Faith Under Fire


Faith is being attacked in all directions in today's society. Faith is a critical component that you and I are being tested on every day and we must turn to God for help.



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This afternoon I'd like you to join me in the book of Luke. Chapter 18, if you will. Luke 18 , where we find the parable that Jesus gave that has quite an interesting application to our day and age today. Something we need to consider as men and women striving to live in a Godly manner that is pleasing to our creator.

Please remember that there are two great ways God is revealed in the scope of things.

Number One: The world sees God's revelation through His creation. It's made evident. They all ask the question where did this come from. And so when you stop, and analyze, and look at creation, you come to the conclusion some great intelligence, something greater than man, had to put all this together. That's one revelation. And so, like it says in Paul, Romans 1 when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God. How did they know Him? They knew Him through creation. There had to be somebody responsible. And so it's one of the great proofs of God.

Another great proof of God, to us, is the revelation of His word that you have on your lap and in your possession. Because it is this confirmation of God revealing Himself through the pages of the word of God, the sacred scriptures of the bible, the Holy Bible, that we begin to see and understand what's behind the visible world. There is a great invisible world, and kingdom, that operates that most people do not see or understand.

The study of the scriptures begins to reveal that great kingdom to us and helps us to understand things that the average person cannot understand, simply because they put no confidence, no trust, no faith, in the word of God. They just don't believe it. They think creation was an accident. But how do you get life from non-life? The scripture makes it clear that God is the source of all life. He is the great life-giver. And by, and through, Jesus Christ, the Word, God the Father has made all things. That's either visible or invisible. He's been responsible in His great plan and purpose that God is working out dealing with humankind made in the image of God, made male and female for a very important purpose that the scriptures confirm.

Now, to understand this parable, and Jesus always spoke, remember, in parables to the masses. He never spoke to them in the same way that He did when He was up front with His disciples. And they asked Him one time. They said, Why do you speak in parables? And He says, Well, the answer is simple. He put it this way. To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. To them it is not given. In other words, it was not their time. Their time for understanding, their time for healing, would come later. As we understand in the great plan of God as outlined by the Holy Days.

Our calling, and our individual responsibility is an awesome thing that God has placed before us. And it is something that we need to see in the context of how God has revealed it in scripture. Because we are at a very critical time in human history, and the church of God plays a very important part in it. And if you are a God fearing, begotten, son and daughter of God, you are at a very, very important period of time in the plan of God. And we're going to see how that all plays out in just a moment. But in this particular parable, Jesus begins by saying, and it was for this end, this was the reason that this parable was given, that you ought to always pray.

Now, why is it that prayer is so important? Because it is the vital link that is necessary for us, as men and women, to be in contact with God. That is the vehicle God has required in scripture. If I wanted to call you and talk to you, I would pick up a telephone or send you a text message as they do today, or something of that nature. But how do you talk to God? You talk to Him through the vehicle of prayer. That's how He has ordained it. If you want to get in touch with the powers from on high you have to pray. And he said this parable is given with that understanding that you ought to always pray. And not to faint, the King James says. Other translations sometimes say, and not lose faith. It carries a very important aspect of faith in our calling and praying to God.

Then it goes on, and the parable talks about a widow who has a serious problem. And what does she do? She keeps coming before this individual who is responsible for correcting it and the example is using an unjust judge because in the world you don't have such good luck when you go to the courts of the world. There is so many problems and difficulties that it creates a lot of difficulty and this particular case, this was the area she went. God says here, through the widow, I've got a problem and I need your help. Well, it goes on in Luke:18:5 , and it says, and because this widow troubles me , in other words she kept coming back and back. She wanted an answer to her particular problem. I will avenge her. Because her continual coming, by this she's wearying me, she's wearing me out. Now, please understand, this is not a commentary saying that God is an unjust judge. It's just a parable using something that again people can understand, something they can relate to, and again, the idea is the widow kept coming, she kept persevering, she did not just give it a one-shot deal or quick prayer and that was it.

There are things, brethren, that sometimes one prayer can handle. There are other things that require persevering and repeated prayer and constantly calling out to God for His help and intervention. In His wisdom, He answers according to His will. Not your will or my will.

Sometimes we may be asking for things that God says no, this is not good for you now. I'll grant it to you, but maybe later. When things are different. There may be some times when God may say totally no because it's not good at all. But if it is a desire of your heart, and it's an honorable request, in the name of Jesus Christ, He said whatsoever you ask the Father in My name I will grant it to you.

