Change Is Possible For All

I remember an episode of Bonanza from years ago. It seems there was a man who had been in prison, and Ben was giving the man a chance, after getting out, and someone made the comment, “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch” to which Ben replied, “We are dealing with a man, not apples”. What ever happened to shows like this, where change is possible.

In seeing episodes of “Law and Order” and hearing comments on news shows like Fox and Friends, and them making comments such as, “Child sexual abusers cannot change” it certainly gives no hope. I must agree that left to ourselves, there is no hope. We are a depraved people.

The answers to the following questions will show how big of grace you believe God has:
1. Can God save and change a murderer?
2. Can God save and change a rapist?
3. Can God save and change a kidnapper?
4. Can God save and change a sodomite/homosexual?
5. Can God save and change a child molester?
6. Can God save and change a parent killer? (This one could fit with the first.)
7. Can God save and change a God/Christ-hater? and

8. Can God save and change you?

Now how will you answer that?

Here is the Bible’s answer –
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.    1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Notice the “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

All who come to Jesus are changed by the power of the Holy Spirit given to all who have called on Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Confession and Repentance

And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.  And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.  Nehemiah 9:2-3

The people who had returned to Jerusalem, first with Ezra, and with Nehemiah a few years later had finished the task which they had came to do. Ezra’s task was to rebuild the Temple; Nehemiah’s task was to rebuild the wall.

Both of the jobs were completed. The wall had been rebuilt in 52 days (Nehemiah 6:15) and they were celebrating by reading the Law of God. People wept because of their sins. When was the last time we wept over our sins against God; and believe me they are quite numerous. These people spent a whole week in reading Scripture, hearing the word of God, and confessing and repenting of their sins.

What happened first? They separated themselves from “all strangers” that means their foreign wives and children, all alliances that had been made with foreigners, especially buying their goods on the Sabbath.

Then, they confessed their sins and the sins of their fathers who had caused them to stray away from God and led to their captivity of seventy years in Babylon.

When their sins had been dealt with then, they worshiped the Most High and Holy, Holy, Holy God.

None of this took place without the reading of God’s word and hearing it; doing it.

Confession of sin and repentance is needed by God’s people today. John the apostle wrote, “If we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

They Shall Know…

Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”     Exodus 6:6-7

But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay My hand upon Egypt, and bring forth Mine armies, and My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.   And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth Mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.     Exodus 7:4-5

I use two different text from my reading this morning for the purpose of this message…

The people of God need to know and believe that the LORD is their God before we can expect the world around us to know and believe it. So let’s start believing with our heart, our mind and our lives through our obedience to Him; not to gain His favor, but because we have His favor.

It is quite apparent to me that the LORD God wants all the world to know.

Repent people of God. Turn to Him and know Him. The world will one day know who He is, but do you know Him today. GOD has made it possible through the death of His Son Jesus on the cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection. Call on Him in repentant faith.

Staying Where God Leads

And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.  And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.  And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.                 Genesis 13:1-4

God had led Abram to the land of Canaan, but when a famine had come he set his eye on Egypt for the provision of his family. We have all done it. We know we are where God wants us to be, but suddenly we find things going opposed to what we think they ought to be and we think there are “greener pastures” over there somewhere.

Abram had set up an altar of worship at Bethel; a place of worship; and then he goes down to Egypt.

Abram comes back to that place when he returns from Egypt, and he calls on the name of the LORD once again.

Have you strayed from where God wants you to be? Return to the place where you left Him. No! He has never left you, and He never will. That is why we, the child of God, always come back to the place where we left Him.

If you have no clue as to what I am writing about, then maybe you do not even know GOD. He loves you. He gave His Son Jesus to die for your sins on the cross, He was buried, and He rose again. He says to you, “Come to Me and I will give you rest and peace.” Do so today.

The Self Righteous and the Sinner

And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”                                         Luke 18:9-14

The Bible tells us in Romans 3:10 that “There is none who are righteous, no not one,” and in verse 23 “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” I write this because there are far too many people who think, “Well, Jesus died for sinners, and I am a righteous person. I love God, and I love my neighbor, so I need no savior.” That thought puts them at odds with God. Actually making God and the Scriptures their enemy.

One man, a Pharisee, a greatly religious man considered himself better than the other. Being full of himself he prayed “with himself”. Did you notice how Jesus said that. God did not hear that man’s prayer. Full of himself separated from God.

