Posts Tagged ‘Devil’


We celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ each Easter. It certainly is a moving story of the sinless Son of God who is brutally beaten and then murdered by nailing him to a cross and then allowing him to slowly suffocate as he struggles to breath, all the time feeling the pain of those iron spikes, all that is holding his body up.

We know the story of Peter denying that he even knew Jesus, of the diciples running away, of the ladies going early Sunday morning to anoint the body of Jesus, only to find the great stone rolled away and the body missing. We know that the angels said to the women “why do you look for the living among the dead?”, and then how Jesus appears to Mary and then the disciples. We know the story of doubting Thomas and how when Jesus said “Put your finger here and see my hands, and Thomas said “My Lord and My God!

We know the story of the disciples walking on the road to Emmaus, and how they did not recognize the stranger who joined them. When they stopped to eat, and the stranger broke bread, they knew He was Jesus. We also know that after 40 days Jesus was with his disciples one last time. The last thing the disciples said to Jesus was: “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:6-11 (ESV)

That is the Power Point Version of the story of Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

I don’t want to focus on the story of Easter. You have heard that story many times before. I want to focus on the Revelation of Easter – specifically, what did the Resurrection Reveal?

We have been looking at Romans, with the intent of taking a Journey through the cross. In our Journey so far we have seen that the Power of God is this Gospel, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This Gospel Alone is the Power of God unto salvation.

The reason that the Gospel is needed is that man has done three things:

  1. refused to honor God as His God,
  2. refused to allow God into his life by giving Him thanks,
  3. man has become vain or self-centered in his thinking.

As a result, man has been given over to the lusts that lurk in his naturally wicked heart, he has become corrupt in his emotions and behavior, and he has become upside down in his thinking. Bottom line, man is a messed up sinner.

Furthermore, we see from chapter two, that no matter how good man thinks he is, it is not good enough for God. God has declared that we are unrighteous. We are not “right”. Even the Jews, who are blessed by God, Paul writes:

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:9-12 (ESV)

The problem with God’s creation, with man, is that the one thing God made in His own image, you and me, mankind, has become worthless because of sin, because of our disobedience. You may sit there thinking, “I’ve never been one of those ‘corrupt’ sinners. Please realize as Charles Hodge wrote:

“If we have never loved Him supremely, if we have never made it our purpose to do His will, if we have never made His glory the end of our actions, then our lives have been an unbroken series of transgressions. Our sins are not to be numbered by the conscious violations of duty; they are as numerous as the moments of our existence.” Hodge

The Truth is, that ever since Adam and Eve, this world has not been RIGHT! God’s Righteous Creation was corrupted by three things:

  • SATAN
  • SIN
  • DEATH

If God is to set this world RIGHT, Someone must deal with these three corruptors!

The Revelation of Easter

Easter is more than a story, it is The Revealing of the Righteousness of God!

As we will read in a moment, when Jesus stepped through that doorway of his tomb, when he looked up and saw the the sunlight breaking over the horizon, it was more than a miracle, it was more than a triumphal moment for the Son of God. In that moment God revealed something to all of mankind for all of eternity. God revealed His righteousness!

You may say that that is no big deal. If I were to ask each of you, you would tell me you believe in the Righteousness of God. Yet, many of you really have doubts.

We equate righteousness with being right, and many times in our lives we have experienced things or seen things that we feel in our heart are not right, not just, or just not fair. And that  causes us to question this God who is supposed to be righteous, supposed to be loving

When you experience the death of an infant or a child, when you are in a horrible auto accident, or perhaps another kind of accident; when we hear of the tragedies other Christians are experiencing such as torture, rape, and even death, we think “why God”? Is that how you show your righteousness?

When greed is allowed to multiply, when corruption grows, when terrorists do what terrorists do and seem to get away with it, we wonder about the righteousness of God. We even wonder about His power in this world.

Sure, we have heard about His mighty miracles in the past, but why isn’t He doing this in my life? Why is He allowing this torment in my life? Why won’t He set this situation right? After all, you’ve been good, you say your prayers, even read your Bible.

Job

Once there was a man who experienced all sort of tragedies, the death of his children, the theft of everything he owned, the loss of his health. Even his friends turned on him. He questioned the righteousness of God in a huge way. He even pleaded with God for a chance to confront Him, and plead his case that God was wrong. Finally, God appears

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6 (ESV)

Instead of pleading and questioning, he repented, he was silent, he was in awe!

We can question God all we want. We can ignore God all we want. But the truth is that God is Righteous, and today we celebrate how He revealed His righteousness – in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

David

David, who was on the run from King Saul for over 10 years, even though he had done nothing wrong, could write:

Ps 71:15: “My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.”

Whatever your questions and doubts about God and what He has done inyour life, one day you will know that He is and has always dealt with you in His righteousness:

Rev 15:4: “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy.  All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Have You Experienced the Righteousness of God?

We must embrace the truth that God is righteous and His righteousness has been revealed and in fact been made available to us through the resurrection of His Son.

The question I want each of us to answer is this: Have you experienced the Righteousness of God?

In Job 9:2, Job asked: “How should a man be right before God?”

His answer concluded that because God is the kind of God He is, there was no way he could ever approach Him? How can I ever be right with Him? How can I ever get an audience with Him? How can I ever have a relationship with such a God… so mighty, so holy, so powerful? That’s the question. Can a man be right with a God like that? Can a man have a right relationship with that holy, infinite, mighty God? And that is the question answered by our text and the answer is – yes, yes, yes!

Paul makes plain the Revelation of the Resurrection in Romans 3:21-26

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:21-26 (ESV)

What does the Righteousness of God Mean?

Dikaiosúnē, righteousness, meanss conformity to the claims of a higher authority and stands in opposition to anomía, lawlessness. Righteousness describes the character and the quality of God Himself. His character, his conduct, his actions his word, everything that God does, thinks, allows is according to who He is-righteous. His creation, his design,is all consistent with who He is-righteous.

Righteous is a state of being that cannot do wrong, cannot do that which is not righteous.

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 Jn. 1:5).

Righteousness is God. God is the Definition of Righteousness

But what makes the Resurrection so Powerful, is that while it Revealed to us the Righteousness of God, that revelation was not just for show, it was to reveal something even more awesome than coming back from the dead, it revealed that the Righteousness of God can be ours! We can be Righteous!!!!

When Job asked “How can any man be righteous before God? God answers back – behold the Resurrection!

If you desire, as Job did, an audience with God, if you desire to spend your eternity with God, then you must be as Righteous as God is, otherwise He considers you to be “NOT RIGHT” and lawless!

So the question is not whether you have experienced the Righteousness of God, but is actually Are You as Righteous as God?

If not, then you will not spend eternity with Him. You will continue to be corrupted by Death and Satan for all eternity!

God demands our righteousness if we are to have a relationship of “worth” with Him. God himself is our standard of righteousness, so if we are to be righteous, we must share the very righteousness that belongs to God!

You ask,  Can I Really be Righteous? Ephesians declares that we are to “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness”.   Ephesians 4:24 (ESV) God says that it is indeed possible to experience His righteousness. Indeed, we can even “put on” a new self, created in true righteousness and holiness based upon God Himself!

So when Jesus tells us in John 6:33 to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” he is telling us that we can indeed experience the righteousness of God!

There are Four Truth’s about becoming Righteous:

1.  It Does Not Come by Legalism

verse 21 says, it’s apart from the law. And here Paul uses the word “law” to refer to legalism, legal effort, law keeping on a human level. It is a part from any works of man. It is apart from any goodness of man, any religiosity, any spiritual ritual, any innate quality of man. It’s apart from any legalism in the sense that you on your own can live up to the law of God and satisfy God.

Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. Galatians 3:21 (ESV)

2.  It Comes By Revelation

God reveals it to you. It is witnessed by the Old Testament. The whole Old Testament was to show men that they couldn’t be righteous on their own. Even Jesus when he preached reaffirmed that God’s Standard is righteousness. He even made it harder showing that lust, lieing, stealin is not just an outward act, but it is an inward thing to. Even Jesus wanted His disciples to know that in themselves they could not be righteous.

Jesus wanted them to see that God would bring His righteousness to them. So the way to respond to the Sermon on the Mount is to cry out, I’m unclean, I can’t keep those commands, I need you, I need the power of Your Resurrection in my life.

3.  It Comes By Faith

Verse 22: “This righteousness of God is by faith.” In other words, it doesn’t come by works, it comes by faith. And those two are distinct. Works is something you do, it is an effort that you do embark on. Faith is something God does and you believe it, you accept it, you trust in it. It is done by Him and you accept that He did it and you don’t have to add anything to it.

On the cross Jesus said it is finished. He had accomplished the work of salvation, it was done. And the Bible simply says if you believe, you’re redeemed…. if you believe that He finished the work, if you believe in the significance of what He did, who He was and dying on the cross and rising from the dead, that’s all that’s necessary. He did it all, you need only believe it. It is acquired by faith. “If thou shalt confess Jesus as Lord and believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead,” Romans 10:9 and10, “thou shalt be saved, for with the heart man believeth unto salvation.”

Isaiah 61:10 “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord and my soul shall be joyful in my God, for He hath clothedme with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.”

God makes us Righteous, ONLY GOD!

The Righteousness of God was revealed to us in the Resurrection, it is totally apart from our works, it is built upon revelation, it is acquired by simple faith. The final amazing thing is:

4.  It is a Gift Available to All

Verse 22 says: “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ, unto all them, who are believing.” The provision is made for anyone who believes.

DO I REALLY NEED THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD? Is it important that we are made righteous like God? It is eternally important:

because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:31 (ESV)

The Resurrection is the Revelation that We can be Righteous!

By raising Christ from the dead, God not only revealed His righteousness to you and me, but He also assured us that we will one day be judged as to whether we were righteous or not! The Resurrection demonstrated to the world that the ONLY righteousness that God will accept is His righteousnesss. And He manifested that Righteousness in the Resurrection of His Son.

How Does the Resurrection Reveal God’s Righteousness to ME?

Paul in just a few short verses uses three distinct pictures to reveal exactly what the Resurrection means to you and me. There are three words that picture what the Resurrection represents to you and me.

The words are Justified or Justification, Redemption and Propitiation. Volumes have been written to define these words, but simply put they picture three things. These three pictures explain how the Righteousness of God can be revealed to your life.

A Courtroom

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Romans 3:23-24 (ESV)

Picture a courtroom where a man who has committed a heinous crime is about to have his verdict read. The gallery is thinking this is a slam dunk. The devil was the Prosecuting Attorney. He is the one bringing the charges. He believes he has a claim on this man’s soul! The verdict seems simple.There was no evidence offered in his defense. Even his own widowed mother testified that he was a horrible person. The devil had witness after witness that testified to his horrible crimes. The devil is laughing with delight, for he believes another soul is in his grasp!

The judge, even after hearing all the horrible testimonies, announced to the courtroom: NOT GUILTY! You are free to go!

But the judge goes beyond the simple Not Guilty. The Judge declares him to be righteous. He doesn’t simply ignore the evidence, he erases it.

When God justifies us, he doesn’t close His eyes and pretend we are righteous. He makes us righteous. It is a transformation.

The devil immediately stands up and cries “This is a travesty.  He has killed, he has stolen, he has lied” How can you say you are righteous and  declare that this lowlife is righteous like you?

At that point, the courtroom shakes, a huge stone is rolled away, and out steps the Resurrected Jesus Christ!

He walks up to the man, embraces him, and says, “He has my righteousness! He is my brother, he simply put his life in my hands”

The devil shuts up, he has no other accusations. The man walks out, in the arms of His Savior!

The Resurrection brings God’s Righteousness to our hearts simply by our faith in the truth of Jesus Christ. By faith, God makes us righteous. We are no longer condemned men and women. We are actually made righteous. We are transformed into new creations.

If we believe that God is just saying we are righteous when we’re not, then conversion isn’t a transformation it’s just God sort of fooling Himself. But being born again is a true “making righteous”. We are made right with God… an actual acquittal, an actual imputation of righteous nature granted to us. And it is all a gift freely given.

For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (ASV)

JUSTIFY MEANS TO PRONOUNCE AND TREAT AS RIGHTEOUS. It is vastly more than being pardoned; it is a thousand times more than forgiveness. You may wrong me and then come to me; and I may say, “I forgive you.” But I have not justified you. I cannot justify you. But when God justifies a man, He says, “I pronounce you a righteous man. Henceforth I am going to treat you as if you have never committed any sin.” Justification means sin is all past and gone — wiped out — not merely forgiven, not merely pardoned; it means clearing the slate and setting the sinner before God as a righteous man, as if he had never sinned, as if he were as righteous as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Dr. Alva McClain in “Romans, the Gospel of God’s Grace, p. 107

The Resurrection reveals that our Justification and our Rightousness must be totally by Jesus Christ. We cannot stand on anything that we have done, for it is all sin, it is all as filthy rags. We are made righteous only when we place our faith and trust in the Righteous One-Jesus Christ. We are clothed in His righteousness.

The Resurrected Christ has made us Right by transforming us into His Righteousness and freeing us from the claims of Satan

A SLAVE MARKET

and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Romans 3:24 (ESV)

The only way we can become Righteous as God is through the gift of Redemption by Jesus Christ.

Imagine you had been kidnapped, held in a dungeon. You are being held by none other than Satan himself. He sends for you and declares you to be his slave, on the basis of God’s Word!

“Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” (Jn 8:34)

You are a sinner, and because you are a sinner, the wages of your sin are death by becoming his slave for all eternity. As you stand there, bound in the chains of your sins, suddenly the gates of hell are shaken, a huge stone is rolled away, and out steps the Resurrected Jesus Christ.

He points his finger at that old Devil and says Stop! He must go free! Immediately the chains fall off and evaporate into thin air.

The Old Devil Reaches out to Grab you, but Jesus says STOP!

I have paid the price for his sins! Here look at my hands, look at my feet! I have taken his place on the Cruel Cross and I have paid the price of his sins with my own Blood. He has trusted in me with his heart and soul, and he has been redeemed!

That old devil throws a fit, but Jesus takes your hand and together you rise to heaven!

  • Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— Galatians 3:13 (ESV)
  • You were bought with a Price! (I Cor 6:20)
  • who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:14 (NIV)
  • “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:5).
  • “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
  • “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Tim. 2:5-6).

A dignified looking lady once approached the great preacher Dr. G. Campbell Morgan and said,
“Dr. Morgan, I don’t like to hear about the blood. It is repulsive to me and offends my esthetic nature.”
Dr. Morgan replied, “I agree with you that it is repulsive, but the only thing repulsive about it is your sin and mine.”

It is repulsive to man, but it is through His blood that we have redemption. The Resurrected Christ has made us right by freeing us from the chains of sin.

A SACRIFICE

Verse 25 & 26: God has appointed him as the means of propitiation, a propitiation accomplished by the shedding of his blood, to be received and made effective in ourselves by faith. God has done this to demonstrate his righteousness both by the wiping out of the sins of the past (the time when he withheld his hand), and by showing in the present time that he is a just God and that he justifies every man who has faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 3:25-26 (Phillips NT)

The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23)

Most of us have seen a movie with the natives believing some god is angry with them. They believe the only way to appease their god is to offer a human sacrifice.

