Tell Me You Love Me

wonderful post. Love you, brother!

Found Who I Am

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Do you actually read to the end of these? Because when I get emails like this, they usually just sit there collecting dust… Maybe I should enjoy reading a little more. (Insert string of emoji. Also, what’s the plural of emoji?)

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about something for a month now and I wanted to put it in writing and publicly share it on the internet for the world to see, because that’s how we do in the 21st century. I’ve been wondering what the right way to live is. Is there actually a “right” way? How do we know what is socially or biblically acceptable and what is ridiculous? What is too much and what is too little?

Real talk:

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Three Phases of Salvation

great teaching! Thank you Brother

Spirit Writer

Been Saved, Being Saved & Will Be Saved

Without a lucid understanding of God’s entire and perfect plan for the redemption of mankind, certain scriptures could possibly be confusing. There are three phases to salvation; hence, the bible uses three tenses in delineating the doctrine of salvation. For me personally, it took many years to understand this—I was saved at 12 years old.

Briefly, let’s lay the following stone of truth that we may clear a path to our main topic.

We are saved by a free gift from God called Grace. Grace is bestowed upon those who believe and place their trusting faith in Christ Jesus— the truth. And forever after that, God’s grace continues working for the soul who is saved. Grace is not a once and done kind of thing. When the Lord regenerates us (2 Cor. 5:17) we’ve been born again, and a magnificent…

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Come And See

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(Revelation 6:1-8) And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow, and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse, and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and the name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

As we come to Revelation chapter 6 we see the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ opening the first six seals on the Scroll of Judgment. Jesus – Who gave Himself for the sin of the world – has been rejected by the world. The Lord tarried, waiting, for

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.

Yet God has not promised to wait forever. His Church has been removed from the earth. The Lamb that is rejected by mankind now begins to open the seals of judgment. This is the time of Tribulation, the Day of Judgment.

The First Four Seals Share A Famous Phrase

As the first four seals of the scroll of judgment are opened each of the four beasts – the Heavenly Choir leaders – contribute to the judgment. You see the same phrase repeated by each beast:

Come and See”

Why is this phrase significant? A few weeks ago we were studying in the Gospel of John, talking about the first five disciples of Christ. If you remember John the Baptist was teaching two of his disciples when Jesus came up. John told those men:

Behold the Lamb of God!

The two disciples immediately left John and began to follow Jesus. When Jesus saw them following He asked: “What do you seek?”They replied, “We want to see where You live”. What did Jesus say?

Come and See” (John 1:39)

Later on Philip – another of Christ’s disciples – is telling his friend Nathaniel about the Lord Jesus. When Nathaniel asks “Can any good come from Nazareth?”Philip simply states:

Come and See” (John 1:46)

Come and See” is what Christ bids each person to do. To come to Him. To watch Him. To experience His Presence. “Come and See”. The world has rejected the “Come and See” of the Lamb of God. They have trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29). What is left then? They would not “Come and See” the Christ. Now the beasts watch as the Lamb of God opens the first four seals. You have rejected Grace, so now here is Judgment.

Come and See”

(Revelation 6:1-2) I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and A CROWN WAS GIVEN UNTO HIM: and he went forth CONQUERING, AND TO CONQUER.

The first seal releases “War” on the earth. Some commentators think that this person on the “White Horse” is Jesus, but it cannot be.

Jesus is opening the seals.
Jesus does not indiscriminately make war.

Jesus will not come back to the earth until the end of the Great Tribulation. We find this in …

(Revelation 19:11) And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness, he doth judge and make war.

The rider on this first “white horse” is not Jesus. The Jesus of Revelation 19 has “on His head MANY CROWNS”. The Jesus of Revelation 19 is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. The rider of Revelation 6 has but ONE CROWN, and that Crown was GIVEN to Him. Jesus released the first seal and gave a very limited power to this rider. The rider of Revelation 6 goes forth conquering, and to conquer. He is on a“white horse” which symbolizes purity. But the war which he wages is not pure. It looks pure but is not pure. The Jesus of Revelation 19 “in righteousness judges and makes war”. The rider of this white horse only appears righteous. He appears good. He appears as if his wars are for the common good, but they are not.

The one riding on this first white horse is a pretend Christ. Jesus spoke of this when He said in

(Matthew 24:24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

The first Horseman of the Apocalypse is the False Christ, called by many the Anti-Christ. He is not making righteous war but is moving to defeat all who will not join his cause. He is like the Great Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the White Supremacists or those of color who advocate hatred. He is all the bad Anti-Christian behavior by those who pretended to love God but hate people.He is Religion with a capital R, Evil with a capital E. The Light of the World, the Church of Christ, is in Heaven – and a false light appears to draw many away from God. The world has rejected the real Christ, but it loves the false Christ. The Anti-Christ conquers so as the create a one world government, a universal state that all must adhere to so that his master satan can rule the world.

Revelation 6:3-4Andwhen he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

If the first Rider was the Anti-Christ conquering, the second red horse symbolizes BLOODSHED and WAR. The “righteous war” of the evil one will not be without death. The First Horseman was given a crown, but the Second Horseman was given a GREAT SWORD. Just as the Crown was given by the Lamb, so is the Sword given. It is Jesus Who opened the seal, and Jesus Who removes His hand from the earth allowing this horseman to go forth.

Psalms 66:5-7 (KJV) Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men. 6 He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him. 7 He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.

Revelation 6:5-6 And when he had opened the third seal,I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse, and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

The third Seal of Judgment always follows war and killing. It is FAMINE. The pair of scales/ balances in his hand shows that this Horseman controls commerce. The “voice in the midst of the four beasts” is the Lord speaking from His Throne. The Lord decreed that inflation would be so high that a measure of wheat – about one day’s food – would cost a day’s wages. It will cost everything a person can earn in a day just to feed himself. The cheaper cattle food of barley – we could call it animal feed – you will be able to get three times as much food for the day’s wages. So to put it in modern terms you can have a hamburger and fries, or three cans of dog food. Period.

At the beginning of the Great Tribulation, the poor will suffer the most. Jesus told Israel:

Luke 21:10-11 (KJV) … Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: 11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

Hunger will start out to affect the poor, but in time all will be poor. This is what the Rider of the Black Horse will bring.

Revelation 6:7-8 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and the name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

The Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse is Death. He rides a “pale”or literally “pale green” horse(χλωρός chlōros). The Grave follows with himnot“hell” as in the place of eternal punishment, but “hades” (ᾅδηςhadēs). These Four Horsemen – with the Anti-Christ as their leader – kill over 25% of humanity. In our modern era this would be about 1.9 BILLION people. One in every four would die. The Four Horsemen would not have this power themselves, but the Bible says:

power was GIVEN UNTO THEM over the fourth part of the earth

It is God Who allows this judgment to come on humanity. I can hear people now. “But God is LOVE! Why would a LOVING God allow such a terrible thing to come on a quarter of the earth?”The answer is found in the Fifth Seal of Judgment. We read:

Revelation 6:9-10And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

What would YOU do if someone murdered your child?
What if they murdered your child, then you turned the other cheek –
Then they murdered another?

God gave His Son to the world so that the world would not be condemned.

John 3:18-21 (KJV) He that believeth on {Jesus} is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

The Lord Jesus has taken His Church off of the earth. Those who have been “Raptured” or “Caught Up” have been given glorified bodies. When Jesus opens the FIFTH Seal (and FIVE is the number of GRACE) you see …

the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God

These are believers who came to the Lord after His Church was taken from the earth.Dr. Thomas Constablewrites:

These people must be those who died after the Rapture since all Christians living at the time of the Rapture will experience a bodily resurrection, and go directly into Jesus Christ’s presence at that time (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Consequently, the people John described in this verse are evidently those who come to faith in Christ after the Rapture (cf. Matthew 24:9; Luke 21:12). They had become believers during the first half of the Tribulation and then had suffered martyrdom for their faith. John did not see their resurrected bodies, because God had not resurrected them yet. The resurrection of Tribulation saints will not occur until the end of that seven-year period (cf. 20:4).

The Gospel still goes forth during the Tribulation. In the next chapter, we see 144,000 Hebrew Evangelists who go out and preach of Christ. People are saved even during this darkest moment in human history. But the world under satan persecutes the Christians saved at an alarming rate. These were slain for the Word of God and for the testimony they held. Their SOULS are gathered around the Throne of God, and they cry out to Him …

How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge
our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

Their words are reminiscent of the Psalmist who wrote:

Psalms 94:3-6 (KJV) LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? 4 How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?5 They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage. 6 They slay the widow and the stranger and murder the fatherless.

The first four Seals of Judgment begin to punish humanity – rebellious and traitorous – for the evil they collude with. These Tribulation Saints suffered terribly for the faith. There are Christians all over the world today who are suffering terribly for the faith. In America – founded by Christians who loved the Lord – we have largely avoided the suffering that most of the world inflicts on God’s Children. But even in America Christians suffer. A case before the Supreme Court right now will determine if a Baker who is a Christian will lose his business for keeping his faith. God tells us today:

(Romans 12:19-21) Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirsts, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

We are never to return evil for evil, but good to all. Those around the Throne were given…

Revelation 6:11And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

They have white robes to symbolize their salvation and immorality. God tells them to be patient – He will repay the evil that they suffered in His own time.

