trained you to do. Trust Me. Have faith in Me. Though My mountain will be left behind you

I’ll be with you every step of the way”.

Israel should have believed the Lord. Israel sent spies into the Promised Land to see what was there. Those spies brought back huge clusters of grapes and other bounty. These men said “It’s exactly as God said. The land literally flows with milk and honey. It is a great land.” But then ten of the men said “we can’t go into this land. We feel that we just won’t be able to go, regardless as to what God has said (Numbers 13:27ff).” These men, because of their negative feelings, led the rest of Israel to rebel against God. God’s Israel – eleven days from promise, eleven days from God’s blessing – ended up spending forty years dying in the wilderness.

I have met many Christians who – I am certain they were saved – yet nonetheless live defeated lives.

Why? Because they would not trust God and DO what He said. Jesus commanded us to not only HEAR but DO what He said. I don’t know about you, but when I enter glory I want to hear my Master say:

Matthew 25:21 …Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

Let us be a doing people for the Lord. Pray for me, as I pray for you. May God touch your hearts with His Word!

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Pride And Worry Go Away

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Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash

1 Peter 5:5-9 (KJV) Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

When I was a little boy running around outside playing and rolling in the grass with my friends I dreaded the thunder storms. When the skies got dark and the clouds rolled in I and my friends would chant:

Rain, rain, go away,
Come again some other day!

If a storm came in Momma would make us come into the house and lay on our twin beds “so the lightening won’t get you”. At least, that’s what Momma said. I today believe it was because Momma knew if we came inside to play we would wreck the house! So I and my brother chanted, “Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again Some Other Day!” over and over hoping the rain would stay away and we could keep on playing.

As an adult I now know that it is God Who “sends the rain in due season, and causes the ground to yield its crops and the trees their fruit” (Leviticus 26:4). God causes the “sun to shine on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). The rains come for our blessing just as the sunny days come for our blessing. Our God is a God Who loves, and who blesses those who love Him.

The more I learn of God, the more I want to draw near to God.

Don’t you? I particularly want to be near God not just on the mountaintops of life, but also in the valleys. No one knows what tomorrow may bring. The weatherman can give a good guess as to whether it will be rainy or sunny, but only God knows if tomorrow that day will be happy and bright or gloomy and overcast. Solomon – the wisest man who ever lived – said …

Ecclesiastes 7:14 (KJV) In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

Proverbs 27:1 (KJV) Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

We all need to be near God.
We need Him not just on the happy days,
But in the sad.

To Be Near To God We Must Not Be Prideful

1 Peter 5:5 (KJV) Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

The phrase “God resisteth the proud” should cause every one of us a thrill of fear, to pause and consider. The word translated “resisteth” is the Greek ἀντιτάσσω antitassō which means “to stand in opposition to, to range in battle against”. Pride causes God to be at war with us. God does not condone pride. Pride is to make yourself above God.

Pride is what the Chief Archangel Lucifer did one day in Heaven. God made Lucifer – his name means “A bearer of light” or “morning star”– and put him in charge of the other angels. The Bible tells us that one day Lucifer, looking at himself, became inflated with pride. The Bible says that “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18). In arrogance Lucifer stood against God, and with a five “I will” revolt said:

Isaiah 14:13-14 (KJV) For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: [14] I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

With these five “I wills” Lucifer stood against his Creator. The Lord told him “you are fallen from Heaven – you are cut down to the ground! You shall be brought down to the grave, and cast into the pit of hell.” Lucifer became a devil, and this devil became an accuser of the brethren and chief tempter that we call Satan. We see in our text that this fallen angel is no longer an angel of God, but he is a hungry lion. The Apostle warns us …

1 Peter 5:8 (KJV) .. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

When the devil comes he comes as a beautiful creature. He came to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden tempting, enticing. He came to Eve as a serpent, hissing, roaring, getting her attention. Ezekiel tells us that it was Lucifer in that Garden:

Ezekiel 28:13-15 (KJV) THOU HAST BEEN IN EDEN THE GARDEN OF GOD; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. [14] Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. [15] Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

It was pride that the devil appealed to. “Has God really said you shall not eat of every tree in the Garden?” The devil implies that God is witholding the best from Adam and Eve. How dare God forbid even one thing to you, dear Eve. Then Eve departs from the Word of God. “God has said we may eat of every tree, but we are neither to touch nor eat of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden or we will die!” God never told our foreparents they could not touch the tree. He just asked that they trust Him and not eat that which was forbidden. But then the devil says, “You shall not surely die. God has told you a lie” is his implication. “When you eat of this tree you will become like God, like the Triune God! God wishes to keep the best from you.” With those words Eve eats, and gives to her husband with her, and he eats (the full text is in Genesis 3:1-7). And with this:

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

Romans 5:19 (KJV) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners …

Satan like a roaring lion sought out Adam and Eve, and enticing them, devoured them. What made our foreparents vulnerable to the devil’s attack? Pride. Pride, terrible pride. Putting myself first above all others.

