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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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  • Jan19Sun

    God’s Word is Relevant

    January 19, 2020
    Call to Worship:   Psalm 105:1 “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. 2 Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. 3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. 4 Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. 5 Remember the wonders he has done, His miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, 6 you his servants, the descendants of Abraham, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob. 7 He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.”
    Songs:   Psalm 34 - The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir                                      
    He Is The Lord  - Kevin Prosch           
    Days Of Elijah  -  Robin Mark
    Scripture:     Psalm 77:10 “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. 11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. 12 I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” 13 Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? 14 You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. 15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. 16 The waters saw you, God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. 17 The clouds poured down water, the heavens resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. 18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. 19 Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. 20 You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
    Song:   All Things Possible   -   Mark Schultz           
    Sermon:  God’s Word is Relevant
    Closing Song: Let God Arise  - The ZOE Group
    Benediction:   Psalm 68:32 “Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord, 33 to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens, who thunders with mighty voice. 34 Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the heavens. 35 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!” Ecclesiastes 12:12 “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. 13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
                Last week we talked about listening. We saw that if we would listen to God, God would listen to us. Listening to God means we give our lives to His word but many in the church are more interested in what men and women are saying than what God’s word states. We have been warned all through scripture not to add or subtract from scripture but the church does it all the time so they can continue going in their own ways. As a result God is angry and we are not seeing His face shinning on us. God tell us if we would just listen things would change. Psalm 81:8 “Hear me, my people, and I will warn you— if you would only listen to me, Israel! 9 You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not worship any god other than me. 10 I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. 11 “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. 12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. 13 “If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, 14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!” We saw that Lamentations 2:14 “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading.” Jeremiah 23:16 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.” Because the church has gone their own way our enemies are not subdued. Here is an example of this.
                Today I want to start with what I thought was an interesting testimony about a man’s faith in God but it is not what you think, as this man turned away from God but it is still a testimony from a very popular man, and a sad one at that. I am not a huge sports fan but I do like watching the playoffs but since I cannot watch it live on TV (no satellite anymore), I either watch the play by play which is boring or I wait till after the game and watch the highlights spread over about 13 minutes which is awesome. Today there are two NFL games and the winners of those games go on to the Super Bowl. One of those teams playing today is the Green Bay Packers. Their quarterback is the great Aaron Rodgers and yes he is really good, so much so “The Green Bay Packers agreed to a record-breaking NFL contract extension with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, worth a reported $134 million to keep him with the team until he turns 40.” There are other endorsements also on top of that. That's a lot of money for playing a game. What I found interesting was an interview that I came across entitled “What Religion is Aaron Rodgers?” The article said, “Rodgers grew up a devout Christian. He stated that he accepted Christ when he was very young and attended church with his family every Sunday, but there came a point when he began to question evangelism.” He said, “I think in people’s lives who grew up in some sort of organized religion, there really comes a time when you start to question things more,” Rodgers told the publication. “I remember asking a question as a young person about somebody in a remote rainforest because the words that I got were: ‘If you don’t confess your sins, then you’re going to hell.’ And I said, ‘What about the people who don’t have a Bible readily accessible?’” Hold on to that statement and I will address it in a moment. “As for what religion the NFL player identities with, he told ESPN that he no longer sees himself as a Christian and does not have any specific religious affiliation.”
