United We Stand

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Joshua 1:9-18 {God said} Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. 10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11 Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it. 12 And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying, 13 Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land. 14 Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valor, and help them; 15 Until the Lord have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the Lord your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the Lord’s servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sun rising. 16 And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. 17 According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the Lord thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses. 18 Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.

Beware Lest We Fail To Glorify God

As Israel stood on the border to the Promised Land this second generation was faced with an impossible challenge. They had new leadership. The first generation of Israel had all died in the wilderness for disobeying God. Moses himself had died and been buried in the land of Moab. We don’t know exactly where Moses was buried, for the Scripture says that God …

Deuteronomy 34:6 … buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulcher unto this day.

I find this interesting because Joseph (of the coat of many colors)

Genesis 50:25-26 … took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. 26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

When Moses left Egypt “Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.” (Exodus 13:19). Joseph’s bones went with Israel to the Promised Land. When the first generation of Israel disobeyed God and were left to wander in the wilderness until they died (forty years), Joseph’s bones went on a forty year ride with them. These bones would not be buried until Israel – a unified people – occupied the Promised Land. At the end of the book of Joshua we read:

Joshua 24:32 … And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.

Moses was buried by God and his bones have never been discovered. Joseph’s died and was buried in Egypt, but his bones were carried out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. They found their final resting place in Shechem (also called Sichem) a place where Abram traveled through right after God called him to salvation. The bones of Moses and the bones of Joseph are highly symbolic of faith and failure.

Moses failed God by striking a rock rather than speaking to it.
Moses could not enter the Promised Land.
Though Moses did everything else right.
But when it mattered Moses failed to glorify God.
God loved and buried Moses – but not in Canaan.
Joseph glorified God in his life.
Tried and betrayed by his family, Joseph glorified God.
Tried and betrayed by Potiphar’s wife, Joseph glorified God.
Forgotten by the Chief Cup-bearer, Joseph glorified God.
Joseph’s bones made it to the Promised Land. He glorified God.
Beloved, Glorify God!
It is a terrible thing to not Glorify God!

Those who wait upon the Lord – who are faithful to glorify Him – will ultimately be blessed. Those who do not will bear their own burden. We are to look to our own lives, and remember the words of the Apostle:

Romans 14:8-11 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at bought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

The Unity Of God’s People Glorifies The Lord

Joshua 1:10-12 … Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11 Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it. 12 And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying

As Israel got ready to enter the Promised Land Joshua relayed God’s Word to the leaders of the people. The leaders were to be unified in glorifying God. Everyone communicated with one another. There were no whisper campaigns, no subterfuge. God had given orders, and they were to obey those orders. Joshua said within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan”. THREE DAYS is a significant number in Scripture. Our Lord Jesus died on Calvary, and laid in the grave three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40).

Then Joshua specifically addressed three tribes: the Reubenites, the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh. These tribes made up roughly 25% of Israel. When these tribes encamped on this side of the Jordan they looked at the land they were on. We read in ..

Numbers 32:1-5: Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place for cattle; 2 The children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spake unto Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and unto the princes of the congregation, saying … 4 Even the country which the Lord smote before the congregation of Israel, is a land for cattle, and thy servants have cattle: 5 Wherefore, said they, if we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan.

They were well satisfied where they were. They did not want to cross over the Jordan. They were not trying to be troublemakers, but they would just rather have this land rather than the Promised Land. This was something that could threaten the unity of God’s people. Jesus told us as His people:

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

Christ is not honored when His people are in disharmony. The Apostle tells God’s Church:

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

God is not blessed by, nor will He bless, disharmony and infighting. He will not honor those with “I problems”. Moses is forbidden the Promised Land because of an “I problem”. The first generation of Israel is dead because of an “I problem”.
We must live for God!

Moses tells the Reubenites and the Gadites:

Numbers 32:6-15 Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? 7 And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD hath given them? 8 Thus did your fathers, when I sent them from Kadeshbarnea to see the land. 9 For when they went up unto the valley of Eshcol, and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, that they should not go into the land which the LORD had given them. 10 And the LORD’s anger was kindled the same time, and he sware, saying, 11 Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me: 12 Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the Lord. 13 And the LORD’s anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the Lord, was consumed. 14 And, behold, ye are risen up in your fathers’ stead, an increase of sinful men, to augment yet the fierce anger of the Lord toward Israel. 15 For if ye turn away from after him, he will yet again leave them in the wilderness; and ye shall destroy all this people.

Moses did not speak sugar coated words to the Reubenites and the Gadites. He spoke the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) which is what we all are to do. God is honored by a divided people. God calls His people to harmony, to unity of purpose. The Apostle said …

Ephesians 4:1-6 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

God’s people are called to be ONE and OBEDIENT. God wants us to move forward under His direction. To be one Church, one Israel. Not one with the world, but one with God and with one another. We are never to compromise with the world nor with worldliness. “Friendship with worldliness is to make God your enemy” (James 4:4 my paraphrase).

Israel was to have one purpose, to bring glory to God.
The Church has one purpose, to bring glory to God.

We WILL Work Together To Glorify God

The Reubenites and the Gadites proposed a solution to the problem before them. Please note they did not stomp their feet and have a fit. They suggested a godly and peaceful solution. They suggested to Moses:

Numbers 32:16-19 … We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones: 17 But we ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their place: and our little ones shall dwell in the fenced cities because of the inhabitants of the land. 18 We will not return unto our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance. 19 For we will not inherit with them on yonder side Jordan, or forward; because our inheritance is fallen to us on this side Jordan eastward.

Moses agreed with their suggestion. As they prepare their hearts to go into the Promised Land Joshua reminded them of what their elders promised Moses.

Joshua 1:13-15 Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land. 14 Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valor, and help them; 15 Until the Lord have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the Lord your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the Lord’s servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sun rising.

They were all to work together, loving and supporting one another for the glory of God. Joshua warned the people – as did Moses – against betraying the unity of the Body. Let us follow the same example. Let us live together and in one accord for the glory of Christ!

May God touch your hearts with His vision and His Word!

Posted in Joshua, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , , ,

God Help Not Self Help

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Joshua 1:1-8 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, 2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. 5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. 7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. 8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

We live in a “self help” age.
Hobby Lobby brings in 4.3 Billion $ yearly.
“My Best Life Now” by Joel Osteen is a best seller.
We worship the words of Oprah and Dr. Phil.
Mega Church leaders are telling us how to GROW!

When I pastored a sweet community Church called Rock Hill I had several preachers that I prayed with every week. I wish I could find preachers now who would pray with me! Anyway, when I got together with my preacher friends and prayer partners the subject of growing the Church always came up. We were amazed at the growth of Churches like Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church with weekly attendance of 22,000 people and Bill Hybels Willow Creek Church with weekly attendance of 24,000 people. I knew I was not called to pastor Churches of this size, but we all wanted to see our congregations grow and reach the communities we were in. We weren’t interested in what the so called “Prosperity Preachers” did, but Saddleback and Willow Creek were conservative leaning Bible believing Churches. Saddleback is part of our denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention.

Bill Hybels surprised us one year when he made a statement about Willow Creek1:

“We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their Bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.”

I was shocked when Bill Hybels resigned from Willow Creek in April of 2018 amid charges of sexual misconduct. The Church itself is falling into disarray and confusion. I’m not gloating over this by any means. The Apostle warned:

1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

We are all fallible – we all walk with a limp. We all need to keep our eyes on Jesus!
We all need to rest in His Word!

You will never become strong and effective Christians unless you follow the principles that God has given you. Your families will never produce strong Christian men and women who will lead this Church into the future unless you do as your God has commanded you. You cannot make a difference in the land unless you follow His directives and His Word. You MUST follow the Christian disciplines:

You must PRAY to God through Christ.
You must MEDITATE on His Word.
You must be CONSISTENT in absorbing & doing His Word.
You must be UNIFIED as a people under Christ.
You must be DOERS and not just hearers.
You must be IN LOVE with Jesus!

As Israel prepared to go into the Promised Land what did God emphasize? Did He teach them to build better weapons? Did He tell them the best route to follow? Did the Lord tell them where the best rest stops were, or the best places to eat were at? No, not at all! The Lord said “Focus on My Word” and “Focus on My Leadership”. A strong Israel would be a God led Israel, just as a strong Church must be a God led Church. When the maximum number of believers in the local Church are focused on the daily reading and personal application of God’s Holy Word, that Church cannot be destroyed. When God’s people focus on private as well as public prayer, that Church can pass through the flame of adversity unscorched. God promised those who lovingly follow Him that nothing would stand in our way.

Isaiah 43:2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Internalize God’s Word!

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Look at the first words of this text: “This Book of the Law”. The Bible is not just a neat old Book that we carry to Church with us and sit on the coffee table at other times.

The Bible is a Book of Law!

A Law is something that is decreed by a HIGHER AUTHORITY for the common good.

God gave His people the Bible because He loves us. He has set laws forth in this Holy Book that we must obey if we expect to be blessed in life. God told Israel:

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth;

What you SAY is what you BELIEVE. We are to let His Word come out of our mouths. The words will not come out of our mouths if it is not IN OUR HEARTS. God does not want you to be a Heavenly Parakeet. He wants you to HEAR, then TEACH what you have head. He tells His people:

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 … these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house,

If you love God in your heart then His Word and His promise will come from your mouth. I have heard it said before – and it is true – We are what we do! The Word of God is YOUR Law, it is MY Law, it is OUR Law – but each of us must be focused on applying it to our own lives.

The way of failure is to hear the Word of God and then spend your time applying it to your neighbor’s life.

It is the Word of God and the Work of God that changes people’s lives.” – Charles Stanley

The Lord wants you to take His Word and put it into action in YOUR life. Ask yourself as you read it,

What does this Word have to say to ME”?
Internalize the Book!

King David, a man after God’s own heart, applied the Word of God diligently in His own life. In the longest Psalm in the Bible David wrote:

Psalms 119:97-100 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. {98} Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. {99} I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. {100} I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.

When you read and meditate on God’s Holy Word the Spirit Who indwells you empowers you to really live. The more you focus on God’s Word and meditate on its teachings, the more God-minded you will be. David went on to say:

Psalms 119:113-114 I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love. {114} Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

Though peer pressure and the world may direct us to do the wrong thing, the heart filled with God’s Word will always follow God’s leading. The Christian who “meditates day and night” on God’s Word will be less likely to fall into Satan’s sin pit.

The Apostle Paul directed the wayward Corinthian Church to turn away from selfishness and sinfulness and to turn toward God’s Word. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

How do we have “the mind of Christ”? Every time Jesus was asked a question or attacked by an enemy, how did He respond?

It is written”

Jesus lived the Word – He is the Word. His mouth was directed by the Word. God told Joshua:

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth;

The Word of God should be in your mouth. We experience things through our mouths. We eat great foods – steak and seafood – and delight in their flavors.

We should be discussing the Word with one another, and encouraging one another in its study. We should be building our Sunday School classes, because this is so important to the growth of the Christian. When we are in the midst of suffering we often run to the doctors for relief. There’s nothing wrong with doctors. A doctor called Luke was used of God to write Scripture. But before we seek other sources, let us seek His Word.

Treasure God’s Word!

Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

The reason why many who profess Christ do not have JOY and REJOICING is because our minds dwell on mindlessness rather than the Mind of God.

