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Apr11TueApril 11, 2017Yesterday we looked at God’s love and the missing component of His wrath. Many people are only seeking a God who does not expect anything from them, does not hold them accountable and most definitely does not judge them. As long as God loves them according to their own definitions, all is well. We know this can’t happen according to the word of God, as God’s word is where our definition of love has to come from. If we are to worship God, then we must worship God as described by His word. There is a lack of understanding in the church today. Isaiah 5:13 “Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding; those of high rank will die of hunger and the common people will be parched with thirst.”This morning I took a peek at the news and saw an interesting article on repentance. I am surprised this made the news to be honest with you. This article was about a man who repented for his involvement in the book called the Shack. Why this book is a false teaching has already been covered yet people still flock to its teachings now in movie form. Dave Aldrich is a graphic designer. On his site written in 2009, he tells the story of how he was approached with a really exciting opportunity. He said, “I had the good fortune of being one of the designers of The Shack and designed the interior pages as well. The book that launched a publishing company also helped to refocus my own design career. As a result of The Shack’s success I’ve been blessed with several other book projects and an increasing passion for this kind of work. It feels more like fun than work!” What is interesting is that now he is repenting. He posted on Facebook his regrets. He states, “Some of you know that I was involved with designing “The Shack” book. At that time, over 10 years ago, I was captivated by the story and felt honored to be part of the graphic creation of the book. I was so drawn into it, wanting to know the God it portrayed. There’s no doubt that the story has deeply spoken to many. I have deep regrets now of not just being involved with it but also in promoting it. The movie release of The Shack has brought all this back to my mind and I felt the need to apologize to all who I may have led astray by my promoting the book. I look back and see how little discernment I had. And I regret and apologize also for waiting this long to publicly share this. The Shack’s story wonderfully painted this picture to me of an incredibly knowable and loving God, one full of forgiveness, but without being judgmental. The fact is that there are two inseparable sides to God. He is both love and judge.” He then quoted John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. Whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on Him.”This lack of judgment is what most are looking for and have accepted as their god but this is not the God of the bible. You cannot pick and choose what you want to believe and what you don’t and expect to spend eternity with Him. Sadly this is what most do from preachers to those listening to them. They emphasize a god of their understanding. This lack of understanding is deadly. Since there is no fearing of the Lord God Almighty, there is no understanding. Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Isaiah 33:6 “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” Samuel told the people 1 Samuel 12:24 “But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 25 Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.” Sure enough the people stopped fearing the Lord and all perished form the land.For the most part the church refuses to cry out for wisdom and turn from their wicked ways. Proverbs 1:20 “Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; 21 on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech: 22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? 23 Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. 24 But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, 25 since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, 26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you— 27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. 28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, 29 since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD. 30 Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, 31 they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. 32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; 33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” Isaiah 1:15 “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!”The lack of understanding concerning the fear of God is causing desolation and destruction in the church. Hosea 4:6 “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” Due to a lack of knowledge about scripture and obedience to it, people are perishing. Many do not even know this is happening and it will be too late as Jesus points out in Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 4 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Jesus also said, Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Do you really want to wait? This is not the time to find out you have been deceived, yet many 2 Timothy 3:13 “evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” We have been warned over and over yet there is a lack of understanding as people in the church continue to praise and crucify Him.Paul goes on to say to those who are following wholeheartedly, 2 Timothy 3:4 “but as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” For those who are not, this is why there is such little interest in worshipping in Spirit and in truth. People do not want to read the bible because Hebrews 4:12 “the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” They continue to Isaiah 30:10 say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. 11 Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” 9 For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction.”But if we would listen to God’s word (James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.), we would not be swayed by all kinds of evil desires and false teaching from men who are 2 Timothy 3:7 “never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.” 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.” When we fear God we will have understanding and knowledge and discernment so we will not get caught up in false teachings as so many have. We know that we have nothing to fear if we John 15:4 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.’ Too many Christians have decided they know best and have gone their own way and refuse to repent, which will only bring disaster on them and the generations that follow. Amos 4:6 “I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the Lord. “Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards, destroying them with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the Lord. I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the Lord.”If we would turn from our wicked ways, we have this great promise. Nehemiah 1:8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ Joel 2:12 “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Zechariah 1:3 “Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Jeremiah 3:14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.”There is hope for us if we would just return and humble ourselves before God. If we do not there is no excuse. Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”We pray that we will grow in understanding and truth. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, Colossians 1:10 “so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” 2 Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”We then ask God for understanding as Solomon did. 2 Chronicles 1:9 “Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours? 11 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honour, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. Isaiah 11:2 “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord— 3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. 16 There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt.”