God Will Save Whosoever Will

Revelation_7_God_Will_Save_Whosoever_Will.jpg

(Revelation 7:1-8) 1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 5 Of the tribe of JudaJudah were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6 Of the tribe of AserAsherwere sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of NepthalimNaphtali were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses Manasseh was sealed twelve thousand. 7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 8 Of the tribe of ZabulonZebulun were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

Revelation 7:9-11 (KJV)  After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;  10  And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.  11  And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might be unto our God forever and ever. Amen. 13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

When we come to Revelation chapter 7 we see two things at the very beginning. First, we see that God is not finished with Israel. Though one-quarter of humanity died in the Judgments of Chapter 6 – perhaps as many as 1.9 billion people – God is still in the salvation business. The Lord has always loved humanity. Even at the end of this Book the Lord cries out with His Church, saying:

Revelation 22:17 (KJV)  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take the water of life freely.

God will save whosoever will come to Him. This is the grand and central theme of Scripture. The Lord loves to save whosoever.

John 3:15-16 (KJV)  that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  [16]  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Oh, Beloved, I cannot save this enough. God wishes to damn no one. God sent His Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins (Acts 10:43). Oh, what wonderful words of life! Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed (Romans 10:11).David Platt wrote in his book Counter Culture:
The Gospel is the good news that the just and gracious Creator of the universe has looked upon hopelessly sinful men and women … {He}has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, to bear His wrath against sin on the Cross and to show His power over sin in the resurrection …. Everyone who turns from their sin and themselves and trusts in Jesus as Savior and Lord will be reconciled to God forever.

I have had people ask me “Will people be saved during the Great Tribulation”? The answer is a resounding YES. People will be saved. God will start by saving Israel first but then will save others. That is what we see in this text.

God Is Not Done With Israel

(Revelation 7:1-3) And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

I am told that when there is a hurricane, the calmest place to be is in its eye. Chapter 7 is like the eye of a hurricane. In Chapter 6 the Anti-Christ has been released to make war and conquer. Along with him ride bloodshed, famine, and death. One-quarter of the population of the earth is decimated. But the four angels arise to hold back destruction:

that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree

This is not just any wind, but a destructive wind. We know this because of the fifth angel – a Herald much like those who praised God when Christ was born – who says:

HURT NOT the earth, neither the sea nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads

Word StudyThe earth WILL be hurt during the Tribulation, but not now. At this moment judgment is adverted “till we have SEALED the SERVANTS of our God in their foreheads”. The word translated “sealed” is σφραγίζω sphragizō which means “to seal up or set a seal, to impress with a mark of ownership”.

Before God judged the earth by flood, He told Noah and his family to get in the Ark then God shut them in (Genesis 7:16). Before God brings utter judgment on the earth He first reaches out and saves the Servants (Doulos – bondservants) of our God. Every believer in God is“sealed”:

(Ephesians 1:13, 14) In {Jesus} ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also AFTER THAT YE BELIEVED, YE WERE SEALEDSPHRAGIZŌwith that Holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 4:30 (KJV)  And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are SEALEDSPHRAGIZŌunto the day of redemption.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (KJV)  Now he which establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;  [22]  Who hath also SEALEDSPHRAGIZŌus, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

The word “Sealed” (sphragizō) is used repeatedly in this text to show that these are believers in Christ. These are also JEWS, of the House of Israel. When Christ came, He came “to the Jew FIRST”:

Romans 1:16 (KJV)  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; TO THE JEW FIRST, and also to the Greek.

Those who are saved from Israel are NUMBERED. We read:

(Revelation 7:4) And I heard the NUMBER of them which were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

There is a cultic offshoot of Christianity called the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They take this portion of the Scripture out of context and claim that the 144,000 listed here are the only ones who can enter into Heaven. This is patently untrue and can be easily proven false by reading the Scripture as it is presented. These 144,000 are“of all the TRIBES OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL”.They are taught in their Watchtower Publication:

Who and how many are able to enter it. The Revelation limits to 144,000 the number that become a part of the Kingdom and stand on heavenly Mount Zion” (Let God Be True, p.136).

