Call to Worship: Exodus 15:2 “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”
Songs: Let the Praises Ring - Travis Cottrell
Praise to the King - Steve Green
Psalm 34 - The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
Scripture: Daniel 9:4 “I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. 7 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him. 15 “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. 17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
Song: Give Us Clean Hands - Mark Schultz
Sermon: “Is The Lord Your God or Just an Acquaintance”
Closing Song: Today (As for Me and My House) - Brian Doerksen
Benediction:Exodus 15:2 “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”
Sermon: “Is The Lord Your God or Just an Acquaintance”
Today I want to ask you a question. Is the Lord God your God or just an acquaintance? Can you say Psalm 91:2 “I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Yes many say the words but do they actually believe it especially when the enemy advances against us. 1 Kings 20:13 “Meanwhile a prophet came to Ahab king of Israel and announced, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do you see this vast army? I will give it into your hand today, and then you will know that I am the Lord.’” For the most part the church does not know this God but since we are in captivity because of our disobedience Ezekiel tells us Ezekiel 20:39 “‘As for you, people of Israel, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Go and serve your idols, every one of you! But afterward you will surely listen to me and no longer profane my holy name with your gifts and idols. 40 For on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord, there in the land all the people of Israel will serve me, and there I will accept them. There I will require your offerings and your choice gifts, along with all your holy sacrifices. 41 I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will be proved holy through you in the sight of the nations. 42 Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the land I had sworn with uplifted hand to give to your ancestors. 43 There you will remember your conduct and all the actions by which you have defiled yourselves, and you will loathe yourselves for all the evil you have done. 44 You will know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name’s sake and not according to your evil ways and your corrupt practices, you people of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
To be an acquaintance means, “a person one knows slightly, but who is not a close friend.” You know of them but you don’t know them personally. If God is just an acquaintance, you are probably unfamiliar with His words also and probably have no idea about His Spirit either. Since you don’t know him, you don’t know what he requires. David said to Solomon, 1 Kings 2:2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, 3 and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go 4 and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.” But here is the problem the church has not watched how they lived and have not walked faithfully. 2 Kings 17:40 “They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. 41 Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.” Due to this lack of knowledge, people are perishing. If we want to survive and spend eternity worshipping God, God has to become more than an acquaintance. If we are going to serve him, we must serve him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength as commanded.
Last week we talked about going to the ends of the earth in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a journey you cannot take in your own power, though many try. We are told in Acts 1:8 “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.” If we are His witnesses that means He is our God. So to go to the ends of the earth these disciples would still have to be alive because there are still ends of the earth to go to, but obviously they are not so each generation carries on the work Jesus started in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said Luke 24:4 “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.” As we have seen, satan is fighting against this, as are His servants. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:12 “And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” Notice that satan was already masquerading. If you do not love the Lord your God you will not have the discernment to see this happening. Jude 12 “These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.” 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.” They are everywhere! So every Sunday and every day of the week, all across the Internet, there are antichrists in the church leading the church astray. We were warned about this. Matthew 24:4 “Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” When God turns his face back to shining on us and pours out His Spirit on us in power, we will go to the ends of the earth just as we were told to do in the first place. Not only will we go to the ends of the earth; we will turn the world upside down. Matthew 21:10 “When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” This question will once again be asked as the true gospel goes out into the world in power.
But at the moment the church is in captivity because of its disobedience to the word of God. Unfortunately the Lord God is just a story in a book that most are somewhat interested in just enough to check the box. 2 Kings 17:14 “But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.” So the church remains in desolation as God looks for those who seek the truth. Now because of our disobedience, we have the enemy in the church that doesn’t belong. God has allowed a full on assault on the church and we are loosing while people die by the millions. Yes I know, no one wants to hear that. But as we move forward, as we talked about last week, we must tear down, demolish and destroy other gospels but we cannot do it on our own. When the Lord becomes our /my God, when we go, we do not have to fear because God is with us. When Sennacherib came to wage war against Jerusalem, Hezekiah said 2 Chronicles 32:7 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. 8 With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.” Then Isaiah said “Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. 31 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. “The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. 32 “Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria: “‘He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here. He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it. 33 By the way that he came he will return; he will not enter this city, declares the Lord. 34 I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.’” 35 That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp.” Later, Sennacherib was killed by the sword.
