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Sermon: “In His Word I Put My Hope”September 18, 2022
Today’s world is rapidly disintegrating into hopelessness, in fact for some it is has been there for some time. The world has been ravaged by Covid amongst other diseases. We are also seeing bizarre weather patterns with fires, draughts and floods ravaging the land. There is war, violence, racism, attacks on democracy, judicial politicization, moral decline. There is inflation and many needed items are no longer on the shelf, including medicine and shortage of doctors and the list goes on and on. Individuals around the world could add their own personal lists to what is being seen globally. The church is also in a state of hopelessness. Statistically speaking the church looks very similar to the world with divorce, sickness - both physical and mental and powerless to do anything about it. The church has been in decline for years, that is the man-made church. Membership and attendance has fallen off and many have stopped their affiliation with the church. The church of Jesus Christ has been in decline much longer. Hang on, I’ll get back to that statement. This last week Queen Elizabeth II died, and we now have King Charles at the helm. As many will say she was a wonderful person who worked diligently to keep the kingdom alive and well. King Charles will now take over and continue in her work, but you have to ask what kind of kingdom is it really? The fact is, it is purely symbolic with very expensive symbolism and property. One article said, “Besides the UK, Charles III is also King of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. These three countries are part of the Commonwealth realm, a group of 14 countries that recognize the British monarch as their head of state.” This mostly symbolic kingdom seems a little strange in this day of democracy. Another writer said, “Canada is a constitutional monarchy, which means the British sovereign is our ceremonial head of state, represented by the Governor General. Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Charles III ascended the British throne and also became King of Canada. "It really is all about formalities," Hutchinson said. "King Charles has no power in Canada. Constitutional law expert David Schneiderman believes it would be "virtually impossible" to achieve unanimous consent on the issue today." So it seems this is how it will be for some time but I ask what kind of a kingdom is it without power?
I included this small segment on the monarchy to compare it to the church. In today’s world of hopelessness, the church is supposed to offer hope to the world, but it doesn’t. The reason is it too is powerless against our enemies. To answer my above statement about the decline of the church Jesus started, man went their own way and lost the power available to the church and now the church is purely symbolic with no power as God has hidden His face from the church due to rebellion. Ezekiel 39:23 “And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. 24 I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their offenses, and I hid my face from them.” Jeremiah was told by God Jeremiah 36:2 “Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah and all the other nations from the time I began speaking to you in the reign of Josiah till now. 3 Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, they will each turn from their wicked ways; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin.” Like Israel the church didn’t listen and continues to follow their own wicked ways and now desolate. Some, like the Catholics have a lot of land, beautiful cathedrals and massive wealth and as do other denominations and even individual churches. Many mega churches and their gurus also have their buildings and wealth on display, but it is just symbolic with no power. Again, there is a difference between powerful and the power of God from on High. Most churches put everything into their leadership and their buildings or getting a building. Many display the empty cross, meaning Jesus is not dead yet they do not have the power that raised Him from the dead. Paul talks about this hope when he said Ephesians 1:17 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Like the monarchy, churches are doing everything they can to stay afloat but the church is not doing what they were supposed to be doing in the first place and have been in decline since 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. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” There are many under God’s curse.
The church refuses to repent and turn from its wicked ways and seems to be content with having no power. Even though scripture tells us about the power of the gospel and the kingdom of God, the church refuses to listen. John 20:30 “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 21:24 “This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. 25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” Not only did Jesus perform miracles, his disciples did too. Many have no problem believing Jesus did miracles while others say they were not real but for the most part, the church takes issue with the possibility of those same miracles, signs and wonders happening today. That’s a problem. Matthew 11:20 “Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
There is only one kingdom we want to be part of. Yes, the British Monarchy has billions and looks impressive and there are others who have followed that have created their own kingdoms but none like Jesus. It is important to understand that satan wants you to be part of his kingdom here on earth and he also wants you to be with him for all eternity. Matthew 25:41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” If you accept satan’s offer of greatness and power on earth, you will spend eternity with him. Many have fallen for his deceptions, but it didn’t have to be that way. The good news is Jesus came to defeat satan and take back the world. The church was supposed to do as Jesus did. 1 John 3:8 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” Revelation 11:15 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” Jesus said Mark 1:15 “The time has come, the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” He also said Luke 11:20 “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
When you look at the kingdom of Jesus, it was one of power, no not like the Romans but a power to change the world. The disciples really wanted Jesus to be a man of power who was more powerful than the Romans. They wanted a physical kingdom not a spiritual one. In the middle of Jesus describing the power of His kingdom they asked him about the wrong power and the church has been seeking the wrong power ever since. Acts 1:4 “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Yes, Jesus did take the throne of David, just not in the way they thought He should. Mary was told Luke 1:30 “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Ezekiel prophesied about Jesus when he said, Ezekiel 38:20 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God. 24 “‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’” Peter said Acts 2:29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’ 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