And so we have that wonderful consolation of scripture how God will respond.  And it goes on to say, in Luke:18:6 , and the Lord said, hear what the unjust judge said. He says, and shall not God , now He draws a comparison, if this unjust judge finally responded a lot of perseverance, a lot of coming repeatedly asking for help with this problem, it says how much more, how much more it says shall not God avenge His own elect . And what do His elect do? Which do what? They cry day and night unto Him, though He bears long with them. In other words, you just don't get a sudden response and an answer every time, but you have to hang in there, you have to hang tough, and realize God hears the prayer, God has a purpose in our lives, to bring good things into our life. He can even take the things that seem bad at the moment and He can turn them around in ways that you and I can not even begin to imagine, how in the world would you do that? And yet He can do that. It says He makes all things work for good to those that are called according to His purpose. And we've been called according to His purpose. And notice what He goes on to say and what He brings in here in Luke:18:8 . He says I tell you, nevertheless, He will avenge them speedily. In other words, when God opens the floodgate it's going to come fast and furious, and He will do what is needed.

Nevertheless, now we get thrown into a future timeframe in which it comes into our day and age. Which many people feel, that based on the signs they are seeing, is this the end time. Are we getting close to the end of man's rule? Well, He says, when the son of man comes , now here's what Jesus will be looking for. He says, when He comes shall He find faith on the earth?

Now, dear brethren, I will tell you this right up front, we're living in a time where people, they're losing faith left and right. Faith is nothing more than a definition I will give you is this. Faith is the dependence on the voracity of another. You depend on something somebody has said. And look how today, people say read my lips, I won't raise your taxes, and what happens? Taxes get raised. Pledges are made. Hey if you make under $250,000, don't worry. We're not going to raise your taxes, ain't going to happen. New commentary comes out, that's just the pledge, that's not a promise. Because we're going to have to raise taxes. There's no way we can throw around trillions of dollars and not have that happen. And so, the middle class, which was promised, no taxes, are going to get hit with taxes. And they're even speculating now, value added taxes, like the Europeans have. Oh, brother. 28% on top of all the other taxes? It's going to get tough. No ifs, ands, and buts about it.

So, depending on the voracity of another, according to this book, the word of God, you and I are told something very specific. Put not your trust in princes, or in man. And also in Proverbs. Lean not to your own understanding. It's very important that we lean in God's direction. Not ours. Our direction will always shortchange us. We can put our trust in the wrong thing, and it will fail us every time. Our trust in God is the answer that the scripture reveals, our dependence on the voracity of God is paramount. And that brings us to what we're going to talk about today.

Faith under fire. Faith under fire. Because faith is being attacked in all directions. Physical faith, which is just confidence, trust, you know, it's like putting confidence in a road map and then the road map doesn't take you where you're supposed to go. You lose faith and confidence in that road map. You'll say I'll never use that one again. For sure.

Now, in this particular case, we're being told today that you can't believe the word of God. What used to be held in highest regard in past generations is now laughed at, ridiculed, and just as Peter in his epistle wrote, he said the time would come when scoffers would arise. He says, oh, wait a second where's the promise of coming. I've heard this same old baloney time and time again, yeah the Lord's coming, the Lord's coming. And they mock and they laugh at it. God's going to have the last laugh on this before it's all said and done. He makes it very plain. That you and I, our faith, living faith, must come in a very specific way with an understanding that our dependence is on the voracity of the living God Himself. God cannot lie, Titus:1:2 . And hope of eternal life. God cannot lie. He's promised something wonderful and you and I are told to cling to that, to understand that.

Alright, now that brings us to a very important aspect on this subject of faith. Because faith under fire brings us to the famous faith chapter, Hebrews 11 . There are many things mentioned in there. The story of men and women that you and I need to study because they are individuals whom according to the writing inspired by God through the apostle Paul who's credited for the book of Hebrews. It says the following. It says, that these individuals were considered by the world the offscourings. They were not very much you know held in high esteem or regard, but in God's eyes they are pictured as being, the world is not worthy of these people. And it lists their names and it talks about them. And when you get to the end of that chapter you find out something very interesting. It says they without us. Our calling fits into this dynamic plan and purpose. But in the area of Hebrews 11 , and let's turn to that chapter right now if you will, please. In Hebrews 11 we have the following admonition. Hebrews:11:6 . It says, but without faith. This vital ingredient is so necessary for an individual to be able to succeed in one's relationship with God and Jesus Christ. It says, but without faith it is impossible, there's no way possible, it says, to please Him . Anything we do falls so short that nothing impresses God because we have all fallen short and we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God.

