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Mar6TueMarch 6, 2018As we continue to look at our corruptible ways, we see that we are just like Israel. We and those who have gone before us have returned to evil ways. Jeremiah 11:10 “They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant I made with their ancestors.” Jeremiah 16:10 said “When you tell these people all this and they ask you, ‘Why has the Lord decreed such a great disaster against us? What wrong have we done? What sin have we committed against the Lord our God?’ 11 then say to them, ‘It is because your ancestors forsook me,’ declares the Lord, ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped them. They forsook me and did not keep my law. 12 But you have behaved more wickedly than your ancestors. See how all of you are following the stubbornness of your evil hearts instead of obeying me.” What we are seeing in the church with all these different gospels is as Paul said in Galatians1:6 “turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all.” This is exactly what has happened to us. By following all these other gospels we have made ourselves a stench before God. Amos 5:21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. 22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. 23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. 24 But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”So why should we be worried? The answer is we are in the last hour. 1 John 2:18 “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” Now obviously God follows a different time than we do 2 Peter 3:8 “but do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” People don’t seem to care about God’s coming. 14 “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.” But instead they don’t even ask this question about His coming, making themselves worse than these people. They said, 2 Peter 3:3 “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”Even the secular world warns of the end. “The warning the Science and Security Board now sends is clear, the danger obvious and imminent.” “IT IS 2 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT.” Now this is referring to man’s self destruction but let it also be a warning as the end is near. 1 Peter 4:7 “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” Yes we can heed this warning but we need to fear God not man. Matthew 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” But like the doomsday clock, most don’t take the warnings seriously. Most in the church do not listen to God’s warnings and continue on their own way, formulating their own truth and trying to live life to the fullest on this earth “but what will they do in the end” Deuteronomy 32:20 “I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful. 29 If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be!”Yes like Israel we have turned away from God’s word and have followed other gospels. Judges 2:10 “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.” The problem is everything is the same except the distress part. The church today does not know the true Jesus. Here we can say the same thing Jesus said to the Sadducees. Matthew 22:29 “Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” Hezekiah said 2 Chronicles 30:7 “Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8 Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord.”So because we too have rejected the words of our Saviour, we live in a desolate land. Gideon describes our land. Remmeber we are talking about spiritual warfare. Judges 6:1 “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. 2 Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. 4 They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. 5 They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. 6 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help,” except we are not calling out. We should be calling out and asking God the same question Gideon asked. 3 “Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” But due to God’s amazing grace he reached down and chose someone to save his people. He then goes out and takes back the land and defeats their enemies in an amazing way, at least until they turned away again.The people God uses are not always the elite. In this case he chose Gideon who said, Judges 6:15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” That doesn’t matter to God but what matters is that you no longer follow in their wicked ways. God then testes Godeon and says “25 That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. 26 Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height.” Just like Hezekiah said, “Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors” For Gideon to be used greatly he had to start with his family. Not only did he tear down the altar he sacrificed a couple bulls. Gideon obeyed and God used him mightily.You cannot be afraid and not follow God’s commands. Yes Gideon did it at night because he was afraid but he still did it. God had said, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” Most are not willing to confront the wicked ways of their ancestors, nor are they willing to change. Stubbornness and stiff-necks are predominant in the church. Yes they will fight against you almost guaranteed as tearing down idols will offend them but look what happened in this case. Gideon’s father defended him. Judges 6:30 “The people of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.” 31 But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.” 32 So because Gideon broke down Baal’s altar, they gave him the name Jerub-Baal that day, saying, “Let Baal contend with him.”After he was tested, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power to go against Judges 6:33 “all the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel.” Then with only 300 hundred men Judges 7:7 “The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. 22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords.” Remember the description of this vast enemy. Judges 6:5 “It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it.”What is God calling you to do? Will you do everything he commands? Do you believe that by His power you will be able to do amazing things and defeat enemies larger and stronger than you. If so, are you willing to tear down the false gospels that are prevalent in families / churches today? Most do not even know they are there. Don’t be afraid, God will be with you. Just like he said to Gideon 14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” 16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” Moses said to Joshua, Deuteronomy 31:7 “in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” No matter what God is calling you to, obey what he commands you to do no matter what, but you must turn away from wicked ways.