Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Where Do You Stand With God and Jesus Christ?

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Where Do You Stand with God and Jesus Christ?

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Where Do You Stand With God and Jesus Christ?

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As we come to the Passover, where do you stand with God and Christ, according to the Bible ?

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[Ken Martin] This afternoon, good evening everyone, good to be with you once again as we now approach a very special time for all of us called the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. You know, if you work for any type of establishment and a job review is required of you on a yearly basis, you have to sit down with whoever it is who is designated for that and they give you a yearly status report. They sit down with you and to see what have you accomplished and what needs to be improved. Or they may tell you that you really blew it and you need to, you know, really take note of what’s happening.

Well, we were given that admonition in Ephesians 4:1 Ephesians 4:1I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation with which you are called,
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where it tells us that we are to walk worthy of the vocation to which we have been called. Now, vocation is another term for a job, a calling, or a work that you’re involved in, and we’re involved in the work of God. That’s what we’ve been called to do. And Jesus set the example and then He told us that we get busy and do the work by preaching the gospel to the world as a witness, not that they were all going to just line up and jump on board. But that it would be a witness against them, some would respond and be like on good soil, everything would be fine. Others would jump in and get excited for a while, and then they would just kind of die out.

All these things are part and parcel of what we are to take note of today as we look prior to Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread, and fulfill a command that God has commanded of us to examine ourselves and see whether or not we’re in the faith. Now, what I would like to give you as a title for this and where we’re going, so you have a clear picture of where it is we’re wanting to ask ourselves, where do you stand with God and Jesus Christ? Where do you stand with God and Jesus Christ, because we’re being interviewed by our Heavenly Father and our elder brother; we’re looking back on a year that God has granted to us. And in that year we are being evaluated as to what we have accomplished in our calling, our spiritual calling, our vocation in Christ, and we’re also being evaluated in where have we fallen short? This is part of the examination process.

Now, we know shortly we’re going to be here observing the Passover followed by the Days of Unleavened Bread. We know that they picture some very important things to us. And as 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.
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reminds us, everything that is written is written for our learning. So we must learn the lessons that God has ingrained in the Bible. And I would just add this very important point, the Bible is a book that reveals the goodness of God and it also reveals the failure of mankind. It is not God who has failed, it is mankind who has failed.

And God is in the process of redeeming mankind to Himself through a marvelous plan and a purpose that He and He alone is working out. That’s why it is called God’s salvation, not yours, not mine. Nobody can save us from our circumstances but it is God who will bring about a deliverance of our terrible state of affairs that we find ourselves in. And God wants us to understand that once He has brought us to the knowledge of His truth and brought us to conversion, and that conversion comes through, first God leading us to come to repentance.

To realize we’ve all gone astray like sheep, we’ve all got to get ahold of ourselves and acknowledge our transgressions before our God. And God is merciful and willing to forgive us through that which is pictured in the Passover. This is why Jesus Christ died, and so we go through certain things at this time of the year as a yearly remembrance of things that happened to our ancestors in the past and where they fell short. And where we as individuals now in the New Testament, understanding our calling in Christ Jesus in the new church, where Jesus said, “I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” It becomes important for us to understand that what pictures in the Old Testament concerning Israel, they were to be the role model that God would use, of all the nations God chose Israel, the smallest.

He always likes to start small like mustard seed, and through those people He chose them as a special treasure and He was going to use them to bring about this marvelous plan of salvation that ultimately would affect every human being made in the image of God: male and female. Well, what God wanted us to understand then as we read His Word, His miraculous holy Scriptures, we see that the Israelites were in a terrible state of slavery. You and I, whether we realize it or not, have been in a terrible state of spiritual slavery, not slavery in the terms that many times people think of when they hear the word slavery. We’re thinking in terms of something that goes on behind the scenes that most of us were not aware of that we were being held captive by an unseen power and force that has dominated the world and has controlled everything in it, other than the fact that God rules in the kingdoms of men and He has the final override, or what I call the X Factor, people forget about that.

That God rules in the kingdoms of man and He makes the final decisions and anything that happens that happens, and if it happens God has allowed it for some reason in the great plan that He’s working out with human beings. We don’t always understand all those ramifications because He doesn’t think like we do. He tells us that in Isaiah 55, He says, “Your thoughts, are not My thoughts, your ways are not My ways… and as the heavens are higher, so are My ways from your ways.” So we have to acquiesce to the fact that God is so superior and so, so fantastically qualified to tell us what is it that we need to understand about our condition, where we’re at as human beings and where do we find the solution to our problem. And the answer is in God Himself. And so God ordained with those people called Israel, the Israelites, who were in slavery for about 430 some years, He gave them a deliverer, his name being Moses.