                So that was the first article I came across. Then another I found gave some more information. He said, “I think it’s especially important for someone like myself who grew up in the Christian culture where there isn’t a lot of open-mindedness to learn about other people’s ideas and beliefs. And doing that can actually strengthen your own faith, whatever that is. Because at a certain point, even when you’re taught something at a young age, you have to embrace what you believe.” That statement is true by the way. Proverbs 2:2 “My son, if you accept my words     and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— 3 indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 24:14 “Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” He goes on to say, “and there are going to be questions. For me, I had a great trajectory (route) because I went to the University of California, Berkeley, and everything I thought I knew got challenged right away. So you have to start thinking about things differently. There’s an incredible culture in Berkeley.” (A very liberal university by the way) He goes on to say, “And for me, that’s the journey. It’s realizing that we’re definitely more connected than we were told when we were younger. And that’s what I love about the Buddhist faith; it’s a very inclusive faith. I’m fortunate for the foundation that I had in theology but very appreciative of the people I’ve met along the way who have challenged those beliefs and helped me figure out what’s important when it comes to spirituality.” In this same article, he shared his appreciation for Buddhism, even meeting the Dali Lama. He said “And it’s a global vision of kindness and compassion — stuff that people can relate to. That’s some of the beauty of the Buddhist faith. It’s about acceptance, not about drawing lines in the sand about those who are saved and not saved, or have and have not. It’s, “How do we make this whole thing better?” And then hope for what’s next, the next life. He then is asked; do you consider yourself affiliated with any particular religion? He said, No, I just think I’m on a spiritual journey and that it’s personal. But we’re in this thing together; that’s how I look at things. I don’t confine myself to one ideology or theology, because I think exclusivity defeats the purpose of spirituality.” That's messed up.
                Then in another articles I found this even more interesting. One of the people he met along the way was Rob Bell of all people. The article says, “Then, not long after he became the starter in Green Bay in 2008, he met Rob Bell, a young pastor from Michigan whom the Packers invited to speak to the team. When the talk ended, Rodgers waited for the group to dissipate and then introduced himself to Bell, best known for his progressive views on Christianity. The two men struck up a friendship. Bell sent Rodgers books on everything from religion to art theory to quantum physics, and the quarterback gave him feedback on his writing. Over time, as he read more, Rodgers grew increasingly convinced that the beliefs he had internalized growing up were wrong, that spirituality could be far more inclusive and less literal than he had been taught. As an example, he points to Bell's research into the concept of hell. If you close-read the language in the Bible, Rodgers tells me, it's clear that the words are intended to evoke an analogy for man's separation from God. "It wasn't a fiery pit idea – that [concept] was handed down in the 1700s by the Puritans and influenced Western culture," he says.”
                Now you have heard me talk about Rob Bell before, the one who decided there was no hell. One article said, “Time magazine named Pastor Rob Bell "one of the most influential Christian leaders in the country." Rob's progressive and unique interpretation of the Bible considers new ways of thinking about God, religion and faith.” Another stated, “Rob Bell, the widely popular and controversial former megachurch pastor, is now convinced that a church who doesn’t support same-sex marriage will continue to be even more irrelevant.” I will talk about that in a moment. He also said, "I think culture is already there (same sex marriage) and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense, when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and co-workers and neighbors, and they love each other and just want to go through life," he said.” WOW! This is who was guiding Aaron Rodger!
                So let me recap. Aaron was a Christian but is now educated and rich and knows better. He meets Rob Bell and the Dalai Lama who gives him a different perspective to follow and buys into it, all the while rejecting God’s word. Before I wrap this up, there was another article I found interesting. Pro-athletes do a lot of charity work.  This article said, “Back in the spring, you went to India on a hearing-aid mission with the Starkey Hearing Foundation. What made you want to do that? Two reasons. The first was to meet the Dalai Lama, which is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. (Joke –they believe in reincarnation so maybe more than a once in a lifetime experience) The second was doing outreach and getting to go to Africa, where I’d never been. I love to travel but haven’t been to as many countries as I’d like. I played three rounds of golf with Larry Fitzgerald (football player) in February in Pebble Beach, and I always ask him, “Larry, how many countries are you up to?” He’s been to more than 100 different countries, many of them with Starkey. Every time I’m around Larry, I’m inspired to see more of the world. And the opportunity came up, and I just could not pass it up.” You get to go to India and see Delhi and meet the Dalai Lama. Then you go to Africa, go on safari and do outreach where you’re helping change people’s lives. Starkey does most of the work, and we get to do the glory part: the actual installation of the hearing aids, checking the volume, making sure they are working.”
