November 12, 2017
     Call to Worship: Psalm 68:35 “You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!”
    Songs:              He Is Exalted                                                  Twila Paris                  
                            Be Unto Your Name                                       Robin Mark
                            Stand (The Way)                                             Kutless           
    Scripture:        1 Kings 8:22-30 “Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. 24 You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today. 25 “Now Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me faithfully as you have done.’ 26 And now, God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David my father come true. 27 “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 28 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.”
     Song:              Save Us Oh God                                            Kevin Prosch 
     Sermon:          “Repent and Return”
     Song:              Open The Eyes Of My Heart                          Michael W. Smith
     Benediction:   1 Kings 8:57 “May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us nor forsake us. 58 May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands, decrees and laws he gave our ancestors. 59 And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day’s need, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. 61 And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.”
      Sermon:        “Repent and Return”
                Last week we talked about “by the word of the Lord” and in that word of the Lord there is power. Psalm 33:6 “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. 7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; He puts the deep into storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. 9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” We are told to revere and fear God, which means we will listen and obey his word if we do. I don’t know how much more I can stress that we must obey God’s word and be wholehearted followers of it. We have seen how many Christians think they are following God’s word but before God’s eyes they have strayed from the truth. They have followed a new gospel, a distorted gospel that is man’s ideas about the true gospel and doctrines of demons. As Moses said in Deuteronomy 32:5 (Yes the one I asked you to read last week) “They are corrupt and not his children; to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation. They abandoned the God who made them and rejected the Rock their Savior. 16 They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols. 17 They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God— gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your ancestors did not fear. 18 You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth. 19 The Lord saw this and rejected them because he was angered by his sons and daughters. 20 “I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful. 28 They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them. 29 If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be!” Micaiah said these people have no master. 1 Kings 22:17  “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd.”
                All this stems from setting the word of God aside and not obeying. We have been given a command but the command has been altered, changed completely and the emphasis put somewhere else. We were told to do this but we decided to do something all together different and then call it christianity. When God gives us a command we obey. “So Moses counted them, as he was commanded by the word of the Lord.” When we think about obedience we think of the military. One writer listed some of the virtues of those committed to the military. “Honour, courage, integrity, obedience, patriotism, self-sacrifice and loyalty. Of these, obedience is often claimed to be one of the most important. Obedience, it is argued, is not only necessary for swift and efficient military action but is also a character trait that demonstrates trust in one’s superiors and in the legitimacy of military demands. Military personnel need to cultivate the habit of obedience so that they do not hesitate when ordered to act.” Remembrance day was yesterday and we are called to remember and not forget. We are remembering those who laid down and are willing to lay down their lives to follow the commands of those above them. One definition of this command is, “In a military context, the chain of command is the line of authority and responsibility along which orders are passed within a military unit and between different units. Orders are transmitted down the chain of command, from a higher-ranked soldier, such as a commissioned officer, to lower-ranked personnel who either execute the order personally or transmit it down the chain as appropriate, until it is received by those expected to execute it.” As in all wars, the execution of these orders causes the loss of lives. The soldiers bravely did what they were commanded to do at the risk of giving their lives to follow those orders. So today we remember not only those fallen but also those living who have served. They are trained to obey and follow orders. I find it interesting that we can train military personal to follow orders unto death from a commanding officer or straight from the top, and men and women will willingly put their lives in harms way to carry out that command. We see this in many professions
                We Christians serve the sovereign king of kings, yet most Christians feel they can go their own way, do their own thing and believe they will not be held accountable like a soldier who is court-martialed for desertion in the face of the enemy. “The charge of desertion is more aggravated if it is committed in time of war or to avoid hazardous service.” So if we can follow a human commander unto death should we not be following the creator of the universe with everything we have without question? We talk a lot about the freedom we have here but are we really free. A dictatorship can be replaced with democracy yet still be in spiritual captivity just like here in Canada or the US as we appear to be free but not spiritually. The military machine can only accomplish a fight against flesh and blood; it cannot win in spiritual warfare. Like Remembrance Day, we as Christians are told not to forget and remember what Jesus Christ did for us. But in our remembering we don’t just celebrate at Easter, we live for him with our lives on the line all the while obeying everyday with a willingness to serve however God chooses. The power that comes from living this way brings us freedom no matter where we live or what is coming against us. Shadrach Meshach and Abednego show us this when they said. Daniel 3:16 “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
                This is obedience unto death. This is how we are supposed to live and not forget it. Deuteronomy 8:19 “If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.” We must always remember that Jesus said, Matthew 10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household! 26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. 32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.”
