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Aug29SunAugust 29, 2021We live in a world where discipline has been rejected and most want to go their own ways. To discipline means “the practice of making people obey rules or standards of behaviour and punishing them when they do not.” Today people do not want to be held accountable for their actions. Everyone wants to go their own way and when someone disagrees with that way, trouble ensues. One example of this behaviour is seen in this pandemic we are in. The bottom line is many simply don’t want to be told what to do. For example we are told to wear a mask or get a vaccine and the response is either yes I will or you can’t tell me what to do. Sadly, we see the second response even here in Canada but more so in in the United States where this pandemic has been politicized. In the church these selfish ways are also widespread. Even denominations that are supposed to be on the same page can’t agree with each other with everyone wanting to go their own way. There is only one way, truth and life but when God’s way is rejected man’s ways become a wicked way. Here are a few verses that describe today’s church. Judges 21:25 “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” Jeremiah 8:6 “I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.” Deuteronomy 29:19 “When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way,” they will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry.” Proverbs 21:2 “A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.” Isaiah 66:3 They have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations.” Isaiah 56:11 “They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, they seek their own gain.” God says Ezekiel 18:30 “Therefore, you Israelites, 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.”Today I want to focus on our Father who disciplines those He loves. Proverbs 3:11 “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” But before we talk about discipline, I want to briefly talk about the wrath of God. Many confuse God’s wrath and His discipline. I am sure you have heard before “Why would God allow evil in the world?” Why does God allow sickness and suffering? If God is love, why is there so much hate? Why is my life such a struggle when I am trying to follow wholeheartedly? It is really important to obtain your understanding of who God is and satan from the bible, our only source of truth but be very careful who you are listening to for your understanding of the bible as many false teachers are in the church. Not only is there a lack of understanding due to false teaching and scriptural ignorance but there is also a rejection of scripture because scripture doesn’t line up with an individual’s way. People tend to blame God for everything and then turn from Him even though Isaiah 65:2 “All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations.” By blaming God, they put the responsibility on God and not on themselves. Most want to live their own lives, go their own way and not be accountable to anyone, including God. Most of all they say don’t tell me what to do especially when it comes to repentance. This is why people find a church to attend that will not interfere with their lifestyle or personal beliefs and yes there will always be a church that will tell you what you want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” That time is here!We feel God’s wrath when we refuse to obey God’s word. Yes you will hear it taught that if you go to church you will not feel God’s wrath. That would be true if the church was actually following God’s ways. As I said, we learn truth from scripture, not from man’s distorted views about scripture. Adam and Eve were removed from the garden and Israel was vomited from the Promised Land due to their rebellion against God’s word. Since God does not change (Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed,”) even though many teach that He does, God demands that we obey and when we do not we will feel His wrath and our enemies will prevail against us just as they are today. Deuteronomy 30:15 “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.”The Old Testament shows us what happens when we disobey and go our own way. In Lamentations Jeremiah is lamenting over the atrocities he has witnessed. Here is a description that can be applied to the church today. Lamentations 1:1 “How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave. 2 Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are on her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is no one to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies. 3 After affliction and harsh labor, Judah has gone into exile. She dwells among the nations; she finds no resting place. All who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress. 4 The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to her appointed festivals. All her gateways are desolate, her priests groan, her young women grieve, and she is in bitter anguish. 5 Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease. The Lord has brought her grief because of her many sins. Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe. 6 All the splendor has departed from Daughter Zion. Her princes are like deer that find no pasture; in weakness they have fled before the pursuer. 7 In the days of her affliction and wandering Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old. When her people fell into enemy hands, there was no one to help her. Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction. 8 Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean. All who honored her despise her, for they have all seen her naked; she herself groans and turns away. 9 Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future. Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her. “Look, Lord, on my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed.” 10 The enemy laid hands on all her treasures; she saw pagan nations enter her sanctuary— those you had forbidden to enter your assembly.” Jeremiah tells us why this happened. Lamentations 2:14 “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading. 15 All who pass your way clap their hands at you; they scoff and shake their heads at Daughter Jerusalem: “Is this the city that was called the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth?” 16 All your enemies open their mouths wide against you; they scoff and gnash their teeth and say, “We have swallowed her up. This is the day we have waited for; we have lived to see it.” 17 The Lord has done what he planned; he has fulfilled his word, which he decreed long ago. He has overthrown you without pity, he has let the enemy gloat over you, he has exalted the horn of your foes.” Israel was warned over and over but they refused to listen just as the church has been warned over and over and like Israel also refuses to listen.Yes when you look at most churches you will see people worshipping on Sunday (except in the last year and half) but God is not looking at that, He is looking at your heart. Going to church for an hour on Sunday isn’t what the church is. Most people have no idea that they have been deceived and will blissfully keep going down a path that leads to death and not eternal life, thus God’s wrath is upon them. Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” We were told this would happen. John 5:39 “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.” Remember this is the Old Testament Jesus is referring to but we could say the same about the New Testament as people still don’t listen to either Testament. John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” If you refuse to obey, you will see God’s wrath continue against the church. Malachi 1:4 “But this is what the Lord Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the Lord.” A lack of repentance will continue to allow the enemy to decimate the church. As Jesus warned us when He said Matthew 24:15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.”We face God’s wrath when we disobey and many will have no hope of eternal life because they refuse to listen to His words of life. Instead they listen to man’s distorted words about God’s word and are deceived. Again we were warned this would happen. Acts 20:29 “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” They then die thinking they are safe and secure yet when the day of judgement comes, they will hear Matthew 25:41 “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Death and destruction came in the Old Testament due to their disobedience and rebellion but many will want you to believe God is different now and doesn’t seem to mind if you follow His word or not but that is the deception. God has not changed and we are still commanded to obey. 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.” We are not seeing this because the church has not obeyed even though Matthew 26:18 “Jesus came to them and said, “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.” No one seems to be asking what happens if we do not obey? The Old Testament clearly shows us the answer. If you ask, your eyes will be open to the desolation the church is in currently due to our disobedience and rebellion.In summary the wrath of God has fallen on the church just like His wrath fell on Israel and Judah, even the remnant went into captivity but God kept His promise to David and to this day there will always be a remnant. Paul warned us 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. 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.” Daniel also warned us. Daniel 7:21 “As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.” Daniel 9:27 “And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Daniel 7:25 “He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time. 26 “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.” We do have hope in that promise and the church will survive.Millions of people in the church have lost their lives to this deception because they refuse to believe and obey God’s words. They have died without knowing the truth. Millions more will also die unless the remnant rises up in power. In the midst of this destruction of the church, God is merciful. The remnant of the church will be saved and the church will once again go out in the power it was intended to have, but we must wait. 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 1:5 “For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 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.” God uses His servants to do this. Just as Israel was supposed to be God’s messenger of truth, the church is also His messenger of truth. Psalm 105:8 “He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations, 9 the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. 10 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: 11 “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.” 12 When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it, 13 they wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another. 14 He allowed no one to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings: 15 “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.” Isaiah 43:10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. 11 I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. 12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God. 13 Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?” Ephesians 3:10 “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Not only did God choose a nation, He also chose people to speak for Him. Jeremiah 7:22 “For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, 23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their ancestors.” Deuteronomy 18:18 “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.” Acts 9:15 “But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Even Jesus had to be tested. Luke 4:1 “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He then began to preach. Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”Wrath leads to destruction and death unless God’s people turn from their wicked ways. 2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” As we saw with Israel they refused to repent. 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.” Hosea 11:5 “Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse 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.” We have been given a choice to repent or rebel. Deuteronomy 30:15 “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.”It is imperative that you understand that the church is in desolation and satan has set himself up to be god. The church as you see it is not the church Jesus is the head of. Due to our rebellion, God has turned His face from us and we are powerless to defeat our enemies. We are feeling the wrath of God as our enemies prevail against us just like Israel. It is also vital to understand that God is merciful and will keep His promise to David His servant. Ezra 9:8 “But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage. 9 Though we are slaves, our God has not forsaken us in our bondage.” Isaiah 54:4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. 5 For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. 6 The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit— a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God. 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.”God always uses people to proclaim His truth. Not only is Hebrews 11 an account of faith but it contains the stories of the people God has used. The bible just isn’t about God, it is also about people who either believe or do not believe. One of the reasons the bible is truth is because for the most part God’s people have rebelled against Him from the beginning of time and it is documented. You would think that those parts would be left out, but they are not. This does not mean God is not powerful or who He says He is, but it means God means what He says. Deuteronomy 30:19 “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” God has given us a choice to follow wholeheartedly or not. The bible gives us the accounts of those who did not obey, not just those who did. Being a Christian is not the same as being a robot, as you have a choice. Mind you, the wrong choice will lead to God’s wrath and everlasting destruction. Deuteronomy 8:1 “Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. 2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you. 6 Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. 