God hates sin. It is not right. It is not righteous. God cannot tolerate anyone who has even one sin. He requires death, he requires a sacrifice. God loves us, but His righteousness means he cannot tolerate sin, in fact, he must prosecute sinners, he must judge them.

That is why he set out a system of sacrifices for the Jewish people. His righteousness demanded a covering of their sin. The Law spelled out in great detail the method of atoning for the sins of Israel. Atoning is a word similar to propitiation.

Jesus became our sacrifice, our propitiation.

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1John 2:2

Jesus himself become the satisfaction, that’s the word hilasterion, the propitiation. It means “a place where sins are blotted out.” It means that God’s righteous requirements are satisfied because your sins are blotted out.

It was used to refer to the Mercy Seat, when the priest went in the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, and sprinkled the blood on the Mercy Seat, that was the place where sins were blotted out … and Christ became the place where sins are blotted out. He became the kapporeth, the Mercy Seat. He, by His blood, provided satisfaction. And so we are redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, a lamb without spot and without blemish.

So picture yourself before God Almighty. You sins have made you wretched before him and His righteousness demands your death. A death that will last for all eternity in Hell. But just before you are to be carried away into eternal torment, an earthquake is felt, the huge stone is rolled away and Jesus Christ appears. He instantly goes to you and takes you in his arms and looks back at God and says, He is mine, his sins are blotted out. God immediately smiles. Instead of the stench of your sins filling his nostrils, there is the aroma of His Son. Where there was rotting sin, there is cleanness, righteousness. He is pleased He can be loving, He can take you to heaven. His righteous demands have been satisfied, because the Blood of Jesus has satisfied the righteous demands of God upon your life.

  • The Resurrected Christ has made us right by freeing us from the wrath of God that demanded our death
  • The Righteousness of God becomes our righteousness because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Resurrection is the Proof that Jesus Finished the Job. It is Finished because I have Conquered!

Jesus Christ set everything RIGHT! He satisfied the Righteous Demands of Holy God. He empowered all those who believe to possess the righteousness of God. He covered our sins, satisfying God’s demands, He purchased us from the devil, from death and from sin by His Blood, and He became our righteousness, enabling us to partake of the righteousness of God!

Jesus Made Everything Right so He Could Reveal the Righteousness of God

When Jesus stepped forth from that Tomb, He declared to God and the world that He had set things right again.

  • He is our Propitiation and through His sacrifice made us right with Death.
  • He is our Redeemer and through His blood made us right with Sin
  • He is our Justifier and by His Righteousness becoming ours, he has made us right with Satan.
  • His resurrection revealed the Righteousness of the Father, and freed us from sin, from death and from Satan!

HAVE YOU BEEN MADE RIGHT WITH GOD BY FAITH?

  • In verse 22 we see a little word mentioned: This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, Romans 3:22 (NIV)
  • In verse 25 we see that same little word: whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
  • In verse 26 we see that little word again: “It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

The Reason the Resurrection can transform you from a sinner bound for Hell into a Righteous Saint bound for heaven is by faith in what Jesus Christ did for you on the Cross. When Jesus said “It is finished” by faith you say “AMEN”

Faith is rest, not toil. It Is Not Your Faith That Saves You. It means you turn away from all you think you need to do to gain God and simply rest in what Jesus did for you.

  • He freed you from the devil’s condemnation in the court room,
  • He freed you from slavery to sin,
  • He freed you from the wrath of death in hell.

There is nothing more you can do to be righteous before God.

Faith is total dependence upon Jesus Christ. Faith enables you to see and lay hold of Him who is invisible!

An orphaned boy was living with his grandmother when their house caught fire. The grandmother, trying to get upstairs to rescue the boy, perished in the flames. The boy’s cries for help were finally answered by a man who climbed an iron drainpipe and came back down with the boy hanging tightly to his neck.

Several weeks later, a public hearing was held to determine who would receive custody of the child. A farmer, a teacher, and the town’s wealthiest citizen all gave the reasons they felt they should be chosen to give the boy a home. But as they talked, the lad’s eyes remained focused on the floor. Then a stranger walked to the front and slowly took his hands from his pockets, revealing severe scars on them. As the crowd gasped, the boy cried out in recognition. This was the man who had saved his life. His hands had been burned when he climbed the hot pipe. With a leap the boy threw his arms around the man’s neck and held on for dear life. The other men silently walked away, leaving the boy and his rescuer alone. Those marred hands had settled the issue.

Many voices are calling for our attention. Among them is the One whose nail-pierced hands remind us that He has rescued us from sin and its deadly consequences. To Him belongs our love and devotion. -D. C. Egner  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

What do you think of the Resurrection? Is it just a story?

Are you ready to place your life in the nail-scarred hands of Jesus Christ?

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God-Asks-Hard-QuestionsToday I want to open the Word of God and answer Four Hard Questions that I believe God wants us to ask ourselves.

  1. How Do We Deny Jesus Christ?
  2. How Do We Become Vessels of Honor?
  3. How Do We become Ensnared by the Devil?
  4. How Do We Worship a god of our own making?

The answers that we discover are essential in answering the overall question facing us this morning – Do We Need a Revival?DO We Need a Revival

When asked about which Book of the Bible most Christians would like to know more about, the answer is usually the Book of Revelation. We all have a natural curiosity about what will happen during the last days.

  • “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?”
  • For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:7-13

Jesus said this of the last days-many will fall away, there will be betrayal and hatred between brothers. There will be false prophets that lead many supposed brothers astray. Lawlessness will increase, and the love of many will wax cold. Peter described the last days in this way: knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3:3-4

In the last days people will scoff at God and His Word, they will cause many to doubt the coming of Jesus Christ. They will present a god that is without power and without the ability to keep his word. In other words, man will fashion a god who is non-threatening and merely to be used as a security blanket for the old and the weak. Before you get all curious about the Last Days, and about God’s Judgment, I want you the heed the Lord’s reaction when some other curious people wanted to know what a recent happening meant.

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:1-3

(What Jesus Meant) “These men are not signal examples of divine vengeance, as ye suppose; but every impenitent sinner — ye yourselves, except ye repent — shall be like monuments of the judgment of Heaven, and in a more awful sense.Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Jesus wants us to realize that each of us is only a heart beat away from being a monument to the judgment of God. Either a Monument to God’s Grace, or a monument that will burn for all eternity in the bowels of hell.

Jesus said no matter what happens, consider your own heart. Make sure you have repented. See if there is a need for repentance. In the fine print Jesus says “Never take your salvation for granted!” I believe in eternal security. But I would never never assume that God owes me anything. I am nothing without Jesus Christ. Any boldness I have is solely because I am hid in Jesus Christ. But one thing Jesus wants us to know-our hearts are evil and so deceptive. We can be fooled so easily into thinking we are OK, even better than most of the folk around us simply because we prayed some prayer 20 or 30 years ago. Well if that prayer of salvation did so much for you why haven’t you told someone about it? If what you did was so life transforming, why are you afraid to tell even your good friend or a sister about what Jesus did for your life?

If President Obama was coming to your house to discuss health care with you and a few select friends, you would not hesitate to start calling so and so. Well, Jesus is coming very soon and you are afraid to tell those you love about it!