We watch mindless TV.
We listen to mindless Music.
We stare at mindless Phones.
And fill our minds with bubbles.

How many times do you just TURN OFF the electronic noise and TUNE IN to God? What you fill your mind with is what you will become. The Scripture says:

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he

Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

If your heart is focused on God’s Word, your actions will follow your focus. This is why God told Israel “meditate – think on My Word – day and night”. If your mind is on God’s Word it cannot be on Satan’s deceptions.

But we cannot leave out the last part of this Holy Chain:

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein

God expects us to “do according to all that is written therein”. There is a doing that must not be put away. We can put a piece of steak in our mouths, we can think about eating it, but if we do not DO – chew and swallow – we have no benefit. Jesus told His disciples:

Luke 6:46-49 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? {47} Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: {48} He is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. {49} But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

The doing of the Word of God always produces great results. We do exactly as God tells us to do without equivocation, and we shall be blessed.

We cannot be godly unless we think godly thoughts.
We will not be godly unless we do godly things.

2 Peter 1:4-7 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. {5} And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; {6} And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; {7} And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

God has given His people exceeding great and precious promises that we might be partakers of the Divine Nature. The Lord wants to bless us – but our blessing and prosperity is conditioned on our personal application of the Word of God in our lives. As our focal text tells us:

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Let God Take Over Your Life

Joshua 1:2-5 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. 5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Too often in this life we make ourselves visible, but God invisible.
We need to reverse this if we will be blessed!

The country that would become the United States of America won it’s independence from a vastly superior nation. Great Britain ruled the seas. Her military was the most powerful in all the known world. How in the world did we defeat a vastly more powerful enemy?

At that time in history battles were fought following European methods. Armies dressed up, marched in formation, and fired facing one another on a battlefield. Each army in battle had to stand there and take it. Cannons and flintlocks killed large numbers of soldiers on both sides. There was no way that the American colonies could defeat armies like Britain’s. But we learned from the native American Indians how to fight and win. We hid ourselves. Rather than stand in parade on a battlefield we hid behind bushes, trees, and in ditches that we dug. The British forces were trained to stand out PROUD, EXPOSED to every bullet and cannon ball. Our militia fought from cover. And we won.

The Church cannot win the battle against the forces of satan if we proudly display ourselves. We need to hide ourselves behind Jesus.
We need His Word in our hearts and in our hands!

We who have been saved by faith need to internalize the truth that “the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest”. On the day that you became “born again” God the Holy Spirit came to live in the Temple of your body. He is – as Jesus said – the Promise of God, the “Spirit of truth; Whom the world cannot receive” (John 14:17). This Holy Spirit – very God of very God – lives inside of you. The Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest”. He is the silent Witness Who watches you as you go through this life. He sees you whether you obey God or not. He is with you throughout everything you do.

“When we are faithful to keep ourselves in God’s holy presence, and set Him always before us, this hinders our offending Him, and doing anything that may displease Him.” – Brother Lawrence, Practicing The Presence of God

We need to learn to practice the Presence of God. He is. We need to act as if He is in our presence – for He is. We need to move through this life as if He is in our presence – for He is. When we sit down to watch television we need to be aware that God sees what we are seeing – for He dwells in us. When we speak to our friends He hears every word we say. If we neglect to pray – to speak to Him on a regular basis – He knows that. God is with us because He has promised to be “with thee whithersoever thou goest”. Job even in the midst of adversity declared:

Job 23:11-12 My foot hath held His steps, His way have I kept, and not declined. {12} Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.

Keep your eyes on the Lord. Let Him shine through you. The fainthearted cannot win the land for God. Be strong and of a good courage. Make sure you’re going where God tells you to go – then without hesitating go there. Be strong, for God is with you. Practice His Presence in prayer. Study His Word. Go forward in the Name of Jesus, and God will richly bless you.

May God’s Word richly bless and keep you all!

1 From Baptist Press (November 1, 2007): A Shocking Confession From Willow Creek

Posted in Joshua, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , ,

Jesus Is More Than

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John 20:30-31 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Today is the National Day of Prayer for Vacation Bible School. As I pondered what to preach this Sunday God placed on my heart the need to preach our focal text. John 20:31 is the theme and focal verse for our Vacation Bible School In The Wild. Let’s read this verse again:

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

What must we emphasize to our children – or better yet, what must we emphasize to every person we approach concerning Jesus Christ.

We Must Emphasize That Christ Is More Than Myth
More Than Man
More Than Teacher
More Than Prophet

More Than A Founder
He More Than Most Of Us Conceive
And Certainly More Than America Has Made Of Him

Christ Is More

Context is so important when you are reading the Bible. When you read the verses that we are looking at today you cannot divorce them from their context. We don’t want to ignore them – but we do want to see what’s around them.

Just before John wrote these words he spoke of an incident that occurred with another disciple named Thomas. A few weeks ago I preached a message from our series “Faith of our Fathers” on the Apostle Thomas. I’m not going to preach that again. If you want a copy of that sermon see me after Church. But I do want to speak to the text.

Thomas – like many today – was not where he was supposed to be when Jesus rose from the dead.

Yes, Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus is more than Man, more than death itself. Jesus told all the disciples before He died on Calvary:

Matthew 26 … when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, 2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

Jesus knew He was going to die. When the woman with the Alabaster box of ointment anointed Him (Matthew 26:12) Jesus knew He had to die. Jesus also knew why He had to die. At the end of the Feast of the Passover the Bible says Jesus took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:28). Jesus Christ is the payment …

1 John 2:2 … for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

John 3:16 … that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Jesus told His disciples He was to die. He knew why He was to die. But He also knew He would rise again. Jesus told His disciples:

Matthew 26:31-32 … All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.

When Jesus rose from the grave an Angel told Mary Magdalene:

Matthew 28:6-7 {Jesus} is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

Jesus died on that Cross, but He was more than death. He was more than Prophet or mere Man. Jesus Christ is much more.

Jesus told His Disciples “I Will Rise From The Grave”
Jesus told His Disciples “I will meet you in Galilee”
Jesus had His secretary – an angel – remind Mary that “I will meet you in Galilee”

If you want to see Jesus, you need to be in Galilee. Thomas was not in Galilee. The other ten disciples (minus Judas Iscariot the traitor) were in Galilee. Jesus always does exactly what He says He will do. Jesus is not limited by time or space. He is, was, and always will be. The Scripture says:

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Jesus Christ is the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)

So many who proclaim Christ as Lord and Savior are not where they need to be. I often talk to those who profess Christ as Lord and Savior, who tell me “I am a Christian”, and yet are devoid of the very power of God in their daily lives. Beloved, if you wish to be empowered of God you need to be where Jesus tells you to be. Listen to me, all you THOMAS Christians. Jesus died for your sins, praise God forever. But Jesus is MORE.

Jesus is MORE than Lamb of God.
Yes, He is Lamb of God.
Yes, He is the Payment for your sins.
Yes, He is Heaven’s Key.
Yes, He is the Door to glory.
But He is also SHEPHERD OF THE SHEEP.
He is also KING OF HIS KINGDOM.
He is also RULER OF HIS CHURCH.

Oh, how I wish you would hear me. Oh, how I wish the Spirit of God would open your eyes. Oh, how I pray the Spirit of God will open the eyes of these children during Vacation Bible School. Jesus is MORE.

When Thomas got where he needed to be, when he got to Galilee and gathered with his brothers in Christ, THEN Jesus appeared to him. When you are in God’s directed place doing God’s directed work,
God will be there.

When Thomas was where he was supposed to be

… he saw Jesus,
…he heard Jesus,
… he touched Jesus,
… he experienced Jesus.

Then and only then did Thomas begin to understand that Jesus is MORE. It was at this point that Thomas said:

My Lord and my God (John 20:28)

Evangelists today are selling Jesus as if He were a “Seen on Television Utility”. You know what I’m talking about. Jesus is like the Popeil Pocket Fisherman of the 70’s which looked good but was useless for fishing. Jesus is like the K-tel Veg-O-Matic which dices, slices, chops, and purees … for about 30 minutes, then it breaks. Jesus is a Sav-O-Matic. You walk an aisle, get a little wet, then like the Ronco Rotisserie & BBQ you can “set it and forget it”. When it’s time to die Jesus, like a Cosmic Chauffeur, will drive up in His spiritual chariot and pick up your soul, taking you into Heaven.

No Beloved, Jesus is more. Jesus said Matthew 28:18:

All power (or authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”

Jesus is the Only Savior, but He is also more. Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. When we receive Him as Savior we receive Him as Thomas did, saying, My Lord and My God. Jesus becomes the Lord of your life when you are saved by Him. Jesus becomes the Shepherd of the Sheep, not the Sheep of the Sheep. Jesus is the Leader and King of His people. But Jesus is More. The Bible tells us several times:

1 Timothy 6:14-15 … until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ … who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;

Revelation 17:14 … the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Ruler of His people. He is the Savior of those who receive Him as Lord and God. He is our Mediator, our Redemption, our Master.

And we serve Jesus. The Christian who is a Christian indeed lives serving the Jesus Who is “My Lord and My God!”. Author and Minister Ollie Fobbs writes:

Fundamentally, the idea of Jesus being King of kings and Lord of lords means that there is no higher authority. His reign over all things is absolute and inviolable. God raised Him from the dead and placed Him over all things, “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:21–23).”

The Bible Is More

John 20:30-31 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ…

What is this Book we call “The Bible”? This Bible is more than a human authored Book. Dr. Charles Stanley writes:

The Bible is more than just another book because it is timeless. The truths of Scripture are never outdated and are still applicable for any situation we might face. {The Bible} is infallible. Since Scripture is the revelation of the one true God, it has no errors. Because He is all powerful, He has the ability to speak through men, guiding them to write only what is true. There may be concepts we don’t understand, but that never invalidates the fact that God’s Word is {without error}.”

Our text tells us that “these things are WRITTEN that you MIGHT BELIEVE”.

The Bible is not a collection of myths and legends.
It is not a story book.
It is not a Children’s Fable.
It is God’s Word from beginning to end.

The Scribes and Pharisees – the religious crowd of Jesus’ day – thought the Bible to be just a book. They prided themselves on knowing the Book, the Bible, but never applied that Bible to their lives. Jesus said of this mindset:

Matthew 5:17-20 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets {the Bible}: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The Bible was written by God through Prophets and Apostles and about Jesus. These things are WRITTEN that you MIGHT BELIEVE that JESUS IS THE CHRIST. Jesus told the Pharisees and Scribes:

John 5:46-47 … had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of Me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

The Bible is all about Jesus. It is God’s Word about Jesus, and righteousness, and what God expects His people to do. The Bible teaches of Jesus – Old Testament and New Testament. It is a reliable Witness of God.

When Peter preached the first Church Age sermon on the Day of Pentecost what did Peter preach from? Did He preach from a Reader’s Digest or from his opinion? Absolutely not! Peter preached harsh truth and Scripture text to those listening. Peter preached…

Acts 2:23-28 {Jesus}, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

Peter preached Christ from the Old Testament text of Psalm 16:8-11. Preaching and believing the Word of God some 3000 people were saved that day. Beloved, this Bible we have is the Word of God. It is THE Word of God. There is no other. These things are WRITTEN. The Bible says:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God {theopneustos = God Breathed} and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

The Bible is written by the hand of set apart people, but is GOD BREATHED. It is the very Word of God.