We’re familiar with these stories. These stories have a greater impact than most people care, they’re not just cute, little stories written for people to be entertained with or to go see Charlton Heston play Moses in The Ten Commandments . The real Ten Commandments and all that is written in Scripture carry a powerful message for all of us as men and women, young and old alike because everyone is affected. Everyone comes into the play of this great plan of salvation. So God gave a command to Moses to tell the Israelites to prepare for a thing called the Passover, and if they would do what God had asked them to do then God would pass over them as He would deliver them from the hand of a cruel taskmaster: Pharaoh and the Egyptian. What happened is that they came out.

They came out on the night which we celebrate called the night to be observed or remembered, and they came out of Egypt by the hand of God. And once they departed we learn from these lessons that God has to pass over our transgressions like He passed over Israel to deliver them, He delivers us, and what else does He do? He provides instruction for coming out of sin. And so the Days of Unleavened Bread are revealed to as a seven day period in which we have all gotten busy and we’ve gotten rid of leaven products, and all the things that have leaven in it. Now, we do that as a reminder of what we must be doing to house clean these temples, these bodies, these temples of the living God.

Your very life is a temple and the Spirit of God dwells in you, and you and I are commanded to constantly remember we must house clean, keep the temple clean because God does not want our bodies to be defiled in any way, shape, or form. That’s why He gives laws about what you eat. Some people say, “Well, you can eat anything.” God says, “I don’t want you to eat anything. I don’t want you to eat bugs and cockroaches and all these other things. And think that this stuff is some kind of a, a wonderful new, new revelation of eating food and protein.”

He said, “Forget it,” He said, “I’ve got rules and guidelines for you. I want you to be strong. I want you to be healthy. I want you to follow my instruction.” So what we do is we come to understand, as Israel departed out of Egypt so we must depart out of sinful behavior, whatever defiles us. Because they were defiled in the Old Testament by the things they did.

You and I are also somewhat defiled because of the things we do. And as we take our analysis and ask, where do we stand with God and Christ? We have to look back at this past year and see what have we accomplished to the glory of God? And where have we failed and defiled these temples of the most high? Because don’t kid yourself, folks, we are all guilty, we are all guilty. We have done things that we… we’ve thought things, we’ve done things that shouldn’t have been done this past year.

I’m not here to judge you. I’m not here to throw stones. I’m just here to tell you what you’re guilty of, I’m guilty of, and everyone in the Church of God and the whole world is guilty of. They just don’t know it. They just don’t know it at this time.

You and I have been called to understand that we’ve been sloppy in our conversion, we’ve taken things for granted. We think that we’re a-okay because we come to church every Sabbath, because God says this, “Come to the Sabbath,” and that’s fine and good and it is important. But there are weightier matters of the law that God wants us to be mindful of and wants us to understand during these days, we focus on the deliverance that we receive through Jesus Christ, not Moses but Jesus Christ. And He delivers us from this world and from the god of this world, Satan the Devil. The whole plan of salvation is to bring human beings into the family of God, that’s your destiny my destiny and everyone’s destiny as human beings, to be a part of the eternal family of God.

What greater purpose for life could be given to any human being to comprehend? To live in eternal destiny of the family of God. And so we are practicing some very important things that God wants us to understand. And in Exodus 12:15-19 Exodus 12:15-19 15 Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. 16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. 17 And you shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall you observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. 18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. 19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whoever eats that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.
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, it reminds us that we were to put leavening out of our house, why? Because leaven does things, it contaminates, it causes a lifting up sensation. And so we understand that, and we want to understand that while we are cleaning our houses we don’t get excessively strict.

Where we go straining at gnats and swallowing camels, trying to get every little piece of leaven out because you can’t do it. Leaven is everywhere, you got to get as much out of as you can. And it just… it’s a token showing, as God looks at us He sees that we’re taking it seriously and that we want to clean up our lives just as we clean up our homes. But we have to understand that during this seven day period that we normally… you would normally eat bread. We don’t eat bread. We don’t eat any leavened products, why? It reminds us seven the number of completeness that we would have to get completely away from sin; anything that defiles or causes us to break the laws of God.

