Call to Worship:  Psalm 119:89 “Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” 1 Samuel 2:2 “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” Psalm 86:10 “For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.” Isaiah 37:16 “Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.”
    Songs:   You Are God Alone -  Steve Green 
    Yours Is the Kingdom  - Hillsong
    The Solid Rock  -  Nicol Sponberg                                           
    Jesus, Firm Foundation - Chapman, Mandisa, Mark                                                                                                           Hall, Mike Donehey & Steven Curtis  
    Scripture:  Psalm 56
    Song:  Courageous  - Casting Crowns
    Sermon:   “Standing Firm on the Word of God
    Closing Song:   Stand (The Way) -  Kutless          
    Benediction:   Psalm 112:1 “Praise the LORD. Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands. 2 Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever. 4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. 5 Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. 6 Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. 7 They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD. 8 Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. 9 They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever; their horn will be lifted high in honor. 10 The wicked will see and be vexed, they will gnash their teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.”
    Sermon: “Standing Firm on the Word of God”
                Today is the second Sunday of our Lenten Journey. Our theme is the “Joy of Redeemed.” This morning I watched the moon once again displaying the promises of God. As I was looking out the window I decided I needed a better view, so I got in the car and went for a drive. As I was heading west, I think if I had had my passport I would have kept going as the moon was spectacular even though it was not quite full. I went as far as Nauvoo Road. As I turned around to come home on the 402, I watched the sun rising ahead of me and the moon setting in my rearview mirror. Tomorrow is the super moon, which means it will be on full display. This will be 2020’s second-closest—so second-biggest—full moon. The writer I was looking at for information said, “For me, the rising of the full moon is always a moment to plan a half-hour escape from a busy day to watch nature at its majestic best … if it’s not cloudy.” Yes everyone should stop what they are doing and watch but they need to listen also. I agree it is majestic but its not nature displaying its splendor. Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Psalm 89:35 “Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness—and I will not lie to David— 36 that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; 37 it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.” Just as God used the rainbow as reminder of His covenant with the earth that Genesis 9:15 “never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life, God has set the moon and sun in place so that all can see and be reminded of the promises to David. As we think about God’s promise we pray. Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
                This week we have been talking about God having mercy because those who have gone before us have not adhered to God’s word. They did not remain steadfast and God has looked away. But as the moon shows us, if we return to God he will return to us and fulfill his promise. 2 Chronicles 23:3 “Jehoiada said to them, “The king’s son shall reign, as the Lord promised concerning the descendants of David.” So we continue to pray Psalm 79:8 “Do not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.” We have been paying a heavy price for this disobedience to God’s word as we have been born into the captivity of deception and most are none the wiser, hence the deception. Yes Jesus came as the light of the world but now as the Jews did not receive him, the Gentiles haven’t either. So what we read in the Old Testament shows us what happens when we reject the word of God. Gideon shows us what it is like to grow up in captivity and be freed from it. Judges 6:12 “When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” 13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian. 14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you? 15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family. 16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you,” So the enemy has had us in captivity for a long time but the good news is God wants to set us free. This is why we are filled with joy. Like Israel in Egypt and Babylon our captivity is coming to an end.
                As we continue to look at Esther, we see God’s people in captivity. This happened just as God said it would because His people refused to obey. They did not obey so they were exiled and only a remnant was left due to the promise God gave David. The amazing part of this is that God had a plan to save the remnant from annihilation when all hope was gone. Today our focus is on the faith of Mordecai. This is a man who stood firm. 1 Peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” Since you have read Esther, I won’t give all the details but just the highlights. We saw how Mordecai had uncovered a conspiracy that saved the king, which was then recorded in the book of the annals. We then see why Haman is enraged / furious with Mordecai.  Esther 4:1 “King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles. 2 All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor. 3 Then the royal officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king’s command?” 4 Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply. Therefore they told Haman about it to see whether Mordecai’s behavior would be tolerated, for he had told them he was a Jew.”
                We are then told this enraged Haman, so he plotted to destroy him. Next week we will be looking at the arrogance of the enemy, which leads to their own destruction. Esther 4:5 “When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. 6 Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.” The next two blogs will be talking about Purim on March 10th. Later we see Haman fuming once again. Esther 5:9 “Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai.”
