This week Laurie and I ventured into London and ended up at Masonville Mall. Trust me when I say we are not regular attenders of the mall. We have been there enough to know what the mall was like, and how it was laid it. We were also familiar with the two floored Sears store. We went through the door on the second level, which would normally have taken you directly into Sears but wow what a change. We knew where it was located and basically the layout of the store but obviously it had been a while because even though the form was there, the inside had been totally transformed. As we walked through the store it was now an extension of the mall and no longer looked like the Sears store. Even though we stood in the middle of what was known as Sears, a person now would never know that this store even existed all two stories of it. I was thoroughly amazed. It is amazing what 77 million dollars can do. The architectural design was absolutely amazing.
The words transformed means “to be given a completely different form or appearance. Transformed things are different than they once were. Think of the transformed appearance of a winged butterfly who used to be a poky caterpillar as described by vacbulary.com.” If you happened to know the caterpillar before the transformation, you would be thoroughly shocked to see the new version, now floating with the greatest of ease. Yes the building that held the Sears store was transformed from an aged department store to the modern trend setting stores and even has a Keg and Espresso Bar. So you stand in amazement and say I once knew you but wow have you ever changed. Yes this transformation cost millions and I would say they achieved the results they were looking for. Oh I almost forgot and a free samples from Lindt chocolate.
So even though I was impressed this really isn’t about bricks and mortar and fancy lighting, tiles and ornaments or trend setting shoppes. The song we listened to talked about change. When a person meets Jesus Christ they can never be the same. 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.” Everything is about Jesus Christ. We choose to believe or we do not. One leads to eternal life the other to eternal condemnation. We must either acknowledge Jesus as our savior and live for Him wholeheartedly or we reject him continuing on a path that leads to death and destruction. You can’t say you believe and reject his word at the same time. I think it safe to say we had better get this right.
Lately we have been inundated with news. Actually is it really news? Just the facts ma’am, just the facts is long gone as with the truth. You do not know if the interview was real, the pictures recent or the location actual. Can it actually be verified? Since news is basically twenty-four hours a day they have to fill it with conversation and opinions of so called experts even if it is not true. To inundate means to quickly fill up or overwhelm, just like a flood. Commonly used to refer to a deluge of water. Inundate can also refer to an overflow of something less tangible, like information. We recently saw that during the US election where the media had an agenda but in the end they were left baffled and looking incredibly foolish and seen for who they are. But now millions should question the integrity of the news and demand they report fact and truth. If they would report facts and truth, not opinions leading the witness it would look a whole lot different. We see this in the church. Preachers have left the way, the truth and the life to proclaim their version of the truth which is no longer truth. They take a verse and twist and distort it so that it says what they want it to say. Just like the news they tell people what they 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” and there will be teachers to do that. Whereas it supposed to be like in Malachi 2:5 “My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. 7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. 8 But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts.”
So instead of this incredible transformation we have in most cases people staying relatively the same except they now go to church. They still have the same heart except now they are committed to at least attending on Sunday morning. I say at least because most are robbing God. As long as the service is entertaining you have their attention. As long as you do not expect change all is good. Think about the fact that there are still people whining and complaining about something from music to liturgy to not having their needs met. But you have to ask what have they been saved into if the Holy Spirit isn’t moving in power. This isn’t a membership at Costco where you are looking for deals. In most cases you are not seeing the transformation that comes with the power of the Holy Spirit. Where is the fear of the Lord? Where are the manifestations of the Holy Spirit? Oh yea it is all about love. There isn’t that wow factor of I knew you when. Yes there are stories of change but not many. Sadly many did change but like Sears they no longer had what it took. Their passion dried up and their love grew cold. Like the church of Ephesus Revelation 2:4 “You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
When you think about change you think about power. No it does not cost 77 million dollars it is free and you or anyone no matter how much sin can be totally transformed. Where many have been mislead, is this free gospel will cost your life and you are expected to lay it down in obedience. People misunderstand this and no longer served their savior. Jesus did bear the cost on the cross and make a way, but he certainly did not make a way for you to go your own way. To call ourselves Christians, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit. We must be anointed in power. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit then there will be results not just another person on Sunday morning. We are filled with the Holy Spirit then go our in the authority of Jesus Christ, clothed with power to carry out the commission as His soldiers. He goes before us and brings the victory.