The other man, a publican, to us a tax collector, despised by the Jewish people, because these men were Jews themselves taking their people’s money for the Roman government. He came to the temple to pray, and prayed simply, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” He knew his need of forgiveness and cleansing, and he left the temple “Justified,” but not the Pharisee.

The way to forgiveness and cleansing of sin is by way of the cross of Jesus Christ. The only way of forgiveness of sin is because Jesus died for us, was buried and He rose again.

The Psalmist wrote, “A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).

The Father Runs to His Returning Child

And He said,
“A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.’ And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.  And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.  And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.  And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
And when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.’  And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.  And the son said unto him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.’
But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.  And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.  And he said unto him, ‘Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.’  And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.  And he answering said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: but as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.’  And he said unto him, ‘Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.  It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.’ “
                                  Luke 15:11-32

There are three main characters in this story:

The first is the Father; the second is the younger son; and the third is the elder son.

The younger son asks for his inheritance early, receives it, then finds himself starving, and basically living with swine. He realizes his situation, is reminded of his father’s home, and that he is a blessed man. He decides to return to his father if only as a servant, and seeks forgiveness.

The father is anxiously awaiting his younger sons return. Maybe he was out in the field working, and looks up the road in the direction he believes his son will be returning, he sees and image coming, getting closer, and closer, then he can make out the features of the face of the man coming toward him. The father drops his tools and all that he is doing and runs; that is right, he runs; because he has recognized that person as being his younger son. He runs until he reaches him, and gives him a hug, and a kiss, and another hug and kiss, and he takes him to his house and clothes him in raiment fit for a king. He then calls for a feast, having the fatted calf killed for that feast, and the celebration begins.

The elder son comes in from the field where he has been working hard all day, and he hears a racket of rejoicing and celebration, dancing, singing, joyous rejoicing. He becomes angry with envy. He complains to the father, “This rebellious son has taken all his inheritance and spent it up on foolish and debaucherous living. I, on the other hand have been faithful to stay, and work and wait until the inheritance is mine.” The elder son is not rejoicing. He is rejecting his brothers return.

We need to keep in mind that this story as well as the “Lost Sheep”, and “Lost Coin” stories are addressed to the Pharisees as they had just accused Jesus of eating with publicans and sinners.

Now in this story we see an elder son who believes he has been good to maintain his inheritance, but he is angry with the father for receiving the wayward son – this is the Pharisees.

The younger son represents the child of God that has gone astray, going his own way, rejecting the word and will of the Father finding himself bankrupt, full of sin, unclean, hungry and cold; comes to himself realizing he has sinned against God repenting returns to the father if only to be a servant.

The father is a picture of our Heavenly Father who with great love awaits all who have departed from His word, will and way. When He sees the repentant returning child returning, He runs to Him and clothes him with the best, puts a ring on his fingers, and has a glorious celebration.

Do you find yourself outside the will of God? Have you reached a point of despair, pain, hunger, loneliness? Are you ready to come back home to the Father? He is waiting, watching, and when He sees you coming, He will run to greet you.

Religion and Repentance

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham to our father:’ for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”                                    Matthew 3:7-10

John the Baptist was not called to promote a religious system. That is all that the Pharisees and Sadducees had in their hearts and minds.

The Baptist came, was anointed by God, and came calling people to the repentance of sin that their hearts might be prepared for the appearance of the Messiah, that they might believe Him.

That is the calling, from a heart of love for Christ, to call people to believe Jesus Christ, call on His name in repentance and faith. Showing forth fruit of repentance comes from a heart that has been born again, changed to the point of hating sin, first in one’s own life.

Has your heart and life been changed by the power of the Holy Spirit in your life?

Going After the Lost One

And He spake this parable unto them, saying,
“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, ‘Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.’
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”
  Luke 15:3-7

More Tolerable

Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.
He that heareth you heareth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me.
  Luke 10:13-16

In the Presence of Angels

Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.’
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
  Luke 15:8-10

Fruits Worthy of Repentance

Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, ‘O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham to our father:’ for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.’  Luke 3:7-9

Till He Send Forth Judgment Into Victory

“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
‘Behold My Servant, whom I have chosen; My Beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased: I will put My spirit upon Him, and He shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send forth judgment unto victory. And in His name shall the Gentiles trust.’ ” Matthew 12:18-21

Only Sinners Can Be Saved

Many religions place importance on doing something to gain God’s favor. Let me at the beginning just say; there is nothing you or I can do to gain God’s favor. There is no sacrifice, there is no sacrament, there is no good deed to your neighbor or the world which will gain you or me eternal life and/or the favor of Holy God.

