One of the changes I have always wanted to do was to have a time of reflection following the service. There will be some questions we will save till our bible study, as the study will be an in-depth look into the sermons. For example one of the main topics that has come up in the past sermons is the war we are in against satan. Revelation 11:15 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” 16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.” Acts 26:17 “I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Paul said in Acts 26:20 “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.” We need to be able to demonstrate what we have been learning. We need to be able to move out from here in knowledge and understanding. We live in an Internet age so we are all connected either by text email. This is how we communicate. The website we have is to help us help others and ourselves. We need to be familiar with the website. Everything is there that you need. The first page covers everything. Here is a screen shot of the first page. So if you are talking to someone you can lead them to this page. We have always had business cards with information on it also. Having said this I also know we are waiting on God for power so at this point what we are doing is for our growth.
So during the service it would be good to bring a pen and paper or whatever you uses to remember things. Jot things down that you feel lets examine this further or any questions. I guarantee I won’t always have the answer right aware. I like this because it forces us to look in scripture so that may be something we finish up in bible study. Remember that you also bear great responsibility not just the pastor.
I think it is very easy to leave and not pursue it any further. This I think is what church has become. I went to church and.. I went again. It should be much more than that. The services are posted on line. Anything that has been written, there is a notification sent out by email or Facebook twitter then you have it. You can print off a copy of the sermon, which contains all the scripture. I can only leave the Sunday services up for about a month but all the blogs are there. The sermons will be transferred to the blogs.
Now if there is no interaction we will pray and close the service. I won’t keep singing just as I am. I will ask if no answer we can move on. Now there might be Sundays where we get into some good discussions so we may move it to the table and have a beverage. If you need to leave you are always welcome to do that.
Last week we looked into legacies and we saw how everyone will leave a legacy good or bad or mediocre. Today I want to continue talking about what it is we will be leaving behind. The word perpetuating means to cause something to continue, preserve or maintain. Now obviously we are talking about perpetuating our faith. Jesus said John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Since Jesus obviously meant this, then we must perpetuate the truth. He also said 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.” So, really there are only two choices to perpetuate; hot or cold. If you choose to perpetuate lukewarm you have chosen death and destruction as opposed to life and prosperity. To stay hot we must maintain the heat source. It doesn’t take long to loose the fire and grow cold otherwise. Revelation 2:4 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 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.” Is that God’s fault? No because he allows us to choose. Just to show you how fast this happens, 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.” We need to remember this can happen fast. David and Solomon gave us this example. Then Jeroboam showed us how this could affect generations of people. Remember this warning to the church was written to the early church.
Last week I asked us to think about the spiritual legacy we would leave if we were to die. You can also ask yourself what legacy are you preparing to leave because you do not know when you will die? Now I think it is obvious if God doesn’t force us to choose, then we can’t force others to choose either. We cannot make someone follow. They tried that with legalism and that definitely did not work and does not work. All we can do is teach them the way, the truth and the life. Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. The ESV says, “6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. This applies to new Christians also so we had better get it right. 2 John 1:4 “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.” When you are driving and the GPS says go this way and you say no I will go my own way and you end up lost, who’s fault is that. The problem we have today is most Christians or those who call themselves followers of Jesus don’t realize they have been disconnected. They continue to go their own way all the while thinking God is blessing them but scripture makes it clear that their end will be destruction. There is no fear of God in the land so no one is too concerned. This is where a lack of knowledge leads to death. You might say I was raised in a church; I did what I was told yet in the end you may hear from Jesus away from me I don’t know you. That is not the time to find out.
We saw in Judges that turning away happens fast. But it also happens slowly. A slight change can alter your course drastically just as major changes can. This is what has been happening for generations since Laodicea. The big changes such as someone coming along and saying I am Jesus follow me is easy to see yet many choose to follow these people. I watched a video of this; Sergey in Siberia, David in London and Apollo in the Philippines, whom I saw was on TV yesterday all claiming to be the son of God. If you read your bible it is easy to see they are not, yet many are deceived. The subtle changes that are happening are changes to the words of Jesus. Deleting, adding and changing the meaning have deceived more than those claiming to be Jesus. These changes are formulated into doctrines and theology, in some cases called doctrines of demons and then over time they become equivalent to the words of Jesus himself and great deception has taken place. We have whole denominations leading its people astray. Christians then talk of these man/demonic views as gospel when they are far from it. John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. satan’s only job is to deceive us and destroy us. Again if you read your bible and listen to the Spirit you can discern the truth and see the deception because you will be listening to the voice of Jesus, as the sheep know the shepherds voice.
So we must be introspective / self examining in light of the word of God and be prepared to change. Remember that is why people do not want to get into the light. John 3:19 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” And then they repent and the Kingdom comes near. Our job is to join Paul, Acts 26:18 “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” For example lets say there is a hostage situation. You then put together a special forces team knowing this team has the power to free the hostages. The powers that be then give the order go free them. This is good news but are they free yet. They are not free until that team removes them from captivity with the power and authority they were given. We are being sent by Jesus to carry out His mission to free the captives from the power of satan and bring them into the light. So the powers at be call Bob he has no abilities what so ever on his own. They say go free the captives and he is killed immediately. So no, Bob is not going. One trained in combat will go. The good news like David, someone like Bob under the power of the Holy Spirit becomes a mighty warrior Gideon.
