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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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  • Call to Worship: Psalm 68:32 “Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord, 33 to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens, who thunders with mighty voice. 34 Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the heavens. 35 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!”
    Introduction to Lent:
                As we prepare for our Lenten Journey, we must understand that our God reigns and everything is in His control. The timing is His as are the attacks He allows satan to carry out. There is nothing he is not aware of and nothing he does not control. Unfortunately there is much we are not aware of and much of what we can’t control though we try to no avail. Due to the unbelief and disobedience of God’s people that's us, we are under attack but not only are we under attack we have been taken captive. Many have been killed and many taken to other lands as captives. At this point there is only a remnant of believers left as the church has been left desolate just as it was prophesied. Luke 13:34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Standing in the holy place is ‘the abomination that causes desolation” as spoken of by the prophet Daniel. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” So we must understand this is not something we are going to miss or something way off in the future it is here and the gates of hell prevail against us. Daniel was told Daniel 8:26 “The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.” John was told Revelation 22:10  “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. 11 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”
                Until we realize that we have been raised in captivity, we will miss all that God has for us. Gideon was raised that way. Judges 6:3 “Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. 4 They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. 5 They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. 6 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.” We on the other hand have just believed that this impoverished land we live in is normal. Yet Gideon said Judges 6:13 “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.” Yet the church today refuses to cry out because they have been greatly deceived. Jesus said to the Jews John 8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  2 John 7:7 “I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.” We have welcomed those into our houses who are headed for blackest darkness.
                The church has been deceived and we remain in captivity. The only way out is to repent and turn from our wicked ways. For a long time I have questioned our journey in the church, not the journey itself but more so is this all there is. There was always emptiness but I had no idea why. Our journey took us to many different distinctives and most of them stank but at the time it was a learning experience. It wasn’t until the last few years that I began to see how bad our situation is. It is so bad that what we have been raised with is a false gospel as it looks nothing like the gospel of Jesus Christ. So our journey has been towards the right foundation which is Jesus Christ. He will then build on it and carry out the plans he has for us. The remnant will once again take root below and bear fruit above.  Isaiah said and Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:3 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” So we in the midst of our captivity have great hope and as Daniel said Daniel 9:2 “in the first year of his reign, 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.” We, during this time of confession need to be asking for our release just as Daniel did. While we do that understand that our God reigns and is in control of everything. As we prepare to cross the Jordon and take the promised land,  Joshua 1:7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” Hebrews 12:25 “See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?
                As we prepare for our journey of confession let us say from our hearts “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
    Songs:Awesome God   Michael W. Smith                                Our God Reigns   Israel & New Breed                             
    The Battle Is the Lord's  Ron Kenoly                
    How Great Is Our God / How Great Thou Art  CeCe Winans       
    Scripture:  Isaiah 49:7-26
    Song:  Hold On, Help Is On The Way Whitney Houston & The Georgia Mass Choir  
    Sermon:  “Broken Covenant Leads to Disaster and Desolation”
    Closing Song:  Let My People Go  Matt Redman 
    Benediction:  Hebrews 3 (Today if you hear his voice.)

    Sermon: “Broken Covenant Leads to Disaster, Deception, Delusion and Desolation”
                Last week we talked briefly about the silent killer known as High blood pressure or hypertension. The government of Canada website states “Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death and hospitalization in Canada.” Statistics Canada said in 2013 that heart disease ranked second behind cancer. These diseases often go unchecked until it is too late. The statistics relating to these sicknesses is staggering. Without going into all the statistics The Heart Research Institute stated “While advances in medical research continue to create the potential to increase life expectancy and quality of life... the community at large isn’t playing their part. Increasing rates of obesity and diabetes in the community are creating a virtual tsunami of cardiovascular disease in the years to come.” (Statistics Canada, 2011) “Every 7 minutes in Canada someone dies from heart disease or stroke. That's 206 people dying from cardiovascular disease and stroke every day.” We could probably continue to talk all day about all the diseases that affect us from heart, cancer, diabetes, obesity, mental health etc. There are so many sicknesses that affect us, it is staggering and now we have superbugs and the flu wreaking havoc. But has anyone stopped to ask why. This is an area that is difficult for people to accept we have been warned about this happening. We have read Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 many times and if we do not obey then curses happen. Deuteronomy 28:20 “The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him. 21 The Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. 22 The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish. 27 The Lord will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, festering sores and the itch, from which you cannot be cured. 28 The Lord will afflict you with madness, blindness and confusion of mind. 45 All these curses will come on you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the Lord your God and observe the commands and decrees he gave you. 46 They will be a sign and a wonder to you and your descendants forever. 47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, 48 therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you. 58 If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name—the Lord your God— 59 the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. 60 He will bring on you all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded, and they will cling to you. 61 The Lord will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed. 62 You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the Lord your God. 63 Just as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess.”
