What Has Happened To The Church In America

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE CHURCH IN AMERICA

IT IS MY DESIRE TO CHALLENGE YOU…. TO GET YOU THINKING AND TO GET YOU MOVING… TO GET YOU MOVING IN A SPIRITUAL DIRECTION…. TO HELP YOU GROW…. TO BE STRETCHED… TO GIVE YOU FOOD FOR THOUGHT…. IT IS TIME… GOD WANTS ALL OF YOU…. IF YOU ARE HIS CHILD DO NOT BE THE PRODIGAL CHILD…. DO NOT THINK YOU CAN COAST THROUGH HOLINESS….

Titus 3:1-7 (NASB)

1  Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,

2  to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.

3  For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice (the intention to do evil to someone) and envy (the feeling of being discontent and the desire to have what others have), hateful, hating one another.

4  But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,

5  He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

6  whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

7  so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

WHEN WE HEAR THE WORD REVIVAL…. THERE MAY BE THINGS THAT ARE CONJURED UP IN YOUR MIND AND IN YOUR MINDS EYE…. TENTS…. HELL FIRE PREACHING…. SALVATION…. TEMPORARY…. STRANGE ACTS…. CONFUSION…. PEOPLE RANTING AND RAVING…. LAUGHTER…. THERE ARE MANY THINGS WE ASSOCIATE WITH REVIVAL….. you most likely have your own perception of revival… maybe some good and some not so good

HERE IS MY WORD WHEN I HEAR REVIVAL…. PROBLEMS…. SOMETHING IS NEAR DEATH OR HAS FALLEN OUT OF WHAT IS EXPECTED…AND NEEDS NEW LIFE…. COMPLACENCY SET IN…. APATHY…. A DRIFTING AWAY… A FALLING BACKWARDS… OR A BACKSLIDING….REVIVAL EQUATES A NEED…. A MOVEMENT HAS TAKEN PLACE AND IT IS AWAY FROM GOD

WHENEVER THE WORD OF GOD SPEAKS OF REVIVAL IT ALWAYS ENTAILS A PROBLEM…. IT CONVEYS A RETURN TO WHAT WAS…. IT CONVEYS A DRIFTING AWAY… AND A NEED TO RETURN…. REVIVAL IS NOT ABOUT SALVATION IN THE BIBLE… IT IS ABOUT RESTORATION… IT IS ABOUT RESTORING WHAT ONCE WAS…

IF A PERSON IS DEAD IN THEIR SINS AND TRESPASSES ….

Ephesians 2:1-2 (NASB)

1  And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

2  in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

YOU DO NOT REVIVE DEAD PEOPLE…. IF A PERSON IS SPIRITUALLY DEAD…. THEY NEED TO BE MADE ALIVE FIRST….THIS IS THE ACT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ON A PERSONS LIFE….. THEY ARE MADE ALIVE IN CHIRST…..

Ephesians 2:4-5 (NASB)

4  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

5  even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

THEN IF THAT SPIRITUALLY ALIVE PERSON FALLS AWAY OR THEY PASS OUT WHILE ON THEIR WALK…. THEN THEY NEED TO BE REVIVED…BROUGHT BACK AROUND… TO RESTORE….

Psalm 69:32 (NASB77)

32  The humble have seen it and are glad; You who seek God, let your heart revive.

Psalm 71:20 (NASB77)

20  Thou, who hast shown me many troubles and distresses, Wilt revive me again, And wilt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

Psalm 80:18 (NASB77)

18  Then we shall not turn back from Thee; Revive us, and we will call upon Thy name.

Psalm 85:6 (NASB77)

6  Wilt Thou not Thyself revive us again, That Thy people may rejoice in Thee?

Psalm 119:25 (NASB77)

25  My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Thy word.

Psalm 119:37 (NASB77)

37  Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Thy ways.

Psalm 119:40 (NASB77)

40  Behold, I long for Thy precepts; Revive me through Thy righteousness.

Psalm 119:88 (NASB77)

88  Revive me according to Thy lovingkindness, So that I may keep the testimony of Thy mouth.

Psalm 119:107 (NASB77)

107  I am exceedingly afflicted; Revive me, O LORD, according to Thy word.

Psalm 119:149 (NASB77)

149  Hear my voice according to Thy lovingkindness; Revive me, O LORD, according to Thine ordinances.

Psalm 119:154 (NASB77)

154   Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Thy word.

Psalm 119:156 (NASB77)

156   Great are Thy mercies, O LORD; Revive me according to Thine ordinances.

Psalm 138:7 (NASB77)

7  Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou wilt revive me; Thou wilt stretch forth Thy hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Thy right hand will save me.

Psalm 143:11 (NASB77)

11   For the sake of Thy name, O LORD, revive me. In Thy righteousness bring my soul out of trouble.

Isaiah 57:15 (NASB77)

15  For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.

DO YOU SEE THE PATH THAT IS CONSISTENT WITH BEING REVIVED??? A RETURN…. A RESTORATION…. IT IS THE WORK OF GOD NOT THE INDIVIDUAL….. REVIVAL IS NOT A SELF INFLECTED EMOTIONAL RETURN…. IT IS THE SOVEREIGN WORK OF GOD

A man and his little child [are] walking down the road and they are walking hand in hand, and the child knows that he is the child of his father, and he knows that his father loves him, and he rejoices in that, and he is happy in it. There is no uncertainty about it at all……

this is A PICTURE OF the church…. walking hand in hand with god…. people are content to know that god loves them…. content that they are a child of god….. they are just strolling through life…. happy with just hanging on to his hand…. content with this kind of a relationship….. never seeking more…. figuring this is as good as it gets….THEY JUST WALK ALONG… TOGETHER

but suddenly the father, moved by some impulse, takes hold of the child and picks him up, holds him in his arms, kisses him, embraces him, showers his love upon him, and then he puts him down again and they go on walking together….

this is a picture of revival….. this is the unexpected embrace of god to his children…. this is the wake up embrace…. this is the moment that we are shaken from our slumber and we realize how great the fathers love for us….THIS IS THE MOMENT OF SPIRITUAL DELIGHT…. A MOMENT OF RESTORATION AND REFRESHMENT

The child knew before that his father loved him, and he knew that he was his child….. But the loving embrace, this extra outpouring of love, this unusual manifestation of it — that is the kind of thing….. The Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are the children of God……this is revival…. this is the returning to the unconditional love of the father ….. this is that spiritual awaking our spirit longs for….. the spirit within us has become dry and it longs for that refreshing burst of cold water to awaken that first love again…..

Acts 3:17-21 (NASB)

17  “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. 18  “But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19  “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20  and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21  whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

I BELIEVE THE CHURCH IN AMERICA IS IN NEED OF REVIVAL…. THE CHURCH NEEDS TO RETURN TO THE ONE TRUE GOD…. AND NOT A RETURN FOR WHAT IS IN IT FOR THEM… THAT IS WHAT MOST PEOPLE WANT OUT OF REVIVAL …AN EXPERIENCE…. SOME SORT OF EXPERIENCE TO LIFT THEM UP … TO GET THEM FIRED UP AGAIN… TO STIR THAT EVANGELISTIC FEVER… BUT THAT IS NOT REVIVAL…. THAT IS EMOTIONALISM…. YOU CANNOT TRUST YOUR EMOTIONS AND YOUR EMOTIONS WILL CHANGE RAPIDLY…. ONE MINUTE A HIGH THEN NEXT A LOW…. REVIVAL IS ABOUT RELATIONSHIP…. YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD….

IT IS OFTEN THE “ISM’S” THAT TAKE THE PEOPLE AWAY FROM GOD…. WHAT IS AN ISM… used as a productive suffix in the formation of nouns …denoting action or practice, A state or condition, principles, doctrines, devotion or adherence…

YOU ARE A CAPITALIST…. SO YOU ADHERE and practice CAPITALISM…. IF YOU ARE A FACIST… YOU ADHERE TO FACISM… IF YOU ARE A BUDDHIST YOU ADHERE TO BUDDHISM…. LETS SAY ARE HAVE A PARTICULAR BENT TOWARDS A CERTAIN POLITICAL AGENDA…. YOU MAY HAVE LEANINGS TOWARDS A SOCIAL AGENDA… THAT WOULD BE SOCIALISM….. OR THERE IS COMMUNAL LIVING KNOWN AS COMMUNISM…..

EMOTIONALISM…. SENSATIONALISM….materialism…THESE ARE OFTEN ISM’S THAT ARE SOUGHT AFTER IN THE CHURCH…. GETTING THAT WARM FUZZY FEELING…. FEELINGS HAVE PERMEATED THE CHURCH IN A GREATER DEGREE THEN OBEDIENCE…. people think if they CAN JUST HAVE AN EXPERIENCE…. THEN they DON’T NEED TO READ OR UNDERSTAND THE WORD OF GOD BECAUSE YOUR EXPERIENCE IS WHAT VALIDATES AND CONFIRMS YOUR SALVATION…. YOU CAN THEN LIVE YOUR LIFE IN THE SECURITY OF AN EMOTION…. OR A FEELING….OR A PERCEIVED EXPERIENCE….. YOU WILL LOOK BACK TO THAT DAY AS A CONFIRMATION…. CONFIRMATION OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD …. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER IS NOT VALIDATED BY EXPERIENCE OR SENSATIONALISM…. YOU MAY EXPERIENCE SOMETHING BUT THAT EXPERIENCE IS NOT PROOF OF SALVATION….IF AN EMOTION OR EXPERIENCE IS HOW YOU VALIDATED YOUR SALVATION…. THEN WHEN THAT EMOTION SUBSIDES YOU WILL SEEK FOR ANOTHER EMOTION OR EXPERIENCE.. SALVATION IS A SOVEREIGN ACT OF GOD UPON A PERSONS LIFE…IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO YOUR FEELINGS OR AN EXPERIENCE FOR CONFORMATION…. THAT IS WHAT OUR CULTURE IS DOING TODAY…

TODAY IF YOU ARE A WOMEN AND YOU FEEL LIKE A MAN THEN YOU ARE A MAN…. IF YOU ARE A MAN AND TODAY YOU FEEL LIKE A WOMAN THEN YOU ARE A WOMEN…. IT IS THE SAME WAY WITH CHRISTIANS…. IF I FEEL LIKE I AM A CHRISTIAN… THEREFORE YOU MUST BE A CHRISTIAN…. IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO ARGUE FROM A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE AND A THEOLOGICAL BASIS WHEN WE ARE DEALING WITH FEELINGS….. IT IS JUST AS DANGEROUS FROM THE STANDPOINT OF A SECULAR DEBATE AS IT IS WITH CHRISTIAN DEBATE….WHEN A CHRISTIAN SAYS I FEEL GOD IS HERE OR IS ABOUT TO DO SOMETHING…. WHERE THE WORD OF GOD STATES THAT HE IS IN US AND WE ARE ALIVE IN HIM…. THE WORD OF GOD DOES NOT SUPPORT IT’S SELF WITH FEELINGS…. ONE SAYS I FEEL THE LORD IS HERE…. THE PERSON STANDING NEXT TO THEM SAYS I FEEL NOTHING…. BUT THE WORD SAYS HE IS THERE…. FEELINGS DO NOT SUPPORT THE WORD OF GOD THE WORD OF GOD STANDS BY ITSELF…. THIS IS A TYPICAL EXAMPLE OF THE CULTURE HAVING THE INFLUENCE UPON THE CHURCH…..CULTURE SAYS IF YOU FEEL SOMETHING IT IS A REALITY…. AT LEAST TO YOU….. BECAUSE IN OUR CULTURE WE CREATE OUR OWN REALITY…..THIS IS RELATIVISM…  WE ARE TO INFLUENCE THE CULTURE NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND…..

HAVE YOU EVER POURED SALT ON A WOUND….. IT STINGS AND HURTS… IT CAN CAUSE EMOTIONS/FEELINGS…. HAVE YOU EVER SHINED A BRIGHT LIGHT INTO SOMEONES FACE…. THEY REACT WITH EMOTIONS/FEELINGS… COVER THEIR EYES  TURN AWAY…. IT TOO CAN CAUSE EMOTIONS…

Matthew 5:13-16 (NASB)

13  “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

14  “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;

15  nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

16  “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

I WONDER IF THE CHURCH TODAY IS LOOSING ITS SALTINESS  AND I WONDER IF THE CHURCH TODAY HAS PUT THE LIGHT UNDER A BASKET….