When we stand against our enemies we do not have to fear as God’s faithful servants. We have been told get ready to cross the Jordon; do not be afraid. Deuteronomy 9:1 “Hear, Israel: You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky. 2 The people are strong and tall—Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: “Who can stand up against the Anakites?” 3 But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you.” No matter what or who we face, God is with us just as he said he would be. No matter what is happening in our lives, we must be faithful. As we read earlier, Daniel was faithful in captivity and God blessed him.
Daniel was a man of God who saw the end of their captivity coming to an end and they were about to go back to the Promised Land. In our captivity, we too are calling out to God to hear our cry. In our scripture reading we saw Daniel calling out to God because the seventy years had come to an end as Jeremiah had prophesied. He started his prayer “I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed.” He knew the requirements. He repented even though he was a man of God. Daniel 9:5 “We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.” 20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill— 21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.” The amazing part was Daniel was shown way into the future. Not only was he shown his time he was told about the abomination that caused desolation. Daniel 9:27 “And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Daniel was told Daniel 10:14 “Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” Daniel 12:4 “But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.” 11 “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.” Most people try to figure out the numbers but miss the word wait. Wait and then wait some more. That's what we are to focus on. God said wait so we wait some more! What Daniel saw, for generations we have seen happening. 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. 13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the Lord’s people?” 14 He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.” Daniel 8:23 “In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. 26 “The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.” 27 I, Daniel, was worn out. I lay exhausted for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding.” We should also be appalled by the condition the church is in, appalled enough to turn form wickedness.
Yes there are those who will tell you this is what the numbers mean and then their ideas come and go with time. This happens all the time but what doesn’t happen is the preparation to meet our maker. Psalm 95:1 “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. 3 For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. 6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; 7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice, 8 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness, 9 where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did. 10 For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’ 11 So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.” How many millions of people are not going to enter that rest? Unfortunately the church has hardened their hearts. We were warned this appalling vision in Daniel would take place and here we lie in desolation, with truth thrown to the ground. When John was given the Revelation he was astonished. Revelation 17:5 “The name written on her forehead was a mystery: Babylon the great, the mother of prostitutes and of the abominations of the earth. 6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.” Jesus warned us about this. Matthew 24:15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.” Yes there are those that tell you to read their books that explain Revelation but they only lead people astray with their ideas. Instead of leading God’s people to turn from their wicked ways, they continue charging in the wrong direction. All that is left in the church is a remnant as promised to David.
If we are going to make it to the end, we must stand firm on the word of God, not on the words of men and woman. One person says this, another person says that but when the Lord my God speaks, there is truth. If we want to understand the end we must have God dwelling in us. John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” This is why there is so much conflict in the church as we are missing the Spirit of truth. Now we just have men and women guiding not in truth but by their own imaginations. (Isaiah 65) We must believe God will shine upon us once again. (Isaiah 65) We must believe that our waiting is not futile. We must believe that we are in desolation and the only way out is the power of our God. It is obvious to see all throughout the church that there is another form of power at work. Paul warned us. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” Every Sunday people worship in vain. Remember Jesus said Mark 7:6 “He replied, “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.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” Paul said 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” Most have let go and they don’t even know it because they do not know God.
So here we are, people being deceived by the millions, which means there are those who think they are christians who will spend eternity with satan. They do not know who their savior is. You hear it all the time when someone dies; they are preached into heaven because most do not believe what the word actually says about hell. Here is a requirement if you knew God. Luke 13:23 “Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.” If we actually believed the word of God, we would fear God more than we do. Many will tell you who they think God is but it has to be more than a feeling while others will slice and dice scripture and give you a portrait of the god they created. Most people are too comfortable in their pew because they are constantly being told they are safe and secure if they blindly believe what they are being taught but they are not because they have not looked for the narrow door nor have they held firmly to the gospel preached by Paul as the Thessalonians did. We always need to remember that not only did Jesus give us the opportunity to be saved, there is no way we would make it through this desolation but by the God’s grace and compassion. We are like the slaves in Egypt and the captives in Babylon. It is by the grace of God that we are alive. Jeremiah 23:7 “So then, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ 8 but they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.” Deuteronomy 9:4 “After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, “The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. 5 It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 6 Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.” It is only by God’s grace we have been saved as part of the remnant. 2 Kings 13:23 “But 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.” As we know God did banish them from his presence after Josiah. 2 Kings 23:26 “Nevertheless, the Lord did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to arouse his anger. 27 So the Lord said, “I will remove Judah also from my presence as I removed Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, ‘My Name shall be there.” Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.” It is only by God’s grace that we are still alive. The true meaning of grace is salvation not living how you want and expecting God to be gracious.
