Call to Worship:Deuteronomy 4:39“Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. 40 Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time.”
Songs: Sing - Travis Cottrell
Great I Am - Phillips, Craig & Dean
You Are / You Are Lord -Hillsong
Scripture: - Deuteronomy 4:1 “Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. 2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.” Psalm 119:1 “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. 2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart— 3 they do no wrong but follow his ways. 4 You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. 5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! 6 Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. 7 I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. 8 I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me. 41 May your unfailing love come to me, LORD, your salvation, according to your promise; 42 then I can answer anyone who taunts me, for I trust in your word. 43 Never take your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws. 44 I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. 45 I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. 46 I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame, 47 for I delight in your commands because I love them. 48 I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees. 49 Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. 50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. 51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law. 52 I remember, LORD, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them. 53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law. 54 Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge. 55 In the night, LORD, I remember your name, that I may keep your law. 56 This has been my practice: I obey your precepts. 57 You are my portion, LORD; I have promised to obey your words. 58 I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. 59 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. 60 I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands. 89 Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. 90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. 91 Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. 92 If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. 93 I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life. 94 Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts. 95 The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes. 96 To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless. 97 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. 165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. 166 I wait for your salvation, LORD, and I follow your commands. 167 I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly. 168 I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you. 169 May my cry come before you, LORD; give me understanding according to your word. 170 May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. 171 May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. 172 May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous. 173 May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. 174 I long for your salvation, LORD, and your law gives me delight. 175 Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.
Song: Build Your Kingdom Here - Rend Collective
Sermon: “Be Fastidious”
Closing Song: As For Me and My House - Ron Kenoly
Benediction: Joshua 24:14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” 16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! 17 It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. 18 And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.” 19 Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.” 21 But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.” 22 Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.” “Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied. 23 “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” 24 And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and obey him.”
Today we live in a time where everyone goes their own way, while thinking their way is the right way. Two weeks ago we talked about the right way and last week we talked about the distorted way. Unfortunately most are following the distorted wide way thinking it to be the right way and don’t know the difference between wide and narrow because they have not been fastidious in their attention to the detail of the word of God. Because of this many are not going to know the truth until it is too late for them. It is not a matter of waiting to see if what we believe is right but a matter of getting what we believe right while we wait. If we wait till the end to be proved right, we parish if we are wrong. Here in lies the problem. Isaiah 56:10 “Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep. 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.” But if we, those who teach and preach and those who listen, are fastidious in our efforts to seek / know the word of God while we are waiting, we will get it right. We cannot be naïve thinking that the person at the front, on the Internet, in the book is speaking the word of the Lord. Paul said in Romans 16:17 “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.”
So what is with this old word fastidious? To be fastidious simply means “having high standards and giving a lot of attention to details.” Yes there are always naysayers who will say you are persnickety or fussy. Yes they will say do you think you are better than the rest of us but that isn’t what living a wholehearted life before God is. Paul said 1 Corinthians 15:58 “stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” It means you are devoted with your life to follow God’s commands so we can say with Caleb Joshua 14:8 “but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.” Numbers 14:24 “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” This is about following the word of God with everything we have by giving our lives to it. I saw an advertisement that said “Custom Carpentry brings fastidious attention to detail to every project.” Hebrews 2:1 “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” Being fastidious is very important but let me stress that this is not legalism where the process replaces the end result. Like reading a prayer that has totally lost its meaning. People will say what is the big deal, do the best you can. Is God really going to judge us for how we have followed? The answer is yes he will judge you. Deuteronomy 10:12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” People get caught up on making everything perfect which is not what we are focusing on today. Too many make the process of church very smooth yet they have forgotten why they are meeting in the first place. For example the worship experience may be awesome but they do not know what God requires of them. The process became more important than checking to see if they were following the right commandments. In the process they have perfected, they have turned away from God’s word. This because 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.”
Last week I read about the false prophets from Jeremiah 23. Even though there were false prophets, there were a few speaking the word of the Lord as Jeremiah was. Here is a quick peek of other truth-speaking prophets. King Jehoshaphat found himself questioning the kings of Israel about true prophets. King Jehoshaphat and king Joram were about to go to war and Jehoshaphat asked 2 Kings 3:11 “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?” An officer of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.” 12 Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the Lord is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.” We also had Jorams father Ahab asking Jehoshaphat to go to war against their enemies. 2 Chronicles 18:3 “Ahab king of Israel asked Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Will you go with me against Ramoth Gilead?” Jehoshaphat replied, “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will join you in the war.” 4 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the Lord.” 5 So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—four hundred men—and asked them, “Shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I not?” “Go,” they answered, “for God will give it into the king’s hand.” 6 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?” 7 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.” “The king should not say such a thing,” Jehoshaphat replied.”
So you can see that there were 400 prophets to one who spoke the word for the Lord. We also saw that with Elijah. First of all 1 Kings 18:21 “Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him. But the people said nothing.” So here as it is today people do not know the word of the Lord and still waiver. They have not been fastidious in following God’s commands. Jumping back to Micaiah one of the prophets 2 Chronicles 18:10 “Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns, and he declared, “This is what the Lord says: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’” The messenger and their props mesmerize too many people but fail to test whether the message is from God. Obviously as we read last week many think their message is from God. Now back to Elijah. Baal had 450 prophets and Elijah tested them by saying “The god who answers by fire—he is God.” No matter what these prophets did their god did not answer. 1 Kings 18:26 “Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. 27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.” You can also see this when 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.” Now the difference was the word of the Lord was with Elijah and not with the Prophets of Baal. Elijah “At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again. 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” The people did not know until they saw the fire. They were ignorant of the power of God.
