It is interesting to me that people are waking up to all the wrongs in society and some to the wrongs they think are wrong whether they are or not. I am sure you have heard the term “woke” in the news. “Woke is now defined in the dictionary as “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice). Woke is increasingly used as a byword for social awareness.” The strange part of this is that after all these years of the world saying they know best; the world is a disaster and getting worse, yet still refuses to bow to God and accept that He is sovereign. The world refuses to come to their senses and surrender to God but why would they when the church refuses to surrender and continues to go their own way. As the world talks about waking up the bible already has shown us how to be awake.  Paul said Galatians 3:26 “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” I talked yesterday about the first few verses of this chapter where Paul said Galatians 1:3 “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

        By trying to do things in the church’s own strength by the work of our hands and not by God baring His arm, we end up powerless and accomplishing nothing. We were already shown the way. Paul said, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” In Christ all are one. There is no racism. There are no issues with male subversion and feminism which undermines the institution of marriage. Ephesians 5 :21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” I could stop there and that would solve most problems. But Paul goes on to say. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Now before you get upset, know that this does not mean the husband dominates his wife. A submissive wife is not controlled by a domineering husband. A loving husband elevates his wife just as Jesus died for the church. A God-fearing husband will love his wife as Jesus loved the church. There is also no room for feminism as there is a God given order. There is no room for men treating women like garbage and there is no room for women mistreating men. The church already knew what to do but because the church turned away, you had division and racism infiltrated the church. As Peter said Paul’s writing were distorted especially about controlling women. Peter 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.” Since much of the New Testament is written by Paul, there is a lot of distortion. 

        One thing that has always bothered me are churches that can’t meet together culturally. You have black churches and white churches and churches of all races. I’ve seen churches meet in the same building with different groups meeting at different times. Pentecost started like this. Acts 2:5 “Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Some said too much wine, but Peter said Acts 2:16 “No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel.” This was God’s power at work. The church going down the path of fools cannot do this. 

        Now you might be thinking I am talking about churches needing to be more diverse but with this word we need be careful. Here is why I say this. If we were just talking about race, age, nationalities, social standing, that is one thing and yes churches should be made up of rich, poor, old, young, differing nationalities and race. If the church would follow Jesus, this would not be a problem as where Jesus is, all people would come and hear His voice. But here is the problem. Diversity no longer means just race and nationality and there is lots of talk about how to make your church more diverse in that area. The problem is diversity now also includes more. When you see a church that says they are diverse, that is most likely going to mean they celebrate gender identity and sexual orientation of all types. Here is just one example. The United Church in Canada even has a Gender, Sexuality, and Orientation website. They say, “We affirm that gender and sexuality are gifts of God, and welcome people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.” Here is the problem. God does not say sexual orientations and gender identities are gifts from Him. We saw yesterday that what God says is this is an abomination before Him. This is what happens when you place reason, experience and tradition over the bible. This is what happens when you rebel against God’s word. This is where the lack of power in the church comes into play. Instead of preaching truth with power following (healing and casting out demons), lies are told and people’s lives are ruined for all eternity. Yes, there will be a church somewhere that will accept your life of sin. 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” This is what happens when satan has so much power. Jesus came to destroy His work, not to affirm it. Instead of the church repenting so that there is power to heal and cast out demons, sin and evil are affirmed. This does not mean the true church hates those who have fallen prey to satan, but the true church actually would have the power to heal. People truly believe that God made them this way, but they have a depraved mind. That is not what the image of God looks like. Yes, people will say I am a hater for speaking like this, but can you really hate someone if you are trying to save them from eternal fire. Jude 1:22 “Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” The United Church in Canada and others like them are on a path leading to the dead. Have nothing to do with them. 

        It is amazing how many churches have rebelled against God’s word to follow this dangerous path. The bible has been thoroughly rejected. Yesterday we saw Paul say 1 Corinthians 6:9 “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” The church needs to come to their senses and surrender to the truth. We are supposed to be destroying the work of the devil, not embracing it. Yes, most will say they have no choice when it comes to what they think to be true about the sexual orientation and gender identity which is why only God can heal and yes people who have fallen prey to satan the roaring lion need healing and salvation. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The church needs to wake up. Paul saw people healed and power flowed so much so Acts 19:12 “that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them,” and 2000 years later nothing is happening. Instead, most of the church has rebelled against God’s word and have gone their own way bringing death and destruction instead life and prosperity. I trust those words ‘that’s what some of you were” really stuck out. It is not just the 2slgbtqia+ (the list continues to get longer) who need God’s power. 

        Romans talks about homosexuality but Paul is talking about so much more. Even though he said Romans 1:26 “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Yes, this is very specific as are other texts but there is more. Paul goes to say “28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” For example, the church is full of gossipers of which is a serious problem. Our only hope for healing to take place and demons cast out is to be clothed with power from on high once again, so it is time to wake up. Paul said Romans 13:11 “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”

        I like this verse that says Luke 9:32 “Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.” If we want to see God’s glory, we need to wake up, come to our senses and surrender to our Sovereign God. Paul tells us Ephesians 5:8 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” The church in Sardis was told Revelation 3:2 “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.” Isaiah 52:1 “Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength!”

        If you really want to be “woke”, come to your senses and surrender to God. Follow His word wholeheartedly and turn from your wicked ways. 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.” We need the glory of God to fill the church once again. 2 Chronicles 7:1 “When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.” The same fire came at Pentecost. Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” We need the fire to fall once again. 

        Tomorrow we will begin our call is to surrender and then during the week we will be looking into that call. 1 Chronicles 16:35 “8 Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. 9 Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. 10 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. 11 Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. 34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 35 Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.” 36 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.”