This very mentality is what Jesus is addressing in the following verses:

“And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them,
They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ ” Matthew 9:10-13 (KJV)

When Jesus was ministering to the publicans (tax collectors) and sinners the religious leaders began questioning Jesus’s purpose, power, and ministry. “What kind of man would sit with tax collectors and sinners?” they were asking themselves, and the disciples.

There is only one sacrifice which God the Father accepts; and that is the sacrifice, the death of His only begotten Son. Still the religious; the self-righteous try to gain the favor; the grace; of God through sacrifice and sacrament.

God shows grace and mercy to the sinner who will come to Him through the cross of His Son Jesus with a repentant heart. Through the act of repentance on the part of the sinner, trusting Christ Jesus, God clothes the sinner in the righteousness of God the Son.

You may be a righteous person today. You cannot be saved. Until you see yourself as the sinner your really are you will remain lost, condemned, dying, guilty, and spiritually dead.

Come to the Father through the cross of Jesus. Sinner hear Him and be saved. He came to save the sinner.

Doing Repentance

“But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, ‘Son, go work to day in my vineyard.’  He answered and said, ‘I will not:’ but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir:’ and went not.
Whether of them twain did the will of his father?’

They say unto Him, ‘The first.’ Jesus saith unto them,
‘Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.”  Matthew 21:28-32

Nations and Cities Need to Repent

“Then began He to upbraid the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not:
‘Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.’ ”    Matthew 11:20-24

Jesus, Anger, and the Sabbath

“And He entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched Him, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath day; that they might accuse Him. And He saith unto the man which had the withered hand,
‘Stand forth.’
And He saith unto them,
‘Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill?’
But they held their peace. And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man,
‘Stretch forth thine hand.’
And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.”   Mark 3:1-5

The skill and wisdom of Jesus always amazes me. The way He challenges His challengers; the hostile challengers; of His words and life is truly awesome. Just because someone does not like what He says or does, does not deter Him from going ahead and doing what He was going to do in the first place; and He does it with authority and power.

I always take note of verses, also that tell of Jesus having anger, and of those where the word is not used, but also where He displays anger; for instance the two times He drives the money changers out of the Temple with a whip He made Himself. They had defiled His house.

Anger is not always a bad emotion. What makes you angry? That guy or gal that cut you off in traffic? That one in the check-out at Walmart that was rude and nasty to the associated checking them out? Is that really a good anger? Not at all. If it makes us angry to see someone rudely treated, then let’s compliment the one that was just treated that way.

Jesus had earlier in chapter 2 of Mark said the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. I suppose that is for all the laws of God. They are given to aid and to help us realize our evil plight in life, not to provide hindrances for good deeds.

When we come to Jesus, trusting Him as our Lord and Savior all the law is fulfilled in Him. We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10). It was provided for us by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Call on the name of the Lord Jesus, believing that God has raised Him from the dead, and you shall be saved (Romans 10:9-10).

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 091120

“And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who He was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see Him: for He was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up, and saw him, and said unto him,
‘Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.’
And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, ‘That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.’ And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.’ And Jesus said unto him,
‘This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.’  ”  Luke 19:1-10  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 090920

“Then said He unto the disciples,
‘It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.’
” Luke 17:1-4  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 090520

“There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them,
‘Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.’
”  Luke 13:1-5  (KJB)

Great Need For Repentance

“There were present at that season some that told Him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
And Jesus answering said unto them,
‘Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.’” Luke 13:1-5 (KJB)

When God Runs

“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” Luke 15:20 (KJB)

In Luke 15 Jesus tells us three beautiful stories. The first is of a Lost Sheep; the second of a Lost Coin; and the third of a Lost Son. I am dealing with the third today, knowing it is the most remembered one often called the story of the Prodigal Son.

Please read the whole chapter. I will deal mostly with this one verse.

The lost son was lost because he decided to leave the father’s house and go out on his own living (In riotous living), on his inheritance, make friends, and be set for life. He finds himself broke, busted, and bankrupt; and feeding swine, and eating with the very hogs he was feeding. His “friends” had forsaken him, since his money ran out. Something we should all remember is that even as money, the material is temporary; so are people who are friends when you have money.

