Solving your problems using the Word of God.
[Ken Martin] Well, good afternoon everyone. It’s time once again to look into the sacred Word of God and learn what God has for us. And I think what we have today will be a topic that you can find most helpful and encouraging. The Bible is designed to be just that, a book of encouragement. Sometimes I think when we read the Bible, and some people who do this, they will read the Bible and it seems negative and they just can’t quite relate to it and so they dismiss it. But the Bible was not provided for us so that we could dismiss it, but pay strict attention to it because it is going to have a bearing on all of our lives, and on the lives of our sons and daughters and children in the future.
I’d like you to join me this afternoon by first turning to 2 Timothy 3:1 2 Timothy 3:1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
American King James Version×. A familiar scripture to all of us, whereby we are reminded, and we know, it says: that in the last days perilous times, or stress-filled times, shall come. For men, as well as women, shall be lovers of them own selves, and then it goes down and gives a list; step by step by step; of the conditions how people are now thinking and behaving. Quite different from how people used to think and how they used to behave. It finally ends up in 2 Timothy 3:4 2 Timothy 3:4Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
American King James Version×, in the latter part, and says that mankind in the latter days would be lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. So God would be mentioned, but He would not be on the forefront of peoples minds or thoughts. Pleasure would be. They are more interested in going to Disneyland or some other location and have fun rather than to open the Bible and learn what does the Almighty Creator say and how does that impact on us as individuals. Now it goes on to say these individuals will be having a form of Godliness; so you will find religion and God mentioned; but it will not have the clout, or the backup, that the scripture says and reveals to us that God is a mighty God, a God of absolute power and and supreme authority. It says: they would have a form of godliness but denying the power, the Holy Spirit which is the driving power of the God Family. And it says from such, we are told, turn away. In other words, do not pay attention to the threats, the rumblings, the warnings given by individuals who are denying the power of Almighty God. You and I are here because we do not deny the power of Almighty God. It is the power of salvation, through Jesus Christ, that God has provided for us and we need that. Oh so very much do we need that because as the scriptures tell us in the book of Romans all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We do not have what it takes to solve the problems we experience in life. But the Bible gives us an answer how we can find a solution. And what do we do when we find ourselves in the midst of problems or difficulties? How would God have us address these matters to bring good resolution and peace?
When we study the word of God we realize something very quickly. Let’s go to Romans 15:4 Romans 15:4For whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
American King James Version×, which I have quoted many a time and will continue to do so because it is so applicable to our everyday understanding of scripture. Romans 15:4 Romans 15:4For whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
American King James Version× reminds us that whatsoever things were written aforetime; the events, the case histories of men and women; nations, events that have happened in scripture that have been preserved, it says they have been preserved for our learning. If we’re not gleaning from these examples then we are going to be blindsided on the short side when it comes to really grasping and comprehending; one, what is God doing. Number two, what is going on in the world around us. And number three, what’s going on within us as individuals. This becomes very important. And it says it that through the very, very purpose, or the patience. Let me put it this way. It says, for our learning that we through patience, which we have to have, we’ve got to be patient because God does not operate on our time scale. He operates on His time schedule. But notice that word comfort. In case you have not seen that before, that word comfort would be translated another way in some of the modern translations, that we may through patience and encouragement. That word comfort is translated to encouragement. The Bible is designed to encourage us and help us to understand things that we could not understand without God’s help and His word.
We all need encouragement and that encouragement comes from the scriptures. And what does it produce? That we might have hope. Hope is incredibly much needed today because our world is looking more hopeless with the passing of every week. It looks like we can’t seem to solve any of our problems, our difficulties, and it just gets worse and worse.