RANKIN WILBOURN: “Perhaps one of the greatest barriers to faith, is not the things we don’t know but the things we think we know yet we’re wrong about. We think of heaven as the pleasure factory rather than life with God. (WHEN SOMEONE DIES PEOPLE SAY GOD HAS ANOTHER ANGEL IN HEAVEN… NO HE DOES NOT…   WHEN PEOPLE DIE THEY DO NOT BECOME ANGELS… THEY ARE IN A BETTER PLACE…. MAYBE BUT MAYBE NOT…) We think of salvation as being able to avoid pain rather than being made right. (ARE WE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT OUR PHYSICAL WELL BEING AS WE ARE ABOUT OUR SPIRITUAL WELL BEING) We think of the gospel as the minimal entrance requirement for getting into heaven rather than the announcement that life with God is now possible on earth through Jesus.” (AS LONG AS I AM SAVED AND GOING TO HEAVEN LIVING A LIFE OF HOLINESS HERE IS ONLY A MINIMAL REQUIREMENT OR DESIRE….HOLINESS IS FOR THE SPIRITUAL ELETE )

YOU ARE THE SALT…. YOU ARE THE LIGHT…. AND IF THE CHURCH OR INDIVIDUALS HAVE HIDDEN THIER LIGHT… YOU MIGHT BE ASKING HOW DOES SOMEONE HIDE THEIR LIGHT….. THEY CONFORM TO THE CULTURE AND THE WAYS OF THE WORLD….. THE CULTURE IS DARKNESS AND SO WHEN WE EMBRACE THE CULTURE ABOVE THE KINGDOM OUR LIGHT BECOMES HIDDEN….

Revelation 2:4-5 (NASB)

4  ~’But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

5  ~’Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.

HAS THE CHURCH FALLEN AWAY AND HAVE THEY LEFT THEIR FIRST LOVE…. HOW HAS THE CHURCH FALLEN AWAY…. I BELIEVE THEY HAVE EMBRACED THE CULTURE WITH A GREATER LOVE THEN THEY HAVE EMBRACED THE SOURCE OF THE LIGHT… THEY HAVE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH THE CULTURE…. AND GOD SAYS HE WILL REMOVE OUR LAMPSTAND….. HE DOES NOT SAY HE WILL REMOVE THE LIGHT…. BUT HE WILL REMOVE THE PLACE WHERE WE PUT THE LIGHT…. IF WE DO NOT SHINE OUR LIGHT AS HE INTENDED FOR US TO SHINE THEN WE WILL FEEL AND EXPERIENCE A DISTANCE FROM GOD….NOT THAT GOD HAS MOVED BUT WE HAVE…. AGAIN WE GO BACK TO HOW WE FEEL…. THE WORD SAYS REPENT…. REPENTANCE IS NOT A FEELING IT IS AN ACT…. IT IS A VERY HUMBLING ACT….

WE ARE LIVING  IN A TIME WHERE WE ARE SEEING CULTURAL REVOLUTIONS SPRING UP LIKE FLOWERS IN THE SPRING TIME…. JUST LIKE POPPIES… THEY POP UP HERE AND THEN THEY POP UP THERE…. IT STARTED BACK IN THE LATE 50’S EARLY 60’S….

IT WAS NEVER TRUST ANYONE OVER 30….. REMEMBER… BECAUSE AFTER THiRTY YOU WERE MOST LIKELY INGRAINED WITH THE FORMER CULTURE AND YOU DID NOT HAVE THE CAPABILITY TO ADAPT THE THE NEW AGE THAT WE WERE ENTERING INTO…. THE AGE OF AQUARIUS…. THE NEW FRONTIER OF SHEDDING OFF THE OLD AND EMBRACING THE NEW…. IT WAS A TIME OF THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION…. IT WAS A TIME OF EXPERIMENT… DRUGS WERE THE NEW LIFE…. IT WAS ALL ABOUT PEACE LOVE AND HAPPINESS….. OR SO WE SAID….

IT WAS A TIME OF MORAL DEGRADATION FOR OUR CULTURE…. IT WAS A TIME OF WAR ON THE PRINCIPLES AND MORALS THAT WERE HELD IN SUCH HIGH ESTEEM FOR SO MANY YEARS AND THEN TORN DOWN LIKE STATUES IN THE PARK…. IT STARTED AS aN IN YOUR FACE MOVEMENT….. THEN BECAME THE FROG IN THE KETTLE….. STEADY BUT SLOWLY TRANSFORMING THE MORALS OF A CULTURE INTO ACCEPTABLE LIFESTYLES AND SOCIAL RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS….. MORALS OR THE LACK OF MORALS is now THE NORM…. THE SAYING …. IF IT FEELS GOOD DO IT…. IS NOW THE NORM….. IN FACT IT HAS TRANSFORMED FROM IF IT FEELS GOOD DO IT TO IF YOU FEEL IT BE IT…. FEELINGS ARE THE TRADE MARK OF OUR CULTURE…..

I AM OFFENDED…. IT IS A FEELING…. SO NOW FEELINGS ARE THE BASIS OF TRUTH AND AUTHORITY… ME MYSELF AND I BECOME THE MASTERS OF AUTHORITY…. I FEEL I AM RIGHT THEREFORE I AM RIGHT….. ONCE A NATION LOOSES THEIR MORAL COMPASS THEY ARE HEADED IN A DOWNWARD SPIRAL….. THIS NATIONS CONSTITUTION WAS CREATED WITH GOD FEARING PEOPLE IN MIND…. PEOPLE THAT HAD A MORAL FIBER ….. WHEN MORALITY IS NOT TO BE FOUND EXCEPT BY WHAT THE INDIVIDUAL WANTS THEN THEY WILL ATTACK THE CONSTITUTION….. IT IS NO LONGER RELEVANT TO AN AMORAL CULTURE….. A CULTURE WHERE THE INDIVIDUAL IS SUPREME….

we need to realize that  traditional sexual morality is not a rejection of persons but of behaviors that are detrimental to real human good….. Sexual morality in the current cultural alternatives and the ones to come ARE BRINGING ABOUT  the waning of reproductive possibilities…..  Marriage is a sacred entity … one reason…. IS we are told to populate and we know that it takes a man and a woman to procreate in the intended manner which god has give us….

As the dysfunction of various alternative lifestyles becomes more evident…. that argument may become more plausible….. In the meanwhile…. we should do what we can to hold up the biblical standards as beacons for those who are looking for alternatives to culture indoctrination of moral standards based upon feelings…..WE MUST BE THE SALT AND LIGHT OF CHRIST….

THE FOCUS IS ON THE CULTURAL INDOCTRINATION OF MORAL STANDARDS BASED UPON FEELINGS….. WE ARE BEING BOMBARDED FROM EVERY SIDE OF THE ISLE WITH AN AGENDA THAT IS NOT A BIBLICAL AGENDA…. WE AS GOD’S CHILDREN MUST AWAKEN TO THE FACT THAT WHAT WE ARE SEEING IN OUR CULTURE TODAY IS THE PRODUCT OF A VERY EVIL NATURE…. IT IS THE PRODUCT OF THE GOD OF THIS WORLD….   JUST AS CREAM RISES TO THE SURFACE SO IS EVIL RISING TO THE FOREFRONT OF OUR CULTURE….. THE FROG IN THE KETTLE…. THE BREAKING DOWN OF THE MORAL FABRIC OF A CULTURE TO THE DEPTH OF FEELINGS…. IT IS NOW UPON US…. BACK IN THE 60’S SATAN WAS ALIVE AND WELL…. AND HE FIRED UP THE KETTLE AND THREW THE CULTURE INTO THE POT….. WE ARE NOW AT THE BOILING POINT…. AND WE NEED TO RISE UP…. TO AWAKEN OUT OF OUR SLUMBER AND THE SIMMERING OF THE WATER….WE NEED TO GET OUT OF THE BOILING POT

Revelation 3:1-3 (NASB)

1  “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.

2  ~’Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.

3  ~’So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.

WHAT HAVE WE RECEIVED AND HEARD?????  WE HAVE RECEIVED THE WORD OF GOD AND WE HAVE HEARD THE WORD OF GOD…. IT IS TIME WE UNDERSTAND THE AUTHORITY OF GOD…..

DOES THE CHURCH LIVE BY functional authority vs static authority

Everyone submits to authority….. either that of their own mind and desires….. the dictates of someone else….. or that of God’s loving and revealed will…. Thus the issue before us isn’t authority or anarchy….. but to whose authority we will yield our lives…. THE CULTURE AROUND US DESIRES FOR YOU TO SUBMIT TO ITS AUTHORITY…. AND IN MANY WAYS WE ALREADY HAVE….. WE JUST DID NOT SEE IT COMING…. THE FROG IN THE KETTLE….. IT IS TIME WE JUMPED OUT OF THE POT…. THE CHURCH NEEDS TO SAY “NO MORE”…. WE HAVE SAT IN THE SIMMERING WATER OF EVIL TO LONG AND WE HAVE BEEN SILENT….

BUT IT WILL BE AN INDIVIDUAL CHOICE BEFORE IT IS A CORPORATE LIFESTYLE…. WE NEED TO BE REVIVED TO A BIBLICAL WORLD VIEW AND A BIBLICAL AUTHORITY IN ALL THE FACETS OF OUR LIVES….

NEXT WEEK WE WILL BEGIN OUR STUDY ON FUNCTIONAL AUTHORITY AND STATIC AUTHORITY….. THE QUESTION ARISES …. ARE WE RESPECTERS OF PERSONS OR ARE WE MEARLY RESPECTERS OF SELF…. HAVE WE LOST THE RESPECT OF AUTHORITY…. DID IT BOIL OFF IN THE KETTLE….

HERE IS THE INVITATION TODAY…. HAS GOD SPOKEN TO YOU… THEN YOU NEED TO TAKE A MOMENT BEFORE WE LEAVE AND RESPOND TO WHAT GOD HAS REVEALED TO YOU TODAY….. YOU CAN DO THAT IN YOUR HEART RIGHT WHERE YOU SIT….

LORD’S SUPPER

PART II… WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE CHURCH

IT IS MY DESIRE TO CHALLENGE YOU…. TO GET YOU THINKING AND TO GET YOU MOVING… TO GET YOU MOVING IN A SPIRITUAL DIRECTION…. TO HELP YOU GROW…. TO BE STRETCHED… TO GIVE YOU FOOD FOR THOUGHT…. IT IS TIME… GOD WANTS ALL OF YOU…. IF YOU ARE HIS CHILD DO NOT BE THE PRODIGAL CHILD…. DO NOT THINK YOU CAN COAST THROUGH HOLINESS….

oUR BELIEF AND OUR FAITH MUST HAVE MEANING AND MUST MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  … OUR BELIEF MUST HAVE AN AUTHORITATIVE CONVICTION IN THE WORD OF GOD TO THE DEGREE THAT IT IS EVIDENT IN HOW AND WHY WE LIVE OUR LIVES….

A FORMER MUSLIM WHO COMMITTED HIS LIFE TO JESUS CHRIST WAS ASKED WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MAJOR DIFFERENCE IN THE MUSLIM FAITH AND THE CHRISTIAN FAITH….

He drew two circles and put a small dot in each of them. Pointing to the first, he said, “As a Muslim, I believed the circle to be my faith and the little dot to be my life.” Then he pointed to the next circle and said, “Now, as a follower of Jesus, I have seen the difference in the cultural tension. To many Westerners, the circle is his life and the dot is his faith.”

In other words, a Muslim believed that life was expendable, his faith paramount. The Westerner, he charged, regards his life more important than what he believes. “That is why,” he added, “the West will ultimately be overrun. Faith, in the West, is sort of an extracurricular interest and a mere aspect of life for the sake of inner peace. But faith seldom enters the conscience as a conviction.”

RADICAL ISLAM IS OFTEN EXPRESSED IN HOW THEY LOSE THEIR LIFE… WHILE RADICAL CHRISTIANITY IS OFTEN EXPRESSED IN HOW WE LIVE OUR LIFE…. SECULAR CHRISTIANITY IS ALSO EXPRESSED IN HOW WE LIVE OUR LIVES…

IF OUR FAITH DOES NOT BEAR THE AUTHORITY OF GOD’S PRINCIPLES AND IS NOT THAT DRIVING FORCE FOR PURPOSE AND MEANING IN OUR LIFE THEN OUR FAITH IS THE LITTLE DOT AND OUR LIFE THE CIRCLE…..

Jude 1:17-25 (NASB)

17  But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18  that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” 19  These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. 20  But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21  keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22  And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23  save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. 24  Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25  to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

have we done an injustice to the gospel…. have we missed the opportunity to convey the absolute truth of the gospel and instead promoted a loving and forgiving god … which he is … but to the degree that he is so loving he will forgive us if we have no interest in obedience to the word…. is it ok with god iF we just pick and chose what seems to work for our lifestyles….. do we expect god TO TURN A BLIND EYE AND just ignore the fact that most people that profess to be followers have little or no interest in lining their life up with the word of god…..NO INTEREST IN HOLINESS… do we have little to no interest in the authority of the word of god…. to such a degree that we are willing to conform our thought life… our words that proceed out of our mouths and the very thingS we do… does this even cause us to search our own hearts…. DO WE SEE THE WORD OF GOD AS A REQUEST TO LIVE LIFE UNDER HIS AUTHORITY…. A REQUEST THAT CAN BE IGNORED  OR ADHERED TO….