  • It was PRIDE that caused Adam to eat the forbidden, locking us out of Eden.
  • It was PRIDE that led Cain to kill Abel, receiving a mark that would plague him the rest of his life. (Genesis 4:1-16)
  • It was PRIDE that led Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery. (Genesis 37:18-36)
  • It was PRIDE that led Pharaoh to kill all the male babies born among the Israelites. (Genesis 1:15-22)
  • It was PRIDE that led King David to take another man’s wife, then murder the husband. (2 Samuel 11-12)
  • It was PRIDE that kept Israel as well as Moses from the Promised Land. (Deuteronomy 32:52)
  • It was PRIDE that cost Samson his strength and ultimately his life. (Judges 16)
  • It was PRIDE that caused Herod to kill all the children two years old and younger in Bethlehem. (Matthew 2:16ff)
  • It was PRIDE that cost the lives of Ananias and Sapphira. (Acts 5:1-11)

Peter himself – the Holy Spirit inspired writer of this beautiful text – told Jesus “Lord, I am ready to go with Thee, both into prison, and to death”. Jesus told Peter that “the cock shall not crow this day before thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest Me” (Luke 22:34). Jesus told Peter – arrogant Peter –

Luke 22:31-32 (KJV) …. Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: [32] But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and WHEN THOU ART CONVERTED, strengthen thy brethren.

Peter had to be broken and his pride laid aside before Christ could draw near to him. So Peter speaks from experience when he tells us that the way to draw near to God is to:

1 Peter 5:5 … all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

We who wish to be close to God are to be “clothed with humility”. That is an interesting phrase. To be “clothed” is to cover yourself so that others do not see your nakedness. If you are “clothed with humility” then that is what people will see when they look at you.

We are to submit to one another. The wife is to submit to the husband (Ephesians 5:21-23), but the husband is also to submit to the wife. The child – the younger – is to submit to the elder, knowing that the elder has more experience and knowledge for living. In the Church we submit to God and submit to one another in obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ. He commanded us, saying:

Matthew 20:25-28 (KJV)… Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. [26] But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; [27] And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: [28] Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Our Jesus set the standard for “being clothed with humility”. See Him Who made Heaven and earth laying there in a manger.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed;
the little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky look down where He lay;
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay!

Our Lord Jesus entered this life in a humble estate. He was raised in a humble town by humble parents. He lived His life without bank account or home. Our Jesus …

Philippians 2:8-9 (KJV)… being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. [9] Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name:

The way to power with God is the Way of Jesus. As we live our lives let us always be “looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). The prideful need not expect a blessing from the Master!

I heard a story once wherein a great King decided to parole one prisoner because of the holidays. Going into the prison he interviewed inmate after inmate. Every inmate he talked to had the same story. “I’m innocent. I don’t deserve to be here, dear King. Let me go!”. Finally the King interviewed one man who was different. “Why are you in this cell young man” the King asked. The man with tears running down his face replied: “Dear King, I am ashamed to say I deserve to be where I am. I broke your law, and knew I was breaking your law when I did it. If I die in this place then I deserve it. I am not worthy of parole!” The King turned to the guard. “Release this man immediately. He doesn’t need to be locked away with all these other good fellows!”

To be blessed of God you must humble yourself. You humble yourself before the surgeon, allowing him to operate on you. You humble yourself before the police officer. Oh Beloved, you must humble yourselves before God. Only in humility can God bless you. Only in humility can God save you!

To Be Near To God We Must Not Be Worryful

1 Peter 5:6-7 (KJV) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Worry is the first cousin to Pride.

When we worry – and we all worry at times – at heart we are saying that we do not trust the faithfulness of God. Hasn’t God said that we are His? Has He not shed His dear Son’s Blood for us? Doesn’t God promise …

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

We are to cast our every cares upon our God. To throw that weight upon our Lord and Savior. Our Lord Jesus told us how unproductive worry is. He declared:

Matthew 6:27-33 (KJV) Which of you by taking thought {worrying} can add one cubit {even one inch} unto his stature? [28] And why take ye thought {worry} for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: [29] And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. [30] Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? [31] Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? [32] (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. [33] But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Worry keeps us from stepping out on faith. Worry is non-productive. Rather than worry, which does nothing, pray. In fact, pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Do the right thing. Let all that you do be done for the glory of God. God tells us:

Psalms 37:3 (KJV) Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

You cannot draw near to God while you are worrying. If you are worried do as He says. Cast yourself into His arms. Confess your fear. Tell Him your heart. Draw near to Him in faith.