It says for if we want to be getting in touch with Him, notice, for he that comes to God. That shows that people can come to God. But they must believe that He is, and He is that viable source behind everything, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Well, what do you mean the reward? Well, He rewards you with the gift of life in this physical form. Good place to start. He gives you every breath you breathe. He provides the food. He provides all the other things that are necessary so that human life as we know it can survive on this marvelous planet, that I personally say, is the most miraculous playground that God created for His sons and daughters, His children. Because you're just wowed by it. You go up there and stand up in Alaska as many people who go on these tours to Alaska, and what do you do? You look at these glaciers, and you look at the mountains and you see the majesty and you see these giant orca whales jumping out of the water, and man, you just feel like nothing. You just evaporate. No wonder David said what he did in Psalm 8 , you know, what is man?

In light of all of this what is it that you're focusing in on us, as men and women? It's breath taking to say the least. And so, in this particular case, you and I are told, to have a true relationship with God, the father, and Jesus Christ, we have to understand this ingredient of faith. Do we really believe? Do we really trust in the word and the voracity of God's statements?

Remember Adam and Eve. The very first thing Satan did, He cast a dispersion on the word of God. He said, hath God not said? He throws it out to create doubt in the mind. And what did he do when he tried to assault Christ in that battle of wills we read about in Matthew 4 . Where it said what? He came to Him and said if you be the son of God. Satan knew He was the son of God. He was trying to bait him. By telling him, if, to create doubts, well maybe I'm not the son of God. Have doubts within himself.

There's an old saying: “He who doubts is damned”. Because people create a lot of problems in their life by falling prey to doubt. God has told us through His word, fear not. You weren't called to live in fear. You're called to live in faith. And in that faith, what happens? Love of God is shed in our hearts throughout the spirit of God. And perfect love casts out fear because fear has torment.

And so we are told here very plainly in this situation that we understand that God has many wonderful rewards in the scriptures and He talks about that. And we have to go to Him for guidance and help in this matter. Alright. So without faith it is impossible to please God.

Number two, we have to keep in mind in Ephesians:2:8 reminds us that faith is a gift of God . It comes from, you can't work it up, I can't work it up, it comes from God. It is a blessing that He provides for those who will humble themselves, acknowledge their lack, and tell God they are truly sorry for the wrongs they have done. And we have all done terribly wrong in the eyes of God. We have all sinned grievously in ways that through omission, through commission, we have to recognize it and be honest and truthful to God, and ask Him humbly to forgive us which He promises to do because He is a kind and loving God and He sent Jesus Christ as an example of that love, manifest so that we will know what? That His love was valid. Not just words. He backed up His love and His words with His own son. He couldn't give us anything better than that. And so to understand the words of Jesus Christ helps us then to understand our relationship with the Father because He and the Father are one as the picture of the scripture tells us. 

Now Romans:10:17 adds another element very important for us. It says faith, the kind of faith that you and I need in order to succeed, when faith is under fire and your faith, my faith, and everyone's faith is under fire at this time. Judgment is now on the house of God. And we are told what's going to happen. And we know, by the grace of God, what's going to happen. And yet it's going to be a cliffhanger to say the least. It's not going to be just an easy roll into the Kingdom of God. God has got to know where our hearts are. He's got to know us and know us well. We don't want Him to ever, when He returns, and we should stand before Him, and look into His eyes, we don't Him to look at us and say, now you I know, that we want to hear, and we don't want to hear Him say the opposite, you, I don't know, send this one away. That's not something we want to hear. We want to hear, well done, good and faithful servant. Because that's what we were called to be. We are the handiwork of God's own fingers. He's created us. Fearfully and wondrously we are made. An individual temple for the spirit of God to dwell in. As we're going to talk about on Pentecost, and go into some of that.

We're reminded in Romans:15:4 that everything that is recorded, the stories and all their things that you might just pass over if you're not careful you'll fail to recognize something that the scripture is shouting at us. It's there for our learning. There are things in there that impact us and impact us when it comes to the subject of faith.

These people had their faith tested time and time again. And they're recorded all there for our learning. Because your faith, my faith, everybody's faith, what you depend on, is going to be tested to the Nth degree.

Just like the faith of Abraham was tested. And he had to wrestle with that in his mind. And then he was, I don't understand this, the promise was through Isaac, and now he's telling me to go up and do what the pagans do roundabout? Kill him? Child sacrifice? I don't understand that. But he did what? He said, but God must have something there, even if it means He's got to raise him from the dead.

We get that understanding through the book of Hebrews. Paul telling us, giving an insight into the struggles going on in the mind of Abraham. Once Abraham got those things locked together, he was committed and he got ready to do what God had asked him to do. And then you know the rest of the story. Don't do it. He stopped him. God provided a ram just like He provided Christ as a sacrifice for our sins. No, you don't need to kill him. But now I know, Abraham, now I know. I know who you are. The type of person you are. That you just don't follow Me because you think it's just the rewards you're after. You follow Me because you understand who I am. That I am your God. Because you've done this, I'm going to bless you and make you a father of many nations. And that has happened. And God's promises and the rewards it's all recorded in the scriptures for our learning.

