Benediction: Deuteronomy 26:15 “Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Nehemiah 9:31 “But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.”
Last week we talked about waiting and the importance of following God’s directive to wait even when our eyes can’t see the plans he intends to unfold for us. As we wait we must wait with wholehearted anticipation as we believe God at His word and stand firm upon it. The anticipation means “waiting eagerly for something you know is going to happen.” How do we know; the bible tells me so! In this desolate state the church is in, we must be perfect in our waiting in order to be successful. Yes most are told they already have the Holy Spirit so why wait just go; yet there is no power. They are told to go and are being sent out to stand against satan without the power to defeat him. Even though some look successful, they are instantly defeated because they have gone in their own power. Being clothed with power and then being sent is something totally different than going on your own. This power allows you to carry on the work Jesus started and the devil will continue to be defeated but only in the power of the Holy Spirit will this happen. We will take the land once again just as our ancestors were directed.
Obedience starts with the word of God. We obey when we wait. We disobey by not waiting. All satan has to do is to get you to turn against God’s word and do it yourself and he wins. Remember if this happens you will spend eternity with him. Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” The deception that has overcome the church is massive. Jesus warned us not to be deceived yet the church did not heed His warning and continues to ignore His warnings. Jeremiah 23:21 “I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. 32 Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord.” People in the church have been deceived by false gospels by the millions yet they have no idea that they will hear depart from when it is to late.
But what happens for those who wait for the promises of God to unfold. Those who are willing to wait for God’s plan will see all that he has promised us. Yet at this point most will not wait and will not see his promises. Yet for those who turned away from the empty ways hands down to us Joshua tells us Joshua 21:45 “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. Joshua 23:14 “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. 1 Kings 8:56 “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.” Is it worth it to wait with wholehearted anticipation? Isaiah says it is. Isaiah 64:4 “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”
We talked about the disciples not believing that on the third day all that Jesus said would be fulfilled. The same goes when we do not wait for God’s promises to be fulfilled. When we do not wait on God the enemy advances against us. Isaiah 37:3 “This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them. 4 It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the Lord your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives.” We too are surrounded by the enemy, just as Hezekiah was and we are about to be destroyed but the promise to David with stand forever for those who turn back to the truth. Isaiah responded Isaiah 37:31 “Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. 32 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. 35 “I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant!” So we wait and as we wait we get stronger and stronger so that when God’s plan does unfold and it will, we will go into battle and be victorious because God goes before us and no one will stand against us and everywhere we set our feet will be ours.
Is it worth it to wait on the word of the Lord? The answer is simply; where do you want to spend eternity. The answer should be 1 Thessalonians 4:17 “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23 “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” If we choose not to wait then the opposite is to be with satan and his angels forever. You would think the answer would be straightforward but due to the deception, delusion, ignorance and stubbornness of the church, they simply refuse to follow his word and obey his commands. They have no problem obeying man’s word but they will not test the spirits nor do they think they have to as most have been taught that deception will happen in the end times. They have no idea that deception is upon them already. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.” Paul also said Romans 13:11 “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” We must anticipate the end just as the disciples did.
Peter said 1 Peter 4:7 “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” He goes on to say 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” King Asa was told 2 Chronicles 15:7 “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” 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. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
If we do not wait, we cannot stand firm. So many have already turned away by following false gospels as many false prophets have already appeared and have deceived many. 1 John 2:18 “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” 2 John 1:6 “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.” Love is walking in God’s commandments and obeying them. It also means you do not join together with those who teacher these false gospels. Jesus said Luke 21:8 “He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.” Many no longer love as they have stopped following God’s word and do not adhere to it.
We made a decision never to return to the empty ways of our fathers. We have turned from our wicked ways and we continue to we wait because we trust in God’s word. John 5:24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” We have chosen to believe God’s word. This required us to change and stop believing in men that have led us so far astray. Yes lots of people say they believe in Jesus but they don’t actually know the Jesus that is the way truth and life. They have been duped into believing a false gospel about Jesus. 2 Kings 17:34 “To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the Lord nor adhere to the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel.” Our eyes and ears were opened to the truth of God’s word and we have turned and repented from our wicked ways. We have returned to following the word of God and not the words of man. 1 John 3:23 “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” John 14:15 “If you love me keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.” John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
By persisting in our waiting, God will fulfill his promise to us. James 5:11 “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” We serve an amazing God because all we deserve is death and nothing more. Psalm 103:1 “Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. 7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. 15 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; 16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— 18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. 19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. 21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. 22 Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, my soul.”