So what is it that we need to learn here in this particular aspect of that word encouragement? Well, I’d like to put it in this context. If you go back to 1 John 4:8-9 1 John 4:8-9  He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
American King James Version×. We begin to receive the following instruction from John. John was one of the apostles close to Jesus Christ and he was the one, as he referred to himself “that disciple which the Lord loved”. John had a tremendous relationship with Jesus Christ. He understood this thing about the intensity of love that Christ was explaining, and that love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit. So John writes a lot of that in his epistles and also in the gospel account. And here’s what he tells us in verse 8: He that loves, when you understand the term love from God’s point of view, he says: He that loves not, knows not God. May talk about God. Refer to God. But has no real comprehension of God and who He is because it says: for God is love. Now love plays a very important part in the life of all of us as human beings because we all want to be loved. No one wants to be hated, and yet we see, hatred dominating the world in which we live. We sing songs about what the world needs now is love, sweet love. But nobody knows how to produce that product that we’re all hungering and thirsting for and that is a loving, peaceful world. We talk about it but we cannot produce it. It has to be produced by something else and that something else is God Himself. God reveals to us something very important about this. That as human beings, you and I, are made in a unique manner. And God made us; according to Genesis 2:7 Genesis 2:7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
American King James Version×; He made us from the dust of the ground. Now, fearfully and wonderfully are we made as men and women. But we are not the final product of which God is desirous to bring to pass. He has something so much more wonderful that you and I cannot fully understand at this time. But He gives us glimpses of it. And He talks about it, and helps us to understand that first of all, in order to truly receive true love; not the love that Hollywood produces and all this other stuff; like the other song that goes on very popular; and it says that people today are caught up in what? Looking for something. Looking for love but in all the wrong places. You can’t find this phenomena, true love, I think a country song comes to mind right now, True Love. It was a very popular song by Sonny James, if I remember correctly, but in this particular case we can sing about it but nobody knows how to bring it to pass. And what happens then is that when people are hit with problems and difficulties, which life produces, many times people get into a situation where they say, nobody cares, or nobody loves me. Because we all want love. We want people to care. Because we are human and we don’t want to be discarded and just pushed to the side.
King David made it Psalm 8 where he says: What is man? What is woman? That You are mindful of him. What is it about God, who made everything, that He focuses down on us made from the dust of the ground? This is very important for us to understand because as we face these difficulties, and we’re going to face a lot more I’m afraid, I wish we didn’t have to but at the same time as the old saying—it get’s darkest before the dawn. And the Bible tells us it’s going to get real dark. And we better know where the light is because you and I are the children of the light. We are not children of the dark. We are children of the light and we follow Jesus Christ and these matters. But people, in order to have love and to receive love, you must learn a very important lesson. And that lesson the Bible teaches is you must give love in order to receive love.
How do you give love? By showing care and concern and outgoing love and affection for all that are out there similar to you, wanting to have the same benefits that you do as a human being. God put it only in this way. He takes into consideration when He deals with us that we have a body and a mental frailty. We are not capable of dealing with what we are up against as we’re going to see as we move through the scriptures.
Romans 7:18 Romans 7:18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
American King James Version×. The apostle Paul, who we put on a very, very high status when it comes to spirituality. God used him in a very powerful and mindful manner. And notice what he said in verse 18: For I know that is in me, meaning his human capacity, his human flesh, he says: dwells no good thing. For to will, to present, is with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not. We have that same proclivity, as human beings. We do not have the wherewithal to deliver the goods that Gods asks us in scripture. We find that in Romans 8:18 Romans 8:18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
American King James Version×. He tells us; excuse me, I’m looking in the wrong place, bear with me a second here. Yeah, in verse 18 Paul was so moved by what he saw in a vision, when he was transported into the third heaven according to the book of Corinthians where he addresses this, he says: I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. What he is saying is that you and I do not have the ability to fully understand and comprehend just what it is God wants to do with each and every one of us. We look in the mirror and we see ourselves slowly going downhill. We wish we were going uphill but that day is long past. We’re going downhill. It’s part of life. You start out young, you’re at your strongest point, you slowly begin to go downhill. Where do you go from there? God begins to reveal to us that He has a plan whereby He wants to transform us from what we are to what we will become, the glorified sons and daughters of God. That’s why it goes on to say: for the creation was made subject to futility, not willingly, but by reason of him who has made the same in hope. God has placed a living hope before us that we will embrace, upon repentance of our wrong behaviors, and let God bring to fruition what He desires of us. And that is in verse 22. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. Everything is in a state of futility and suffering. He says: and not only ourselves, but we are a type of firstfruits of the spirit. Even we ourselves groan within ourselves because we know our inadequacies. We know that we can, we can keep the Sabbath, for example. But do we keep it holy as God has commanded? Do we really understand how God says to totally execute the things that He has given? Well our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak. And in many times, and in many cases, we stumble and we falter. And we have to go back to God for guidance and help. And He says: we’re waiting for that adoption, even the redemption of our body. There’s going to be a change so when God looks at us as His converted children He does what? He sees us in this glorified form that He has already designed in His mind where He wants us and where He’s going to place us and how He’s going to work it out with all mankind to bring ultimately salvation to mankind and to the world and to get rid of the opposition, the problems, the difficulties and we know what generates that, that is Satan the god of this world.
Now we go on and we read all through this and we begin to see something in verse 37. It says: know now in all things we are more than conquerors, or overcomers, through Him, who? Christ Jesus. And what did He do? He loved us. Now that’s something I want you to think about. Because what we’re talking about is that in living our everyday life God’s all encompassing love for each of us is made manifest on a day to day basis. There is not a day that goes by that God is not aware of us, and loves us, and provides for us, cares for us and brings us through the trials and the problems of life that we have to go through in order to be the overcomers that He wants us to be.