The Sixth Seal Of Judgment

Revelation 6:12-13 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

God sends a planet-sized earthquake to shake the whole world. John’s prophetic words are echoes in the Prophecy of Isaiah, who wrote:

Isaiah 13:9-13 (KJV) Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. 10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. 11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. 12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. 13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.

The shaking of the earth will – as it does with many volcanic eruptions – cause ash and dust to infiltrate the atmosphere. It will seem as if there are no longer any stars in the sky. The sun will be blocked out, and the moon reddened by the pollution of it. The stars don’t literally fall – they just appear to do so, for we read later:

Revelation 8:12 (KJV) And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

What is more frightening is that the sky will appear to split in two, and roll back like a scroll:

Revelation 6:14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

The opening of the sky will give all of humanity a chance to look into Heaven. Rather than repent, we read:

Revelation 6:15-17 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Hearts hardened by sin do not repent but seek to hide from God’s wrath. The same thing occurs at the Great White Throne Judgment of …

Revelation 20:11 (KJV)11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Can you imagine a Lamb filled with wrath? That is almost a comical thing to read – but it will not be comical to those who are there. Whether kings, or great men, or rich men, or chief captains, or mighty men, or slaves or free men – all will be frightened and in a panic attack. Why? Because God has taken His hand off of the earth. Judgment looms. Pride is broken.

And yet, notice this. Even though they cry out to the mountains and rocks saying, “Fall on us, and hide us from the Face of Him that sits on the Throne”yet they will not repent and turn to Christ. That to me is the most horrible of things. For if they but repent, the Lord would still save. But they will not.

Oh dear Soul, do not harden your hearts!

Repent while you may. Give your life to Christ while you can. The only ones who will stand then, and who can stand now, are those who rest in the Grace of God in Christ. May God the Holy Spirit move you to repentance this very day!

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Oh God, Please Come Down!

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Isaiah 64:1-8 (KJV) Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, 2 As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! 3 When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence. 4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. 5 Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is a continuance, and we shall be saved. 6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. 8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

The Bible tells us that God is everywhere. When the Apostle Paul spoke at Mars Hill he said:

Acts 17:28 (NKJV) … for in Him we live and move and have our being…

and David, a man after God’s own heart, wrote:

Psalm 139:7-12 (NKJV)Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.

God is everywhere. In fact, God indwells His people. He makes His home in us. He tells us:

1 Corinthians 3:16 (NKJV) Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

Romans 8:11 (NKJV) But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

God indwells His people. God has promised to never leave nor forsake His people (Hebrews 13:5).If this is true, then

Why Are There Times When God Seems So Far Away?

We know what the Scripture says. We know that God has promised to be with us. Yet there are times when trials and tribulations strike, when our lives are seemingly filled with darkness, and it seems as if God is miles away.

In Isaiah 64 God’s Israel had been conquered and carried away into captivity. The world had overwhelmed them. They were transported from the place where God’s Temple was an into an unknown country. So they cried out to God. Isaiah 64 is a prayer from a desperate people. They cry out:

Isaiah 64:1 (KJV) Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence,

Why does God seem so distant at times?
Could it be that we have allowed our pride to stand between us and our God?
Could it be – like the Laodicean Church – that we have become complacent?
Are we satisfied with our STUFF and do not want our SAVIOR and SHEPHERD?
Could the problem be SIN?

God’s people are loved by God, but do WE love God? Do we really want God to come down? To be in our midst? Or do we just want to hear a sermon within a certain allotted time slot, to sing a few songs, and get out of here before the Pentecostals and Methodists raid the food bar at Farmer’s Restaurant?

God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

When God called Israel out of Egypt it was HIS PRESENCE that gave them power. The Church today in America seems to have forgotten that our power is not in our catechisms, our rituals, our buildings, or our denominations. Our power is in our God. Our strength is that He is in our midst. We must EXPERIENCE His Presence. As long as God led Israel:

Exodus 13:21-22 (NKJV) And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. 22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.

Israel was not defeated. Israel went through the Red Sea as if on dry land, whereas the armies of Egypt – led by Pharaoh – drowned.

When God is present His people are PROTECTED.
When God is present His people PROSPER.
When God is present His people have POWER.
When God is present His people have PURPOSE.

Oh, how we need our God!
Oh, how we need His Presence!

As long as Israel trusted God then they were invincible. But when Israel allowed the world to come into their thought processes, when they began to trade God’s Greatness for satan’s silk, they got into trouble.

Great leaders will remind their people that they need God. When Israel finally went into the Promised Land under Joshua was told by God to tell Israel:

Joshua 4:5-7 (NKJV) “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”

When this Church was built, when stone was laid upon stone, for what reason were the stones laid? They were laid to remember how good our God is. Every brick, every board, every stitch of carpet was placed here to be a memorial that our God loves us and that Jesus Christ gave Himself for us. We gather in this place to worship Him. But when we leave this place we do not worship Him less. Our lives are dedicated to worshiping our God.

I love my mother. She is with Jesus today. I love mothers. Happy Mother’s Day! But first and foremost in our hearts is to be our God. It is our God Who made our mothers and our fathers. It is God Who made us. We need God’s Presence in our churches today. We need God’s presence in OUR CHURCH.

Isaiah 64:1 (KJV) Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence,

In Isaiah’s prayer – and his prayer should be our prayer – he is SEEKING God’s Face. Did you come to Church today to seek God’s Face or God’s Hand? Oh, how we need God’s Face. If you are under trials you do not need God’s HAND as much as you need God’s Face. I pray that you would understand this.

We Are Lepers Who Need God

Years ago I preached a revival in a little dead Church. I guess I should say I ATTEMPTED to preach a revival. I remember seeing the sign out front of the Church – yes it was Baptist – and though I cannot remember the name of the Church I can remember thinking it should have “Frigidaire” in its name. On that day I preached a sermon from Luke 17 on Ten Lepers who sought out Jesus for healing. Jesus had just passed through Samaria and Galilee. The Bible says:

Luke 17:12-13 (NKJV) Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

Leprosy was a terrible disease. It broke families apart. It took mothers from their children and caused poverty as no one would hire a leper. It was a terrible scourge. Jesus healed all ten lepers and told them

Luke 17:14 (NKJV) “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

But the story doesn’t end here. The Bible tells us that:

Luke 17:15-19 (NKJV) And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with A LOUD VOICE GLORIFIED GOD, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. 17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

One leper got it – he needed GOD.

One glorified God.
He glorified God by returning to Jesus.
He glorified God by bending the knee and worshiping the Son.
He glorified God by taking the life that Jesus returned to him and
gave just a tiny bit of it back to the Lord.

I remember as I stood at the door of the Church shaking hands with people as they left one bitter old woman came up to me. She said – and I quote

The nine did what they were supposed to do!”

I did not argue with her, but my heart hurt for her spiritual condition. Do you not see? God deserves to be worshiped for the lives that He has given us. God is ever present with us. But God seems far away when we make life about ourselves.

The Mountains Melt When God Is With Me

When God is with us the mountains flow down. When we love God mountains will melt.

Isaiah 64:1 (KJV) Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence,

Oh, how the Presence of God makes life better. The Psalmist said:

Psalm 1:1-3 (NKJV) Blessed is the man

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor stands in the path of sinners,

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law, he meditates day and night.

3 He shall be like a tree

Planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season,

Whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper.

Where God is there is the blessing. When Adam chose to walk away from God he found himself and his wife clothed in the fig leaves of self-righteousness. We need the Presence of God.

When we love God mountains of pride, bigotry, and indifference will melt. Hatreds die out where God is. The sins of the flesh do not rule us where God is. The Scripture declares:

Galatians 5:16-17 (NKJV) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things that you wish.

When you are walking in self and selfishness, you are not walking in the Lord. But when you are walking with the Lord He will sustain you. He will cause the mountains to flow down, and the valleys to rise.

Where God is, sinners will repent. We read:

Isaiah 64:2 (KJV) As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!

A Church that walks together with Christ will be on fire and in love. When we are on fire for God the lost are attracted like a moth to aflame. We do not need to compromiseGod’s Word to reach sinners. We need to live in Him, doing as He said. When we live in the power and presence of God then the Word of God goes forth.

It is not our strength that will win the lost, but the strength of God in our midst. When His Shekinah Glory is among His people great things happen. God does surprising things when He comes down. We read:

Isaiah 64:3 (KJV) When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.

Isaiah prays “Lord when You came down You did TERRIBLE things we didn’t look for!”

I remember years ago in a Church service when God came down. I was standing at the front of the Church and the people were singing the final hymn. I closed my eyes to pray that God would have His way. I felt as if I had done so poorly in preaching His Gospel that day, so I prayed. As I was praying silently I heard the sound of running feet and a mother’s cry. I opened my eyes to see a young girl – only eight years old – kneeling at the altar begging God for salvation. Her mother was next to her, and as I approached the altar she looked at me and said “Brother David, help her. Help her.”I asked that precious child what she wanted, and she told me she wanted Jesus in her life. As we talked she prayed, and there she met the Lord.

God came down.
Church, God came down.
God melted that little girl’s heart.
She came to Christ that day.

I remember another time when we had our hymn of invitation, and after the third verse (when people usually start putting up their hymnals) I told the worship leader to keep them singing. I don’t know why. It just was. As we sang to the end of the hymn and started over again a young man who was nearly blind stepped out into the aisle, walked halfway down, and fell to his knees. There I met him, and he gave his life to Christ. God came down, and he met the Lord and took His hand.

