Posts Tagged ‘judgement’

Heaven is For Real

June 19, 2014

I recently watched the movie Heaven is For Real.  I had heard a lot of good things about it.  After viewing the movie I have a mixed response.  The movie is good in that it helps people to believe in a life beyond the grave.  It gives credible support to the existence of an afterlife.  That is a good thing.  Unfortunately, one could easily come away from the movie with the belief that everyone goes to heaven.  I am told that the book did a better job of presenting that a life in heaven came as a result of faith in Jesus Christ.  The idea that everyone goes to heaven is a belief called universalism and is a very dangerous belief.  No repentance, no faith is necessary.  A loving God simply welcomes everyone home to heaven.  That is not biblical truth.  There is a line in the movie where the minister states “What if we truly believed that heaven is real?  Wouldn’t we live differently?”  (This quote may not be exact, but it is close.)  I would suggest a different question “What if we truly believe that both heaven and hell are real?  Wouldn’t we live differently?”  The Bible tells us in Revelation 20:15

And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

If we truly believe this to be true, would we live any different?  If only heaven is real, that is one thing, but if both heaven and hell are real, how should we live?

 

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Classic Pattern

June 16, 2014

Throughout the writings of the prophets there seems to be a fairly classic pattern.  God would bless Israel.  Israel would fall in to sin.  God would send prophets to warn of judgement.  Israel would ignore the prophets.  God would send judgement.  Israel would repent.  Israel would be restored.  The pattern would repeat.

Hosea 7:1-2

“When I would have healed Israel,
Then the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered,
And the wickedness of Samaria.
For they have committed fraud;
A thief comes in;
A band of robbers takes spoil outside.
They do not consider in their hearts
That I remember all their wickedness;
Now their own deeds have surrounded them;
They are before My face.

I.  Iniquity Uncovered

If we have consciously given way to sin, choosing to live a life that is displeasing to God, we should know that it is not hidden from God.  God sees what is done in secret.  God sees right through our attempts to rationalize.  God recognizes sin as sin.  We may be able to fool others.  We may even be able to fool ourselves.  We will never fool God.

II.  Punishment

In these verses, the image of a thief is used.  God has a whole host of ways at His disposal.  The judgement of God can take many forms.  One problem that we face, is that we may not even recognize that the setbacks that are occurring in our life are sent from God.  It would be appropriate for us to regularly pray and ask God if we are living right before Him.  Search my heart oh God…

Hosea 6:1-3

Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

III. Repent

When we recognize that we have sinned, there is only one correct response: repentance.  Far too many people try to excuse their sin, or declare that their sin, isn’t really a sin, or that it isn’t that bad.  When God reveals our sin to us we should ask God to forgive us, then go and sin no more.  Now, I recognize that it is not quite that simple.  It can be very difficult to change sinful patterns in our lives.  We do not make these changes in our own strength.  God will help us.  We must take the step of confessing our sin, and asking God to help us to do what is right and pleasing in His sight.

After we have repented, God will bring restoration to our lives.  God can bring healing to broken hearts and broken lives.

IV.  Pursue the Knowledge of the Lord

No matter how long we have been a Christian, there is more to learn about the ways of God.  Let us continue to pursue the knowledge of God.  This is available to us through the Word, and through prayer.  This knowledge of God will help us to face the challenges of this life.  God will give us wisdom and strength for each new day, for each problem that we might face.

As we grow in our knowledge of God, our appreciation for the blessings of God will grow as well.  We will appreciate more the beauty of the world around us.  We will treasure the relationships that we have with the people in our lives.   We will grow in our ability to experience the joy that God has for His people in His presence.  It is a very good thing to grow in the knowledge of God.

These are the sermon notes from 6/15/14.  Any advertisements that appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do  I receive any money from them.

A Very Real Concern

June 12, 2014

It is never right to knowingly do what is wrong.

I am very concerned for the spiritual state of some Christians.  I do not know how many times I have had people express to me something along the lines of ” I know it is wrong, but God will forgive me.”

We have emphasized the love, mercy and grace of God so much that people have forgotten, or seem unconcerned with, the holiness of God, the wrath of God and the judgement of God.

We have forgotten the consequences of sin.

Willfully choosing to do what is wrong in the eyes of God is dangerous.  Sin has consequences in this life, and potentially in the next.  If we are routinely choosing to sin, believing that God will forgive us; instead of hearing the words “Well done, my good and  faithful servant.” (Math 25:20-22) we might hear “depart from me you workers of iniquity”. (Luke 13:26-28)

Is that wrongful act worth the risk?

I am not saying that we have to live in fear and guilt constantly wondering if we are good enough to go to heaven, but I am saying we should have a holy reverence for an awesome God.  That reverence should show itself in a life that is dedicated to doing what is right in the eyes of God.