When we come back to Hebrews 11 , we come back now to one very important person. We know his name well. It isn't Charleton Heston, although we saw him in The Ten Commandments play this role in the movie. This was Moses. The servant of God who was going to lead the people out of slavery, out of bondage, and into the promised land. A type of Christ. A type of God bringing us out of our spiritual bondage of our day and age, of Babylon. And so God has given us what? He's given us marvelous examples listed in Hebrews 11 the examples of these people.

We focus on Moses, because Moses is a key one that went through certain behavior patterns and had to make certain choices. Every one of us will be faced with choices. The scripture tells us that we have to do something. We have to in Luke:14:28 , we have to count the cost . Every day we make decisions. Every day. Some of those are good, some of those are bad. It's a learning process. Hopefully we've learned to make better decisions than what we did years ago when we were still babes in Christ. Hopefully we have learned to appreciate the word of God more and more and lean on it instead of our own understanding. Or as people used to say, well, here's the way I look at it. Forget the I, and listen to what God has to say. You're better off every time. But people have to learn that lesson. That's why Paul in Romans says, no flesh will glory in his presence. Nobody has it all down. Nobody gets it all right the first time. We have to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

But starting here in Hebrews:11:24 , or Hebrews:11:23 . Let's notice, Hebrews:11:23 . By faith Moses, when he was born, he was hid three months of his parents. Wow. Why did he have to have the parents hide him? Because there was a new Pharaoh in the land if you remember the story. What does that tell us? That from time to time we all run into new pharaohs don't we? New leadership. Some that work with us real well, and others who can create serious problems. And it is a test of your faith, because faith is under fire when these things happen.

And they saw that he was a proper child, and, it says, they were not afraid of the king's commandment. Now today, you know, the scriptures talk in Psalms and Proverbs, that by the fear of man, it acts like a snare. We are to fear God, not to fear man. But man does a lot, because he rules by fear. The world runs by fear. Satan is the god of fear. He instills fear. What is Halloween all about? It's a holiday for kids for fear. You'd better do this, trick or treat or whooooo something bad is going to happen.

The world lives under fear because it does not understand the faith we are talking about. This is the faith that is revealed by God to those who trust Him and look to Him for guidance and help. The Israelites were in Egypt at this time, they were growing stronger and stronger. The new Pharaoh looks at them and says this is going to be a threat to our nation. I want all kids now, at a certain age, I want them all slaughtered. He sends out the decree. The midwives, Exodus 1 , talks about it. No, no, we can't do this. Oh, in other words when we make choices for God, and put our faith and trust in God, it will sometimes cause conflict. Oh, yes. And we have to be prepared for that when that time comes, should it come. They were not afraid of the king's command. And that is a scripture reminding us that you and I must not be afraid of authority. Even though authority sometimes will use their office wrongfully to cause problems and difficulties.

And here we see, by faith then, Hebrews:11:24 , Moses, when he was come to years, now he's grown up in this society of Egypt, something happened. He was faced with certain decisions that he had to make, and he could have been seduced by the power and the prestige to become a pharaoh of Egypt. He grew up in the house of the pharaoh's daughter. He was in line for that. And don't think the adversary would love to have set him up in that and caused him to make that decision. 

But we are told, rather, it says, choosing rather the affliction of the people of God. Once he understood what he had to do, what did he do? He had to make a choice, and sometimes in life, here's the choice that people have to make. Do you make the choice for pleasure, or do you make the choice for pain?

When many of us came to the knowledge of God's truth, you could have used Saturday as a day for your pleasure. You could have gone, literally, fishing. But you chose not to do that. You chose to become a fisherman for God. And you chose to honor God in so doing. But what did that do? It brought about some pain. Because now, your employer, your pharaoh, said, you're going to work Saturday or else. And what do you do? What do you do? Do you choose the pain of losing a job and trusting God? Keeping your dependence and veracity strong and faith in Him and what God said. He said He will provide. Or do you fear? And so you choose to keep the job or to lose the job. Those are choices people have had to make for the truth of God. And then, of course, you learn that you just can't be slip-shod in your obedience to God because what did Moses do? He was given commands to prepare the people for something that we have come to see and understand cherish deeply, and that is called the Passover. And the Passover, you read back there, was given in specific details, and it is to my understanding, the only time that Israel actually did everything the way they were asked to do it. If they had not, there would have been serious consequences, because a death angel was coming over. Said make sure it's done this way.

And so again, all of this, we see that we have Moses being tempted possibly by becoming a pharaoh. He had to face that choice in his life. He refused it. Question. What do you and I have to refuse in order to obey God? Food for thought.