Oh, that God would come down and melt that hard heart!
Oh that every person today would feel His Presence.
How we need God to come down.

God Comes Down For Those Who Love Him

Isaiah 64:4 (KJV) For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

The Bible says that those who wait upon the Lord will receive an immeasurable blessing. The Scripture reiterates this time and time again:

Psalm 27:14 (NKJV) wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Psalm 37:9 (NKJV) For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, They shall inherit the earth.

Psalm 37:34 (NKJV) wait on the Lord And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.

Isaiah 30:18 (NKJV) Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.

What does it mean to “wait on the Lord”? It means to LOOK for Him. To SERVE Him. To SEEK His Presence. To LOVE Him as He loves you.

We turn away from God when we wallow in sin. The Bible says:

Isaiah 64:5 (KJV) Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is a continuance, and we shall be saved.

God MEETS those who rejoice and work righteousness. He comes to those who cherish His Presence and live for Him. When we compromise with the world God will not manifest Himself to us. But when we trust and honor Him and do what He says He will come down. Dr. R.A. Torreyonce said:

“… let a few Christians – they need not be many – get thoroughly right with God themselves. … Let them bind themselves together to pray for revival until God opens the Heavens and comes down…”

Let us repent of our sins. Let us turn to God our Savior. The Scripture says:

Isaiah 64:6-7 (KJV) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

To WAIT on God is to turn from sin.
Sin is not to be cherished but REPENTED of.
Sin is uncleanliness.
God will not come down where sin is cherished.
God is Holy. Sin is a filthy rag.

That word “filthy rag” is a reference to a leper’s clothing. Lepers would wrap themselves in cloth to cover their sores, their disease. Sin is a disease. How do we get rid of sin?

We recognize SIN as SIN.
We recognize OUR RIGHTEOUSNESSES as FILTHY RAGS.
We see INIQUITY as something that carries us away from our God.
We need to call upon the Name of God.
We need to stir ourselves up to take hold of Christ.
This is the only way we will be blessed.

When we trust Him and love Him and seek Him and guard His Word, doing as He requires, then God shapes and molds us.

Isaiah 64:8 (KJV) But now, O LORD, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our Potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

He is God. We are not. We will stop telling God what to do and let HIM tell US what to do. To WAIT on the Lord is to – like a waiter – TAKE HIS ORDER and do as He demands. God is our Father. God is our Potter. We are the Children,

John 1:12 (NKJV) But as many as RECEIVED HIM, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

When a person receives Christ as Lord and Savior the Creator give that person the right to become Children of God. God walks with His Children. God directs His Children. The Potter shapes the Clay as He so desires. When we step away from the Presence of God and begin to live our lives without Him then we bring the curse of uselessness and emptiness on ourselves.

Isaiah 64:10-11 (KJV) Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. 11 Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste.

America is in turmoil. We are in a terrible state. How shall we return to a better day?

We need the Lord.
We need His Presence.
We need to walk with Him daily.

May God touch our hearts by His Word.

Posted in Isaiah, obedience, Order, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Jesus’ First Recorded Sermon

What was Jesus’ first recorded sermon? It is from the text we are going to read today.

Isaiah 61:1-2 (KJV)  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;  [2]  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD …

and the day of vengeance of our God…

In Luke we read:

Luke 4:14-21 (KJV)  And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.  [15]  And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.  [16]  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.  [17]  And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,  [18]  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,  [19]  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.  [20]  And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.  [21]  And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

We know that Isaiah 61:1-2 is not the very first sermon that Jesus preached, but it is His first recorded reading and preaching of the Scripture in a Church setting. When Jesus preached that day He preached in Nazareth, His home town.

Luke 4:16 (KJV)  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

It was Jesus’ “custom”to go to Church, and to participate in the services. When He had been in Church at other times the people saw Him as no more than a Carpenter’s son. But this time Jesus came to His hometown Church to announce His calling as Messiah. He wanted those closest to Him to know that He was sent of God, anointed as the Messiah, and that He was given specific ministries. Before Jesus started His earthly ministry He wanted Nazareth to know why He cameand Who He is.

Jesus Is God’s Anointed One – The Messiah

Isaiah 61:1 (KJV)  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me;

When the Spirit of the Lord rested on the Old Testament Saints they were given power to do what God wanted them to do. The Messiah when He came moved in the power of God. He did what He did because the Father directed it. He did what He did because the Spirit endorsed it. When God spoke of the Coming of the Messiah He prophesied:

Isaiah 11:1-2 (KJV)  Andthere shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:  [2]  And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

Jesus Christ is the “Stem of Jesse”. He descended from the line of King David. He is the “Branch grown out of the Roots”. The Spirit of the Lord rested on Christ, endorsing and empowering His ministry. Jesus was not just a Rabbi, not just another Teacher, but He was and is the Messiah sent of God. From a Child Jesus was about His Father’s business.

Jesus was anointed of God as a Baby cradled in a Manger in Bethlehem. The Angel declared:

Luke 2:10-12 (NKJV) “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

To the world He was but a poor child of poor parents. But to Heaven He was the Messiah, the Brilliant Star of Whom Heaven sang:

Glory to God in the Highest
and on earth Peace, Good Will toward men!

We know little of His childhood. He grew up in Nazareth I am certain a sweet and obedient Child. We know little of His forming years. We do know on one occasion Mary and Joseph inadvertently left Jesus in Jerusalem after going to celebrate the Passover. Jesus was twelve years old. When they discovered He was missing they searched for Him frantically. Where is Jesus? Where is He? After THREE DAYSthey found Him in the Temple,

Luke 2:46-48 (NKJV) …sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed;

His mother Mary asked “Son, why have You done this to us? Your father and I were searching for you anxiously!”Jesus answered simply, and without repentance:

Luke 2:49 (NKJV) … “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

Jesus returned home that day with His mother. The Bible tells us that He“increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with both God and man” (Luke 2:52). He was an exceptional Child. But His focus was always His Father’s business. Not that of Carpentry. Not the profession – honorable that it was – of His stepfather Joseph. “His Father’s business”was the salvation of the broken.

Jesus Came To Minister To The Broken

Isaiah 61:1 (KJV)  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek;

Jesus came to “preach good tidings to the meek”. Who are the MEEK?The word translated “meek” is the Hebrewעָנָו`anavwhich means “poor, weak, afflicted, needy”. People often ask me the question “why is there so much suffering in this life? Why the homeless? Why natural disasters?”I do not have a simple answer for any of those questions but I can say this:

If you are hurting.
If you are in pain.
If you are needy.
If you are suffering.
YOU NEED JESUS.
Jesus came for YOU first.
You are the FIRST REASON God sent Him.
He came to tell you that He has GOOD NEWS for you.
You are not alone.
Jesus came to be with YOU!

I am not saying that we should not give physical necessities to help those in need. We as Christ’s Children should give to help those who truly are poor. But what people need more than anything else is not STUFF but JESUS.

He was anointed of God to reach out to those in need. He has good news for you. You are not lesser beings because you are lacking in some way. God came to enrich you, to draw you into His Family, to love you.

Isaiah 61:1 (KJV) … He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted

What does it mean to be “brokenhearted”? It means to have that which you had faith in shattered. You are in a hopeless estate. The human you put your trust in failed you. The person you thought loved you has done despite to you. The job you thought would carry you into your old age is gone. You are betrayed by someone you thought loved you. The Bible says:

Psalm 34:18 (NKJV) The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

Psalm 147:3 (NKJV) {God}heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.

Sometimes we seem as humans to seek a broken heart just as an old hound dog would chase a raccoon. We do things that God has told us are wrong. In this current generation young people have been taught by television and devilish tradition that the joy of marriage can be shortcut by “moving in together”. Too many have bought into the idea that love is a swimming pool that you can fall into or climb out of. Too many young lives have been ruined when the physical act of sex is confused with actual love. Nothing is farther from the truth.

If you are shipwrecked on America’s terrible reef of sexual immorality, if your heart has been broken by investing your love in a broken pot, then you are in a good place regardless as to how you feel right now. Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted.

He came to be the One that you can invest in your love in and never go wrong. How do I know this? Because Jesus is the Ultimate Hero. When I was a little boy I dreamed of being like Superman or Batman, the Hero who would save the damsel in distress. But as I grew up I realized that all the comic book heroes were only faint replicas of the Jesus Christ Who loves us all. He came to save us all. How?

Though unregarded, He came into the world to save us from our sins.
He lived a life doing nothing but Good.
He taught the Way of God.
And when we had no regard for Him, He loved us.

1 John 4:15-19 (NKJV) Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

We are loved not because some boy loves me, or because some girl loves me. We are not even loved because our mommy or daddy loves us. We are loved because GOD loves us. We are loved because God loved us so much that He sent His Only Begotten Son to die for us. Now that is love. THAT – my friends – is LOVE!

See love in action.
See Him standing before the Judge.
He has no sin in Himself.
The Judge has said “I see no sin in this Man. He is innocent.”
The world says “Crucify Him”.
He is tied to the stake. He is beaten with whips.
He is mocked. A crown of thorns is forced upon His head.
A cross upon His back.
And as He goes to Calvary the crowd He would save mocks Him.

No one took Christ’s life. Jesus said in John 10:17-18

My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

Jesus laid down His life for you and for me.

