Day 38: “Twice as Much”

                My goal is to be able to do one chin-up on my chin-up bar. They have a machine at the gym that you can kneel on to take some of your weight off to help you do chin-ups. For someone my size (big-boned), chin-ups are next to impossible, at least for me, so I use a chair to help out. That one elusive chin-up would be pretty amazing to be able to do but to do two that would be even more impressive. Ok not really that impressive. I have seen people do chin-ups like there was no gravity. To say I could do twice as many chin-ups sounds impressive but when you realize I‘m just talking about one, you would say keep working out.
                Today I want to look at a group of people called the Pharisees and a man named Job. The first group Jesus said about them Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” Job on the other hand was blessed with twice as much as he had in the first place. It is pretty clear which twice as much you want to be part of.
                Job was a man of great wealth. Job 1:1 “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.” God describes Job to satan. God said, Job 1:8 “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.” Here we see Job’s life before God inflicted him. Job said, Job 29:4 “Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, 5 when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, 6 when my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil. 7 “When I went to the gate of the city and took my seat in the public square, 8 the young men saw me and stepped aside and the old men rose to their feet; 9 the chief men refrained from speaking and covered their mouths with their hands; 10 the voices of the nobles were hushed, and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths. 11 Whoever heard me spoke well of me, and those who saw me commended me, 12 because I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist them. 13 The one who was dying blessed me; I made the widow’s heart sing. 14 I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban. 15 I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. 16 I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger. 17 I broke the fangs of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth.” As you can see Job was an amazing man.
                It is important to understand that God offered Job to satan as satan had to have permission. Later we see the same 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.” First God said to satan, Job 1:12 “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” He then lost everything he owned and his children all died. 22 “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Job 2:3 “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.” Job 2:4 “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. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. 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.”
                This was just in the first two chapters. satan was trying to get Job to curse God just as he tries to get you to turn from God. The rest of the book is about conversations between Job and his so called friends who thought they knew better. Through many conversations Job refused to give up his integrity. He did not know that God allowed satan to do this to him yet he refused to curse God. 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.” Job 27:1 “And Job continued his discourse: 2 “As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made my life bitter, 3 as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, 4 my lips will not say anything wicked, and my tongue will not utter lies. 5 I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. 6 I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.” Job 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!”
                Then another man named Elihu decides join in. Job 32:4 “Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he. 5 But when he saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused.” He then goes on to tell Job how wrong he is until God steps in and says Job 38:2 “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Then God questions Job and Job said “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.” 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.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.” Notice that Job was not told to pray for Elihu.
                Job never waivered in his belief and persevered through great loss and condemnation from those close to him. James tells us that we can learn from Job. James 5:11 “You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”  What did God finally bring about? He restored Job and gave him twice as much as he had before. We are not just talking about one more pull-up here. 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. (At the beginning he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants.) 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.” Even though Job had to persevere through insurmountable odds, God was faithful to Job because Job never turned away. Most of Job is about the discourses between Job and his friends. They just couldn’t figure out what Job had done wrong at least until the end when God blessed Job and they realized he had done no wrong. They behaved just like the Pharisees who though they knew better also.
                I want to change gears a little here and talk about the reach of the Pharisee or teacher of the law. As we read earlier Jesus said, Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” Here is an example of this verse happening today. I want to talk about a pastor here in Canada that was in jail for not following the laws that were put in place because of this pandemic we are in. Just to be clear this is not just about the size of the gatherings but total rebellion against social distancing and wearing masks, so pretty much everything health measure that has been put in place. I want to be clear here; this pastor was not put in jail for preaching the gospel. He was not told to stop saying the name of Jesus. Peter and John were told to stop preaching in the name of Jesus. Acts 4:17 “But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” This is not happening in this case. This is simply a man breaking the law and expecting to be a martyr for it and many will fall for this false martyrdom. His wife obviously disagrees as she said, “I do want to make it clear, he’s not in jail because he didn’t obey the restrictions. He’s in jail because he obeyed the Lord Jesus Christ and His headship over the church and did not restrict the gathering to anybody.” Actually if he was obeying he would be following the words of Jesus and obeying the health orders. What he was told to do was follow the rules “Officers determined the church was again ignoring public health restrictions, which call for attendance to be capped at 15 per cent of capacity and congregants to practice physical distancing and wear masks. Coates turned himself in Tuesday at the RCMP Parkland Detachment, where he was charged and attended a bail hearing before a justice of the peace. Coates was to be released but refused to agree to the conditions attached to his release. Coates has flouted pandemic restrictions since December.” “After 35 days he was freed.” Even though some like Coates’s wife thinks so, don’t think for a moment this has anything to do with the gospel. He can preach everyday and all daylong but he has to follow the rules just like everyone else.