Paul understood this, that it’s hard to live a Godly life, especially when you live in a world like we’re living. We are going to be bombarded constantly, 24/7. And our fleshly bodies do what? They don’t hold up well under these conditions. That’s why it’s very important that we understand that the Bible was written to give comfort and encouragement. You and I need to be encouraged when we’re suffering and going through a problem. Be it this problem, that problem. It could be a wide variety of things. You fill in the missing blank. But everybody goes through something. Mentally, emotionally, physically. It impacts us all. Nobody is exempt. Job understood this and when he was in the midst of terrifying troubles and problems allowed and permitted for a learning lesson, where did he keep his mind and his heart? With God. And he cried out in Job 10:9 Job 10:9Remember, I beseech you, that you have made me as the clay; and will you bring me into dust again?
American King James Version×. He said: Job prayed in the midst of his troubles, remember that you, God, have made me like clay. I’m like clay. I’m like dirt. I’m like dust of the ground. I can’t handle this bombardment wherever this is coming from. And the Bible tells us we wage war in this life against a hidden force that creates many of these problems and difficulties that you hear about on the news day in and day out and also create problems for us as individuals.
Now David recorded something very important in Psalms 78:38-39 Psalms 78:38-39  But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yes, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.
 For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passes away, and comes not again.
American King James Version×. He made the following statement. He says: But God being full of merciful compassion forgave their iniquity, talking about Israel, he says: He destroyed them not. Yes many a time He turned His anger away and did not stir up all his wrath and indignation. Which means he could have done that, but instead he says: could have earnestly remembered that they were but flesh. God remembers that we are flesh. That we are struggling and we do not have the full capacity to deliver the goods. So God makes up the difference for us and helps us in this battle of overcoming. It is very important that we recognize this because Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version× says: Satan the devil has deceived the whole world. You know, people read right over that. They talk about the devil. And what did the devil do? He’s deceived the whole world. And they don’t stop to ask, well, how has he done that? Why, he’s a very clever and shrewd individual.
Now if you go back with me to 2 Timothy, let’s take a quick look at something also that God tells us that we must be doing in light of all of this. 2 Timothy 3:12 2 Timothy 3:12Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
American King James Version×. He tells us: yea, that all that live Godly in Christ Jesus, in other words, if you embrace the lifestyle of the Son of God, and you desire to keep the commandments of God as God has outlined, because Jesus even said it in Luke 6:46 Luke 6:46And why call you me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
American King James Version×. Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say? If we talk the talk but we don’t walk the walk then we are not what we claim to be as individuals and this is why it is so important that we listen carefully; take heed how we hear; he says that you are going to have situations that will bring about some difficulty in life. And he says beware of the following, 2 Timothy 3:13 2 Timothy 3:13But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
American King James Version×: but evil men and seducers—this is in the context of the latter days—there has always been this type of thing, but in the latter days this is really going to escalate. They shall wax worse and worse. Men, evil men and seducers, waxing worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. Believing their own lies and living in deception. But how should you and I continue as men and women of God called at this time? He tells us here in 2 Timothy 3:14 2 Timothy 3:14But continue you in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them;
American King James Version×: but continue you in the things that you have learned. Romans 15:4 Romans 15:4For whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
American King James Version×. What have you learned? We’re supposed to continue in that. And have been assured of. Knowing of whom you have learned them. Well, who did we learn these things from? We learned them from God Himself. Through the power of a calling, John 6:46 John 6:46Not that any man has seen the Father, save he which is of God, he has seen the Father.
American King James Version×, and He did what? Gave us the wonderful opportunity to come to the knowledge of His truth. And so here we have; as he says to Timothy; you remember, Timothy, that as a child you have known the Holy Scriptures. That would be the Torah of the Old Testament, he says: which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. So that information is not just in the New Testament, it can be found in the Old as well. And notice verse 16: all scripture, old and new, is given by the inspiration of God, profitable for teaching or doctrine; for reproof; for correction; for instruction in righteousness-or right living. Here’s the ultimate goal that God has in mind that the man or woman of God may be perfect, or mature, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. That’s what we are being prepped for. God has a lot of work to be done throughout eternity, and we have a part to play in that.