This is untrue. Read your Bibles. Again I say, READ YOUR BIBLES. We read

Revelation 7:9-11 (KJV)  After this I beheld, and, lo, A GREAT MULTITUDE, WHICH NO MAN COULD NUMBER, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;  10  And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 

We are directed to see Israel saved FIRST. Israel is NUMBERED. There are 144,000 “sealed servants” in Israel. And after we see Israel numbered, we see …

A GREAT MULTITUDE, WHICH NO MAN COULD NUMBER, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne

Why did God NUMBER Israel? I have heard it said that these 144,000 saints are Hebrew Evangelists who go out and tell others of Christ. This may well be true. The Bible said that God expected His Israel to be the light of the world. To Israel was given the message of the Coming Messiah. When Jesus came He was to come to Israel, then to come for the world THROUGH Israel. The Prophets spoke of the Coming Christ:

(Isaiah 42:6-7) I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, FOR A LIGHT OF THE GENTILES; 7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

(Luke 2:30-32) {Jesus is} A light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel.

Matthew 12:21we are told it … “in His name Gentiles will trust.”

The Old Testament Israel was to share the Coming Christ with the world. And God did reach a few through Israel. The witness of Scripture is that …

God healed Naaman – an Aramean Commander – from leprosy
God saved Rahab a Gentile Prostitute and put her in Christ lineage
God saved Ruth a Moabite and made her of His Family
God sent Jonah to the Ninevites, the Assyrians, and many were saved

It was God’s intention to save the world through Israel. This was what He promised Abraham in Genesis 12. God said …

Abram, you shall become a mighty Nation (Israel – Genesis 12:2)
In you, ALL the nations of the world will be blessed (Gentiles – Genesis 12:3)

God wanted to save Israel and then, through Israel save the world. But sadly the Scripture declares:

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

But during the Great Tribulation, His own WILL receive Him. They will be saved, sealed, and as believers, I think they will reach out to the lost world around them. This is what I surmise from the text. Though the text doesn’t call these people evangelists they nonetheless are witnesses of Christ. We are told later of these 144,000 that:

Revelation 14:4-5 (KJV)  These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.  [5]  And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

A Hidden Truth In Israel’s Calling

As we look at the list of the Twelve Tribes we find something interesting.

Revelation 7:5-8Of the tribe of JudaJudahwere sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6 Of the tribe of AserAsherwere sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of NepthalimNaphtaliwere sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of ManassesManassehwere sealed twelve thousand. 7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 8 Of the tribe of ZabulonZebulunwere sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph tribes Manasseh & Ephraim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

  • The tribes are first of all NOT LISTED IN ORDER. This is very interesting. Each tribe is descended from a son of Jacob. The children were born in this order: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. (see Genesis 35:23-26; Exodus 1:1-4; 1 Chronicles 2:1-2). Rather than list these tribes in order, they are arranged in a certain way as to give us a wonderfully hidden meaning. I want first of all credit to Theologian and Bible Scholar Shari Abbot from Reasons for Hope Ministries. Reading her article “Is There A Hidden Message In Revelation 7?” she notes rightly that every Hebrew Name has a meaning. She researched the meanings of each name of each tribe listed and placed them together with their meanings:

Tribal Name

Meaning of Name

Judah

Praise The Lord

Reuben

He Looked On My Affliction

Gad

Good Fortune Comes

Asher

I Am Happy & Blessed

Naphtali

My Wrestling

Manasseh

Has Made Me Forget My Sorrow

Simeon

God Hears Me

Levi

Has Joined Me

Issachar

Rewarded Me

Zebulun

Exalted Me

Joseph

Adding To Me

Benjamin

The Son Of His Right Hand

When Shari put together the meaning of the names of Revelation 7 in the order they are presented she found this wonderful message:

Praise the Lord. He has looked on my affliction [and] good fortune comes. Happy and blessed am I. My wrestling has made me forget my sorrow. God hears me, has joined me, rewarded me, exalted me [by] adding to me the Son of His right hand.

