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Where Hope Begins

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Where Hope Begins

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Where Hope Begins

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MP4 Video - 720p (1.26 GB)
MP3 Audio (39.56 MB)

In a world and society that is changing and going awry so quickly, people are looking for hope. But false hope is worse than no hope at all. There is hope, but where does it actually begin? And what must you do to cling to that hope?


You know, as we were traveling to Canada, we had not been in Canada for decades before last week. But, you know, over the last few years you hear about Canada and the struggles that they've gone through, like the struggles that we've gone through in the United States with some of the things that have happened over the last three years. And as we crossed over the border and handed our passport and was waiting to hear how many questions we would get about why we were there and everything. And there were just two and it was very easy. But it dawned on me that a few years ago we would've thought maybe we would never be able to cross those borders again. And the people from Canada wouldn't be able to come down here as well. Because we lived in a different world. A world had changed very, very dramatically back in 2020 when all that COVID stuff hit us way back then.

And in the years since then, there were times back then that I thought the world will never get back to the way it was before. We will always have limited assembly opportunities, the government involved in what we're doing, but life is for the most part gone back in most ways in our everyday lives to normal. We don't have the restrictions that we had, even any of the regulations regarding COVID have just been lifted almost around the world. So, we can come and go as we please. And all those things are a distant memory of the past. But we know that the world changed forever. It changed forever during that time of COVID. And maybe some of the things that have been relaxed over the last year have caused us to breathe a little bit. And it's pleasant to be able to come and go as we will, and not have someone worrying about what we're doing and where we've been.

And, you know, if we sneeze maybe, that people get all upset and everything as things have by and large returned to normal. It was a unique period in history that we cannot forget and we should not forget. And I know sometimes people don't want to talk about things and how things have changed, but it is necessary that we remind ourselves of the world we live in and how dramatically it has changed in the last three years. So, let me just spend a few minutes talking about that. We well remember some of the lessons that we learned over the last three years that the government in a time of crisis, if you call that, can enact some pretty exact, and pretty demanding things on us. We had government lockdowns, something that maybe we never thought we would see in America, and penalties if you violated those lockdowns. We had group sizes that were monitored, you know, for many weeks, churches could not meet, and then when they could meet, there was a limited number that could be.

I know when we were in Florida, for a while it was just 10. So, we would sometimes alternate those 10 that could be there so we could have services and do the webcast. All those things that happened to us there were kind of unknown. The whole world was in a kind of panic. It wasn't just the United States things. For the first time, it was a global thing that was going on, where all of a sudden governments were making edicts and doing things that we hadn't gotten used to before. But in a time of panic, if you will, we abided by what the government said. We had no choice in doing that. It was interesting as you would watch, and I remember the weekend very well, at one time it was like, no groups more than 100, then it went down to 50, then to 25, then it went down to 10, really in a matter of days.

You know, we were living in Florida at that time, and I remember listening to the news and when they were talking about, you know, really holding these groups of 10 because this thing can get out of hand, and the news actually encouraged people. "If you see your neighbors or if you see your family members have groups of more than 10, turn them in." And I remember thinking, "Turn them in? It's that serious that you're having people kind of turn each other in?" That was kind of new. Now, certainly, in cases of crime or something extreme, you would certainly want people to do that. But this was new. This was something that couldn't have happened before or shouldn't or never had happened before. We found that if you had an opinion that differed from the government or people in your neighborhood, all of a sudden people didn't like you. Never had that happened before either.

If you had an opinion on what was going on or said something, all of a sudden, you know, a neighbor might not talk to you. People could turn against you. We had a government who was saying, "If you don't believe what we say, we will censor you. We will take you off of social media. We will do whatever we can because the only truth is the government's truth." Remember that? That was unique, that was new in American history. Those were some lines that were crossed that we might have forgotten about but we shouldn't forget about it because guaranteed there are powers and governments that haven't forgotten what went on back then, haven't forgotten how far they were able to go, and how enjoyable I think in their minds it was to have that power where you can control people and tell them, "You go here, you do this, this is who you can talk to, this is what you believe. This is how things are."