Now Ephesians 6, go back to the book Ephesians, if you will, in chapter 6. God begins to reveal how in this weakened state of affairs that we find ourselves in, how do we combat the evil that is all around us? In chapter 6 he is giving some wonderful instruction. In chapter 5 he takes all the way through chapter 6 about the family and children, and then he summarizes it this way in Ephesians 6:10 Ephesians 6:10Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
American King James Version×. He says: Finally my brethren, he’s calling us brethren meaning we understand. Those who are not brethren would not understand. So these are individuals who have been called and knew and understood what Paul was talking about in his writings to the Ephesians. He says: Finally my brethren, it’s imperative that we be strong in the Lord. Not against the Lord, but in the Lord. And the power of His might. You see, you and I are powerless against the forces we deal with. You and I need access to power. The power of Almighty God. So we are told and given instructions to do what? Put on the whole armor of God. We’ve got to study to know what that armor is. And he explains it in this chapter. He says: Put it on that you may be able to stand against the wiles, or the schemes, of the devil.
Satan is always pictured as always prowling the earth looking for ways to get at the Christian man and woman. To undo their conversion. To cause them to stumble and to falter. And because we are weak as individuals in the flesh, it’s real easy for us to get into the pit of despair. Have you ever heard of people who get on a pity pot? And they are just engrossed with it and you try to pull them out of that, but they’re so focused on themselves that they can’t get out of that terrible mental state and it just pulls them down. It causes discouragement, one of Satan’s most powerful tools to unsettle the mind of a Christian man and woman. Has your mind ever been unsettled at times? Oh yes, if you are truthfully honest with yourself. You have days where Satan’s fiery darts have gotten into your thought process and you have had to work it out. And you have had to use the word of God to get your mind straight. Remember when David, how he went off course. And in Psalm 51, after he had, here’s a man after God’s own heart, God’s own heart, in his earlier years, and yet later on as king he went astray, showing it can happen to anyone because of the weakness of the flesh.
And what did David say? He said: Create in me a clean heart, Oh Lord, and renew a right spirit within me. The spirit of a human being, the spirit in man, can be influenced in a wrong direction. And we are going to have to be very mindful of what God has said in this area because Satan uses his attack to undermine. He takes advantage of the fact that we are weak-minded when it comes to his attacks. He is subtle, he was subtle in the Garden of Eden. Mother Eve did not realize just what a danger she was dealing with. You and I are told the same things, that we are dealing with that same type of mind. That cunning mind, that deceitful mind, that seeks to overthrow the God-fearing man and woman of this end-time age.
Jesus acknowledged our human weaknesses in Matthew 26:41 Matthew 26:41Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
American King James Version×. Our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 2 Corinthians 10:5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
American King James Version× we are told that all our thoughts need to come under the microscope of God’s word and bring in context how Jesus Christ thinks. Is this how Jesus would do it? Is this how He dealt with certain problems that arose in His lifetime. Remember He was tempted in every point like us. Yet without sin. You see, He did not cave to the weaknesses of the flesh like you and I all the other human beings have caved. So God is guiding us and showing us that first of all, we’ve got to bring our thoughts into harmony with God’s thoughts.
In the book of James 4:7-8 James 4:7-8  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.
American King James Version×, we covered that last week about the double-mindedness, that if we become double-minded it creates serious problems. That’s why Jesus said you cannot serve two masters. You will either be this way or you will be that way. You will hold to the one and profess the other. You are going to have to understand it’s single-mindedness.
That brings us to the title of this sermon that I want to bring to your attention. We are talking about the weaknesses of the flesh. Yes, and the flesh strives against the spirit according to the Bible. God tells us we are in a battle. And I will address the title of this message in this context. Is God and Christ the desire of your heart? Is God and Christ the desire of your heart?
Because you see, we can do a lot of things on the outside that look good. But God scans the inside, He works from the inside out. He wants to know where our heart lies. Is it with Him? Or is it with the world that we live in? He tells us that we are enemies of His if we are embracing the world. We have to live in it, but we don’t find ourselves embracing or being a part of it. We have to understand that it is in the philosophy of life that he is talking about.
We are living in everyday life. We do the things other people do. But we don’t subscribe to the things that they advocate. Like for example a Supreme Court decision that just recently came out that said the Bible is not the final word. These men in black robes sit up there and they say, no, marriage is for same sex couples as well as heterosexual. And what does God say about that? He said: Whoa unto them that call good evil and evil good. And we are going to pay a price for that.
You know today people have forgotten that we have turned away from God. We don’t want God. We have become a secular society and we have done what? We, as one of our members mentioned, and I think he said it really well, we have institutionalized sin. We have institutionalized sin. And God says you can do what you want but sin is still sin and God says the man, the woman, who practices, embraces, and desires sin as a way of life will perish. God will not allow sin into His Kingdom which is to come. The scriptures are very explicit on that.