                So that was the backdrop for the book of Esther. Mordecai refused to bow to Haman. If he had just bowed and acted like everyone else who was bowing, everything would have gone better, but he didn’t bow nor would he ever bow. He stood firm and refused to bow and was unafraid. This refusal to bow caused his enemy to be filled with rage. Not only was he filled with rage; he had the power to have Mordecai and his people killed. Mordecai was prepared to die for his beliefs. Now before I go on it is important to understand the difference between standing firm for God and being obstinate / stubborn or stiff-necked. Standing firm for God means you are standing on God’s word and no matter what the consequences you will follow wholeheartedly. There are also many who follow their beliefs no matter what and yes they too stand firm but they are not standing on God’s word but standing on religion. No matter what, these people will not change. Obstinate can be defined as “stubbornly refusing to change one's opinion or chosen course of action, despite attempts to persuade one to do so.” So it is imperative that you stand for the truth. Here is the difference. One will have God working for you and the other won’t. When you stand firm of God’s word, you have the power of God on your side. You understand that whether you live or die, your life is about God’s plans not yours. Psalm 33:11 “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” We saw this when Mordecai was saved because the king couldn’t sleep. God was already at work. Mordecai knew the power Haman had over him yet he did not fear him because he feared His God. There was no way he would bow to Haman.
               Another example of the kind of faith Mordecai had is found in the book of Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar had made an image of gold. Daniel 3:4 “Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: 5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” Again there were those who denounced the Jews just like Haman did. They then said to the king, Daniel 3:12 “But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.” We then see another person 13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. 14 “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” Now this is their response. 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.” These men were prepared to die and stood firm in their faith in God. God then did an amazing thing and saved them. Daniel 3:28 “Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.” Isaiah 43:1 “But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. 3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Mark 16:15 “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 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.”
                We also saw Daniel stand firm in His faith. Now because God had blessed Daniel so much, the others were jealous of him. So they came up with this plan. Daniel 6:5 “Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.” 6 So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever! 7 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. 8 Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” 9 So King Darius put the decree in writing.” Even so Daniel stood firm. 10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. (remember it was Daniel who faithfully prayed asking for their freedom. God answered him because he was highly esteemed) 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.” 16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” The king then went to him “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” 21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.” 23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.” These were not docile sleepy lions. 24 At the king’s command, the men (and their families) who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.”
                We also see the apostle Paul stand firm whether he was going to live or die. Acts 21:10 “After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles. 12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” 15 After this, we started on our way up to Jerusalem.” Paul said in Philippians 1:18 “Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.” We also saw a man named Stephen who stood firm and preached the word of God and was murdered for doing so. Acts 7:57 “At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.”
                Let me just say again. You can be zealous / passionate for the wrong belief. You had better make sure you are standing firm on God’s word and not on mans thoughts about God’s word. The power of the enemy is real as are the fire and the lions. You do not want to stand firm, die and then hear Matthew 25:12 “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.” Man cannot save you. Standing firm is not the same as obstinacy and being stiff necked. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” We must follow the word of God not words about God.
                This is an example of not standing firm in the face of the enemy. God told King Saul to wait. When standing firm you are ready for battle not flight. 1 Samuel 13:6 “When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. 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.” This is a reminder that when God says wait he means it. Stand firm until He acts!
                We live in a day where people think they are safe and secure from all alarm but the watch keepers should have been sounding the alarms that the enemy has advanced against us. Because of this they have fallen from their secure positions. 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.” Too many in the church were zealous for their own beliefs. 1 Corinthians 10:12 “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” Because the church has not stood firm on God’s word, the enemy has advanced against us and taken us captive. The church believes they are the ones who save, not Jesus. They do everything in their power to keep the wheels turning and yes some are very good at it but there is no power. It is just a giant hamster wheel.