HOLINESS HOLINESS GOD’S COMMAND NOT GOD’S REQUEST…..

the authority ….Definition: show VALUE.. honor, and appreciation for….Obedience is usually the best way to show respect for authority….Without order nothing could be accomplished…. Without authority there can be no order

GOD IS A GOD OF ORDER….. THE QUESTION THEN ARISES ARE WE A PEOPLE OF ORDER AND ARE WE WILLING TO SUBMIT TO THAT ORDER??? OR if not that order then WHAT ORDER???

have you every joined a team such as IN sports team…. when you played the game did it have rules and did you play by the rules?? or did you make up your own rules as you went… YOU PLAYED BY THE RULES… WE ALL HAVE THE ABILITY AND CAPACITY TO SUBMIT TO THE RULES…IF WE SO CHOSE

when we speak of the authority of the scriptures you must put yourself in a position…. do you believe the scriptures to be true…. absolutely true…. and to what degree do you believe they are sufficient to live your life in that truth???

if you say i believe in certain parts of the bible… then you can pick and chose what parts you want to apply to your life….. BUT IF YOU SAY THE BIBLE IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE AND IS SUFFICIENT FOR ME TO LIVE AND ESTABLISH A MORAL AND ETHICAL FRAMEWORK TO LIVE BY…. THEN YOU SEE YOURSELF AS ONE THAT IS UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE SCRIPTURES….you do not have to answer that question….. your actions will answer the question for you….

DOES THE CHURCH LIVE BY functional authority (relates to how something works) vs  static authority….. (lacking in movement action or change especially in a way viewed as undesirable or uninteresting) the church are those that profess to be followers of jesus christ….. in your life personally do you see the word of god as functional authority or static authority?????

as believers are we interested enough in god’s word to say we will adapt our lives to fit his ways or are we only interested in his word because of what we get out of it… it sounds good but not good enough to obey and have it as our final authority….. it is interesting but not that interesting…… it is relevant but not revenant enough in our culture….

i understand there are certain things in the scriptures that are relevant to that culture and not our cultural …. but i am not talking about those things….      

John 14:23-24 (NASB)

23  Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 24  “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.

WE CANNOT SAY…. I LOVE YOU JESUS BUT I DO NOT WANT TO KEEP YOUR WORD…. I WANT TO BE YOUR CHILD BUT I DO NOT WANT TO LISTEN TO YOU AS MY ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY….

Most who self-identify as Christians affirm the “authority” of the Bible…… But how many mean it??? How many understand “authority” to mean that when the Bible says that “A” is true we are morally bound to believe it? Do those who self-identify as Christians mean that when the Bible says that activity “B” is sinful we are morally bound to avoid it??? when the Bible says that activity “c” is the desired way to live are we bound to apply it to our life??? are we interested in the bible but not as our day to day authority…. it is interesting but not interesting    to adapt our lives to it…

we might say that the bible is outdated and therefore it does not apply to me in this current culture…. or i do not believe that something that the bible says is a sin is no longer a sin because we have progressed beyond what used to be to a new cultural of acceptance and embrace…. WE HAVE THEN BECOME THE DETERMINERS OF SIN BASED UPON ACCEPTANCE…..AND TOLERANCE… DO WE BASE SIN ON WHAT THE MAJORITY THINKS OR WHAT THE BIBLE THINKS….

The “functional” authority of the Bible means that the Scriptures actually function or exert a morally binding obligation on us to believe what it says and to do what it commands….. regardless of the latest public opinion poll….. and without regard to what we think “should” be true or false or good or evil…. the Bible functions to inform us regarding what our minds must embrace and what our wills must choose… Personal preference is irrelevant…. Majority rule doesn’t rule…… The Bible does…

if the bible says homosexuality is a sin and is displeasing to god….. that is a truth of the scripture….. you might be thinking…. but i know people that are homosexuals and they are loving  and caring people….. so are some gossipers and adulterers….. we need to realize that  traditional sexual non sexual morality is not a rejection of persons but of behaviors that are detrimental to real human good…..ours included…..

OUR CULTURE SAYS BEHAVIOR IS A RESULT OF BIRTH….. IF WE ARE BORN WITH OR BORN AS… THEN THE BEHAVIOR THAT RESULTS IS ACCEPTABLE…. IN CERTAIN INSTANCES…. FOR INSTANCE: OUR CULTURE STATES HOMOSEXUALITY IS AN INNATE CONDITION AND THEREFORE IT IS AN ACCEPTABLE LIFESTYLE ACCORDING TO OUR CULTURE…. BUT CAN WE EMBRACE THAT ARGUMENT  FURTHER….. IF I SAY I WAS BORN A KLEPTOMANIAC…. I STOLE THINGS…. I CANNOT HELP MYSELF…. THAT IS HOW I WAS BORN…. THEREFORE IT IS ACCEPTABLE FOR ME TO STEAL…. WE AND MOST EVERYONE ELSE WOULD SAY NO IT IS NOT OK TO STEAL…. JUST BECAUSE WE ARE BORN WITH A CONDITION DOES NOT MEAN THE BEHAVIOR THAT IS PRODUCED IS ACCEPTABLE…. WE ARE ALL BORN SINNERS… AND SIN IS NOT THE ACCEPTABLE FORM OF BEHAVIOR…. THIS IS WHERE MORALITY COME IN…. THIS IS WHERE FUNCTIONAL BIBLICAL AUTHORITY TAKES PRECEDENT OVER CULTURAL ACCEPTANCE AND INDOCTRINATION….

functional biblical authority means we will take a stand regardless of the opinions of others…. and the pressure exerted by others….or the pressure exerted by our culture…. we must take the emotional and the desire to be accepting and tolerant out of the mixture…. maybe the desire to fit it…. is greater then the desire to be obedient…. are we just believers… or are we believers and followers….

at times the argument seems to arise out OF interpretation…. we might say i am not sure of the interpretation of the bible…. it is not difficult…. and it is most likely a smoke screen for not wanting to come under the authority of scripture and let go of one’s self governing authority…. we think that we may lose control of the ability to do as we please…. this is a lack of wanting to be obedient… it is not what is said that is the true problem… it is what it means to the individual and what they may have to give up in order to be obedient….

give you an example…. Ephesians 4:25-32 (NASB)

25  Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. 26  BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27  and do not give the devil an opportunity.

Cognate: 3710 orgízō – be angry, as expressing a “fixed anger” (settled opposition). 3710 /orgízō (“to show settled-opposition”) is positive when inspired by God – and always negative when arising from the flesh. “Sinful (unnecessary) anger” focuses on punishing the offender rather than the moral content of the offense.

28  He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29  Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30  Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

it is not so much you don’t understand… it is you may only want to do what you want…. when you want … and how you want… maybe you don’t need someone telling you how to live your life…. IF THAT IS THE CASE THEN YOU HAVE ALREADY DECIDED THAT YOU WILL BE THE FINAL AUTHORITY IN YOUR LIFE….. NOT THE WORD OF GOD…

what about freedom…. as god’s children are we not given the freedom to do as we please…. absolutely…. but lets look at freedom in christ….

Galatians 2:4 (NASB)

4  But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.

Galatians 4:3 (NASB)

3  So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.

Freedom is not inconsistent with the functional authority of the Bible…. We are only truly free when our minds and hearts are happily conformed to the will of our Creator….. Although it initially seems counter-intuitive….. submission to the functional authority of Scripture is eminently liberating….. There is no more shocking and damaging enslavement than bondage to one’s own passions and preferences…. or perhaps to the ever-changing winds of public opinion…..THE BONDAGE TO SIN

what about the respect FOR authority …. have we lost the respecter of persons….

Philippians 2:2-4 (NASB)

2  make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3  Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4  do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Ephesians 4:32 (NASB)

32  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

can forgiveness be given when it is deserved?  if forgiveness iS deserved then it is earned and merited it i s then no longer forgiveness…. it is duty…..

ARE WE keepING the moral laws or the ethical principles of god out of duty ONLY…. our relationship with god is one of gratitude and love….. i have used this illustration before …. if it is my anniversary and i give my wife flowers and and she says oh you shouldn’t have and i say no it is my duty to give you those flowers…. the loving moment is gone…..

who is to blame for the lack of authority in our culture…. first let me say this lack of authority did not happen overnight….. it fact it has been happening for a long time….. it has been stored up in the kettle that we have sat in for some time…. can we blame someone…. yes there are several we can blame…. start with the MAINSTREAM media….I SAY MAINSTREAM MEDIA BECAUSE THERE ARE SOME THAT DO NOT FOLLOW WHAT THE MAINSTREAM DOES….THE MEDIA BEING TV.. NEWSPAPERS… SOCIAL MEDIA….. the media tells us what they want us to hear…. THE MEDIA MOVES THE CULTURE AND FORMS THE MINDSET OF A CULTURE…. THAT IS WHAT IS KNOWN AS PROPAGANDA

TAKE THE government FOR INSTANCE….. scandal after scandal from the presidents on down ….. who should be held in the highest of standards….   ….…..i am not just talking about our current president but go back to former presidents…. even the beloved jfk….to the house and the senate…. There are a total of 535 Members of Congress. 100 serve in the U.S. Senate and 435 serve in the U.S. House of Representatives….. how many do you hear about??? 20 -30

there are approx.  1.1 million law enforcement officers in the us…. how many do you hear about???? THIS IS THE INFLUENCE THE MEDIA HAS UPON A CULTURE

do you hear about all the good people in congress and do you hear about all the wonderful acts done by our law enforcement officers….. no…. what we hear about is what the media wants us to hear about….. they are breeding a culture of disrespect by the few for the many….. and the culture rises up against not the few but the entire group….. how many times have we heard we need to get rid of all the politicians….. they are corrupt, greedy, don’t care about anything but themselves…. what about the ones that are really trying… the ones that are concerned….. we have thrown them and our law enforcement under the bus of the few that are corrupt ….we say lets get rid of all of them….. why.. because you think the next 535 are going to be that much different???? the kettle is boiling….. the media has far to much control…..

DO WE USE THAT SAME KIND OF THINKING FOR CHRISTIANITY…. YES THERE ARE HYPOCRITES IN CHURCHES TODAY…. AND THERE ARE CON MEN MASQUERADING AS PASTORS…. BUT THERE ARE MANY DEVOTE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS…. BUT THE MEDIA AGAIN WILL FOCUS ON THE FEW….. YOU WILL ALSO NOTICE THE MEDIA WILL NOT DO THAT WITH MUSLIMS ….. THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA IS MOVING PEOPLE IN THE DIRECTIONS THEY WANT THE CULTURE TO GO….

look at the home today…. IN MANY HOMES TODAY children do not respect their parents…. our culture has tried to make children the ones with all the rights and remove the rights of parents in the home…..

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NASB)

1  But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2  For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3  unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4  treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5  holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

MANNERS ARE NO LONGER TAUGHT IN MOST HOMES ….

THE MAN THAT OPENS THE DOOR FOR THE LADY AND SHE SNAPS AT HIM… YOU DID NOT NEED TO OPEN THE DOOR FOR ME BECAUSE I AM A WOMAN…. THE MAN REPLIED …. I DID NOT OPEN THE DOOR BECAUSE YOU WERE A WOMAN I OPENED IT BECAUSE I AM A GENTLEMAN….

ALL THIS DISRESPECT FOR AUTHORITY  has bled over to the school system….. remove the rights of teachers and parents to discipline and you give the rights to the students…. i am not blaming this cultural disrespect upon the shoulders of this generation…. it has been passed down from generation to generation…. it was passed down within the kettle…..

if we as the proclaimed church…. do not show that we are willing to believe and submit the biblical authority how can the younger generations believe…. because we tell them they should and then we do not????  if we are not obedient what makes us think they will be obedient…. IF WE HAVE NO RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY WHY SHOULD THEY….

we want to tell people that there is transforming power in the gospel and the life lived in christ…. then they must see it in us before they will believe it…..

the word of god is transformational truth…. it not only transforms us from darkness to light but it also transforms us from sinner to saint…. the transforming power of the word of god can be found in the freedom to submit to the authority of god…..

Romans 6:17 (NASB)

17  But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,

2 Corinthians 2:9 (NASB)

9  For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.

1 Peter 1:14 (NASB)

14  As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,

HAVE WE ALLOWED OUR CULTURE TO CONFORM US OR HAVE WE ALLOWED THE WORD OF GOD TO CONFORM US????