So what are we talking about? This is very important here for us to understand. God looks at us and He understands in dealing with us He puts a standard before us. But we do not fully live up to that standard. Oh I wish we could. But the power of God’s Holy Spirit is necessary for us to fulfill that standard through Christ living in us through the power of God’s Spirit. The glory goes to Him. It is His salvation in Christ Jesus our savior. We cannot save ourselves. We are not equipped to. We fall every time and we are told that when we do stumble and fall we are to run back to God as fast as we can and tell Him how sorry we are and that blood of Jesus Christ will blot out that sin. Because we don’t want anything between God and ourselves or our loved ones, our mates, our friends. We don’t want anything to be a stumbling block or to keep us apart from one another. You see, Jesus is doing what? He’s binding us all together. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. True love does not hurt. True love binds. A husband who loves his wife, and vice versa, the two become cleaving together as one flesh. God is bringing us all together in Christ, so that we are all one in Christ. And that’s a marvelous thing that only God can bring to pass. We cannot do that. We are feeble in our power of conviction. Today people do not have the conviction they once had in past generations. Today when you listen to politicians you hear nothing but a bunch of politicking. And what do they do with their politicking? They don’t offer solutions. They politic. I read an article years ago entitled How to Speak and Say Nothing. I believe I hear that every day now coming over the news. They know how to speak but say nothing. They are upset with a certain man who, he doesn’t have an ET after his name, but he sure is trumpeting. And he’s making it a loud sound and he’s saying hey, this is the way it is. He just says what he says and he doesn’t care what people think about their politeness; their political correctness. He just calls it what it is. You either like it, or you don’t. Well, it is interesting that God says, this is the truth, you either like it or you don’t. He tells you the truth. He doesn’t soft pedal the truth. He says if you want a place in My Kingdom, you will unconditionally surrender yourself and do what I have told you to do. If that is not on your docket, if it is not the desire of your heart, you have no place in My future Kingdom! Wow. That should give everyone pause to stop and think. The word of God is very powerful like a two-edged sword. It cuts. And God wants to know the motive of our heart. He doesn’t look and say oh, hey you can come into My Kingdom because you kept the Sabbath all the time. I saw you keep the Sabbath. I saw you keep the Holy Days. I know you tithed. I know you did all those things outwardly. But inwardly I saw something quite different.
Lucifer was beautiful. He stood in front of all the angels. They admired him. He was one of the cherubs that covered. And what did God say? You were beautiful, you did all this, and I have made you this way until sin was found lurking within. Nobody else could see it. God could see it. And He gave it its full opportunity to come to the fore and sure enough, when the opportunity arose he declared himself and showed what his true conviction was. He did not want to serve God, he wanted to be God. God says: I will give my glory to no one. Because He is God. We are just lucky brethren that God has said, if he will walk humbly with Me, I will share My glory with you as my sons and daughters forever. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a real good deal to me. A real good deal. And what this world has to offer can’t even compare.
But the power of conviction, you know you can be convicted; you can hear a sermon and it can really motivate you; you walk outside that door on the Sabbath, by the time you get home you have already broken God’s Sabbath by something you thought, something you did. It might have been just; you see there are sins of omission and sins of commission. And we are all guilty of these things. And that’s why God tells us you have got to come to grips with this, because He said, if you don’t have conviction of heart, and that’s what God is looking for. Is God and Christ the desire of our hearts?
Because what do we desire? We are poor in the power of our will. You know the old saying—the road to hell is filled with good intentions, or paved with good intentions? Well, how many times have we said, boy, I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that. Pop—it’s gone. Same thing.
So what does God give us as an answer? Let’s go to Philippians 2:12 Philippians 2:12Why, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
American King James Version×. Here is our power source. God knows, because of our frame, that we don’t have the wherewithal and we cannot make excuses for the fact that we don’t. Because that’s what, a lot of times, people will do. They will say, well then why is God upset? I mean, I can’t do it anyway and so people come and they justify their actions and say well you can’t keep God’s law and you can’t do this and you can’t do that so why do anything? Because God said so. He said: This is the way, walk you in it. And we have to walk in that way because it’s the only way that brings us the true joy and happiness that we all inwardly seek and we cannot find without the help of God. And so God gives us this admonition. He says: Wherefore My beloved. Notice the loving affection. I said, again, God’s all-encompassing love for each of us. My brethren He looks and loves us and embraces us with this attitude. He says: As you have always obeyed. Your desire has always been to obey Me, he says: Not in My presence only but also much more in My absence. In other words you and I don’t need someone looking over our shoulder to determine whether or not we are doing God’s ways. We want to do it and we strive to do it at all times. But now, how much more in My absence. He says when this is gone, how much more? Well, right now Christ is absent. He is at the right hand of God the Father. There is coming a day when He is going to be present. And you and I want to be sure that we are on the right side of the ledger when that time comes. He says: but how much more now in My absence, work out your own salvation. Now He’s not talking about you can save yourself by doing what you, your works and so forth. That’s not what the sense is. The sense is, you have got to exercise, just like to keep your body in tone you’ve got to stay in shape. Work at it. Lift those weights, stress those muscles. Well, in the same way spiritually speaking, He’s saying you’ve got to exercise your spiritual life because it is involving your salvation. You’ve got to look at your prayer life, your fasting, and all the other things that God has told us to do. And he says do it with fear and trembling. Fear of what? Fear of God. It is the fear of God that allows us to do what? According to the scripture, the fear of God causes us to depart from evil because we always keep God in that focus and realize He sees everything.