Psalms 73:28 (KJV) But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

Psalms 115:11 (KJV) Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.

Psalms 118:8 (KJV) It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

The devil like a roaring lion roams about seeking whom he may devour. If he cannot rob you of your blessing from God by feeding your PRIDE, he will rob you of your JOY in Christ by making you worry. Author Max Lucado wrote in his book Come Thirsty:

Worry is an option, not an assignment. God can lead you into a worry-free world. Be quick to pray. Focus less on the problems ahead and more on the victories behind. Do your part and God will do his. He will guard your heart with his peace…a peace that passes understanding.”

When I was growing up I never worried that we would have dinner on the table. I knew my daddy loved me and worked hard to make a living for us. I trusted him. Our Heavenly Father is more powerful than anyone anywhere. When He promises to look after us, then he will keep His promise. Jesus tells us:

John 16:33 (KJV) These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

If you are a saved believer in Christ then you were purchased by the Blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:19). You belong to God now. You are of countless worth to the Savior, and are cherished by the Father. Cast all your worries on Him, for He cares for YOU! Remember the ancient words:

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

God left you on this earth for a purpose. Dear believer, He did not save you to destroy you. Our God is faithful! If you do not know Christ as your Lord and Savior I beg you – REPENT, and turn to Him today. Receive Christ as He is – both Lord and Savior. Trust Him. Do not fear God, but fear hell if you will not trust Him. Call upon the Name of the Lord believing, and you shall be saved!

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Faith Changes Things

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2 Peter 1:1-4 (KJV) Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: [2] Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, [3] According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: [4] Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Faith in Jesus Christ changes things.
Faith in Jesus Christ is the only thing that will change your life.

The Bible tells us that:

John 1:17 (KJV) For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Now this doesn’t mean that the Law had no truth in it, nor does it mean that God did not extend grace and truth to the Old Testament Saint. But the Law was external. It was written on tablets and scrolls, but not on the human heart. God loves His Israel just as much as He now loves His Church. But Israel had the external law to guide them. God promised that a greater day would come. He spoke through the Prophet saying:

Jeremiah 31:31-33 (KJV) Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a NEW COVENANT with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day [that] I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I WILL PUT MY LAW IN THEIR INWARD PARTS, AND WRITE IT IN THEIR HEARTS; AND WILL BE THEIR GOD, and they shall be my people.

The Law was written on tablets and scrolls, but not on the heart. Jesus Christ introduced Himself as the Messiah, the One Who would bring in the NEW Covenant. When He gave us the Lord’s Table He said of the Cup:

Luke 22:20 (KJV) ….. This cup [is] the new testament (New Covenant) in my blood, which is shed for you.

Moses was a great man, and a great saint. The Law that God wrote through Him was pure and holy and right. The Law was not a burden. But the Law could only diagnose sin, it could not fix it. Jesus fixed sin by dying for us.

Hebrews 9:14-15 (KJV) …. offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the NEW TESTAMENT (New Covenant), that BY MEANS OF DEATH, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were] under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

Why did God through Christ usher in a New Covenant? Because the Old Covenant couldn’t change who we were. It did not effect our hearts.

God Wants Us To Be Like His Son

2 Peter 1:1 (KJV) Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ ..

If you were to read this Epistle and not know that Peter was a fisherman then you would think that this was written by someone with a great deal of education. You would expect this person to have an alphabet of letters following his name. Peter had no seminary training, but he was surrendered to God in all that he did.

When God made Adam and Eve the Bible says that God made them in His image.

Genesis 1:26 (KJV) … God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the … earth.

God made us like Himself. But when Adam fell into sin he departed from God. The Bible said in Romans 5:21 … “sin hath reigned unto death”. Sin reigned so heartily that eventually God had Noah build an Ark, and through RAIN destroyed all but eight. As Noah and his family repopulated the world and over time Abraham was born, God promised through Abraham to bring man back to Himself. The Old Testament is the story of how God prepared the world for the coming of Christ. The reason Christ came:

As a Child in a manger
As a Boy in the Temple
As a Shepherd to His people
As a Sacrifice for our sins
As a Conquerer of the grave
As a Victor at God’s right hand

..was so that we could receive the Divine Nature. God wants us to be like Him.

The Peter that first met Christ was not
The Peter who wrote this book

This letter starts simply with “Simon Peter”. This is the only New Testament letter where the Author uses a double name. Before he met Jesus the Apostle was “Simon”, a name that means “to listen”. It’s almost comical because Simon often acted without thinking. But the name “Peter” means “a Rock”. This was the name that Jesus gave Simon (Matthew 16:18) when he told Jesus “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God”.