Now, the important thing it is is that while we’re thinking about putting things away we have to understand there’s a positive aspect in all of this, and we must never lose sight of that. Because the positive side is as you clean out the temple, get rid of these areas where you’re falling short you’re drawing closer to God, and closer to, as He says in Scripture, in the book of Leviticus. It says, “Be you holy for I am holy.” Now we have to think about that because we don’t tend to think about ourselves taking time to be holy, but that is the destiny God wants for all of us, to become His holy sons and daughters. He doesn’t want defiled sons and daughters.

He wants sons and daughters that obey Him and follow His positive example and lead. And we need to be righteousness, by during these days, putting on sincerity and truth. That’s the important thing, the spiritual dimension. So how are we to examine ourselves in the time remaining because that’s what I want to do, I want to go a little bit deeper and show you that as we evaluate ourselves in this yearly review, an assessment of our spiritual progress. In some areas, we have advanced, in other areas we have regressed and gone backward.

The Bible says, “remember Lot’s wife,” you cannot afford to go back. So when God gives us this command it is for the purpose of helping us to see and moderate where we are, because He says, “If you think you stand take heed lest you fall.” Because it can give you a false sense of security, you think, “Well, I’m doing okay.” Well, we may not be doing as much as we think we are that’s why the warning to the church at Laodicea, because they are wretched, poor, blind, naked, and they don’t see that. They don’t see any of that.

And He says, “Oh, I hate this,” because if you would just do as you’re asked to do and evaluate yourself you wouldn’t have to go through the fire that I’m going to have to require of you to purge away these things and make you realize where you have gone wrong. It is better you do it to yourself than I’ll have… because if God has to do it… He doesn’t do it to hurt us, that’s the most important thing. He’s doing this to show us where we have been lax. And that becomes very important because there are two Greek words that we’re going to investigate this afternoon, both of these words have to do with the word test, test.

Because again, there are different types of testing involved. And when we understand these words it gives us a little better picture of just exactly what you and I are doing as we investigate on a yearly basis this area. And this is what it is, these two words will help us to understand and explain the difference between how God tests us and His approach, and how Satan tests us and his approach. Because there’s two different ways, and this is very important, one of the words that we want to look at is dokimázō , don’t worry about it, it’s a Greek word, but basically, I’ll give you the definitions for it. Dokimázō , it’s a word that means “the act of testing something or someone for the purpose of approving it.” In other words, for the benefit, is this genuine?

Is this genuine? This is one of the very important areas to test, to examine, to prove, to scrutinize, to see whether you are the genuine article. All right, now if we take that and apply that as Christians, what does God say? I’m allowing things to happen in all of our lives and it does, things happen in all of our lives, and what is the purpose of it? To see if we’re genuine Christians.

Are we the genuine article or do we just have form and ceremony of righteousness but we really deny the power thereof, we’re not relying on God’s power. We’re trying to do it on our own strength. This is very important for us because again, this is what God wants to understand. He wants to recognize in us that after our examination to approve that we’re the genuine article. And that’s what we want to be, don’t we?

We want to be the genuine article. We don’t want to be a false Christian or a false brethren, the Bible talks about those type of things. But you see, everything in life has to be proven, has to be tested. For example, in Luke 12:56 Luke 12:56You hypocrites, you can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that you do not discern this time?
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, it talks about proving oxen, and how oxen have to be proved in a certain way. We also find in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 1 Thessalonians 5:21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
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, the admonition for all of us to “Prove all things and hold fast what is good.” If you hold fast what is good, what is else implied?

Discard what is not good, get rid of the leaven, the things that are not good that you don’t want to hang on to, holdfast the good things. And what about the Bereans, we read about them in the book of Acts 17:11 Acts 17:11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
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. Now, what is it that is focused about the Bereans, it says they “were more noble than those in Thessalonica.” So you have two churches here, people in Berea and people in Thessalonica. And Paul says the people in Berea, they approached this thing in a much more noble manner than the other church group of individuals. And what were they trying to do?

They were not trying to disprove Paul and say, “Oh, I don’t believe that Paul. I don’t believe what you’re saying.” No, they were not trying to disprove but they were trying to prove and check up to see, is what he’s saying true? It makes a lot of sense but I’m not sure. And so they were having to investigate and check it to see is this… and this is what you and I have to do.