Then we move on to what else did he. He had to choose pain over pleasure. Nobody likes pain. But sometimes it's better to suffer the pain and be with God then to have the pleasure and have Satan on your doorstep.

These are things we have to think about. And then, of course, obeying. Obeying without doubt. Trusting God, in faith, that He will do what He says He's going to do.

Now you know in ancient times, Moses didn't fare well as far as the record of history because his name is not recorded in a lot of those Egyptian records. But his name is recorded in the heavens above. In the book of life. And this is what we have to stop and consider.

Join me if you will now, in Acts 4 . We have another New Testament story now that is given to us. Acts 4 . And as you read down through this you'll find out very first and foremost the disciples were out preaching. They were teaching jusr exactly as Christ said go and teach show them what. And so it says in Acts:4:1 . So they spoke unto the people, the priests and captain of the temple and Sadducees came upon them . They wanted to check out what was going on. But they were being grieved that they taught the people and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. Now why was that grieving them? Simply because the Sadducees didn't believe in the resurrection. That was not part of their tenant in their faith in their religion. And they laid hands, Acts:4:3 , they laid hands on them and put a hold on them until the next day. And now it was even tide . And then you read about this. They wanted to know, in Acts:4:7 , by what power, or by what name. In other words what are your credentials, what is your authority for doing what you're doing? Talking to the people like this. Telling them about this Jesus and telling them about this thing called a resurrection which we don't believe in. So where do you come off telling the people these things?

And then he goes on and tells in Acts:4:10 we have known unto you all, and to the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, boy, he laid it right on them. He just put it right out there. And then it comes down to Acts:4:12 . He talks about the prophecies, how he was the stone that was rejected by the builders. And in Acts:4:12 , and he says and reminds us, neither is there salvation in any other. Its not in Buddha, it's not in Allah, it's not in any type of other man-made religion, it is the son of God, Jesus Christ, and it says right here that salvation is in no other, no other name is given under Heaven, among men, whereby we may be saved. We must be saved. Notice, or otherwise everyone's lost. And what did Jesus, what did He say His mission was? He came to save that which was lost. So we should be able to identify very strongly with these words. And in this particular case, God reveals that the only way to salvation is through His son, Jesus Christ. And we've talked about that in other messages where He says, I am the door. I am, you know, the resurrection and the life. And the words that I speak, they are not just words, they are spirit, and life. So through Jesus Christ we get this understanding and now all these things that we read about, these people in Hebrews 11 and Exodus 1 . The story about the midwives how they had to stand up against authorities because the authorities began to put edicts upon them that were not correct.

You and I are told to be followers of those who exemplify the faith that God is pleased with. Moses was such a one. The questions, then, that we have to ask ourselves, is that we will be faced with things that we must refuse because the temptation to move in a certain direction might offer you some benefit and you have to refuse it because it takes you away from God and not to Him.

Choosing to suffer. As it says in Peter's epistles. That Christ set us an example that we should follow in His steps. People have had to suffer for the truth of God. But it's better, like Moses, to suffer with the people of God than to be sitting there having your mint julep, or your iced tea, and having all the physical pleasures of life, but then when it's all said and done, it's over.

Jesus put it this way. He says what if you have gained the whole world? You've been so masterful, you've gained the whole world and everything is at your command and then you turn around and you have lost your soul, your very life. Showing that things are made to compliment life, not to become the object of life. So these things don't really matter because there is coming a day when these things will pass away, and a whole slew of new, wonderful things God will bring forth for His sons and daughters. This is the marvelous revelation of scripture.

So in the process we are told who do we follow. Well, I think the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 11:1 gave a good statement. He says follow me as I follow Christ. All of us need to follow the examples of these people and what they did, what they refused, what they chose and what they obeyed. You and I are given the same. God's no respecter of persons. It's happening the same way again in our lives and in our time.

Was it wrong for Moses parents to defy the edict? Not in God's eyes. It might have been in man's eyes, but not in God's eyes.

You know it would have real easy if Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, all they had to do was rationalize a little bit. Now it says when the music plays, come on guys, bend down. You know, you do that, you're off the hook. You mean we can live? Yeah. But what did they know? What did they have to refuse? There's this big idol standing in front of them. The king is watching. He's the authority. Bow down or into the fire you go. Those are big decisions, folks. That's not the kind that you want to face on a day-to-day basis but they are written for our learning because sometimes these things do happen in this crazy world. And if they happen you'd better have something you can fall back on that you could trust that has voracity and that you know will deliver you in the ultimate sense of the word.