The greatest deception going is so many people who believe they are Christians have been deceived. They will meet Jesus and he will say away from me I don’t know you. If a person truly was a Christian, they would know His voice. As is the case most now don’t even know they are being deceived because they do not know the word of God. They don’t have knowledge and they are perishing Sunday after Sunday while attending church. Hosea 4:1 “Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. 6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
“Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. 7 The more priests there were, the more they sinned against me; they exchanged their glorious God for something disgraceful. 8 They feed on the sins of my people and relish their wickedness. 9 And it will be: Like people, like priests. I will punish both of them for their ways and repay them for their deeds.” The church because of a lack of knowledge continues to spiral in desolation.
Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life, No one comes to the Father except through me. Jesus is not kidding as our lives depend on this. We cannot call ourselves Christians and deny his word. Mark 8:34 “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” If we do not obey His commandments we do not love him. (John 14:15) We especially cannot deny the power of His Holy Spirit. 2 Timothy 3:1 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.”
Romans gives us a picture of this. Romans 1:18 tells us everyone is accountable “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” I saw a picture in the news recently of a pastor carrying his bible yet proclaiming His own version of the truth. One article said, “Hawkes a gay pastor has served as Senior Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, a church openly affirming for LGBT parishioners. Romans goes on to say 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. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Are we all not reading the same bible? Yes we are but some prefer the distorted version best.” Now as I have said before we are calling on God to once again as we read earlier Ezekiel 36:31 “Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.”
When the Spirit is poured out repentance comes with remorse and loathing (abhor and detest), you don’t just go to church. Even if you are considered a “good” person Repentance comes from deep conviction because God wants to live with you. That cannot happen if you have a depraved mind. Romans goes to say 8 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” We need to know that these abominations are not just homosexuality but Proverbs 6:16 “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” Then look up all the times abomination is used in the bible. Abomination means vile -an action that arouses disgust or abhorrence. That is what happens when the Holy Spirit moves in power. Abomination was used according to Gateway 142 KJV 121 ESV 8 NIV. Abomination was changed to detestable. The Latin root, detestabilis, means "abominable," from detestari, "curse or express abhorrence for." I think you get the point. We cannot serve God or have him live among us and in us if were are part of something detestable or abominable. There must be a change. Again the lie is, no you are fine come to our church we will accept you even if the bible says you must repent for your sin. Revelation 22:14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Last week I heard talks on the apathetic nominal narcissists that are roaming the streets and churches of our land. Todays land and church are filled with people who think everything is about them. This is not just about the younger generation but all generations who want to go there own way and who reject truth and authority. From the perspective of a Christian this cannot be so we must repent. Our church now and previously in my ministry have said come as you are Be transformed. We still hold to that. The problem is most do not want to be transformed as they have grown very comfortable in the tepid waters of life. They do not want to change confess repent or give any thing up. Many do not want to confess because they are hiding something but be sure we cannot hide anything from God. For some reason people are willing to spend eternity away from God because they absolutely refuse to confess and repent. But there is so much freedom in repentance . Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We cannot continue with a depraved mind but we must have a renewed mind. We do not stay the same. There must be a transformation.
If we truly are a Christian then we will be transformed. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 1 Samuel 10:6 The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 7 Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you. 8 “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.” 9 As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day.” The disciples were told wait. Luke 24:47 “The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 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 1:4 “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.” 8 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.”
This is massive transformation. Peter hid and denied Jesus three times but he was totally transformed and became a proclaimer of God’s word no matter what the cost. Acts 2:14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.” The power of God then flowed through him. We are praying that the power of the Holy Spirit will fall but I think we do not really know what we will be getting into nor do those living an apathetic Christian life. Peter later said, “You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.” And then the same to his wife. This is the power of the gospel. This is available to all who believe.
We have an opportunity to turn back to God. God has opened our eyes to the desolation and the only answer is repentance, turning from our wicked ways and humbling ourselves. Yes we will see some of this on a very small scale but for most God has not brought on this change of heart. As we read earlier Deuteronomy 30:6 “The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.” Until he does we must persevere and wait on Him to bring conviction. Acts 2:37 “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.” Where are all the people cut to the heart?
I have said this before but I don’t think we really get it. Do we really understand what we are praying for. This great power available to all who believe is beyond anything we can imagine. Exodus 34:10 “Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. 14 Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Paul said Ephesians 3:16 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
We have this great reply from Job to the Lord. Job had suffered terribly but everything turned in God’s timing. He was opposed and mocked but he did not sin before God. After all this time where his so called friends had tried to tell him he was wrong, God said, “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.” Even though Job had spoken truth he became aware of God. God said “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” 42 Then Job replied to the Lord: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” I believe there is a day coming where we will fall on our face before God and confess to His Holiness. “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.” Yes we read about Pentecost but as the disciple did not realize the power that was available to them we to will stand astonished at the coming power available to us.
So we continue to pray we continue to wait as God’s plan continues to unfold. He will keep His promises but we must hold fast to his word.