We see that Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords who rightfully took the throne of David and no He is not coming back to take a physical throne here on earth as many teach. The church still wants an actual king just as they did in the days of Samuel. This is why the church still flocks after men and women to follow. 1 Samuel 8:4 “So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” 6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.” We saw how the kings of Israel turned out, but Jesus is not one of those kings. Zechariah prophesied Luke 1:68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David 70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), 71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— 72 to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham: 74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” Matthew 21:9 “The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
We then see the power of our King and what His kingdom would look like. Matthew 20:29 “As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. 33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.” Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Matthew 9:35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.” But then Jesus said 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
We also saw what the disciples of our King would do in the power of His name and what the kingdom was supposed to look like. He sent out His disciples to do the same. 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 was a prelude to Pentecost to show what the church would do in the power of Jesus name. Luke 10:1 “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Mark 6:12 “They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” Matthew said it this way, Matthew 10:6 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” Mark 16:15 “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Here we see God confirming His word. Acts 3:2 “Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” Remember they were just unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
The church today is all talk and show but no power. Paul said 1 Corinthians 4:18 “Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?” We saw that God had given great power to Paul 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.” Now it wasn’t just Paul that had those powers but even those who waited on tables. Acts 6:2 “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” 5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” Notice the men were full of the Spirit and wisdom. We then saw two examples of God confirming the power of the kingdom of God with Stephen and Philip. Acts 6:8 “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.” Acts 8:4 “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.” Acts 8:39 “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.” Acts 21:8 “Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.”
When you read all these verses, you should be amazed and ask why is this not happening in the church today and yes many will tell you why it is not happening according to their pathetic and ignorant man-made / demonic doctrines (other / false gospels) but few will tell you to repent and turn from your wicked ways so that God will turn His face back to shining on us. Here is the problem; most are not reading and believing that what they read in scripture is available for today. Their hope is not in the word of God but in man’s distorted views about the word of God. It really is amazing how many Christians follow powerless leaders. Jesus said John 8:31 “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” But because of rebellion, truth has been thrown down. Daniel 8:12 “Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.” The rebellion is people going their own way instead of following God’s way as laid out in scripture. This was said about Ezekiel but can be applied to the church. Ezekiel 33:30 “‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ 31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.” James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” John 10:24 “If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.” The same people who don’t believe in the available power of the kingdom think that the verse following applies to them. John 10:28 “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” No, they are not eternally secure because they really don’t believe what God’s word states. Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
There are those who know the scriptures inside and out but don’t believe what the scriptures say. John 5:37 “And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” There are also those who truly believe they understand but are missing the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 18:24 “Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.” There are many today like this who only know of John’s baptism of repentance but have no idea what it really means to baptized by the Holy Spirit. They get baptized and someone tells them they are also filled with the Holy Spirit and sealed for eternity yet there is no power, so something is amiss. Here is the difference. Paul said to some disciples at Ephesus Acts 19:2 “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” While Peter was preaching, we see that Acts 10:44 “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” Remember that Peter also said Acts 2:38 “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
We must believe God’s word. John the Baptist said, Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Mark 1:8 “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:14 “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” The true gospel is the good news and when that gospel is preached, the kingdom of God follows. The kingdom of God looks nothing like the monarchy and its power is immeasurable. Jesus said Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Matthew says the same. Matthew 28:18 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” If we obey 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.” He also said John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.” And just above that Jesus said John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” When the kingdom comes near, so does the Holy Spirit as does power from on High. Luke 24:49 “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Acts 2:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
We already know what that power looks like when reading the Gospels and Acts. Paul expands it more when he described the gift of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:4 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” 1 Corinthians 12:4 “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.” Now here is where most mess up. They think love replaces the gifts of the Spirit, but it is in love that they operate. Paul goes on to say 1 Corinthians 14:1 “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” Are you seeking?
The problem is that the church has replaced God’s word with words of their own. They have written their own manuals and thus have lost the power that was intended for the church. Peter said Matthew 16:16 “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” We were given the manual (bible) on how to build His church, but man decided to write their own manual on how to build a man-made church without power and most love it that way. Man built something, albeit impressive with their own hands and then others wanted the same so they following in man’s footsteps instead of keeping their eye on Jesus the perfecter of our faith. Therefore, instead of hope, the church can only offer hopelessness because refusing to obey God’s word means rejecting eternal life. Oddly the world can offer more than the man-made church can and the church continues to be like the world. John 15:19 “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” The one thing the world can’t offer is eternal life, yet many still seek the world. Mark 7:6 “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.” 9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” When this happens there is no power.
