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July 30, 2017 Sermon “Let those who fear the Lord say: “His love endures forever.”July 31, 2017When you think of God’s love, you think of grace, safety and nothing to fear eternally. 1 John 4:8 “God is love.” Romans 5:8 “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Psalm 136:26 “Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.” Psalm 52:8 “ I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.” Romans 8:37 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 2:4 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Exodus 15:13 “In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed.” Ah but there is a catch. As Daniel confessed at the end of the seventy years of captivity, he Daniel 9:4 “prayed to the Lord his God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.”What has happened is many hold on to verses yet do not trust nor do they understand the complete word of God nor do they live by it. Yes they think they do because they think they are good Christians because they adhere to a set of rules and regulations governed by manmade doctrine and theology yet they do not fear God. They do not want to fail the system, yet they Hebrews 10:29 “have trampled the Son of God underfoot, and have treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who have insulted the Spirit of grace,” while yelling crucify him with their actions as they follow wholeheartedly other gospels. The cross and the empty tomb represent God’s love for us. We will either be freed or condemned based on our belief. For the most part, many do not understand God’s love or the love they are required to have for Him. The overly quoted John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This is true but you must also read the next verse. The key word is believes. That means adhere to his words. John goes in “17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” We need to ask how many have been condemned because they have believed in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:1 “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” You can’t expect to be saved if you have believed in another gospel. John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands.” When we believe, we keep his commands by holding to His teaching. But today the church remains far from this teaching Paul referred to.Today there is a lack of fearing God because most think that love conquers fear. The wrong kind of love can keep you from fearing God. Most in the church now love a God that does not need to be feared or His commands followed. Since the bible has been set aside they no longer understand who God is, based on His own words but have decided to create their own more palatable God. I keep hearing why would God or how could God or God would never but yet scripture says how, why and would. It just shows the ignorance concerning God’s word. When we talk of love, it must be as described by scripture. When we talk of fear it must be as described from scripture, not from a human perspective and nor from our desires. So many have been taught that God loves us no matter what, his unfailing love. They hold on to the verses that I read above and cheapen the grace of God and his unfailing love because they do not follow his word but they follow the words about his words at least the ones they like. Yet while focusing on an adaptation of love, we have lost our fear. Unfortunately most do not realize because of disobedience the love they think they have is adulterated. Judges 2:17 “Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s commands.” They no longer knew God but followed other gospels. True love conquers fear. True fear loves. 1 John 2:3 “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” You can’t follow another gospel and say that you have love for God.This lack of fear towards God, leads to contentment in ourselves and what we have been taught. We have stopped living as Jesus did and doing what Jesus did and have followed the gurus of each generation to the point that we became like Judges 2:10 “the generation who grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” A lack of fear means we don’t question anything in this desolation we find ourselves in but add and subtract to God’s word to make ourselves feel better about our disobedience. It also means we don’t even see it. This is how we are raised, we accept it, carry out the requirements, live life and die, all the while most are being deceived by the very faith they think will save them, all because they have failed to listen to God’s word and test the spirits and so are decieved. Paul warns us in Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.Because of the deception and lack of fear, the church has stopped keeping watch and many have fallen asleep. Nehemiah 1:3 “The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” No one really cares that there is but a remnant left. This apathy comes from an ignorance towards God’s word and they remain unaware. If Jesus returned today, most of the so-called church would not make it. They would be spewed out of His mouth. No one seems to fear the fires of hell as most have downgraded its size, even to the point of Hell not even existing. But if we truly feared God, we would fear his judgment and going to the place, Matthew 25:41 “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Yet we sit around eating and drinking, fearing everything but God. Luke 17:26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” Due to the lack of fear in our desolation, the same will happen to us, unless we prepare and return to the word of God.Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Psalm 147:11 “the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” It has to be as described in scripture. Like the ark being built, the word of God is a beacon, a flare, a warning of truth. Everything we need to know is there. 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. 6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 3:19 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” This is the only fear that people seem to have today. They do not want to come out of the darkness. Hebrews 4:12 “For 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.”People in the church need to start coming out of the darkness. How in the world are we supposed to change the world when the church itself refuses to change? How are we Acts 26:18 “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,” when the church remains in the dark. Jeremiah 5:3 “Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.” Revelation 16:9 “They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.” Revelation 16:11 “and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.” 