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Rock Report by Pastor Paul

This is a blog that comes from my personal devotions each day. It will also include sermons as I have to delete them from the audio section of the website. This blog will also keep you up to date with what is happening at the Rock in Strathroy Ontario 

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  • Aug5Sun

    Be Courageous

    August 5, 2018
    Call to Worship:  1 Chronicles 29:10 “Praise be to you, LORD, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. 11 Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.”
     
    Songs:  You Are / You Are Lord- Hillsong
    We Believe - Newsboys     
     Jesus  - Umobile Worship       
     
    Scripture: 2 Kings 6:8-23
     
    Song:   Courageous -Casting Crowns         
     
    Sermon: “Be Courageous”
     
    Closing Song:  Yours Is the Kingdom- Hillsong
               
    Benediction:  2 Corinthians 3:12 “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” Joshua 1:7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
     ---------------------------------------------------
     
    Sermon: “Be Courageous”
                Last week we talked about be helpless before God. 2 Chronicles 20:12 “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” A couple of weeks ago we talked about being still before God. Moses said, Exodus 14:13 “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” So as we stand still in our helplessness, we do so before God Almighty unafraid. We read in our call to worship “Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.” Because of this we have nothing to fear. Psalm 3:1 “LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! 2 Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” 3 But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. 4 I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain. 5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. 6 I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. 7 Arise, LORD! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. 8 From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.”
                Today we are talking about being courageous in the midst of our enemies. As we talk about this I want you to picture being surrounded just as Elisha and his servant were but while picturing this army, also remember Elisha’s answer to his servant “those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” So even though the enemies surround us, Psalm 23:5 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Psalm 118:7 “The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.” Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 11 “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. 12 Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. 13 For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. 14 Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. 15 “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff. 16 You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up, and a gale will blow them away. But you will rejoice in the LORD and glory in the Holy One of Israel.” Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
                As Jesus said to his disciples, Matthew 14:27 “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid,” he says to us so we too do not need to be afraid. We are told all through scripture to not be afraid. Why because as Jesus also said, Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” As they prepared to take the land God said he would be with them. Joshua 1:5 “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He was told 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
                We do not need to be afraid but we must follow scripture as Joshua goes on to say. 7 “Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” In order to be victorious in our helplessness we must follow God’s word wholeheartedly. We cannot expect God to go with us if we refuse to go before Him. We must be careful to obey. The blessings of Deuteronomy come with our obedience to God’s word. Deuteronomy 28:1 “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God.” 15 However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you.”
                So in our stillness, we wait for God and we do not offer the sacrifice ourselves because the enemy is against us. Saul was told to wait the seven days but the enemy started to advance against them. 1 Samuel 13:5 “The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven. 6 When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. 11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” 13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” We are not called to be afraid but to be courageous.
                So even though the enemy advances against us, we wait the full seven days and keep the command to wait. We are told to be courageous and do not be afraid. In these next verses there are two situations. At the temple King Solomon turned and blessed the people. In that blessing he talked about defeat and victory. The first talks about going to war against our enemies. This would be when they stood across from Jericho for example. Deuteronomy 20:1 “When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. 2 When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. 3 He shall say: “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. 4 For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” 1 Kings 8:44 “When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever you send them, and when they pray to the Lord toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name, 45 then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause.” Our courage comes from being obedient to God’s word and trusting him to defeat our enemies just as he said he would.
                Then he talks about what happens after our enemies have defeated us because of sin. This is where we are at now. He said 1 Kings 8:33 “When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you, and when they turn back to you and give praise to your name, praying and making supplication to you in this temple, 34 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them back to the land you gave to their ancestors. 46 “When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to their enemies, who take them captive to their own lands, far away or near; 47 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; 48 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; 49 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. 50 And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their captors to show them mercy; 51 for they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, out of that iron-smelting furnace.  If we turn from our wicked ways and earnestly seek him, and believe that God hears our cry. Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
                So yes our enemies have surrounded us because those who have gone before us have not acted according to God’s word. They have followed the ways of man and false gospels and we unfortunately followed after them but have by the grace of God, now turned from wicked ways. Because we have turned away, the enemies have advanced against us but we do need to be afraid. We see ourselves in this passage about King Hezekiah. He turned away from those who went before him and did right in God’s eyes. His father 2 Chronicles 29:24 “Ahaz gathered together the furnishings from the temple of God and cut them in pieces. He shut the doors of the Lord’s temple and set up altars at every street corner in Jerusalem. 25 In every town in Judah he built high places to burn sacrifices to other gods and aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of his ancestors. His son though 2 Chronicles 29:2 “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. 3 “In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them. 4 He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side 5 and said: “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. 6 Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him. 7 They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel. 8 Therefore, the anger of the Lord has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes. 9 This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity. 10 Now I intend to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense.”
                This has happened to us for the same reasons. The sanctuary of the Lord has been defiled and we lie in desolation but we have great hope because we seek the Lord of creation who promised that if we would turn we would find Him. I want to read Psalm 9 as David said “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:1 I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. 2 I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. 3 My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you. 4 For you have upheld my right and my cause, sitting enthroned as the righteous judge. 5 You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name for ever and ever. 6 Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies, you have uprooted their cities; even the memory of them has perished. 7 The LORD reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. 8 He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. 9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.”
                Because we seek him we are not afraid. So even though 2 Chronicles 20:12 “we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us and we do not know what to do, our eyes are on God.” We stand helpless, we stand still and we have great hope of victory because our Lord goes before us but we must stand courageous. Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 10:25 “Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” 1 Chronicles 28:20 “David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.” 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”
                Even though all around us looks like Habakkuk described, we too will rejoice. He said, Habakkuk 3:17 “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” We do not have to fear the enemy who ravages the land but we “wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.” Yes it can feel in our captivity that all is lost but don’t listen to that voice. When Senacharib’s army was taunting Judah they said. 2 Kings 18:28 “Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand. 30 Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord when he says, ‘The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ 31 “Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, 32 until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death! “Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ 33 Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? 35 Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the Lord deliver Jerusalem from my hand?” 36 But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, “Do not answer him.” satan is going to taunt you, but don’t answer him as God will give us the victory. 1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
            Casting Crowns sang about being courageous and not sitting on the sidelines. This does not mean we go to war on our own but on our knees in submission to our God. The time will come when we will go to war and take the land back just as Solomon described in 1 Kings 8. Deuteronomy 9:1 “Hear, Israel: You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky. 2 The people are strong and tall—Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: “Who can stand up against the Anakites?” 3 But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you. 4 After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, “The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. 5 It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 6 Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.”
                Caleb shows us that it does not matter whether we are young or old, we do not have to be afraid and we will take the land. Joshua 14:7 “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’ 10 “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” 13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. 14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. 15 (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba after Arba, who was the greatest man among the Anakites.)” Joshua 15:13 “In accordance with the Lord’s command to him, Joshua gave to Caleb son of Jephunneh a portion in Judah—Kiriath Arba, that is, Hebron. (Arba was the forefather of Anak.) 14 From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites—Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai, the sons of Anak.”
              Like Caleb, we must serve God wholeheartedly. Numbers 14:24 “Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” This same passage also says Numbers 14:21 “Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— 23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.” 30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31 As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. 32 But as for you, your bodies will fall in this wilderness. 33 Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness. 34 For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’ 35 I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this wilderness; here they will die.”
                Today we have a choice to choose life not death and prosperity no destruction. We can choose to be blessed or cursed. We can also choose to be courageous and unafraid but we must choose to be wholehearted followers of God’s word. Acts 4:23 “On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one. 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”