As Peter drew nearer to Christ he became more Christlike and less Peter-like. God wants this for you and I as well. Peter writes:

2 Peter 1:4 (KJV) …Whereby are given unto us EXCEEDING GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES: that by these YE MIGHT BE PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.


God wants you to be like Jesus. Jesus Christ died to make you more like Himself.

The writer of Hebrews wrote:

Hebrews 2:9-10 (KJV) But WE SEE JESUS, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. [10] For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in BRINGING MANY SONS UNTO GLORY, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

God wants to bring you to glory, to make you like His dear Son. The Apostle said:

Romans 8:29 (KJV) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

God the Father wants you to be just like Jesus. God the Son wants you to be just like Jesus. The indwelling God the Holy Spirit wants you to be just like Jesus. This is the target that you should shoot for, the goal that the Almighty wants to see you reach.

2 Peter 1:3 (KJV) According as his divine power HATH GIVEN UNTO US ALL THINGS that [pertain] unto life and godliness…

God has given us ALL THINGS that are necessary to bring to us a Divine Nature.

God has given us His Word.
God has given us His Spirit.
God has given us His Son.
God has given us His promises.

2 Peter 1:4 (KJV) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious PROMISES:

To Be Like Jesus We Need More Than Faith

If God has given us everything we need to be like Jesus then why is it that there are some who never approach this “Divine Nature”? Because faith alone in Christ saves – but once you are saved you are to ADD TO that faith. When Simon Peter introduces himself at the beginning of this letter, how does he do so?

2 Peter 1:1 (KJV) Simon Peter, a SERVANT and an apostle of Jesus Christ …

The first word he uses is not APOSTLE but SERVANT (doulos). Many Christians think that God is their servant, but that’s not true. If you are a Christian then YOU are GOD’S SERVANT. Faith saved us, but our faith, if genuine, will go on to serve our Savior. The stepbrother of Jesus warned us:

James 2:19-20 (KJV) Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also BELIEVE, AND TREMBLE. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

A faith that does not work for Christ is a faith that will ultimately not work for Heaven! It is out of order.

Peter tells us that in order to become more like Christ we are to diligently add to our faith:

2 Peter 1:5 (KJV) And beside this, giving all diligence, ADD TO your faith VIRTUE; and to virtue knowledge;

  • Virtue is the Greek ἀρέτη arétē, (pronounced ar-et’-ay) which means moral goodness. We are not to be like the fallen world. We are to be obedient to our God in all that He commands. His commands are not a burden to the believer:

1 John 5:3-5 (KJV) For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and HIS COMMANDMENTS ARE NOT GRIEVOUS. [4] For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. [5] Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

The Christian is not to be swept up in the sinful fads of this world, no matter how “politically correct” they may be. Jesus never “slept around”. Jesus never lied or cursed. Jesus was never mean spirited. Though He rejected sin in all forms, He offered to bless anyone who would repent and come unto Him in faith. We are warned by James:

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

James 4:8 (KJV) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

We cannot be possessors of the Divine Nature and the fallen nature at the same time. You must choose.

2 Peter 1:5 (KJV) And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue KNOWLEDGE;

  • Add to virtue KNOWLEDGE. Learn of Christ. Study Him. Focus on Him. You cannot read and study your Bible enough. You cannot read and study what Christ said enough. Jesus said:

Matthew 11:28-29 (KJV) Come unto me, all [ye] that labour 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.

We usually read the comfort part of this text without reading that “and learn of Me”. Jesus said “come to Me and learn from Me. Do what I did. Follow My examples. Walk in My shoes.” Little kids love to dress up and be like their parents. My sons always walked around the house in my shoes when they were little. Walk around in Jesus’ shoes. Reach out in love to others, letting God be your guide. Be like Him.

2 Peter 1:6 (KJV) And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

  • Add to knowledge TEMPERANCE (ἐγκράτεια enkráteia, eng-krat’-i-ah), also known as SELF CONTROL. The word “temperance” refers to how you control your body, your passions and your expression of passion. Christians are to be self controlled as temperance is within the Fruit of the Spirit. Jesus was self controlled. He controlled His anger, His tongue, and His appetites in a way that glorified God.

  • Add to temperance PATIENCE. We are impatient people, but God is patient. He allows the world to make bad decisions day after day without dropping the hand of judgment on the earth.

2 Peter 3:9 (KJV) 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.

God waits because He wants as many saved as possible to enter into His family of faith. James saw patience as a worker in our lives when he wrote:

James 1:2-4 (KJV) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh PATIENCE. 4 But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

God uses trials to form us, to mold us. So we must be patient, trusting the Lord as we go through this life. Never give up, never give in, but always give God the glory! Learn the art of silence & waiting.

Psalms 27:14 (KJV) Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

  • Add to patience GODLINESS. To be godly is to seek to please God.