Jesus Came To Free Us From Our Sin

Isaiah 61:1 (KJV) … to proclaim LIBERTY to the captives,
and the OPENING OF THE PRISON to them that are bound;

When Joseph was told that Mary would have a son – an Extraordinary Son from God – the Angel told Joseph:

Matthew 1:21 (NKJV) {Mary} will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.

Sin is the great problem of mankind. We have racism because of sin, that old sin nature in each one of us. Though we are all descended from One Man named Adam and One Woman named Eve we – because of sin in us – make prejudiced and unwarranted decisions about people because of outward appearances. Black degrades white, and white black. In World War 2 the Japanese treated those of different skin colors as inferior to them, as did the Germanic people. There was talk of a“Master Race”. Beloved, all were created in the image of God. What did God say?

Genesis 1:26-27 (ESV) … God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominionover the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

God made man, He made woman, and together man and woman was in His image. The animals were made to be under the dominion of man and woman. God made us uniquely. God told Noah:

Genesis 9:6 (ESV) … “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image

The greatest of sins was to take life. Life is precious. If a person took life, they forfeited their life. Listen Beloved. That dark skinned man you hate is in the image of God. That light skinned man you despise is in the image of God. It is sin in us that draws us to denegrate what God has made, and each of you are made of God.

Jesus Christ came to free us from sin.
He did not come to enable us to live in that mudpuddle.
But He is the Grand Liberator!

Jesus came to free us from the prison of sinfulness and selfishness. The Scripture tells us that:

1 John 3:8-9 (NKJV) HE WHO SINS IS OF THE DEVIL, FOR THE DEVIL HAS SINNED FROM THE BEGINNING. FOR THIS PURPOSE THE SON OF GOD WAS MANIFESTED, THAT HE MIGHT DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

When you come to Christ your view of “sin” changes. Whenever you saw Jesus, you saw Him in the presence of those known as “sinners”. The religious crowd asked Jesus one day “Why do You hang around those sinners?” Hear Jesus’ reply:

Mark 2:17 (NKJV) … “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are SICK. I did not come to call the righteous, but SINNERS, to repentance.”

Did you read what Jesus said? SIN is a SICKNESS, a PRISON. It is not a PLAYGROUND, nor a place to be PREFERRED. It is something we are to be CURED of. If the Scripture declares what you are doing as SINFUL then Jesus came to free you from that. You say “Well, I am no theologian. How shall I know what is sinful?”

Sin is that which is against the clearly presented WILL OF GOD.
It was SINFUL for Adam to eat that which was forbidden.
It is SINFUL for us to disobey God’s clearly stated order.
SIN puts ME FIRST and GOD LAST.
It is a PRISON that will limit your life.
It will make a hell on earth.

Jesus said in John 10:10 “The THIEF does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”.

Sin is a thief, a murderer of joy and life, a rot on that which is good. Jesus came to give us abundant life. Come to Him for a great life now, and a greater life in eternity.

IA man goes to his doctor. “I feel run down. I’m exhausted every day. I wake up tired. Life seems so meaningless, without any blessing.”The doctor examines him, schedules him for a PET Scan, a CAT Scan, and bloodwork. A few days later the doctor calls him into his office.“You have a tumor on your liver. It’s cancerous, and needs to be removed. You were born with it, but over the years it has grown till it has taken over your body.”The man tells his doctor “No, I was born this way. You’re wrong. The problem isn’t the tumor, but something else. I’ll seek another opinion.”The man goes to doctor after doctor, each giving him the same information.“The cancer must go or it will ruin your life”. The man refuses to listen to the doctor. He finds friends who tell him it is all right. He finds people who gather around him saying“You were born that way. It’s natural. Let it be”.

This is what the world wants today. That is what many people want. “I was born this way. Let’s justify the sin. God loves the sinner, so He must love the sin.”Not true. God loves you, and wants the best for you. Jesus came that you might have life. He came to …

proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

He came to set you free from that which is sin. Repent. Turn to Him. He will save you. If you look in the Gospels you read that His first Word Jesus ever preached was to REPENT, to TURN from sin and toward God.

Matthew 4:17 (KJV)  From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Mark 1:15 (KJV)  And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Repent. Turn. Run to His arms. Jesus will save you from that which binds you!

Now Is The Acceptable Time

Isaiah 61:2To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD …

and the day of vengeance of our God…

Jesus preached the “acceptable year of the Lord”. He did not quote all of Isaiah’s text. Jesus did not read the text that said “and the day of vengeance of our God”.There is a day coming when God shall judge the world, a day of vengeance. God will cleanse the world of sin and its destructive force. There is a judgment day coming. But the Lord calls whosoever will to turn to Him. The Bible says:

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (NKJV) We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Turn to Him. Receive Him. Love Him as He loves you, and begin to live. May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in Isaiah, Jesus, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , ,

Jesus Alone Is Worthy

 

Revelation 5:1-5 (KJV)1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Last week we were transported into Heaven and saw – in the center of Heaven – the Throne of God and Him sitting on it. We saw all Heaven praising the Lord, led by four “Beasts”. Around the Throne we saw 24 “Elders” which I believe is representative of the redeemed of Christ, the Church. Throughout Heaven there is nothing but praise to God:

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty
Which Was, and Is, and Is to Come

The ever Present and Great I AM is worthy to be worshiped, for it is He Who

Has created all things,
And for HIS PLEASURE They WERE and ARE created

We were transported to Heaven to get our bearings, to make us understand that all things were created by God for His glory.

Colossians 1:16 (NKJV) For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

Our bodies were created THROUGH Him and FOR Him.

Romans 11:36 (NKJV) For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

God made us for Himself. God created us for His glory. He did not create us to do as those at the Tower of Babel did, saying:

Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the Heavens
and let us make a name for ourselves (Genesis 11:4)

God made man to live in His name, to cherish Him, to center our lives in Him. Our Father Abraham understood the difference between what satan calls us to and what God calls us to. God told Abraham:

Go from your country, from your kindred, from your father’s house to a
place that I will show you. And I – the Great I AM – will make you a
great nation, and
I will bless you, and make your name great. (Genesis 12:1-3)

What is in Heaven is life as it was meant to be. We are to live to glorify God. We are told this repeatedly throughout Scripture:

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV) Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Matthew 5:16 (NKJV) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

God created the world and all that is in it – every person, every creature, every living thing – to His glory and honor and praise. When Adam turned from God and to the serpent he committed an act of treason. When God sent His Son to die for Adam’s transgression, offering salvation through Him humanity was given a choice. Receive Christ, and be redeemed from sin. Or refuse to repent and receive Him, and choose instead the consequences.

Rejecting Christ The World Is Due Judgment!

Revelation 5:1 (KJV)1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

In God’s right hand is a biblios, a scroll. The severity of what is in God’s hand is seen by the fact that it is first of all in His RIGHT hand, the hand of authority and power. It is God Who is going to impose judgment on His treasonous creation. Secondly the biblios is sealed with seven seals. Seven is the number of God in Scripture. We “rest” on the seventh day, recognizing and praising God for all He has done. In John’s day Roman law dictated that all “wills” be sealed with seven seals, making the document inviolable. The biblios was full of writing:

Ezekiel 2:9-10 (NKJV) Now when I looked, there was a hand stretched out to me; and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. 10 Then He spread it before me; and there was writing on the inside and on the outside, and written on it were lamentations and mourning and woe.

much like that which God showed Ezekiel. However John could not read the words. The seals kept the words hidden.

Revelation 5:2 (KJV) And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

John sees as strong angel who asks – in a very loud voice:

Who is worthy to open the book, to loose the seals?

Notice that first of all the strong angel does not attempt to open the book of judgment. Strength will not unleash judgment on the earth. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6). A single angel killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in a single night. This is a STRONG Angel, but he will not attempt to open the Book of Judgment. Who is worthy to loose the seals?

Notice also that this Book of Judgment is in ALMIGHTY GOD’S hand, and yet He Himself – though He holds the judgment in His hand – will not open the Book. Why is this? We find this so strange, but it is not strange. Though the Father is WORTHY, it is not His place to open the Book of Judgment. Within the Trinity of God there is order, authority, and submission. Yes, SUBMISSION.

The Father sent His Son

1 John 4:14 (NKJV) we have seen and testify that
the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.

The Son submitted, and came to pay for our sins.
When we submit to the Son, the Father sends the Spirit

Galatians 4:6 (NKJV) Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son
into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”


John 14:16 (NKJV) I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper,
that He may abide with you forever—

The Father sent the Son to die for our sins. The Father sent the Spirit to indwells us when we received His Son. But now the Father is on the throne, and in His right hand judgment ready to be unleashed on creation. “Who is worthy” the angel cries? The Father is worthy, but it is not His place to open the Book of Judgment.

Revelation 5:1-5 (KJV) And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

A search began throughout all of creation and all of Heaven. No man was able. No angel could open the Book of Judgment. The world was in chaos, the Church in glory, but judgment could not come. It looked as if satan had won the day. John said:

Revelation 5:4 (KJV) And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

John wept, and mourned, for it seemed as if evil would go unpunished. But then we read:

Revelation 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

One of the elders – a picture I believe of the Church – said “John, stop crying! There is One Who is worthy.” Who will open the Book of Judgment and release its contents on the earth? It is none other than Jesus Christ.