God is so gracious as those who went before us did not follow his word but went their own ways and wrote their own truth. Ezra prayed Ezra 9:6 “I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. 7 From the days of our ancestors until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today. 8 “But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage. 9 Though we are slaves, our God has not forsaken us in our bondage. He has shown us kindness in the sight of the kings of Persia: He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, and he has given us a wall of protection in Judah and Jerusalem.” Nehemiah 9:29 “You warned them in order to turn them back to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, of which you said, ‘The person who obeys them will live by them.’ Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen. 30 For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you warned them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you gave them into the hands of the neighboring peoples. 31 But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.” 2 kings 13:23 “But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.”
As we know eventually Israel and Judah were taken into captivity by the Babylonians. 2 Chronicles 36:15 “The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. 18 He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19 They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there. 20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power.” Yet God said Jeremiah 29:14 “I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” 2 Chronicles 26:21 “The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.”
The same thing has happened today as God’s word has been ignored except most have decided they do not need to return to the Lord nor do they seek him. The deception and delusion is so great most Christians feel they are eternally secure and have nothing to fear, yet at the same time they have no idea what the fear of the Lord is. Proverbs tells us that Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Most people today who go to church really do not want to be taught, they just want their ears scratched. 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Just as we read in 2 Chronicles 26:16 “they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy.” Because God has turned his face from shining on us, we have also not only lost the power of the Holy Spirit but knowledge and understanding also and people continue in their own ways. Jeremiah 8:6 “I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.”
For example we have King Uzziah. 2 Chronicles 26:3 “Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 4 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5 He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success. His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful.” His story sounds as it should; fear the Lord and do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. 16 But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God.” Psalm 10:4 “In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” King Uzziah did not respect the word of the Lord and paid for it with leprosy until the day he died. When we go our own way, we stop revering the word of the Lord. Deuteronomy 13:4 “It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.” 1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.” We stop honoring God as Holy if we do not revere him wholeheartedly.
When Samuel was preparing the people for the king they wanted he said, 1 Samuel 12:13 “Now here is the king you have chosen, the one you asked for; see, the Lord has set a king over you. 14 If you fear the Lord and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God—good! 15 But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you, as it was against your ancestors.” He then said to the people 20 “Do not be afraid,” Samuel replied. “You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. 22 For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own. 23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 25 Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.”
We saw what happened to Saul, Solomon and Uzziah just to name a few. They disobeyed and did not follow the word of the Lord. We live in a day where the church has done the same thing. They have gone their own way and have not followed wholeheartedly. Caleb was told Numbers 14:24 “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” If we are to cross into the land of promise, our hearts must be fully committed to serving the Lord. We must test the spirits to make sure we are following the true gospel. We live in a day where everyone thinks they are following God’s word yet most believe in something different so how can that be. Most will not turn from their wicked ways and will face the wrath of God. King Solomon had prayed 1 Kings 8:56 “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. 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.” He knew what to do yet failed to do so. God even appeared to him twice and blessed him abundantly. God said 1 Kings 11:9 “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.”
We have the word of God before us and we should know what to do but for most their eyes and ears are closed. Matthew 13:15 “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” Daniel prayed Daniel 9:18 “Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.” 2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.”
We have a choice to obey or disobey. 2 Chronicles 7:17 goes on to say, “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’ 19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All[c] who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’”
If the remnant is to rise up, we must follow wholeheartedly and wait with anticipation because we have a promise. 1 Kings 8:25 “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.” 1 Corinthians 15:2” By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” Colossians 1:23 “if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.” Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” This gospel isn’t about going to a church but the church being clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit and being sent out into the world to take back the land. It is not the place you go to worship but the places you are sent. Acts 1:4 “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “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.” Mark 16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”
As we wait know that we have made a commitment to serve with our lives no matter the cost. Luke 14:25 “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Mark 10:29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Not only do we anticipate the final return our Jesus we anticipate the pouring out of His Spirit once again, clothing us with power to go to the end of the earth. Hold on to God’s word with all you have but let go of mans word as quick as you can. Trust in the Lord and his plan will unfold in our lives. David said, 2 Samuel 7:28 “Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. 29 Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.” Thank you Lord for keep your promise to David. We too will say, 2 Chronicles 6:15 “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.” 2 Chronicles 1:9 “Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed.”