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Feb25SunFebruary 25, 2018Today during our Lenten confessional journey we are going to be cleaning house. Now this is more than just catching those pesky dust bunnies or finding those ducks that everyone seems to think need cleaned. It is more than going through cupboards and storage rooms and purging all the things that have been collected over the years. Yes it is good to clean your house as dust seems to accumulate even with windows closed and in wintertime. We vacuum and dust regularly because that is the right thing to do if you want to live in a clean house.The other day I wrote about the devoted things that caused Israel’s defeat in the Promised Land because “the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things.” Joshua said to Achan, Joshua 7:25 “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today.” His disobedience caused the defeat of Israel’s army by the soldiers of Ai who should never have been able to defeat them. The promise was no one will stand against you but disobedience always leads to defeat. Achan replied to Joshua, Joshua 7:20 “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”Now today there are two things I want to focus on. Yes there are things in your house that probably shouldn’t be there. It might be books, magazines, movies, ornaments from other countries, New Age trinkets, and the likes of yoga and Buddhism that comes in the form of mindfulness which has really infiltrated our health system. Whenever you see that word mindfulness, be careful. It could also be behavior that you think is hidden from the world, how we treat each other behind closed doors. Generational sins. This list could go on and on and during this time of confession this is a good time to listen to the Holy Spirit and then act on it. So we need to ask what is under your tent. For example this passage talks about power that does not exist presently so this whole picture of fear given is unfamiliar to us. Acts 19:11 “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. 13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. 17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.” We need this in the church today but this is just the beginning of our journey. The bigger problem we have is this passage is not present in the church. There is no fear of God, there is no power, there is no casting out of demons and very little repentance. So yes we have all this under our tents because we have rejected the word of God. Jeremiah 35:15 “Again and again I sent all my servants the prophets to you. They said, “Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them. Then you will live in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you have not paid attention or listened to me.”The church should be like this following verse but it is not mostly because we have disobeyed the word of god and not acted according to it by going our own way. Acts 9:31 “Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.” Instead Psalm 55:19 “God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change— he will hear them and humble them, because they have no fear of God.” Jeremiah 5:21 “Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear: 22 Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. 23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. 24 They do not say to themselves, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’ 25 Your wrongdoings have kept these away; your sins have deprived you of good. “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?”This is not how it supposed to be as we have been called to fear the Lord. Deuteronomy 10:12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” Nothing has changed as we must do the same. 1 Chronicles 16:25 “For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.” But since we have not carefully followed God’s word we have taken other gods and brought them into our households. Joshua 7:11 “Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions.” The problem is people have opened up their homes and let evil reign without even putting up a fight. This is not just about things but false gospels that we have followed. For many they think their house has been swept clean because they go to church but truthfully it remains empty because they do not follow the truth of God’s word. You can’t just go to any church, hear any teaching and pray any prayer. It must be the way, the truth and the life and there is no other. Jesus said, Matthew 12:43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” This is the wickedness I am refereeing to and what we must clean. If we think by going to church we are filled with the Holy Spirit we have been deceived for we must keep the commandments of God. We must be filled with the Holy Spirit to prevent this return. People have been sold a false definition of power. They have been sold It is one that 2 Timothy 3:5 “a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” We need to be like Jesus when John 2:14 “In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” Paul states, 2 Corinthians 11:4 “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” It is time to stop putting up with it.We need to have great zeal and willingness to make the necessary changes just like the people of Acts did when they burned the scrolls. It doesn’t matter about the cost or whether we offend anyone, it only matters that we purify our house and stand before God with clean hands. Psalm 24:3 “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.” If we expect God to live in us, we must follow Him wholeheartedly. John 14:23 “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. Ephesians 3:14 “For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Our bodies are not our own as this should be God’s house. 1 Corinthians 6:19 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”So because we have not honored God’s word nor have we kept his commandments and violated His covenant, which He commanded us to keep, we cannot stand against our enemies. Isaiah 63:10 “Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.” Joshua 7:12 “That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.” Anytime we go our own way and do our own thing, we are devoted to destruction. When Samson went to shake himself free to fight the Philistines Judges 16:20 “He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.” The church does not seem to want to admit that God has turned His face from shining upon us. Instead of asking where is the power, they listen to men who are headed for blackest darkness tell them God does not do that anymore. They then adapt to a doctrine of demons and make it their own. This is why we must humble ourselves before God. Not only do we have to make sure we have removed impurity from our homes, we must return to the true gospel and stop following false gospels. Most of us have been raised to believe a certain way and when you start asking questions, no one seems to have a sensible answer though they believe what they believe with all their heart. We believe this, they believe that and that is just how it is. They say in the end we will all see Jesus but that just is not the case according to scripture. Deuteronomy 28:45 “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.”We have to turn from our wicked ways, turning back to the teachings of the gospel. 