We are saved Sons of God who should want to please our God. Godliness means to have a personal attitude toward God that asks before doing “will this make my Father happy?”

2 Peter 1:7 (KJV) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

Do that which pleases your Lord God.

  • Add to godliness BROTHERLY KINDNESS. Be kind to others. When they mess up, be kind. If you must correct someone, be kind. To be kind is to be gentle.

Ephesians 4:32 (KJV) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Proverbs 15:1-2 (KJV) A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. [2] The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.

Jesus was always kind – though He could be harsh. If a kind word would do, this was His way. And finally, to our faith we are to add one more ingredient.

  • Add to brotherly kindness CHARITY. Love all. Let love rule your lives.

Hebrews 10:24 (KJV) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

The faith that May God touch your hearts with His Word!

Posted in 2 Peter, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , ,

The Christmas Story Part 3

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

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God is not usually found in the bright lights of man, in the fanfare, in the casinos, nor on the pinnacles of human achievement. The Bible tells us that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all“.(1 John 1:5). The Light of God is not found in the supposed glories of man. It is Satan that will take you up into a high mountain, and show you all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. and ask you to fall down and worship him. (Matthew 4:8-10). God is not in that. The Son of God was born of a virgin, cloaked in humanity, born just as you and I were born. He did not come in a palace, but in a manger. He did not come of rich parents, and even today the rich rarely regard Him. He was born of lowly parents, though to be born He had to lower Himself from glory – true glory.

There are three things we will see in the Scripture today. We will see what it means that Jesus is the firstborn. Once we understand this, we will prove that Jesus Christ must be loved and cherished. And finally, we will see why the cherished and loved Jesus brings glory where He dwells. First,

God Is In Control

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son

Our God is an awesome God. It is He that created all things. The Bible says:

Psalms 90:1-2 (KJV) … Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

God made all things. It did not evolve of accident, but was purposefully made. From the beginning of Genesis we see God “bringing forth” life. God is in control of all things. Why are Joseph and Mary in a little town of Bethlehem? Because God is in control. God turned the heart of the king.

Proverbs 21:1 (KJV) The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

When …

it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” (Luke 2:1)

this did not happen by accident. This was no coincidence. But God is in control. God brought forth Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem because this is where God wanted them to be. The Bible tells us ..

she brought forth her firstborn son”

The text does not say “Mary brought forth THEIR firstborn Son”, but it says that HER firstborn Son was born. I admire the humility and composure of Joseph. He is nearly ignored in the birth of Christ yet, good man that he was, if he had not been faithful Mary probably never would have brought this Child forth. The Child born is born of the Holy Spirit of God.

Matthew 1:18 … When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

The Bible tells us that Joseph was …

Matthew 1:19-21 (KJV) … a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

God would work through Mary to “bring forth” His Son onto this earth. Just as God brought forth life in the beginning, God now brings forth eternal life through His Son Jesus. This God born Son has within His frame

Colossians 2:9 … all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

In Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead. Perfect God and Perfect Man meet in Christ. As the Son of God Christ will please the Father, doing His business. This little Baby – the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world – will stand between God and Man. He is the Mediator of the New Covenant. He is the One Who will bring peace between God and Man. Mary ..

Luke 2:7 … brought forth her firstborn son

So that God could enter His own creation. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him..” Jesus Christ is Mary’s firstborn Son, but He is God’s only Begotten Son. Man has been at war with God for many years. Sin has brought a breech between man and God. Now God lowers Himself to become Man so that He can reach Man.

It is through Mary that the Son of God …

Philippians 2:7 … took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men..

Why is this Baby born in this place at this time? Because God in His love wants to reach the world with love. He wants to destroy death and the power of evil. How will He do this?

Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

God the Son left eternity to come to us. The God Who is the Great I AM – who revealed himself to Moses at the burning bush – (Exodus 3:14; Psalm 90:2; John 8:58) would now reveals Himself to humanity in a manger. That fascinates me that God loves us this much!

Jesus is more than just a Rabbi, and Christmas more than just a holiday. It is at Christmas that we recognize God became Mary’s Firstborn so that we could be born again. Jesus is the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29) so that we who receive Him can become the children of God.

No Room For HIM or THEM

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger

Look at the love that Mary had for Jesus! The Lord Jesus, born of a virgin, is not cast from His mother, but is tenderly wrapped in swaddling clothes and carefully laid in a manger. This is the Savior of the world, she knows that she must take care of Him. Though Mary may not know at this time that He will be the Lamb of God Who taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29), she does know His importance. Do all see this importance? No, because:

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

I’ve seen a lot of commentaries that explain the phrase “no room for them at the inn” in a variety of ways. Some say that this is because during the order of Caesar there were so many in Bethlehem that there was no place for Joseph, Mary, or Jesus but a stable. But I want us to look at this another way.