We had to prove about the Sabbath. We had to prove about the Holy Days, the clean and unclean meat, all the things that we have learned in the course of our calling in the Church of God. So they were not trying to discredit Paul. They were trying to see exactly what was involved. In 1 Corinthians 11:28 1 Corinthians 11:28But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
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, we are told to examine ourselves, and this is in the context of the Passover, and after we have done this evaluation of our years, either growth or failure. And I want to emphasize again, we’ve all had some areas of growth but there are some areas of failure in all of our lives.

I’m here to tell you, God is not pleased with everything that’s going on in our lives. And that’s a hard one to have to swallow because we want to think we’re all so good but we’re not so good. We have a deceitful heart, our hearts trick us, make us think because we see other people may be in a worse spiritual condition than ourselves we tend to think, “Well, I know I’m bad but I’m… hey, maybe I’m not that bad.” Oh, we’re that bad because God doesn’t discriminate, you know, whether you got bad sins, real bad sins like David or Saul, the things that they did. God is merciful, remember.

He forgave Manasseh when Manasseh repented, He forgave David when David repented, He forgave the apostle Paul as Saul when he repented. And He forgives us when we repent. Because God’s a merciful and loving God, and everything He does He’s doing for our good because He wants one thing out of us, He wants to bring us to the final apex of what we were designed to do; to bring glory and honor to God the Father and Jesus Christ. That’s why you live, I live, anyone lives, otherwise, you’re in it for yourself. If you don’t do it for God you’re doing it for yourself, and you “verily, you have your reward” as Jesus said, you’re going to live and you’re going to die, and that is it.

But if you see what God has called you to, He wants you to realize, I’m in it with you folks, I’ve got your back. I’m here to help you, and all the trials and difficulties that you struggle with, just remember you’ve got divine help if you ask, if you seek and if you knock. Now, if you don’t do that you’re on your own. We’ve tried it on our own at times and we realize it doesn’t work, it just doesn’t work. If you don’t have God pushing and guiding and directing and helping you with His Holy Spirit, you go nowhere, you go the broad way that leads to destruction. Why?

Because you want to be like everybody else, so you dress like everybody else, you act like everybody else, you do what everybody else does. Why? Because you don’t want to be different. God’s called us to be different, “I want you to be holy. I want you to be our sons, my sons, and daughters. I want to put glory, honor, and immortality upon you in crowns of righteousness.” Wow, how many people understand that? Very few, many are called, few are chosen.

The ones who have been called and the ones who’ve been chosen, must do what? Be faithful, they must be faithful and endure to the end. Because there’s no other road to go, you either go the road God has outlined or there’s nothing. So we examine ourselves and when we’ve done that, rather than get discouraged or maybe say, “Oh, man, I really, I really blew it this year and I really messed up,” we just tell God that. And once God sees that we’re honest with Him and we tell Him because that’s what He’s testing us, to see if we’re honest, or are we playing games with God.

 And if we can tell Him honestly, “I’m really sorry Father, I really blew it in many areas. Please help me never to go back and do these things. I know I said I’d never do these things and here I am and I did it again and did that.” Whatever that is, you know, fill the blanks, the missing blank, everybody’s got something that they’re struggling with. You don’t have to have somebody tell you and say, “You know, you did this wrong or you did that wrong.” Man, God’s eyes are everywhere.

He sees the wrongs we do, we can’t hide it from… people hide sins from other people but you can’t hide from God. That’s why you got to be an open, open book with God in everything you do because He sees everything, you can’t hide from Him. And so God wants to know as we approach the Passover, “I want you then my sons and daughters to take the Passover and then eat knowing that what?” Every wrong way will be blotted out, you need the sacrifice of Jesus Christ because you are making the commitment to God, that “I believe, Father, in what You have promised. That Your Son was given to us as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world.” Nobody else is qualified to do that. There’s nobody else that can do that.

So the first word, again, for testing is dokimázō . The second Greek word also carries an examination, it’s called peirazō . Again, don’t worry about how it’s pronounced, I’m maybe not even pronouncing it right myself, I’ll do the best I can. I’m not a Greek expert, but I know the definitions when I study unlike you who read the books. But what it makes, this other Greek word, it has this purpose.

It is for the “purpose of ascertaining something, a quality of what a person thinks” and how that individual will behave accordingly.” And here’s the kicker that you want to keep in mind. “It carries the connotation to solicit an individual to sin or to tempt them.” This is where Satan comes into play because see, God is testing to raise us up, Satan is testing to bring us down. This is where you and I are commanded to examine ourselves, to say, “Look, are we more on the upside or are we more on the downside?” And boy, if we’re on the downside we need to run to God and ask for guidance, help, and forgiveness in these matters. How that word applies?