2 John 1:7 “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.” This is also means the rejection of the power of the Holy Spirit. Millions have welcomed these deceivers into their homes especially now with Internet, along with television, without question. Every Sunday people by the millions listen to false prophets sell their wares. 2 Peter 2:14 “With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness. 16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. 17 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.” Remember the verse about the demon bringing others back with him.This is what our homes are filled with and why God has turned his face from shining on us. Jesus said, Matthew 23:37 “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. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Jesus also said, Mark 11:17 “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” Those who heard this knew exactly where those words came from as Jeremiah had said Jeremiah 7:2 “‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord. 3 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever. 8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. 9 “‘Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things? 11 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord.” We have done the exact same thing and followed other gods, which are false gospels. Just because you read from the bible or say you know Jesus does not mean that you do.So not only do we need to clean our homes, we must repair them also. For most they have been built on the wrong foundation, one that is sinking in sand. They also have whitewashed walls that are flimsy and both will fall in the storm. Having said this, I am not saying people are weak. Many who are going their own way do so in great strength and stubbornness. There are strong people so stubbornly committed to their own way, they will never turn because they think they are right even though scripture says otherwise. They are to blind and deaf to see otherwise. They cannot see their own brokenness. Nehemiah describes our brokenness. He said, Nehemiah 1:3 “the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” Then after inspecting the walls he said Nehemiah 2:17 “to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. 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.”19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?” 20 I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”So the walls are broken and our gates burned with fire. So what do we do? The answer is simple we confess our sins and the sins of our fathers who went before us who did not adhere to the word of God. As we confess, know that satan will rage against us. Daniel said Daniel 9:5 “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.” Hezekiah said 2 Chronicles 29:6 “Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him. 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.”We must do what Daniel did and confess before God. We must also do what Hezekiah did and purify our temple. 2 Chronicles 29:1 “Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. 3 In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them. 10 Now I intend to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense.” “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.We also saw King Asa do the same. 2 Chronicles 15:1 “The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. 2 He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. 4 But in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them. 5 In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil. 6 One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress. 7 But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he took courage. He removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the portico of the Lord’s temple.” Now remember they were supposed to demolish destroy and tear down when they went into the land of their enemies. It wasn’t supposed to be their own land. Numbers 33:51 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, 52 drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places. 53 Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess.”Then of course we have Josiah who also repaired the temple. 8 In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, to purify the land and the temple, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and Maaseiah the ruler of the city, with Joah son of Joahaz, the recorder, to repair the temple of the Lord his God.” During this process they found the book of the Law. After hearing the words he tore his robe and said “Great is the Lord’s anger that is poured out on us because those who have gone before us have not kept the word of the Lord; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written in this book.” Now this wasn’t until the 18th year of his reign so they went along as if everything was okay but it wasn’t as God was angry. The Josiah went to work. First of all he renewed the covenant. He then tore down and removed, he demolished and destroyed, he desecrated, he pulled down. 2 Chronicles 34:33 “Josiah removed all the detestable idols from all the territory belonging to the Israelites, and he had all who were present in Israel serve the Lord their God. As long as he lived, they did not fail to follow the Lord, the God of their ancestors.” 24 Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the Lord. 25 Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.”This time of confession is going to require action. We can no longer be the same and we have a choice to make. Will you continue to have devoted things and follow other gospels or today will you make a choice to live for God wholeheartedly.Hebrews 3:1 “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. 7 So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. 10 That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ 11 So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” 12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” 16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.”