                So why do I share all of this. To answer lets go back to the beginning. Aaron Rodgers didn’t like what the bible said. He said, “I remember asking a question as a young person about somebody in a remote rainforest because the words that I got were: ‘If you don’t confess your sins, then you’re going to hell.’ And I said, ‘What about the people who don’t have a Bible readily accessible?’” Somewhere along the line he was not taught or he simply refused to believe it or its just an excuse to live your own life but Romans gives us the answer. Romans 1:18 “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. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.”
                So along his journey there were those who refuted the bible and Aaron believed them. Sadly, he was easily led astray and ended up loving the beliefs of Buddhism over God’s word. Remember Buddhism doesn’t believe in God. Aaron said he was “fortunate for the foundation that I had in theology”. Obviously that was a flimsy wall that collapsed. Look at the damage done and the damage that continues to be done, unless he has repented of course. These were recent articles one written January 12, 2020 from a podcast December 2019. Christianity is tarnished and his testimony now agrees with Rob Bell that the bible is irrelevant and Buddhism where ther is no need for God. As to Rob Bell’s view that a church is relevant if they agree with homosexuality. Romans goes on to say Romans 1:24 “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, (remember there church is filled with gossipers) 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
               Yes I know people say the bible is irrelevant and they say it doesn’t mean what it says making themselves out to be gods. I read an article January 17, 2020 from Macleans talking about this subject. The writer makes this statement at the beginning and right away you know they do not have knowledge of God’s word. He said, “that (homosexuality) the subject is hardly ever mentioned in the entirety of Scripture, and Jesus never refers to it at all!” That is a common argument. The title of the article is “LGBTQ people and ‘the harm being done by the Christian religion.” He then talks to a gay theologian who is a professor of systematic theology at Knox College, University of Toronto, the author of highly praised books and articles, and an ordained Presbyterian minister.” He said, “As a theologian and tenured professor, my mind could grasp that the church is wrong, but my heart could not get there.” What he then says is because he is a theologian and tenured professor he is the voice of authority and says the bible is wrong and does not mean what it says. Remember tradition reason and experience have replace the authority of the bible. He basically states the bible doesn’t mean what it says. He forgets that the bible was not written by man. 2 Peter 1:19 “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 1:19 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” 
    1 Corinthians 2:14 “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” Trust me when I say the bible means what it says. Yes this subject is well talked about in scripture and yes Jesus does talk about it because John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 4 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” This is why we call the bible the word of God. The whole thing! So yes he describes it very clearly but most do not want to hear. So instead of hearing the truth, they call it hatred. So whenever truth is preached they simply respond by calling it hatred. Sadly there are many Christians who hate and they shouldn’t but that is not what the bible says to do. We desperately need the power of God to release the captives and those who sit in darkness once again. God’s love endures forever. This is what the bible says 1 Corinthians 6:9 “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” The only way that freedom can come from a depraved mind is through the power of the Holy Spirit.
                I share all of this because this is where the church is; a land of desolation. No the bible isn’t irrelevant but the church has lost its power because we have not adhered to the gospel. To many want to be friends with the world and adopt their worldview. We have the likes of the Bells (resounding gong or a clanging cymbal) in the church who go their own way but in the process lead others to their eternal damnation (Revelation 20:10 “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Matthew 25:41 “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. 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”) They like Bell will lead many astray. 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. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. 17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” Instead of proclaiming the truth of God’s word, they lift up the Buddhist faith and the sexually immoral and completely renounce God.
