Sermon: “Flawless”

         The word flawless means perfect, without mistakes. You might say a person has a flawless complexion, or their performance was flawless but much of that is in the eye of the beholder. Even still, most have no problem using the word flawless to describe things or people or even the actions of people. You may even be so fortunate enough to have gems that are considered flawless but even then, there are certain criteria to be met. But when it comes to God’s word, many who call themselves Christians are uncertain as to whether God’s word is flawless or not. They may not say it out loud but there are many who will. You hear people talk about contradictions or they listen to scientists who question God as the creator of the universe, especially in six days. Or they have not seen much of scripture take place in their own lives, so they question the validity of scripture so they follow their own tradition, reason and experience instead. Some even say the writers of the bible were of a different time and did not understand our times making scripture irrelevant. That is absurd because they are saying God doesn’t understand. A lack of understanding and knowledge is usually the culprit.

        Last week we talked about truth. If you think the bible is flawed, then you will struggle with truth. Some cannot even grasp that God created the world in six days nor can they grasp the world is not billions of years old. Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” For many they want God to fit in the box that they have created for Him and anything outside of that box, they reject or dismiss as relevant but by doing so have made themselves irrelevant before God. For example, many people struggle with this verse about God moving mountains because the god they have formed with their own hands cannot. Matthew 17:14 “When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” 17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” (That describes this generation also and as Peter said Acts 2:40 “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”) Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. (Also describes this generation) Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” This is the foundation of faith. Ask yourself if you truly believe God can move a real mountain. If you do, then you only need a little faith and nothing will be impossible. But instead of believing, they change the verse to mean the mountains in your life or like this song totally change its meaning. The group Mercy Me sings a song “Even if” and the one part of the lyrics says, “They say it only takes a little faith to move a mountain, well good thing a little faith is all I have, right now. But God, when You choose to leave mountains unmovable, Oh give me the strength to be able to sing It is well with my soul.” Then oddly they say “my hope is in you alone.” Actually, Jesus would say you of little faith. The verse is not talking about having little faith which means you don’t actually believe God’s word; it is talking about great faith that you only need a little of to move mountains. People say God has never moved a mountain, but the verse is about you believing whether God can move a mountain and since He created them, not a problem. Psalm 104:31 “May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works— 32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.”

        Another verse many have doubts about is when Jesus said John 14:11 “Believe me (that’s the key) when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”  Ask yourself if you believe what Jesus said. The previous verse said, “nothing will be impossible for you” and this one said, “you may ask for anything in my name and I will do it.” This does not happen in the man-made church with gods made by hand, so most think the lack of power is normal. Paul said Galatians 3:1 “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 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.”

         Again, the problem is unbelief and a lack of faith. Many change the meaning of the verse to coincide with their own powerless lives, a life in the flesh. We were told 1 John 3:8 “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” The only way to destroy the devil’s work is with power from on High, the same power that Jesus had and the early church. satan cannot be defeated by the flesh. The church was supposed to go out with the same authority and power of Jesus. Acts 8:5 “Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.” That was supposed to continue but it has not. Now the church mostly believes this verse is about volume not power. It is about gaining converts to join the church so that they believe as taught but they have fallen prey to other gospels, which are powerless. The church they have joined is not really the church Jesus intended it to be. They say many people will go out not just one or a few, but people are not going out in power so exactly what is they are doing?

         Just look at the disaster the church has become and there have been thousands going out. It is definitely not greater, if anything the church gets worse with each generation that passes. It is interesting to look at the building of the second temple. The building is diminished but the glory increases and now there is no building and the glory was supposed to be even greater. When the temple was being rebuilt and the foundation was laid Ezra 3:11 “With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.” Even though it would be smaller than the original God said Haggai 2:1 “On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 2 “Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, 3 ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? 4 But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’ 6 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”  Jesus meant it when He said “they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

         If the church hadn’t rebelled against God’s word and had continued to go out with authority and power that the church was supposed to have over the devil’s works, the return of Jesus to take us to eternity would have sped up. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 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.” Instead, everything has slowed down and due to rebellion, the church has been decimated by the works of the devil and millions have turned away because they really do not believe God’s word. Instead of millions being saved, millions have been lost because they have turned away from God’s word and followed satan’s deceptions. Yet 2 Timothy 2:19 “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

         The gospel just isn’t talking to people about Jesus, the gospel is also doing as Jesus did as we see here. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” His disciples also did the same. Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” When talking about healing and casting out demons, most don’t actually believe the church has the power to continue those works, even though that is what scripture tells us the disciples of Jesus would have. Mark 16:16 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” That lines up with Jesus sending out the twelve Mark 6:12 “They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” Matthew says the same. 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.” Jesus told us John 14:23 “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” When God dwells among us, the kingdom comes near and His power flows among us, then our enemies are defeated instead of our enemies defeating us.