Now that story is quite obvious. They knew you can't bow down to this leering idol. But they did not have first hand information that God says I'm sending you a text message letting you know that you don't have to worry about the fire. They didn't know. But the one thing they did know, they would have been at a terrible state if they had denied God's commands. So they obeyed that first commandment. They were not going to bow down, they spoke resolutely to the king in a respectful manner of authority, and say but know this Nebuchadnezzar, our God is able to save us from your fire. But if He chooses not to we will not bow down to your idol god. That infuriated the authority of King Nebuchadnezzar he said throw them in the fire. God says, oh, that's when I really start doing what I do best. I'm going to shock the socks off of them now.

So here they're now start walking around in the fire and somebody else looks like the son of God in there, somebody shining, and Nebuchadnezzar is beside himself he comes out they don't even have the smell of smoke on them. But we go out barbecuing sometimes as human beings and what do we do? We get a little bit of smoke on us and we have to go get our clothes. They were in the middle of the fire, folks, and they didn't even have the smell of smoke. And remember it was seven times hotter. They just, I mean, he was so angry with them he says, let's burn them to a crisp.

The world can get pretty angry against the truth of God when people resist the ways of the world. And so Jesus was a target and says they have kept my words, they'll keep yours. If they haven't kept my words, don't kid yourself that they're going to keep yours. You're headed for some upheaval. Somewhere down the line it just happens.

Anytime when God's laws and man's laws conflict you and I have a serious responsibility. For example, we live in a day and age today what happens we've heard about mandatory insurance that if you don't have it now you'll get fined, penalized, that's government intrusion, a lot of people don't like it, but that's what's coming down. What happens if the government mandated that abortions would now be the law of the land? Well, right now, Roe vs. Wade is the law of the land, isn't it? A lot of people don't like it, but what happens if the government should mandate infanticide, killing little babies? Because maybe they're crippled or they don't have all their capacity to function. Or what about the older folks, you know, like the study of eugenics, where when people lose their ability to add anything to society you take them out. It's called euthanasia. Euthanasia. 

Now when someone's way over here way on this side of the line, way away from there, they say, well I don't care euthanasia. And you get on that side of the line and now it's coming up to you, now it's a different matter.

What I'm showing you is that we're facing a world that is in conflict. There are decisions and laws being passed left and right. Our brethren in Germany right now are going to face a problem because Sunday keeping is now being urged to become the law of the land in Germany. Now, how will that affect Sabbath keepers? What does it mean when it says if they persecute in one city, go to another? Will those days come? The Bible does say it's there. For some it will affect them. Maybe others it won't. Only time will tell. The only way to be saved according to the scriptures is through Jesus Christ. As He is our sin-bearer, He is the one that took that hit for us.

I heard a song here recently. It was talking about glorying in the cross. Now the Bible uses the term the cross of Christ and so forth like that. But I don't glory in the cross. That was an execution weapon. I glory in the Son of God who rose from the dead who on that cross He died for me, He died for you, and for anyone else that puts their faith and confidence in Him.

Now that's very important. People today are looking at a cross and a cross can't save you, Jesus Christ only can save you. Because He died for us and that's the constant reminder of Passover, Days of Unleavened Bread and as we approach Pentecost now, our faith is that God will do what? He will provide for us what we've got to have, the power and strength of God Himself in order to be victorious. Because we cannot execute it ourselves.

We read the study and the scriptures and we realize that Moses had a tremendous amount going for him. He was a champion military commander, he had everything going for him, but he turned it all around. How many of us have had to make sacrifices and different things to turn it around to do things God asked us to do. To give up careers, desires, things that we wanted to do ourselves.

But God called us in a very unique way to be His witnesses. His martyrs. Some will become literal martyrs but witness also means martyr.

And so here we are, in a sense, dying daily for Jesus Christ and for God because we are His workmanship. We acknowledge that. And so the challenge then is to remember what Moses did, how he did it, and that we might also have to face some of these things and that's why it's written for our learning. So you can go and study these things and understand what is it, what are the examples that please. Now if you study the kings, for example, in the Old Testament, you'll find that God uses terms like this. And this king did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and over here He says, now this king did which was evil in the eyes of the Lord. Now why did God do that? To show you what is it that you do and what is it you don't do in order to receive favor from God, to receive the faith of God, which is the faith of Jesus Christ, trusting in Him, to do what He has promised to do, lead us to the Kingdom of God. He is the head. We are the body. All of us are uniquely joined together through the spirit of God.

It's a marvelous thing that God has purposed. And only God could do it because with God all things are possible. But with human beings, what do you do? You lean to your own understanding and what do you come up with? All kinds of religious denominations that Satan can use to lead people astray.

Can you imagine what it's going to be like for people who have put everything in their thought process such as the rapture. They are so being told today that when all hell breaks out, don't worry about it, because you're going to be up there looking down on everybody else while they're going through all this terrible things down here on the earth.