                Now I know people say Jesus broke the curse but you must realize that God also gave them the Promised Land but uprooted them from that land for disobedience. It is no different for us and our obedience to Jesus. Exodus 15:26 “He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” Deuteronomy 7:11 “Therefore, take care to follow the commands, decrees and laws I give you today. 12 If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your ancestors. 13 He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and olive oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. 14 You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor will any of your livestock be without young. 15 The Lord will keep you free from every disease. He will not inflict on you the horrible diseases you knew in Egypt, but he will inflict them on all who hate you.” We must understand this to understand the captivity we find our selves in. Isaiah said, Isaiah 1:3 “The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” 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. Your hands are full of blood!”
                Last week we asked the question what happens when we disobey the new covenant. What happens when we do not do as we have been commanded? The answer is right in front of us as God’s word lays it out. All that we read will and has happened to us. So instead of repenting, the church has learned to live with it and manage their afflictions. 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 16:8 “The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. 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. 10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.” Our desolation really is quite obvious because we are shown over and over in the Old Testament what will happen. We are also shown over and over in the New Testament but most do not believe God at His word. This is where deception tells you that you are secure because someone made up a doctrine that tells you you are secure, even though scripture says otherwise. Sure most will tell you disobedience won’t affect you as you are secure but that is why the Old Testament is so important. Why do you think that doctrine of demons became so popular? Sure live how you want nothing will happen! But are we really secure with all the plagues that have ravaged us? We are shown over and over what happened to the Israelites because they broke covenant with God. As we read earlier all these curses happened because of their disobedience.
                As you read through the scriptures, we just don’t see that manmade security, as in live how you want, go your own way and everything will be okay, God would never do that. But this teaching is just not there. Why do you think most have been deceived into thinking the Old Testament is not relevant for today? This is why dispensational teaching is another doctrine of demons. It leads to apathy and disobedience and a false sense of security, which leads to God turning his face from us, leaving us in captivity. Everyday people are dying without the truth. People are basing their lives on other gods expecting to live eternally with Jesus yet they have rejected his ways. When this happens we are taken into captivity and will remain there until we repent. All those sicknesses will come upon us. We have been warned over and over again to obey but the deception is so great that presently it appears that following the word of God is wrong. God’s word is foreign in most churches today. It has been lost. Sure they have the bible but they do not have the power of the Holy Spirit to let them see the truth. You cannot read the Gospels and Acts and say, yes the church looks like this. But if you look around you will see the results of the powerless church, which is a captive life and disease stricken and the land is ravaged but no one asks where are all the wonders.