I like the phrase in verse 17 which states, “And when he came to himself”. He got to thinking. His mind cleared up, and he got to thinking about his father, and the way it could be at home. He humbled himself, went back to his father, to submit to him; not as his son; but to be a servant.

He heads home, and we can see something quite clearly. The father was watching for his son’s return. I can imagine everyday, several times a day he would look down the road in the direction his prodigal son would be coming from, longing to see him treading the way back.

We see the father spotting his son at a far distance, had compassion on him; and I would imagine tears joy and happiness flowing from his eyes; and he runs to greet him. The father prepares a great feast, a party welcoming the son home.

This father represents the God of Heaven. The lost son is anyone who is away from God; out of fellowship with God, and have no joy, peace, or love in their life.

The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ longs for your return. Come to your senses, and know that the Father is waiting for your return. When you start that return He will run to greet you.

When does God run? When ever His wayward child comes home.

The Judgment of The LORD

“The just LORD is in the midst thereof; He will not do iniquity: every morning doth He bring His judgment to light, He faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.” Zephaniah 3:5 (KJB)

The LORD is always good. There is never a time when He is not.  If He were not also Holy, Just, Righteous, and Jealous He would not be good.

The people in the day of Zephaniah’s prophecy were feeling quite positive of God’s presence with them. Judah, Jerusalem was counting on the fact that God would not leave them, neither forsake them; and the prophet assures them that He is indeed in the midst of them.

The LORD in their midst did not excuse their iniquity, their sin, their rebellion against the LORD. It would rather magnify their grievous sin – at least it should have. It magnified iniquity for the prophet of God; and God used him to warn His people.

For the people of God in 2019, those who call themselves “Christian” this word is for you today.  God truly is in our midst; He will not do iniquity, and He does not rejoice in it.  While the judgment of sin has been paid for by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, He was buried, and He rose again; does not give you a license to sin; neither is it an excuse for sin.

It is a license to freely live for God, confessing our sin when we commit the grievous act of sin and iniquity against God (1 John 1:9).

God will judge those who refuse to accept the gift of grace through the cross of Jesus Christ.  We must never forget as a Christian, that judgment must begin at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17).

O that the Christian today; from the pulpit to the pew, the preacher to the man or woman who professes Jesus Christ as Savior of their lives to fall on their faces before God confessing, and repenting of their sins. Also crying out to see their sin as God does.  That would be the beginning of a great awakening in the Body of Christ.

What Happened At Shiloh?

“In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the LORD, saying,

‘Thus saith the LORD; ‘Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: if so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent Me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. And thou shalt say unto them, ‘Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearken to Me, to walk in My law, which I have set before you, to hearken to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.’

So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD.” Jeremiah 26:1-7 (KJB)

Shiloh is the place where the ark of the covenant was kept in the Tabernacle in the wilderness which Moses had made after the pattern of God’s in Heaven.  Shiloh was the place from which it was taken foolishly by the priest thinking it had special powers even when the hearts of the people had turned against hearing the word of the LORD.  It would do the reader good to read 1 Samuel 1 – 4 to get the background of what Jeremiah is saying.

When people will not hear the word of the LORD, and do what He says then you can be sure no amount of prayer, special offering, sacrifice will suffice to please God. He is pleased when we hear His word, and do it.

There are many places that are alive with activity in the name of the Lord, but full of ignorant, disobedient, sacrificing, giving people; separated from God, and do not even realize it. Their lives are empty and without meaning, because these places have a whole lot of fire, but not fire from God in Heaven. They will not hear and heed the word of the LORD.

Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name,…. The temple, as in Jer_7:11, for though it was called by his name, and his name was called upon in it, yet this could not secure it from desolation; for so the name of the Lord was set in the tabernacle at Shiloh, and yet he forsook it through the wickedness of the people:

wherein ye trust; they trusted in the sacrifices there offered up, and the service there performed; in the holiness of the place, and because it was the residence of the divine Majesty; wherefore they thought this would be a protection and defence of them; and this was trusting in lying words, as in Jer_7:4,

and unto the place which I gave unto you and your fathers; meaning either Jerusalem; and so the Syriac version renders it, “and to the city”; or the whole land of Judea, as in Jer_7:7,

as I have done to Shiloh; See Gill on Jer_7:12.”  From John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible on Jeremiah 26:6

O hear the word of the LORD. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life.  That is a starting place.