WHAT – you say! JESUS CHRIST will open the Book of Judgment? The JESUS CHRIST Who loves everyone, who loves to save sinners, who left the ninety and nine to find the one lost sheep. JESUS? I cannot believe this. Beloved, you had better believe it. Jesus told us while He was on the earth:

John 3:35-36 (NKJV) The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

If Jesus is received as Lord and Savior then His punishment at Calvary – a punishment for the sins of the world – is imputed to our account. Jesus died for our sins. Jesus suffered for our wrong doing. Through His Blood we receive forgiveness of sin. But if Christ is rejected then

Hebrews 10:26-31(NKJV) … there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Jesus told us:

John 5:22-23 (NKJV) For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

Who is worthy to open this Book? It is Jesus Christ. He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:9), and the root of David (Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; 55:15; Matthew 22:42-43). Jesus is announced as a LION. But when John looks for the LION he sees instead …

Revelation 5:6 (KJV) And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

… a LAMB, or literally the Greek arnion or LITTLE LAMB. The Little Lamb – a picture of our loving Savior, meek and gentle in His first Advent, died in our place. The Prophet saw Him:

Isaiah 53:7 (NKJV) He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth;

He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.

John 1:36 (NKJV) …“Behold the Lamb of God!”

1 Peter 1:18-19 (NKJV) knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

In His first Advent Jesus came as the Lamb of God, but in His second Advent as the Lion of Judah, the judge of all creation. The Father is sitting, but the Lamb is standing. Notice that Jesus is in the midst of the 24 elders.

Christ is in the midst of His Church.
Lo, I will never leave you nor forsake you!
Where two or more are gather, THERE AM I in your midst!

The Lamb has seven horns – symbolic of the fulness of His power.
All power is given into His hands.
The Lamb has seven eyes – symbolic of His omniscience.
He sees everything, and knows all.

Revelation 5:7-8 (KJV){Jesus} came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints.

Though Christ is the Lion of Judah, it is as the Lamb that He takes the Book of Judgment from God’s hand. He is worthy because He paid for this Book. He bled for this Book. He died for this Book. By taking the Book from the Father’s hand you see a transfer of authority and power. What is about to occur brings celebration in Heaven. The worship leaders and the Church fall down before Jesus. They have harps and – notice this – GOLDEN VIALS of prayers. The prayers of God’s Heaven are about to be answered. Christ will set in motion a series of judgments that will wrestle the world from satan’s grasp, that will destroy the traitors of creation, and restore God’s order on the earth.

Revelation 5:9-10 (KJV) And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

I want you to notice that in Heaven there is no racism or bigotry. The redeemed sing together to the Lamb, praising Him. They are from every KINDRED, and TONGUE, and PEOPLE, and NATION. The Lord uses four different words here to show that God’s Church and God’s Heaven is populated by people of every different color and nationality. The one common factor that unites them all is the Blood of Jesus.

What can wash away my sin?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus;

What can make me whole again?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow

That makes me white as snow;

No other fount I know,

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Dr. Thomas Constable notes “… Christians will be part of Christ’s kingdom when He sets it up on the earth, and we will serve as priests in it. Priesthood involves immediate access into God’s presence for praise and worship, as well as the privilege of priestly service. The … reason for praise is the blessing of His people, in allowing them to “rule (reign) on the earth” (during the Millennium and thereafter). ”

I have heard churches – large and small – in one accord singing to Jesus. This makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. But what John hears is greater. We read:

Revelation 5:11-12 (KJV) And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.

The Angels join in to sing with the Church and the Beasts. There are literally millions of voices – human and angelic – singing praises to the Christ. There are no voices raised to David Buffaloe, Joseph Smith, or Mohamed or Buddha. Then other creatures join the chorus:

Revelation 5:13-14 (KJV) And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshiped him that liveth for ever and ever.

John says that he heard even the animals of the earth singing in praise to Jesus and the Father. Praise Him! Praise Him for His salvation unto us. And praise Him that judgment has come to the earth. God will restore Paradise through many judgments.

Every one released by the hand of Christ!

May God bless the reading and preaching of His Word.

Posted in Revelation, Sermons Preached | Tagged ,

Come And See

John 1:39-51 (KJV)  He saith unto them, Come and see.They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.  [40]  One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  [41]  He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.  [42]  And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jonah: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.  [43]  The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.  [44]  Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.  [45]  Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.  [46]  And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.  [47]  Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!  [48]  Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.  [49]  Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.  [50]  Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.  [51]  And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

 

Salvation is a mystery of God that some will never experience. It isn’t because God doesn’t want them to be saved, for the Scripture declares:

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.

1 Timothy 2:3-4 (KJV) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

God does not hide His salvation from any, but would love all to be saved. Yet Christ must be chosen. Jesus calls out through His Gospel:

Come and See!

The calledmust say “yes” to Him. What did Jesus say?

Matthew 22:14 (KJV)  For many are called, but few are chosen.

Jesus calls MANY but FEW come. Many will not hear the Lord because they are busy worshiping other idols. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (KJV)  Forye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:  [27]  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the worldto confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the worldto confound the things which are mighty;  [28]  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:  [29]  That no flesh should glory in his presence.

The Bible doesn’t say that God doesn’t call ANY who are WISE, MIGHTY, or NOBLE. Some of those people do answer the call to salvation. But there are not MANY in those categories who answer His call, for they have their gods.

Their god is their MIND,
their MIGHT,

their POSITION

or their POPULARITY,

their RELIGION

or their RITUAL.

They have a god that they employ, and Jesus need not apply for the position. Like Adam they refuseParadise by saying “yes” to self and satan and “no” to God.

But to those who will hear Jesus cries out:

Come and See!

When someone will walk with Jesus for a day chances are they will walk with Jesus for life. The only salvation available to man is through Christ. When someone says “yes” to Christ the Spirit of God comes to that person. Just as Jesus did with Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road, the feeble “yes” we utter causes God to cause the scales to fall from our eyes.

This is the story of the first five people who listen, who Came and Saw!

The First Two People Saved
Were Seeking Jesus In Church

The very first Church had no walls, no pews, no padding, nor air conditioning. It was a Church plant. A man named John the Baptistwalked away from the Temple and from the Synagogues of his day to do something radical. He established a Church in the wilderness. And this upset the religious crowd. We read:

John 1:19 (KJV)  And this is the record of John, whenthe Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?

The crowds were dropping in the Temple and in the Synagogues (the Old Testament local Churches), but a man named John came preaching a simple message, the same message that the Temple Priests and the Levites should have been preaching. The message that …

Acts 13:24-25 (NKJV) …. John had first preached, before {Christ’s}coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not He. But behold, there comes One after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loose.’

John preach and commanded the people to REPENT from their sins and turn to Jesus. There are many today who preach a HALF MESSAGE. They preach “Just believe on Jesus as you are”. That isn’t what the Scripture says. The Gospel preaches:

Matthew 3:2 And saying, REPENT ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 4:17 REPENT: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Mark 1:15 REPENT ye, and believe the gospel.

Mark 6:12 And they went out, and preached that men should REPENT.

Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye REPENT, ye shall all likewise perish.

Luke 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye REPENT, ye shall all likewise perish.

John preached REPENT.
When Jesus came He preached REPENT.
Jesus taught His disciples to preach REPENT.
Turn from your sin.
Realize your helplessness.
Turn to God and be healed!

There is no Church without repentance. The preachers of the Temple wondered why the Temple crowds were down and John’s crowd was up. They suspected skullduggery.

Who are YOU, John?
By what authority do you baptize in the wilderness?

The same thing happened at my son’s Church. My son and his pastor David Rogerswent out and started a Church in the wilderness preaching repentance and obedience to Christ. Now with a fellowship of over 2000 other Churches accuse them. “Who are YOU?”. “By what Authority do YOU do these things?”They asked John in He

are you ELIJAH?
are you the PROPHET Moses?

John the Baptist said “I am none of these. I am not the Christ.”Then he quoted Isaiah 40:3…

John 1:23 (KJV) …. I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaiah.

John preached REPENTANCE and the coming of Jesus the Messiah. He said “I am not worthy to tie the Messiah’s shoes”. Then one day Jesus came. John baptized Christ, and the next day Jesus came back. He came the first time to “fulfill all righteousness”, to be baptized of John. But He came the next day to win converts. We read:

John 1:34-35 (KJV) {John the Baptist said} And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. 35 Again the next day after John stood, and TWO OF HIS DISCIPLES; 36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

Jesus comes to Church when repentance is preached. Jesus comes to Church when His people gather together under His Gospel. The two disciples heard John introduce Jesus. John was filling the sermons with Himself, but like a good preacher he was heralding Christ. There is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. There He is!

John 1:37-39 (KJV) And the TWO DISCIPLES HEARD HIM SPEAK, AND THEY FOLLOWED JESUS. 38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What  seek ye?They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?39 He saith unto them, COME AND SEE. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

The two disciples heard John, then they followed Jesus.

They followed Jesus!

As a person follows Jesus He talks to them. Jesus asked them “What are you seeking?”Some follow Jesus looking for STUFF. Right after Jesus fed 5000 men with five barley loaves, and two small fishes (John 6:9ff)Jesus moved to Capernaum. The crowd He fed the day before followed Him to see if they could get another free meal. Jesus told them:

John 6:26-27 (NKJV) … you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

Many seek Jesus for the wrong reason. He did not come to give us a full belly nor a full bank account. He came to give us life, abundant life. These disciples understood that. Jesus asked “What do you seek?”and they replied:

We want to see where You dwell, Jesus!