Scripture Is The Very Exhale Of God
That Breathes Life Into The Believer

As the Scripture comes from God, it is trustworthy. Jesus Christ always countered the errors that He found in humanity around Himself with the Scripture. In the New Testament we see the phrase “as it is written” 31 times. That’s right, 31! When Jesus taught He referenced the Scripture.

Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, {Jesus} explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (Luke 24:27)

{Jesus said} all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled (Luke 24:44)

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (John 1:45)

Luke 4:17-21 … there was delivered {to Jesus} the book of the prophet {Isaiah}. And when he had opened the book, {Jesus} 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.

The Bible is God’s Book. It is through it – faith in it – that we are changed from children of Adam to children of the living God. We come from Satan’s kingdom of darkness and are translated into Christ’s Kingdom of light when we believe in Him of Whom the Scriptures speak.

Belief Is More

John 20:31 … these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Belief is more than a head nod or a mental assent to a truth. We all believe in gravity. I believe in gravity. But it was not until is was walking into my work shop one day that I slipped and fell, cracking my head on the ground. Then I REALLY BELIEVED in gravity. Gravity to me was a truth, a truth I believed and was taught. But saving belief is more than mental assent. It is soul deep.

Belief that saves understands that I am a sinner.
Belief that saves knows that I am destined to hell.
Belief that saves sees Jesus Christ as my only hope.
Belief that saves bends the knee to Him Who loves me.
Belief that saves obeys Jesus as Lord and God.
Belief that saves surrenders to the Savior.
Belief that saves does as Jesus says.

Jesus said “Why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). If you come to Jesus and do as He says He promises that the storms of life will not destroy your lives. But Jesus said:

Luke 6:49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

God wants these little children to be Christ’s little children. He wants you to be His little child. Will you come to Him Who gave Himself for you TODAY? The Bible says TODAY is the day of SALVATION (2 Corinthians 6:2). Tomorrow may never come. Come to Him – to Jesus – today. May God the Holy Spirit use this text for God’s Glory and the salvation of many souls! Amen!

Posted in John, Sermons Preached, VBS | Tagged , , , ,

Who Is The Servant Anyway?

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Photo by Robby McCullough on Unsplash

Joshua 1:1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying …

In a recent address to the 2019 graduates of Liberty University Vice President Mike Pence spoke about religious liberty. He said:

throughout most of American history, it’s been pretty easy to call yourself Christian. It didn’t even occur to people that you might be shunned or ridiculed for defending the teachings of the Bible. But things are different now. Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs.”

Someone asked the question “What must Americans do to stem this tide of bigotry?”. I believe that this is the wrong question. When our Lord Jesus came to this earth, He came as Light into the midst of darkness. From the very beginning Jesus was resisted by Israel – those He came primarily to save – and the religious leaders of Israel. The Scripture says:

He came unto His own (Israel), and His own received Him not (John 1:11)

The Light shined in the darkness, but the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:5, in my words). Jesus told the Rabbi Nicodemus right after He told him “God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son” (John 3:16) that:

John 3:19 … Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than Light, because their deeds were evil.

The world opposes Christ and His genuine followers because the world is in the grip of the Evil One (1 John 5:19). Jesus told the religious leaders of His day right after He healed a boy blind from birth:

If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. (John 9:41)

Why was the world that Christ was come to save against Him from the beginning? Why would a King called Herod attempt to kill Him while He was yet in a cradle? (Matthew 2:16; Jeremiah 31:15). Why would every religious leader of not – Pharisee, Sadducee, Scribe, Chief Priest, or Elder – seek His death? Jesus defined the problem Himself, saying:

John 15:21-24 … they know not Him that sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. 23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

For entirely too long the Church in America has lowered God’s standard until our ensign is dragging in the dust.

As we lowered the standard, changing what God has told us in His Word to a humanized little “w” word, the Church ceased to be a threat to the darkness. Vice President Pence has been clear in his faith, and is being attacked for it. President Jimmy Carter along with other Presidents went down the road of compromise. In a New York Times interview President Carter was asked:

One of my problems with evangelicalism is that it normally argues that one can be saved only through a personal relationship with Jesus, which seems to consign Gandhi to hell. Do you believe that?”

His response was typical of what many say today. President Carter said:

I do not feel qualified to make a judgment. I am inclined to give him (or others) the benefit of any doubt.”

Jesus left no doubt. Whether Gandhi or any person – even Adolf Hitler – is in hell today is not for me to judge. But Jesus was very clear when He said in John 14:6 “I am to Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me”. If a person leaves this life without a personal relationship with God in Christ then they have NO HOPE for Heaven. To compromise this truth is to reject the very basic tenet of Christ’s Gospel. It makes the world happier if we who are Christ’s say “I prefer to not make a judgment”, but it inflames the world when we say “Christ said He was the only Way to God the Father.

Who Is Serving Who?

The reason we as American Christians have not experiences much difficulty in living our faith is sadly because many of us think that God serves us rather than we serve God. We’re going to start studying through the Book of Joshua, an extraordinary believer in God. The Book of Joshua begins where the Book of Deuteronomy ends. The Hebrew Bible is divided into three parts:

The Law, The Prophets, and the Writings”. The portion known as the Law was written by Moses as God gave direction. The Scripture tells us that:

2 Peter 1:21 … the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Moses wrote the Torah – the first five Books of our Scripture. Moses knew Jesus Christ. How do I know this? Because Jesus told the Pharisees:

John 5:46-47 … had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

As the Law ends and Joshua begins we read:

Deuteronomy 34:1-6 .. Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, 2 And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, 3 And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. 4 And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. 5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. 6 And {God} buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulcher unto this day.

When Moses died he went to be with Jesus. Moses was 120 years old when he died. The Bible says that:

his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (vs 7)

Moses knew who the servant was. Because Moses failed to serve God at Kadesh by striking the Rock rather than speaking to it (Numbers 20:8-13) Moses would not enter into the Promised Land. Yet God loved him, and buried him with His own hand.

It amazes me that the Hand that wrote the Law on tablets of stone was the same Hand that dug the grave for Moses’ body.

Why would God take such care with Moses? Even though Moses failed God at Kadesh (also called Meribah or bitterness – Numbers 20:13), Moses was still “The servant of the Lord”. He knew and served God. He wrote of Christ. He trusted God the Holy Spirit. He served the Lord. God said of Moses once he died:

Deuteronomy 34:10-11 … there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11 In all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land …

God loved Moses because – outside of that terrible day in Meribah – Moses knew whom he served. He lived for the Lord Who saved him. He cared for Jesus. When Moses dies who will God choose to take his place? Will God go by popular vote, or electoral vote? Will God ask the people whom He will choose? NO!

the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister

Joshua Served The Lord

Who is Joshua? His Book is the first Book in the Hebrew division of the bible called “The Prophets”. We don’t know who the human secretary was that wrote this Book, but we do know it was written by God. The name “Joshua” is the Hebrew יְהוֹשׁוּעַ Yᵉhôwshûwaʻ, (pronounced yeh-ho-shoo’-ah) which means “Yahweh is salvation”.

Dr. Thomas Constable in his commentary notes “is the Hebrew name that translates into Aramaic as “Jesus.” What Jesus is to God’s people in a larger sense, Joshua was to the Israelites in a smaller sense. Joshua brought God’s people into the realization of many of God’s plans and purposes for them. ”

Why was Joshua chosen to lead Israel? Judah was supposed to be the ruling tribe of Israel. When Jacob lay dying he directed that:

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

Judah was the tribe where Israel’s rulers were to come from. King David came from Judah. Our Lord Jesus Christ is descended from Judah. So what of Joshua?

the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun

Was Joshua from Judah? No. Joshua was from the tribe of Ephraim. When Moses sent twelve spies into the land of Canaan – one from each tribe – we read that he sent:

Numbers 13:8 Of the tribe of Ephraim, Oshea (Joshua) the son of Nun.

The tribe of Judah was represented by Caleb the son of Jephunneh (Numbers 13:6). So why did God choose Joshua to lead Israel into the Promised Land? Because Joshua was a minister to Moses, and the servant of the Lord. Joshua did not spend his time trying to order God about. He knew he was called to serve God. When the twelve spies went into Canaan 40 years prior ten of the spies brought back “an evil report” which caused Israel to refuse to enter. God told Israel:

Numbers 14:29-30 Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward which have murmured against me. 30 Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.

Israel wandered for forty years because of her sin of unbelief. And of the ten spies God punished them:

Numbers 14:36-37 … the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, 37 Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the Lord.

They didn’t know who was the servant. God is not the servant. God is not our servant. We serve the Lord. If we will be blessed, we must serve the Lord! I look forward to going through the Book of Joshua with you. Let us commit to serving the Lord!

Who Are You Serving?

Posted in Joshua, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , , , ,

Faith Of Our Fathers #5: What Are You Doing Here?

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1 Kings 19:1-9 .. Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. 3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. 5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. 6 And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. 7 And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. 8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. 9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

Who is this sad and suicidal man who prays that God will kill him? He is depressed, despondent, disturbed. Life holds no interest for him any more. Who is this man?

He is Elijah.

I love studying Elijah. Elijah is a bit of a mystery in the Scripture. His birth and childhood are never discussed in the Scripture. Elijah’s name in the Hebrew is אֵלִיָּהוּ, Eliyahu, meaning “My God is Yahweh”. Elijah is simply introduced in …

1 Kings 17:1 … And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead …

He was a person who dwelt in Tishbe of Gilead, a place east of the Jordan River near Wadi Chorath. Scholars can tell us little about this area, or about Elijah’s origin.

Elijah Was God’s Answer To Evil

We do know that Elijah was born during an evil age. He grew up in Northern Israel under the reign of the evil King Omri. The Bible says:

1 Kings 16:25 .. {King} Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him.

When Omri died his son King Ahab reigned over {Northern} Israel in Samaria twenty two years (1 Kings 16:29). The Bible says of Ahab:

1 Kings 16:30 ..Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him.

Ahab’s daddy was the most evil king Israel ever had – that is, until his son reigned. As goes the parent, so goes the child. If the parent is godless chances are the child will be godless. Ahab was godless. That isn’t to say he didn’t have a god. He did. Ahab married Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal King of the Zidonians (1 Kings 16:31). Jezebel was a priestess of the false Canaanite god named Ba’al. When Ahab married Jezebel he rejected Yahweh and built a temple for Baal. God raised up Elijah to confront Ba’al and his followers.

Yahweh Confronts Ba’al With Elijah

Elijah’s name means “My God is Yahweh”. He confronts Ahab saying:

1 Kings 17:1 … As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.

What gave Elijah his boldness? He had his eyes on the Lord. Elijah said “I am standing before the Lord God of Israel”.
He was focused on Yahweh – not on himself or others.

Elijah stood against Ba’al. Ba’al was not a name of a false god but its title. Ba’al means “Lord”. The Canaanites believed Ba’al to be the god of rain, thunder, lightening, and dew. When Elijah says “there shall not be rain nor dew these years” he is giving a direct challenge to Ba’al and his worshipers. There is only ONE God, and YAHWEH is His Name.

Was Elijah a superman, some super human person like unto Jesus Christ? No, not at all.

James 5:16-18 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

Elias” is the Latinized form of Elijah. James tells us that the fervent or sincere prayer of a righteous or Christ Driven person does much. Elijah was a person just like we are. He was subject to like passions as we are. He had the same failings as we do. He was just a man – a man who kept his eyes on the Lord. Elijah simply listened to God – and God listened to Elijah.