I’m afraid that too many of us are trusting in what we once did instead of repenting daily of our cold, careless hearts. There is a judgment coming for ALL mankind and we are just curios lookie Lou’s wanting to figure out who the antichrist is. If you want to know who the antichrist is, try looking around you. John says that there are many antichrists among us, in fact they begin as Christians sitting with you at church:

  • Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 1 John 2:18-19

Who is an Antichrist?

antichrist obamaAnyone who denies Jesus Christ as Lord of their life. Continue with John:

  • But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:20-22

What does it mean to deny? It doesn’t mean to reject, as those who reject the free gift of salvation. It means to refuse, such as Moses in Heb. 11:24 – “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter”. It also means not to know or recognize someone such as in Matt 10:33 “But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.  If you are a born again Christian, and yet continue to hide Jesus from your friends, from your loved ones, you’ve got to do some soul searching – because the Scriptures seem to say that you have the spirit of antichrist.

If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:12-13

reviveRevive comes from the Latin word revivere – to live again. In order to live again you had to be alive at one point, but now you are comatose or in a drunken stupor of some sort. A verse we will look about in a minute is 2 Timothy 2:26 “and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil” May come to their senses comes from a Greek word meaning “To awake out of a drunken sleep and become sober”CWSD. If we need reviving it means we are not dead, and need to become alive. How can we be dead if we have been born again. But if we need reviving, it is because we have allowed this world or the devil to get us in a spiritual state that our eyes are clouded and our head is foggy because we are in a drunken stupor. We need to come to our senses, we need to awake out of our drunken sleep. Once we wake up and clear our minds and hearts long enough to see, we must look long and hard and Holy God. We must look long and hard at His Holy Word. And then we must look long and hard at our love for Jesus, and then we must be honest before God and weep and mourn.

revelation of JohnI’m not a believer in being slain in the spirit, but would to God that some of us might get slain in the spirit like John did when he saw the real Jesus! We need to see the real Jesus, the one who will judge us for every word we speak. We need to see the real Jesus, the one who one day will reveal that He knew all along what you did to Him – whether you have neglected his bread of life, neglected His water of Life, denied Him before your friends, failed to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, give water to the thirsty.

Revelation of HellMy greatest fear is not being eaten alive by rats or falling headlong into a pit of venomous snakes…my greatest fear is that one day I’ll look through the crystal portal of heaven (Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. Revelation 4:6 ) and look into hell and see some of you screaming in agony for all eternity. Why didn’t you take being a Christian more seriously. Why did you not realize that being born again is a changed life, not just some tears you shed because you prayed an emotional prayer. If you are born again there will be a continual desire for this Word. There will be a continual thirst for Jesus. Just as you can’t go for many days without food and water, you will not be able to go many days with nourishment from Jesus. Even in my most backslidden state I was aware of God pounding, pounding, pounding on my stubborn heart.

Some of you act like Jesus is no big deal. If Jesus is not a big deal to you, how can you even for a moment really think that Jesus lives in you? How can you even for a minute tolerate such a cold hard heart and even believe that the Holy Spirit tolerates it too?

Question #1: How Do We Deny Jesus Christ?

How Do We Deny ChristWhen we neglect him, when we forget him, when we act as if we don’t know him, when we refuse Him to be Lord over our life, our heart, our mind, our soul, our possessions, our marriage, our worship. Ask yourself this morning – How am I denying Jesus Christ in my life?

Continue reading in 2 Timothy 2 at verse 19

2 Tim 2:19 – But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

Understand first of all, Paul is speaking of Christians.

He says that God knows who are His. We can not judge who a Christian is. Only God knows. But Paul does say that those who name the name of the Lord will depart from iniquity. Now iniquity is the adikos, that which ought not to be, that which is wrong. It is the opposite of díkē, that which is right and fit, hence unrighteousness.

One who takes the Name of Jesus upon their heart will stop doing that which ought not to be, that which is wrong!

Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:19-26

From our text we see the following: In any church there are vessels of gold and silver and vessels of wood and clay.

“Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable”

Now from the text you can’t say that only the vessels of gold and silver are born again. But I believe you can say that true Christians can be ensnared by the devil.

QUESTION #2 How Do We Become Vessels of Honor?

How Do We Become Vessels of HonorThere are things a Christian must do in order to become a vessel of Gold and Silver.

  • Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

1. You must cleanse yourself from that which brings dishonor in your life.

  • DISHONORABLE – Speech – attitudes –  disobedience –  thoughts –  actions

2. You must be ready and willing for good works

  • Whatever you Say Boss!
  • For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (2 Tim says honorable vessels are prepared for every good work).
  • Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Matthew 25:31-46

3. Flee Fleshly Desires

  • Run away from, escape from their destruction, – Pride, lust, speech, thoughts

4. Engage in an INTENTIONAL Pursuit of the Character of Jesus Christ.

  • righteousness, faith, love, peace, and do it with others of like pure (undivided) heart. No Two-Faced Christians allowed in your life.

5. Avoid Controversies and Quarrels.

  • And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:20-26

6. Realize You are a Slave of Jesus Christ.

  • You have no will of your own

  • Obey the Commands of Your Master

7. Realize Your Life Can Be Used to Rescue Christian’s From the Snare of the Devil

QUESTION #3 How Do We become Ensnared by the Devil?

How are We Ensnared by the DevilIt begins when we deny Jesus Lordship over some area of our life. It can be music, what we look at, what we read, what we say, but we usually know when we resit Jesus in that area. The Satan starts to work. He loves to capture Christians with wrong thinking, wrong attitudes, wrong beliefs. He loves it when Christians start quarreling over things which get us off course, get us away from our passion for Jesus. If your life is going to be used to rescue people caught up in the snare of the devil, you must:

  1. Not Argue
  2. Be Kind
  3. Be able to explain the Word
  4. Be patient with those who treat you wrong.
  5. Desire such to repent and allow God to show them His truth, that they may sober up and escape the snare of the devil, even after being captured to do his will.

The next few verses reveal what happens to this great house, the church, when we do not cleanse ourselves from that which is dishonorable. Paul is describing what will be apparent not among the unbelievers, (although if this is in the church you can bet it is in the world) but among those in the great house!

2 Timothy 3:1-5 – Dishonorable Christians Who Close Their Eyes to God

This know also, that in the last days

perilousViolent, fierce. Used of demoniacs, wild, difficult (maniac of Gadara), hard to bear, distressing, referring to the times

times – kairos – a period of opportunity

shall comewill set in

2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves phílautosSelf-centered or selfish. The primary concern that things be easy and pleasant for oneself.

Covetous – philargyros: “loving money” in Luke 16:14 (Pharisees were lovers of money)

boasters (James 4:16-you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.)

proud – hyperēphanos: “showing oneself above others”, always used in the evil sense of “arrogant, disdainful, haughty;” Jas. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5; (God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble)

blasphemers – blásphēmos; from bláx stupid, and phémē, rumor. To be abusive, reviling, destroying one’s good name (a slanderer, blasphemer in respect to men)

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: Mark 7:21-22

disobedient to parentsapeithés; Unwilling to be persuaded, unbelieving

unthankfulacháristos; (literally without favor or kindness). Unthankful, ungrateful (Unthankful people are without grace from God)

unholy Ἁνοσιος unholy, synonym is Βέβηλος profane. that which is trodden”. What is permitted to be trodden by people at large is unhallowed, profane. Esau is called βέβηλος in Hebrews 12:16, as one who did not regard his birthright as sacred, but as something to be sold in order to supply a common need.—Vincent’s

3 Without natural affectionWithout family love (see Rom. 1:31).

trucebreakers áspondos; (without offering) The absolutely irreconcilable person who, being at war, refuses to lay aside his enmity or to listen to terms of reconciliation (refusing to enter into treaty, irreconcilable). Implacable, in a state of war.

false accusersdiábolos; from diabállō, to accuse. One who falsely accuses and divides people without any reason. He is an accuser, a slanderer (1 Tim. 3:11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.); (Titus 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things)

incontinentakratés; (literally without strength). Unable to govern one’s appetites.

