Yesterday, Canada 150 was celebrated. Your looking better than ever Governor General David Johnston said, but do we and have we gone very far or are we very far away. Several churches in our community have already celebrated 150 years but what is their legacy other than a building. The Governor General pointed out that Parliament was on Algonquin traditional territory. He said, “we can truly feel the spirit of this land today. That spirit he refereed to is not the Holy Spirit that can make things better. The only way things can be truly better is to follow the Holy Spirit and turn and return to God. If our country is truly to be free and we want God to keep our land glorious and free we must honour him and do what he says. If we actually want Canada to carry the cross then the church might want to start doing this once again itself. This is where the church comes in and if the government was smart, they would listen but at this point who would they listen to. 2 Kings 17:25 “The people you deported and resettled in the towns of Samaria do not know what the god of that country requires. He has sent lions among them, which are killing them off, because the people do not know what he requires.” 27 Then the king of Assyria gave this order: “Have one of the priests you took captive from Samaria go back to live there and teach the people what the god of the land requires.” 28 So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria came to live in Bethel and taught them how to worship the Lord. 29 Nevertheless, each national group made its own gods in the several towns where they settled, and set them up in the shrines the people of Samaria had made at the high places. 34 To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the Lord nor adhere to the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel.” As time moves our country continues to reject God, they will remove him from the national anthem. We should not be surprised as many churches have removed him and fail to follow His way. We no longer can really say we are followers of his way.
In our call to worship Jesus stated that He was the way, the truth and life. All through scripture we are told to obey. 1 Kings 8:11 “The word of the Lord came to Solomon: 12 “As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. 13 And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.” We are also told the consequences for not obeying. 2 Chronicles 7:19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.”
The answer is simple, we must remain in Him. John 15:4 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”
Sadly there are not enough people asking what happens when we don’t remain, when we don’t follow, when we don’t obey. There can be no variation to the word of God at all and we must worship in Spirit and in Truth. Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit will guide us. David prayed in Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Jesus said 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.” As of now, this is just not the case. If the Holy Spirit were leading us, we would not have the chaos of what we call church with everyone going their own way and doing their own thing. Ruth tells us Ruth 1:1 “in the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land.” Judges 21:25 “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” Today we live in days of severe famine and drought of the hearing of the word of God. Unfortunately the church has decided to bless themselves by making up their own doctrine and theology so as to not invoke any curses on themselves for not obeying and going their own way. They have made their disobedience to look as if they were directed by God to do so. They have done exactly what happened here. Deuteronomy 29:19 “When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way,” they will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry.” So then if you are not following the way, there will be no life or truth in it. There will be only consequences for disobedience.
Today we live with the consequences of going our own way just as Gideon did. That was why he asked Judges 6:13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” Remember Judges 2:10 “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.”14 In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress. 16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. 17 Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s commands.” The church has a form of godliness but continues to deny His power and disobey. Yes it does look and sound similar to the church but it is not simply because we have set aside God’s words for our own. We have rejected his way for our way. Mark 7:9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” Leviticus 18:24 “‘Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled.” Not only do we live with the results of these empty ways of those who have gone before us but we also continue to create new ways to veer from the path, but truthfully there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.” This is the main reason that most do not read the Old Testament and some even teach it is another dispensation. So many think that if they don’t read or accept it as relevant, then they will not be held accountable because it does not apply to them because God acted differently then. But that is just not true. Isaiah 55:11 “my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” 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.” There will either be acceptance or condemnation, the word will not return empty. So when you read the Old Testament and you see yourself in the mirror, you must acknowledge that we are Israel. The gentiles have mimicked the Israelites and have not learned from it. They think if they can avoid the mirror they will not see truth but it does not work that way. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” This is why so many do not read God’s word but reading it only is not enough. James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” So look in the mirror reflect repent and wait on God.
We have been deceived into thinking we can go our own way, all the while ignoring the word of God, and everything will be okay because God is full of grace and love. On Tuesday we read Deuteronomy 11. I had also said it would be good to read Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 again to see the blessings and curses as described. Deuteronomy 11:28 “the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.” Then Deuteronomy and Leviticus give us a vivid description of the curses and blessings. You cannot expect to be blessed by following your wicked way. Titus 1:10 “For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” This is what we have today. Whole households have been wiped out by false teaching.
So we have a description of ourselves in the Old Testament. Jeremiah 9:12 “Who is wise enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross? 13 The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. 14 Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.” Daniel 9:10-11 “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.” 2 Kings 17:7 “All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 13 The Lord warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.” 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. 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.” This is why people don’t want to read because we have done the same. Yes Jesus came but we must obey.