                The only answer we should come up with is that we are in captivity and totally powerless to defeat our enemies and the gates of hell have prevailed against us. Until you come to understand this elaborate deception by satan that has left the church in captivity and desolate, you will not understand how desperate we should be and how we should be begging for mercy. As the church stands now, they have gone their own way but week after week proclaim they are following the word of God, yet it looks nothing like the word of God so how could they be following God’s word. If they are not following they do not love Him. You then end up with what Paul describes in 2 Timothy 3:5 as “having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” Not only has the power of the Holy Spirit been rejected, man has actually said this is what God said and they give this empty way of life God’s stamp of approval yet it is counterfeit. Isaiah 63:10 “Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.” This is where we are at right now. It is not like we haven’t been warned. The problem is that in this great deception we have listened to men and women who sell their wares for profit, only to lead the church astray by their teaching. Deuteronomy 13:13 “troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods you have not known).” Isaiah 9:16 “Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray.” 2 Corinthians 11:3 “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” Jeremiah 50:6 “My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. They wandered over mountain and hill and forgot their own resting place.” As we read last week about the shepherd 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.” We must repent and turn from our wicked ways and turn back to our Good Shepherd.
                Yes Jesus came to free us and break the curse, but what happens when we refuse to listen and follow his commands. We know for sure that satan is set on destroying you and I. You need to understand that today the Devil wants to bring you down and tear you to pieces. Put it this way if you knew someone was trying to kill you, you would be very careful and gather around you someone stronger to protect you. Revelation 12:9 “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” 1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” For a better mental picture of that, watch a nature show when a lion tears into its prey. After Daniel was saved from the lions we see that Daniel 6:24 “At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.” I know it is brutal but you need to have this picture in your mind when you think about satan attacking your family. This is not a game but life or death. Because of this we need to live as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did.  Daniel 3:16 “They replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” We will never bow to another. We need to understand that satan wants to destroy you and I so we must Ephesians 6:11 “put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” If we want to survive the attacks we must stand on God’s word and hold fast. Yes some will die while being faithful but as Jesus John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
                As we see in the Old Testament, God will allow and use the enemy to come against us if we disobey. Having said that we must also discern that we will be disciplined so either way we must stand on God’s word. Hebrews 12:5 “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Yes sometimes God allows satan to come against us like he did with Job and other times it is because we have followed other gods. So if you are thinking I am seeking God yet things continue to happen, be encouraged. “11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” So as we return to him we are still paying the price because those who went before us did not remain in him. So since it is obvious that the church has not been faithful to God’s word and have followed others gods or gospels, we are paying the price for our disobedience by following other gospels. Paul taught the Thessalonians but I am not sure that we have paid much attention. The deception is that our preachers and teachers are behaving just as those who Jeremiah spoke about. Jeremiah 6:13 “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. 14 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.” Jehu said 2 Kings 9:22 “How can there be peace, as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?” They say desolation and tribulation are going to happen in the future so don’t worry, meanwhile the church stands desolate and the devil rages against us and most are completely unaware of his schemes all the while they are cast from God’s presence and the power of the Holy Spirit has been taken from them.
               Here is what Paul said to the Thessalonians. 2 Thessalonians 2:1 “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” We are seeing this combination of deception and delusion because of the unbelief in the church; therefore we stand defeated and remain in captivity. Because the word of God does not stand alone high above all else, we have and have had the enemy prevailing against the church. As Josiah said in 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.” The same applies for today. We have not acted in accordance with God’s word and we lie desolate. But this is not where we want to be and the only way out is to confess.
                Daniel prayed to the Lord in Daniel 9:4 “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. 7 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.” Next week we will carry on as we go on a journey of confession before God.
                To say we are not accountable before God for our disobedience, is false teaching. Going your own way will only lead to disaster. If you do not repent you will not hear well done, good and faithful servant!  You will hear ‘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.” All this because you didn’t look for the narrow way and were content being lukewarm even though we were warned Revelation 3:16 “because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” It doesn’t matter who is teaching you question and test for truth. 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.”
                Yes God gave an everlasting promise to David but that means there will always be a remnant. It doesn’t mean you can live however you want and be part of the remnant. Those people living that was are not part of the remnant. Pray that you are part of the remnant and that God will be merciful to us and receive as humble servants. Paul said in Romans 11:2 “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.” So because of this promise to David there will be a remnant rise up and serve Him. The remnant will say with Elijah, the Lord He is God. 1 Kings 18:36 “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” Don’t wait to proclaim the Lord He is God. If you think that the church is fine, you will never fall on your face before God and beg for mercy.