10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. 19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.”God disciplines us because He loves us. If you are following wholeheartedly you may feel like Job and say Job 23:8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.” If you are not following wholeheartedly, you will be facing God’s wrath. When it comes to being disciplined by God you could be in for an adventure of a lifetime. The life you know could disappear and those you thought would stand with you are long gone. Your health may deteriorate as well as your finances. Your life could be turned totally upside down. When this happens, it does not mean that God hates you or is nowhere to be found. As we read above God will humble and test you in order to know what is in your heart, and whether or not you will keep his commands. The good news is that God has something planned for you. Hebrews 12:4 “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “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.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 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.”To see this discipline, we first look to Jesus. Matthew 4:1 “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Even Jesus was tested. satan in his arrogance even thought He could sway Jesus just as he did Adam and Eve but Jesus is our hope for Adam and Eve’s failure. We are supposed to be like Jesus so don’t be surprised when satan comes against you. It is important to understand that God allows this to happen. You can be mad at God or you can stand firm and resist satan and be trained by it. Hebrews 2:10 “In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12 He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.” 13 And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”Abraham was also tested. God had given Him an amazing promise and was about to take that promise away from Him. Genesis 12:1 “The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” Hebrews 11:8 “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” Romans 4:18 “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Then that promise was about to come apart or so it appeared. Genesis 22:1 “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you. 9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham believed God would provide a way. Genesis 22:8 “Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.” Galatians 3:6 “So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Because of Abraham’s faithfulness, if we too are faithful and trust God, we will see the same promises fulfilled in our lives. We have a choice whether to be a friend of God or His enemy. You can choose to believe or rebel. James 2:23 “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.” James 4:4 “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” So while being disciplined don’t give up because not only does God have a plan for you, you are also an heir to the throne. Galatians 3:26 “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Ephesians 3:6 “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” All this because Abraham chose to believe God and obey. So you have to ask yourself; what does God have planned for you and how many generations of people will be affected by your faithfulness?Another man who was tested was named Job. We talked earlier about Job asking where God was but also knowing that he was faithfully trusting God. Job 23:10 “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” He also said Job 19:25 “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him with my own eyes— I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” David said the same thing. Psalm 27:13 “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.” Job had no idea what was going on other than he would remain faithful no matter what was happening. He was not in on the conversation between God and satan. Just so you know that conversation did not just happen about Job. It also happened with Peter. Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” So here is what happened with Job. Job 1:6 “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” 8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” 9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” 12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger. Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.” Job then lost everything he had yet he said Job 1:21 “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Job 2:1 “On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” 3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” 4 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” 6 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” 7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.” Remember satan was trying to get Job to curse God. He even used His wife in his attempt. 9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. Again we look at how satan tried to use Peter. Matthew 16:23 “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”The rest of the book of Job is about Job’s friends trying to persuade Him He has done something wrong and sinned. Near the end of Job, men speak against Job this way. Job 34:34 “Men of understanding declare, wise men who hear me say to me, 35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight.’ 36 Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man! 37 To his sin he adds rebellion; scornfully he claps his hands among us and multiplies his words against God.” Well Job was tested to the utmost and here is God’s response. Job 42:7 “After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” Job had persevered through a trial like none other. He remained faithful to His God even after losing everything and in the end Job 42:10 “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. 12 The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. 13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. 15 Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. 16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17 And so Job died, an old man and full of years.”Later we see the perseverance of Job talked about in James. This book of Job is not just a story of long ago that is irrelevant for today. Job teaches us about how God disciplines those He loves and then rewards those who faithfully serve Him. James 5:7 “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! 10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” If you want to be used by God, then you need to understand who God is and how He disciplines His servants so that He can use them mightily. You cannot go your own way and expect to be used by God. If you are being disciplined and you know the difference between God’s wrath and discipline, then stand firm and do not move. Make sure you are following the right way, truth and life and have not been deceived. 2 Chronicles 15:7 “Be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
I leave you with theses verses. Hebrews 10:19 “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” 38 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” 39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”