                As far as Aaron Rodgers, I feel sorry for him. Look at his resources. I found it interesting that he would promote a hearing aide company that goes into all the world but renounces the God of creation. Unfortunately his excuse for departing the truth was weak. If he was so concerned that people weren’t hearing, then go to all the countries and preach the gospel instead of hearing aides go with the one who heals hearing. Matthew 11:5 “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” But the God he denounced is also the God Matthew 10:28 “who can destroy both soul and body in hell” in spite of what Rob Bell thinks. For me this is a sad testimony of the church. How many lives have been ruined because of shaky theology, false teachers and empty lives handed down to us that are powerless. How many have denied God because they are afraid to speak the truth. When we speak the truth yes it can come off as harsh but it is better to know the truth now rather than later when Jesus says depart from me. Yes homosexuality, Buddhism, higher education are rampant in our country. Wealth of our nation is also a problem. Matthew 19:23 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
                God said if my people would listen. Exodus 15:26 “He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” Then Jesus healed the sick and empowered His disciples to do the same and it was supposed to be and so on and so on…. Psalm 81:8 “Hear me, my people, and I will warn you— if you would only listen to me, Israel! 9 You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not worship any god other than me. 10 I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. 11 “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. 12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. 13 “If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, 14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!” It is not the bible that is wrong or irrelevant, it is the church who has refused to listen and therefore have lost its power to change the world.
                I shared these articles because the church has lost its power due to false teachers and disobedience and here is the result; desolation, deception and delusion. We were told this would happen over and over throughout scripture but because God is gracious and compassionate if we would turn from our wicked ways, God would heal us. Last week we talked about the master coming into your home to teach you. First of all you asked about their portfolio and saw their amazing skill. Now obviously I wasn’t talking about a human but God.  We can look at God’s portfolio as seen in scripture and we can believe or not but there is no in-between. We can either listen to his words or not. God’s word, the bible, the word that so many are trying to nullify and bring into disrepute has so much available to all who believe, it is astounding. Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” If we would listen and obey by giving our lives God will bless us. Proverbs 8:32 “Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it. 34 Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. 35 For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord. 36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.” When we read the blessings and the curses as laid out in Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26; we see the power available to us if we would just listen.
                When we celebrate communion we are supposed to remember what God has done. But what if we have never seen the power described in scripture. Is that a good enough excuse not to believe? What if what we are waiting for is beyond our comprehension or we are not even sure how. It doesn’t matter because God knows and we live by faith and trust His words. Exodus 34:10 Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.” We talk about what the true church looks like yet we have never seen it. So then what? For most they accept the dimness, the lack of power and emptiness and do not even seek for something different. They change the bible so that it lines up with their apathetic lives. But why would you do that when scripture tells us the power is available as Paul said in Ephesians 1:18 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Yes Aaron Rodgers appears to be a blessed man. I am sure he has the means to obtain anything he wants except eternal life. He could have that too if he would repent and turn back to God. But if he doesn’t, Job tells us Job 24:22 “But God drags away the mighty by his power; though they become established, they have no assurance of life. 23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their ways. 24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone; they are brought low and gathered up like all others; they are cut off like heads of grain.” When Aaron talked to Rob Bell he probably had great relief when Bell told him hell wasn’t real. God has so much more for us, the ends of the earth more, if we would just listen to His word and trust Him. Yet many people will not listen because God’s word contradicts their thinking, their theology and doctrines and their own timetable but if you will listen God wants to bless you abundantly.
                So where do we find the portfolio of the master. I shared the above story because they had given up on the word of God because it appears to be irrelevant. But instead they have become irrelevant in God’s eyes. As we look at scripture we know it to be truth because we can look back and see what it is we are waiting for. As we read earlier in Psalm 77:10 “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. 11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. 12 I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” Yes there are many like Aaron Rodgers and Rob Bell who will reject God’s word but for those who will stand firm, there is more to come. How do we know? We have the bible to show us. We see miracles, signs and wonders all through scripture and we should still be seeing them in the church. Hebrews 2:3 “This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” Mark 16:5 “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Paul said that’s what some of you were. We can be changed so 1 Chronicles 16:9 “Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. 10 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. 11 Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. 12 Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, 13 you his servants, the descendants of Israel, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.”