15 “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.” So we are being warned day after day. Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. 5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. 6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. 7 The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. 10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. 11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.But yet just as Jesus was mocked and his return ridiculed, the same is happening today. Matthew 27:40 “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” Psalm 14:1 “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” Romans 1:21 “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.” 2 Peter 3:4 “They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” Isaiah 22:11 “but you did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago. 12 The Lord, the Lord Almighty, called you on that day to weep and to wail, to tear out your hair and put on sackcloth. 13 But see, there is joy and revelry, slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep, eating of meat and drinking of wine! “Let us eat and drink,” you say, “for tomorrow we die!” So instead of repenting, returning and preparing, everything goes on as if there is nothing to fear. During Advent at Christmas time we expect, anticipate and prepare for his coming but most are still looking for the manger or nestled up beside it and we do this year after year after year. Hebrews 5:12 “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” These elementary truths are beyond most in the church today. Paul says Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.” But most have not gone anywhere. They are not mature enough to know they have been duped nor are they preparing for his return. They think all is well because they go to church and call themselves a Christian.We must take this seriously and prepare. Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.” But the church as Casting Crowns sang “were warriors on the front lines standing, unafraid, but now we're watchers on the sidelines while our families slip away.” The end is coming rapidly and many are in captivity and don’t even know it. It’s already too late for those who have died already. We have been told to be ready. 2 Peter 3:11 “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.” Today there is great deception and very little fear. This goes together. Satan knows that if you fear God he looses. Jesus warned us already about this desolation. Here is the description of this mess we now call the church but along with it the hope we have for holding fast to his word. 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. 22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.” The love of most has already gone cold. Since there is no fear there is also no repentance. Revelation 2:4 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Revelation 3:15 tells us “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”We don’t know when our last day will be. Yes people prepare for their funerals at some point and they are ready for that, yet their souls are not prepared. Most put all their effort into this life but don’t give eternity a second thought even on their deathbed. Since we don’t know, we have to be ready. Matthew 24:36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Yes for some strange reason people keep predicting and people continue to listen to the predictions instead of preparing to meet our king and living a Godly life. If a man or women says this day or that, ignore them. It is that simple. In my time we have been raised with the coming of Jesus as a wonderful day. He is coming to take us home without any regard to whether we are ready or not. This sweet Bulah land requires judgment first. This day as Joel tells us will be dreadful. Joel 2:11 “The Lord thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty is the army that obeys his command. The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?” Joel 2:31 “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Since Jesus has already come the first time, we are all accountable and we are part of a mighty army. Do we believe and live or do we not believe and stand condemned. 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: 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. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” If you don’t you will be condemned. So yes Jesus came but he is coming again and there will not be time to get ready when he appears. 1 Corinthians 15:51 “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Isaiah 25:8 “he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. 9 In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” This is what Jesus has done for us but we must remain in Him.We have a choice: eat, drink and be merry or get ready to meet our king. The end is coming so Matthew 24:42 “keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. 45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.So the rainbow tells us the earth will not be flooded again but the world is coming to an end, so get ready. Noah build an ark in faith, Daniel prayed a prayer of confession. Josiah followed the command of God like no other, Simeon waited and said, Luke 2:30 “For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” The 120 waited and were clothed with power and went to the ends of the earth. So while the ark was built, people went on as if nothing was wrong, with no fear of the end. 2 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 19 After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” If we want a clear conscience we must do as commanded or else baptism is in vain. Because we have not obeyed, God has turned his face from shining on us. So we start over and wait upon Him. Psalm 80:19 “Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.” Luke 24:48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”As we wait, God will make us strong but we must keep his commands. He is coming again and we must be ready to meet him. Revelation 22:12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.“Let those who fear the Lord say: “His love endures forever.” (Psalm 118:4 )