         Instead of believing God’s word is flawless, the church spends more time talking about what the bible doesn’t mean, than it does believing what is right before our eyes. Many teach this way to cover over their flawed, empty and powerless ways. But if you read scripture and stop listening to the empty and powerless views of man, you will see that scripture is not flawed. 2 Timothy 3:16 “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.” 2 Peter 1:19 “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 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.” We are told 2 Samuel 22:31 “As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Proverbs 30:5 “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.” The church refuses to listen and continues to add and take away even though Psalm 19:7 “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. 10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.” Take the time to read Psalm 119. Psalm 119:1 “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. 2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. 89 Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. 130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”

         God’s word is flawless and perfect in every way. The bible is not a book but the living words of God. Deuteronomy 32:46 “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. 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.” The church as we see it today has fallen because it refuses to obey the flawless words of God. Instead of believing God’s word to be flawless and living by faith, the church has rebelled against God’s word to go their own ways and the power to defeat our enemies has been removed. Jeremiah 25:2 “So Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people of Judah and to all those living in Jerusalem: 3 For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened. 4 And though the Lord has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention. 5 They said, “Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the Lord gave to you and your ancestors for ever and ever. 6 Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not arouse my anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you.” 7 “But you did not listen to me,” declares the Lord, “and you have aroused my anger with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves.” 8 Therefore the Lord Almighty says this: “Because you have not listened to my words, 9 I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,” declares the Lord, “and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin. 10 I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”

         The same has happened to the church because the church has turned away to follow other gospels and the abomination that causes desolation has been allowed to decimate the church. Many have fallen for the lies of satan and have questioned if God really means what he says. As we saw above, yes He does mean what He says, but satan continues to deceive and the church continues to listen to his lies, the father of lies. satan got Adam and Eve to question God and the church continues to question God’s word to this day. Many people have fallen for satan’s lies like this one. When Job was being tested, the young and arrogant Elihu came to Job. Elihu was used by satan just as Job’s wife and friends were. Elihu said, Job 36:2 “Bear with me a little longer and I will show you that there is more to be said in God’s behalf. 3 I get my knowledge from afar; I will ascribe justice to my Maker. 4 Be assured that my words are not false; one who has perfect knowledge is with you.” Many in the church have listened to that voice because they have no discernment. Notice at the end of Job Elihu was not prayed for. God interrupted Elihu’s discourse and said Job 38:2 “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?” Yet Elihu said he was perfect in knowledge. Job did the right thing and though he did nothing wrong said Job 42:3 “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.” That is the appropriate response to God’s word. Remember satan’s plan from the beginning was to get Job to curse God. Job 1:9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” Job’s wife said Job 2:9 “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” That was satan’s’ voice. Job did not listen even  though satan used those like his friends, his wife and those around him to get Job to turn against God, but Job said Job 27:2 “As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made my life bitter, 3 as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, 4 my lips will not say anything wicked, and my tongue will not utter lies. 5 I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. 6 I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.” God said Job 42:8 “My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” He then blessed Job with twice as much as he had before.

        God’s word being flawless really comes down to whether you believe God’s word to be true. John 6:35 “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Today most people are starving. We were warned Amos 8:11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” For many the bible is boring and irrelevant and definitely not their source of life. For others they read the bible but don’t actually think that what they read is possible for today. John 5:37 “You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” Many have scripture memorized but have no idea the power that is available to those who believe. Many go to church week after week but have no idea who the God is that they worship. The bible to them is just a story about Jesus, not a guide to a life of power and doing as Jesus did. Week after week people hear the word of God preached but are still deceived. 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.” John 3:18 “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.” Because of unbelief, the church is filled with the deceived and delusional. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

         There is no one who can compare to our flawless God. Psalm 86:8 “Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours.” Psalm 89:6 “For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord? 8 Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. 11 The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. 16 They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness.” The church needs to return to God’s flawless words and turn away from empty and powerless ways. Psalm 119:97 “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. 98 Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. 99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. 100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. 101 I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. 102 I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. 103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” 

         Is the word of God your daily bread? (not the devotional) 1 Peter 2:2 “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” Do you read and believe what you read is possible for today and that in fact God can move mountains? Don’t keep God in the box you have created for him with the help of those who have taught you. Deuteronomy 10:14 “To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.” 2 Chronicles 6:18 “The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you.” So don’t put God in a box of your understanding but ask God to give you greater understanding. Psalm 119:34 “Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart.” Proverbs 2:1 “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— 3 indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Ephesians 1:17 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. 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, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”