HERE IS THE INVITATION TODAY…. HAS GOD SPOKEN TO YOU… THEN YOU NEED TO TAKE A MOMENT BEFORE WE LEAVE AND RESPOND TO WHAT GOD HAS REVEALED TO YOU TODAY….. YOU CAN DO THAT IN YOUR HEART RIGHT WHERE YOU SIT….

PART III…. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE CHURCH

IT IS MY DESIRE TO CHALLENGE YOU…. TO GET YOU THINKING AND TO GET YOU MOVING… TO GET YOU MOVING IN A SPIRITUAL DIRECTION…. TO HELP YOU GROW…. TO BE STRETCHED… TO GIVE YOU FOOD FOR THOUGHT…. IT IS TIME… GOD WANTS ALL OF YOU…. IF YOU ARE HIS CHILD DO NOT BE THE PRODIGAL CHILD…. DO NOT THINK YOU CAN COAST THROUGH HOLINESS….

oUR BELIEF AND OUR FAITH MUST HAVE MEANING AND MUST MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  … OUR BELIEF MUST HAVE AN AUTHORITATIVE CONVICTION IN THE WORD OF GOD TO THE DEGREE THAT IT IS EVIDENT IN HOW AND WHY WE LIVE OUR LIVES….

THIS PART … HAS GOD REVEALED HIMSELF TO YOU…. AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT REVELATION????

Genesis 3:1-7 (NASB)

1  Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

2  The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;

3  but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'”

4  The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!

5  “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6  When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

7  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

what i want to focus on are these three words…”has god said” because if we are to believe the word of god then we must first believe that god said…

THINK WITH ME FOR A MINUTE…. THIS WHOLE CULTURAL DISCOURSE ON GUNS IN THE MEDIA TODAY…. IF THEY DECIDE TO BAN GUNS… WOULD YOU BE UPSET IN PRINCIPLE ONLY OR WOULD YOU BE UPSET IN PRINCIPLE AND FUNCTION… IF YOU DO NOT OWN AND USE A GUN THEN IT WOULD BE IN PRINCIPLE ONLY… BUT IF YOU OWNED AND USED A GUN THEN YOU WOULD BE UPSET IN PRINCIPLE AND FUNCTION…

SUPPOSE IT WAS DECIDED TO BAN THE BIBLE HERE IN AMERICA…. IT IS BANNED IN MANY COUNTRIES TODAY…. THEY SAID YOU NEED TO SURRENDER YOUR BIBLES….. WOULD THAT UPSET YOU IN PRINCIPLE ONLY OR WOULD IT UPSET YOU IN PRINCIPLE AND FUNCTION…. IF YOU DO NOT READ YOUR BIBLE IT WOULD UPSET YOU IN PRINCIPLE ONLY….. BUT IF YOU READ AND USE WHAT YOU READ IT WOULD UPSET YOU IN PRINCIPLE AND FUNCTION…..

TO SOME THE BIBLE IS LIKE A GUN… I ENJOY  HAVING A GUN.. I DO NOT USE IT BUT I KNOW IT IS THERE IF I NEED IT…. IT GIVES ME A SENCE OF SECURITY… TO SOME THAT IS THEY SAME WITH THE BIBLE…. YOU DON’T USE IT BUT IT GIVES YOU SECURITY if IT IS THERE….

the greatest deception on the forefront of the cultural debate is did god say…. it is the same question that WAS PRESENTED to eve in the garden… do you really think god said….do you really think that is what god said AND MEANT…. god has revealed to us truth and lie….. good and evil…. it is not that eve would just know evil they would become personally acquainted with it…. it was that she and Adam would become darkness… they would become sinners…. they woUld move from light to darkness and they would pass on that darkness to every generation from then on…..THEY DIED SPIRITUALLY

fast forward with me IN TIME….

Matthew 4:1-11 (NASB)

1  Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

2  And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.

3  And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

4  But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'”

5  Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,

6  and *said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU’; and ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'”

7  Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'”

8  Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;

9  and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”

10  Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'”

11  Then the devil *left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.

“FOR IT IS WRITTEN”…..   BACK IN THE GARDEN IT HAD NOT YET BEEN WRITTEN IT HAD BEEN STATED DIRECTLY FROM GOD TO ADAM AND EVE…. “GOD SAID” BUT GOD HAS SPOKEN AGAIN…. IT IS WRITTEN….

Hebrews 1:1-4 (NASB)

1  God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,

2  in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

3  And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

4  having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.

THERE WAS ANOTHER TIME WHEN GOD SPOKE TO HUMANITY…. WHEN JESUS WALKED ON THIS EARTH HE SPOKE…. GOD AGAIN SPOKE DIRECTLY TO MAN…

THE QUESTION THAT BECKONS FOR AN ANSWER….. IF THAT IS TRUTH… THEN THE VERY ONE THAT CREATED ALL WE SEE AND CANNOT SEE… AND THE VERY ONE THAT HOLDS THE FUTURE IN HIS HANDS…THE HEIR…. AND THE VERY ONE THAT IS THE EXACT REPRESENTATION OF GOD AND HOLDS ALL THINGS BY THE WORD…. THEN SHOULD WE NOT LISTEN WHEN HE SPEAKS… THE GOD IN THE GARDEN THAT SPOKE TO ADAM AND EVE HAS SPOKEN AGAIN TO US…. IN JESUS… AND IT IS WRITTEN….

PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR A WORD FROM GOD….WE HAVE A WORD FROM GOD… IF YOU WANT TO HEAR FROM GOD READ HIS WORD….IF YOU WANT TO AUDIBLY HEAR FROM GOD THEN READ HIS WORD OUT LOUD…. THIS IS SUFFICIENT….  nARE WE USING WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE OR ARE WE LOOKING FOR MORE THAT WHAT WE ALREAD HAVE….IT IS NOT SUFFICIENT???

2 Timothy 3:10-17 (NASB)

10  Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance,

11  persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!

12  Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

13  But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

14  You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,

15  and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

17  so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

ALL SCRIPTURE IS GOD BREATHED AND ALL SCRIPTURE IS SUFFICIENT… IT IS WRITTEN… GOD SAID….

2 Peter 3:14-18 (NASB)

14  Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,

15  and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,

16  as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

17  You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,

18  but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

AT THE HEART OF ALL TEMPTATION IS THE DESIRE FOR SELF-RULE AND POWER…. TO BE THE MASTER OF OUR DESTINY…. WE WILL GOVERN OURSELVES….WE WILL FIND FREEDOM IN OURSELVES….TRUE FREEDOM IS FOUND IN THE WORD OF GOD..

LOOK AT THE TEST TO JESUS…. FIRST IN HIS PHYSICAL… THE FLESH… DESIRES

THE MEDIA KNOWS OUR CULTURE IS A HEDONISTIC CULTURE… WHAT IS HEDONISM….the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence… the ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life….

this is why in a hedonistic culture not only do feelings play a major role but so does the truth…. at least the truth one wants to embrace that supports the pleasure driven self centered lifestyle… IF THERE ARE NO ABSOLUTES THEN THERE IS FREEDOM…. IF TRUTH IS RELEVANT TO THE INDIVIDUAL THEN THE INDIVIDUAL CREATES THEIR OWN FREEDOM….THUS THEIR OWN PLEASURE

LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION… HOW MANY OF YOU WANT TO SUFFER PERSECUTION????  NO ONE….. LET ME ASK YOU ANOTHER QUESTION… HOW MANY OF YOU WANT TO LIVE A HOLY LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS???

LET ME ASK YOU ANOTHER QUESTION….HOW MANY OF YOU WANT TO BE LOVED BY GOD??? HOW MANY OF WANT TO BE DISCIPLINED BY GOD?? HOW MANY OF YOU WANT TO BE RECEIVED BY GOD???

YOU MIGHT BE THINKING ARE THESE TRICK QUESTIONS….

2 Timothy 3:10-17 (NASB)

12  Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Hebrews 12:5-6 (NASB)

5  and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO

NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; 6  FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”

HEDONISM IS NOT ONLY THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE…BUT IT IS ALSO THE AVOIDANCE OF DISPLEASURE…. HEDONISM WANTS TO AVOID ANYTHING THAT WOULD HINDER PLEASURE…. AT THE SAME TIME HEDONISM WANTS TO PROMOTE THE FEELING OF COMFORT THROUGH MATERIALISM…. PLEASURE BRINGS VALUE TO AN INDIVIDUAL…MATERIALISM BRINGS PLEASURE TO THE INDIVIDUAL AND IT CONVEYS VALUE… YOU DESERVE IT… WHEN WE PLACE VALUE ON OUR PLEASURE WE ARE DRIVEN TO PURSUE MORE AND IN A VARIETY OF WAYS AND MEANS…. ONE OF THE GREAT PLEASURES IN LIFE IS THE AVOIDANCE OF DISPLEASURE…. TO BE ABLE TO AVOID PAIN AND SUFFERING….

OUR CULTURE SAYS BUY MORE AND YOU WILL EXPERIENCE MORE PLEASURE

THIS IS WHY THERE IS SUCH A GREAT CONFLICT BETWEEN THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND THE KINGDOM OF THIS WORLD

Luke 8:14 (NASB)

14  “The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.

Titus 3:3 (NASB)

3  For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

James 4:1 (NASB)

1  What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?

James 4:3 (NASB)

3  You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

RELATIVISM IS THE EPITOME OF HEDONISM….AND VISA VERSA… WHEN A CULTURE HAS DETERMINED THAT EACH INDIVIDUAL IS A TRUTH WITHIN THEMSELVES AND THEY HOLD THE ABILITY TO MAKE WHAT PLEASES THEM A REALITY…. WHAT THEY DO AND CREATE IS FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR PLEASURE…

PLEASURE DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN HAVING FUN… PLEASURE IS THE SATISFACTION AND FULFILLMENT OF SELF CENTERED DESIRES…. PLEASURE CAN COME IN THE FORM OF HARM FOR SOMEONE ELSE…. WHEN WE ARE THE CREATORS OF PURPOSE AND MEANING IN OUR OWN LIVES…. OUTSIDE OF THE PERIMETERS OF GOD….. THEN WE BECOME A GOD UNTO OURSELVES…. MASTERS OF OUR DESTINY…. PLEASURE AND MATERIALISM ARE THE DRVING FORCE BEHIND PURPOSE AND MEANING….. THE FLESH IS TO BE SATISFIED…. THE FLESH IS THE MASTER AND THE TASK DRIVER…. WHEN THE FLESH CONTROLS THE MIND … WHEN DESIRES AND PLEASURES ARE THE DRIVING FACTOR THEN WE ARE IN CONTROL…..

James 1:13-15 (NASB)

13  Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

14  But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

15  Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

NOT ONLY ARE WE A HEDONISTIC CULTURE BUT WE ARE ALSO A MATERIALISTIC CULTURE….THESE TWO USUALLY GO HAND IN HAND…. THIS IS WHERE OUR CULTURE HAS BECOME AN EXPERIENCE MACHINE…. WE NOT ONLY FIND PLEASURE IN PAST EXPERIENCES BUT WE FIND PLEASURE IN CREATING NEW EXPERIENCES ….LIKE THE PLEASURE OF BUYING THINGS… THAT IS WHY FEELINGS NOW BECOME THE DRIVING FORCE FOR EXPERIENCE… A CULTURE SAYS: “I FEEL AND IT BRINGS MEANING AND PURPOSE TO MY LIFE AND WHEN I FEEL, I EXPERIENCE AND IT DRIVES ME TO FEEL MORE AND EXPERIENCE MORE”…. THIS IS THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND HEDONISM….

I WANT TO TELL YOU A STORY….JUST LISTEN AND DO NOT JUMP TO A CONCLUSION

Peter Singer’s article “The Singer Solution to World Poverty” (The New York Times, 1999)

There’s a guy walking along train tracks and he realizes he’s dropped his iPhone a few steps back. He looks forward and sees that a train is coming, and at the same time he also sees a young child tied to the tracks, screaming for help. He can easily untie the child in time, but he realizes he only has time either to untie the child or to go back and pick up his iPhone. He also hears noise to his right, so he looks, and he sees that the child’s family is trying to get to him, but they are stuck behind a barbed wire fence, helpless to rescue him. The family sees the man and screams desperately to him to save their child. The man looks at the child, looks at the family, and then casually walks back and picks up his iPhone. The child and his family weep and wail until the train runs him over, dismembering him and scattering his body parts.