Elijah listened to God, and God listened to Elijah.
If you want your prayers to have power, listen to God.
Hear His Word. Heed His Voice. Put away your toys.
Get still. Be still. Know that He is God.

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

God will be exalted among His creation. He does not exist for us, but we for Him. God is not our slave, nor our tool. God is God. He will be glorified by His elect. He will be exalted by those He has saved. Elijah heeded God, and God used Elijah. “He prayed earnestly – with all love toward God – and it did not rain for 3 ½ years!”. Elijah had nothing to do with this drought. This was all of God. God speaks to Elijah:

1 Kings 17:2-4 .. And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, 3 Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. 4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.

God protected Elijah. He watched over him.

Why do so many Christians never hear God? Because we will not put ourselves into a position to hear God.

  • We will not hear because of SIN. We allow sin in our lives – unconfessed and unrepentant sin. The Psalmist said..

Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

Jesus said “If any one serve Me, let HIM FOLLOW ME” (John 12:26). God will not speak to the heart riddled with sin. REPENT! Confess your sin before the Lord. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-10).

  • We will not hear because of SELFISHNESS. Often I am trying to tell someone something and someone else will come up and break into the conversation. I was raised to be polite, so I stop talking. And wait. And wait. And wait. And then I give up. God is the same way. God will speak to us, but we are so busy hearing someone or something else that God can not get our attention. So He waits. And waits. And eventually gives up. The Prophet said:

Habakkuk 2:1 .. I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.

What do the words “Stand, Set, and Watch” all have in common? You do these things with your mouth CLOSED. SHUT UP! Listen to God, for He has promised to speak to us. Jesus said “My sheep HEAR MY VOICE, and I know them, and THEY FOLLOW ME” (John 10:27). Start your day listening to the Voice of God (Isaiah 50:4). Elijah listened to God, went to the brook Cherith, and was blessed.

God Takes A Little And Makes It Big

God told Elijah that when he went to the brook Cherith that he would be cared for. Faith means to DO what God says to DO, and to GO where God says GO. God said:

I have commanded the ravens to feed you.

Elijah “went and did according unto the Word of the LORD” (1 Kings 17:5). Every day Elijah woke up, went to the Brook Cherith, drank, and God gave him food by the ravens. What is interesting is that ravens are omnivores. Elijah got a variety of food every day because God love him.

  • It is an act of unbelief to HEAR God and not DO as He says. God can use a raven to feed a man in the wilderness. God can send manna from Heaven. But God will not bless us if we do not DO as He says. He does not ask our opinion. He just directs us to do – and we are to obey. Today if you will hear His Voice, harden not your hearts (Hebrews 3:15). Israel hardened their hearts and lost the blessings of God. Let us not harden our hearts, but OPEN our hearts to Him Who loves us so!

When the Brook Cherith dried up our God was faithful. Our God is always faithful! God gave rest to Elijah, and will give rest to us.

Isaiah 28:12 .. To whom {God} said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

Psalm 85:8 .. I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

Oh how God wants to bless us. Oh how He blessed Elijah! When the Brook dried up (for God had cursed the land for His sake) the Word of the Lord came to Elijah:

1 Kings 17:9 .. Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.

Faith Is Not Moved By Fear But By God

God told Elijah to first go to the Brook Cherith and be fed by ravens. Now the Lord tells him to go to Zidon or Sidon which was an ancient Phoenician city which we today call Lebanon. Why send Elijah to Sidon? Why was Sidon so important? Because Ahab’s evil bride Jezebel was the daughter of the King of Sidon.

1 Kings 16:31 {Ahab} took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians {or Sidonians}

God sent Elijah into the very center of Ba’al worship, the City of Sidon. God sent Elijah to a widow on her last legs. He put Elijah in the very worst place he could be based on human logic. Why? The Apostle tells us:

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 {God said} My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

God puts us in the least places and gives us the less strength so that we can learn to be empty vessels by which He can fill us.

When Elijah got to the widow’s home in the midst of enemy territory he asks her to bring him a drink of water and a morsel of bread.

1 Kings 17:12-15 … she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. 13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. 14 For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth. 15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.

This woman was not a believer in our God. How do I know? She told Elijah:

as the Lord THY God liveth”

not “our God” but “thy God”. She was probably a worshiper of Ba’al. God sent Elijah to an unbeliever’s home to feed him and care for him throughout the drought. When we have little we need to look up and trust God. We need to understand that the unbelieving world is watching us. They may not hear what we say, but they watch what we do. Are we DOING faith? If not, no one is impressed, neither the unbeliever nor our God. This woman and her child was prepared to die. But God sustained her.

Then her son died. This is the first account of a miraculous resurrection found in Scripture. When her son died she grieved and said to Elijah:

1 Kings 17:18 .. What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

Elijah took her son up into the loft where he was staying. The Bible tells us that:

1 Kings 17:21-22 … {Elijah} stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. 22 And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.

Why did all this happen? So that a widow would come to know the Lord our God. After the resurrection of her child she told Elijah:

1 Kings 17:24 … Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.

What is the greatest cause of atheism in our world today? A Christian group called DC Talk said it best:

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” (April 13, 2013)

Elijah lived for the Lord. He kept his eyes on the Lord. In Chapter 18 Elijah stands on Mount Carmel and challenges 450 prophets of Ba’al and 400 prophets of Asherah to a duel. I love this section of Scripture, but I’m running out of time so I’ll abbreviate the story.

Elijah won!

The 450 prophets of Ba’al and the 400 prophets of Asherah were terribly defeated. These servants of Ba’al – who was supposed to send lightening on the earth – would not do so. Of course he couldn’t. An idol is just a figment of the imagination. But God is God. Our God is real.

1 Kings 18:36-38 … Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. 37 Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

An entire day of crying and pleading from the 850 false prophets yielded no results. “Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.” (Psalm 115:3-7). God is real. The God of Scripture is real, and true, and holy. The false gods of the world are nothing but pretend. Our God is real!

Don’t Take Your Eyes Off Of God

When we started this lesson we saw a defeated, demoralized, and self destructive Elijah. Why is Elijah depressed? Why is this great man of God ready to die? Why is his powerful prayer turned to:

1 Kings 19:4 … It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

Because Elijah took his eyes off of God. When Jezebel threatened him he ran away, and when he ran away he REALIZED he had played the coward. Now he is defeated, because he is looking at himself and not at the Lord Who loves him. The devil defeats us when we begin to look at ourselves instead of God.

Eve looked at the Tree instead of God.
Adam looked at Eve instead of God.
Noah looked at a vineyard instead of God.
Moses looked at the people instead of God.
Saul looked at his strength instead of God.
Samson looked at Delilah instead of God.
David looked at Bathsheba instead of God.
In every failure we look at anything but God.

God took Elijah back to Mount Horeb (Mount Sinai) where Moses received the Law from God (1 Kings 19:8). On this mountain was where the Word of God first came to man. It was here that God spoke to Elijah with a still small voice. It was here that God touched the hurting heart of Elijah, and re-instilled purpose in his heart and in his life.

If we will make a difference for our Lord, if we will stand against the Ba’al of this age, we must return to the Word of God. Only on this mountain can we receive His Word. Only on this mountain can we find purpose for living. Let God take you to His Mountain, and speak to your hearts. Live for Him. Hear His Word. Do as He says. That is where the power of God is – in His Word.

Posted in Faith Of Our Fathers, Sermons Preached | Tagged ,

The Scriptures And The Power Of God

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Precious Lord God – as we come together today to hear from You, this is what we wish. We pray that You would teach us of your Scriptures. We pray that Your Spirit will touch our hearts and illuminate our conscience. We pray that all external distractions be pushed away, and that we would find the “best part” at Your feet as Mary of Bethany did. We wish to know the Scriptures so that we can know the power of God. In the Name of Your Beloved Son Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Matthew 22:23-25 The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, 24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 25 Now there were with us seven brethren … 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

Our text begins with “The same day”.

Let us examine this day.
What happened to Jesus this day?

The Bible tells us that the day before this day our Lord Jesus “went into the Temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the Temple..” (Matthew 21:12). When Jesus did this He emphasized the reason that God’s people should come together. He said:

Matthew 21:13 (KJV) … It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Jesus quoted Scripture from Isaiah 56:7 where the Lord said:

My House shall be called a House of Prayer for ALL PEOPLE”

God wants to hear from all people.
He wants to talk to everyone.
He gave His Son for whosoever will.

The Temple authorities had allowed the services of God’s House to degrade into a place where communion with God was diminished, but tradition was exalted. When we come together as God’s Church we come together to hear a Word from our God. The Children of the King come together to grow in their relationship with God. The Children of this world come together with us to hear of the God we serve. My prayer is that the Children of this world in gathering with us will hear the wondrous call of salvation and run to the embrace of Christ! It is in His loving arms that God will take you, and like Enoch of old take your souls and …

Deliver you from the power of darkness and
translate you into the Kingdom of His dear Son!
(Colossians 1:13)

Jesus removed the hindrance to communion with God. Oh that He would even now cast out anything in this Temple that is hindering the Gospel and the conversion of the lost. God wants ALL PEOPLE to be saved. God wants ALL PEOPLE to come to Him and know His power.

We Hinder The Power Of God When We Will Not Hear

The same day came to Him the Sadducees”. God would save anyone. God would save everyone. But God will not force any to the Throne of Grace. What happened on “this same day” in the life of Jesus? Before the Sadducees came to Jesus:

…the Chief Priests and the Elders of the people came unto Him as He was teaching, and said By what authority does Thou these things? And Who gave Thee this authority?” (Matthew 21:23)

They would not hear Jesus because He was not endorsed by a famous person or a well known Rabbi. But Jesus had something else. Jesus knew the Scripture. The Chief Priests and Elders knew portions of the Scripture. They knew things out of context. But they did not know the Scripture. Jesus told them:

Matthew 21:42 … Did you never read in the Scriptures, the Stone which the builders rejected, the Same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?

The Chief Priests and the Elders were the “builders of the Temple”. They were the pillars of the Temple Community. But they never knew the Scripture. They had memorized Scripture. They had read Scripture. But they had never known the Author of the Scripture. God is the Author of the Scripture.

2 Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Those who were set apart by God to write Scripture wrote as God the Holy Spirit moved them. You cannot take what God has given and use it according to your whims. Scripture matters. Scripture Jesus is the Living Word of God, and He spoke with authority because He spoke the Word of God. He knew its Author. The Chief Priests and Elders did not know the Author of Scripture. They did not know God. This is why Jesus told them “the Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof”.

It is not your title or your position that brings you to God.
The Chief Priests and Elders were satisfied in themselves.
They did not know the Writer of Scripture,
and so did not know the Power of God.

The same day came to Him the Sadducees”. God would save anyone. God would save everyone. But God will not force any to the Throne of Grace. What happened on “this same day” in the life of Jesus? Before the Sadducees came to Jesus:

Matthew 22:15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk.

The word “His” is added by the King James translators. The Pharisees – which could be compared to the Right Wing of the Church and of the Nation – were very conservative people. They read the Bible. They and their cohorts the Scribes knew and memorized great sections of Scripture. They came to Jesus to attempt to entangle Him in talk. The Pharisees ….