                You are not going to stand firm if you do not trust God to save you as we saw with Saul. He figured he had to take care of things himself. He and his army should have stood their ground and Samuel would have come just as he said he would. 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” Standing firm also takes our faith a step further by standing firm even if God doesn’t save you and you die. Hebrews 11:32 “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.” Standing firm means you will follow God wholeheartedly no matter what. Hebrews 13:6 “So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” If we really believe Jesus there is no fear of death and death has no sting. John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
                When we think of Mordecai and Esther, they were both willing to die for their faith in God. Even Esther risked her life when she stood before the King to make her request. Like Mordecai our enemies rage against us and continue to do so. Acts 4:25 “‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.” Everywhere you look you see the word of God trampled and ignored. God’s word is mocked, as are those who live by it. I read this one article by a so-called theologian (study of God) who decided the bible should be read a myth and the power of God removed from it. He said too much of the bible is unbelievable, impossible, too miracuoues, stories are borrowed and so on. IN the end it became about your own views. This was ignorance at its peak, actually, utter unbelief in God. The bible is the word of God. 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.” John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Our counterfeit theologian doesn’t know who God is. When we take a stand for God’s word, we will offend people just as God’s word offends people. This is why Jesus warned us when he said Matthew 10:22 “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Isaiah 7:9 “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’” No matter what is happening around us, we must stand firm and remain steadfast. 1 Peter 5:9 “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” In Thessalonians we see these believers stand firm in their faith. 1 Thessalonians 2:3 “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone 16 in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.” There are guilty because they refuse to love the truth. 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.”
                As the church rises up and as history shows us, there will be those who hate us just a Jesus said there would be, so we need to stand firm no matter what. God’s word gives us great hope in standing firm for Him. Standing firm is a stance of power. You are not leaning backwards on your heels. Isaiah 50:7 “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” There will also be those come at you who think they know better. This is seen in this example of standing firm. Job lost everything but stood firm. After loosing everything his so called friends came to console him, well not really as they tried to convince him he was wrong. After Job lost everything he said Job 1:21 “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” His body then fell apart and still he said, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job 19:25 “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.” So after hearing from his friends tell Job who God was and tell him over and over that he was wrong and a sinner, Job stood firm set his face like flint and 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.” Job stood firm and in the end God said Job 42:7 “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. 10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.”
                We then see what standing firm looks like in the face of obstinance . This description of Ezekiel is how we have to be also. Ezekiel 3:4 He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them. 5 You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel— 6 not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. 8 But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9 I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.” Jeremiah 17:7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
                Standing firm on God’s word means you believe God at His word and your only response is that you will never back down. Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 11 “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. 12 Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. 13 For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. 14 Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Exodus 14:13 “Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.” The good news is that God is with us. 2 Chronicles 20:17 “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’” When it comes to fighting our enemies, God is stronger. Hezekiah said to the people when Sennacherib attacking. 2 Chronicles 32:7 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. 8 With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.”
                Jesus warned us not be deceived and the church did not listen. Isaiah says Isaiah 65:1 “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’ 2 All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations— 3 a people who continually provoke me to my very face.” The church still does this so we must stand firm against the deception no matter what it costs us. Paul tells 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” If we follow false gospels it will be in vain. We must be clothed with power. Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
                God has called us to stand firm on His word. By doing so he said he would protect us. By standing on His word we will have no fear of living or dying for Him as long as we fear Him and trust Him. There are two responses we will hear on that day of judgment but only one judgment will be given. It was said about Josiah in 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.” This is our calling. We must turn from the wicked ways handed down to us and as Peter said save ourselves from this wicked generation. We cannot stand firm while being naked and ashamed as described in Revelation. To the church of Laodicea it was 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. 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. 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.” As a reminder we are talking about the church not those who do not believe. The first response from God is the one we want to hear. Matthew 25:21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” The second one we don’t want to hear but many who think they are going to hear the first one will be filled with sorrow. Luke 13:22 “Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our  streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers! 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”” James 5:8 “You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” Revelation 22:20 “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”
                So we continue to wait for God’s plan to unfold. God is faithful to those who seek Him. Psalm 40:1 “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him. 4 Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. 5 Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.”
                 Mordecai stood firm. Haman is then put death and the Jews were saved. We need to trust God and God will protect us. It is important that you understand that if you live or die you will trust God. It’s not about your plans but God’s plans. God has given us a promise, he’s going to help us and make His name know to the world. His plan will unfold if we stand firm on His word.