When later interviewed about the situation, the man said,

“I know I could have easily saved that child, but I really like my iPhone, and if I had let the train crush it, I’d have had to buy another one, and that would mean I wouldn’t have had that extra cash to buy the new TV that I really want. It just wasn’t worth saving the child. It’s not my problem.”6

If we were watching the news and saw this interview, we would respond with outrage! We would think the man was an absolute monster. But are we any different?

In many places in our world, about two hundred dollars can turn a sickly, dying two-year-old into a healthy six-year-old. What many of us spend on personal luxury and personal pleasure is far more than enough to get a dying child through the most vulnerable period; it’s enough to save his life.

Are there any differences between us and the monster walking along the train tracks? Yes, there are a couple. We are farther away from the people we could save, whereas he was close enough to hear the screams of the tied-up child. Another difference is that many others besides us could help save people in life-threatening situations around the world, whereas in Singer’s example only the one man was in position to save the child.

But it takes only a second’s reflection to see that these differences do not make the slightest moral difference. All they do is make it easier for us to turn a blind eye. All they do is make it easier for us to plug into the experience machine, shutting out the outside world so that we can be untroubled by our purchases of internal pleasure.

I DID NOT TELL YOU THAT STORY TO MAKE YOU FEEL GUILTY…. I DID NOT TELL YOU THAT STORY TO MANIPULATE YOU …  SO YOU WOULD RUN OUT AND GIVE ALL YOUR MONEY TO HELP THE POOR…. I TOLD YOU THAT STORY TO MAKE YOU THINK….. WE NEED TO SEE HOW MUCH OUR MORALITY AND ETHICS ARE FORMED BY A HEDONISTIC AND MATERIALISTIC CULTURE…

SOME OF US HAVE BEEN TAUGHT FROM AN EARLY AGE TO BE INDEPENDENT… BUT WHAT OUR CULTURE REWARDS IS DEPENDENCY…. DEPENDENCY ON PLEASURE….. DEPENDENCY ON MATERIALISM

Matthew 4:8-9  (NASB)

8  Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;

9  and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”

worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.

enslaved to various lusts and pleasures,

Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?

so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

HEDONISM AND MATERIALISM ARE THE PROMOTIONAL BYPRODUCTS OF THE GOD OF THIS WORLD…… IT IS MY BELIEF THAT SATAN IS REVING UP THE CULTURE TO CAPTIVATE THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF PEOPLE THAT WILL WORSHIP HIM THROUGH THEIR ACTIONS….. THEIR LUSTS … THEIR FEELINGS…PEOPLE WANT A RELIGION THAT WORKS FOR THEM…. THEY DO NOT WANT TO BE BURDENED BY ABSOLUTES…  IF JESUS CAN ACCEPT THEM AND THIER LIFE STYLE THEN THEY WILL ACCEPT HIM…. BUT IF JESUS GETS IN THEIR WAY OF LIVING AS THEY WANT THEN THEY WILL EITHER REJECT JESUS OR THEY WILL CREATE A JESUS THAT DOES FIT THEIR LIFE STYLE…

JESUS HAS OFTEN COMPARED MANKIND TO VINES AND TREES….. HIS VINES AND TREES BEAR FRUIT…. SATANS VINES AND TREES DO NOT BEAR FRUIT…OR IF THEY DO BEAR FRUIT IT IS IMITATION FRUIT..

Colossians 1:3-12 (NASB)

3  We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

4  since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;

5  because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel

6  which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;

7  just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf,

8  and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.

9  For this reason also, since the day we heard of it,(YOUR LOVE IN THE SPIRIT) we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

10  so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously

12  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

DON’T MISS THIS…. THIS IS WHAT THE GOSPEL TRUTH DOES TO A PERSON…

REMEMBER WHAT I SAID LAST WEEK: “we want to tell people that there is transforming power in the gospel and the life lived in christ…. they must see it in us before they will believe it”…..

the word of god is transformational truth…. it not only transforms us from darkness to light but it also transforms us from sinner to saint…. the transforming power of the word of god can be found in the freedom to submit to the authority of god”…..

TRANSFORMATIONAL TRUTH…. WHAT DOES CHANGE MEAN TO YOU… OUR WORLD IS IN CONSTANT CHANGE AND IT IS FAR MORE RAPID THEN MOST OF US CAN HANDLE … SOME PEOPLE ARE THRIVING ON THE AGENTS OF CHANGE… WHILE OTHERS ARE TRYING TO BRING A STABILITY TO THEIR LIFE…. THEY WANT TO PUT EVERYTHING IN PLACE SO THEY CAN ENJOY THE COMFORTS AND PLEASURES THAT THE WORLD HAS TO OFFER… THEY HAVE WORKED HARD AND NOW IS A TIME OF REST AND SECURITY….…. BUT IF THAT IS YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE FOR THE REMAINDER OF YOUR LIFE…. THEN YOU MAY HAVE BOUGHT INTO THE HEDONISTIC LIFESTYLE….

PURPOSE GOES FAR BEYOND MATERIALISM…. AS GOD’S CHILDREN OUR PURPOSE IS FAR GREATER AND FAR MORE FULFILLING THEN THE PURSUIT OF THE FULFILLMENT OF OUR LUSTS AND PLEASURES….

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. – John Piper.

OUR GREATEST PURPOSE HERE IS TO REVEAL THE TRUTH OF WHO GOD IS IN HIS SON JESUS AND WE DO THAT BY WORD AND DEED…. NO ONE IS DENYING YOU THE PLEASURES OF THIS WORLD….. BUT WE MUST REMEMBER WHY WE ARE HERE….WE MUST NOT FORGET THAT WE HAVE BEEN CHOSEN OF GOD… WE MUST REMEMBER THAT THIS IS NOT OUR HOME…. WE HAVE FAR MORE WAITING FOR US THEN THIS LIFE COULD EVER OFFER…. GOD CHOSE YOU AND SAVED YOU SO YOU COULD GLORIFY HIM IN ALL YOU DO…. MAY YOU BE FULLY SATISFIED IN HIM…

SATISFACTION IN GOD COMES ONLY BY  DOING THE WILL OF GOD…..YOU CAN FIND THAT IN THE WORD OF GOD

PART IV… WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE CHURCH

IT IS MY DESIRE TO CHALLENGE YOU…. TO GET YOU THINKING AND TO GET YOU MOVING… TO GET YOU MOVING IN A SPIRITUAL DIRECTION…. TO HELP YOU GROW…. TO BE STRETCHED… TO GIVE YOU FOOD FOR THOUGHT…. IT IS TIME… GOD WANTS ALL OF YOU…. IF YOU ARE HIS CHILD DO NOT BE THE PRODIGAL CHILD…. DO NOT THINK YOU CAN COAST THROUGH HOLINESS….

oUR BELIEF AND OUR FAITH MUST HAVE MEANING AND MUST MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  … OUR BELIEF MUST HAVE AN AUTHORITATIVE CONVICTION IN THE WORD OF GOD TO THE DEGREE THAT IT IS EVIDENT IN HOW AND WHY WE LIVE OUR LIVES….

LAST WEEK I MENTIONED HOW GOD HAS CHOSEN YOU AND WHAT A PRIVILEGE THAT IS… WE SHOULD NOT TAKE IT LIGHTLY….MOST PEOPLE THAT BELIEVE THEY HAVE ETERNAL LIFE ARE LIVING THIS LIFE AS IF IT IS MORE IMPORTANT THEN THE NEXT PART OF THEIR ETERNAL LIFE….ARE WE PLANNING FOR OUR ETERNAL LIFE AS MUCH AS WE ARE PLANNING FOR RETIREMENT… YOU MIGHT THINK YOU CHOSE HIM….. BUT HE FIRST CHOSE YOU…. YOU ONLY RESPONDED TO HIS CHOOSING…IF YOU DID RESPOND

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 (NASB)

13  But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14  It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 3:12-13 (NASB)

12  So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13  bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

… HAS GOD REVEALED HIMSELF TO YOU…. AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT REVELATION???? IF YOU ARE SEEKING GOD WANTING TO KNOW MORE AND UNDERSTAND MORE THEN I WANT TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO READ THE WORD OF GOD …. START WITH THE BOOK OF JOHN AND ASK GOD TO REVEAL HIMSELF TO YOU…I BELIEVE IN TIME HE WILL

THE TRANSFORMATIONAL TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL DEMANDS OUR ATTENTION… WHEN THE GOSPEL BECOMES THE AGENT OF CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE WE ARE BOUND BY THE DIVINE CHOICE OF GOD UPON OUR LIVES TO EMBRACE THE TRUTH OF GOD WITH ALL OUR HEART SOUL AND SPIRIT…..

THE TRANSFORMATION GOSPEL CREATES IN US A NEW LIFE…

Ephesians 2:1-5 (NASB)

1  And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

2  in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that  now working in the sons of disobedience.

3  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

4  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

5  even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

OUR CONDITION IS WE ARE ALIVE IN THE FLESH AND WE HAVE OPERATED OUR LIVES IN THE FLESH… THEN GOD COMES AND MAKES US ALIVE TOGETHER WITH CHRIST… THIS IS THE SPIRITUAL BIRTH…. THIS THEN ENABLES US TO HAVE THAT PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD THROUGH OUR SPIRIT THAT HAS BEEN MADE ALIVE…. THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF THE TRANSFORMATION THAT TAKES PLACE….

HOW DOES THIS NEW LIFE LIVE TO THE FULLEST OF GOD’S TRUTH IN A CULTURE THAT IS IN A STATE OF CONSTANT CHANGE???

WHERE HAVE WE BEEN LED??  WHERE HAVE WE BEEN TAKEN??? HOW DID WE GET TO THIS PLACE IN OUR CULTURE?? CHANGE IN THE FORM OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IS RAPID AND PROGRESSIVE…. MOVING IN A FORWARD MOTION… WHILE CHANGE IN MORALITY IS SLOW AND MOVES IN A REGRESSING  FORM AND CONTINUES TO REVEAL THE DEPTH OF DEPRAVITY OF MANKIND… WHY IS IT THAT WE HAVE PROGRESSED IN KNOWLEDGE BUT HAVE REGRESSED IN MORALITY AND SPIRITUALITY… WE HAVE BROKEN APART THE FOUNDATION IN ORDER TO BUILD A TENT….WE FIND OURSELVES LOOKING INTO A CULTURE WITH NO BOUNDARIES…A CULTURE WITH NO BOUNDARIES IS A CULTURE WITH NO FOUNDATION…. THE THEN SO CALLED FOUNDATION BECOMES THE INDIVIDUAL…. THE INDIVIDUAL THEN BECOMES THE GOD THEY LONG FOR

Matthew 6:19-24 (NASB)

19  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

20  “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;

21  for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22  “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.

23  “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

24  “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

SINGLE VERSES DUALITY…. INTENT ON THE ONE VERSES BEING TORN BETWEEN THE TWO… WHEN IN REALITY THERE IS ONLY DEVOTION TO THE ONE….. COMPARISONS… TREASURES ON EARTH VS TREASURES IN HEAVEN…LIGHT OR DARKNESS… ONE IS OPEN TO LOSS AND DESTRUCTION THE OTHER CANNOT BE LOST NOR CAN IT BE DESTROYED…. THE PASSAGE BECKONS YOU  TO PICK ONE… BECAUSE YOU CANNOT PICK TWO… IF YOUR LIFE IS SINGULAR…. ONE INTENT THEN YOUR LIFE WILL BE LIGHT…. BUT IF YOUR LIFE IS ONE OF DUALITY THEN THE DEFAULT IS DARKNESS…. I WILL COME BACK TO THIS LATER… 

LETS GO BACK TO A TIME….. ONE OF THE FIRST VISUAL DEFINING EVENTS …AT LEAST TO ME… AFTER THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB AND AMERICAN BANDSTAND…WAS THE ASSASSINATION JFK….  BUT THERE HAVE BEEN FOUR PRESIDENTS THAT HAVE BEEN ASSASSINATED WHAT MADE THIS DIFFERENT…. WE WERE THERE…WE SAW THE MOMENT HE WAS HIT BY THAT BULLET ….SLUMPED OVER…  JACKIE SCRAMBLING TO GET THE ATTENTION OF THE SECRET SERVICE…. WE SAW LITTLE JOHN SALUTE HIS FATHERS CASKET…WE WERE THERE…IT ENTERED OUR MIND AND HEART THROUGH THE EYE AND EAR

ANOTHER DEFINING MOMENT HAPPENED SIX YEARS LATER…. WE LANDED ON THE MOON… ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN ONE GIANT STEP FOR MANKIND… WE WERE THERE…. THE WORLD WE ONLY SAW FROM A DISTANCE OR ONLY HEARD ABOUT WAS COMING CLOSER…. IT WAS BECOMING PERSONAL….IT WAS COMING INTO OUR MIND THROUGH THE EYE…

The U.S. Has Been At War 222 Out of 239 Years. America Has Been At War 93% of the Time – 222 Out of 239 Years – Since 1776, i.e. the U.S. has only been at peace for less than 20 years total since its birth.