Fierceanémeros; Not mild, ungentle, fierce, savage. Sometimes merciless.

despisers of those that are good aphilágathos; Unfriendly, hostile, a person who may have pity but does not necessarily do anything to relieve the suffering of another through self-denial. Hostile to good men.

4 Traitors – betrayers – Acts 7:52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered.

Heady – means “falling forwards”; reckless, headstrong in the pursuit of a bad end under the influence of passion. Only here and Acts 19:36 -“Since then these are undeniable facts, you ought to keep calm and to do nothing rash.”(When the silversmiths in Ephesus were wanting to kill Paul)

high-minded tuphóō; To swell or inflate with pride. In the pass. tuphóomai, to be lifted up with pride

  • (he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 1 Timothy 6:4)

lovers of pleasuresphilēdonos: “loving pleasure” (hēdonē, “pleasure”)

more than lovers of Godphilótheos; from phílos, a friend or loving, and Theós, God.

5 Having a form Here, the mere outward semblance, as distinguished from the essential reality. Outward shape without the reality.

of godlinesseusébeia;—Devotion, piety toward God. Although eusébeia in the NT is translated “godliness” (2 Tim. 3:5; Titus 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:3), the word “God” is not in it. Only in 1 Tim. 2:10 is it theosébeia, where the word Theós, God, occurs as a prefix instead of , good or well.

but denying – to deny, decline, reject, give up (Matt. 10:33; 2 Tim. 2:12, 13)

the powerdúnamis; Power, especially achieving power. All the words derived from the stem dúna– have the meaning of being able, capable.

thereof: from such

turn away – to turn away from, avoid, shun

(These are the dishonorable vessels we are to cleanse our lives of) These verses describe people a whole lot like the people mentioned in Romans 1:

  • And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32

We all know Romans 1 is speaking about infidels and reprobates (haters of God), so doesn’t 1 Tim 3:1-5 speak about the same people? No. In the total context, Paul is speaking of those in the great house who have allowed themselves to be dishonorable.  He is not talking about vicious Gentile unbelievers. These are not the Roman Gladiators who martyred Christians. These are not the Catholics of the Spanish Inquisition who tortured and murdered anyone who practiced any religion or belief outside of Catholic practice. This is not even talking about the Radical Muslims who will murder and burn any Christians whom they even hear make fun of the Qur’an. No, Paul is talking about you and me, Bible toting, church going, tithe paying Christians. But we have allowed ourselves to become dishonorable, and even get captured by the devil to do his bidding. It is possible for Christians to be deceived into thinking they are Christians. It is even possible for people who believe they are Christians to lead others astray.

Let’s read 2 Tim 3:1-5 again, from the Phillips translation:

But you must realize that in the last days the times will be full of danger. Men will become utterly self-centered, greedy for money, full of big words. They will be proud and contemptuous, without any regard for what their parents taught them. They will be utterly lacking in gratitude, purity and normal human affections. They will be men of unscrupulous speech and have no control of themselves. They will be passionate and unprincipled, treacherous, self-willed and conceited, loving all the time what gives them pleasure instead of loving God. They will maintain a facade of “religion”, but their conduct will deny its validity. You must keep clear of people like this. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 Phillips

These people may look like good Southern Baptists on the outside. They have the Bible, they may tithe, they may say God Bless You, They may use all the churchy words, but it is just a disguise. They are wearing a mask, even a full body mask, that is empty and devoid of the true power of Godliness-Jesus Christ!!
Just look closely at how they behave when they get home from church. Look at how they behave when they go to work, go out with friends. Look at how they talk about others, look at how they treat their wife or their husband. Look at how they treat the disadvantaged, the homeless, the poor, the destitute. Look at how tightly they hold on to their possessions, their money. Look at how greedy they really are.

  • I know most of you are going “WHEW”, that doesn’t apply to me. But remember the words of Jesus, “unless you repent”. It is dangerous to think we are alright, that we are OK, that we are safe.

QUESTION #4: How DO We Worship a god (idol) of Our Own Making?

How do we worship gods of our own makingThe truth is that at any point in our life we can get tripped up by the devil. These attitudes that are condemned by Paul in 2 Tim 3 can slowly creep into our lives. The danger is to accept being a common vessel. The danger is thinking that you are OK the way you are. You have made a little god for yourself, one who is not too holy, not too demanding, and not too judging. After all, my little god loves me and fogives me.  When we think this way, we are excusing our sin, we are trampling under foot that which is Holy.  We are not seeing Holy Jehovah God, but a clever looking god of our own making.

The essence of idolatry is to get for your self.

  • Colossians 3:5 “Therefore, put to death (mortify, kill) your members which are here on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Covetousness is idolatry because it puts self-interest and things in the place of God. So a Christian who is covetousness can often be disguised as a servant that serves only for the praise or for what they think they will get from their god. But their religion, their service is all self-based.
  • Col 3:5 says we are to “KILL” our self-centeredness, our selfish wants, our selfish pleasures. A person who is born again is radically transformed, with all your focus shifted away from you and placed squarely upon God! Anytime you excuse or allow sin or selfishness or self-indulgence in your life, you are worshiping an idol god of your own making.When you excuse sin in your life, when you continue to accept wrong behavior and wrong attitudes, not only are you worshiping at the altar of idolatry, but you should check your heart out, for perhaps the devil has captured your thinking and is using you for his will, and perhaps has deceived you into believing you are a Christian.

Anytime you are walking in your own strength, seeking your own interests, you are worshiping at the altar of idolatry.

But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me (FORSAKEN – to NEGLECT to depart, to abandon, and to loose. —TWOT) the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:4-13

  • The truth is, that if we forsake the Lord, if you neglect or depart from the Lord God, if you refuse God as being the Lord of your life and your possessions, God will refuse, neglect and yes forsake you.
  • In Malachi 3:8, God told his people that they were robbing God because they were neglecting the tithe. Because they were neglecting the tithe, God said they were cursed with a curse. What was that curse, it was the devils access to their goods. If they would God’s rightful place in their lives and show it with tithes, God said He would rebuke the devourer.
  • The application is simple: when you worship at the altar of idolatry, you are forsaking God and are opening yourself up to the snare of the devil. Don’t presume upon God’s Protection and Blessing when you are an idolater.

The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 2 Chronicles 15:1-2

When you make you own little god that pleases the way you want to live your life, you are being like the Laodiceans:

“ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Revelation 3:15-19

Now I don’t know what it means for Jesus to spit me out of is mouth, but I do not want to find out.

Are you lukewarm to the things of God? Do you think your walk with God is OK? What god are you walking with? The little idol god of your own making, or the Holy Righteous Almighty Creator of this universe? Jesus says if you are lukewarm that you are wretched, poor naked and blind. You need to have your eyes anointed so that you can see!

Holy Spirit You Can't Come in HereAre there secret rooms in your life that are shut off from God’s Holy Spirit? Are there rooms where the Holy Spirit has been barricaded? Is there a room cluttered with unclean pictures? Are there any skeletons hanging in your closets? Can you invite the Holy Ghost to walk down the corridors of your thought life? Can you invite him in to see the hatred in your heart toward others. Can you invite Him to listen in as you speak evil of others?

There are three people living in each of us:

  • the one we think we are,

  • the one other people think we are, and

  • the one God knows we are.

Unless we are desperate to enter into the Victory of Christ’s Righteousness, we are so easy on ourselves and so hard on others. Self loves self. Too often we hide ourselves from ourselves lest the sight of ourselves should sicken ourselves.