Have you ever done anything suddenly one time and you were doing something and you know you shouldn’t and all of a sudden, pow, it just pops into your mind. You shouldn’t have done that. First thing you do, you run someplace where you can talk to God about that and get that cleared away. Because you cannot live life, once you are called to the knowledge of God’s ways you cannot live life and hide some of yourself off to the side. God sees everything, all the time. And He wants to see how do we live in that understanding. That He sees us all the time. So what does He see? We are told that if we do what is fear and trembling, that the answer is it is God which works in you. How does He do that? All I can tell you is through the power of His Spirit. He works through His Holy Spirit working with the spirit in man as a human being and He does what? He works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure. He gives us the strength to walk the Christian walk of life. Otherwise we wouldn’t do it. How many other times have people had the opportunity they just don’t do it. Now in Matthew 7:13 Matthew 7:13Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
American King James Version× we’re told that the broad way leads to where? Destruction. And what does He say? Many go in that way. In other words, there are so many ways to go wrong. There are so may ways to go wrong.
Now I’d like to stress something at this point. While we are talking about our weaknesses, the reason why I discussed this subject is because in the end time we are going to find that there is going to be a great push toward loving everybody’s weaknesses. And God says NO! No, a thousand times no. Because you see in the name of weaknesses people will say, well that’s just the way I am, yes, that is the way you are but you can change. Oh, I can’t change, I was made this way. No you weren’t made that way. God has made us a certain way and offers to give us deliverance from the way we are to the what are to become; the sons and daughters of God. What I am saying here, in plain language, is that we do not make excuses for sin in our life. And if we take the approach that God understands my weaknesses because I can’t do this, And God says oh yes I understand but you are denying the help that I offered to you to conquer that problem. And so God wants to see that the fear of God is causing us to depart from evil. That’s Proverbs 16:6 Proverbs 16:6By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
American King James Version×. God does not want excuses. He gives His Spirit to those that obey Him. But we cannot obey Him perfectly. We strive to. We want to. The spirit is willing, the flesh just was not designed to do it. It is God’s Spirit that gets the glory and the honor because God does it in and through us and allows Christ, the hope of glory, to dwell within us.
So it is the desire, the effort to be the very best God-fearing person that you can be is what God is looking for. He is not impressed with all these other things.
Remember David. When David was crushed. I mean he was crushed. When Nathan said what he did, you are the man. You put yourself in his shoes. He was the king. He could have turned around and he could have said how dare you talk to me as the king. Off with your head! There are kings that have done that to people who have spoken the truth. Nathan the prophet had to stand there with conviction of heart. God said go talk to My servant David. And so he did. He gave him the story. David could see it objectively over there. Oh, he did that? He deserves to die! You’re the man! It was like a bullet right in the heart. And David knew it. Notice in Psalms 51:16-17 Psalms 51:16-17  For you desire not sacrifice; else would I give it: you delight not in burnt offering.
 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
American King James Version×. This is how he starts talking to God. You, God, do not delight in sacrifice. And yet the Bible is filled with areas where we must sacrifice. The sacrifice of praise. The sacrifice of food on the Day of Atonement. And water. There are a lot of things about sacrifice but notice what he’s saying. Look where it’s going. He says: You do not delight in sacrifice or I would bring it, if that’s what you wanted me to do. You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings and yet burnt offerings were required in the Old Testament for a purpose. And now notice what he goes on to say: The acceptable sacrifices are, to God, are a broken spirit or a broken heart. You are broken. You are shattered before God because you realize what you have done to your Creator. And you and I have done that. We have hurt our Creator in more ways than one. And when you think about Jesus Christ taking the full hit, I just, I don’t have words to say it, but I think about how many times when that cat-of-nine-tails went into his back, that’s because of you, Ken. That’s because of you, Tom. That’s because of you, Sally. Every hurt that He suffered was you and me inflicting. Not just us. Everybody. All have sinned.