Matthew 22:16-17 … sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. 17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

The Pharisees were – according to Jesus – HYPOCRITES. He called them this because they had no respect for Jesus nor for the Word of God. And yet OUTWARDLY they showed Jesus respect. They called Him MASTER or the Greek διδάσκαλος didáskalos, (pronounced did-as’-kal-os) which means A Master Teacher, someone who holds a Doctorate or Rabbinical Status.

Just as the Venus Fly Trap offers pretty colors and sweet nectar to kill its victim, these Pharisees and Herodians (Supporters of Herod) put the sweet flattery out there. As the Psalmist said (12:2-3) “With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak”. Jesus knew they were hypocrites, and called them on it.

Matthew 22:18-21 … Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? 19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. 20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? 21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

Flattering Jesus will not bring blessing to your life.
You need to hear the Word of God.
You need to heed His Word … He is the Author.

The same day came to Him the Sadducees”. God would save anyone. God would save everyone. But God will not force any to the Throne of Grace. The Chief Priests and the Elders came to Jesus, but rejected His Word. The Pharisees and the Herodians came to Jesus, but rejected His Word. Now the Sadducees come to Him. They do not want to hear His Word, but test Him.

The Sadducees were different in their approach. They quoted Scripture. But in the quoting they twisted the Scripture so as to suit it to what they believed.

Matthew 22:24-28 … Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. 27 And last of all the woman died also. 28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.

This is what many in the world do today.
The children of Adam take the Scripture;
Do violence to its text;
Twist it to conform to their Word.

It is God’s Word. In the Law God established a rule for Israel:

Deuteronomy 25:5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her.

Why did God give Israel this command? Because each family in Israel was valuable. God wanted no family to die out. So the brother was responsible to his brother to insure that his blood line continue. That was God’s ruling. The Sadducees came to Jesus with a ridiculous proposition. What if seven brothers lived together, and one died and the second brother married his widow, then number two died, and number three married his widow, etc, etc, until all seven brothers married that widow and then the widow died.

Then they asked the key question,
the question they thought would trip Jesus up.
In Heaven WHO will the husband of this poor woman?

You Cannot Know The Power Of God If
You Do Not Know The Author Of Scripture

Matthew 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

The Sadducees thought they “knew” the Scriptures, but they didn’t. Knowing the Scripture does not mean to just be able to quote portions out of context. The word for “knowing” that Jesus uses is the Greek εἴδω eídō, (pronounced i’-do) which means:

To perceive so as to understand
To fundamentally understand
To experience and therefore know

This word is used of the Wise Men who came to see the Baby Jesus:

Matthew 2:2 … Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen (eídō) His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.

The Wise Men did not just SEE with their eyes the star of Bethlehem. They PERCEIVED it’s significance because they knew the Star’s Creator. When the Wise Men came into the home where Jesus was the Scripture tells us:

Matthew 2:11 … they saw (eídō) the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

When the Wise Men saw Jesus they did not just SEE with their eyes. They PERCEIVED the significance of this Child because they knew the Child’s Creator.

The Sadducees could not SEE or PERCEIVE the Scripture because they did not know the Creator of Scripture. Why didn’t they know Him?

They were spiritually dead.
Oh, they were animate. They walked and talked.
But they were cut off from God by unbelief.
The Chief Priests were spiritually dead.
The Elders of Israel were spiritually dead.

The Herodians were spiritually dead.

The Pharisees were spiritually dead.

The Sadducees were spiritually dead.

All are spiritually dead who are not known of God. The spiritually dead are those who will not look with they eyes of faith. The Apostle says:

1 Corinthians 2:9-14 .. as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The NATURAL MAN cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God. The lost person cannot process the truths of God. The person bound to sin and self, continually chasing after the things of this life, will not hear the Word of God. The Evangelical Church in America has done violence to the Church itself. We have many times befriended the world. Rather than stand on the truths of God’s Word and holding fast to the Gospel we have compromised. We have tried to be appealing to the …

Chief Priests
Elders
Pharisees
Herodians
Sadducees

yet the natural man cannot receive the things of God. The lost must be told of the Messiah. The lost must learn the Word of God that applies to them, the Gospel that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The lost must be taught that we are all dead in trespasses and sins until we turn to Jesus. It is God that opens the eyes. It is God that gives the perception of Scripture. The lost …

do err (planao, lead away from the truth) not knowing (eídō, perceiving) the Scriptures, nor the power (dunamis, dynamic power) of God …

The lost must have Christ. They must not debate Christ, nor judge Christ. They must come to Christ. If they would come to Christ then they would experience the power and eye opening majesty of His glorious Gospel. They would understand what we speak of when we say with the Apostle:

Ephesians 2:5-6 … Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

The Christian was DEAD. Like the Sadducee that person without Christ – debating Christ – rejecting Christ was DEAD. A corpse can perceive nothing. The dead can perceive nothing. We are told in Ecclesiastes 9:5 “the dead know nothing”. The Chief Priest, Elder, Pharisee, Herodian, Sadducee – they know NOTHING. We knew nothing until we knew Jesus.

Those who know the Creator of Scripture know the Scripture. Those who seek to love God will know of God. God sent us all that we need to know of Him in His Word. He sent us all that we need to know of God in His Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus came to raise the dead.
Jesus came to raise the dead.
Jesus came to raise the dead to spiritual life.
Jesus came to raise the spiritual to eternal life.

Jesus told these Sadducees – these spiritually dead people:

Matthew 22:31-32 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

God Is Not The God Of The Dead
He Is Not Your God If You Are Dead In Sins

Jesus explained eternal life and spiritual life in a very simple way. God came to Abraham and spoke to Abraham – and Abraham loved God. Abraham had a son named Isaac when he was a hundred years old. Abraham lived to the ripe old age of 175 years old. After Abraham left this life Isaac went to a place called Beersheba. While at Beersheba the Bible tells us:

Genesis 26:24 … the Lord appeared unto {Isaac} the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham’s sake.

If Abraham had ceased to exist then God would not have said I AM the God of Abraham thy father. He would have said I WAS the God of Abraham your father. But Abraham yet lived. And when Isaac had a child named Jacob, and Jacob grew up, God appeared to Jacob and said:

Genesis 28:13 … I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;

Abraham had been dead for some time when God appeared to Jacob. Yet the Lord says I AM the Lord God of Abraham who was actually Jacob’s grandfather. Not I WAS, but I AM. Our God is not the God of the DEAD, but of the LIVING. God’s Word to whosoever will cease to debate Him and just hear Him is very clear. Jesus said:

John 11:25-26 … I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

There is life beyond this life. There is life IN this life. Jesus Christ came to this earth to bring us from spiritual death to spiritual life. Jesus Christ came to this earth to give us life, and life more abundantly (John 10:10). Jesus promised whosoever believeth in Me shall never die. Here our Lord used a DOUBLE NEGATIVE for emphasis. Ἀποθνῄσκω οὐ μή εἰς αἰών ἀποθνῄσκω (apothnēskō ou mē eis aiōn apothnēskō) which is literally “shall not die forever”. There is life in Christ. Oh Beloved, do not debate Him. Do not reject Him. The Scripture promises:

Romans 10:9-10 … if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Oh believe! Oh believe! Do not go the broad way of the Chief Priests, the Elders, the Herodians, the Pharisees, the Sadducees. Go the way of Christ. May God the Holy Spirit open your eyes to this great and wondrous Gospel! It is in Your hands, O Lord, in Your hands!

Posted in Matthew, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

God Is Watching

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Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

Deuteronomy 23:9 When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing. … 14 … For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

When we started studying through Deuteronomy we discovered that this second giving of the Law contains three sets of Laws.

  • It contains Laws that related only to Israel.
  • It contains Laws that are prophetic and are fulfilled in Christ.
  • It contains Laws that are on all of God’s creation.

You may rely to me “but I thought we were NOT under Law, but under GRACE. Isn’t this what the Apostle tells us?” That is very true. But the phrase “not under Law but under Grace” is found in THIS context:

Romans 6:2-18 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

The doctrine that says “once I am saved I may freely and guiltlessly break the Law of God” IS A LIE FROM THE PIT OF HELL. The Bible tells us that Christ out Savior went OUTSIDE THE CAMP to save us. We are told in Hebrews:

Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

Jesus died outside the gate – outside the camp – to make payment for our sins. He died to save us from that terrible slavemaster. Jesus gave Himself to PAY for our sins, then rose again to establish command over our lives. As Pastor Wes McAdams said:

You cannot be a child of God, free from the burden of the law, so long as you still live to sin. That kind of a person is unconverted and is still a slave of sin. That kind of a person needs to be under law. But the true convert, has died to sin and has been baptized into the death of Christ. Paul asks again, in verse 15, “Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace?” And again answers, “By no means!” Through the power of the cross, and the work of God’s Holy Spirit, Christians have become slaves of righteousness. We do what is right, not because of a law written on stone tablets, but because we truly want to please our heavenly Father. Our hearts and minds have been converted by God’s grace.”

I could not say it any better. God expects the people whom He has saved to be at one with Him.

Our Power To Win Is Found In Our God

Our power as God’s people does not rely on our strength, but on the strength of Almighty God. God tells His people – the people whom He loves:

Deuteronomy 23:9 When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing.

Israel was a people loved of God. They were a small group of believers compared to those nations that were around them. God didn’t want His people to worry about the odds that were against them. No matter how big the enemy is, God is much bigger. What God commanded of His people was very simple.

Keep thee from EVERY wicked thing!

God does not call His people to worry about the enemy. Christians have always had enemies. Those who love God are in the minority. I was thinking about martyrs this morning. Do you know who the FIRST martyr in the Bible was? It was Abel.

What did Abel do to be martyred for his faith?
What WORDS did Abel speak that led to his death?

If you study your Bible you find out that Abel NEVER SPOKE A WORD with his mouth – at least no word that was recorded. The Bible tells us that:

Genesis 4:8 … Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

What did Abel say to Cain? We don’t know. But we do know this. When God came and asked Cain where Abel was, that unbeliever said …

I know not. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Genesis 4:9

God told Cain (Genesis 4:10) “What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground”.

Abel never preached a sermon from a pulpit, but his shed blood preached of the obedience of faith. The Scripture says:

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

God honored Abel, but marked Cain. God watches what we do. God expects His Children to cast out all that is offensive to Him.

Beloved, we live in a wicked world. The Bible tells us that we are to be light in the midst of this darkness. Lifeway Facts and Trends director Thom S. Rainer stated:

Between 6,000 and 10,000 churches in the U.S. are dying each year. That means around 100-200 churches will close this week. The pace will accelerate unless our congregations make some dramatic changes. It’s tempting to blame secular culture, national politics, or church leaders for the declining evangelical influence in today’s culture. If outside forces and culture were the reasons behind declining and non-influential churches, we would likely have no churches today. The greatest periods of church growth, particularly in the first century, took place in adversarial cultures. We are not hindered by external forces; we are hindered by our own lack of commitment, selflessness, and evangelistic urgency.”

God told Israel not to worry about what was outside the camp, but to make sure that the camp itself was holy. God said that if we are to be blessed we must remember that it is God Who fights for us. Therefore we MUST NOT OFFEND GOD. God says:

Keep from thee EVERY wicked thing!

This is a far cry from what many Churches are doing today. Too many Churches have compromised with evil. The Church is to be the Light of Christ. We are to live so as to please Him.

