Our journey this year will be one of repentance and remembering. If you did not read Sunday’s Sermon February 14, 2021 “O Unbelieving Generation,” that would be a good place to start. The church as we have talked about is far from the church Jesus initially empowered us to be. Because of our rebellion, God has turned His face from us and our enemies have prevailed against us. Jesus authorized and empowered His disciples to go to the ends of the earth clothed with power from on High. We were not told to go without it. The church was called to go  out in power but instead the church went their own way and promoted a gospel that was man-made, therefore the church worships in vain. Mark 7:6 “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” On the surface this gospel appears to have worked yet there is no power. Everywhere you look there are mega churches and little churches and everything in between but in all of these no matter the size, there is no power as described in scripture. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:5 “having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” The problem is the gurus are embraced and lifted up yet they have led the church astray, away from the power and authority Jesus gave the disciples. Today we have churches that gather week after week, completely powerless.
                Our goal this journey is to look at scripture and then hold up what we see to the church and then repent; right away, don’t wait. What we see in scripture is not happening in the church. Yes man has justified themselves by adapting to their surroundings by following their empty ways which has led them nowhere. Doctrines of demons are everywhere as are the false teachers who teach them. The enemy has taken the church hostage but even worse than that, Daniel 9:27 “at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Daniel 8:11 “It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the Lord; it took away the daily sacrifice from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down. 12 Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.” We were told to test the spirits but the church failed to do that. 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” These false prophets are everywhere. 1 John 2:18 “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” Ministers who are supposed to preach the gospel are antichrists behind the pulpit. People believe what these men and women say and are led astray by their distorted teaching. satan is very deceptive but at the same time incredibly arrogant and if you listen close enough he will tell you what the problem is and point out these are false prophets. What they say will sound like the gospel but upon closer inspection and with discernment you will see the truth about them.
                This journey will be about turning away from these teachers and returning to God’s word. What they have done is distort the word of God. Paul tells us true teachers will not do this. 2 Corinthians 4:2 “Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” When Jeremiah talked about the false prophets he said, Jeremiah 23:36 “But you must not mention ‘a message from the Lord’ again, because each one’s word becomes their own message. So you distort the words of the living God, the Lord Almighty, our God.” Peter talks about what false teachers do with Paul’s teaching when he said, 2 Peter 3:16 “He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” Because of this distorted gospel we have been taken captive and we are not prevailing against our enemies. Jeremiah 23:22 “But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.” 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.”
               The church turning away from God’s word means God has also turned from us and we are powerless. This passage describes the church today. Jeremiah 11:9 “Then the Lord said to me, “There is a conspiracy among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem. 10 They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods (other gospels) to serve them. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant I made with their ancestors. 11 Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them. 12 The towns of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they burn incense, but they will not help them at all when disaster strikes. 13 You, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns; and the altars you have set up to burn incense to that shameful god Baal are as many as the streets of Jerusalem.” Isaiah 1:15 “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!” Isaiah also said Isaiah 1:12 “When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. 14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.” People think their gathering while following false gospels is pleasing to God; it is not! Not only is God not listening, He has turned His face from shining on us. This means there is no power, which means no miracles, signs or wonders. Yes God in his mercy has healed but the healing described in scripture where the disciples did as Jesus did is not happening in the church as a whole. Instead the church has adapted to being powerless.
                The good news for us is the church is not going to stay this way. Millions have died without knowing the truth. Zephaniah 1:12 “At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, ‘The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad.” I think that most in the church have set aside the terror of hell, eternal damnation for not doing as we are commanded. satan has done a number on people in the church getting them to think God would never send someone to hell therefore they don’t repent because they do not fear God. If we continue down this path we will not see eternal life but if we repent and turn around, and seek God; we will find Him. God gave a promise to David that there will always be a remnant. God will keep that promise even though the remnant went into captivity, God freed them just as Jeremiah said, Jeremiah 29:10 “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Daniel tells us about our time and the freedom that will come. 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. 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.”
                During this journey we will be looking at the miracles of Jesus and remembering. Jesus said John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Luke 11:13 “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” 1 Corinthians 12:4 “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?” 1 Corinthians 14:1 “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” Ephesians 4:11 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” When combined with love and it has to be, the church is unstoppable.
                Most in the church do not believe because they have not seen the true power of God in their day but they are without excuse because scripture clearly tells us this power would be available if it were not for our rebellion. The church needs to once again be like the Thessalonians. Paul said, 1 Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.” Instead of listening to the many false teachers trying to get you to accept their pathetic and powerless ways who constantly will tell you that was Jesus or that was his disciples or that was then not now, you can’t expect that. How about just believing what the bible actually says for a change not what man says about the bible. Not only is cessationism a doctrine of demons but just as bad are those who believe the power Jesus had is available but don’t seek it. It is not present so why is the church not repenting so that the power and authority of Jesus Christ will be present once again.
                This will take faith. Ask yourself if you are part of the unbelieving generation or part of those who will return to God and see Him return to us. Isaiah 54:7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.” Jesus told His disciples when a storm came upon them Matthew 8:24 “Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Matthew 17:14”When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him. 7 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
                If we have true faith it takes very little faith as described by a mustard seed to see amazing things. Yes people will say no you could never move a mountain and there you have your answer as to their faith. If you believe God could move that mountain and not symbolically, that is your starting point. From there anything is possible. You can read more about faith in Hebrews 11. You want Jesus to respond to you by saying what great faith you have like these two examples. Matthew 8:5 “When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” 7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” 8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” Matthew 15:22 “A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” 23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” 28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.” But then look at those who were suppose to believe, those to who Jesus was sent. Luke 4:23 “Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’” 24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” Mark 6:4 “Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.” Jesus said Luke 18:8 “ when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” How is your faith?
                As we journey together do not be afraid to stand your ground on the word of God. There are many who are opposed to the power of God because they have seen abuses, but that is not God’s power, as satan masquerades as an angel of light. Don’t reject what the bible actually says because of what you have seen or heard the false prophets do. The bible is clear on the fact there is power available to all who believe. The question is do you believe?