The ROCK
Come as You Are / Be Transformed! 

 


Here you will find service outlines,

sermon manuscript

and additional writings.

 Sermons



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 

View RSS Feed

Archives

  • Call to Worship:  The Lord’s Prayer:  Matthew 6:9 “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, 10 Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

    Songs: You Are Good  - Travis Cottrell          
    I Will Trust in You  -Jeremy Camp          
    Look a Little Higher - JJ Weeks Band       
    While I'm Waiting  - Travis Greene          
     
    Scripture: Isaiah 61:1-7
     
    Song:  Haven't Seen It Yet - Danny Gokey           
     
    Sermon:   “It Will Now Be Said, See What God Has Done!”
     
    Closing Song:  Glorious Unfolding Steven Curtis Chapman
     
    Benediction:  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.”
     -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
     
    Sermon:       “It Will Now Be Said, See What God Has Done!”
     
                I’ve titled this sermon “It Will Now Be Said, See What God Has Done!” based on Numbers 23. Numbers 22:1 “Then the Israelites traveled to the plains of Moab and camped along the Jordan across from Jericho. 2 Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites, 3 and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread because of the Israelites. 5 A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. 6 Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.” Then Balaam blessed them instead. 11 Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but you have done nothing but bless them!” In Balaam’s second message he said 19 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? 20 I have received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot change it. 23 There is no divination against Jacob, no evil omens against Israel. It will now be said of Jacob and of Israel, ‘See what God has done!” As we prepare to cross the Jordon into the Kingdom of God, know that God speaks and acts and does not lie. The enemy will not stand against us and we will take the land to the ends of the earth in the authority of the name of Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
                Last week we talked about the kingdom of God coming near and the power available to us. Not only was the kingdom near, it had come upon us as well. Jesus said Luke 11:20 “ But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” He drove out demons as did His disciples. Later after Pentecost Paul is told, Acts 26:17 “I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” So not only is the kingdom powerful and not only did the kingdom come near to those who repented; the kingdom came upon us and Jesus already reigns as King on David’s throne. Jesus sent his disciples out to preach this good news of His kingdom. Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” We need to remember the power involved with God’s kingdom.
                So then what happened to the power. Yes people say the power is getting people to church and making a commitment. But as we have talked about before, what exactly are you being saved into if there is no power. What exactly have they committed to? Most don’t stop to find out. Looking around at churches, it is very easy to see that God has turned His face from us and the church no longer is operating under His power and authority but operates under the authority of man. This can be seen by simply looking at what churches believe and you will see there is not the Spirit of truth present, nor will you see the power and authority as described in Luke. Luke 4:36 “All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” Since the Spirit of truth is not guiding, everyone goes their own way. This is described in 2 Chronicles 29:6 “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.” 2 Kings 22:13 “Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”
                How did this happen? The answer is simple; men and women went their own ways instead of following Gods way. Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 21:2 “A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.” Jesus said John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Deuteronomy 29:9 “Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do. 14 I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you 15 who are standing here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God but also with those who are not here today. 19 When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way, they will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry.” This also applies to the new covenant. Isaiah 53:6 “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 56:11 “They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, they seek their own gain.” We are told in Isaiah 58:13 “if you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, 14 then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Remember we are the church all day long, all week long, not just an hour on Sunday! We like Israel are an obstinate bunch who refuse to live by God’s commands. Isaiah 65:2 “All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations—3 a people who continually provoke me to my very face.” Sadly those who have gone before us have led us down this empty way. Jeremiah 5:31 “The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” Jeremiah 8:6 “I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.”
                The last verse in Judges 21:25 says, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” The first verse in Ruth 1:1 says, “In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land.” When you look at all the churches around, you see a lack of power. Remember don’t confuse popular or well organized with power. This has happened because man thinks he knows better than to follow God’s word. Since there is also no fear in God they add and subtract so that God’s word lines up better with their own theology and doctrines. Most people’s bibles have been heavily redacted. (Edited especially in order to obscure or remove sensitive information, that is what they don’t like) The church we are part of today lies in desolation and in delusion because of unbelief. Amos says, Amos 8:11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” Those days have been here for some time. Isaiah said it; Jesus said it and we are seeing it. Mark 7:6 “He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