God Is Watching Us

Deuteronomy 23:14 For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

God is watching His people. The Lord thy God walketh in THE MIDST of THY CAMP. God is with us. We have a tendency to compartmentalize God.

What does it mean to “Compartmentalize God”?

It means to use God like we use our tools. In my workshop I have a SawsAll. It sits in a grey case. A SawsAll is invaluable when you need to do tight repair work. With the SawsAll I can cut plumbing lines or remove a stud from a wall. You can use it on trees to cut larger branches safely. The SawsAll stays in it’s grey case until I use it – which is only about ONCE or TWICE a year. When I need it, I have to have it. But when I don’t need it it sits in it’s little compartment, waiting patiently until I call.

This is how some people see God. He is a TOOL to be used, and forgotten until He is needed. But God is no TOOL. He is the CREATOR. He owns EVERYTHING, even the stuff that the unbeliever thinks he owns. God owns our bodies, our souls. Our lungs pump because He gives us energy and lets us have oxygen. God is there, ALWAYS.

The Lord thy God WALKETH In The Midst Of Thy Camp

God takes an active interest in what His people are doing. He knows what you are doing. As Pastor I many times don’t have a clue what you are doing, but God knows. He knows what you’re planning for Vacation Bible School. He knows how often you read your Bibles. He knows what you are watching on television at night. He knows what you do in the privacy of your homes. God walks in the MIDST of you.

One of our founders was Thomas Jefferson, and Jefferson was not a Christian but a Deist. The Deists believe that God created the earth then stepped back and let it go. God is a non-interventialist Creator. But this is not the God Who reveals Himself in the Holy Scripture. God walks in the midst of our Camp. The Scripture declares:

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

God does not stand outside the camp looking in. As a Good Shepherd He walks in the MIDST of the Camp. God is not a God Who is far away fromn His people. Has He not promised:

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

God walks in the midst of the Camp. Our Lord is with us. Our Lord is with us though we may be a small people. Did not Jesus promise:

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

If we will succeed, we will only succeed if God causes us to do so. Let us cast out all that is wicked. Let us put away the toys of sin. Let us live to please our Jesus. God will not remain in the midst of a sinful people. We are to put away all that offends our Savior, and let Him shine through us. What is the alternative? God says so plainly:

that He see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee

Do not believe that God will justify sin. God tells us clearly:

Romans 13:8-14 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. 11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Be like Christ. Be like Him Who died for you, and rose again so that He could live in you. May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in Deuteronomy, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

Love Is The Law

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Photo by Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash

Deuteronomy 22:1-2, 5, 8 (KJV) Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother. 2 And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again. … 5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. 6 If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the {mother} sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the {mother} with the young: 7 But thou shalt in any wise let the {mother} go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days. 8 When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.

The Law of God was given to a holy people, a people that God chose for Himself and saved from Egypt. God chose to adopt these people as His own. Why did God choose Israel among all the nations of the world?

Because of LOVE.

God told Israel: Deuteronomy 7:7-8 (KJV) The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: 8 But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

It is all about LOVE. When God called Abraham and asked him to follow, God was asking Abraham to love God as God loved Abraham. How did Abraham respond? The Bible says “by FAITH”.

Hebrews 11:8-10 (KJV) By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he {traveled} … 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

God loved Abraham, and Abraham loved God. This is what the Law is all about. LOVE. The Apostle said:

Galatians 5:6 (KJV) For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

FAITH which worketh by LOVE”. That’s what genuine FAITH is. It is a trust in another because of love.

Faith is a trust in another because of LOVE.
Faith is a trust in Another because of LOVE!

The Law entered because Israel ceased loving God. Yet the Law is all of LOVE. It was not written by a God Who wants to rob us of our joy. No! It was written by the God Who made us all, Who loves us all. It is all about LOVE! Not just sticky sentimental childish puppy love, but robust, powerful, spiritual LOVE.

What did the Apostle say? Galatians 3:19-25 (KJV)  Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.  [20]  Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.  [21]  Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.  [22]  But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.  [23]  But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.  [24]  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  [25]  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

You will not understand this unless you can define the word FAITH. The Law was given BEFORE FAITH CAME. Again, what is FAITH? Faith worketh by LOVE. Faith is trust in Another because of love. The Law was given to teach Israel LOVE.

Then one day God became Man, and showed us love!
The Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us.
Full of Grace and Truth (John 1:14)

The Word became flesh to teach us that the Law is all of Love. The Word – Jesus Christ our Lord – taught us that we were to love God with all our hearts and love one another. Then the Word showed us love.

He died on a cruel tree because He loved us.
He rose again the third day because He loves us.
He promised to send us His Spirit to guide us in love.

When the Church was first formed on the Day of Pentecost – a Jewish Holiday – the Apostle Peter preached from the Law. As he preached the Holy Spirit began to convict the souls that were listening that they needed the Lord Jesus Christ to be their Savior. The crowd asked Peter:

Men and brethren, what shall we do?

How did Peter respond?

Acts 2:38-39 (KJV) …. Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  [39]  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

What was the REQUIREMENT for salvation?

REPENT. Stop loving the world and love God.
Be BAPTIZED. If you love Christ stand up for Him. Do what He said.

What was the RESULT PROMISED?

YOU SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

God will come to you. God will love you.
God will love any who will come to Him in love.

The Law Is The Written Voice Of God For The Unloving

The Law was a schoolmaster to teach Israel to love. It is a schoolmaster to teach any unloving how to love. See this in our text.

Deuteronomy 22:1 (KJV) Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.

If a man loves a woman and the woman loves a man, neither has to make a list of what the other will do out of love. Love in the heart will result with love in the hand. Israel, however, had become much like the Church at Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22). They were lukewarm in their love. Israel had become much like the Church at Ephesus. They had forgotten their First love. (Revelation 2:4).

When you cease to love God, you cease to love others!

The Bible commands in Leviticus 19:18 (KJV)  Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF: I am the LORD.

and our Jesus told us in Matthew 22:39 (KJV) … Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

The Apostle furthermore directed all in Romans 13:8-10 (KJV)  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  [9]  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  [10]  Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

If you love God then you don’t have to be told “if your brother has an ox or sheep go astray and you know where it went, take it to them”. You say to me “this has no application in today’s world”. America has lost its love for God. There was a time when even those who had no relationship to God at least respected God. These days are far gone. Atheism has taken hold over vast amounts of our population. As Atheism grows, lovelessness toward others grows. Society becomes corrupt. Our political process is course and vulgar. Regardless as to party, darkness and foulness is the rule of the day. Abortion – the murder of the innocent – is big business and a supposed “right” for all. Why? Because as love for God has decreased, love for those made in God’s image is decreased.

God legislated love – or the output of love – to Israel. But dear friend love cannot be legislated. The Law can only point out the problem. People need the Lord.

How sad it was that God had to tell His Israel:

Deuteronomy 22:2-4 (KJV) And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again. 3 In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother’s, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself. 4 Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.

If you are born of God – saved by faith in Christ – then you do not need to be told to “lift up your brother”. If you love God you will love your neighbor
– your brother.
You will be a HELP and not a HINDRANCE to others.

Love And Respect How God Has Made You

Deuteronomy 22:5 (KJV) The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

I’ve heard several bad sermons where poorly prepared and misinformed “preachers” tried to make this text say that a woman “shouldn’t wear britches” or pants.

That’s nonsense!

None of the ancients – male or female – wore pants at all. The earliest types of clothing were wrap skirts or aprons for both genders. Pants were developed first for the Calvary to protect the soldiers legs when riding their horses into battle. If you don’t understand that go try riding a horse with shorts on. You’ll find out!

The Bible specifies that Godly women should dress so as to not lead your brethren into temptation. The Apostle said:

1 Timothy 2:9-10 (KJV)  In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;  [10]  But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

Our Deuteronomy text has nothing to do with a dress code.
It refers to honoring the role that God made you for.

If you love God you should dress appropriate to your gender, and dress modestly. If you love God then you will not do that which He considers an “abomination” or the act of an unbeliever.

Seek to be what God made you to be. Not how you feel but how you are. If you love God you will celebrate who He made you to be. Feelings come and go. But God is eternal, and His love everlasting.

Love And Respect What God Has Given You

Do you appreciate what God has given you? Everything we have is a gift from God. Your body is a gift from God. Your abilities are gifts from God. The homes you have are gifts from the Lord Who loves you. And, dear ones, this planet earth and all that is in it is a gift that God has placed in our trust. The Law said:

Deuteronomy 22:6-7 (KJV) If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: 7 But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days.

If you love God you will love and respect not only the people around you, but the world that
He allows you to be on.

Psalm 104:31 (KJV) … the Lord shall rejoice in his works.

God tells us that if you find a nest with a mother sitting with her young you can take the eggs or the young, but are not to take the mother with the young. God wants us to love the world He has given us. He does not want His earth abused! God loves His creation so much that He told His Israel:

Exodus 23:10-11 (KJV)  And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof:  [11]  But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy olive yard.

Leviticus 25:3-5 (KJV)  Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;  [4]  But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.  [5]  That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.

I come from North Carolina, which is tobacco country. When I was growing up my grandfather’s land – and most of the land around Wade NC – was like desert sand. The farmers did not practice crop rotation. They planted the land over and over again until it became nearly good for nothing.

God despises this!

If you love God, you will love the world He has given you. You will not toss trash out of your car windows. You will treat the world with respect, for it is a gift of God to us all. You will not let greed drive you, but love. God did not give us this world to waste it, but to treat it with love.

Psalm 24:1 (KJV) The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (also 1 Corinthians 10:26, 28).

God entrusted this world to us. As such we are to love the world around us. Not to use it greedily, but to use it wisely. To do so is to ensure that later generations can be as blessed.

Let Your Love Govern All You Do

Deuteronomy 22:8 (KJV) When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.

How far should love go? It should even
effect the works of your hands.

In the ancient world the roof of the home was usually flat. The better homes would place gardens on the rooftop to not only absorb the heat from the sun, but to also make a comfortable place to rest at the end of the day. The Lord told His people that when they built a new house that:

thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence

The word “battlement” is the Hebrew מַעֲקֶה maʻăqeh, (pronounced mah-ak-eh’) which means a low wall at the edge of a balcony or roof or at the sides of a bridge. The purpose of this wall was to protect visitors or even yourself from falling off the edge to their death.

God loves you, and wants you to love others. He does not want life to be wasted, even accidentally. It is said that the Laws of God – if broken – can bring about death. God’s Law of Gravity is always in effect while we walk this earth. A man might build a house selfishly, saying “I need no battlement or parapet or railing. I know the boundaries of my roof. I will not fall.” But what of others. What of the visiting child, the toddler that doesn’t understand the dangers of the fall? It is evil to say as Cain said when questioned of God:

Am I my brother’s keeper? (Genesis 4:9)

That is the question of the murderer, the selfish and unsaved man. Yes, you are your brother’s keeper. God told His Church “You shall be witnesses unto Me” (Acts 1:8). The proof of our salvation is in how we love others. If you have no love for others then it could be, dear one, that you are yet in darkness. The Scripture says:

1 John 1:7 (KJV) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

We are responsible for those who are around us. We are responsible to show love to others if we are indeed loved of God. The Bible tells us that:

1 Corinthians 12:26 (KJV) And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.

The Church is the Church together. We are responsible for one another. America is America together. We are responsible for one another. If you have been loved of God, then love others. Live your life so as to be a blessing to others. Live your life as Christ did.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in Deuteronomy, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

Faith Of Our Fathers #4: The Sinner And Saint Simon

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Photo by Hédi Benyounes on Unsplash

It is always good to read the Scripture. Not just portions of Scripture, but ALL of the Scripture. God’s Word has power to teach us all great things, if we will but read and listen. Man’s word is subject to failure. God’s Word is sure! The Scripture says:

1 Peter 1:25 … the word of the Lord endureth for ever …

Man’s word is faulty, but God’s Word is eternal. Let me give you an example. A lot of people use social media. Many of you do not, particularly our older members, but many of you do. I was on Facebook the other day when I came across a picture of a man walking away. The picture said:

Walk away from people who put you down.
Walk away from fights that will never be resolved.
Walk away from trying to please people who will
never see your worth.
The more you walk away from things that poison your soul,
The healthier you will be.