IT IS NOT LIKE WE DONT KNOW WAR AS A CULTURE…. BUT WAR HAS NEVER BEEN BROUGHT INTO OUR LIVING ROOMS LIKE IT WAS DURING THE VIETNAM WAR…. WE GOT TO SEE FIRST HAND WHAT NABALM DOES TO A PERSON… WE WERE EXPERIENCING THE INDOCTRINATION OF THE VISUAL …. IT WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE DESENSITIZING OF A CULTURE… THE DESENSITIZING HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO US VIA THE VISUAL AND SOUND …. WITH THE INTENT TO SLOWLY MOVE US INTO THE ACCEPTANCE OF A MORALITY THAT REALLY IS NO MORALITY AT ALL…. IT IS A SELF INDUCED MORALITY OF FEELINGS AND NO ABSOLUTES…. THE ACCEPTANCE OF EVERYTHING IS    BASIS FOR A SELF INDUCED MORALITY…. WHAT WORKS FOR THE INDIVIDUAL IN THE PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES…. AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME FOR ANY REASON…. BECAUSE IT IS NOT ABSOLUTE…. THE MEDIA BRINGS ALL THESE THINGS INTO OUR HOMES BUT WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO DISTANCE OURSELVES FROM WHAT WE DO NOT FEEL GOOD ABOUT…. IT IS THERE IN FRONT OF US BUT IT IS FAR AWAY…. WE CAN WALK AWAY BY HARDENING OUR HEARTS…OR JUST CHANGE THE CHANNEL….

THE MEDIA BEGAN TO REALIZE THEY COULD INTRODUCE US TO AND SEDUCE US WITH THE VISUAL WORLD AROUND US…. THEY COULD ALSO INTERJECT VISUAL PRODUCTS TO WET OUR APPETITES TO PURSUE OBTAINING THESE PRODUCTS….. THE COMMERCIAL…. A SUTTLE BREAK FROM THE REALITY OR NON REALITY OF LIFE…. THE MEDIA COULD INTRODUCE A MIX OF FEELINGS INTO OUR HOMES… HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU SAW THOSE AIRPLANES HIT THE TWIN TOWERS…. WE WERE THERE…. IF OUR TV AND VISUAL DEVICES COULD OMIT ODORS WE COULD HAVE SMELLED IT.. BUT THE VISUAL WAS ENOUGH… 

DON’T GET ME WRONG… I AM NOT SAYING THAT TV IS EVIL OR THAT THE INTERNET IS EVIL… THEY BOTH CAN BE USED FOR EVIL AND ARE BEING USED FOR EVIL…. BUT WITH THE PROPER MORALITY WE CAN AVOID THAT WHICH IS EVIL TO A POINT….AGAIN WE CAN CHANGE THE CHANNEL…. BUT THE CHANNELS BRING CONFLICT…. ONE CHANNEL WE SEE TWO MEN KISSING AND THE PEOPLE CHEERING…… FLIP THE CHANNEL AND WE SEE THE ACCUSATION OF A PRESIDENT HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH A PROSTITUTE…. AND HOW WRONG THAT IS…. THEN WE LIP AGAIN AND SEE TWO PEOPLE LIVING TOGETHER AS THE NORM AND THEN FLIP AGAINA ND WE SEE HOW WRONG DIVORCE IS…

IN THE BEGINNING WE WERE INTRODUCED INTO PEOPLES HOMES …. I LOVE LUCY…FATHER KNOWS BEST…LASSIE… THE BRADY BUNCH…. THEN AFTER WE WERE BROUGHT INTO THEIR LIVING ROOMS… WE WERE SLOWLY BROUGHT INTO THEIR BEDROOMS…. THEN WE WERE BROUGHT INTO THEIR DYSFUNCTIONAL LIVES IN GENERAL….THE REALITY SHOWS.. ALL THE WHILE ENTICING US WITH PERFECT HUMANS WITH PERFECT SKIN AND FLAWLESS FACIAL FEATURES WITH BODIES THAT SEEMED TO BE PERFECT…. AND IF THERE WAS ANY DOUBT THEY WOULD SHOW YOU AS MUCH AS THEY COULD GET AWAY WITH… LEAVING LITTLE TO THE IMAGINATION….

ALL THE WHILE OUR MUSIC WAS TAKING US DOWN AND OUTSIDE OF WHAT WE HAD KNOWN BEFORE… MUSIC WITH LYRICS THAT CARRIED US TO THOSE HAPPY PLACES OF THE HEART…. LYRICS THAT TOLD US HOW TO LIVE AND WHAT TO TOLERATE…. WHO WERE THE BAD GUYS AND WHO WERE THE GOOD GUYS…. DON’T GET ME WRONG I LOVE MUSIC…. BUT MUSIC CAN ALSO USED FOR THE PURPOSES OF EVIL AND FOR GOOD

DON’T FORGET THE DISTORTION OF CHRISTIANITY…. OR AT LEAST THE MOCKERY OF CHRISTIANITY… WITH THE SEDUCTION OF A PROMISE IF YOU WILL SEND MONEY…. WITH THE ADVENT OF SELLING OR EXCUSE ME… THE GIVING AWAY OF GODS HEALING POWER AND THE GIVING AWAY OF…. GOD GIVING YOU WHAT YOU DO NOT NEED TO WORK FOR….. FOR A SMALL DONATION…. GIVE A HUNDRED AND GET A THOUSAND…. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS BAPTIZE GREED AND CALL IT PROSPERITY AND PEOPLE THINK GOD IS DOLING IT OUT TO EVERY ONE THAT HAS ENOUGH FAITH…. THE PREACHER OF GOD TURNS INTO THE CONMAN OF GOD…. PEDDLING GODS SPIRITUAL GIFTS AND POWERS…. RIGHT THERE IN THE COMFORT OF YOUR HOME…. YOU DO NOT NEED TO GO TO CHURCH…. ENJOY ALL THE COMFORTS OF CHURCH AND GET TO KNOW THE CON MAN AND HIS FAMILY….. YOUR NEW CHURCH FAMILY CAN BE FOUND IN YOUR LIVING ROOM…. AND IT DOES NOT HURT TO GIVE SOME OF YOUR SEED MONEY TO THE GARDEN OF GIFT GIVERS….. THEY BECAME THE CELEBRITIES OF GOD… THEY BECAME THE PASTORS OF THE THE WATCHERS AND THE GULLIBLE ….

JUST LOOK AT THEM…. HERE COMES THE VISUAL… THEY HAVE BEAUTIFUL CLOTHES… FANCY CARS AND LUXURY HOMES…. THEY FLY AROUND IN JETS AND SOME HAVE SEVERAL… GOD MUST BE BLESSING THEM…. NO ONE COULD AFFORD THAT MUCH MAKE UP AND HAVE A HAIR STYLES LIKE THAT EVERYDAY IF THEY DID NOT HAVE MONEY… IF THEY HAVE MONEY AND TELL ME I CAN HAVE MONEY TOO THEN IT MUST BE TRUE…. MR AND MRS GULLIBLE… THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR DONATION…. THIS WAS THE RISE OF VISUAL CHRISTIANITY WITH BENEFITS….PEOPLE DO NOT WANT TO BUY INTO CHRISTIANITY UNLESS THERE IS SOMETHING IN IT FOR THEM….WHAT DO I GET IF I DO WHAT YOU SAY….  BUT I SAID THE DISTORTION OF CHRISTIANITY….

SOME GOT CAUGHT WITH THEIR HAND IN THE COOKIE JAR…. AT LEAST SOME OF THEM DID….. JIMMY BAKER WENT TO JAIL…. JIMMY SWAGGERT WENT TO THE BROTHEL…. BUT THERE WERE TEN TO REPLACE THEM….UNTIL THEY COULD GET OVER THE EMBARRASSMENT AND START ALL OVER AGAIN… ALL THIS SPIRITUAL CON JOBS ARE NOTHING MORE THEN A PONZY SCAM AND ALL THEY APPEAL TO IS YOUR VISUAL LUST AND YOUR FEELINGS …HEDONISTIC CHRISTIANITY….

HEDONISTIC CHRISTIANITY WITH THE MANTA: I AM IN IT TO GAIN A BENEFIT OR AVOID A LOSS…. IF YOU WANT PROSPERITY AND RICHES FROM GOD….. THEN YOU WILL HAVE TO GO TO ANOTHER CHURCH… BECAUSE WE DO NOT SELL THAT HERE….BUT YOU WON’T HAVE TO GO VERY FAR…BUT THERE ARE LOTS OF PREACHERS SELLING THAT…. BUT YOU WILL FIRST NEED TO SEE THEM BECOME RICH…. THEN THEY WILL PASS IT ON TO YOU….. THE SECRET THAT IS…. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW THE SECRET… LET ME TELL YOU AND SAVE YOU SOME TIME…. GIVE YOUR MONEY TO THEM AND GOD WILL GIVE MONEY TO YOU…THAT IS IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH FAITH… BUT IF YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH…. DON’T WORRY THEY WILL STILL TAKE YOUR MONEY…. THEY ARE THE PROMOTERS OF HEDONISTIC CHRISTIANITY….. THEIR MESSAGES APPEAL TO LUST OF THE FLESH…THIS IS WHY THE CHURCH HAS ADAPTED TO THE CULTURE…. THEY WANT TO APPEAL TO A HEDONISTIC CULTURE… YOU DO NOT ACCOMPLISH THAT BY TELLING PEOPLE THEY MUST DIE TO SELF AND LIVE FOR CHRIST…..THAT WILL NEVER BE THE MANTRA OF THE FEEL GOOD CHRISTIANITY

AND BY THE WAY IT CONTINUES TO THIS DAY…. YOU CAN STILL WATCH IT IN YOUR LIVING ROOM  ….. OR BETTER YET THERE ARE SOME CHURCHES YOU CAN GO SEE THEM ON THEIR BIG SCREENS … BECAUSE SOME OF THE PREACHERS ARE IN A WARMER CLIMATE… GOD FORBID THEY SHOULD HAVE TO SUFFER A WINTER BELOW 75… IF YOU WILL CONTINUE TO SEND THEM MONEY… ONE DAY GOD WILL BLESS YOU TOO….

ALL THIS WAS BROUGHT INTO OUR LIVING ROOMS…. SOME SAID IF THAT IS CHRISTIANITY I WANT IN WHILE MOST SAID IF THAT IS CHRISTIANITY I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH IT…. THE GENERATION THAT SAID “I AM NOT DRIVING MY FATHERS OLDSMOBILE” IS THE SAME THAT HAS TRIED TO REDEFINE SPIRITUALITY…. MAINLY THROUGH THE INDUCTION OF EASTERN STYLE RELIGIONS….

THE VISUAL MEDIA CONTINUES TO INFLUENCE US…. TWENTY YEARS AGO SOMETHING TOOK PLACE IN THE WORLD OF ADVERTISING…. IT WAS CALLED DCA OR DCM…. AND IT HAD THE APPROVAL OF THE FDA… DIRECT CONSUMER ADVERTISING OR DIRECT CONSUMER MARKETING…. BUT IT HAD TO DO WITH YOUR FEELINGS… HOW YOU FELT… YOUR HEALTH… SO NOW IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM…. YOU CAN GET THE PROPER MEDICATION TO MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER…. MAKE YOU SLEEP BETTER….YOU CAN BE IN CONTROL OF HOW YOU FEEL ….. IN FACT IT MUST BE TRUE BECAUSE IN THE BEGINNING OF THE INFORMATION YOU SEE THE PERSON IS NOT FEELING OR NOT SLEEPING WELL OR MAYBE DEPRESSED BUT BY THE END OF THE INFORMATION THEY ARE ALREADY FEELING BETTER OR SLEEPING BETTER… THEREFORE IT MUST BE TRUE… I HAVE SEEN IT WITH MY OWN EYES… THE FDA SAID YOU HAVE TO LET THEM KNOW OF SIDE EFFECTS… THEY SAID NO PROBLEM…. WE WILL TELL THEM ABOUT THE SIDE EFFECTS BUT THE VISUAL IS FAR MORE POWERFUL AND THEY WILL IGNORE THE SIDE EFFECTS…. IF WE SHOW THEM THEY CAN FEEL BETTER THEN THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS…. THESE COMPANIES HAVE SPENT BILLIONS ON ADVERTISING AND WE WONDER WHY MEDICINES ARE SO EXPENSIVE….