No, it is a broken heart, David said. He broke down before God the sorrow for the sin and humbly sought penance. He says: Oh God, you will not despise. When we walk humbly with God, God comes to us and He wants to help us every which way.
In Micah 6:8 Micah 6:8He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
American King James Version×, Micah records the following. He says: He has shown you, He has shown you, oh man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you, of me, of anyone. He says to act justly, love kindness and mercy and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God. In other words, we have nothing to be bragging about, touting ourselves saying how smart we are. Today you listen to people and you hear how they think they are on the moral high ground by some of the things they say and they don’t realize they are on the moral low ground. They are going down, not up.
To be empowered is not to be empowered by man’s rationale and reasoning. To be empowered by the Spirit of God is to give glory to God and let God work His mighty way in and through you and through me and through all who are willing to humble themselves before the mighty hand of God. He has promised to do that. He cannot lie. He will give us the wisdom like Solomon if we ask. But don’t waver. Follow His instructions.
You know it’s like a lot of individuals, they don’t recognize how important it is to react properly to the correction of God. Our human nature wants to avoid correction. But we need correction. But that correction is given to us from a loving God, and He doesn’t do it to hurt us. No more than parents working with their children in the family unit are striving. You know, when a child is told I told you to do this and the parent has made a declaration and the child doesn’t do it, and the child looks up at the parent and the parent says why didn’t you do what I asked you to do? And he says, I don’t know. I don’t know. What the child is saying is that he is weak in obedience. He doesn’t know how to obey what you think sometimes he ought to do. You assume, that’s why sometimes parents make a mistake. He says, why don’t you grow up? Well he can’t grow up because he’s a child. He is in the process of learning. I mean God is not thundering at us and looking He says, why don’t you people be perfect? We can’t be perfect. We are imperfect. We have to learn how to become perfect like our Father in Heaven, which is perfect. That’s what Jesus told us. He said strive to be perfect like your Father in Heaven which is perfect.
But I’d like to give you these examples again. Where the apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:12 Philippians 3:12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
American King James Version×. He says I don’t consider myself like I’ve got it made. I realize that, he says: I press on that I may hold to that which Christ Jesus has laid hold on me and made me His own. Because you see, you’re not your own. You belong to God now, through Jesus Christ and His great sacrifice.
But a child; when a child is first leaning how to write; if you will stop and consider. Years ago, before school. Before Pre-K stuff. Parents would sit down with their children and what would they do? They would ask their children—okay, write your name. Let me teach you how to write your name. So what did the child do? Takes the pencil or the crayon and guess what? All over the page, nothing but a bunch of squiggles. Says there daddy, there mommy, I wrote my name! And what does the parent say? That’s not your name! No, the parent knowing the weakness of the child as God knows the weakness of all of us, doesn’t deal with us according to our weaknesses. He does what? He comforts us and says Hmm, okay, that’s a good one, let’s try that again and so the child begins to learn. And suddenly the child starts learning how to make all the letters correct. And all of it is the job of the parent to encourage. To inspire and to uplift that child. That child them becomes more perfect.
Now we use that expression “Practice makes perfect”. Well God says practice makes perfect spiritually. The more you practice God’s way the better off it becomes. Jesus says take My yoke upon you, it’s light. That yoke of the world is terrible, it will just take you down and out. Let My words encourage you. So what happens? It’s like a child learning how to ride a bike. All of us can identify with that. I can go back and think of the first time I rode a bike. And I didn’t do too good that first time. I mean I fell. But guess what the desire of my heart was? I’m not going to ride that bike again because I fall and get hurt if I fall down…no, I got on that bike again. You’re not going to stop me, bike! So my desire was to get on that bike and I got up and what did I do? I fell again. And I got up, my dad was behind me, and he said okay, son, go ahead. So he’s holding the back of the bike and I’m on it, I’m looking over my shoulder, you still there dad? You know, you still there? Just like God. He’s still here. He’s still there. And guess what? I’m going along and all of a sudden I’m really moving. I’m starting to get the balance, you know, we learn how to get the balance in riding a bike. What happens? I look back. My dad’s way back there. I’m riding a bike by myself! I have learned how to ride. You and I learn how to be Christians and that’s why it says it’s all for our learning. It’s to comfort us, to encourage us and let you know that somebody’s there.