                So no matter what is happening to us, we must obey by the word of the Lord. How is it we can remember what man has done but forget what God has done? How is it we can forget the power that comes from what Jesus has done, the power that defeats our enemies. Ephesians 1:19 “That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” So we have soldiers in the church who are supposed to be soldiers with armour of light deserting their posts in times of war because they have not followed the chain of command and now are no longer under the authority of Jesus Christ and have no power. We have been given authority and power to be victorious but most have decided they do not need it. We have the promise of victory when we take the land but if we disobey we loose that power and the land.
                We read last week Deuteronomy 17:18 “When he (the king) takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.” Deuteronomy 17:16 “The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” 17 He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.” So they were told ahead of time just like they were told ahead of time not to take the devoted things. Deuteronomy 20:16 “However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.” Yet Achan decided to disobey at take the devoted things.  Then God tells Joshua Joshua 7:11 “Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.” “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.”
                Scripture is very clear that if we do not live by the word of the Lord we will not be able to stand against our enemies. Isn’t it interesting that much of the church does not teach about who our enemies are as far as the demonic (not flesh and blood by the way) and the lack of power that is considered normal Christianity? When we look at King Saul the first king. He was given all the power that he needed to be king. 1 Samuel 10:6 “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.” He was also told to wait for Samuel. 1 Samuel 13:7 “Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.”11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” 13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” Saul did this again 1 Samuel 15:7 “Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt. 8 He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. 9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.” Saul then looses everything. 1 Chronicles 10:13 “Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance, 14 and did not inquire of the Lord. So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.”
                Then we look at Solomon. Before we move on, this is very important to understand. Yes God turned completely away from Saul but he gave David a promise. 2 Samuel 7:11 “‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’” So many take this as God will bless us no matter what we do, whether we obey or not. This is where cheap grace comes into play even though there is no such thing. You can’t just say God will never take His love away from an individual, as you must understand this is a promise for David’s house to endure. There will always be a remnant. Does God love us? So much so that he gives us the choice to love him.
                We see this with Solomon. Now remember what we read in Deuteronomy about the king. Even with all of David’s blessings and charges to him he still disobeyed. 1 Kings 10:26 “Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt. 1 Kings 11:1 “King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites.
                If we do not live by the word of the Lord we will be defeated. God will no longer fight for us. Deuteronomy 28:25 “The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will come at them from one direction but flee from them in seven, and you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth.” Leviticus 26:17 “I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you.”36 “‘As for those of you who are left, I will make their hearts so fearful in the lands of their enemies that the sound of a windblown leaf will put them to flight. They will run as though fleeing from the sword, and they will fall, even though no one is pursuing them. 37 They will stumble over one another as though fleeing from the sword, even though no one is pursuing them. So you will not be able to stand before your enemies. 38 You will perish among the nations; the land of your enemies will devour you. 39 Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their ancestors’ sins they will waste away.”
                So we have been warned. 1 Kings 11:6 “So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done. 9 The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.” So yes because of the promise to David the remnant still prevailed, as it will today. But this does not mean there won’t be a great falling away as there is today. Millions have turned to other gospels and have fallen away because they no longer live by the word of the Lord. They have been deceived into living a powerless life void of the Holy Spirit and are content leaving it that way. Revelation 2:5 “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” Revelation 3:15 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
                Today we must return to living by the word of the Lord. We must turn away from the false teaching that has infiltrated the church. We cannot stand against our enemies if we don’t repent and return. If we do not we will not have the power that is available to all who believe. This has been made very clear to us and is the foundation of the gospel. Matthew 3:1 “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Matthew 4:12 “When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: 15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Mark 1:14 “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”  Now if there is still question that the kingdom is upon us, Matthew 12:28 “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Luke 11:20 “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” So this kingdom is not something that we are waiting for to happen in the false teaching of the millennium, it is available to all who believe but we have a problem. Like Israel we have disobeyed and gone our own way and God has turned his face from shining on us and what was once available is no longer. Judges 16:20 Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.”
                If we want the power to flow as intended we must repent and return and start from the beginning. Jesus preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” And so must we. We don’t preach that it is in the future. We don’t preach that it has ceased. We don’t quench the Spirit. We don’t turn a blind eye to the lack of power. We don’t have a form of godliness but deny its power. We don’t fall for a masquerade by satan. What we do is repent and return and wait just as we were told in the beginning. Luke 24:49 “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.” Acts 1:4 “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 8 But 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 to once again go to the ends of the earth in power we had better do it by the word of the Lord; anything else leaves us naked and ashamed. Revelation 3:18 “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”