What a wonderful God we have! He loves us. It takes the Great Tribulation to bring Israel to her senses, but under fire, God uses the trials of that time to cause His people to look up. God deliberately saves Israel. Israel is still in His plan.

  • Though twelve tribes are listed, the Tribe of DAN is not on this list. Why was Dan omitted? When the head of Israel (Jacob) spoke of his son Dan he said:

Genesis 49:16-17 (KJV)  Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.  [17]  Dan shall be a serpent, by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.

And when Moses spoke of the Tribe of Dan he said:

Deuteronomy 33:22 (KJV) … Dan is a lion’s whelpcub: he shall leap from Bashan.

Bible scholars have long debated why Dan is removed from the list of the twelve tribes of Israel saved in the Tribulation. To put it truthfully we really do not have solid evidence as to why Dan was removed. The Scripture doesn’t tell us. However, many believe that the things said of Dan in the Old Testament point to this Tribe as being not only idolatrous, but also the Tribe from which the Anti-Christ shall come. An early Church Pastornamed Hippolytuswrote:

For as Christ springs from the tribe of Judah, so Antichrist is to spring from the tribe of Dan. And that the case stands thus, we see also from the words of Jacob: Let Dan be a serpent, lying upon the ground, biting the horse’s heel. (Genesis 49:17) What, then, is meant by the serpent but Antichrist, that deceiver who is mentioned in Genesis, (Genesis 3:1) who deceived Eve and supplanted Adam (πτερνιAdam’s heel)? But since it is necessary to prove this assertion by sufficient testimony, we shall not shrink from the task. That it is in reality out of the tribe of Dan, then, that that tyrant and king, that dread judge, that son of the devil, is destined to spring and arise, the prophet testifies when he says, Dan shall judge his people, as (he is) also one tribe in Israel. (Genesis 49:16)”

And Pastor Methodius of Olympus wrote:

When the Son of Perdition appears, he will be of the tribe of Dan, according to the prophecy of Jacob. This enemy of religion will use a diabolic art to produce many false miracles, such as causing the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear. Those possessed with demons will be exorcised. He will deceive many and, if he could, as our Lord has said, even the faithful elect. … Even the Antichrist will enter Jerusalem, where he will enthrone himself in the temple as a god (even though he will be an ordinary man of the tribe of Dan to which Judas Iscariot also belonged).”

Am I certain this is the truth? By no means. And yet God chose to NOT list Dan as a tribe of Israel, and it makes it seem as if NONE of Dan was saved. God will save whosoever will – but if you harden your heart against God He will not save you. Sadly, not all Israel is of Israel.

God Saves Many Others

(Revelation 7:9-10) After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

There is a great multitude – many people of all nations, cultures, and tongues. God saves a numbered Israel, but now we see an UNNUMBERED multitude “which no man could number”. These people are saved and gathered before the Throne and before the Lamb. When Jesus rode for the last time into Jerusalem people cast palms down before Him

Matthew 21:8 (KJV)  And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.

Now in Heaven, this scene is replayed. The people cry out:

Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb

Who are these people? One of the 24 Elders (I think, a picture of the Raptured Church) states that ….

(Revelation 7:14) …These are THEY WHICH CAME OUT OF GREAT TRIBULATION, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

These people are suffering believers who were saved “out of Great Tribulation”. Dr. Thomas Constablewrote in his commentary:

These saints will be in God’s presence because they will have believed in Jesus Christ and will have died in the first half of the Tribulation. Evidently, they will have intermediate bodies until their resurrections (cf. Matt. 17:1-3; Luke 16:19-25; Rev. 6:9-11). This appears to be the condition of Christians who die before the Rapture too (cf. 2 Cor. 5:2-3). These Tribulation saints will serve God continually (“day and night”) in His present heavenly sanctuary.”