Well, Jesus when He was testing Philip, there was a situation where feeding the masses — Philip was asked a question and Jesus wanted to see what kind of faith or lack of faith? And whether he had clear spiritual insight or lack of it? And whether he viewed things from a spiritual or a physical point of view? And Philip, he was asked, “How much… how much do we have here to feed this group of people?” Now, remember, miracles had been seen. Jesus had already done miracles, and even though this looked like an impossible situation, if you knew who you are dealing with you realized, “He’ll take care of it. This is no problem for God.”

This test brought out what was Philip’s thinking, how was he thinking, he was thinking physical. He had the Son of God here and “Jesus, You know what to do. Take care of it, You make miracles, You do these things.” But he wasn’t thinking that way at that time. So again, how often are we thinking on a human plane when God tests us, or are we thinking on a spiritual plane? As we see these worldly conditions swirling around us, are we doing that very thing, are we just thinking physical?

You know, we read in the Scripture something very interesting, it’s in Hebrews 4, where it talks about in the future… it carries the connotation in the future about it. It says, “There remains a sabbatismos , a keeping of the Sabbath for the people of God.” Now, what does that reference to? It’s talking about the future time in the Kingdom of God when the world will be at rest when you are changed from flesh into the keeping of what the Sabbath picture’s a day of rest. You’ll be in God’s eternal rest in the Kingdom of God.

But there’s another aspect of that that we need to understand. You and I are commanded to enter into that rest right now, not just by keeping the physical Sabbath, which is important and which must be done. But everything in the Bible points us and teaches us the lesson you’ve got to focus your mind your thoughts and your direction to Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Now, it’s interesting that Jesus used this terminology. Now, I’ll just give you a few thoughts to kind of prick your conscience, make you think about some things.

What did Jesus say on one occasion in the Gospels where He said, “Come unto Me all you who labor,” and we all labor, “and are burdened,” and we’re all burdened, “and heavy laden,” and we have problems, some more severe than others at times. And what did Jesus say? “And I, Jesus Christ, will give you rest,” rest. Then the Bible talks about the peace of mind that passes all understanding in Christ Jesus if you keep your mind focused there, on Christ as the foundation of your whole existence. And what does the Scripture say about the Lord Jesus Christ?

He says, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. My peace I give to you, not as the world gives, do I give to you.” Notice the difference? Peace from God, peace and rest, it comes as a forerunner to the ultimate rest in the Kingdom of God. You and I are told that we can rely with all the confusion that goes on and things that cause people to get upset and worried and frustrated over this, frustrated over that.

When we see that stuff start to arise in our own lives we’re told to fight against that, that’s the flesh. See, we live by faith, not fear, and that wrong type of fear pulls on us all the time. It wants us to deny the Spirit that works in us through God, and that Holy Spirit that gives us the insight to know that God is there. That’s why the Scriptures use terms like, “Be still, and know that I am God.” If you know God you got to be still, He’s in charge.

So everybody worries, “Well, what’s going to happen here, what’s going to happen there?” You don’t have to worry, “Oh, bad weather, we better be careful.” Who rules in the kingdoms of men if you’re praying and you’re asking God for God’s, “Can I… did we dodge a bullet?” How does that happen, those things… nothing happens by accident in God’s world. Things that men call accidents, many times God allows for purposes of teaching and training and working with people to bring them ultimately to the Kingdom of God.

But when people see things thrown at them like children dying of gas attacks, children dying of starvation, it gets to you, doesn’t it? And it makes you… should make you realize why you pray. “Thy Kingdom come,” because nobody wants to see children die. Nobody wants to see anybody die, but the graveyards are loaded with soldiers who are dead, who were just alive like us 100 years ago, this Thursday was the anniversary of World War I. And it was one of the most terrifying wars of human history because it was supposed to be the war to end all wars, but it didn’t do it, did it?

Twenty-some years later, World War II, under the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler. But back then at that time, everybody was so excited to get into war, and they all joined and the nations started fighting one another. And a whole generation of British youth lost their lives in a place called Flanders Field in Belgium. Where those men were told by their commanders, “Go forth.” And they went forth, dutifully following orders, and to marks machine guns led by the Germans on their side, literally cut down a whole generation of young men.