Can you imagine if all of a sudden these things begin to happen? And they, as believers in a rapture, and let's see, alright Lord, is it time now? Is it time now to go?  And they're not going. What does that do? I submit to you, their faith and what they thought they believed in is going to be shattered because they did not base it on the word of God. 

I've heard one minister one time use a term, he says, after chapters two and three in the book of Revelation the church is never mentioned again. Oh, what about chapter 12? Did he ever read that? It talks about somebody's there keeping the commandments of God. And Satan is angry because he's thrown down and he goes after the church. And the earth helps the woman.

And then when he can't get to that group of people, he goes after another group of people who keep the commandments and have the testimony of Jesus. Which is the spirit of prophecy. They're going to realize where they're at at that time and juncture.

So these are important things, brethren, faith is a critical component that you and I are being tested on every day. Your faith and trust in God to do as He said and if the spirit of God dwells in you, you are going to love your brothers and sisters in Christ. By this all men shall know that you are my disciples. It's a wonderful thing that God has purposed.

In Luke:10:20 , the disciples came back to Jesus and they were so excited because of what they had said. Luke:10:20 . He says notwithstanding , he says, in this rejoice, you have given them power and control over the fallen spirit world. He says, rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto you. Yeah, they are. Because the power that is in you is greater than the power that is in this world. And notice what he says, Rejoice not, he says, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. In the book of life. Moses' name was in the book of life. He was even willing to sacrifice and have his name taken out if it could help. Paul had that same feeling.

Where do you look? Where do you look? Is what the Bible is telling us when faced with problems and difficulties that try your faith.

And we live in a world where that takes place when faith is under fire we're told to remember such things as the faith of Moses, what he did, what he had to refuse, what he had to suffer, what he had to choose in terms of following the commands of God.

That's exactly what we're having to do on a day-to-day basis. And we're told to count the cost in these matters.

But let's take a look back at Hebrews:11:27 because it tells us here the driving force behind Moses thought process and why he did what he did. It says, by faith, Hebrews:11:27 , by faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king, Jesus constantly refers to that in the gospel accounts, he says fear not, fear not, fear not, ye of little faith. God wants us to grow in faith. To trust on His voracity and His word as never before because it's the saving grace. By living by God's words, we have access to something that cannot be had any other way. If we don't believe that, then where would you go to find the answers to life's questions? What is the driving force question that everyone asks on the face of the earth no matter what culture they come from. Why were you born? That book was the most profound book that hit our thought process when we studied years and years ago. You want to know why you're here. Why you're alive. Why am I, why does it have to be this way? Why can't it be some other way? And the Bible gives us the answers from God through His revelation. And here's what Moses understood. There was a time he had to forsake something. You and I have had to forsake things. We have to forsake, come out of her, my people. Babylon the great, in the book of Revelation. It says that you suffer not her plagues. You'd better come out and not identify yourself with the world, but identify yourself with God and Christ as never before. 

He says don't fear the wrath of the king. He says, like Moses, he says he endured, meaning he persevered, he suffered in patience, and seeing, notice this, seeing him who is invisible. This whole world that we see is what is called the material world. That's what people see life as. Just the physical, material world. But there is a tremendous invisible kingdom and world beyond. A dimension that most people have never seen, but we are blessed to see it as we look into the word of God.

The apostle Paul, when he talked about it, in 2 Corinthians 13 he says, I don't know how it happened, he says, I knew a man once , referring to himself, being thrown up into the third heaven , he says, man alive I saw things and I heard things I couldn't believe. In other words, there's a whole lot of things going on out there.

Man does not recognize that we struggle against wicked spirits in high places in this world. And in order to combat that influence we have to cry out for the true spirit of God. And where do you look when faith is under fire? You look up and you look to the invisible God, who is going to make everything come to light when it is all said and done.

Someone once said that when you read the conclusion of the story, we win. Isn't it nice to be on the winning side and not the losing side? For it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. For our God is a consuming fire, but he has not appointed us unto wrath but unto salvation into Christ Jesus.  

Thank God for all that He is and for His great love and saving grace.


KARS

KARS's picture

Thank you for these Sabbath sermons for those sleepless nights that those of us may have during the weekend.

This message was uplifting and inspiring filled with hope,acts of obedience, faith, and the mercy of God our Father and His love.




SeekingtheTruth

SeekingtheTruth's picture

You seem to hold to the old covenant. good luck with that. I hold to the new covenant. It's called a better covenant. I believe that.




2balite

2balite's picture

Since services were canceled due to bad weather conditions, it was refreshing to read your sermon about Faith. We don't have a good audio connection so we were grateful to read and study together on this very important subject. Thank you.