And yet there’s footprints in the sand, what is it? God’s carrying you when you’re walking and you think it’s only you. He’s in every aspect of it. A parent understands the limitations of a child and that’s what God understands about us. We have limitations, but we cannot use the limitations to say, well, I’m sorry God, I couldn’t do that because you know I’m just dust of the ground. No excuses for sin. God makes no excuses for sin. He says sin has got to go.
Remember the woman taken in adultery? They all wanted to stone her. What did Jesus write on the ground? Nobody knows for sure. I can give you one man’s opinion. Where’s the man? If she’s taken in adultery, it takes two to tango. You cannot commit it by yourself. And so when they all took a look at it, most of them being men, I’m sure they were all for the most part men, they dropped the stones and away they go. Finally He says where are your accusers, ma’am? They are gone. I don’t know Lord. He says: Neither do I condemn you, but go and sin no more. Do not get back into that habit where what you got caught on this thing. You better change. That’s what all of us have to do. And, boy, it’s a life-long process, isn’t it, folks? There are things that we struggle with since our childhood days that are still lingering along. Satan knows that and he keeps coming back and he keeps coming back hoping that he can pull you down, cause you to forget, become discouraged, and then you, I don’t want to, I give up, nobody loves me. And we forget all about God’s word, don’t we? That’s his goal. Close the book, he says. You don’t need this. You need me. I will give you what you want. But God says, I will give you what you need, not what you want. And in some cases I will give you what you want. But God is making it very clear, just like a child. You can read a child’s eyes. They are brokenhearted. They are sorry they disappointed you. But nevertheless you had to take some kind of action to teach them. I like to use the term correction from God is wake-up calls. Everyone of us can identify with wake-up calls. Wake-up calls are designed to make you stop, uh oh, and think, and ask yourself, I don’t think I should have done that. And then you talk with God. You get off to a quiet place where you can just talk to God and listen to that small, still voice talking in your head where God talks to you, then He will guide you to the scriptures and you read those scriptures and they come alive and suddenly you are empowered to realize you have just been encouraged by your Heavenly Father. All is not lost. No matter what you are fighting, all is not lost. With Me, all things are possible.
So God gives us, again, a marvelous calling. Let’s take a look at one final scripture in 1 John 3 notice how John addresses this subject. He says Behold. In other words, wow take note of this. What manner of love, I told you in the beginning that it is an all encompassing love that God has for each and every one of us. We can never say God doesn’t love us. We may think He doesn’t but He really does. If God really wanted to get angry with us, He could get angry. If God wanted to deal the end and just finish it all off, He could. He tells us that He’s not willing that any should perish, how comforting can that be? And that what? All come to the knowledge of the truth. That there is one God Supreme, a Father of all. And Jesus Christ, His beloved Son, our High Priest and Savior. And through the power of His mighty Holy Spirit He is bringing conversion to mankind through that great sacrifice of His Son. And you and I are being transformed as the firstfruits in this great plan and so we are told: Behold what manner of love, this love that goes above and beyond the ability for humans to fully grasp and understand. To bestow upon us that we should be called the sons, as well as daughters, of God. Therefore the world knows us not. It cannot understand why you are getting excited over these things they can’t comprehend what you are talking about. That’s a validation that God has called you. Because you do understand. And it is in your heart to obey God. And to walk with Him. He says: They know not because they knew not Him. Beloved, now are we the sons and daughters of God and it does not yet appear what we shall be. No, we look in the mirror in the morning or the afternoon, and we, ay yay yay. It’s not what we would like, but you see, we are not the finished product. This product is destined to have it’s run and then here comes the new model. A model that shines like the stars in the heavens. A model that is beautiful and a replica of Jesus Christ in character and behavior. Notice it says that we know. What do we know? That when He shall appear we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. We will be composed of spirit and part of a relationship that will last for eternity. Not temporal like this life that we have been given but is a foretaste of the life to come.
And so armed with this, every man, every woman, that has this hope, the hope of the resurrection, the hope that you will see your family, your loved ones, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and those who have gone before and don’t have a clue as to what had happened as they lived their life. They will come forth by the power of Almighty God and the world will be shocked to realize graves will open. People will come forth. Glory will be made manifest in the heavens when God comes back and nobody is going to doubt that there is a God because He is going to reign for a thousand years as we are going to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles to be reminded and on into eternity. And you and I have a date with destiny and you do not want to miss that day. And that is your opportunity to be a part of the Kingdom of God.
And so he goes on to say: With that hope in you, you purify yourself even as He is pure. You do not strive in any way to accommodate sin in your life. You will not tolerate sin in your life. You will hate it. And God says it’s there and every year during the Days of Unleavened Bread I will remind you it is still there. But because of the desire of your heart you will do what? You will walk in My ways and by My grace I will save you and you shall be My sons and daughters forever.