When I first read these words I immediately – in my flesh – said “absolutely right!” But then God spoke to me … this isn’t right.

God directed my heart to the Alabaster Box.

You may not have heard of the Alabaster Box nor even know what I’m talking about, but the Word of God speaks of it in three Gospels. We’ll start by a responsive reading in Luke, then branch out from there.

Luke 7:36-39 (KJV) And one of the Pharisees desired him that {Jesus} would eat with him. And {Jesus} went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. [37] And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, [38] And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. [39] Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

Let’s go back to that Facebook statement for a minute. If we should walk away from people who put you down then we’re not being Christ-like. We’re being selfish. Jesus NEVER walked away from people who put Him down. Jesus did tell His disciples to go out and share the Gospel. He told them that:

Matthew 10:14 (KJV) And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

But this is the opposite of walking away. He told us to walk toward everyone to share His Word. If they will not hear, and will not receive you then and only then should you depart and “shake the dust from your feet”. This conveys the idea that you have done all that you could do, and now have no responsibility for it. When Paul and Barnabas were preaching in Pisidian Antioch some of the Jewish leaders stirred up persecution against them and had them expelled from the region. “So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium” (Acts 13:51). But Paul and Barnabas tried before they walked away. Love commands us to try.

Christian, you are to go TO them
before you
go AWAY.

Jesus Came To Save Difficult Or Toxic People

I am thankful for this because we ALL have been toxic or difficult at different times in our lives. We were at one time ALL the enemies of God. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us”(Romans 5:8).

Jesus had enemies when He walked this earth. He has enemies now. I would say that the GREATEST of our Lord’s enemies were a religious group called the Pharisees. Who were the Pharisees? Jesus defined the Pharisees in Matthew chapter 23:

  • Jesus said Pharisees were HYPOCRITES. They established rules for living, but did not follow the rules they themselves made (Matthew 23:3-4).
  • Jesus said Pharisees were ARROGANT. They dressed and positioned themselves to be seen of men (Matthew 23:5-7).
  • Jesus said Pharisees were LOST, and led others away from God and toward lostness (Matthew 23:13).
  • Jesus said Pharisees robbed widows in the name of religion, and made long prayers for which they would “receive the greater damnation” (Matthew 23:14).
  • Jesus said Pharisees were spiritually blind (Matthew 23:16-19).
  • Jesus said Pharisees did tithe, which was right, but rejected Biblical judgment, mercy, and faith (Matthew 23:23).
  • Jesus said Pharisees looked outwardly like saints, but inwardly were filled with evil (Matthew 23:25-28).
  • Jesus called Pharisees “a generation of snakes that will not escape the damnation of hell” (Matthew 23:33-34).

Now I’m sure that not all the Pharisees were as evil as this. I know that Nicodemus came to Jesus by night and was open to Jesus. Nicodemus would later help bury the body of Jesus. But I can safely say that the majority of the Pharisees were not Jesus’ best friends! The Pharisees were, by and large, a toxic and difficult group of people. Yet we read in our text:

Luke 7:36-39 (KJV) And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.

Jesus did not walk away from this Pharisee,
but walked TOWARD him.

Our Jesus is the Light of the world. Where is light most effective? It is most effective where it is dark. 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.

As soon as Jesus said this guess who said to Him “You’re a liar!”? It was the Pharisees (John 8:13). The Pharisees despised Jesus. They attacked Him at every turn. And yet when Jesus was invited to a Pharisee’s home what does He do? He goes. He doesn’t argue, but He goes.

Listen Beloved, the Pharisees are not the only difficult or toxic people in the world. As a matter of fact, if you will answer truthfully with me you’ll admit:

We all can be difficult people!
We all can be toxic!
If we walk away from everyone who is negative or poisonous we’d have to leave ourselves!

Everyone has been toxic at one time or another. Jesus goes to eat a meal with this Pharisee. We learn in Mark 14:3 tells us that Simon the Pharisee had also at one time been a Leper. Religion has made Simon difficult. Past sickness has made Simon difficult.

Leprosy was a terrible skin disease in the ancient world. Today there is treatment for leprosy, but in ancient Israel the only treatment was …

seclusion. quarantine. loneliness. loss of family.

The very Law that Simon loved is the Law that quarantined him from society. The Mosaic Law decreed …

Leviticus 13:45-46 (KJV) … the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. [46] All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.

The leper loses his family. The leper loses all contact with God in the Temple. The leper cannot go to Church. The leper cannot go to market, nor even to a ball game. The leper is cut off from the touch of love. Unless God miraculously heals the leper, that leper spends the rest of his life lonely, disregarded, only to fellowship with others as diseased as he is.

Leprosy was a living hell!
Jesus came to save us from living hell!
Jesus came to save us from all hells!

Why did this Pharisee who had been a leper invite Jesus to his home? Perhaps Simon was one of the unnamed lepers that Jesus healed. Perhaps Simon was the leper that Jesus healed in:

Luke 5:12-13 (KJV) And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. [13] And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.

The Law forbade anyone to touch a leper (Leviticus 5:3)! This poor man had been shunned for who knows how long because of a disease called leprosy. He had walked on the outskirts of the city crying out “unclean, unclean”, relying on the generosity of strangers to live. When this leper heard of Jesus this poor, broken man ran to the Master. Falling down before Him he cried, “Lord, if You will, You can make me clean!” And Jesus does something amazing.

Jesus touches that leper!
What no one else would touch, Jesus touches.
IMMEDIATELY the leper was made clean!

Our Lord loves to take the broken and fix it. He loves to take the broken life, the broken heart, the Alabaster Box. Simon was one time broken, and Jesus came and made him whole. But Simon forgot Who Jesus was.

Jesus Is The Healer Of The Broken

Jesus touched Simon when no man would touch him. Now someone else comes into the house. We read:

Luke 7:36-38 (KJV) {Jesus} went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. [37] And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, [38] And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 

A woman comes in to see Jesus. The Bible merely states that she is …

a woman in the city, which was a sinner

Society had taken a branding iron, heated it red and rosy over the flame of self righteousness, and then slapped that mark on this woman. HARMARTOLOS! SINNER! WHORE! She walked in the house, into Simon’s house. Oddly enough Simon did not say a word to stop her. If I were sitting at home and some person I didn’t know walked into my house I’d say “Who ARE you? I’m going to call the police if you don’t get out!” Wouldn’t you? Yet Simon says nothing to this woman.

Could it be because Simon had used this woman before? Simon knew who she was. We read:

Luke 7:39 (KJV) Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

Simon knows exactly who this woman is. How did he know her? We can only guess, but it’s very possible he had used this woman before. He knows her.

This woman also knows herself. She doesn’t have leprosy, but has something far worse than leprosy. She has sold herself to men, violating the holiness of her body. God made her in His image to find her Adam, to bind together in holy matrimony. He did not make her to sell herself as merchandise to be abused. She has fallen. So she stands behind Jesus. Did you read that?

Luke 7:36-38 (KJV) {she} stood at his feet BEHIND HIM weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 

The leper ran to Jesus and fell on the ground before Him. “If You will, You can make me whole!” Simon cried out to Jesus for healing … but this woman was not worthy in her own mind. She did not stand BEFORE Jesus, but BEHIND Him. She brought just herself and an Alabaster Box filled with precious ointment. She washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, and dried His feet with the hair of her head. Finishing cleaning His feet – feet that Simon forgot to clean – she breaks open that Alabaster Box.

The smell of that beautiful perfume filled the air.
But God did not smell the perfume of that Box.
He smelled the sacrifice of her heart to His Son.

Simon was healed. I don’t truly know if Jesus healed him or not, but if he was healed God healed him. Our God can taken the broken and heal it. But we must surrender ourselves to Him. the Scripture says:

Psalms 51:15-17 (KJV) O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. [16] For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. [17] The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

As this woman weeps and ministers our our Lord Jesus the Gospel of Matthew tells us that Simon wasn’t the only self righteous person in the house that day. As the woman breaks the Alabaster Box open and pours that beautiful perfume upon Jesus we read:

Matthew 26:8-9 (KJV) … when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? [9] For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.

Oh, how we so quickly forget to worship our Jesus. Peter, weren’t you but a lost fisherman when Jesus called you to follow Him? Matthew, weren’t you a pitiful and despised tax collector? Weren’t you ALL sinners before Jesus called you to His precious side? Not one of you disciples deserve to be saved. Simon, you were sick before God healed you and restored you.

Who are ANY of you to judge another?
Who are ANY of us to judge another?

Oh, how the Scripture condemns us all. Doesn’t it say:

Psalms 14:2-3 (KJV) The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. [3] They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

This woman spoke not a word to Jesus, but Jesus heard her heart. Jesus heard Simon’s heart.

Jesus Knows Your Heart

Jesus knew who this woman was, and Jesus knows what Simon is thinking. Jesus knows what YOU are thinking right now. I don’t know, and don’t want to know. But Jesus knows. Jesus speaks not to the woman, but to Simon:

Luke 7:40 (KJV) And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.

Notice the hypocrisy of Simon. He calls Jesus “Master”. This is the Greek διδάσκαλος didáskalos, (pronounced did-as’-kal-os) which is a term of great respect. Here is the hypocrite! Inwardly he accuses Jesus of not being a Prophet at all, but outwardly Simon calls Jesus “Master Teacher”, the same term that he would use for someone of great standing. Oh, how terrible is hypocrisy! But regardless as to what he says, Jesus knows Simon’s heart. Jesus said:

Luke 7:41-42 (KJV) There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. [42] And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. TELL ME THEREFORE, WHICH OF THEM WILL LOVE HIM MOST?

Which one would love the creditor more? The one who was forgiven fifty pence, or the one that was forgiven ten times that amount. When Simon heard this he said “I suppose the one that forgave him the most”. Jesus told Simon “You’re exactly right”. Then Jesus …

Luke 7:44-46 (KJV) … turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. [45] Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. [46] My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

Who loved Jesus the most? Not Simon. Simon never understood his lostness. He never processed that to the Holy God Who created all things that he is abhorrent. The sinner without Christ is an abomination to God. An abomination I say! And it does not matter what your sin is. If you have not come to Christ with all that you have and bow before Him, letting him cleanse you of sin – then you have no hope in eternity but eternal damnation.