There will be much suffering in the Tribulation, but there will also be much saved … probably more than are being saved in the prosperity-driven United States today. Though they suffer much for their faith while on an earth where anti-Christ rules, they will be comforted in Heaven.

(Revelation 7:15-17) …Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

God will bring balance in the end. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

As God saves Israel so Israel can tell others. God saves us so we can tell others. Let us tell others of the glorious salvation we can all have in Christ Jesus! May God touch your hearts with His Word!

Posted in Revelation, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

God Speaks To Whosoever Will

Isaiah 65 God Speaks To Whosoever Will.JPG

 Isaiah 65:1-10 (KJV)  I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.  [2]  I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;  [3]  A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;  [4]  Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;  [5]  Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.  [6]  Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom,  [7]  Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.  [8]  Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.  [9]  And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.  [10]  And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.

We cannot study through the Book of Isaiah and not discuss Israel, God’s Chosen Nation. At the end of Isaiah 64 the Prophet prayed for mercy for Israel. He prayed:

Isaiah 64:10-12 (KJV)  Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.  [11]  Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste.  [12]  Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?

This past week it was in the news that Israel became a state 70 years ago, May 14, 1948. Yet Israel did not begin 70 years ago. Israel began when God called a man called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees or ancient Babylon. God promised Abraham two things. God promised Abraham “a great nation” (Genesis 12:2). God also promised Abraham “in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). Abraham followed God – not perfectly, but imperfectly. Abraham found Grace in the eyes of God. And God did exactly as God promised.

… let God be true, but every man a liar (Romans 3:4)


… Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; Deuteronomy 7:9

Why has Israel been a state for just 70 years?
Because God is faithful, but humans are not.
Why was Isaiah praying for mercy for Israel?
Because God is faithful, but humans are not.

God kept His Word to Abraham and kept His Word to Israel. Israel was a state for a long time. From the time Israel left Egypt – following God by Pillar of Fire by night and Pillar of Cloud by day – Israel was a state. Israel was and is God’s nation.

Israel Is An Example To Us And For Us

God made Israel a nation because He chose to do so. The Lord says:

Isaiah 65:1-2 (KJV)  I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.  [2]  I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;

When God called Israel, Israel was not seeking God. God in love spread out His hands beseeching Israel to follow Him. And though God gave Israel life – though He miraculously saved Israel from Egypt – Israel was rebellious.

Are we any different?

God sent His Son Jesus through Israel and for Israel. God promised through the Prophets that Christ would be born of the line of King David, that He would come out of Jewish Bethlehem, that He would grow up in Nazareth. God came seeking His people, loving His people. What does the Scripture say?

1 John 4:9-10 (KJV)  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  [10]  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God loved Israel before Israel ever loved God.
God loved you and I before we ever loved God.
God sent His Son to cover and pardon our sins.

What a love God has for us all. God is persistent in His love. God says “I have stretched out my hands ALL THE DAY to a rebellious people who persist in walking in a way that is not good. They live according to their thoughts!” God stretched out His hands ALL DAY to us. He stretches out His hands even now. Do you not see Him? God offended, and yet God giving mercy. See His hands stretched out on the Cross of Calvary. See His arms held wide open! See Him willing to receive any, but so few come. We walk according to our thoughts. We deny His Word, and turn from His outstretched arms. The Lord is answering Isaiah’s prayer, saying, “I have shown mercy, and show mercy still. Yet they will not come!”

Isaiah 65:3 (KJV) A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;

God gave Israel a Temple to sacrifice in, and yet they refused to sacrifice there. They said “We will do it our way. Not God’s way, but our way.” So they sacrificed not in the Temple, but in gardens. They refused to gather to worship the Lord, but were content to sit in front of television sets or to gather in the park. God is love, so He called His people together to love one another and to worship Him together in love. But many said “we will do what we do and burn our incense on man made altars”. Israel fought among themselves, and divided. They rejected what God told them to do.