And all you’ve got to show for it today is all these crosses lined up from war after war after war. That’s why we pray, “Thy Kingdom Come.” Who in their right mind wants war? Nobody, we want peace. Even Jesus said, “Love your enemies don’t, don’t hate them,” you don’t want to go to war, you want peace, and only God can produce peace. Well, what this all boils down to is the fact that God is testing mankind in many ways.

You and I can’t answer all the questions that we pop up in our minds and try to answer because God says, “That’s not where I’m working, to answer your question. I’m working to fulfill My purpose that deals with every human being and nobody escapes My hand. I’ve got everyone designated in the plan of God.” And so we find some very interesting things that in Hebrews 11:17 Hebrews 11:17By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
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, lo and behold, God tested a man called Abraham. Abraham, and what happened to him? He proved Abraham’s character and willingness to put God first, and because of that, he became the father of the faithful.

He became the role model that you and I are supposed to follow and to go with confidence, that if God did this for Abraham He will do it for us. He’s no respecter of persons. God must know where you and I stand in all matters, He’s got to know. And you can put yourself in God’s position and you would know, yeah, that’s what you would have to do if you were God. You’ve got to know, “Who are these among human beings that I have created in My image, who are with Me and who are against Me?” And God says, He loves those that love Him unto the third and fourth generation.

He says and to those that hate Him, He says unto the third and fourth generation God deals with them too, nobody gets away. God says He’s not deceived and He’s not mocked. In Matthew 4:1 Matthew 4:1Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
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, Jesus had to contend with this devil, and what did the devil do? The devil tested Jesus. I don’t know if you’ve thought of it from that standpoint, but he tested Jesus just like he’s a roaming, roaming lion seeking whom he may devour.

So he tested Jesus, and what did He do? He said, “Well, if You’re the Son of God make these, You know, You’re starving, You’re hungry, everybody needs to eat when you’re hungry. Go ahead, turn these stones into bread, if You be the Son of God.” Oh, Jesus knew He could read that this was a wrong testing. It was designed to tempt Him to disobey God, to go in a wrong direction.

That’s where you and I have to sharpen up because we have fallen for so many of the tricks that Satan has used on us down through time. That’s why Paul said, “Don’t be ignorant of Satan’s devices,” he’s got a lot of traps in his particular little bag of tricks, and for what purpose? He was soliciting Jesus to do evil and Jesus wouldn’t do it. But now, what about us, has Satan come from time to time to tempt us, to entice us to sin, to have wrong thoughts or to do wrong things. Has Satan destroyed a lot of people who are caught in the drug mania today?

They don’t know their purpose for life, and so they’re just busy taking drugs all the time because they want to feel good. They want to feel at ease, but they’re losing their life over drugs. That’s a false idol, a false god. Satan desires and has one motive only, and this you must write and emblazon this in your mind, he wants to destroy each of us. He’s a destroyer. And if he can destroy you and cause you to have a knee jerk reaction instead of following God’s instruction, because this is what the world is doing. The world moves, what are you going to do, what are you going to do?

God says, “In your patience possess ye your soul,” why? Because things are happening all over, who’s stirring all that pot, Satan the devil, who works in the children of wrath. And when all the stuff begins to happen God is telling us that the adversary wants to get you to disobey. And God wants you to resist him, to fight against him, and to listen to His instruction. Please remember some very important elements here, God’s motive is to strengthen you, to strengthen me. He has not designed anything to hurt us.

He’s a loving Father, He’s a loving God. This Bible is a revelation of the loving God who made mankind through Jesus Christ, who was the God of the Old Testament and who came to die for us, to get us out of this quagmire and quicksand that you and I are dying in. There’s nobody else coming to our aid except God Himself. He even told Israel in the prophecies of the Minor Prophets, “Oh, Israel, you have destroyed yourself but in Me is your help.” God is our help. He’s the only one who can deliver us.

And so, God wants us to understand that Satan has never… he never puts to the test in order to approve you but to disapprove you. He wants you to be disapproved of God, that you have gone contrary to the will of God. This is why Jesus did what? Emphasized constantly, “Not My will but Your will be done, Father.” He always considered His Father’s Will.