We reject the truth when we go our own way and follow other ways. These ways are wicked no matter where it is you think you are going or how you think you will get there.” You may even be totally sold out to the church you are going to and still be wrong. 1 Samuel 12:15 "But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you, as it was against your ancestors. 2 Chronicles 21:13 “But you have followed the ways of the kings of Israel, and you have led Judah and the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves, just as the house of Ahab did. Hosea 4:6 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. 12 My people consult a wooden idol, and a diviner’s rod speaks to them. A spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God.” This spirit is the spirit of Jezebel, the queen of abominations.
So what we have been left with is everyone going their own way, doing their own thing, blessing and electing themselves but yet cannot do the supernatural although many have been deceived by the supernatural not of God. Jeremiah 5:31 “The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” What will they do in the end when Jesus comes to judge the living and the dead? Will he say well done or I don’t you. The answer lies according to God’s word. You must be able to say I have kept the commands of the Lord, not what your church discipline or handbook but God’s word. 1 Kings 14:8 I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes.” 2 Kings 18:6 “He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses.” John 15:10 “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” This is the only way; we must keep the commands of the Lord.
Having said that, most will say they do but as we saw last week, words can be changed as their meanings can also. Even the same power was talked about that is not what it meant. The church has gone in their own directions, each teaching something different while all proclaiming they are the way, truth and the life. Here is an example from a quote I saw this week on Facebook. I do realize there is more to it but the words written make the point. General André Cox of the Salvation Army in July 2015 said, “Don’t be deceived by what you see and what you hear in this world. There are voices in this world that invite us now to write our own theology. So many people now interpret scripture to suit their personal leanings and desires that I bet you it will not be long before we see tailor-made scriptures to justify any of our shortcomings… The bible is the unquestionable authority for Christian living.” Yes great quote but yet they are doing the same thing they are saying not to do. They have their handbook and traditions like most but yet like most would they turn from them. The question I would have is has the definition of salvation changed? As I said before like most it is time to be revived so that the army of the Lord can once again go out in the power of the Holy Spirit and fulfill our mandate to make disciples with the authority granted us by Jesus Christ.
Jesus said in Matthew 28:18 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” I realize that most ignore Mark 16 but they are saying the same thing but the church has ignore this one also. First of all we are given authority. Why are we not asking where the keys to bind and release have gone. Secondly people did not wait to be fulfilled nor did they notice they went without being clothed and are running naked and unashamed. You would think someone might have noticed this. Hey the emperors naked. Water baptism became the end all but the fire was missing. The ones who thought they were baptized by the fire and spoke gibberish did not realize they were deceived. So like Samson both did not know the Lord had left them. Everywhere in scripture says we must obey otherwise we will be defeated because we cannot stand against our enemies. So with some additions and subtractions the church gets around that, at least they think they have. Deuteronomy 4:1 “Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. 2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.” Revelation 22:18 “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.” But the church does this all the time but no one seems to fear these warnings. Then Jesus makes this powerful statement –teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. He already said If you love me keep my commandments, not your ways but his ways as Isaiah 55:8 “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” We seem to only want to do the things we can do in our own strength. So if we are not teaching the correct commands but mans teaching, then this next part does not apply. Jesus said, I am with you always will not be in affect as scripture clearly tells us. Teaching cheap grace will not change that.
With everyone teaching their own ways, it is no wonder the church lies desolate, deceived and under delusion. The commands are not being obeyed. People have grown content in their own strength as they bless themselves thinking that what their hands have made is from God. Proverbs 3:5 “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6 Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” Do you really want to find out after you die? The only way is to turn from our wicked ways and become followers of the one and only Way once again. Ezekiel 18:30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” Isaiah 58:13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,” Now remember the Sabbath is not just one day it is everyday now. We are called to live a Holy life not just on Sundays.
Hebrews 3:12 “See to it that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.” That conviction does not mean Baptist Catholic or Methodist to name a few.
Hebrews 3:7 So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. 10 That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ 11 So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” We do not want to hear that. Hebrews 4:14 “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” We cannot say that God will be with us no matter what. He said obey and I will be with you.
The only way is to follow the right way. We are told in 2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. 17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.” If we want to be part of that kingdom and the promise to David we cannot go our own ways. So just because Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death,” do not follow it, The church has turned away from the way, the truth and the life. We will not see eternal life without repenting from going our way.