Where does Jesus dwell?
He dwells with His people.
He dwells with love.
He dwells in our hearts if we live by faith in Him (Ephesians 3:17).

The Third Person Saved Had To Be Called Twice

John 1:40-42 (KJV)  One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  [41]  He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.  [42]  Andhe brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

Andrew was one of the unnamed two disciples of John that followed Jesus. Being convinced that Jesus was the Messiah he went to his brother Simon Peter. Simon came with Andrew, and many believe that Simon was saved that day. I don’t myself think he was. Why? Because Simon neither confessed Jesus to be Christ, nor did he as his brother Andrew did follow the Lord. The conversation here is all one sided. The Bible says:

Jesus BEHELD him.

Many are introduced to Jesus. They take a glance at the Lord, but there is no change in their lives. Yet we never know when or how the seed will take root. The Bible says:

Mark 4:14-20 (NKJV) The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. 18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

When Simon Peter heard of the Christ through his brother he came to the Lord, but nothing seemed to happen. Jesus looked at Peter and said:

Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas,
which is by interpretation, A stone

Simon is stony ground, but the seed is sown. It is much later that Jesus comes to Peter and his brother Andrew fishing:

Matthew 4:18-20 (KJV)  AndJesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  [19]  And he saith unto them,Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.  [20]  And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Andrew followed Jesus the day he met Him. But Christ planted the seed. If you have told a loved one about Christ, do not give up on them. Do not cast them away. Keep telling them. Andrew did not abandon is brother, but continued to fellowship with him, to love him, to help him in his business. Then Jesus came again and said “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”. Immediately BOTH Peter and Andrew left their business, walking away from their nets. Peter and Andrew followed Jesus.

What is even more interesting about this is that Peter, the one who had to be called TWICE, became the leader of the Apostles. The hardest won are often the hardest workers for His Kingdom, praise His Holy Name!

The Fourth Was Easily Saved

John 1:43-44 (KJV)  The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.  [44]  Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

Every person who is saved by faith in Christ must meet Christ. In the case of the first three souls saved they were introduced to Christ by a friend or a brother. But in our text it seems to me that Jesus Himself went out and found Philip, saying “Follow Me”.

Christ can save whosoever He wants to save. Philip lived in the same city that both Andrew and Peter lived in, but there is no indication that they introduced Jesus to Philip. Why is this significant?

I have often been asked the question “What of those who have never heard of Christ? Shall they die and go to hell?” My response – and I believe it is a good response – is that God is always in control. God will reach out to whosoever will. If a person seeks God they will find God. Now this doesn’t mean that we as Christians should not share our faith. A Christian who will not share the light of God with another is disobeying the Christ. We shine for God, and we share Christ as God gives us opportunity. Jesus told us in Acts 1:8:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnessesin Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Pastor John Stott said:

We can no more restrict the command to witness
than we can restrict the promise of the Spirit.”

The Apostle told us:

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

We share Christ. But what of the uinreached? We reach who we can, and trust God in Christ to reach the rest. I am convinced that every person ever born will receive at least one opportunity to follow Christ. Our God, Who exemplifies love, will ensure that this happens.

The Fifth Saved Had To Be Convinced

Once Philip was saved he did not hesitate – he went to find his friend Nathaniel. Many people do not tell others of Christ because they think they will be asked a HARD QUESTION. They are afraid to do so. But Philip went to Nathaniel:

John 1:45 (KJV)  Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

The name “Nathaniel”means “Given of God”. You would think a man named “Given of God”would easily find God. But when Nathaniel was told about Jesus his immediate response was:

John 1:46 (KJV)  Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?

Now HOW is Philip going to answer this question? HOW will you answer the hard questions when you tell people about Jesus? Do it just the way that Philip did:

John 1:46 (KJV)  Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

Come with me and see Jesus. Go to Him in prayer. Seek His face. Talk it over with Him. When Nathaniel went with Philip to see Jesus the Lord spoke to him.

John 1:47-48 (KJV)  Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!  [48]  Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

Nathaniel had been seeking God in the privacy of his prayer closet, a little out of the way place “under a fig tree”.When Adam sinned he tried hiding “under a fig tree” (Genesis 3:7-8). Nathaniel wasn’t sinning under the fig tree. He was looking for God – and God found him. When Jesus said:

Before Philip found you while you were under the fig tree
I saw YOU!

Jesus hears our cries, our prayers. He sees us in our need. Nathaniel replied:

John 1:49 (KJV) … Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

Jesus, YOU are the Messiah sent from God. What does the Scripture say?

Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV) … that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Jesus is Lord. Jesus replies to Nathaniel:

John 1:50-51 (KJV)  Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.  [51]  And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

Jesus is God’s Door to Heaven. We Who are His see this, know this, and live this. May God draw you deeper into your walk with Christ by faith.

Posted in John, salvation, Sermons Preached, Testifying | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Center Of Heaven

 

Revelation 4:1-5 (KJV)1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. 2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. 4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. 5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

If you want to know what Heaven is like, don’t look to Hollywood nor to popular opinion. In the last several years Hollywood has done movies – bad ones – about Heaven. I admit I’ve never seen them, but read the reviews of them and decided I didn’t want such confusion in my life.

In the 1998 Robin Williams movie What Dreams May Come Robin Williams played a man who went to Heaven but found it to be a lonely place. Why? Because though his children were in Heaven with him, his wife was not there. Someone else is not there either. Throughout the movie God is no where in Heaven. He is completely ignored.

In the movie and the best selling novel The Five People You Meet In Heaven a man dies and goes to Heaven. He meets five people who tell him that his life really mattered, that he made a difference to them. In Heaven he discovers forgiveness and acceptance completely apart from Jesus Christ or even God.

Many people have a Hollywood view of Heaven. They view Heaven as a Paradise that we all (at least the good ones) will some day reach. Heaven is about mankind, humanity. It is our evolution upwards, a natural course for a superior animal species. This is the Heaven idea that satan sells to an unwary world. The devil sold the same plot to Adam and Eve. Though they were in Paradise already the serpent told them they were diminished because Eden wasn’t about them but about God. The devil promised once you eat that which has been forbidden by God you will become gods yourselves (see Genesis 3:5). You will have Paradise without God!

This is what we read about in all these books of people who went to Heaven. In every case those who “come back” say they saw a loved one first, or someone famous first. They speak of Heaven being a peaceful, idyllic place. Yet few introduce God as more than a supporting Actor in Heaven. He is but an “extra”, a “Walk In” Who comes, introduces Himself, then leaves. He is like Oz in Dorothy’s dream, the little Man behind the curtain.

Yet this is not the Heaven that the Bible speaks of.

When the Prophet Isaiah saw into Heaven what did he see?

Isaiah 6:1-4 (KJV) … I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

God is the Author and Subject of Heaven. The Angels that fly around the Throne cover their faces in awe of God. They cry out and declare Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. Man is not in the frame as Isaiah first looks, but God. God is the center of Heaven. Pastor and Author Randy Alcorn wrote:

Heaven without God would be like a honeymoon without the groom or a palace without a king. Teresa of Avila said “Wherever God is, there is Heaven”. The corollary: Wherever God is not, there is hell”.

It is God that makes Heaven Heaven. Without God there is no Heaven. When John sees Heaven he sees God first, and everything else second.

After This

Revelation 4:1 (KJV) After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

We start with the words “After This”. After what? Jesus has just spoken to His seven Churches, each in various states of spirituality. Jesus will not speak directly to the earthly Church after this. He will tell us as His present earthly Church what is going on, but the Church is not mentioned in Revelation chapters 4-22. Those who are Pre-Tribulationalists believe that this is because the Church will be Raptured or taken off of the earth prior to the events of the Great Tribulation. You may or may not believe this as there are various theories on Christ’s Church in end time events. As a Pre-Tribulationalist I believe the Church will be Raptured prior to the Great Tribulation. In Matthew 24:3-21 Jesus spoke of the Coming Tribulation and the end of days. As Jesus spoke He spoke to a Jewish Church, and to Jewish Apostles. He spoke of the Fig Tree, a picture of Israel His Chosen Nation. When the Apostle Paul spoke of the Coming of Christ and the future Anti-Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12) he wrote of …

2 Thessalonians 2:9-14 (KJV) (the Anti-Christ) whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 13 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Those on the earth during the Anti-Christ’s reign will have a strong delusion that they might believe a lie. But then the Apostle tells the earth bound Church “God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth”.

The Great Tribulation is called “The Time Of Jacob’s Trouble”:

Jeremiah 30:7-9 (KJV) Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. 8 For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: 9 But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.

The purpose of the Great Tribulation is to cause Israel to repent and to call upon the Name of Jesus, the Messiah they have as a nation rejected. Jesus will not leave His Church – those who love Him – on the earth during this Great Tribulation. The Bible tells us that:

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 (KJV) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

We who are are Christ’s will be caught up to Heaven just as John was called up to Heaven. We will see the Great Tribulation played out on the earth for Israel’s salvation – being tried often brings a person or a nation to the Lord. The Apostle reaffirms Christ’s protection of His Church by saying:

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 (KJV) For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

Dr. Thomas Constable states in his commentary on the Book of Revelation:

There are 20 references to the church in chapters 1—3, but then none until 22:17. This strongly implies that the church is not on earth during the Tribulation. Evidently the Rapture takes place between chapters 3 and 4.”