                The interesting part of this is his connection to another church called Grace Community Church pastored by John MacArthur. I wonder where he acquired his thinking from? I took this from Grace’s Facebook page: “Imprisoned for the Gospel - The elders of Grace Community Church want to voice our support for James Coates, a Master’s Seminary alumnus (MacArthur’s seminary) and former member of Grace Church.” Pastor John MacArthur told his congregation he was in jail for preaching the word of God on a Sunday. That is not true as he is not in prison for preaching the gospel but for refusing to comply with the law. One person wrote, “One of the things missing from this story is GraceLife Church’s connection with Los Angeles megachurch pastor John MacArthur. Christianity Today compared GraceLife’s stand to MacArthur’s decision to open his Grace Community Church last summer despite California state regulations, but did not mention that Coates is a MacArthur disciple. He attended MacArthur’s Masters Seminary and his church is part of the MacArthur network of “trusted churches.”
                Last October 2020, John MacArthur made a video telling churches to open and many have followed their lead. He basically says if you do not open your church you are not being the church. Most of these pastors who are opposing the government are in legal battles. Some they will win and some they will loose. Where they will loose every time is disobeying the word of God. Romans 13:2 “Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Paul also said Titus 3:1 “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities.” MacArthur brags regularly about their church growing during this pandemic, as does this church in Alberta. They actually believe God is blessing their rebellion. It is interesting that MacArthur’s church was full steam ahead to have their annual Shepherd’s Conference but all of a sudden they caved and cancelled it. The New York Times said, “Under Pressure, California Church Postpones Conference for Thousands.” “But the church reversed course after Los Angeles County officials warned that indoor conferences were prohibited and that the event could worsen the spread of the virus, endangering attendees and the surrounding community. Los Angeles County had sued the church and its pastor, John MacArthur, last August after officials said he had he opened the church and held a large indoor worship service with unmasked attendees, in violation of state and county rules.” They then posted Grace Community churches response. “In light of our ongoing litigation and recent threats from the County of Los Angeles and the State of California, we have decided that the most prudent course of action at this time is to postpone the Shepherds’ Conference,” the church said in a statement. “We will be deposing the key health officers and county officials and requiring them to answer for their oppressive actions under oath, and requesting all documents and information supporting their arbitrary attempts to restrict our religious liberty as a church,” the statement said. “Our church leadership remains firmly committed to the truth that Christ is the head of the Church, and we will not yield to government’s infringement upon the biblical command to worship and gather together.” Notice this underlined sentence. We will not yield yet they yielded and postponed the conference. “The postponement came after county health officials had said they were exploring their legal options in response to the conference.”
                MacArthur has many like Coates who follow him. MacArthur said he was willing but he is not in jail but one of his followers is in jail because he is doing as MacArthur wanted him to do, except he took it further and was willing to go to jail. Sadly Pastor Coates is following his leader and not the words of Jesus His savior. John MacArthur is a false teacher and God will make it clear to those who don’t already know. Yes on the surface he looks like a man of God but the deception is huge and hundreds of thousands if not millions have fallen for it.
                So what does this pastor from Alberta and a pastor from California have to do with twice as much. Jesus gives us a few “watch outs.” Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Paul said 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.” Matthew 24:4 “Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.” Mark 8:15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees.” Luke 21:8 “He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.” Mark 12:38 “As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.” Matthew 23:5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.” Jesus then says woes to you, you hypocrites. Paul said, 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.” John said 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.” 2 John 1:7 “I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.”
                We have a choice to make; stand firm on God's word or go your own way. Colossians 1:21 “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.” 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. 14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus.” We must follow the right message and definitely not follow a man or a woman, especially those who are false teachers teaching other gospels. Job stood his ground and would not be moved. Job 23:10 “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 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 knew that he would be redeemed and God was faithful to him. He could have listened to those around him and cursed God but he didn’t. There are many Pharisees out there traveling the land and making their disciples twice as much children of hell as they are. Today they don’t even have to travel as their message can carry on the Internet. We are told to test the spirits for a reason and that reason is these evil spirits are all around us. The deception in the church is unfathomable. Churches like Gracelife and Grace Community come across as God fearing, but in reality are other gospels masquerading as truth. Do not believe them.
                Our faithful servant Job was blessed after his time of suffering and he suffered greatly. God blessed him with twice as much as he had before. What we don’t want is the curse of the Pharisee and to be twice as much a child of hell. God has told us to seek Him and promised us that if we did seek Him and obey Him, He would bless us abundantly. Isaiah 61:7 “Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.” Today believe the word of God and pray that God will turn His face to shine on us once again so truth, power and authority will return to the church. Job persevered and was blessed. If you are standing ground make sure you are following in the footsteps of Job and not the Pharisees. Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”