                Because the church has let go of these commands, Paul says concerning the true gospel 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” I know that is hard to comprehend. Every Sunday people around the world are attending church in vain and due to the deception and delusion most worship in vain. Yes no one wants to hear that. Because we have let go of the commands of God we are missing out on the kingdom of God and the power that is available to us. Remember the kingdom already came in power and is available to all who repent and turn from their wicked ways. Ephesians 1:17 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 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, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
                So instead of that great power Paul prayed about, now the church sits in darkness, captivity and void of power. Not at all what we read earlier in Isaiah 61. Psalm 106 describes this letting go of God’s commands. Psalm 106:6 “We have sinned, even as our ancestors did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly. 7 When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea. 8 Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known. 9 He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; he led them through the depths as through a desert. 10 He saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them. 11 The waters covered their adversaries; not one of them survived. 12 Then they believed his promises and sang his praise. 13 But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold. 14 In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test. 15 So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them.” God decides when His plan will unfold not us. We must be faithful by trusting that His plan will unfold.
                The church today has given no thought of all the miracles as laid out in scripture. They have turned into stories told to our children. I heard one minister turn a miracle into an analogy basically saying to the people listening that you can no longer expect a real miracle to happen. Some even have the audacity to say God does not do that any more to their demise, while most of the rest do not seek His kingdom to come near. For the most part the church is willing to sit powerless till they die thinking this is the journey of the Christian, just to get by till they die. I don’t want that said about me that I got by. It was said about Josiah 2 Kings 23:25 “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.” Notice that not every miracle is written down so men in their ignorance have come up with their theories of a powerless church. At that point it is no longer the church. 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.” Men have these theories that say because Paul was sick when he went to the Galatians he was no longer able to do miracles. You see these are just theories to confirm their own doctrines that are powerless and empty. Here is the verse they use. Paul said Galatians 4:13 “As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you.” But he said to the same people, Galatians 3:5 “So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?” Were they written down yes and no. Specifically no! But God’s word tells Acts 19:11 “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” Acts 6:8 “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.” Not all written down and he wasn’t an apostle. Hebrews 2:4 “God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” No where in the bible does it say these gifts stopped. Mark 16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” This is why we wait so this will happen once again.
                This was the plan of the church. Nowhere does it say this plan has changed. Man changed the plan but God’s plan did not change. Ephesians 4:11 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Let me read this next verse first the way the church reads it today. 1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church teachers, then gifts of helping, gifts of guidance. That is obviously not what it says. Remember if we are the body of Christ we do has he did since he is the head. Now let me read it again the right way. “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.” It is as this point that so many stop reading and say love is the most important. I have heard many say they believe in the gifts of the spirit but don’t pursue them, they just focus on love. That actually means they don’t believe in them by the way. While this is true it does not negate the gifts of the Holy Spirit. While love is important there is a chapter 14. 1 Corinthians 14:1 “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” As a reminder here are the gifts of the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
                Lets just stick to what the bible states as it is by this gospel we are saved. The men changing this are antichrists false teacher and false prophets, teaching other gospels to suit their own needs. The gifts of the Spirit were not supposed to stop. Yes I agree we are not seeing them but that is not how it is supposed to be. We need to be desperate before God so they will return to us once again. When the gospel comes near, not only will we see the fruit of the Spirit but also the gifts of the Spirit; all of them. We should have learned from Paul’s letter to the Galatians. He starts off by saying Galatians 1:3 “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 John 3:8 “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” Isaiah 42:6 “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” Paul was sent Acts 26:18 “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.” Obviously the Galatians did not listen as well as the Thessalonians did. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.” Paul then continues Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” I trust by now you can see that the church has been doing this ever since Paul wrote this. Bare in mind he was guided by the Holy Spirit when he wrote and therefore this applies to us today. He then goes on to convict them and convince them to follow truth. Galatians 5:7 “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9 “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty.” I have often used a quote that says, “Normal Christianity, as planned by our Lord, was not supposed to begin in the Spirit and continue in the flesh.” This comes from Galatians 3:1 “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched (controlled or influenced) you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” The church is trying to finish the race in the flesh even those who do not believe in ceasationism (certain gifts stopping)and sadly most who believe in continuationism (gifts not stopping) don’t either. Many continuationists have been fooled by satan. Revelation describes it this way Revelation 3:16 “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