God is in control.

If God had wanted Mary to have her Baby and our Savior in a five star motel, then it would have happened. If our awesome God wanted Jesus to be born in a place where Mary’s every need was met by a servant, then this is what would have happened. It was God Who caused them to enter Bethlehem and stay not at an inn, but in a stable. Why? Why would God treat His Son this way? The great Evangelist Dwight L. Moody preached:

He might have been ushered into this world with ten thousand angels; yea, legions upon legions of angels might have come to herald his advent. He might have been born in a palace or a castle. He might have been born upon a throne, if he had chosen to; but he just became poor, for your sake and mine. He passed by mansions and thrones and dominions, and went down into a manger. … When the Prince of Heaven came down, what kind of a reception did he meet with? There were no hallelujahs from the people. He found that there was no room in Bethlehem for him; there was no room in Jerusalem for him. When he arrived at Jerusalem not only the King, but all Jerusalem was troubled. When the wise men told Herod: “He is King of the Jews, for we have seen his star in the East,” not only the King upon the throne, but all Jerusalem was in trouble; and every man that had been looking for him seemed to be troubled, and the whole city is excited. … has the world grown better? Is not this world about like that little town in Bethlehem? There is no room for him? What nation wants him to-day? Does this nation want him? Suppose you should put it to a popular vote, I don’t believe there is a town in the whole republic that would vote for him. … I am ashamed to say that there are many of our churches that really would not want him. There would be a different state of things in the Church of God, to-day, if Christ should come. A great many church members do not want him; they say: “My life is not right.” There are very few families in the whole city of New York that would make room for him. They would make room for the greatest drunkard in New York, rather than make room for him. Don’t think the world is better if it don’t make room for him. If he should go to Washington, do you think they would make room for him there?”

There was no room for Christ. Neither Christ nor His family were wanted by the fallen world. Though He came to save the World:

John 3:17 (KJV)17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

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

Here He is, but there is no room for Him. He is the Suffering Servant of whom Isaiah said:

Isaiah 53:2-3 (KJV) For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Oh that we would love Him as He loves us. But when we love Jesus as He loves us then we become cast outs together. “There was no room for THEM at the inn”. Those in Christ’s family will not be loved by the world. Jesus told us that. He said:

John 15:18-19 (KJV) If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Oh how I love Jesus, and Oh how I hope you love Jesus! But if you love Jesus know that the world will not love you either. But we must keep loving Jesus. We must not compromise with the world. We must not ourselves ever forget that there is no room at the inn for them. We are strangers and foreigners on this earth. We belong to God.

Now let me get personal.

Are you making room for Jesus in your daily life? Do you live for Jesus at home, in the midst of your family, when you are away from this Church house? Is there room for Christ in your private conversation when the preacher cannot hear you? Do others at work know that you are a Christian, that you are saved by faith in Christ, or would they be surprised to discover you at Church on Sunday morning? We make room at the inn of our hearts for hurt and dismay over others, so much so that many times we hold grudges for years over what others have or have not done to us. Yet is there room at the inn of your mouth – do you refer to Christ in your conversation, and speak as Christ would speak before a lost and dying world? Do your children see Christ in you? He must be brought forth, Beloved, if you have believed in Him. You must lay Jesus tenderly before the world, wrapped in swaddling clothes, cherished – the focus of your attention.

When unbelievers heard that Paul and Silas were coming to their town they said, “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also” (Acts 17:6), and they troubled the people. They had no room for them at the inn. But that is all right. God is in control. God will triumph. The world will always say there is no room at the inn for them, yet:

1 John 4:4 (KJV) Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

If you have made room for Christ in your heart and life, then God is able – through you – to make a difference. Just remember that this is normal for Christ’s Beloved. Live a life of surrender, loving Christ with all your hearts. Look unto Jesus.

Jesus Christ surrendered Himself to Mary to enter into this world.
Jesus Christ surrendered Himself to suffering, deprivation, and pain.
Jesus Christ surrendered Himself to the horrid death of the Cross.
Oh how He loves you and me!

Shall you say to Him, “There is no room at the inn – I have no room for you in my life“? Or shall you do a sad thing, the saddest thing of all, and send Him into the smallest part of your life, into the manger, into the areas you care little about. No Beloved, make room for Him! He is worthy. Surrender to Him if you would be blessed.

Glory To God In The Highest!

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Jesus in the manger lay in a place where the beasts were fed. The Bread of Life (John 6:48) would lay in a feed trough. Though the animals would not feed on Him, He would one day compare Himself to bread and drink, the very foundation of life.

While Jesus lay in that manger, the glory of God was in that place.