This woman did not approach Jesus with fancy words. She probably had no education. She did not approach Jesus with religious works, beads, or rituals. She saw Jesus not as a Prophet, not as a Healer, and not as a “Master” as Simon hypocritically called Him. Jesus is all these things. But God revealed something to this woman that Simon and most of the religious crowd will never get.

Jesus Christ would die for me.

The Holy Spirit revealed this to that precious woman. I know this because we are told in Matthew that Jesus said …

Matthew 26:10, 12 (KJV) … Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. … {12} … she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.

The woman – without a word spoken – worshiped the Savior. Jesus told her:

Luke 7:47-48 (KJV) Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. [48] And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

Are Your Sins Forgiven?

When Jesus forgave this woman’s sins the Bible says:

Luke 7:49 (KJV) And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?

Who is this Jesus? Jesus Christ is the Only Messiah, the Only Person Who can forgive sins. There is only one way to God, and that way is by faith in Jesus Christ. You must believe that he is. You must believe in Him, trust in Him, and give your broken life to Him.

Jesus gave Himself for you.

Romans 5:6-8 (KJV) For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. [8] But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus Christ died on a cruel Cross to make payment for your sins and mine. We are all sinners. We are all quite naturally far from God. We have sinned against the God of the Universe, the Creator Who made us and all that you see.

I do not know if Simon the Pharisee was ever saved or not. But I do know this. It is not by your strength that you can be saved from the hell of a wasted life. It is only through Jesus Christ that anyone can be saved. The Bible promises to those who believe:

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

May God the Holy Spirit touch you as He touched that dear woman so long, long ago. I do not know if I will see Simon in Heaven, but I will see her. For you see, I am a sinner cleansed and being cleaned by Jesus. Jesus Christ is my Hope of Eternal Salvation. May God touch your hearts with His Word!

Posted in Faith Of Our Fathers, General, Luke, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , , ,

Simplicity In Christ

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Photo by Rachael Smith on Unsplash

2 Corinthians 11:1-4 (KJV)  Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.  [2]  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.  [3]  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  [4]  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another Spirit, which ye have not received, or another Gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

Sometimes I’m disturbed by what I see in our world.
I’m not disturbed by what the lost do.
I’m disturbed by what the saved are doing.

The Apostle Paul was disturbed as well.
Other teachers were coming in and making our faith COMPLEX.
These teachers were inadvertently doing what the devil did in the Garden.

I Am Jealous Over You With A Godly Jealousy

The Apostle had invested of himself in the Church. He poured out his heart to the Church. He said “I am JEALOUS over you”, the Greek ZELOO {pronounced dzay-lo’-o) which means “to burn with zeal”. Paul was not jealous over the Church because he wanted them devoted to HIM. He was jealous over the Church because he wanted them devoted to Christ. He said to the Church:

I have ESPOUSED you to ONE HUSBAND”

The word “ESPOUSED” is the Greek HARMOZO {pronounced har-mod’-zo}. The word HARMOZO – it almost sounds like “harmony” doesn’t it? – is a term used both in carpentry as well as marriage. It means to “fasten together so as to make a whole” or to “bring two together so they can be married”. In the ancient world men and women didn’t just run around falling into love and out of love like we do in our nutty world today. A young lady or young man was introduced to one another often by a caring relative such as a parent. This word is only found one time in the New Testament. The word speaks of a good fit – two who are perfectly matched to one another. The Corinthian believer needed Christ, and the Church needs Christ.

The two are bound together in love. The Apostle said:

that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ”

The Apostle uses the phrase “chaste virgin” or HAGNOS, which comes from the Greek HAGIOS meaning “set apart, holy, pure, devoted to”. It was his intention that the Church be unified and focused on pleasing Jesus and Jesus alone. That the Church like an engaged Bride would love Jesus and serve Jesus. Paul saw himself as a close family friend or an elder who introduced the Bride to her Groom. Paul focused not on entertaining the Church, but on FEEDING the Church. The Apostle took seriously the command to:

FEED the Church of God, Which {God} hath purchased
with His own Blood (Acts 20:28)

But where ever God is the Devil is. God made Adam and Eve, and placed them in a perfect Garden. He gave them a very simple rule to follow. God never gives us hard or difficult rules. He realizes that we are like Sheep, and like Sheep we often go astray. So God makes it very easy. God put Adam in the Garden and commanded ADAM:

Genesis 2:16-17 (KJV)  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  [17]  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

The command was very simple. There was a YES and a NO to the command. God gives a YES, and God gives a NO. The YES was “you can eat anything you want, and as much of it as you want”. The NO was “don’t eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil”. That’s it. A simple YES and a simple NO for a simple people.

The Serpent Beguiled Eve Through His Subtlety

God gave a SIMPLE command.
The devil offered a SUBTLE variation.

What did the devil do? He did what he does best. The Bible says:

Genesis 3:1 (KJV)  Now the SERPENT WAS MORE SUBTLE than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. …

Notice that GOD made the serpent. He didn’t make himself. He was made of God. He was SUBTLE. Snakes are subtle. I’ve nearly stepped on snakes before out hiking in the woods. I stepped over a rattler one day – not meaning to, I just thought it was a stick. But I stepped over it. Praise God that he looks after blind boys like me!

How do I know that this SERPENT is the DEVIL? Because my Bible says so. The Scripture tells us:

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, THAT OLD SERPENT, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Rev 20:2 And {an Angel came down from Heaven and}… laid hold on the dragon, THAT OLD SERPENT, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

God never made a talking snake. Thank God for that! God made Lucifer, who chose to fall from Heaven and become THAT OLD SERPENT. What did the devil do? He questions God:

Genesis 3:1 … And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

See how subtle the devil is? “Has God really said that? I had a dear friend write me the other day and asked a question about Romans 1:18-32 and homosexuality. Her question was what was the final state of those who are addressed in that passage. I’ll highlight part of this passage:

Romans 1:25-27 (KJV)  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  [26]  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  [27]  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

The people spoken of are IDOLATORS. They do not worship the God of the Bible, nor do they even want to think of Him. Though He has called to them through the Gospel they refused to hear. So “God gave them over”. He walked away. The text goes on to say that they are:

Romans 1:29-32 (KJV)  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  [30]  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  [31]  Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  [32]  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

What will be the final outcome of such people? They shall certainly not be in God’s Heaven. The serpent whispers to the world “hath God really said”? Yes, God hath said. But God says this:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (KJV)  Know ye not that the UNRIGHTEOUS SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  [10]  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  [11]  And such were some of you: BUT ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Those involved in unrighteousness shall not inherit the Kingdom of God – nor would they want to be. A lost person in Heaven would be in hell. But the hope of the Scripture – the simple Gospel – is “SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU B-U-T”.

If a person will hear the simple Gospel.
If that person will ignore the subtle serpent.
If that person will listen to God.

That person can be saved.

In our world today the serpent is still just as active as he was in the Garden of Eden with our fore-parents. He blends in and makes complex. The Bible says:

1 Corinthians 14:33 (KJV)  For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

The subtle serpent says:

Genesis 3:4-5 (KJV) … Ye shall not surely die:  [5]  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

What God said is a LIE” the devil declares. “God is just ruining your pleasure”. No, God is not. But the serpent – that old subtle serpent – loves to draw us away from God. He has gotten into more Churches through subtlety. He continues to invade Churches today.

God Has Given Us Three Very Simple Truths

Adam and Eve had a very simple rule to live by. Eat whatever you want BUT the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God has given His Church three very simple truths to live by.

And yes, we love to mess it up!

2 Corinthians 11:4 (KJV) For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another Spirit, which ye have not received, or another Gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

We who are God’s Church have three Simple truths:

Jesus
The Spirit
The Gospel

  • Who is Jesus? The Bible tells us that Jesus is LORD. He is the very Son of God. He is co-eternal with God the Father and God the Spirit. He is partnered with both Father and Spirit in creation.

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

Colossians 1:16-18 (KJV)  For by {Jesus} were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  [17]  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  [18]  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Jesus is not just “One way among many ways to God”. Jesus is the ONLY Way to God. Jesus Himself said:

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

Jesus is God INCARNATE, or God become flesh. Because the serpent subtly led Adam to disobey God all of humanity fell into sin. So EVERYONE is a sinner. Even that cute little baby is a sinner. We are born into this world in sin. So God became man and dwelt among us. This is Jesus. The Bible says:

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

Here is the Simple Truth. There is a God Who made everything. He made everything through Jesus. He sent His Son Jesus to this earth. God speaks to us through Jesus and only Jesus.

  • Who is the Spirit? The Spirit of God is co-eternal with both Father and Son. The Spirit of God was present in the creation of the world. The Bible says:

Genesis 1:1-2 (KJV)  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  [2]  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

When you receive Jesus as Lord and Savior God the Holy Spirit acts upon you. He causes the believer in Christ to be spiritually born. Jesus told us when He spoke to Nicodemus:

John 3:3-8 (KJV)  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  [4]  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?  [5]  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  [6]  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  [7]  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.  [8]  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Everyone on this planet is “born of the flesh”, and is born with a sin nature. But when you receive Jesus as Lord and Savior God the Holy Spirit moves upon your life. He changes you, and continues to change you. The Scripture declares:

Ephesians 2:1-10 (KJV)  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  [2]  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  [3]  Among whom also we all had our {way of life} in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.  [4]  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  [5]  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  [6]  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:  [7]  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  [8]  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  [9]  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  [10]  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

It is God the Holy Spirit Who makes the Christian. You are not made a Christian by a profession or a creed. You are not made a Christian by a denomination. You are made a Christian by God. God works in us. When you received Christ as Lord and Savior God the Holy Spirit came into your life. And Beloved, you are indwelt by the Spirit just as Christ promised:

John 14:15-18 (KJV)  If ye love me, keep my commandments.  [16]  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;  [17]  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.  [18]  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

1 Corinthians 6:17-20 (KJV)  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.  [18]  Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.  [19]  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  [20]  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

You belong to God, dear Christian. When you received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior He sent the Holy Spirit to you. That Holy Spirit – bless Him – began a work in you that will not stop until the day of your ultimate redemption in Glory! If any person has not the Spirit of Christ HE IS NONE OF HIS (Romans 8:9). Do not be deceived! A Christian is the property of God and a work in progress.

  • What is The Gospel? Here the serpent has been very subtle. He has been trying to twist this Gospel for a long time. The word “Gospel” means “Good News”. The “bad news” is that all are sinners. The Good News is that Christ came to save us from our sins.

The Gospel is “The Lord Jesus”. This is what the early Apostles taught. They went out “preaching the LORD Jesus” (Acts 11:20). A person is not saved by keeping the Law of Moses, but by believing on the Lord Jesus (Acts 15:11). When someone asks:

what must I do to be saved?

the simple message we give is:

Acts 16:31 (KJV) … BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

The Christian life is begun by:

Acts 20:21 (KJV)  Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and FAITH TOWARD OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

If a person asks me “can I be saved by just saying I believe on Jesus but without coming to Him as Lord” my answer is simply NO! He is LORD! You are saved by submitting your life to Him and Him alone. How is a person saved?

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Romans 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

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

Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.

He is Lord! He is Lord of His people. What His Bible says is right. What God declares is true. When the serpent comes and whispers “Hath God really said?” do not give him a break. Say “what God has decreed, I affirm”. Reject that serpent. Reject his ways. Even if it is unpopular, maintain the simplicity that is in Christ.

In God’s name I beg you!

Posted in 2 Corinthians, Sermons Preached | Tagged