                So right away the church was falling prey to the enemy because they did not hold on to the truth and it has been downhill ever since. Jeremiah 7:24 “But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.” Nehemiah 9:17 “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.” The church has been appointing leaders in their rebellion ever since. Most denominations and independants is about what man ou have chosen to follow; Wesley, Calvin, Luther, Wycliffe, Darby just to name a few. 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.” Zechariah 7:11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry. 13 “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty. 14 ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.’”
                So the church also lies in desolation but most do not know or want to know, as they worship in vain. This is an interesting verse that describes the lack of miracles in the church and the reason why. Mark 6:4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.” And yes our lack of faith and our disobedience all affect the lack of miracles. Mark 5:22 “Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him. 35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” 36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Yes there are those who have told people to have more faith and they would be healed but we have to be very careful here and find out if the gospel they are teaching is really the true gospel or another gospel. We need to find out if there is power to back up what they are saying. In most cases it does not line up with the truth. If we truly believe and wait for the kingdom to come near, God will hear our cry and we will see the results of His kingdom coming near. But in the waiting do not give up hope. God’s words are truth so you can give your life to it and not be ashamed. Jesus rebuked his disciples for that. 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.” Will Jesus rebuke you also for not believing what you read?
                Last week we read 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! 15 Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever. 16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
                Too many people have given up on God’s word and have settled for their many traditions and their so-called knowledge and experiences. These have replaced the authority and power of God’s word, leaving us without power. Instead of turning back to God and pleading for mercy, men and women continue in their own directions, believing God is with them, even though there is no power. Earlier we read a passage in Mark about Jesus healing Jairus’s daughter. In that same passage is the story of a woman with great faith. Picture if you will crowds of people walking along with Jesus. Just a side note those same crowds shouted crucify him, crucify him later. So many in the church say they walk and talk with Jesus but yet they don’t really believe. We are told Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” But Jesus himself said Luke 13:23 “Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.” So just being with Jesus is not enough. Do you believe?
                When the power of the kingdom comes near, those who believe will see it. While Jesus was on his way to the home of Jairus, Mark 5:24 “a large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. 30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ 32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Are you just crowding against Jesus or are you reaching out to touch Him? Today we have great crowds of people gathering together and then leaving together without ever reaching out to touch the cloak of Jesus.
                What great faith she had but Jesus also said Luke 18:8 “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” That is a pretty clear picture of the church today. There is lots of talk but no power. There are lots of crowds but no power flowing. Paul tells us it should be the opposite.  1 Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” This type of power is what we hope for when God turns his face once again to shine on us but we must believe. Hezekiah said 2 Chronicles 29:6 “Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. 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.” He then tells us 2 Chronicles 30:9 “If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.” So we continue to plead Psalm 67:1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us—2 so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.”
                As we wait we wait with anticipation. We do not want to remain in captivity. Salvation power means we are saved from our enemies. It doesn't mean we remain in darkness and captivity as we read in Isaiah 61. The kingdom of God coming near means we see not only salvation but healings, miracles, signs and wonders and demons cast out. Throughout scripture we see God save His people over and over again yet they did not deserve it. Nehemiah 9:33 “In all that has happened to us, you have remained righteous; you have acted faithfully, while we acted wickedly. 34 Our kings, our leaders, our priests and our ancestors did not follow your law; they did not pay attention to your commands or the statutes you warned them to keep. 35 Even while they were in their kingdom, enjoying your great goodness to them in the spacious and fertile land you gave them, they did not serve you or turn from their evil ways. 36 “But see, we are slaves today, slaves in the land you gave our ancestors so they could eat its fruit and the other good things it produces. 37 Because of our sins, its abundant harvest goes to the kings you have placed over us. They rule over our bodies and our cattle as they please. We are in great distress.”