Isaiah 65:4 (KJV) Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;

God’s people are to be a living people who serve a Living God. Yet Israel fell from God, much as much of the Church in America today has fallen from God. God calls His people to be light, to reflect His glory by their obedience to Him. We are not to live like the world lives, but to be a living people following a Living God.

The proof of salvation is that we are walking with God. The Scripture says:

Galatians 5:22-26 (KJV)  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  [23]  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  [24]  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  [25]  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  [26]  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Ephesians 5:2-5 (KJV)  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.  [3]  But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;  [4]  Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.  [5]  For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

The Bible says “not all Israel is Israel” (Romans 9:6). God’s people do not live among the graves. God’s people obey God, and love God. As Israel drifted from God and into worldliness they began to give way to self righteousness, a terrible form of pride.

Isaiah 65:5 (KJV)  Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day. 

The self righteous are a smoke in God’s nose, offensive to Him. The Bible teaches us that we all fall short of His glory. The Bible teaches us that but for the love of God in Christ saving us, we would all be condemned. The Bible says:

John 3:17-21 (KJV)  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  [18]  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  [19]  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  [20]  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  [21]  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Those who are in Christ and saved are saved by the Grace of God. But those who are saved do not walk in darkness, but walk in the light that is Christ. God will judge sin. God will punish evil doing.

It is not the Israelite that is saved.
It is the Israelite that loves the Lord Who is saved.
It is not the Baptist that is saved.
It is the Baptist that loves the Lord Who is saved.

God warns Israel – and warns us. He says:

Isaiah 65:7 (KJV) Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.

God says to Israel “As you have reaped, so shall you sow”. God did not save Israel so that Israel could walk apart from God. God saved Israel so that Israel could live their lives for Him. God did not save US, dear believer, so that we can walk apart from God. To walk apart from God is to invite judgment upon yourself. Doesn’t the Scripture say?:

1 Corinthians 11:31 (KJV)  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

God calls out to His Israel and to His Church. He that soweth to his flesh shall reap corruption, but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Galatians 6:8).

The Saved Of Israel And Of The Church
Are To Serve The Lord

Isaiah 65:8-9 (KJV) Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.  [9]  And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there. 

There were some bad grapes in Israel, but God did not destroy the whole cluster because of the bad grapes. God assures Israel that He will yet save Israel for – He declares – “My Servant’s sake”. God did not destroy Israel because Christ had yet come. Christ was to come from Israel. He was to come of the line of David. The Lord says …

I will bring forth A SEED out of Jacob
And out of Judah an Inheritor of My mountains

For Christ’s sake – and for our sake – the Lord did not destroy a rebellious Israel. Jesus was to come forth from Judah. He is the Seed of the Woman promised in Genesis 3:15, the One God promised the snake:

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

Jesus will come forth from Judah to rule over Israel. Israel is still God’s Chosen nation, still His people. Though not all Israel is Israel, for Christ’s sake the Lord will have Israel stand. God will not destroy the whole for the sake of the bad grapes. I take comfort in this, and so should you, dear Christian.

Though all the world looks as if it is going to hell in a hand basket, I cannot effect the world. But I can live for my Lord. I can choose to follow Him, to honor Him, to glorify Him. God will not destroy all of America for the bad grapes in the cluster. But if we who love the Lord continue to love Him, He will save America for Christ’s sake. You are Christ’s if you love Him. I am Christ’s if I love Him. I stand for Christ’s sake. For Christ’s sake we who love Him shall be protected.

Isaiah 65:10 And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.

To those who seek the Lord, God will preserve your land. God told His Children:

Jeremiah 29:13-14 (KJV)  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.  [14]  And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.

God has always had a remnant that He loves. Israel came back to their land 70 years ago. I believe it is because God is faithful that they returned to the land. God calls a people to Himself to bless, but they must seek the Lord. The Lord does not want your leftovers. He wants YOU. He wants YOU to want Him, to seek Him, to love Him.

SIX times in this text God speaks to His Children as “My Servants”.