Let us invite the searching eye of God to locate this corrupted, stinking self in us. Let it be torn from us and be “crucified with Him, that henceforth we should no longer serve sin (Rom 6:6) It does no good to call sin by another name. You can criticize someone for having a devilish temper, but say that yours is only righteous indignation. You can criticize someone for blatant gossip, but excuse you negative comments as “prayer concerns.” You can excuse your not speaking to a brother or sister or father or mother because of their “ungodly influence and lifestyle” yet God sees your Judging heart and says your are guilty of ungodly pride and an unforgiving heart.

The Holy Spirit will neither spare us nor cheat us if we will expose ourselves to His infallible scrutiny.

Restore My SightAnd Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” Mark 10:51 He had once seen, but now he was blind.  Some of us had once seen the Lord, but our eyes are blind. We once walked with the Lord, but now we lie in a ditch on the side of the road moaning in a drunken stupor, too blind to see the devil has captured our minds our hearts, our souls, and he has stolen our heart from loving Jesus, he has stolen our hands from serving Jesus, he has stolen our eyes from looking at Jesus, he has stolen our strength from leading others to Jesus.

woe is meLet us pray that God will revive us from our drunken stupor of selfishness, carnal living and give us SIGHT AGAIN-upward, inward, and outward.

  • Then like Isaiah, as we look upward, we will see the Lord in all His Holiness.
  • As we look inward, we will see ourselves and our need for cleansing and power.
  • As we look outward, we will see a world perishing and in need of a Savior.

Revival will come only when we throw off the drunkenness of Satan and this world or whatever else we have filled our heart with, and then we desire sight to see the Lord! Right now, close your eyes and imagine you are before God Himself. Not God as you hope He is, but God as His Word Reveals. Listen as He searches your heart with these probing questions:

  1. Have you denied Jesus as Lord in any area of your life?
  2. Have you done what Scripture commands to become a vessel of Honor/ Or have you trodden under that which is Holy and made it common, dirty, even profane as Esau did with his birthright?
  3. Have you in any way allowed wrong actions and attitudes to ensnare you in the devil’s plan?
  4. Have you been worshipping a god of your own making, one who accepts your sinful ways, one who excuses your apathy, your hardness, your selfishness?

If Jesus were to ask you what you desire, would it be selfish things or would you say, Lord restore my sight that I might see you as you really are?


City of RefugeFrom the early beginning of the world God made provision for those who shed innocent blood.

Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” Genesis 9:6

You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.” Numbers 35:33-34

The nearest relative of the murdered man was usually the one who executed judgment. But even then God made provision for overreaction. So to prevent undue haste in reaction to murder, God made provision for the accused person to flee to the Tabernacle and lay hold of the altar. No one could be taken from the altar without an examination, and if it was found that the murderer had planned to kill the man, then he was taken from the altar and slain; otherwise his life was spared. (Ex. 21:13,14)

After the children of Israel entered the promised land, six cities were set apart as cities of refuge. These were conveniently located, three on each side of the river Jordan. (Joshua 20:2,7,8) The cities were on elevated ground, and could be seen at a distance.

God Establishes RefugeGod set rules for these cities of refuge. Joshua 20:3-6 & Numbers 35

  1. Refuge was for one who had killed accidentally or unintentionally. If the trial showed him to have killed purposely, he was a murderer and must be put to death (Numbers 35:15-21).

  2. The roads leading to these cities were always to be kept in good repair, that the one fleeing before the avenger of blood might not be hindered in his flight. (Deut. 19:3)

  3. Coming to the gate of the city, he would tell his case to the elders. Gates of those cities were places of city government. The elders would hear the fugitive’s story and give him a place of safety in the city.

  4. The avenger of blood—the relative of the slain one who inherited his property and had the right to kill his murderer—could not touch the fugitive while in the city of refuge.

  5. The accused would be brought to trial before the congregation—a court made up of representatives of the people.

  6. God Establishes Refuge2If judged a willful murderer, he would be slain by the avenger of blood.

  7. If judged innocent of intent to kill, he was given safe asylum in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest.

  8. If he was found out of the city, the avenger of blood was allowed to kill him (Numbers 35:26-28).

  9. At the death of the high priest, the man was to return to his home, the case closed.

  10. These rules applied to all, Israelite and stranger alike.

God establishes Refuge3The cities of refuge served as a protection for only those who had slain a person without malice or forethought. The cities of refuge were cities belonging to the Levites, thus those confined within were under the best influence. They were associated with the religious teachers of Israel, and had every opportunity to reform their lives and establish righteous characters.

The Cities of Refuge Reveals God’s PURPOSE

Nehemiah 9:17 “They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.”

God desires that we live according to His desire His Word, and not by man’s ideas of what is right and wrong. God delights in JUSTICE (mishpat) and the requires things set in order, made right.

Micah 7:18 “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.”

Cities of Refuge RevealThe Cities of Refuge Reveal God’s POWER

But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place to which he may flee. But if a man willfully attacks another to kill him by cunning, you shall take him from my altar, that he may die. Exodus 21:13-14 King James: “but God deliver him into his hand”

Life is indeed precious to Almighty God. We can cry “why did God let this happen” when a loved one is accidentally killed, for that is exactly what happened. God delivered them into his hand.

  • When someone falls asleep at the wheel, or has a heart attack at the wheel and their car or truck swerves into the oncoming lane, killing one or more persons, God delievered those people into their hand.
  • When a stray bullet strikes a Mom on her way home from Starlight, God delivered her into the bullets hand.
  • We will never realize how powerful and awesome God truly is while clothed in mortal flesh. But God says in His word, there are no accidental deaths. God is at work 24/7.

My times are in Your hand” Psalms 31:15
“Unto God the Lord belong the issues from death” Ps. 68:20
“The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. 1 Samuel 2:6

The gates of the grave open unto none except at the command of the Most High, and when He gives the word none can withstand it.

The Cities of Refuge Reveal God’s Priority

City_of_RefugeBy limiting the time of his banishment by the high priest’s death, honor was put upon the priesthood—as it had been in selecting those cities, for they all belonged to the Levites. “The high priest was to be looked upon as so great a blessing to his country, that when he died their sorrow upon that occasion should swallow up all other resentments” (Matthew Henry).

Judging of these matters was the responsibility of the Levites, God’s Servants, not some man made government.

The instruction in regard to the cities of refuge was but a part of the great system of Levitical laws and ceremonies which taught the simple truths of the gospel of Christ. Tyndale says that “while there is a ‘starlight of Christ’ in all the Levitical ceremonies, there is in some so truly the ‘light of the broad day,’ that he can not but believe that God had showed Moses the secrets of Christ and the very manner of His death beforehand.” Dr. Adam Clarke says the whole gospel could be preached from the particulars given of the cities of refuge.

  • In Philippians 3:9, where the apostle, after announcing and then renouncing all his natural advantages as a Hebrew, counting them but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord, expresses the desire that he might be “found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
  • Hebrews refers to God’s Refuge in Chapter 6 verse 18: speaking of those who have “fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Heb. 6:18), i.e. in the Gospel: reminding us of the prayer of David, “Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto Thee to hide me” (Ps. 143:9)

Comparison of the Cities of Refuge with Jesus Christ:

Refuge-type-of-Christ

The Very Names of the Cities of Refuge Picture Jesus Christ.

  • Kadesh signifies “holy,” and Jesus Christ, the Holy One of God, is made unto the believer sanctification as well as righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30)—how deeply suggestive that this is the first mentioned, that in the Redeemer we have a sanctuary of holiness.
  • Shechem means “shoulder,” which is ‘the place of strength (Isa. 9:7) and of safety (Luke 15:5)—under the government of Christ the believer finds security.
  • Hebron means “fellowship,” and through Christ His people are brought into communion with the Father and with the Holy Spirit.
  • Bezer means “a fortified place” and “The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble” (Nah. 1:7); therefore “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust” (Ps. 91:2).
  • Ramoth means “height” or “exaltation”: in Christ we are elevated above the world, made to sit in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6).
  • Golan means “exultation” or “joy,” and “we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:11).