                But it is not fine, it is in captivity and feeling God’s wrath and satan rages against us. Romans 2:5 “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. Our prayers are not being answered. Again Isaiah 1:3 “Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. new Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. 14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 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. Your hands are full of blood! 16 Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.” So we must pray and plead with God to hear our cry just as we were told to do. Solomon prayed 1 Kings 8:6 “When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to their enemies, who take them captive to their own lands, far away or near; 47 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; 48 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; 49 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. 50 And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their captors to show them mercy; 51 for they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, out of that iron-smelting furnace.”
                Understanding our captivity leads us to true repentance but as Jesus said in 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.” If we do not repent we will never see the Kingdom of power. We desperately need Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. The deception blocks repentance. We will not repent if we do not think it necessary. Revelation 2:4 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” We must consider how far we have fallen and return to the beginning and seek his power once again, praying that Pentecost will pour out upon us just as it did then. Not only do we want Pentecost we also want the continual outpouring of the Holy Spirit as we saw in Acts 4:29 “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” Now we have to be careful here because many will say we already have this but speaking gibberish does not mean you are filled with the Holy Spirit. I am not talking about the masquerade by satan as we see so prevalently in the charismatic movement. A whole movement has been greatly deceived. Put it this way, if the Holy Spirit was moving so powerfully why is there no truth; why no power. How is it that you have one group teaching ceasationism and the charismatic group teaching that the holy Spirit is flowing because they speak gibberish yet both groups say the rapture is coming which is a doctrine of demons. Remember the Holy Spirit leads us into truth not away from it. It really is amazing the level of deception that ranges from the charismatic to the ceasationist and in between the two. I find it interesting when I hear the two ends of the extreme telling each other the other is wrong when they are both wrong. Each group is leading people astray.
                Lets say one day you wake up and find out you are caught in a lie. The odds are you will not continue in it, at least you shouldn’t. When you realize that person has been lying to you, you will want the truth. This is how it will be as God reveals his truth and people begin to realize they have been deceived. The sad part is many will never have that opportunity even though truth has been before them the whole time. This is why repentance is so important. This is why we must find the word of God once again and follow wholeheartedly. We must truly repent if we are to see the kingdom of God as Jesus showed us it would be. All these sicknesses and diseases can be taken care of as that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. 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.” This is why we should be desperate for God to turn His face to us once again and empower us. We are not created to go through life in captivity but we are to be free. Paul showed us that God’s power set him free even though he was in captivity. Isn’t the gospel amazing? Unfortunately we have decided to listen to those who are only imprisoning us with no joy of the Lord. Peter said in 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. 7 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.” Paul said 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.” 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.” As people turn to all these other gospels they ignore the warnings.
                You see we have been warned over and over all through the Old and New Testament but is anyone listening. The good news is that God will keep his promise to David and save us. He will bring us back from the farthest lands and restore us once again. Isaiah 42:5 This is what God the LORD says— the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: 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. 8 “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. 9 See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”13 The LORD will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies. 14 “For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant. 15 I will lay waste the mountains and hills and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn rivers into islands and dry up the pools. 16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. 17 But those who trust in idols, who say to images, ‘You are our gods,’ will be turned back in utter shame.”
                As we close today our only hope is to plead for mercy of which we do not deserve. What we do deserve is the captivity we find ourselves in but we do not have to leave the temple in disrepair. Hezekiah shows us what to do as did Josiah. 2 Chronicles 29:3 “In the first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah opened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them. 4 He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side 5 and said: “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. 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. 7 They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel. 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.” Solomon prayed 1 Kings 8:28 “Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.”  
    Jeremiah 31:7 “This is what the LORD says: “Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations. Make your praises heard, and say, ‘LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.’ 8 See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return. 9 They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son. 10 “Hear the word of the LORD, you nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: ‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.’ 11 For the LORD will deliver Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they. 12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD— the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more. 13 Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. 14 I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty,” declares the LORD.”