Destruction happened at Shiloh.  Life eternal happens at the cross of Jesus Christ. Hear the word of the LORD.

The Light of Israel

“And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day; and shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth.  And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.” Isaiah 10:17-19 (KJB)

In this reading I want us to remember that the Light of the world is Jesus Christ the Son of God and God the Son,

These words of Isaiah were spoken by God to him of the judgment God was bringing on the nation He was using to judge His own people because they had turned from the LORD God. This judgment is against Assyria whose ruler thought he was in charge, he  was no one’s servant, that he was so powerful he had done all the conquering on his own.  God was set to show him other wise.

The judgment of God is always for the cleansing of His people.

I am going to close with the words of the Matthew Henry Commentary…

“How this destruction is represented. It shall be, First, As a consumption of the body by a disease: The Lord shall send leanness among his fatnesses, or his fat ones. His numerous army, that was like a body covered with fatness, shall be diminished, and waste away, and become like a skeleton. Secondly, As a consumption of buildings, or trees and bushes, by fire: Under his glory, that very thing which he glories in, he will kindle a burning, as the burning of a fire, which shall lay his army in ruins as suddenly as a raging fire lays a stately house in ashes. Some make it an allusion to the fire kindled under the sacrifices; for proud sinners fall as sacrifices to divine justice. Observe, 1. How this fire shall be kindled, Isa_10:17. The same God that is a rejoicing light to those that serve him faithfully will be a consuming fire to those that trifle with him or rebel against him. The light of Israel shall be for a fire to the Assyrians, as the same pillar of cloud was a light to the Israelites and a terror to the Egyptians in the Red Sea. What can oppose, what can extinguish, such a fire? 2. What desolation it shall make: it shall burn and devour its thorns and briers, his officers and soldiers, which are of little worth, and vexations to God’s Israel, as thorns and briers, whose end is to be burned, and which are easily and quickly consumed by a devouring fire. “Who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? They would be so far from stopping the fire that they would inflame it.

I would go through them and burn them together (Isa_27:4); they shall be devoured in one day, all cut off in an instant.” When they cried not only Peace and safety, but Victory and triumph, then sudden destruction came; it came surprisingly, and was completed in a little time. “Even the glory of his forest (Isa_10:18), the choice troops of his army, the veterans, the troops of the household, the bravest regiments he had, that he was most proud of and depended most upon, that he valued as men do their timber-trees (the glory of their forest) or their fruit-trees (the glory of the Carmel), shall be put as briers and thorns before the fire; they shall be consumed both soul and body, entirely consumed, not only a limb burned, but life taken away.” Note, God is able to destroy both soul and body, and therefore we should fear him more than man, who can but kill the body. Great armies before him are but as great woods, which he can fell or fire when he pleases.

[3.] What would be the effect of this great slaughter. The prophet tells us, First, That the army would hereby be reduced to a very small number: The rest of the trees of his forest shall be few; very few shall escape the sword of the destroying angel, so few that th ere needs no artist, no muster-master or secretary of war, to take an account of them, for even a child may soon reckon the numbers of them, and write the names of them. Secondly, That those few who remained should be quite dispirited: They shall be as when a standard-bearer fainteth. When he either falls or flees, and his colours are taken by the enemy, this discourages the whole army, and puts them all into confusion. Upon the whole matter we must say, Who is able to stand before this great and holy Lord God?”  MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY

Turn to Jesus Christ the Light of the world.  Without Him there is no light.  He died for you, He was buried, and He rose again; and He forever lives and hears us when we pray trusting Him.

A Joy of the Heart

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (KJB).

Paul was a thankful man.  It gave his heart joy to see people come to saving faith in Jesus Christ through the  preaching, and teaching of the word of God.  Remember what he preached was from the Old Testament. That was what they had. Some of the New was out there, but not readily available.

These people had been people bound in darkness. The Apostle had come to them with the good news of the gospel – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ – and they had heard, and believed.  Lives had been changed.  There was true repentance; a complete turn around, a change in their lives.

All the talking and powers of persuasion are not always effective at changing someone’s mind or heart.  With the gospel it is only the power of the Holy Spirit who can reveal the truth of the gospel, the power of the gospel, and the light of the glory of Jesus Christ; that He is the Son of God, God the Son.

Will you be the joy of someone’s heart today?  Has the Spirit of God revealed to you the truth of who Jesus is?  Turn to Him, away from sin, believe Him, and be saved.