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Sermon: A Firm FoundationJanuary 21, 2018Call to Worship: Psalm 62:6 “Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” Isaiah 54:10 “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”Songs: You Are God Alone - The ZOE GroupEverlasting - Brian DoerksenDays Of Elijah - Robin MarkCornerstone HillsongScripture: 1 Samuel 2:1-10Song: Jesus, Firm Foundation - Chapman, Mandisa, Mark Hall,Mike Donehey & Steven CurtisSermon: A Firm FoundationClosing Song: Every Giant Will Fall - Rend CollectiveBenediction:----------------------------------------Sermon: This revolution that we are part of requires building on our foundation Jesus Christ and non other. 1 Corinthians 3:11 “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Many are trying and have built on a foundation other than Jesus Christ. If what is built is built on a foundation that is a false gospel, it is not a gospel at all nor can you say you follow Jesus. The only way is to build on Jesus, which means living by his word. Most of us have been part of a building plan built on the words of man and not the words of Jesus, thus not on God’s foundation. We read earlier 1 Samuel 2:2 “there is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” The building projects have been about what man has been able to accomplish and yes many have accomplished much but it is only an earthly endeavor as there is no power. The end result has only been the appearance of godliness yet all the while they continue to deny God’s power or even the need for it. No one seems to be expressing any concern like Gideon did when he said, Judges 6:13 “Pardon me, my lord,” “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” So the gates of hell prevail and the church continues to build by their own hands yet no one asked where are all his wonders. The answer comes in 2 Kings 22:17 “Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.” Deuteronomy 31:29 “For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall on you because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord and arouse his anger by what your hands have made.” Yet the church continues to build with their own hands. Paul said Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.” Yet many continue to try to build something suitable for God to live in yet neglect his word and disobey his commands. This is done by adding and subtracting to the word of God even though commanded not to. The church is not a building even though we talk of building foundations. The foundation has to be Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:9 “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” This is the temple we are to be part of.This revolution requires us to no longer participate in a man made, man run church, a church void of the Spirit, where the only power available is that of what their hands can make. Of course most give glory to God for what their hands have made. We have decided to wait to be clothed with power so that we can complete the mission Jesus has for us as he knows his plans. This mission cannot be completed in our own strength. Sure you can look busy but that is not what we have been called to do. We see a description of this in Ezekiel. Ezekiel 13:1 “The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! 4 Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins. 5 You have not gone up to the breaches in the wall to repair it for the people of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the Lord. 6 Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, “The Lord declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words. 7 Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The Lord declares,” though I have not spoken? 8 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign Lord. 9 My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord. 10 “‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, 11 therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. 12 When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, “Where is the whitewash you covered it with?” 13 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. 14 I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the Lord. 15 So I will pour out my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, “The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, 16 those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign Lord.”’We also see this when Jesus described the Pharisees Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” Paul also says in Acts 23:3 “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall!” Everyone knew exactly what they were referring too. The problem is that today most people do not know they are being deceived. Most churches are building on the wrong foundation, only to see it crash to the ground because they have built a flimsy wall. This means what they have taught will not stand. The church has forgotten that our focus is on eternity not the present. There are all kinds of churches who appear successful and have the books to prove it yet they are void of the Holy Spirit’s power. 1 Peter 1:18 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” The emphasis has been on the building and the program and keeping the ship a float. Yet the rain is coming. Our emphasis has always been to hold fast to God’s word but somehow the motto “look busy Jesus is coming” has infiltrated the church.
The only way we can truly build is to build on the rock yet Deuteronomy 32:15 “They abandoned the God who made them and rejected the Rock their Savior. 16 They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols. 17 They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God— gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your ancestors did not fear. 18 You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth. 19 The Lord saw this and rejected them because he was angered by his sons and daughters. 20 “I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful. 21 They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols.” Jesus himself said in Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” Last week we talked about belief. James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” This is not where we want to be. The rains will come and the water will rise, the wind will blow but what foundation are you holding fast to.The flimsy walls and the appearance of godliness have to go. Holding fast to the word of God is our only hope. Psalm 16:8 “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Isaiah 44:24 “This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself, 25 who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, 26 who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’ of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’ and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’ 27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up your streams,’ 28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’ As we have been talking about we see that what was built has crumbled. What has been rebuilt looks nothing like scripture, as the church is not following the commands of God but man’s commands about God. So like Israel in the same chapter that talks about Jesus, “the people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 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” goes to give another message to Israel that says, Isaiah 9:9 “All the people will know it—Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria—who say with pride and arrogance of heart, the bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.” 11 But the Lord has strengthened Rezin’s foes against them and has spurred their enemies on. 12 Arameans from the east and Philistines from the west have devoured Israel with open mouth. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised. 13 But the people have not returned to him who struck them, nor have they sought the Lord Almighty. 