                Because of God’s amazing grace, when his people humbly cry out to him; he said he will deliver them. We saw this with Manasseh 2 Chronicles 33:9 “But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.” He cried out and was saved. We saw Hezekiah saved from Sanacharib. Hezekiah prayed 2 Kings 19:16 “Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.” Isaiah answer by saying, “Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. 31 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. “The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. 32 “Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria: “‘He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here. He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it. 33 By the way that he came he will return; he will not enter this city, declares the Lord. 34 I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.” We saw Ruth faithful to Naomi. Ruth 1:16 “Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” We then see Ruth in the genealogy of Jesus and in this same genealogy we see Rehab the prostitute saved from destruction. Hebrews 11:31 “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.” We saw Hannah’s prayer answered as she was unable to have children. We then see her answered prayer in Samuel who then leads the people. 1 Samuel 2:35 “I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his priestly house, and they will minister before my anointed one always.” 1 Samuel 10:1 “Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the Lord anointed you ruler over his inheritance?” Then Saul disobeyed and he then anointed David. 1 Samuel 16:13 “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.” God answered Hannah in a powerful way. She said 1 Samuel 2:1 “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. 2 “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. 10 The Most High will thunder from heaven; the Lord will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed”
                 All through scripture we see the power of God flowing. Animals were killed with bare hands. Warriors who “the least was a match for a hundred, and the greatest for a thousand.” 2 Samuel 23 describes the power of these mighty warriors.  “One raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter.” Another “stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day.”  We saw Sennacherib’s army wiped out after Isaiah prophesied. Isaiah 37:36 “Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp.” Do we really have to worry whether God will take care of us or not. There are so many events in the Old Testament where the power of God moved powerfully among the people. Too many to list. Then we see the same power moving in the New Testament but now this is spiritual warfare. Luke 7:22 “So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: 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.” Mark 5:9 “Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many. 5 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.” They were more worried about their pigs than to have the power of God come near. (Jesus cast the legion into pigs) That seems to be the same for today. Most really don’t want God’s kingdom near because it will change who they are, how they live and they theology and doctrines. Matthew 8:16 “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” God wants to do this for us because of His great love. His love endures forever which is why emphasis is placed on 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter with in the context of the spiritual gifts. Jesus sent out the twelve. Mark 6:12 “They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” People were healed, demons cast out and people were saved. That power should have continued in the church. I can guarantee you that legions still need to be cast out of people.
                Because this power is available to the church we have great hope that our lives and the lives of those around us will be changed. Paul said 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.” We see all through scripture examples of “what some of you were.” This was just part of the list of what some of you were. When talking to the Galatians he said of himself Galatians 1:13 “For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.” 1 Timothy 1:12 “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
                Today we continue to pray for mercy by turning from our wicked ways and believing that God in His time will hear our cry and restore us. Psalm 80:1 “Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth 2 before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
    Awaken your might; come and save us. 3 Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.” The hope we have already came; let us live like it! Isaiah 9:2 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” We know that this Jesus came to save the world. We also know that he empowered His people to continue to do as he did. 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. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” But notice the very next verse. 15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.” The question not being asked in the church is what happens when we don’t. The answer is easy just look around and you will see a powerless church not adhering to God’s word and fading away in the chaos of this world. It is overwhelming to think how many have died in the church not knowing the truth.
                As I looked outside last night and saw the beauty of the Snow super moon especially tonight night, we are reminded God gave His word to David that he would never forsake His remnant. Jeremiah 33:19 “The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20 “This is what the Lord says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, 21 then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. 22 I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.’”
                Will God turn his face from us because of disobedience. The answer as we know is yes but he will always reserve a remnant who have not bowed a knee to baal. Paul said in Romans 11:1 “I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me” 4 And what was God’s answer to him? I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.” Yes today the Jews continue to reject Jesus the Messiah and King and the Gentiles are now doing the same. Our only hope is to repent so that the kingdom of God comes near once again. Jesus said Matthew 24:10 “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” 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.” 2 Chronicles 32:7 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. 8 With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” Joshua 1:2 “Get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 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. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.”