Jesus transforms what He touches. The Bible tells us that when our Lord was laid in this Manger that …

Luke 2:8-14 (KJV) And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

These common shepherds – forgotten people watching their flock while others slept – meet an angel of the Lord. The Messiah has come! Where is He?

Is He in Herod’s Palace?
Is He at the High Priest’s home?
Has He a guard of soldiers round about Him?
Is He waited on by nanny and butler?

No, here you find Him.
In a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Jesus is in the lowest place He can be so that the lowest and least among us can reach Him. Later wise men shall bring Him gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But now God brings Him the shepherds. He will bring Jesus to you as well – if you but receive Him.

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Unto The Hills

waranont-wichittranont-409275-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Waranont Wichittranont on Unsplash

Psalms 121:1-8 (KJV) A Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. [2] My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. [3] He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. [4] Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. [5] The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. [6] The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. [7] The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. [8] The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

I have noticed an epidemic of unexplained young deaths in the obituaries of our town Columbia over the last few years. I saw a few young babies pass away, and that is always sad. But I have seen a number of people in the 20-40 year range pass away “at home”. Some may have been cancer, but I suspect something else is at work.

My suspicions were rewarded when I came across an article from the Colson Center, a Christian ministry that produces the radio show “Breakpoint”. The article was called “The So Called ‘Deaths Of Despair’”. John Stonestreet reported that for the 3rd year in a row the Centers for Disease Control said that American life expectancy has dropped. What caused this? The last time our life expectancy dropped was back in the early 1900’s during World War 1 and the outbreak of the “Spanish Flu” pandemic. What caused the drop in life expectancy this time? Was it Cancer or some other disease for which we have no cure? No. It was ..

Drug Overdoses and Suicides

Breakpoint reported “In 2017, more than 70,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, and approximately 45,000 people intentionally took their own lives.” Researcher Anne Case stated “Your family life has fallen apart, you don’t know your kids anymore, all the things you expected when you started out your life just haven’t happened at all.” These deaths have been labeled “Deaths of Despair”. Why are people despairing? I believe it is because they are putting their faith in the wrong thing. They need the LORD.

Look To The Right Lighthouse

Psalms 121:1 … I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

I have heard “despair” defined as a type of sin.
Despair comes about because
we focus our faith on the wrong thing.

You can liken despair to the Captain navigating his ship by night. In the distance he sees what he thinks is the shine of the lighthouse and, believing what he sees is the light, he adjusts the ship’s course accordingly. When he hits rock and the ship begins to sink it is then that he realizes he was seeing a reflection of the moon on the water. What he thought was safe was not safe. He was focused on the wrong thing, and navigating lives based on error. Now the Captain and his crew are shipwrecked. Shipwreck is despair.

We all suffer.
The saved suffer and the unsaved suffer.
The moral and the immoral suffer.
The Christian and the atheist both suffer.

This world is a fallen place, a broken toy. Yet the Christian is called not to despair but to hope. We have a God Who loves us and a God Who has promised us exceedingly great promises.

Hebrews 6:17-19 (KJV)  Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:  [18]  That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:  [19]  Which HOPE WE HAVE AS AN ANCHOR OF THE SOUL, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

The hope of the believer in Christ is sure and steadfast. It is this anchor that keeps us from becoming shipwrecked on the shores of life. Let me be plain – it is possible to be a Christian and fall into despair. But despair is counter-productive. When the Apostles were attacked for trying to share the Good News of the Gospel they did not despair. Paul said:

2 Corinthians 4:5-10 (KJV)  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.  [8]  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, BUT NOT IN DESPAIR;  [9]  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  [10]  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

The Apostle did not despair for he believed that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Paul saw the harsh treatment that life gave him to be something under the hand of an All Mighty God. He saw the trials as things that were ultimately for the good of himself, and for the promotion of the Gospel. God is in control, and God has promised good to us. Paul said:

2 Corinthians 1:20 (KJV)  For all the promises of God in {Christ} are yea, and in {Christ} Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

The Apostle focused on Christ, on Him and not on the trials that came their way. Each trial, each bullying, each imprisonment or beating was for the glory of God and the good of the believer.

When Paul and Silas were called of God to go into Macedonia they immediately went. In . As they spread the Gospel the Bible tells us that the devil attacked, sending a demon possessed woman to hinder their ministry. The Scripture says:

Acts 16:18 (KJV) … Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

What happened to Paul and Silas? “The magistrates laid many stripes upon them and cast them into prison” (Acts 16:23). Can you imagine these men, beaten with whips, locked away into a dark underground prison filled with rats and excrement? Listen to them. Do you hear them moan? Do you hear them driven to despair? No.

Psalms 121:1-2 … I WILL lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. [2] My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

When you are in a bad spot focus your will on God. Say “I will” to God.