Lena VanAusdle

Lena VanAusdle's picture

@seekingthetruth
You seem to assume that the old and new covenant are mutually exclusive, but that's not a full picture, " The general approach is to consider the Bible to be two totally different segments—the Old Testament that has a harsh God (the Father) who dealt with people one way and the New Testament, which has a loving God (Jesus the Son) who deals with people in a totally new and different manner. Many problems come from such an artificial dissection of God's Word.

"Some want to argue that Jesus only kept the Commandments and upheld them because He came as a Jew and had to keep them until He died. They then claim that the apostle Paul did away with the Commandments of God and only focused on love and mercy. However, Paul told the Corinthian church that the Commandments were what really mattered in life (1 Corinthians 7:19). This was written around A.D. 55, which is 24 years after Christ died. That doesn't sound like the Commandments ended at His death! In addition, somewhere around A.D. 90 the apostle John wrote that the way we know we love God is if we keep His Commandments, and if we don't keep them, we don't have God's love in us (1 John 2:3-6). You might also notice this passage ends with the statement that we should walk as Jesus walked—meaning, live like He did" (http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/what-do-people-mean-when-they-claim-we-dont-have-keep-gods-law-anymore-under-new-covenant-)

So why a new covenant?

"Hebrews 8:7 tells us that yes, there was a flaw with that covenant: "For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another" (NIV).

"So where was the problem? The next verse tells us: "But God found fault with the people and said: 'The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah'" (verse 8, NIV).

"The primary weakness of the Sinai Covenant was not in its laws but in the people's lack of a willing heart to obey them. Because they were not given the Holy Spirit, Israel's citizens were incapable of understanding and performing the full intent and purpose of God's teachings" (http://www.ucg.org/booklet/new-covenant-does-it-abolish-gods-law/new-covenant-transforming-heart/what-was-main-weakness/).




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Hello Seeking,

“[T]he problem with the Old Covenant was not the laws, commandments or terms, but the fact that the people broke it! …The New Covenant…is a better covenant because it addresses the problem, or fault, of the covenant at Sinai and is based on better promises...God's law...is described as the central feature of the New Covenant. The law of God would actually become a part of man. God's law being written upon the hearts and minds of man would enable him to conquer sin…

'[U]nder the New Covenant, “[t]hrough God's Spirit the law of God is written upon the hearts of Christians…The ‘new’ is an altogether better and more glorious administration of the same law of God ([2 Cor. 3:]8-9)…[When] we allow God's Spirit to work in our minds and lives, God's law—the same law written on the tablets of stone—becomes a permanent part of our lives as Christians. It manifests itself in thoughts, words, deeds and character that reflect God” (“Why Is the New Covenant Better?”): http://www.ucg.org/doctrinal-beliefs/why-new-covenant-better/

"A key objective of those better promises in the New Covenant is to set in motion the process of transforming the hearts and minds of those who respond to God's call to repent and accept Christ as their Redeemer. Through that process He offers to make them heirs of "the eternal inheritance" (Hebrews 9:15)...

'A primary distinction between the Old and New Covenants is in where God's law is written (Jeremiah 31:31-34; compare Ezekiel 36:26-28)—not in whether it continues to define His will. Under the New Covenant the spirit or intent of the law is to be inscribed in the hearts of those who are converted by receiving the Holy Spirit" ("A New Covenant for Transforming the Heart"): http://www.ucg.org/booklet/new-covenant-does-it-abolish-gods-law/new-covenant-transforming-heart/

It is “‘established on better promises’…not…on different laws. The law stayed the same…'To enable people to internalize His law — to love it and obey it eagerly and willingly — God makes this promise: "...I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them" (Ezekiel 36:26-27). God's Spirit enables His people to obey His laws!" ("Does the New Covenant Abolish the Commandments?"): http://www.ucg.org/booklet/new-covenant-does-it-abolish-gods-law/jesus-teaching-gods-law/does-new-covenant-abolish-comm/




KARS

KARS's picture

I am refreshing our families memory with the Booklet titled "Jesus Christ the Real Story" along with the four Gospels.

At this time of year it can get easy to follow the winter soltice celebrations and Saturnalia if one does not prepare their mind for the Passover & Spring Holy Days.

So to learn the truth of the matter and by removing Christmas from the picture; it is so much clearer of when and what actually happened. Also the fact that the prophets of the Old Testament and King David tell of the birth of Jesus Christ long before He was born.

The booklet explains under the heading:

"Jesus' Teaching on God's Law

The common view is that the teachings of Christ in the New Testament annulled and replaced the teachings of the Old Testament. But do they?"

This too helps explain through Bible study with this booklet what the truths really are. There are so many topics and subjects a minister can teach throughout their lifetime. It's up to us to do our own personel study, fasting, praying, etc. to understand and grow in grace and knowledge.



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