We previously read that …

I will not destroy the cluster for MY SERVANTS sake (vvs 8)
MY SERVANTS shall dwell in My mountain (vvs 9)

Now God speaks to ALL OF ISRAEL saying:

Isaiah 65:13-14 (KJV)  Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed:  [14]  Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.  

I want you to notice the contrast. Though God speaks to ALL ISRAEL, He says:

MY SERVANTS shall eat … but YOU shall be hungry
MY SERVANTS shall drink … but YOU shall be thirsty
MY SERVANTS shall rejoice …. but YOU shall be ashamed
MY SERVANTS shall sing … but YOU shall cry

Who shall be blessed? The ones who serve the Lord.
Who shall feast in famine?
Was it not Joseph raised up of God in Egypt?
Who shall defeat giants?
Was it not David, who loved the Lord?
Who shall become a nation and bless the whole world?
Was it not Abraham who followed God?
Who shall walk through fire untouched?
Was it not the Hebrew Children who loved the Lord more than life?
Who shall lie down and snooze with lions?
Was it not Daniel who loved God more than man?
Who will God raise from hiding and fear, to make a mighty man of God?
Was it not Gideon who trusted and obeyed the Lord?

When we love the Lord we will walk in the light of His love. Let us love Him! Let us serve Him. For herein is the blessings of God.

May the Lord lift you to Him today!

Posted in Isaiah, Sermons Preached | Tagged ,

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

Empty Church.JPG

John 2:12-17 (KJV)  After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.  [13]  And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,  [14]  And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:  [15]  And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;  [16]  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.  [17]  And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

Mark 11:15-17 (KJV)  And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves;  [16]  And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.  [17]  And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

I passed a Church the other day that had a sign out front, and a bunch of people at it. The sign said:

Yard Sale Today”

As I passed that Church I wondered what Jesus would have thought of it.
Then I wondered what Jesus would think of our Church.

Do We Glorify God In All We Do?

If Jesus came into our Fellowship Hall on Sunday would He sit down and visit with us, or go about flipping tables and running people out? If He came into our Sunday School classrooms would He be pleased at what He heard. Would He hear us talking about the Lord and salvation and things that pleased Him? If Jesus came to our Church this Sunday would He empty the collection plates out of our hands, or would He see what we were doing as honoring God?

Everything that Jesus did honored God. This is what God would have us do – glorify Him FIRST. Put Him FIRST. The Scripture says:

1 Corinthians 10:31 (KJV) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Jesus glorified God.
He did things not to show off, but to honor the Father Who sent Him.

The first thing Jesus did when He was baptized was go to a Wedding Feast and turn water into wine. People argue about what Jesus did at the Wedding Feast of Cana even today. I have had preachers tell me with a straight face that Jesus didn’t make wine, but He made grape juice. Jesus couldn’t make wine. After all, we as Baptists are historically teetotalers. That’s fine, but my Bible tells me that Jesus made wine. His mother Mary told Him:

John 2:3 “They have no wine”

The fact that Jesus turned water into wine is very important for several reasons.

  • First, I don’t think Jesus particularly wanted to make wine, but He glorified God when He obeyed His mother. The first Church EVER was and is the FAMILY. When God made Adam and Eve they were to come together and be ONE FLESH. They were to PROCREATE. Not just have sex for the feel goods, but God said multiply and fill the earth. God attached a blessing to obedience. Multiplying and filling the earth is a blessing. God made the Family. The Family is Man and Woman joined together making little men and women.

God has given us laws to live by in our families. Mary tells Jesus:

John 2:3 “They have no wine”

This was important to Mary – the mother of Jesus – because wedding feasts celebrated the union of one man and one woman. When she asked Jesus to do something about the wine situation she knew her Son could do what she asked.