I will” occurs 1533 times in the Scripture

The very first “I will” in Scripture is found in the Garden of Eden:

Genesis 2:18 (KJV)  And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I WILL make him a help meet for him.

At the very beginning of Scripture God was lovingly concerned for those whom He made. What is the very last of the “I will’s” found in the Bible? We read:

Revelation 21:6 (KJV)  And {Jesus} said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I WILL give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

God made Heaven and Earth, and all that is in it.
But God’s loving concern is directed to US!
God loves us! Honestly He Does!
If God called the Apostles by an Angel to go to Macedonia,
Then it was His Love that sent them there.

Paul and Silas’ eyes and hearts are focused not on where they are, but on Christ and on our faithful God. They are in the inner prison, fastened by the feet to stocks (Acts 16:24), the place where only the greatest sinners are interred. The Apostle saw this not as a moment of despair, but as an opportunity to witness the glory of God in Christ.

Acts 16:25-31 (KJV)  And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.  [26]  And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.  [27]  And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.  [28]  But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. [29]  Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,  [30]  And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  [31]  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Why did God allow Paul and Silas to be beaten and imprisoned? Because He wanted that Jailer to hear the Gospel. God wanted those hardened prisoners to hear the Gospel. Had the Apostles despaired they would have done nothing for God or His glory. Our God is faithful! Our God is in control! Our God has a plan, and bids us to all look unto Him.

When Darkness Comes Make Yourself Look Up

Psalms 121:1-3 (KJV) I will LIFT UP mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. [2] My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. [3] He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

When you are in a deep valley and the darkness seems to be all about LOOK UP. Grab the Scripture, find His promises, and preach to yourself. Remind yourselves what God has said. That’s what David did. Listen to David as He preaches to himself:

Psalms 43:5 (KJV) … Why art thou cast down, O MY SOUL? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

David speaks to his soul. He has a conversation with himself, reminding himself that God is ever faithful. Bring to remembrance all the times that God was faithful, blessing your life. Look up! David did this quite a bit. Listen to his conversations with himself:

Psalms 16:1-2 (KJV) … Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.  [2]  O MY SOUL, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;

Psalms 25:1-2 (KJV) … Unto thee, O LORD, DO I LIFT UP MY SOUL.  [2]  O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.

Psalms 42:5 (KJV)  Why art thou cast down, O MY SOUL? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

Psalms 62:5 (KJV)  MY SOUL, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

Psalms 103:1-4 (KJV) …. Bless the LORD, O MY SOUL: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.  [2]  Bless the LORD, O MY SOUL, and forget not all his benefits:  [3]  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;  [4]  Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Psalms 104:1 (KJV)  Bless the LORD, O MY SOUL. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honor and majesty.

I could go on and on. Preach to yourself. Encourage yourself to look up to God, to remember all the good He has done in your life. If there is a valley, God knows all about it. Trust Him, and lean not on thy own understanding. Know that God loves you, dear Christian. Trust His love.

Psalms 121:2 My help cometh from the LORD…

The One Who loves you and wishes to bless you is the LORD – all capitals in the King James. The One Who helps His Children is the Great YAHWEH, the Great I AM. He is able to turn whatever circumstance we are in to be for our good.

Psalms 121:3-5 (KJV) … He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. [4] Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. [5] The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.

Our God is never far away from us. Has He not promised:

Hebrews 13:5 (KJV) … I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

And hasn’t Jesus promised:

Matthew 28:20 (KJV) … lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Our God does not get distracted. He watches over His Children. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. The Psalmist says that “He that keepeth Israel (His people) shall NEITHER slumber nor sleep”. The word “slumber” means “to daydream, to doze off”. The Lord never takes His eye off of His Child. He watches, and cares. When trials come God oversees that trial insuring that the Child grows through the test. We are told that We are His workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10). God is not a sloppy Carpenter. He watches over you! You belong to Him!

God Will Preserve His Children

Our God keeps us. He puts a hedge about us. He encircles us. God preserves His Children, those who have received Christ as Lord and Savior.

Psalms 121:7-8 (KJV) … The LORD shall PRESERVE thee from all evil: he shall PRESERVE thy soul. [8] The LORD shall PRESERVE thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

The word “Preserve” is the Hebrew שָׁמַר shamar, and it is used three times in our current focal text. Shamar means “to keep or stand guard over something treasured”. You are treasured, dear Christian – so love the Lord. The Lord promises His Children that He will stand guard over me …

1. Keeping me from all evil.

2. Keeping my soul, and

3. Keeping my body as I go about His business.

When I am in a valley I “Lift up my eyes unto the hills”. I remember that hill called Calvary. God paid the ultimate price for me on Calvary when His Son was crucified. Having paid that much for you and I, God will not abandon us now. We are His Treasure, and He is our Treasure. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

Posted in Psalms, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,