WE HAVE BECOME CONDITIONED THROUGH THE VISUAL MEDIA…. WE HAVE BECOME DESENSITIZED THROUGH THE VISUAL MEDIA…. MEDIA NOT ONLY SHAPES OUR CULTURE BUT IT ALSO CAN INFUSE THE MOOD OF THE CULTURE… ONE STATION APPEALS TO ONE GROUP THAT THINKS THEIR WAY IS THE RIGHT WAY AND THEN YOU CAN FLIP THE STATION AND THEY APPEAL TO THE VERY OPPOSITE THAT THINKS THEIR WAY IS THE RIGHT WAY…. AT THE SAME TIME BOTH ARE SAYING THEY HAVE THE TRUTH….THEY ARE THE DEFINERS OF THE CULTURAL MOOD

I HAVE SAID ALL THIS BECAUSE IN THE BEGINNING I SAID THAT THE GOSPEL IS THE TRANSFORMATIONAL NEW LIFE… IF THAT IS TRUE…. THEN TWO THINGS MUST TAKE PLACE…. FIRST YOU MUST BE SEEING IT AND OTHERS MUST BE SEEING IT…. YOU ARE THE VISUAL GOSPEL… SOMEONE IS WATCHING YOU… AND SOMEONE WANTS TO KNOW WHAT CHRISTIANITY IS LIKE…. DO THEY WANT A PART OF IT…. BASED ON YOUR LIFE… OR DO THEY WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH IT BASED ON YOUR LIFE….  WE CAN TELL THEM THE SIDE EFFECTS ALL DAY BUT WHAT THEY REALLY WANT IS TO SEE WHAT YOU WERE LIKE BEFORE THE TRANSFORMATION AND WHAT YOU ARE  LIKE NOW….. IF THEY SEE THE CHANGES IN YOU AND THEY ARE REAL THEN THEY WILL LISTEN TO THE COST OF BECOMING A FOLLOWER OF JESUS….

WE CAN PRESENT THEM A NO COST JOY RIDE….OR WE CAN TELL THEM THEY CAN HAVE MORE OF WHAT THE WORLD IS OFFERING…. MATERIALISM… FEELING GOOD ALL  THE TIME… THIS CAN THEN BECOME THEIR TREASURE OR WE CAN TELL AND SHOW THEM THE COST OF THE NEW LIFE IN CHRIST….

WHICH ONE ARE PEOPLE BUYING INTO TODAY…. BECAUSE THE CHURCH IS TRYING TO PRESENT BOTH… THE CHURCH IS MOVING AWAY FROM ANYTHING THAT DOES NOT FEEL GOOD… TODAY MANY ARE BEING PRESENTED AN IMITATION GOSPEL… AND THAT GOSPEL CAN ONLY PRODUCE IMITATION FRUIT…ALONG WITH IMITATION CHRISTIANS…. IMITATION PASTORS PEDDLING IMITATION TRUTH CREATING IMITATION FOLLOWERS OF THEIR IMITATION GOD

Luke 6:43-45 (NASB)

43  “For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.

44  “For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.

45  “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

BRINGS FORTH…. 4393 prophérō (from 4253 /pró, “towards” and 5342 /phérō, “carry, bring along”) – properly, to bring the goal forward with high energy (motion, force), i.e. moving something to its necessary manifestation.

IT CARRIES WITH IT … WHAT IS IN THE HEART … WHAT HE HAS TREASURED IN HIS HEART… WHAT IS OF THE IMPORTANCE  OF HIS HEART… THIS IS WHAT PEOPLE WILL SEE….IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS MESSAGE I READ A VERSE….MATTHEW 6

Matthew 6:19-24 (NASB)

19  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

20  “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;

21  for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22  “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.

23  “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

24  “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

TWO THINGS THAT STAND OUT IN THIS PASSAGE… TREASURES ON EARTH… AND TREASURES IN HEAVEN… ONE IS PRESENT THE OTHER IS FUTURE… ONE IS PRESENT INDULGENCE AND THE OTHER IS FUTURE REALIZATION…. ONE IS OF SHORT DURATION AND THE OTHER IS OF ETERNAL DURATION….  BUT THE PROBLEM IS THIS … ONE IS SEEN AND FELT NOW WHILE THE OTHER WILL BE EXPERIENCED LATER… DO WE GET ALL WE CAN GET NOW AND HOPE IT WILL ALL WORK OUT LATER… OR DO WE SACRIFICE NOW AND PUT OUR TRUST IN GOD’S WORD….YOU CANNOT SERVE TWO MASTERS

Luke 6:46-49 (NASB)

46  “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

47  “Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like:

48  he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.

49  “But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”

THIS LATER PART IS WHAT IS TAKING PLACE IN OUR CULTURE TODAY… THERE IS NO FOUNDATION…. EXCEPT THE DELUSION OF FREEDOM AND PLEASURE ….AND IT BRINGS WITH IT A TORRENT OF EMOTIONS THAT CANNOT STAND AGAINST THE SOLID FOUNDATION OF GOD’S WORD…. BUT THIS IS ALSO TAKING PLACE IN OUR CHURCHES TODAY…. THEY ARE GIVING UP THE FOUNDATION FOR SAND…. THAT IS WHAT THE HEDONISTIC AND MATERIALISTIC CULTURE IS ALL ABOUT…. IT IS SAND AND IT SLIPS THROUGH YOUR FINGERS BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING SOLID ABOUT IT…. ARE WE JUST GOING TO CHURCH OR ARE WE BEING THE CHURCH…. BECAUSE THE WORLD WANTS  TO KNOW.. THEY ARE WATCHING…YOUR LIFE SHOULD BE THE LIVING GOSPEL….

THE APOSTLE PAUL… LUKE

PART V – CORT …. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE CHURCH

IT IS MY DESIRE TO CHALLENGE YOU…. TO GET YOU THINKING AND TO GET YOU MOVING… TO GET YOU MOVING IN A SPIRITUAL DIRECTION…. TO HELP YOU GROW….… TO GIVE YOU FOOD FOR THOUGHT….… GOD WANTS ALL OF YOU…. IF YOU ARE HIS CHILD DO NOT BE THE PRODIGAL CHILD…. DO NOT THINK YOU CAN COAST THROUGH HOLINESS….

oUR BELIEF AND OUR FAITH MUST HAVE MEANING AND MUST MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  … OUR BELIEF MUST HAVE AN AUTHORITATIVE CONVICTION IN THE WORD OF GOD TO THE DEGREE THAT IT IS EVIDENT IN HOW AND WHY WE LIVE OUR LIVES….

HAS GOD REVEALED HIMSELF TO YOU…. AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT REVELATION????  IN YOUR REVELATION TO THOSE AROUND YOU DO THEY SEE THE JESUS IN YOU??

THIS IS HOW I STARTED THE LAST FOUR PARTS OF THIS SERIES… TODAY WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT SOME OF THE PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF THE WORD IN RELATION TO WHAT I HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT….  WE DO NOT USE OUR CULTURE TO INTERPRET THE WORD OF GOD AS MANY DO TODAY…. THERE ARE MANY APPLICATIONS TODAY BUT ONLY ONE INTERPRETATION…. THE QUESTION THAT WE COME TO AT THIS POINT IS WHAT DO WE NEED TO BE DOING IN LIGHT OF THE TURN OF EVENTS IN OUR CURRENT CULTURE AND IN LIGHT OF WHERE OUR CULTURE IS HEADED…..  THE CHURCH NEEDS TO BE PROACTIVE AND NOT REACTIVE TO THE CULTURE….

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB)

16  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17  so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Ephesians 2:10 (NASB)

10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

SO THAT THE MAN OR WOMAN OF GOD WILL BE ADEQUATE…. EQUIPPED  FOR THE THINGS GOD HAS PREPARED AHEAD OF TIME…. WHAT IF GOD WANTS TO USE YOU AND YOU ARE NOT PREPARED OR EQUIPPED… IT IS THE SCRIPTURES THAT PREPARE US FOR TEACHING… FOR REPROOF – CONVICTION THAT REBUKES SIN…. THAT ABILITY TO TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT WHAT THE BIBLE CALLS SIN… AND THEN TO HELP THEM TURN FROM SIN…. THAT WOULD BE THE CORRECTION…. TO GET THEM ON THE PROPER PATH…. AND THEN TO TRAIN THEM… TO DISCIPLE THEM….

2 Timothy 2:4 (NASB)

4  No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.

Hebrews 4:12 (NASB)

12  For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

IF WE ARE TO BE ACTIVE AND THE WORD OF GOD IS ACTIVE AND WE ARE ALL RUNNING AND PART OF THAT RUNNING IS THE DISCIPLINE OF TRAINING THEN HOW AND WHY DO WE TRAIN…

CORT TELL US WHY YOU HAVE TRAINED AND THE IMPORTANCE IN TRAINING…

TRAINING:

Luke 6:40 (NASB)  “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

STORY OF HICKORY COUNTY CAR STOP WITH 4 ARMED GUY

PRACTICAL APPLICATION FOR LIFE:  you have to train in life to grow and mature and to recognize what is right and what is wrong.  Lots of wolves in sheep’s clothing

Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)  “Train a child up in the way he should go.  Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Do children depart from their training, in the order of 70% plus.  why is that?  improper training and experience?

*how I changed our sniper training from what it was when I joined the team to how we train now.  the reality of training and experiencing the Christian walk in real life is it should make us uncomfortable.  It should push us.  people strive for comfort but that isn’t where growth happens.

IMPROPER TRAINING VS. REALISTIC TRAINING:    academy martial arts program and 1,000 moves vs my modern bjj training and simplifying to basic movements from every angle.

1 Peter 3:15 (NASB)  “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”             

just as in self-defense that I train in you need self-defense for your faith.   evolution, world flood and how all the animals fit on the arc, millions of years vs a literal 7 day creation, separation of church and state, lack of proof of God’s existence, all the other religions in the world,  etc…..

ARE WE PREPARED…. YOU SAY PREPARED FOR WHAT??? TWICE THE SCRIPTURES SAYS FOR GOOD WORKS….. ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS …THERE IS A PLURALITY MENTIONED AND IMPLIED…. MAYBE YOU NEED TO TRAIN NOT ONLY FOR YOURSELF BUT YOU TRAIN FOR THE BENEFIT OF OTHERS… BECAUSE WE WORK AS A TEAM….

CORT….HOW WOULD A TEAM WORK IF SEVERAL OF THE TEAM MEMBERS WERE NEVER TRAINED???

CORT… WOULD IT BE PRACTICAL IF I WANTED TO BE AN OFFICER..  DRESS IN THE UNIFORM… DRIVE THE POLICE CAR… GIVE OUT A TICKET…. BUT I DON’T WANT TO TRAIN…. AND I WILL NEVER PUT MYSELF IN A POSITION WHERE I HAVE TO DEFEND MYSELF….

THE INSTANT REACTION BECAUSE OF TRAINING…. GOOD AND BAD… HOW WE REACT AND WHAT DO WE REACT WITH….. SPIRITUAL VS THE FLESH

THE RIGHT TRAINING BRINGS ABOUT THE RIGHT RESPONSE …

SOMETHINGS I WANT TO LOOK AT….. THE INSTANT REACTION BECAUSE OF TRAINING…. GOOD AND BAD

HOW DOES OUR TRAINING FOR A JOB COMPARE TO THE TRAINING FOR LIVING THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN

MAKING DECISION BEFORE THE SITUATION ARISES

WITHOUT TRAINING WHAT DO WE HAVE TO TURN TO OR RESPOND OUT OF….

ALL OF US HAVE BEEN TRAINED…. EITHER BY A PARENT, TEACHER, A PEER, A CULTURE, OR A SITUATION…. MAYBE HURTFUL OR BLESSED….

WHEN WE ARE TRAINED WITH THE WORD OF GOD IT IS FOR THE PURPOSE OF USING THE WORD OF GOD AS OUR DEFAULT MECHANISM IN LIVING OUT OUR LIVES IN A WORLD THAT EXPECTS AND ACCEPTS SOMETHING OTHER THEN THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD….

WITHOUT TRAINING WHAT DO WE HAVE TO TURN TO OR RESPOND OUT OF….IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN TRAINED BY THE WORD OF GOD WHAT OPTION DO YOU HAVE TO RESPOND WITH??? 

ALL OF US HAVE BEEN TRAINED…. EITHER BY A PARENT, TEACHER, A PEER, A CULTURE, OR A SITUATION…. MAYBE HURTFUL OR BLESSED….

MOST OF US WERE TRAINED FOR AN OCCUPATION…. AND WE NEEDED TO BE TRAINED AND WERE WILLING TO BE TRAINED…. BUT WHEN WE BECAME A CHRISTIAN DID WE PURSUE TRAINING DID WE SEE THE NEED TO BE TRAINED…

SOME MAY SAY I WANT TO HAVE THE NAME CHRISTIAN AND I WANT TO DO THE CHRISTIAN THINGS ….. I WANT TO GO TO CHURCH…. I WANT  TO WORSHIP… BUT I AM GOING TO AVOID ANY TYPE OF SITUATION THAT MIGHT CONFRONT ME ABOUT MY BELIEF….