Jesus Christ Is The One Who Opens The Door Of Heaven

Revelation 4:1 (KJV) After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

John heard a voice as it were a trumpet talking with him. When I think about a trumpet I think of something similar like a bugle, a brass instrument whose sound carries. The trumpet or bugle was used in ancient times to call troops to battle, to notify people of important events. Most significantly the trumpet voice was the sound God made when He spoke from Mount Sinai. God told Moses:

Exodus 19:13 (KJV) … when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.

Exodus 19:16 (KJV) And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.

Exodus 19:19 (KJV) And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.

The trumpet voice signifies that God Himself is speaking. God tells John come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter. Who is this Speaker? It is God the Son. How do we know? Because John told us. He said

The FIRST VOICE which I heard”

What was the FIRST VOICE that John heard when he was cast out on Patmos? He is the One Who spoke to John saying:

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

He is the One Who told John Revelation 1:11 (KJV) … I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Jesus is the One Who has the keys to death and hell. Jesus is the Door to Heaven. Jesus said:

John 10:9 (KJV) I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

Jesus calls John up to Heaven. John has an open door before him because He is the ONLY DOOR by which anyone can be saved. Jesus is the One Who opens doors no man can shut, and shuts doors no man can open (Revelation 3:8). He is the One Who gives eternal life. It is by Jesus’ Word we enter Heaven. It is Jesus Who will give us our tour of Heaven.

Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter

Christ is the Mediator between us and the Father, the Mediator of a better Covenant which was established upon better promises (Hebrews 8:6). Christ is the Mediator of the New Testament, dying for our sins so that we might have eternal life (Hebrews 9:15).

When Isaiah looked into Heaven he was frightened. He saw God and said:

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

There was no joy in Isaiah looking into Heaven for to see God as He is is to know how horrible WE ARE. Our uncovered sins before the God Who is

Holy, Holy, Holy

would frighten anyone. Isaiah was torn apart by his sin unto God sent an Angel – a Seraphim – who took a burning coal of righteousness from the altar of God and laid it upon his MOUTH, saying:

Isaiah 6:7 (KJV) …. Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

This is highly symbolic of saving faith in Christ. When we come to Him as we are, receiving Him as Lord and Savior, when we …

Romans 10:9-10 (NASB)… confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Isaiah was frightened when he saw God (good man that he was) without God’s righteousness. Jesus is God’s righteousness to us. When we receive Him as Lord and Savior, confessing Him before men:

Matthew 10:32 (KJV) Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

John was walking and talking with Jesus, even in the midst of the trials of Patmos. Jesus told John “Come up here, and I will show you the things that will come after”. Right after Jesus’ Word is released to John we read:

Revelation 4:2 (KJV) And immediately I was in the spirit:

He was “in the Spirit”, filled with the Holy Spirit of God.

When Ezekiel (37:1) was “in the Spirit” he had the vision of the Valley of dry bones.
When Paul was pressed “In the Spirit” (Acts 18:5) he testified to the Jews.
We who are Christians are to walk in the Spirit (Romans 8:9) for the Spirit is in us.

Jesus sent His Spirit to fill John, to let him see …

God Enthroned Is The Center Of Heaven

Revelation 4:2 (KJV) And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

John saw A THRONE with ONE sitting on that Throne. The word “Throne” occurs 45 times in Revelation, emphasizing that God is in control of all that is transpiring. It is the Father Who is on the Throne. God the Son is leading John through the revelations, and the Spirit is empowering John to understand. This does not diminish Christ as the Scripture tells us that He is:

1 Peter 3:22 (KJV) … gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

and that Jesus … Hebrews 10:12-13 (KJV) … after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

And that we who are His are to be … Hebrews 12:2 (KJV) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus is – insofar as authority is concerned – presently seated at the right hand of God in the position of ultimate authority. But Revelation depicts Christ risen from His seat. The end of days has come. John sees God the Father in all His Majesty.

Revelation 4:3 (KJV) And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

God looks like JASPER. We are told in Revelation 21:11 that JASPER is CLEAR AS CRYSTAL. Jasper was probably a designation for diamonds. SARDINE or SARDIUS is not a reference to a little fish, but was a fiery red gem found in Sardis. From God came glittering bright brilliant white and fiery red colors, symbolizing the beauty, purity, and holiness of God. There is a rainbow round about the throne. Why a rainbow? Because the rainbow reminds us of the JUDGMENT of God. The Bible tells us that in earth’s history that because of sin…

Genesis 6:6-7 (KJV) … it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

God saved eight souls by an Ark, but all others in humanity died. Following the Judgment of the Flood God “set a rainbow in the clouds” (Genesis 9:8-17) as a promise that He would no longer destroy the earth by flood of water. The rainbow was both a COVENANT as well as a PROMISE of GRACE. John sees the rainbow around the Throne of God now for we begin the Judgment of God on a fallen creation. Though God will not flood the earth with water He will allow His Judgment to pour out on those on the earth. This particular rainbow is emerald or various shades of green. In green there is life. Though God will judge sin on the earth, there will be no absolute destruction of all living things. Warren Wiersbe wrote:

“Usually, a rainbow appears after the storm; but here, we see it before the storm.””

Revelation 4:4 (KJV) And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

Around the Throne (θρόνος thronos) of God there were 24 thrones (θρόνος thronos). The King James says “seats” but it is the exact same Greek word – thrones. No one knows exactly who these 24 elders are for John does not tell us. Some believe that these elders are symbolic of the Christian Church. The Apostle said:

2 Timothy 2:11-12 (KJV) It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

so it is possible that this is representative of the Church. The “elders” are called “elders” and not “children”. They are not angels for the word “elders” is used elsewhere in Scripture for humans only, not for angels. These elders are under the authority of God. They are dressed in white raiment, which was previously used in Chapter 3 to describe the saved in Christ:

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

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

Revelation 4:5 (KJV) And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

There is lightnings and thunders and voices coming out of the throne of God, much like the Judgment that God portrayed when He sent the Law to Israel from Mount Sinai. The Grace of God in Christ has been rejected by the world. Man has sought to approach God by his own means rather than approaching through Christ. So Judgment is coming. There are beasts or strange Angels around the throne of God. These odd angels are described:

Revelation 4:7-9 (KJV) And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. 8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 9 And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,

What are these odd beings doing?
They are worshiping God!
They are giving GLORY and HONOR and THANKS to Him that sits enthroned.
To Him Who lives forever and ever!

John was not frightened by these “beasts” or Angels.
They are praising the God Whom he loves!

And what of the elders?
Shall we debate WHO they ARE?
No, let us read what THEY are doing:

Revelation 4:10-11 (KJV) The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying ….

The “elders” got off their thrones and fell down before Him that sat on the Throne. They worshiped the Lord our God. They took off their crowns and humbled themselves before Almighty God, throwing their crowns before Him. There was no pride here, no arrogance. They cried out:

(11) Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

We cannot live sinless lives, but we can worship the Lord our God.
We cannot be perfect, but we can get off of our thrones and worship Him Who is.
We can take off our crowns, and cast them down.
And worship Him Who is the Center of Heaven.
Both ELDER and BEAST worship the Lord.
Shall we do any less?
Shall we do any less?

May God the Holy Spirit touch your hearts with His Word.

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God Is My Portion

 

Isaiah 60:1-5 (KJV) Arise, shine; for thy  light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. 4 Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. 5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.

I remember a story I read about Art Linkletter. Art was a professing Christian. One day he was confronted with a great crisis. Two young on fire Christians met with Art that day, and in a hotel lobby in San Francisco asked him to kneel with them in prayer. Art said:

“I really felt funny about getting down on my knees in a public place like that. But I had such a need of God. I realized, all this time I had not been a true Christian. I was a cardboard Christian. I threw all of that away, humbled myself before God, got on my knees, broke through to God, and met reality.”

I like that phrase “Cardboard Christian”.

I was at a local department store the other day when I saw someone staring at me. I tried ignoring it, but they just kept staring. Finally I decided to walk over and ask that person what they were staring at – in a nice way, of course. As I got closer I realized no one was staring at me – it was a cardboard cutout of a person. It looked so lifelike I thought it had life. But it didn’t. It was just a cardboard person. A fake. A pretend. There was no life in it. It was manufactured by the world, not by God. The Cardboard Christian is a man made relic, but the true believer is made of God, born again, forgiven, and adopted into the Family of God! Praise the Lord!

God Is Your Portion Dear Christian

Isaiah 60:1 (KJV) Arise, shine; for thy light is come,
and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

God made us to walk with Him, to love Him, to be enchanted by His Presence.
We will only find our happiness in Him.
Not in our health, nor in our wealth, but in Him.

When Israel entered the Promised Land God gave each of eleven tribes lands to be their own. They could farm the land, sell the land, enjoy the land. But one tribe – the Tribe of Levi – received no lands. Why? Was it because God hated Levi or loved Levi less than the other tribes? No. It was because God loved them MORE. God separated Levi to be PRIESTS unto Him. The Bible says:

Deuteronomy 10:8-9 (KJV) At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day. 9 Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD is his inheritance, according as the LORD thy God promised him.