The Plumb Line

March 18, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 3/17.

Introduction:  My father was very gifted at working with his hands.  He added on to, or remodeled, the houses that we lived in, and the stores that they owned.  The only time that I remember him hiring someone to work on the property was when he was adding on to the kitchen, which included a room in the basement.  He hired a man to lay the cinder blocks for the foundation.  When I asked him about it he replied that the foundation was too important, and that he had too little experience.  A foundation that was not square and plumb would create numerous problems.

I.  The Plumb Line:  Amos 7:7-9

Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?”

And I said, “A plumb line.”

Then the Lord said:

“Behold, I am setting a plumb line
In the midst of My people Israel;
I will not pass by them anymore.
The high places of Isaac shall be desolate,
And the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste.
I will rise with the sword against the house of Jeroboam.”

Israel was like a wall that was crooked.  God was going to tear down, and rebuild.

I wonder what our lives would look like if we took the plumb line of God’s Word and applied it to our lives.  Would we need to be straightened out, or completely rebuilt?

II.  Judging Ourselves:  I Corinthians 11:31

 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.

The question is ” How do we judge ourselves?”

A.  Do we believe in Jesus?  John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Jesus is the cornerstone, the starting point.  If we do not believe in Jesus then nothing else really matters.  Faith in Jesus is where we must begin.

B.  Do we love God?  Matthew 22:36-38

 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment.

God should be the most important thing in our lives.  If there is anything else that is more important to us, then we need to change our attitude.

C.  Do we love our neighbor?  Matthew 39-40

And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

We are to love everyone, not just our family and friends, not just our fellow believers, not just the nice people, or people like ourselves; we are to love everyone, because God loves everyone.

D.  Have we forgiven others? Matthew 6:14-15

 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

If we do not forgive others we are poisoning our own lives.  Unforgiveness will create bitterness, which leads to anger and hatred.  It will affect our relationships with others and according to the verses that we have read, will nullify our own salvation.  It is very serious.

We may not feel like forgiving a person.  We can make a conscious choice, by an act of our will, to declare that we do forgive them.  Then we should pray for them.  We may need to do this daily for a while.  In time, our hearts will be healed, our emotions will change and we can move on.

E.  Are we keeping the commandments? I John 5:3

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

Which commandments?  The Bible contains direction for our lives.  We should be reading, and studying the scriptures, and applying them to our lives.  The Holy Spirit will give us understanding and strength to apply the Word to our lives.  It is an ongoing process.

F.  Have we taken up our cross?  Matthew 16:24-27

  Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

Have we given our lives to Christ?  Are we doing what He wants us to be doing?  Are we in the place that He wants us to be?  Are we open to change?  Have we asked God to guide our steps?

If we ask God to guide us then it is up to Him to direct us.  In the absence of clear communication, we can do what we think is best, God’s Word to guide us.  The important thing is that we have offered our lives to God, and asked for His direction.

III.  Discipline:  I Corinthians 9:27

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Hold the plumb line of God’s word to your lives.  Ask God for the wisdom to know what needs to be changed.  Ask God for the strength to change what needs to change.  God loves us as we are, but loves us too much to leave us the way that He found us.

Conclusion:  Philippians 1:6

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Our Warfare

January 28, 2013

These are the sermon notes from 1/27/13.

I.  War in the Heavens:  Revelation 12:7-12

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for themin heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”

A.  Heavenly Conflict

There is a battle in the heavens that continues to this day.  “We do not war against flesh and blood…”  The battle in which we are engaged does not involve rifles, tanks, or fighter jets.  Our battle is waged over the allegiance of souls.  Whether people are a part of the kingdom of God or whether they have rejected God’s offer of salvation in Jesus.  It is our desire to bring as many people into the kingdom of God as possible and keep them there.

B.  Overcomers

We overcome by the blood of the Lamb.  It is only through Jesus that we are victorious in this spiritual battle.  The word of our testimony is a powerful weapon.  We share what we believe, and what God has done in our lives, and God uses it for His kingdom’s work.  We should remember to keep our first allegiance to the work of God and not to seeking our own desires in this world.  Even to the point of sacrificing our lives for God if necessary.

II.  Choosing Sides:  Revelation 14:9-13

Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’”

“Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”

A.  Judgement

We must recognize that although God loves us and has provided salvation for us in Jesus, that not everyone will be saved.  Those who have rejected God’s offer of salvation in Jesus will be subject to eternal judgement.  That is why it is so important that we bring as many people into the kingdom of God as possible.  It is a battle that rages, not over some piece of land or political system, but over the eternal destination of human souls.

B.  Rest

For those who are serving God, life can be wearisome.  We are encouraged to “endure hardship, like good soldiers of Christ”.   We are encouraged to ” not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not”.    God sees our faithful service and our goal should be to one day hear the words “well done, good and faithful servant”.