MANY OF YOU SITTING HERE TODAY HAVE BEEN A CHRISTIAN FOR MANY YEARS…. YOU HAVE A VAST AMOUNT OF EXPERIENCE…. YOU HAVE STUDIED AND SAT UNDER TEACHING FOR MANY YEARS…. THE QUESTION IS WHAT ARE WE DOING WITH THAT EXPERIENCE….

CORT… WHY IS EXPERIENCE SUCH A VALUABLE TOOL ….

EXPERIENCE:

training is a great place to start but you don’t have mature growth without practical application, without experience.  putting concepts and principles into motion. 

Hebrews 5:14 (NASB)  “but solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good from evil.”

story of Sinaloa cowboys swat call     vs  today how i make entry and see and hear everything

Phillipians 4:9 (NASB)  “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

EXPERIENCE IS NOT SO MUCH WHAT HAPPENS TO US AS IT IS WHAT WE DO WITH WHAT HAPPENS TO US…. ARE YOU USING THE EXPERIENCE YOU HAVE FOR THE FURTHERANCE OF THE GOSPEL….DOES EXPERIENCE HELP TO CHANGE YOU AND PREPARE YOU….

LONGEVITY IS NOT ALWAYS THE INDICATOR THAT THE PERSON IS USING THEIR EXPERIENCE…. WHAT ARE WE DOING WITH WHAT WE KNOW….. AND HAVE WE GAINED ENOUGH EXPERIENCE THAT WE TRY TO COAST THROUGH OUR CHRISTIAN WALK… REMEMBER I SAID YOU CANNOT COAST THROUGH HOLINESS…. WE MUST BE DILIGENT IN OUR DISCIPLINE

CORT…. WHAT PART DOES DISCIPLINE PLAY OUT AFTER YOU HAVE BEEN TRAINED….. CAN YOU JUST COAST THROUGH FROM THEN ON???

DISCIPLINE:

to get the proper training and to gather that experience you need Discipline.

Hebrews 12:11 (NASB)  “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”

discipline to work out and to train in bjj when i’m tired

general discipline, getting your exercise when you are tired, and then situational discipline, maintaining discipline and doing what you should in certain situations you find yourself in.

story of the polk county call where 794 had his patch blown off

*the poster in the academy of the huge prisoner lifting weights until he vomits….motivation. motivation helps to be disciplined.  find what motivates you.

1 John 1:6 (NASB)  “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”           

we need to exercise discipline in our lives to get to our training, do proper training, and then do as we are trained.

Training, Experience and Discipline lead us to ……..    

IT IS INTERESTING THAT IN EPHESIANS

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NASB)

10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

11  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. YOU WILL NOT AVOID THIS ENEMY

13  Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

14  Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,

15  and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;

16  in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17  And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18  With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

THREE TIMES HE SAYS FOR US TO STAND FIRM…. YOU… PUT ON AND BE PREPARED….. EACH ONE OF US NEEDS TO BE STRONG AND THAT COMES FROM TRAINING, EXPERIENCE AND DISCIPLINE…. JUST BUTTING ON THE UNIFORM DOES NOT MAKE YOU AN OFFICER…. ANY MORE THEN GOING TO CHURCH MAKES YOU A CHRISTIAN… AND IT DOES NOT MAKE YOU A PREPARED CHRISTIAN…. BEING PREPARED IS ESSENTIAL IN THE MAKE UP OF A CHRISTIAN….

CORT… WHY ARE YOU PREPARED FOR SOMETHING THAT MAY NEVER HAPPEN??

PREPAREDNESS

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NASB)   24  “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may win.

25  Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.  They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

26  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in a way, as not beating the air;

27  but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

story of drunk guy use of force the other day.  preparedness.

*do these things in accordance with what God has gifted you with.  ex.  jill and her sympathy /  me other stuff

summary:  footnotes from NASB

winning requires purpose and discipline.  Paul uses the previous verses to show how the Christian life takes hard work, self denial, and grueling preparation.  As Christians we are running towards our Heavenly reward.  The essential disciplines of prayer, Bible study and worship equip us to run with vigor and stamina.  Don’t merely observe from the grandstand; don’t just turn out to jog a couple of laps each morning.  Train diligently-your spiritual progress depends on it.

Luke 6:40 (NASB)

40  “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

Hebrews 5:14 (NASB)

14  But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Hebrews 12:11 (NASB)

11  All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

2 Peter 2:14 (NASB)

14  having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children;

Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)

6  Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Matthew 7:23 (NASB)

23  “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Romans 7:19 (NASB)

19  For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.

Galatians 5:21 (NASB)

21  envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 4:19 (NASB)

19  and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

Philippians 4:9 (NASB)

9  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

1 Thessalonians 4:10 (NASB)

10  for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more,

1 Timothy 5:4 (NASB)

4  but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.

Hebrews 5:14 (NASB)

14  But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

2 Peter 1:10 (NASB)

10  Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;

1 John 1:6 (NASB)

6  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;

1 John 3:10 (NASB)

10  By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

Revelation 22:11 (NASB)

11  “Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.”

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NASB)

24  Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

25  Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

26  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;

27  but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

SOMETHINGS I WANT TO LOOK AT….. THE INSTANT REACTION BECAUSE OF TRAINING…. GOOD AND BAD

HOW DOES OUR TRAINING FOR A JOB COMPARE TO THE TRAINING FOR LIVING THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN

MAKING DECISION BEFORE THE SITUATION ARISES

WITHOUT TRAINING WHAT DO WE HAVE TO TURN TO OR RESPOND OUT OF….

ALL OF US HAVE BEEN TRAINED…. EITHER BY A PARENT, TEACHER, A PEER, A CULTURE, OR A SITUATION…. MAYBE HURTFUL OR BLESSED….

SITUATIONS… MOSES NOT DOING AS HE SHOULD BECAUSE OF CIRCUMSTANCES….

THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL NOT GOING INTO THE PROMISED LAND BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY PERCEIVED

DAVID NOT DOING AS HE SHOULD AND THEN TRYING TO COVER IT UP

PETER DENYING JESUS BECAUSE OF PEER PREASURE AND CIRCUMSTANCES

PETER AND SOME OF THE OTHERS GOING BACK TO FISH INSTEAD OF DOING WHAT JESUS TRAINED THEM FOR

HOW CAN OUR PAST TRAINING BE RETRAINED

WHAT IF OUR CURRENT REACTION TO SITUATIONS IS NOT WHAT WE WANT OR IS NOT IN LINE WITH THE WORD OF GOD

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE THAT NEW CREATURE IN CHRIST

Romans 12:1-3 (NASB)

1  Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

2  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

3  For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB)

17  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

2 Timothy 2:1-4 (NASB)

1  You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

2  The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

3  Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

4  No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.

PART V1 – WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE CHURCH

Romans 1:18-20 (NASB)

18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

19  because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

20  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

TWO THINGS THAT DRAW PEOPLE TO GOD ARE OFTEN THE PAIN AND SUFFERING  IN LIFE AND THE SHALLOWNESS AND EMPTINESS OF THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE AND MATERIALISM….

ESSENCE :the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, that determines its character…. WHAT IS OUR ESSENCE… BODY, SOUL, AND IN THE NEW CREATION OF CHRIST WE ARE SPIRIT…. BUT THE ESSENCE OF EACH PERSON IS THE IMAGE OF GOD…

THE TWO WORLD VIEWS : THE BIBLICAL AND WORLD OR SECULAR SEE PLEASURE FROM OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS….. IN THE BIBLICAL VIEW PLEASURE IS SEEN FROM THE ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE…. PLEASURE IS AFIXED AND RELATIONAL TO ETERNAL VALUE…. 

1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NASB)

17  Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.

18  Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,

19  storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

THE ESSENCE OF LIFE FOR THE CHRISTIAN IS WHAT IS TO COME…. WE FIND OUR GREATEST MEANING AND PURPOSE IN LIFE IN DOING THE THIGS THAT WILL HAVE AN ETERNAL REWARD… NOT FOR THE REWARD ITSELF BUT FOR THE GLORY IT BRINGS TO THE NAME OF JESUS…

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 (NASB)

12  Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,

13  each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.

14  If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.

15  If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

THE ATHEIST  AND THE PERSON SEEKING A SPIRITUALITY WITHIN THEMSELVES CAN ONLY FIND THEMSELVES AND THEREFORE THEY MUST REINVENT WHAT THEY FIND THAT THEY DO NOT LIKE….. WHERE AS THE CHRISTIAN IS FOUND BY THE GOD OF CREATION ….. AND IT IS THAT GOD THAT CREATES A NEW LIFE WITHIN….

THE CHRISTIAN BELIEVES THAT GOD IS A PERSON…. THEREFORE WE CAN HAVE A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM….. THOSE THAT BELIEVE HE IS A FORCE OR THAT GOD INHABITS EVERYTHING CAN THEN HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THINGS… THE PANTHEIST…PAN – ALL AND THEIST – GOD… SEE GOD IN EVERYTHING… THEY CAN THEN FIND GOD IN NATURE AND EXPERIENCE GOD THROUGH NATURE… IF THEY SEE GOD IN EVERYTHING THEN THEY SEE GOD IN THEMSELVES AND THEN CAN DO THINGS TO GET IN TOUCH WITH GOD WITHIN…

WE BELIEVE THAT WE ARE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD…. THAT GIVES EACH PERSON THE PROPERTIES REQUIRED TO HAVE A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD….

EASTERN RELIGIONS AND THE NEW SPIRITUALITY SEEK GOD WITHIN…. THEY END UP HAVING A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THEMSELVES AND THEN THEY ARE GOD…. THIS IS WHY SELF IS THEN PAMPERED AND SHOWERED WITH PLEASURE… EVEN THOSE SUCH AS A MONK FIND PLEASURE IN DENYING THE PLEASURES OF THE WORLD…. IT ALL REVOLVES AROUND SELF…

IT IS JUST THE OPOSITE IN A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW…

Philippians 2:3-4 (NASB)

3  Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

4  do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

HE IS NOT SAYING DO NOT LOOK OUT FOR YOUR OWN INTERESTS IN A SELF CENTERED FASHION BUT LOOK OUT FOR THE INTERESTS OF OTHERS…. THIS IS THE OPPOSITE OF HEDONISM….

PART VII – WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE CHURCH

TODAY THEY WILL BEGIN REMOVING BIBLES FROM PUBLIC PLACES AND FROM HOMES…. WOULD THIS UPSET YOU IN PRINCIPLE OR IN FUNCTION….. OR BOTH????

YOU MIGHT CRY OUT THAT THIS IS UNFAIR…. HOW CAN THEY DO THIS…. THEY HAVE NO RIGHT TO TAKE THE BIBLE OUT OF THE HANDS OF PEOPLE…. IT IS A SACRED BOOK….. IN FACT IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK OF ALL TIME…. IT IS GODS WORD TO US….. IT IS HOW HE HAS REVEALED HIMSELF TO US…

2 Kings 22:1-20 (NASB)

1  Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath.

2  He did right in the sight of the LORD and walked in all the way of his father David, nor did he turn aside to the right or to the left.

3  Now in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent Shaphan, the son of Azaliah the son of Meshullam the scribe, to the house of the LORD saying,

4  “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest that he may count the money brought in to the house of the LORD which the doorkeepers have gathered from the people.

5  “Let them deliver it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the LORD, and let them give it to the workmen who are in the house of the LORD to repair the damages of the house,

6  to the carpenters and the builders and the masons and for buying timber and hewn stone to repair the house.

7  “Only no accounting shall be made with them for the money delivered into their hands, for they deal faithfully.”

8  Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan who read it.

9  Shaphan the scribe came to the king and brought back word to the king and said, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the LORD.”

10  Moreover, Shaphan the scribe told the king saying, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it in the presence of the king.

11  When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes.

12  Then the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Achbor the son of Micaiah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king’s servant saying,

13  “Go, inquire of the LORD for me and the people and all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found, for great is the wrath of the LORD that burns against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”

14  So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter); and they spoke to her.

15  She said to them, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘Tell the man who sent you to me,

16  thus says the LORD, “Behold, I bring evil on this place and on its inhabitants, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read.

17  “Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods that they might provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath burns against this place, and it shall not be quenched.”‘

18  “But to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the LORD thus shall you say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel, “Regarding the words which you have heard,

19  because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the LORD.

20  “Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes will not see all the evil which I will bring on this place.”‘” So they brought back word to the king.