So waiting can be described as hope when there is none. Psalm 33:20 “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.” We are hopeful because our eyes have been opened to the truth of His word. We give praise to the Lord our God for His goodness and in His great mercy we were shown the truth. Paul said to the Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we ought always to thank God for you, loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
Unfortunately the term blessed hope has been butchered to mean the rapture. The definition of butchered is interesting. It means, “to ruin (something) deliberately or through incompetence.” 1 Timothy 1:6 “Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.” Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.” You change the form into something you want it to be. Man adds and subtracts so that the bible will line up with their theology. Someone who fears God will never do that. Now that final event where Jesus returns to take us home is another warning for us. Jesus isn’t coming again to do it all over again. He showed us, left us the Spirit, God said they would make their home in us, empower us to do as He did and go to the ends of the earth and then the end would come. Instead of repenting, man just came up with pathetic and powerless doctrines to explain away the lack of power in the church. This warning of Jesus coming to take us home is this. 2 Peter 3:11 “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. 14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 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. 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” And yes the Holy Spirit gave Paul’s word and yes men distort it. 2 Peter 1:20 “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” So for us to understand, we must have the Spirit of truth. 2 Timothy 3:14 “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Paul praised the Thessalonians for following the word given to them.
1 Thessalonians 1:6 “You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.” 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, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus.” For us to do the same, God must become our God. Most people that go to church have no idea who the true God is. Each group has their own version and that's what people know. Each group has their own god but we do not have the true God. 2 Chronicles 15:1 “The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. 2 He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. 4 But in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.” All this time people have been taught a god as portrayed in the eyes of man not portrayed by God’s own word. For many the bible is just an old, old story. For many the bible isn’t relevant enough so churches try to be more relevant but become irrelevant to God. All they have been told is God is love and he will love you no matter what. Because of this the fear of the Lord is not being taught nor do people fear God. They just keep believing the same old powerless version of the gospel in vain. Since they do not fear God why would they repent, humble themselves and turn away from other gods. Today the church doesn’t listen attentively or tremble at His Word (Nehemiah 8:3, Ezra 9:4) but want it brief and don’t offend me. Most people who go to church week after week and have no idea the power that is available to all who believe. Church is a place you go, not a wholehearted life you live. It is a story about a god, not a story about my God. Many are acquainted with God but don’t know Him nor do they know his voice. They don’t even know His requirements. The problem as we discussed last week is that our priests have not lead us in the truth. Malachi 2:5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. 7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth.” This is how it is supposed to be but we have not adhered to God’s word and the Lord’s anger is great. (2 Kings 22:13)
When you read the account of Job’s life, you see a righteous man before God. It still amazes me that the first two chapters are about astounding loss and the rest of the book is about why Jobs friends think he is a sinner for what happened to him in those first two chapters. But this journey of Job backfired on satan as Job remained upright and blameless but even he changed. Yes his friends were wrong but still Job makes this statement at the end of the book. Job 42:1 “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.” It is hard to imagine this kind of journey but even harder to imagine how the church thinks they are safe when they follow other gospels. For the most part the church doesn’t even hear as Mark 7 states about Isaiah being right. If we want to hear and see God we must turn from our wicked ways and believe. Yes it is crazy to think that the church is so far off track that the truth of God’s word seems wrong but the problem is most do not want to face the fact that their lives as a so called Christian have been in vain. They do not believe God’s words about hell so they refuse to repent and carry on until they die. Many are like King Ahab. They were about to go to war 2 Chronicles 18:4 “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. When they called Miciah they told him 11 All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.” 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.”
The church today wants a favorable word, as they really don’t like the word of the Lord spoken to them just as Ahab didn’t like but the word of the Lord always comes true and in the end it happened exactly as Micaiah said it would. For most they want emotion and tradition and reason and all their experiences to be front and center and they really don’t want to hear the truth of God’s word. But as Moses said Deuteronomy 32:47 “They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” Micaiah said that he saw “all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd.” That is the same today. We must stand firm on God’s word and listen and obey. Going our own way is failure every time. If we do not obey we will not spend eternity with God but Matthew 25:41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” At that point it is to late. Don’t wait till it is to late. Serve the Lord with wholehearted devotion. Don’t be these people as described in Hebrews 5:11 “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Are you in distress because of our captivity and desolation then continue to call out to God. David sang these words in 2 Samuel 22:7 “In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.” When God becomes your God and more than an acquaintance, everything changes.
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?” Joshua 24:15 “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.”