III.  Final Reward:  Revelation 21:1-8

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving,  abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

A.  All Things New

There will come a day when all things will be made new.  For those who have received Christ as their savior we will be able to be a part of the new world, a world in which righteousness dwells.

B.  2nd Death

Not everyone will be allowed entrance to this new world.  Again, that is why the spiritual battle is so important.  God does not want any to perish, but those who have rejected salvation in Christ, or those who only give lip-service to Christ will not enter the kingdom of God.

Our warfare does not kill anyone.  Our warfare is about bringing life to those who are spiritually dead.

 

 

 

The Gospel and Judgement of Isaiah 9

December 13, 2012

These are the sermon notes from 12/9.

I.  The Gospel

A.  A Great Light Isaiah 9:1-2

Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed,
As when at first He lightly esteemed
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
And afterward more heavily oppressed her,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
In Galilee of the Gentiles.
The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.

Jesus, was of Nazareth, from Galilee.  Galilee did not enjoy a good reputation.  In fact, one of the disciples, when first told about Jesus, asked “Does anything good come out of Galilee?”

Jesus did come out of Galilee and Jesus is most certainly good.  These verses in refer to the Christ who is the “light of the world.  We are reminded in John, that “the light shown in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

B.  The Eternal Kingdom Isaiah 9:6-7

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

These verses are often read at Christmas time.  Truly Jesus is wonderful,  He is a counselor, able to direct our lives.  He is the Mighty God, co-eternal with the Father, Everlasting Father, this can be confusing, since Jesus is not the same as our heavenly Father, but we are reminded, that Jesus said, “I and the Father are One” and “he who has seen me has seen the Father”.  So, we recognize that the Father is revealed in Christ.  Prince of Peace:  Christ gives to us a peace that is not of this world and that this world cannot take away.

The Kingdom of Christ is not of this world.  People are able to enter into His kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ.  People are continually being added to His kingdom throughout the years.  His kingdom will never end.

So far we have enjoyed the gospel of Isaiah 9, but there is more to come.

II.The Judgement

A.  Pride and Arrogance:  Isaiah 9:8-10

The Lord sent a word against Jacob,
And it has fallen on Israel.
All the people will know—
Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria—
Who say in pride and arrogance of heart:
10 “The bricks have fallen down,
But we will rebuild with hewn stones;
The sycamores are cut down,
But we will replace them with cedars.”

On September 12, 2001 in response to the destruction of the Twin Towers,  Tom Daschle, the Senate majority leader, in a speech to congress quoted verse ten.   It sounds nice except that in Isaiah it is a message of rebuke.  The people of Samaria had been afflicted because God had sent judgement, and instead of repenting of their sin, they stubbornly rebuilt.

This prophecy was originally for Samaria, but it is common for prophecy to have multiple applications.  The similarities to the Twin Towers are easy to see.  The original towers of brick and steel were knocked down.  When the Freedom Tower was began to be built on the site, there was a large granite stone, lowered into the foundation.

There was also a sycamore tree a short distance away that had been destroyed by debris.  It was later replaced with an evergreen tree, a tree for which the Hebrew word translated as cedars in the NKJ, could also be translated.

B.  Consequence:  Isaiah 9:11-13

Therefore the Lord shall set up
The adversaries of Rezin against him,
And spur his enemies on,
12 The Syrians before and the Philistines behind;
And they shall devour Israel with an open mouth.

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

13 For the people do not turn to Him who strikes them,
Nor do they seek the Lord of hosts.

The people in Isaiah did not repent.  So, God sent additional punishments upon them.  The people still did not respond.  Since 9/11 there have been numerous natural disasters, that in an earlier age, people may have interpreted as the judgement of God.  Now, I am not saying that these various disasters over the last eleven years are the judgement of God, but I am saying that they could be the judgement of God.

Do we have any reason as a nation to need to repent?

C.  Leaders:  Isaiah 9:14-17

Therefore the Lord will cut off head and tail from Israel,
Palm branch and bulrush in one day.
15 The elder and honorable, he is the head;
The prophet who teaches lies, he is the tail.
16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err,
And those who are led by them are destroyed.
17 Therefore the Lord will have no joy in their young men,
Nor have mercy on their fatherless and widows;
For everyone is a hypocrite and an evildoer,
And every mouth speaks folly.

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

There is no question that there is much sin in our land.  Abortion, gay marriage, sexual immorality of various kinds,  greed, oppression, hatred and much more are tolerated and even celebrated by many.  There are both political and religious leaders who support and encourage things that are declared evil by God.

Could our land be in danger of judgement?  The answer is yes, it could be in danger of judgement.