Refuge - Gods Purpose for ChurchThe Cities of Refuge Reveal God’s Purpose for the Church

1. Appointed

Just as God appointed Christ to be the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world “slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8), so did God appoint the church to be Christ’s body here on earth:

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, Colossians 1:24.

And through the church the gospel is preached, through the church God’s power and wisdom is revealed to rulers and authorities in heavenly places. “This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord”, Ephesians 3:8-11

2. Shelter

Cities of RefugeThe one who kills someone was to immediately seek shelter in the city of refuge.

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:18-19

God provides a shelter from the avenger in the church. Likewise, the church is to be a shelter from the world, and the corruption that is in it.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8


“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

3. Visible

church is visible light of GodThe cities were all atop a hill, visible for miles.

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32

“God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31).

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

4. Clear Purpose

city of refugeThe road to the city was plainly marked out.

  • “Thou shalt prepare thee a way . . . that every slayer may flee thither (Deut. 19:3). Jewish writers say it was a law in Israel that one day in every year there were persons sent to repair the roads leading to them, to remove all stumbling-stones which might by time have fallen in the way, and to see also that the signposts which were set up at every corner leading to the city were carefully preserved, and the name Miklac (that is, refuge) legible upon them.

Jesus commands to His church were very simple:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

5. Humility

Only those who did not intentionally murder were given refuge.

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:36-38

The church is not a place for those who continue in sin. The cross of Christ is the Cornerstone of the church and we must continually die daily to what we want and live for what Christ desires. There is no place for pride, flesh or continual sin against Christ in His body.

6. Abide

cities of refuge 3The one seeking refuge had to depend upon the city of refuge for his safety. He HAD to stay within the confines of the city walls.

The cities were all the home of the Levite Priests. They were to abide in their care. The church is the body of Christ. We must depend upon the church for guidance, for strength. It is to be a place of healing and edification.

7. Non-Exclusive

Church is a refuge for allThe City of Refuge was open to all, even gentiles that recognized its authority. The church is to have a witness so that anyone hurting or seeking a new life would find refuge in the authority and power of Jesus Christ.

APPLICATION

The Jews were to possess their promised land, representing the blessed and abundant life with God. They were to rid the land of the world, the ungodly influences that would try to steal their affections from God. The Cities of Refuge meant that people should seek refuge within their own people and not have to run to the world.

Worldliness a Heart Matter

Christ reveals that the heart of any matter is a matter of our heart.

The thing which is to distinguish the church is the presence of Jesus Christ and thus the absence of the world and all worldly influence.

Now most of us think of worldly influence as being something we can see: tattoos, piercings, spiked hair, drugs, bad language, stealing, disrespect, hatred, fleshly sins. But Jesus Christ reveals that worldliness is an attitude: Let’s look at Mt 5:21-26

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:21-25

Jesus says that you don’t have to literally kill someone to be a murderer. All you have to do is dishonor them in your heart by insulting them or by belittling them! Your RIGHT heart attitude toward your brothers and sisters is so essential that God doesn’t even want your offering until you go and clear up your attitude toward your brother.

What is WorldlinessWhat is Worldliness?

This world is under the temporary control of Satan. Jesus secured all authority over Satan by defeating him. He has given that authority to the church. The Kingdom of Jesus is not of this world, it is not in food and drink, it is invisible, because it is in our heart, our soul.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:18

Following Christ does not mean you follow a set of rules, but you abide in the Savior. It requires a dependant, living relationship.

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:19

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. John 17:16

Likewise, to follow Satan does not mean following a set of rules, but just the opposite, you do what you want. It too is the reflection of your heart attitude.

James 4:1-12

  • You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4

Following Satan means you follow your own way, you are worldly, you are an enemy of God. God required that the Jews destroy the Canaanite inhabitants, because if left there, they would influence their hearts and cause them to leave God.

From James we see the heart condition of worldly people.

  1. Quarrel
  2. Lack self-control
  3. Covetousness
  4. Proud
  5. Selfish
  6. Unfaithful Heart
  7. Friendly to the World
  8. Double-minded
  9. Speak evil of others
  10. Judge their brothers

Worldliness is revealed THROUGH our speech.

The way we talk about others reveals whether our heart is worldly or Godly.Worldliness revealed by what we say

The solution from James is to humble yourself and return to God, to realize Satan’s influence on your life and flee him, cleanse your hands, purify your heart, wait on God to lift you up rather than trying to exalt yourself. Realize how your heart attitude has offended God, realize that you must mourn and weep because you realize the severity of your sin.

So the thing which is to distinguish the church is the presence of Jesus Christ and thus the absence of the world and all worldly influence.

HOW DO WE BECOME WORLDLY?

How do we become worldlyRomans 1 provides a glimpse into a worldly heart. I believe that we are born with an innate awareness of God. A child has no trouble understanding that there is a God who made them, who loves them, who watches them. Somewhere down the line we get too smart, and self reliant.

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, Romans 1:21-22

When confronted with God and what he expects, we turn our back.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. Romans 1:28

How does a Christian become worldly? – You act like the world! Look at how worldly people become more worldly…

  1. Dishonorable-you do not practice God’s Honor principles that we went through at the beginning of the year.
  2. Refuse to acknowledge God as God over a situation in your life. You leave God out, either because you are bitter over what’s going on, or because you don’t want to follow the commands of Christ.
  3. Lean on your own understanding-debased mind, reprobate mind- A worldly persons mind is turned upside down. The things that are wrong and shameful are ok. You justify what you do as being practical, logical.
  4. Your life begins to exhibit unrighteousness:

Unrighteous Behavior: evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness, gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.Not only that, but Christians who are becoming worldly will condone such practices in other Christians.They condone such practices in other Christians. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

A Worldly Christian is one whose heart and mind is not in obedience to God’s Word by intent. You know what Christ says but you chose to ignore it or not do it. Furthermore, a worldly Christian is intentional in their practices.

How to become GodlyThe Choice is to have a Godly Walk or a Worldly Walk

Ephesians 4:1-3

Walk in a Manner Worthy of Who Lives in You! Your Godly walk will demonstrate the following attitudes:

  1. Humble
  2. Gentle
  3. Patient
  4. Bearing Love [Bearing – anecho Spoken of persons, to bear with, have patience with in regard to the errors or weaknesses of anyone —CWSD]
  5. Eager for Unity in the Spirit

Do Not Walk as the Worldly Walk! Eph 4:14-32 Worldly Walk is like this:

  1. Darkened in their understanding
  2. Hardhearted Alienation
  3. Callous
  4. Given to sensuality
  5. Deceitful desires corrupt them.

Key is to PUT ON THE NEW MAN!

put on the new man in christ1How do you know you have put on the new man? Not by the things you do, but by your speech, the things you say about others is what reveals your heart!

  • Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, Ephesians 4:15
  • Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Ephesians 4:25
  • Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:29-32

Now why does the way you talk about others reveal whether you are worldly or not? Look at Matthew 12:34-37

You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:34-37

search me and know my heartThe Way you speak about others reveals the condition of your heart! Colossians 3:8

  • But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:8-14
  • Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

First Worldly ChurchThe First Worldly Church

Look at what Paul thought of the First Worldly Church at Corinth: 2 Cor. 12:20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.

hostility – strife, self ambition is the gr eritheía; gen. eritheías, fem. noun from eritheúō (n.f.), to work for hire, usually in the mid. voice, used in a bad sense of those who seek only their own. Contention, strife, rivalry. It represents a motive of self-interest “seeking to win followers,” “factions,”, —Complete Word Study Dictionary, The

Whisperer <G5588>: ψιθυριστής, psithyristēs ψιθυρισμός, psithyrismos; “a whispering,” is used of “secret slander” in 2 Cor. 12:20 . For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; 2 Corinthians 12:20

Backbiter is katalalos,. synonomous with whisperer. The only distinction is that one is in secret, the other is open. But bottom line is they are evil speaking of another.

  • Backbite stabs em in the backPaul is fearful that when he gets to Corinth he will find the church there with contentions, backbitings, whisperings.
  • We see the same two words mentioned back in Romans 1:30. NKJV: evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God,
  • Katalalia is also used in 1 Peter 2:1-3. The King James translated “evil-speaking” while most others use “slander” “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. 1 Peter 2:1-3

Synonymous with slander or evil speaking is the greek word blasphemia, which we get blasphemy from.

blasphemous or a blasphemer. Blasphemy, verbal abuse against someone which denotes the very worst type of slander mentioned in Matt. 15:19 with false witnesses; wounding someone’s reputation by evil reports, evil speaking. See Mark 7:22; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; 1 Tim. 6:4 [cf. 2 Pet. 2:11]; Jude 1:9 (blásphēmos , a blasphemer); —Complete Word Study Dictionary, The

Why would slander and evil speaking be a form of blasphemy?

When you slander someone, when you speak evil of someone, you are committing blasphemy against a creation of God.

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. Matthew 15:18-19

Such shedding of blood not only defiles the conscience of the murderer, who is thereby proved not to have eternal life abiding in him (1 John 3:15), but also pollutes the land in which the crime was committed, being abominable to God and to all good men.

  • Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:15
  • If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:20-21
  • Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:1-5

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved. Psalms 15:1-5

What prevents the the church from being a Place of Refuge?

When you Grieve the Spirit of God!

grieve the holy spirit by our speechAnd do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:30-32

SO What DO I DO?

Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:5-12

James tells us how to get rid of worldly attitudes and worldly ways:

  1. Submit to God – God’s ways must be supreme

  2. Resist the devil – this is a constant spiritual warfare

  3. Cleanse your hands – confess sin and do some spiritual scrubing.

  4. Purify your hearts – Give all your affections, needs, desires to God. Love Him with ALL your heart. Confess those secrete desires and inadequacies that prompt your worldliness.

  5. Be wretched and mourn and weep – take time to discover how your sin has hurt God. Take time to cry for your worldliness. Take time to hold on to the altar and weep for your sin.

  6. Humble yourself before the Lord – Realize your nothingness before Him. Realize that there is no room for pride in your life. Lay everything before Him.

  7. Wait for Him to lift you up.

  8. In the mean time, stay on constant guard against judging and speaking evil of others.

Church is to be a RefugeIf you want our church to be a place of Refuge for the fallen, for the hurting, for the weak, for the oppressed, then we must take the worldliness and cast it off. We must speak from hearts of love, hearts that are being obedient to Jesus Commands.

We must put on the new self in Jesus Christ. We must root out worldly hearts and attitudes from the Church and put on Jesus Christ, our Rock, our Refuge!

There are fallen who need a place of refuge. Jesus has given three commands that address our relationships with those that offend or hurt us:

Be Reconciled Matthew 5:24–25 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Judge Not Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Go To Offenders Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.

Walk Talk Worthy of your callingIf we practice these commands in the spirit of forgiveness we will live by Ephesians 4:32  “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”


Satan-SHows-Jesus-the-KingdomsSatan took Jesus up to a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in an instant, and said “All this power will I give you and their glory, if you would only worship me”. Satan must have known about Psalm2:8, for God had told Christ:

“Ask of Me, and I will give YouThe nations for Your inheritance,And the ends of the earth for Your possession.”

Cross upon my HeartThis was the desire of Jesus Christ, the inheritance of the nations. Yet Jesus, emaciated with hunger and dehydration, had set a guard on the doorway of His hearts’ desires. He responded with a rhema taken from Deuteronomy 6:13 and 10:20, which Christ had personalized into “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only you shall serve.” Jesus had submitted all His desires, fleshly or otherwise, to the Worship and Service of God His Father. There could be no compromise.

As Satan’s viewed all the kingdoms of the world, his focus was not upon the people, with their problems and needs, but upon the power and glory they held. It was the same allure that led him to revolt from God’s command in the first place. Satan had said in his heart: I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. (Isa 14:13-14)

Jesus-Angels-01Perhaps that is why Satan misquoted Psalm 91 in his last temptation of Christ. He left out the Hebrew word דֶּרֶךְ‎ derek“. He said the angels have charge over him, to keep thee, and they shall bear you up. But that totally changed the meaning of Psalm 91. In stead of being self-serving, the angels had a “higher way” in view. They had the purpose of Almighty God in view. For the angels are to keep him “derek” – “in the way”. They were to keep watch over Jesus to make sure God’s will was not thwarted. Jesus is the way, and He committed himself to following God’s will. Satan was attempting to thwart the will of God by tempting Christ to go his own way-the way of Satan. That is why Satan left that one word out, for he is the great Deny-er of God’s will. He left the path that God had for him, and now he wants everyone to follow him. He wants to be exalted, he wants the power, he wants the glory. Satan is overjoyed when we do not follow the path that God has for us, the path that He chooses.  He loves it when we lean on our own understanding rather than God’s. For to follow our own way is to sit in the assembly of Satan, and to bow before him. To deny God His proper place as God of our life, is to welcome the death that sin condemns us to.Jesus came to save the people of the world

Satan I Will be like Most High GodSatan focused on the power, the self-glory, and the pride in going your own way. Those were the reasons that led to his revolt. So why should they not work on God’s Son? Because he had not come to earth for those things. In fact, He had left the glory, the power, the splendor so that he could become a servant to mankind, to reach out and touch the needs of fallen men. Of course Jesus wanted the nations, but not without the people. He came not for power but for you and me. When Satan saw the kingdoms, he saw only the power. When Christ saw the kingdoms, he saw the people imprisoned by their sin. Christ came into this world arms outstretched, reaching, not for power, but simply to touch you and me. His desire is that we be freed from death to LIFE and to share in His inheritance, and that we share in the power of His coming Kingdom.

Jesus to the thief on the CrossWhen Satan proclaimed his famous “I will’s”, he did so as he was reaching for the stars. Jesus proclaimed on the Cross as his arms were reaching out to the thief next to Him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Jesus reached not for power, but to take our sin upon him. Jesus reached not for kingdoms, but to be impaled by nails. Jesus reached not for power, but to be shamed by crucifixion upon the cross. Jesus reached for the Cross in order to touch us with His life!

Good Samaritan came to himJesus had compassion on us, dead in our sin, and came to where we were, just as was said of the Good Samaritan: he was moved with compassion, and came to him.” That is why Satan’s offer from on top the mountain did not tempt Christ. That may have been Satan’s desire, to ascend on high, but Jesus “came DOWN from heaven” so that all those who receive His Touch will receive LIFE and be lifted UP to heaven! Jesus came to touch sinners

Satan Falls from HeavenSatan came DOWN from heaven to lift himself UP. The only way he can succeed is to bring as many as possible DOWN! Now, which way would you rather be heading? Do you know the Savior’s TOUCH?

Prayer: Open my eyes and heart Father, to see how much Jesus Christ cared for me. May I turn away from following my own way, and welcome the touch of Christ, bringing new life and new purpose, following Your Path!

From Pathway of Blessing