Today, as has been the case for generations, there is a famine of hearing God’s word. Amos 8:11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” The problem is there doesn’t seem to be a famine of hearing satan’s voice and many have been deceived. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 “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.” Not only is the church deceived, it is under delusion from God because the church refuse to believe His word. There is also no fear of God. If the church did fear God, they would not distort His word, leave parts out or add to it as they do. Malachi says Malachi 1:6 “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the Lord Almighty. 14 I am a great king,” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.” We are supposed to be disciples who handle god’s word correctly. 2 Timothy 2:15 “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.”
The amazing part about this kingdom is a small amount of true faith is all it takes. Luke 17:6 “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” Matthew 21:21 “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Mark 11:22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” When you have faith that God can do anything, then all it takes is a little bit of faith for amazing things to happen, but you must believe His word. Paul said, Romans 10:14 “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” If you are not preaching the words of God, then people are not hearing it. That means another gospel is being preached instead and they will not be saved nor will they see eternal life. Millions of people who think they have been saved will not hear well done faithful servant but depart from me I don’t know you. Millions of people have been told they have been filled with the Holy Spirit yet there is no power and the church looks nothing like Jesus. They have accepted a Christian life that looks nothing like Jesus.
In order for the church to be the church Jesus is the head of, the church must return to God’s word, His manual and believe what it says. Malachi 3:7 “Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.” Jeremiah 29:13 “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.” Many have accepted the bible as the story about a savior but seem to think the bible is completely irrelevant this day and age. Most don’t believe what they read, that miracles, signs and wonders are possible for today, just an old, old story. But it is not just a story as the amazing part about the bible is not a book but the living word of God. As Moses said Deuteronomy 32:47 “They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” Israel was vomited out of the land and the church has been infiltrated by the abomination that causes desolation because the church refuses to follow God’s word wholeheartedly. Many really have no idea what the bible actually states. The only gospel they know is as they were taught, but that is not necessarily the true gospel as denominations have distorted the word of God to comply to their own doctrines and theology. The bible is not their source of strength, nor do they depend on it which leads to hopelessness, but Jesus said this about hope. John 6:35 “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Jesus also said 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?” If you believe in Jesus, you must adhere to His words.
One of the hymns I grew up singing was “my hope is built.” The first verse says, my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.” The chorus says, “On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand: all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand.” That is very true but if you do not put your hope in God’s word and believe all that He says, then you not leaning on Jesus’ name and the song is just noise. Amos 5:1 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. 22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. 23 Away with the noise of your songs!” So much emphasis has been placed on worship with song, but the word of God has been set aside for the feelings and emotion of an event. If most preachers actually preached what Jesus said, you would find yourself looking for another job but if that didn’t happen you would be putting less emphasis on the music and humbling yourself before His word. True repentance would be front and center followed by change because true power would be present (once God turns His face back to the church). People would no longer be the same as the power of God would transform them just as we saw in the Gospels and Acts. People would be healed and demons cast out and truly saved just as the church was supposed to do. Music would also be different. We see in James 5:13 “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” All this should go together.
As we are surrounded by the chaos of this world and the desolation of the church, there is still room for hope. God will keep His promise to David (Jeremiah 33:19 “The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20 “This is what the Lord says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, 21 then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. 22 I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.’”) and there will be a remnant of people who will follow God’s word wholeheartedly and nothing will come before God. When God turns His face back to the church, everything will change, first the church and then the ends of the earth. The church will rise up and do what it was supposed to do in the first place. Isaiah 54:7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.” Paul said this to the Galatians. Galatian 3:1 “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” God giving us His Spirit and working miracles go hand in hand. Ask yourself do you really believe what you have read or is the bible just a story that happened long ago”
The first place to start is to repent. Ezekiel 18:30 “Therefore, you Israelites (church), I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel (church)? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” Then ask God to guide you as you put your hope in Jesus. Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Then wait for God to act. Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. 6 I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. 7 Israel, (church )put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. 8 He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.” Micah 7:7 “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”
Our homework for this week is to read Psalm 119. I also suggest reading the Gospels and Acts. Psalm 119 is this powerful collection of verses that talking about putting out hope in God’s word. There I just read this chapter. It tells us of the love that the Psalmist has for God’s word and the hope that comes from it. Isaiah 40:28 “Do you not know? Have you not heard?The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Psalm 27:3 “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”