The ROCK
Come as You Are / Be Transformed! 

 


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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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  •    As I read scripture, I am constantly reminded how important it is to keep our eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:1 “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” If we want to be more faithful, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus. So how is this done? First of all, acknowledge that the bible is God’s word, so therefore truth. The bible should be your go to source of knowledge and inspiration because these are the living words of God. John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is not a book and should not be treated as such. I hated that part of my seminary journey where the bible was sliced and diced. Since this is the living word of God, (1 Peter 1:22 “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.) I believe that just as the bible was inspired when written, it is also read inspired as God will speak and give understanding to those who seek Him through His word, so we must listen. 2 Peter 1:21 “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.” 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 

        Yes, the bible looks like a book but there is no other book like it. There is no other author who compares to God. Daniel 2:20 “Wisdom and power are his. 21 He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. 22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.” Or whose Daniel 4:34 “dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” We have the bible so that you might believe. John 8:31 “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 20:30 “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” 

        John tells us John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was 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.” 1 John 1:1 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.” This proclamation is what we have in our hands. Deuteronomy 32:47 “They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” John 6:68 “Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” Paul said Philippians 2:12 “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.”

        Here is the problem when it comes to keeping our eyes on Jesus; many have let go of the words of life and have looked elsewhere. As we saw with Peter, as soon as you take your eyes off Jesus, you sink. Matthew 14:28 “Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water. 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Peter was looking right at Jesus but then took his eyes off Him. We must keep our eyes on His word which is the same as looking at Jesus. As soon as you take your eyes off His word and look somewhere else, you will sink. Even if you change the word a little you are looking somewhere else. Revelation 22:18 “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.” If God’s word is not enough for you, that means you are looking for words from other gods. The problem is the church has done this down through the years since the time of the Apostle Paul. Man’s words became the source of inspiration, instead of God’s word. Doctrines and theology combined with traditions, experiences and reasoning replaced God’s word. By replacing God’s words, the church gave up the words of life to listen to the words of men which are powerless and lead to death. Since most have set the bible aside, they don’t really know when the words are no longer the words of Jesus. Many think they follow God’s words, but the bible is interpreted in the distinction of the group they belong to. 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” You test the spirits with the word of God. Don’t just listen to voices, as satan will deceive you. 

        Not only did Jesus have power, but He also empowered His disciples to go out and do the same. When you look at the church, you don’t see the power and authority of Jesus. Instead of building the church as directed by Jesus, the church has been built with human hands and because of this, has been defeated by satan. Too many Christians have been deceived by keeping their eyes on the man’s word instead of on the word of God. The church and the words of Jesus were supposed to be the same. When you look at the church, you should see Jesus, but you don’t. Yes, you will hear His name mentioned and His words interjected here and there but you will not see His authority and power. If you did, the church would look like this, but it doesn’t. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Or this Acts 8:6 “When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.”

        To keep your eyes on Jesus, though the whole bible is His words, go back to reading the gospels. When you read the gospels, there is no way you can read them and then say about today’s church, this is the church Jesus is the head of. That is how you keep your eyes on Jesus and increase your faith. The first step is to acknowledge the word of life and then believe. At this point you may not have fearless faith, but you have decided to step out in faith and follow God’s word. This means believing the words in the bible are being spoken to you as you read them. It also means believing the words you see are also possible for today’s church. Jesus warned us when He said, Luke 18:8 “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” It is easy to faithfully attend church but as Peter found out, he really wasn’t the man he thought he was when tested. The rich young man found out that he wasn’t willing to follow Jesus because of his great wealth. Jesus also gave these examples. Luke 9:57 “As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” For many Christians when this life gets busy, hard or life doesn’t go how they think it should, they turn away. Many do not want to go through persecution or trials. Revelation 2:8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” For many they think when they have to suffer, God has turned from them, but God’s word shows us James 5:11 “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” If you are persevering, don’t give up. Keep your eyes on Jesus the perfector of our faith.

        Many will say they are Christians, but those around them will not know they are Christians as they are too concerned with what people think. Matthew 22:16 “They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are.” Galatians 1:10 “Am I saying this now to win the approval of people or God? Am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.” John 7:13 “But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.” John 12:42 “Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.” Today in the church, believing in God’s word will cause problems for you. I am not talking about outside the church as that is obvious. John 15:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” Jesus said Mark 13:13 “Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Stand firm on the word of God.

        As you endeavor to be faithful, know that it is not the world you need to please. A lot of churches have fallen for this. They are so caught up in being relevant, that they have become irrelevant to God as He has turned His face due to their rebellion. They no longer try to please God but are too concerned with what people think around them. They think they can reach the lost by being like them, yet Jesus said, Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” Peter said 2 Peter 2:18 “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.” So many churches have rejected God’s word and have agreed with the world’s thinking. Truth has been thrown to the ground. 

        This journey must be about faith. Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” In order to please God, we must live by faith from beginning to end. Faith never stops but it can increase and decrease. Paul said Romans 1:17 “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last (faith to faith), just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Luke 17:1 “Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” 5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” Ask God to increase your faith. I will talk about the faith as small as a mustard seed tomorrow.

        Faith starts here. Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” If you don’t believe creation in seven days, you will have a problem with the rest of God’s word. If you don’t believe the creation, you won’t believe in the Son of God, Jesus. 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.” If you don’t believe, the wrath of God will come upon you. John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Romans 3:22 “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” Romans 10:10 “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Don’t be part of those who refuse to believe but make sure what you believe is actually God’s word.

        We are part of an unbelieving generation that has closely followed the unbelieving generations before us. Peter warned us when he said Acts 2:40 “With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” We need to heed that warning also. A man brought his son to the disciples, but they could not heal the spirit that possessed the boy. Jesus said Mark 9:19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Do you believe? If you are still asking Jesus if He can, then ask God to help you overcome your unbelief. 

        Paul gives us this hope. 2 Corinthians 4:13 “It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.