14 So the Lord will cut off from Israel both head and tail, both palm branch and reed in a single day; 15 the elders and dignitaries are the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail. 16 Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray.” What most in the church think they have built is not what God commanded us to build.Because of God’s amazing love he always reserves for himself a remnant. This is the amazing attribute of God, one I think most people don’t believe correctly. They do not understand what it means for God to love us. His faithfulness and his grace and love for us does not mean we can go our own way. He will let you fail if you do not obey. Start in the garden and you will see this take place. They sinned and were cast out. They were given the Promised Land yet were vomited out, though they were clearly warned. Jesus came and they crucified him and then Hebrews 6:4 “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” Hebrews 10:29 “How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” Disobedience causes God’s face not to shine on us. God is not the failure here. The question is not why can’t people live for God it is why won’t they? He has given us great power to live for him but men continue to reject it and go their own way and do their own thing, which always leads in disaster. It is not God’s word that causes failure but the failure to adhere to it causes the desolation we are in. So like the garden and the Promised Land, we too have been cast out because of our disobedience. We have been commanded to obey yet like Israel we have disobeyed and have not adhered to God’s word. 2 Kings 17:34 “To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the Lord nor adhere to the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel.” In the end they were taken into captivity or destroyed. The same has happened today. The church is in captivity and in desolation as the enemy rages against us. This is not how it is supposed to be.Jeremiah said Jeremiah 29:10 “This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 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.” We have this same hope yet we must pray the same prayer Daniel prayed. The words spoken to Daniel, we are seeing. The words that left him overcome with anguish and John astonished in Revelation, what they saw, we are facing. So we like Daniel are asking to be freed from this desolation. Daniel 9:2 “I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. 3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the Lord my 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.” He then goes on to confess and God hears his cry. 20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill— 21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision.” This abomination that causes desolation has come. It has been destroying to the church.The church has been left staggering in its devastation yet the church refuses to repent. Revelation 16:11 “They cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.” 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.” The deception is so great that most do not know it has happened yet they wait for some event in the future. Most simply refuse to repent. But like Daniel the time is coming for our release to go to the ends of the earth. 2 Chronicles 36:22 “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: 23 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.’” Ezra 1:1 “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: 2 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. 3 Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. 4 And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’” 1 Chronicles 9:1 “All Israel was listed in the genealogies recorded in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. They were taken captive to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness. 2 Now the first to resettle on their own property in their own towns were some Israelites, priests, Levites and temple servants.”As we have been talking about there is a remnant that will return to the land God has prepared for us. Ezra 9:8 “But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage.” And as they returned they said, Ezra 8:21 “There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.” We know that God will protect us on our journey but we must trust him. As we see in Ezra and Nehemiah there is always opposition to rebuilding.Nehemiah 6:9 “They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.” So do not be afraid. As we saw, both the temple and walls were finished. Ezra 3:10 “When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. 11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.”As we move forward there should be a mix of sorrow and joy. There should be sorrow that we are desolate because those who went before us led us on an empty way and we have turned away but we should also have great joy because we have turned back. We serve an amazing God who loves us so much that he will allow us to seek him with all our heart, soul and mind. As we turn back to him he will strengthen us. 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” As we have seen we have a choice to turn back or not. Paul said, Galatians 4:9 “But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?” 2 Peter 2:20 “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.” John 6:66 “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” Acts 7:39 “But our ancestors refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.” To repent means to turn back not turn away from God. The sorrow we have is for those who refuse to turn from their wicked ways. The joy we have is the opportunity we have to turn to God’s word and live by it to the end. Jesus makes it very clear the journey of obedience we are to take. Matthew 10:22 “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”Standing firm means standing on God’s word not man’s. So we let go of all that is false and move away from the man made. Colossians 2:20 “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” Matthew 15:6 “You nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” We do not want to be part of this.We want to follow the charge given by David to Solomon. 1 Chronicles 22:11 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. 12 May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. 13 Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” 1 Chronicles 22:19 “Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the Lord God,” This is all he had to do yet he failed to keep God’s word. 1 Kings 11:9 “The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.” From then on most of the kings were evil and did not follow God and the result was destruction and finally being vomited from the land. Nehemiah 2:17 “Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire.” It was so bad that God even suggests Malachi 1:10 “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands.” Isaiah 1:15 “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening.”But this is not how it needs to be. Repent for the kingdom is near. This means to turn away form our wicked ways and humble ourselves. Nehemiah continues and says, “Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.” Nehemiah 2:20 “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding.” Isaiah 61:4 “They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” Isaiah 58:12 “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” Acts 15:12 “The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me. 14 Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: 16 “‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’— 18 things known from long ago.” Amos 9:11 “In that day I will restore David’s fallen shelter— I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins— and will rebuild it as it used to be, 12 so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name, ” declares the LORD, who will do these things. 13 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills, 14 and I will bring my people Israel back from exile.“ They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. 15 I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the LORD your God.” Isaiah 37:31 “Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. 32 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.”We want to be part of this remnant so don’t give up. Keep trusting and believing in God’s word. 2 Timothy 2:11 “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. 14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”