The LORD was Levi’s portion. The PRIEST has God as his or her possession. You say “But Preacher, what does that have to do with me? I am not a Priest”. You are wrong. God says of His Christians – those who have RECEIVED Christ as Lord and Savior
are indeed PRIESTS.

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

Every Christian is a PRIEST before God. There was a time when you had no status before God, but are now a PRIEST. God’s glory has shined upon you. You have one Pastor Teacher, but you all are PRIESTS. God is your portion. I often wondered why Jesus declared:

Matthew 11:5 (KJV) The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. (see also Luke 4:18; 7:22)

The POOR – those who are not rich in the things of this world – have the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel preached to them. Certainly Jesus meant the Gospel to be preached to all. If you don’t believe this, read His Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). But often RICHES causes us to be blinded to the TRUE RICHES of this life. The greatest gift God can give you is HIMSELF. When you begin to understand that stuff will not bring happiness nor lasting joy, but to know the Lord Who loves you and created you is what does. To say with Jeremiah:

Lamentations 3:24 The LORD is my Portion, saith my soul,
therefore will I hope in Him.

and to say this with confidence is the greatest thing. To declare with the little Shepherd King David:

Psalm 16:5 The LORD is the Portion of mine Inheritance and of my Cup:
Thou maintainest my lot.

or to say with Nehemiah when Israel wept over their sins:

Nehemiah 8:10 (KJV) …. Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

God gave us life. In fact, God has double blessed us who are Christians, for we have been given DOUBLE life. We were given life and light without charge, and eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have been born TWICE – once of the flesh and once of the Spirit. We are his for all eternity, no matter what may come our way. Are we tried? The believer Eliphaz said:

Job 5:6-8 (KJV) Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; 7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. 8 I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:

Yes, life at times is hard. But I will not be distressed nor discouraged, for God is my Portion and His Promises my Covenant. God loves me and has never left me yet. No matter how dark the cave of trouble has been God has been with me.

If God Is Your Portion Then RISE And SHINE

Isaiah 60:1 (KJV) Arise, shine; for thy light is come,
and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

If you are not a Cardboard Christian or a Drive Through Christian (one who uses God as a drive through … you know what I mean) then your Light has come. You were once as the rest of the world. There was a time when you walked in darkness and wickedness. But then you saw God’s Light. Christ is God’s Light. Jesus said:

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

Jesus is the True Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He is the very Light of God. The devil and his religion(s) of atheism and false faith will tell you there is no hope. This is not the case of Christ. Jesus said:

John 9:5 (KJV) As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

Jesus is the Light of the world. We as His people are to not be discouraged, but to RISE and SHINE. God loved you so much that He gave His Only Begotten Son to die in your place. Jesus shed His Blood for you. God did not invest such a great thing into your life if He was going to abandon you. All things –

ALL THINGS work TOGETHER for GOOD to those
WHO LOVE thE LORD (Romans 8:28).

You say “But what of my suffering?” What of it? God appointed you to this day – RISE and SHINE for Him. Do not take trials as a defeat but as an opportunity to show how much you love your LORD. Do not be cardboard. Be real.

There was a time when you and God were not partnered together. I remember that time in my life. I was weak. I was helpless. I was discouraged. I was the devil’s plaything. The Bible declares:

Ephesians 2:11-15 (KJV) Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

There was a time when you were strangers to God. To you, God was but a concept, a shadow figure that you might occasionally pray to. We were strangers to the Covenants of Promise, having no hope, and without Christ in the world.

BUT NOW you are in Christ Jesus.
BUT NOW you are brought near to God by Christ’s Blood.
BUT NOW you are at peace with the Creator.
BUT NOW God sees you as His Child, a Child of Purpose.

The scientist looks at the Moon and sees a useless hunk of rock. But the Moon has a purpose. Though it has no light of its own, it reflects the light of the Sun while the earth lies in darkness. The Moon also effects the tides, pulling on the earth. You Who are Christ’s are the Light reflectors. God made you to shine for Him. Your presence effects those around you as long as you know God is your Portion. Let God be your Portion.

Isaiah 60:2 (KJV) For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

God knows that the earth is in darkness. It is in darkness because, as the Scripture says:

John 3:18-21 (KJV) He that believeth on {Christ} is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Gross darkness covers our land. With what shall we combat it? Shall we vote? Yes, we should vote, but voting will not fix the problem. Shall we enact godly laws? Yes, we should. But you cannot legislate morality. What is the hope of the world? It is that …

The LORD shall rise upon thee
And His glory shall be seen upon Thee!

We are to focus on God being our portion.
We are to be God’s Moon.
We are to shine in deeds and in speech.
We are to brighten the darkness with His light!

Are you sick?
How is your sickness different than that of the lost?
If God does not rise upon thee while you are sick,
then why would any want to be saved?

Are you heartbroken?
How is your heart break different than that of the lost?
If God does not rise upon thee while you are heart broken,
then why would any want to be saved?

Are you poor?
How is your poverty different than that of the lost?
If God does not rise upon thee while you are poor,
then why would any want to be saved?

Are you sad?
How is your sadness different than that of the lost?
If God does not rise upon thee while you are sad,
then why would any want to be saved?

Jesus preached on the Mount: Matthew 5:3-12 (KJV) Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

We are to REJOICE even in suffering because our Light – Jesus Christ – has promised that OUR REWARD WILL BE GREAT IN HEAVEN. There is a better day a coming. Fanny J Crosby the blind Gospel Writer wrote:

When my life’s work is ended and I cross the swelling tide
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see
I shall know my Redeem
er when I reach the other side
His smile will be the first to welcome me!

I shall know Him, I shall know Him
And redeemed by His side I shall stand
I shall know Him, I shall know Him
By the print of the nails in His hand

Oh, the soul thrilling rapture when I view His blessed face
And the luster of His kindly beaming eye
How my heart will praise Him for His mercy and His grace
That prepared for me a mansion in the sky!

We who are His are headed toward a brighter day. We are promised a mansion in glory by Jesus. We are told:

Isaiah 60:19-20 (KJV)19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. 20 Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

Brighter days are coming, dear believer. Let God be your portion. Shine as He shines on you.

In Our Shining Others Will Draw Near

Isaiah 60:3-4 (KJV) 3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. 4 Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.

When His glory is seen upon thee the Lord promises that Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. They shall gather together and come to thee. The Christian shining will be persecuted, but the Christian shining will also draw others to themselves. The world needs light. The world needs Jesus. The world needs to see Jesus in you. The world today is as hungry person dreaming:

Isaiah 29:8 (KJV) It shall even be as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: ..

The world seeks solutions in things that cannot satisfy. They have gained the whole world, but lost their own soul (Matthew 16:26). They have everything but enjoy nothing. We were made to find our enjoyment in God. God says:

Isaiah 43:7 (KJV) Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

We were made to glorify God.
God made us for HIS GLORY.
When we laugh, we GLORIFY Him.
When we mourn, we GLORIFY Him.
We were made to walk with God.
Rain or shine, happy or sad, we were made to love and adore Him.

 I remember a story that Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom once told. Corrie helped hide many Jews during the Nazi terror and was imprisoned alongside of them when caught. Corrie and her sister Betsy were sent to Herzogenbusch concentration camp (also known as Kamp Vught), and finally to the Ravensbrück concentration camp, a women’s labor camp in Germany. One day Corrie was complaining about the horrible flea infestation that was in their barracks. Betsy told Corrie “There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still”. Betsy told her sister to praise God for the fleas, and together they did so. It was later that both women found out that the only reason they were not raped as other women in the prison were is because their barracks were infested with fleas. The fleas kept the guards at bay, and allowed the women to pray and study their Bibles, giving glory to God even in the midst of this suffering. Betsy died in prison at the age of 59. Fifteen days after Betsy went to be with the Lord Corrie was released from Ravensbrück. Afterwards she was told that her release was due to a clerical error and that a week later, all the women in her age group were sent to the gas chambers.

God is my Portion.

Psalms 4:6-8 (KJV) There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. 7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. 8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

Isaiah 60:5 (KJV) Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.

Oh, if we would let God get hold of us, how revival would come. Revival comes when Christ comes. The evidence of revival is:

Thou shalt see” – the blind see the Lord
“And flow together” – There is unity in God’s Church
“Thine heart shall fear” – God is given preeminence
“And be enlarged” – hearts are softened and expanded to love others

Revival comes when God is our Portion. Salvation comes when God’s presence is that which is most desired. Oh that God would world among His Church, drawing us to Him, and drawing others to commit to walk with the Lord. If you do not know Christ as your Lord and Savior I beg you, come to Him this very day. And if you do know Him, realize that Christ is your portion.

May God be glorified in the preaching of His Word.

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The Things My Dad Never Said….

Great article. Really spoke to my heart

When I' m With You... Whitney Ibe Blog!

While growing up my mom and I never got along
We quarreled more than we prayed
We fought, though not with our fists, but never settled even in the heat
She couldn’t see through me but I could see through her
I never understood though I constantly stood there

I loved my father more than my mother
My mother beats the living day light out of me
My father consoles more or so I thought, until now…

My dad never said “Don’t hit a woman. Never leave your dirty dish on the kitchen sink for your sister. Never put your feet on the table while speaking your elders. My dad never said be kind, be compassionate, be fair in all your dealings, be just! He never said anything about telling the truth no matter what! He never said to always leave your jeans on your hip, it’s more comfortable there…

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