James 1:13 James 1:13Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts he any man:
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, reminds us that… from one of those Greek words, and I think it’s peirazō there, that no test or trial can ever cause God to do or be tempted to do evil. He will not… He can’t be tempted to do evil, and He will never tempt any of us, His children, to do evil. What happens is that we are… tempted as it says in verse 14, “We are tempted and solicited to sin, encouraged to do the wrong thing by our own lust or desires,” because we have desires. We like to eat, we like to do things, we have desires. And so Satan comes along and he feeds on our desires.

And what it does… like a fisherman fishing what does he do? He throws out bait, and if you get the right bait with the right lust, “Gotcha!” And that’s exactly what Satan has done. And there are things where you and I have gone astray as human beings, and not just us, everybody is in the same boat. They just don’t know it.

Thank God, by the grace of God we have been given eyes to see and know what we’re up against. Because it’s hard to fight an enemy when you don’t know what the enemy is. Look at our political situation, they’re afraid to call the enemy who the enemy is. And if you don’t know who your enemy is you don’t know how to fight an enemy, when you don’t know who he is. And yet he’s taken advantage of you every step of the way, and that’s what’s happening in our world today.

It’s just like when a woman conceives, she knows she’s pregnant, lo and behold. She knows something has changed. And when we are lured into the trap, sin is conceived, and we know something is wrong. We might think temporarily it’s right, but it shows itself in the process of time. 1 Corinthians 11:28 1 Corinthians 11:28But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
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, tells us to examine ourselves in order to be approved. Check yourself out and see whether or not you pass the test, that’s all it’s talking about.

You know, if you go to school and you’re in grade school, mainly high school and college, or post-college work, whatever you’re studying, sooner or later you’ve got to take a test. Did everybody just love when those tests came? I don’t think so. We knew we had to do it, and what was the purpose? You had to get an A or a B or at least a C, hopefully, not a D and an F, because you had to pass the test in order to get your degree, graduation, or whatever it is you were working for, certification, you name it. So what God is showing us here is that to examine ourselves we want to see, are we approved?

Where do we stand with God the Father and Jesus Christ? How do they see us? Not how we see ourselves. That’s why He says, “You don’t see yourselves right,” that’s why you have to examine yourself in light of God’s Word. And in the light of God’s Word, you begin to get a different picture of yourself, and you begin to see that, “Uh-oh, I have allowed myself to stray from the straight and narrow path.”

So in Romans 12:2 Romans 12:2And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
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, it says, “Prove what is the will of God,” we know we need to know what God’s will is so that we can be approved or we passed the test with God. Galatians 6:4 Galatians 6:4But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
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we are told to examine your own works to see if they’re approved. And what are our works? Let’s really get down to the nitty-gritty here on this, this is what we’re being evaluated with, what is… what do we… what are we striving for? We would all like to have the blessing of eternal life, you would, I would, anybody who says they wouldn’t they haven’t got their head on straight.

Nobody wants to die, everybody wants to live because God has put eternity in our hearts, Ecclesiastics says, and He wants us to live. Christ came that we might have a life and life abundantly with the knowledge and understanding of what it’s all about. And prior to the calling of God in our life, we didn’t know what it was all about, we were struggling like everybody else just trying day in and day out. And we had no clue as to what was going on until God opened our eyes, took away the scales, brought conversion into our life. He gave us understanding.

Once that happened the whole world changed, we could see things now from a totally different perspective We’re looking through the eyes of God. And what we begin to realize is that, what has God called us to? Well, folks, He’s called us to do this, He’s called us to love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, and all our strength, and to love our fellow human beings as the same. Now, in that process what is it we’re going to do. Are we going to sit for all eternity playing a guitar and singing songs? No.

Are we going to just sit like the beatific vision, like some people that God is such a wonderful God, we’re just going to sit there and be dumbfounded and watch the beatific vision? No. We’ve got a tremendous, tremendous work ahead of us. This is small fry stuff that we’re messing around with now, let me show you what I mean. God wants to know and He wants to check us with our standards, and He wants to see whether or not, how did you do this past year in serving, in helping, in giving, and loving your neighbor as yourself? Where does it begin?

The love of the brethren in the Church of God, we are to work together and love one another and pull for one another because we see the calling all of us, one for another. This becomes a very powerful motivating factor. We know that God wants to give us a tremendous gift.
It’s by grace we are saved through faith, that’s eternal life. But there are many other wonderful things He wants to do but He’s going to… He’s going to put those things out based on 5 cities, 10 cities, 20 cities, 30 cities, however many He wants. People who are qualified will have those responsibilities.