Now back to Micaiah. 2 Chronicles 18:12 “The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.” 13 But Micaiah said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what my God says.” 14 When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I not?” “Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for they will be given into your hand.” 15 The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” You see there is a big difference in a prophet of the Lord and the others. 16 Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’” Now this is the part most don’t want to believe and is why they are so easily deceived by false preachers. 2 Chronicles 18:18 “Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing on his right and on his left. 19 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab king of Israel into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’ “One suggested this, and another that. 20 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ “‘By what means?’ the Lord asked. 21 “‘I will go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’ 22 “So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.” 23 Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah (the guy with the horns) went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. “Which way did the spirit from the Lord go when he went from me to speak to you?” he asked. 24 Micaiah replied, “You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room.” 25 The king of Israel then ordered, “Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon the ruler of the city and to Joash the king’s son, 26 and say, ‘This is what the king says: Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely.’” 27 Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!” King Ahab was then killed.
The word of the Lord is with the true prophet but we need to know the word of the Lord to know truth in our day. This is why we test the word to make sure. It is all written down, we just have to check. Yes today prophets, and there are prophets, are not bringing a new word but the word of the Lord no one wants to hear. 2 Kings 18:5 “Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. 6 He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses.” Other kings did the opposite like 1 Kings 22:51 “Ahaziah son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. 52 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, because he followed the ways of his father and mother and of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. 53 He served and worshiped Baal and aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, just as his father had done.
In Jeremiah 25 we see that Jeremiah prophesied Jeremiah 25:3 “For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened. 4 And though the Lord has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention. 5 They said, “Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the Lord gave to you and your ancestors for ever and ever. 6 Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not arouse my anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you.” 7 “But you did not listen to me,” declares the Lord, “and you have aroused my anger with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves.” As we read in Jeremiah 23 the false prophets declared “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.” This is exactly what is happening when today’s false preachers teach that there will be no wrath and as we saw last week that is a distortion of God’s word. Jeremiah 5:20 “Announce this to the descendants of Jacob and proclaim it in Judah: 21 Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear: 22 Should you not fear me?” declares the LORD. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. 23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. 24 They do not say to themselves, ‘Let us fear the LORD our God, 30 “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?”
What has happened is instead of fearing the Lord they have taught not to fear God. Yes they will tell you we will not face God’s wrath. They love to quote this verse 1 Thessalonians 5:9 "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” That is true but it cannot be distorted as they do. Jesus is salvation from wrath if we believe. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 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.” Romans 5:10 “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” Colossians 1:21 “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.” Yes this is what our belief in Jesus does for us. Again we must make sure who the Jesus is we are believing in. Like the JW’s the so-called church has distorted the word of God. We are not supposed to add or subtract from it.
What they do not talk about is what happens when we do not fear and obey. They have you on your way to heaven, wrath free and judgment free simply because you go to their church. Remember when we talked about the right way. We are warned Hebrews 10:26 “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.” We saw this when they were cast from the garden. Genesis 3:23 “So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.” We saw this when they were vomited from the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 29:28 “In furious anger and in great wrath the Lord uprooted them from their land and thrust them into another land, as it is now.” 2 Samuel 6:8 “Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah.” 2 Chronicles 36:15 “The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. 18 He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19 They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there. 20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.” 2 Kings 21:10 “The Lord said through his servants the prophets: 11 “Manasseh king of Judah has committed these detestable sins. He has done more evil than the Amorites who preceded him and has led Judah into sin with his idols. 12 Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I am going to bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. 13 I will stretch out over Jerusalem the measuring line used against Samaria and the plumb line used against the house of Ahab. I will wipe out Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. 14 I will forsake the remnant of my inheritance and give them into the hands of enemies. They will be looted and plundered by all their enemies; 15 they have done evil in my eyes and have aroused my anger from the day their ancestors came out of Egypt until this day.”
We will see this in the rejection of the way truth and life in Jesus Christ. Luke 13:27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!” You see this is the genius of satan who gets the church to believe God does not operate like this as this is the age of grace. The age of grace started way back in Genesis. God is the same God who created and nothing has changed. We have been warned over and over again but is anyone listening. 2 Chronicles 30:9 “If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.” But there is only a remnant left and even the remnant is suffering as we read just a moment ago but the remnant will rise as promised if we obey the true word of God
No we are not appointed to face God’s wrath but we will if we disobey. That is only true if you follow God’s word not mans word. We must fastidiously follow “this gospel” and not other gospels. People teaching these lies have been deceived by satan as are those who hear. Not only that but when we disobey God brings a delusion upon people. The only way we cannot face God’s wrath is to obey fastidiously. Distortion of God’s word is from satan. He wants you to believe these false teachers / preachers who change the meanings around to suit their own futile thinking. Romans 1:21 “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” They teach people peace when there is no peace. Jeremiah 8:10 “Prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. 11 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace. 12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the Lord.” They say you will be saved from God’s wrath because you believe their words but they do not test to see where those words came from. If they had they would know God did not send them. All you have to do is look at scriptures from Genesis to Revelation to see that God’s anger / wrath comes on his people who do not obey but now you have men and woman teaching peace when there is no peace. 2 Kings 9:22 “When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Have you come in peace, Jehu?” “How can there be peace,” Jehu replied, “as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?” We should be fleeing not embracing the false gospel and the false teachers and preachers who exhort them. God’s judgment will fall on us just as it did Israel when they disobeyed.
So as we continue in this new year. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and return to his word. 2 Kings 13:23 “The Lord was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.” So we have hope but we must stand firm because we know Psalm 33:11 “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” Matthew 10:22 “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”