                Everything is there in scripture for us to see. Until the power returns we look back and remember. Yes we have leaders telling us that was then, you can’t expect that now. Yes we have people who don’t believe Jesus when he said we would do greater things even though he said John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” For most because they have not seen, they reject God’s word for something they can see. They refuse to live by faith. They stop trying to understand and are content with the manmade yet Hosea 4:6 “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” When we had communion we were supposed to remember but like Israel most have forgotten. Psalm 106:13 “But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.” 21 They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, 22 miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.” Psalm 78:40 “How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the wasteland! 41 Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed (provoked) the Holy One of Israel. 42 They did not remember his power— the day he redeemed them from the oppressor, 43 the day he displayed his signs in Egypt, his wonders in the region of Zoan.” Nehemiah 9:16 “But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. 17 They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery.”
                You do not want to be these people who have 2 Timothy 3:5 “a form of godliness but are denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” For most their theology and doctrines don’t allow for the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ in their midst. Yes there are many groups who say the signs and wonders they see are from God but since they do not teach the true gospel, this is satan masquerading. 2 Corinthians 11:13 “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” How many people could this verse be said about? Matthew 22:29 “Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. The word of God is filled all these example of miracles and signs and wonders happening all throughout the bible. John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” Wouldn’t it be amazing if we just believed God at His word? In Mark Jesus fed the five thousand and then the four thousand which was amazing but then look at what happened. Mark 8:14 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” 16 They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.” 17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they replied. 20 “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” They answered, “Seven.” 21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?” So this was shortly after massive miracles. Earlier he has said to them you give them something to eat but they did not understand. Jesus said to them “Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?” After Jesus rose from the dead he came among them and said Mark 16:14 “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.”
                 How many people in the church are there that haven’t turned from their upbringing, still believe in hell, don't follow Buddhism yet have denied the word of God by their unbelief. They refuse to commit and submit to God. Isaiah 29:13 “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” How many people are truly seeking God and following wholeheartedly? Humbling yourself before God means you will follow his word. Then Isaiah 29:22 “Therefore this is what the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the descendants of Jacob: “No longer will Jacob be ashamed; no longer will their faces grow pale. 23 When they see among them their children, the work of my hands, they will keep my name holy; they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. 24 Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding; those who complain will accept instruction.” Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
                We are told in 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Paul said Acts 20:9 “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” This has already happened. God wants to send us out to change the world by clothing us with the power of His Spirit. There is no enemy that will be able to stand before the power of God. Lives will be completely changed. There will be great rejoicing. Jeremiah 30:3 “The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their ancestors to possess,’ says the Lord. 8 “‘In that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them. 9 Instead, they will serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.” 16 “‘But all who devour you will be devoured; all your enemies will go into exile. Those who plunder you will be plundered; all who make spoil of you I will despoil. 17 But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord, ‘because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares. 18 “This is what the Lord says: “‘I will restore the fortunes of Jacob’s tents and have compassion on his dwellings; the city will be rebuilt on her ruins, and the palace will stand in its proper place. 19 From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained. 20 Their children will be as in days of old, and their community will be established before me; I will punish all who oppress them. Jeremiah 31:7 “Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations. Make your praises heard, and say, ‘Lord, save your people, the remnant of Israel.’ 16 This is what the Lord says: “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord. “They will return from the land of the enemy. 17 So there is hope for your descendants,” declares the Lord. “Your children will return to their own land. 10 “Hear the word of the Lord, you nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.’ 11 For the Lord will deliver Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they. 12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord— the grain, the new wine and the olive oil,    the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more. 13 Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. 14 I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty,” declares the Lord.
                We will once again see what Joel tells us Joel 2:12 “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” 13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. 14 Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.” 23 Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. 24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. 25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you. 26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. 27 Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. 28 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. 32 And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.”
                Peter said in Acts 2:14 “Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: Verse 17 “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” Well these have been the last days ever since but because the church refuses to obey God’s word and live by it we have to go back to the beginning and start over and continue to ask God to pour out his spirit on us once again.