However, there are also many godly people in America.  It is very important that Christians continue to maintain their faith in God, to pray for our country, and to seek to live lives of righteousness: to be the salt and light that we are called to be in this world .

There might be some turbulence ahead, but we need  to remember that God will not forsake us, He is with us always.

Judgement and Hope

August 15, 2011

Today’s blog is a brief outline of the message that I preached yesterday.  I have not typed out the Bible references.  I would encourage you to read them for yourself as you go through this outline.  They are a vital part of the message.

Introduction

Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet.  He was called as a young man to proclaim a coming judgement to a people who would not listen.  He preached for years.  His message was met with disdain.  He was ridiculed, beaten, and imprisoned.  He loved his people but they did not return his love.  He lived to see the judgement of God fall upon the nation of Israel.

I.  Jeremiah 7:2-14  Warning of Coming Judgement

The children of Israel were over-confident in their standing as the people of God.  Their history would not save them.  The presence of the temple will not save them.  They cannot choose to obey some of the commandments and ignore others.

We can see ourselves in this story.  A form of godliness will not save us.  Our history will not save us.  The presence of many churches will not save us.  We cannot choose to obey some commandments and ignore others.

We are called to walk with God and be His people.  If we are doing that, we will keep His commandments.

II.  Jeremiah 7:23-24 Who Will Listen to the Truth?

The truth was spoken, but they did not listen.

Today, who listens to the truth?

How familiar is the phrase, ” I know I shouldn’t but…”

III.  Jeremiah 7:28  Truth has Perished

We believe what we want to believe.  Philosophers call it “cognitive relativism”  where people create their own truth.  Some examples are: The Bible is a good book.  Jesus was a good man.  Creation is a nice story.

IV.  Judgment and Hope

Jeremiah 9:12-16  They have followed their own ways, so judgement is coming.

9: 23-24  There is hope for the faithful, even in the midst of judgement.

17:5-6  Judgement against the unbeliever is sure

17:7-8 Hope is offered to those who trust in God.

Conclusion

Seek to walk with God, keep His commandments, and it will be well with us.

Judges Fired!

November 4, 2010

On Tuesday, November 2nd, Iowa voters decided the fate of three of the seven judges who decided that Iowa should legalize gay marriage.

They were fired.

Hopefully this will send a message throughout the country that the people do not want a small handful of people making decisions of that type, and  magnitude, in that fashion.  The decision of seven people did not strike down a new law, but in effect, created a new law of the land.  The attempt by legislatures to put into writing what had been the common practice, understanding, and law, of the state for one hundred and fifty years should not have been declared unconstitutional.

I am surprised by the observed response of the media.  It has been kept pretty quiet.  You would think that something that has never happened before would be a bigger story.  It has been a strange response.  I am curious to see what will be the ramifications of this action of the people of Iowa.

Oil, Water and Blood

June 3, 2010

Once again our Wednesday night Bible study has provided inspiration for my Thursday morning blog.

Once again it wasn’t my own words, or thoughts, that provoked this commentary.

We were discussing the story of Noah and the flood.  Actually, just the introductory verses in Genesis chapter six, were God had decided to pour out judgement against the evil that was in the world.  We were discussing the reality of judgement, and someone brought up the prophecy in Revelation about the coming judgement.  Specifically, Revelations 8:8&9 which reads :

“Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood.  And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.”

He commented that the disaster in the Gulf is how this prophecy could be fulfilled.  It could be said that oil is the blood of an industrial society.  A series of off-shore earthquakes in the right places could create a means by which this judgement could unfold.

I am not saying that the current disaster in the Gulf is an act of judgement.  I am saying that perhaps we should read it as a warning.  It is a terrible tragedy and disaster of unforeseen proportions. Only time will tell truly how much damage has been done.  My heart goes out to the countless individuals whose lives will be forever changed.  I pray that God will help them stop the leak and clean up, but there is irrevocable damage that has been done.

We should learn something from this horrible catastrophe.

Initiative, Judgement, and Execution

May 5, 2010

Good initiative.

Poor judgement.

That was a critique that was frequently given to individuals during my days in the Marine Corps.  It was meant to applaud the fact that an individual recognized a problem, and tried to fix it.  The problem was that the solution that was attempted, was not a good idea.  The individual lacked good judgement.

Sometimes it was good initiative, good judgement, poor execution.  In this scenario, the problem was recognized, a good plan was established, but something went wrong with the execution of the plan.  Things didn’t go as anticipated.  Sometimes this was avoidable, and sometimes it was something out of anyone’s control.

Of course, sometimes things went well.  Ah, the sweet smell of success.  The problem was recognized, a plan was established and the task was accomplished.  Problem  solved.

This process must start with the recognition of a problem. 

Sometimes that is the hardest part.