  • Second, though Jesus said “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.” He moved to grant her wish. Why? He was obeying the Commandment of God. The FIFTH Commandment states:

Exodus 20:12 (KJV) Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

The Fifth Commandment recognizes marriage, and gives authority to the male and female who had a hand in making you. We are to honor our parents. Children are taught to be good citizens – and good Church members – at home. Mary tells Jesus “They have no wine”. Jesus will honor His mother because this is righteousness. The Bible declares:

Ecclesiastes 12:13 (KJV) … Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Jesus had the servants bring six stone water pots – each one capable of holding 20-30 gallons (by the way, that’s what a firkin is in the King James). Jesus told them:

Fill the water pots with water”

So they began the process of going to the well, drawing water, and painstakingly filling each pot with water. This took time.

There was no running water.
There was no water pressure.
There were no garden hoses, nor outside the home taps.
They had to fill these pots – 6 times – with between 120-180 gallons of water.
That’s a lot of water.

  • Third, Jesus shows Himself to be God – the God Who has power over creation – when He turns plain water into wine. After the water pots are full Jesus says:

Abracadabra!

No, I’m just teasing and checking if you’re paying attention. As soon as all the pots were filled Jesus said:

Draw out now, and bear it to the governor of the feast.

The ruler of the feast was in charge of refreshments. He tasted what was brought and said:

John 2:10 (KJV) … Every man at the beginning doth set forth good WINE; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good WINE until now.

Jesus Christ turned water into wine. The Greek οἶνος oinos means WINE. The same word is used by Jesus in:

Matthew 9:17 (KJV)  Neither do men put new WINE into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the WINE runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new WINE into new bottles, and both are preserved.

Jesus showed Himself to be Creator God when He turned water into wine. It was not grape juice. Neither do I think it to be the swill that people spike and manufacture today that they call WINE. People have taken this text and used it as a justification for drinking and drunkenness. The Bible forbids drunkenness. The Bible says:

Proverbs 20:1 (KJV)  Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

The Bible says in Ephesians 5:18 (KJV)  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

The Bible says 1 Corinthians 5:11 (KJV)  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a DRUNKARD, or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat.

The Bible says 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (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.

Jesus turned water into wine, but He did not give it for anyone to get drunk on. But since I don’t want Jesus to come into this place and slap the Bible out of my hand I have to tell you what the text tells you. He turned water into wine. He gave that wine to people, to give to other people. Not to be abused, but to be used to celebrate BIBLICAL MARRIAGE.

Do We Glorify God In Our Churches?

After going to a wedding feast Jesus went to Church. When He got to Church He found something so disturbing that He had to stop it. People were not in Church to worship the Lord, but to make a buck. People were not in Church to pray and seek God’s face. They were there to fill their pockets.

There’s nothing wrong with money, and God wants you to make a living. He says:

2 Thessalonians 3:10 (KJV)   … if any would not work, neither should he eat.

Work is good. Earning a profit is good. But God’s house – His Church – gathers to worship Him.

We come together to pray to our Father.
We come together to love one another.
We come together to learn and grow by His truths.
When Jesus went to a wedding feast He gave them WINE to drink so they could celebrate.
When Jesus went to Church that day He gave them a WHIP to feel because they were NOT celebrating nor glorifying the right thing.

John 2:15-16 …. when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them ALL out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;  [16]  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise.

Jesus cleaned house that day.
The people were chased out.
The Priests were chased out.
The animals were chased out.

Jesus is not against PROFIT, but there is a greater PROFIT than money we need. We need God. We need to PROFIT by following and worshiping Him.

Mark 8:36-37 (KJV)  For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  [37]  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

When we come to Church it is to gather together in His Name so that He will be in our midst. We want Jesus here with us. We want to feel His Presence, to hear His Word, to learn what He has said and live by it. We don’t want Jesus running through the Church with a whip.

At our Associational Meeting Monday night Brother Dale Ledbetter spoke of several local Churches having divisions and fighting in their midst. He asked the Association to pray for them. Let’s pray for Christ’s Churches where ever they might be. Let’s pray for our Church. Let’s pray that we always come together for the right reason. We are not here to make a profit. We are not here to fight or fuss. We are here to do as Scripture says:

Hebrews 10:24-25 (KJV)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  [25]  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

God’s House – His people – do not come together to sell God to others. We come together to worship Him. We come together to love the Lord our God. When the Evangelist Mark wrote of this event He recorded additional words from our Savior:

Mark 11:15-17 (KJV)  And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves;  [16]  And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.  [17]  And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Jesus took His Words from two Old Testament Passages:

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

Jeremiah 7:11 (KJV) Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.