This is to be our legacy but we cannot do this without the power of the Holy Spirit. So for now our legacy needs to be like Josiah and turn back to God with everything we have so that God will once again turn his face to shine upon us once again giving us the power to fight the dark forces against us. Up until now the legacy that has been handed down from our fathers is an empty way totally void of power. So this is why we say we no longer want to be part of it. We no longer will attempt to battle without power. 2 Timothy 3:5 “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” Many Christians blatantly pronounce that God no longer does what he did in the earlier church. This empty way of life is generations of subtle and large changes in theology and doctrines. The true legacy handed down should be the same one handed down by Jesus, ths the word of God. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 1:6 “You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4 “But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
The bottom line is we need to go back to the beginning and do what we are supposed to do. Love God and keep his commandments. We need great discernment to get rid of false teachings, suggestions, dreams, inclinations etc. and return to the word of God. As I have said before we are not Baptist Methodist Catholic … Christians, we are supposed to be followers of Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus was anointed in power, just as the disciples were anointed in power so too do we need to be also to fight this war we are in. This is what we are seeking. So we ask; are we perpetuating our fathers wishes, our mothers wishes, our families wishes, our friends wishes, some evangelist wishes on TV wishes, a preacher in front of you or are we taking the word of God and doing what it says and as 2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Yes that refers to me but it also refers to you. We are all a kingdom of priests. You see many; yes even most Christians will tell you what they have been brought up with and not necessarily what scripture says. For example if you were told you prayed when you were five or were dedicated or baptized you are good to go. This teaching has left many hearing from Jesus I don’t know you because they were deceived into thinking they did not have to live for Jesus wholeheartedly. Paul said Acts 26:20 “First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.” Teaching that you can live however you want and nothing can snatch you from His hand has been detrimental to many lives. John 10:28 “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” This passage talks about obedience and knowing Jesus voice. We know from scripture that disobedience always leads to defeat. So if you are not listening you loose. Matthew 13:19 “When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart.” This is an advertisement for bible study and our question and prayer time. The odds are that if you hear something you are not sure on during the service, you probably wont pursue it and satan will snatch it from your heart. This gospel of eternal security no matter what is dangerous. So we make sure of our salvation. Yes we have great hope as Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” but 2 Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” Many proponents of this teaching do not believe there is power available and thus are teaching a false doctrine and while they teaching security are causing those that listen to stumble and fall from their secure postions.
So we know we live in a time of great deception and the church stands in desolation. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 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.” So we were already warned many times. Since this power is at work in those who do not believe we do not want to be associated with them. That’s why 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us “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.” Jesus tells us Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” I am pretty sure he meant the time is come when he said it. Why? He then showed us what it looked like and then empowered us to do the same.
So to leave a legacy we choose to obey and follow the life of Jesus. Because we live in perilous times, we need to believe all that is available to us as laid out in scripture. We stop listening to man’s nonsense and we wait. We have to wait because of all man’s nonsense and disobedience. Jesus said to his disciples Luke 24:5 “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 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.” We need this power so that we too can defeat satan. If we do not wait for Gods power in obedience we loose. We will not free anyone from captivity.
So will your legacy be good to good or evil to good, or good to evil, or evil to evil. What will it be? Choose this day. Revelation 12:10 “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah.” We have a king so we do not have to live as Micaiah saw in 1 Kings 22:17 “Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, We do not have to do what Solomon did, or Jeroboam or the many others did and turn away. Judges 21:25 “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” This is not how it is supposed to be. We are not to be like the generation in Judges who turned away. But this describes our day. Judges 2:11 “Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 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. 18 Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. 19 But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.”
This was the legacy of the kings of Israel. 2 Kings 15 “they did evil in the eyes of the Lord. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam.” Even the kings of Judah turned away. 2 Kings 16:2 “Unlike David his father, Ahaz did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God. 3 He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. It should have been 2 Kings 18:3 “Hezekiah son of Ahaz did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. 5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. 6 He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. 7 And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. Sadly later his pride ruined him even after the amazing things God did for him. Manasseh, Hezekiah’s son became king and he was just nasty. You can read it for yourself in 2 Chronicles 33. But an amazing thing happened; he repented. 2 Chronicles 33:12 “In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.” Many will say we do not serve other gods but the answer is yes you do if you follow false gospels. You will be sacrificing your children to the enemy.
So will you choose correctly? What will you perpetuate? Will you seek the Lord with everything you have or will you blindly accept the way those who have gone before you have laid out. Since there is only a small remnant left, I am going to say you will be safe in repenting and getting back on track as most Christians are off track as they have been deceived. Yes there will be opposition from satan, family, friends when you get back on track and come out of the darkness and captivity. It could affect your job, your life but you will only be worried about what God thinks. He wants to strengthen you but you must be fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. Your ambitions will change or God will give you ambition for his purposes but you will serve him no matter the cost and he will be with you. So because God is angry with us he has turned his face from shining on us.“2 Kings 22:13 “Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.” We do not want that said about us. Like Josiah we want to hear. 2 Kings 23:25 “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.” 2 Chronicles 29:6 “Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him.” This is what happens when you follow false gospels.
So I leave you with this letter form Hezekiah “People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8 Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 9 If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.”
Numbers 6:24 “‘“The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’