Some might just be doorkeepers in the Kingdom of God, David said I’ll be just happy to be a doorkeeper, to be there to open the door for the Master every time He comes out, just like the Marines do when the president comes out. Food for thought, isn’t it? To really make us realize what we’re about to involve ourselves with. We have a wonderful God who wants to do wonderful things for us, but in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build on this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
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, mark that down because that’s a major testing area. God will test our works, it says, to see have we built these works with the Holy Spirit by relying on Him or have we tried to do these things on our own?

Remember there’s a group of people that come, they believe they’re the people of God. They knock on the door after Christ comes, and what do they say? “Open to us Lord, please.” In the book of Matthew, I think it’s chapter 25 if I remember correctly, and He says there to them… and they say, “Lord, open to us, haven’t we done these wonderful things. Haven’t we done this and that, and cast out demons in your name?” And what did Jesus reply?

He says, “You, who are you? I don’t know you. You who are workers of iniquity,” in other words you are going about doing “Christian works” on your own strength and level not following My commands. So what you end up having? You have individuals, their hearts were not right, their attitudes were not right. They were not considered faithful. And God says, “Nope, doors stay shut. I don’t open to you. I don’t know you.”

It is imperative that God knows where we are standing. He wants to know “Are you with Me or are you with this world?” And 1 Peter 1:6-7 1 Peter 1:6-7 6 Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
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, it tells us our faith will be tested. And what is faith? Is it not trusting in God Himself, believing. You see, the reason they couldn’t enter the Promised Land it says it was because of their unbelief.

You’re told that in Hebrews 3, that you and I must remember to believe. It says because they did not believe that God would do that. And God says, “I always fulfill my promises,” and you and I have to know that, that God will fulfill His promises, you may not know how He’s going to do it but He’s going to do it. And then He warns the Church in the New Testament, He says, they could not enter because of unbelief, therefore, be careful that you don’t make that mistake. Even Jesus said it Himself if you can’t believe in the power of God and see that God is everywhere, if you’ve got eyes to see. And like David said, “Fearfully and wonderfully am I made and by the hand of God.”

He said if you can see all that, all things are possible to those who believe. Why are all things possible if you believe? Because God says, “With God all things are possible.” There’s nothing that God cannot do. We limit as the Psalm says in the Scriptures, “we limit the God of Israel because of unbelief.” Don’t limit God in your life folks.

Stir up the Spirit of God, make sure that your faith is genuine, your trust in God is genuine because God wants us at this Passover season to examine ourselves, to make sure that we are being tested, first voluntarily. God wants us to do it on our own. He wants us to see where our problems are and to change, make the effort and He will help us with His Spirit. But if, if we don’t and God has an investment in us in which He does, He will allow things to happen to bring you to an awareness, that’s why it says, as a father… a loving father, He corrects us. Now, He’d rather not. If we will judge ourselves we would not have to be judged, but God may have to do certain things because He wants us to be approved, He wants us to pass the test.

Satan wants to destroy us, He wants us to fail. The choice is ours every day. The Scripture makes it very clear that we have to come to know that Jesus Christ is in us, and the fruit of God’s Spirit is in us, and that we are truly a new creature in Christ Jesus, oh yeah, we’re in the flesh, but something different has happened, our lives have truly been changed. There’s another word that is used in the Greek, it’s adokimos , and it means disqualified. It doesn’t mean a loss of salvation, it’s talking about in context that when you are testing yourself you may find out that you failed the test this past year. And what does that do?

That means there’s room for improvement, and get busy and ask God for the help you need, and take the Passover so that God can pass over your sins and blot out your transgressions and all your mistakes. That’s why it says 1 Corinthians 11:31-32 1 Corinthians 11:31-32 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
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, “If we judge ourselves then God does not have to correct us.” There are people who have not done that, and if they end up doing… taking the Passover and they haven’t done the examination, then they’re taking it in a wrong manner, that’s called unworthy. And that could bring serious consequences. And apparently, if you read carefully, there were some in there and it’s recorded in our learning that some made the wrong mistake. They didn’t make the right choice and they failed the test.

Well, God always has our best interest in mind. And God wants out of love not to condemn us with the world but to save us from this world that is dying. And that’s why we pray, “Thy Kingdom Come,” because I hate to see people dying in this world. Life is the most precious gift anyone has, may we use it wisely to the glory of God. And as we assemble Sunday evening, may God be with you all as we take the Lord’s Passover.