When we come together in God’s House for any reason other than to worship and glorify Him, when we gather to reject rather than highlight His Commandments, then we have become robbers and thieves. There is nothing wrong with Churches gathering together to raise funds for the needy, to help the destitute, to minister to the hurting. No, that’s not wrong. But it is horribly wrong to gather together to fill our own pockets.

We are here to worship the Lord.
We are here to honor our Savior.
We are here to magnify our God.
Let us do so with all our hearts!

May God touch your hearts with His Word!

Posted in John, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , ,

Tell Me You Love Me

wonderful post. Love you, brother!

Found Who I Am

eric-ward-279502-unsplash

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

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

Real talk:

View original post 847 more words

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Three Phases of Salvation

great teaching! Thank you Brother

Spirit Writer

Been Saved, Being Saved & Will Be Saved

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

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

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

View original post 1,873 more words

Posted in General | 1 Comment

Come And See

Revelation_6_Come_And_See

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

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

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

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

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

2 Peter 3:9 (KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

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

The First Four Seals Share A Famous Phrase

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

Come and See”

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

Behold the Lamb of God!

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

Come and See” (John 1:39)

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

Come and See” (John 1:46)

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

Come and See”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Their words are reminiscent of the Psalmist who wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sixth Seal Of Judgment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh dear Soul, do not harden your hearts!

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

Posted in Revelation, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , , ,

Oh God, Please Come Down!

Isaiah_64_1t8_Oh_God_Come_Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Are There Times When God Seems So Far Away?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Are Lepers Who Need God

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

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

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

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

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

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

One leper got it – he needed GOD.

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

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

The nine did what they were supposed to do!”

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

The Mountains Melt When God Is With Me

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

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

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

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

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor stands in the path of sinners,

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

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

And in His law, he meditates day and night.

3 He shall be like a tree

Planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season,

Whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper.

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

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

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

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

Where God is, sinners will repent. We read:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Comes Down For Those Who Love Him

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May God touch our hearts by His Word.

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

Jesus’ First Recorded Sermon

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

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

and the day of vengeance of our God…

In Luke we read:

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

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

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

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

Jesus Is God’s Anointed One – The Messiah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus Came To Minister To The Broken

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus laid down His life for you and for me.

Jesus Came To Free Us From Our Sin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now Is The Acceptable Time

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

and the day of vengeance of our God…

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

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

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

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

Jesus Alone Is Worthy

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our bodies were created THROUGH Him and FOR Him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rejecting Christ The World Is Due Judgment!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Father sent His Son

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus told us:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What can wash away my sin?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus;

What can make me whole again?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow

That makes me white as snow;

No other fount I know,

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Every one released by the hand of Christ!

May God bless the reading and preaching of His Word.

Posted in Revelation, Sermons Preached | Tagged ,

Come And See

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

 

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

2 Peter 3:9 (KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

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

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

Come and See!

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

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

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

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

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

Their god is their MIND,
their MIGHT,

their POSITION

or their POPULARITY,

their RELIGION

or their RITUAL.

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

But to those who will hear Jesus cries out:

Come and See!

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

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

The First Two People Saved
Were Seeking Jesus In Church

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

are you ELIJAH?
are you the PROPHET Moses?

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

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

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

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

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

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

The two disciples heard John, then they followed Jesus.

They followed Jesus!

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

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

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

We want to see where You dwell, Jesus!

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

The Third Person Saved Had To Be Called Twice

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

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

Jesus BEHELD him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Fourth Was Easily Saved

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

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

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

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

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

Pastor John Stott said:

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

The Apostle told us:

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

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

The Fifth Saved Had To Be Convinced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus is Lord. Jesus replies to Nathaniel:

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

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

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