And if you dared to differ or if you had a different opinion, then you were an enemy of sorts. You would hear about people getting fired over their opinions. You would hear of friendships just breaking up or people just simply would not talk to each other anymore. If you had an opinion different than that. That never happened, at least where we were in God's church. And I'm thankful for that because we could see it all through. There's much things that bind us together than some of the opinions of some of the things that go on in the world. And we should always remember that we are bound by a spirit, never to be divided by physical things that people or governments or locales might want to impose on us. So, we learned some things about our government and what they can do and that no one stood up to say, "No that can't happen, that can't happen," in a country that has these tenants in their constitution and laws.

We learned something about healthcare too and the whole healthcare environment. Never before in American history had it become politicized? I know when we were in Florida, depending on what city you lived in, you could get care in a hospital if you were admitted for COVID and they would treat you one way but in another city that had a different political environment, absolutely not. You can't have that. That's the only thing that you can have or you just wouldn't even be admitted to the hospital. And I would watch this happen to some of the members down there. It was just kind of fascinating to me. Healthcare has become a political instrument now, it's all dependent on what the government decides is there. And I think along the way I hope maybe some people began to think, "What about the whole health system?"

We also saw a global health system develop, a lot of things being talked about on a global basis. And that talk hasn't gone away. That talk is still very much going on. In fact, if you read some of the stories and some of the things that don't make the news, you see that, you know, somewhere down the line, there will be an organization that controls the health and nations are willing to give up their control over their healthcare to the edicts of another organization, that's new, that's never happened before. And so, we have all these things that have occurred since then on a global stage. People willing to give over their power to each other. Governments taking control and here in this state and around the world in a unified manner that the world has never seen before. And you've heard me say it before and I'll say it again as we remind ourselves of the world that we live in, that we learn some things about where we're headed and it is undeniable.

So, let's turn back to Revelation 130 and get a picture of where it is and what the end-time government before Christ returns is like because we could begin to see what was going on. Or what has happened is just the beginning of where it all ends up here in Revelation 13. So, in Revelation 13:1 under inspiration, John writes this, he says, "I stood on the sand of the sea and I saw a beast rising up out of the sea having 7 heads and 10 horns. And on his horns, 10 crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name against God." Whatever God said against it, "I speak against God." The beast was like a leopard, like a bear, like a lion. And who gave him the power? At the end of verse 2, "The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority." And the end of verse 3 says, "And all the world marveled and followed the beast."

They were all stunned. They were all enamored by the beast. The world had collapsed, if you will. Everything had fallen apart and out of the sea came if it was the saviors that they were looking for who could build the economy back, build some order into the world and rescue the world from the complete chaos that it had descended into. And so, they had no choice because here, out of nothing, out of a mess that the world had made of itself, this beast arises. We've got the answers and the world is like, "Where did this come from? How did this government occur when it looked like everything was completely hopeless where the world was concerned?" But Satan had the answer to deceive mankind. And, you know, we read about that, that the deception occurs and this beast is not a democratic beast.

He's not a beast that is about what's good for people. He's about what's good for him. You could read about him in Daniel 11 as well, in the last part of the chapter there. And he's very autocratic. It's his way or the highway, it's his truth, not your truth. And there are powers in the world that dictate where you'll do, what you'll do, and complete control of your lives. That's manifested later on in Chapter 13 when we read about the small beast that rides the greater beast. You know, there's so much speculation about who is that beast. Who is that beast that's going to be there? We'll know when Jesus Christ comes. And we read here at the end of Chapter 13 about this smaller beast that creates an image of the beast. And he requires everyone to bow down to this image of the beast.

Idolatry, worship a man, worship the image. Verse 15, "Heath the smaller beast was granted the power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed." Well, that's pretty much complete control, isn't it? We will dictate your religion, we will dictate who you bow down to. It's a world that has gone much further than what we saw back in the last two, three years but has progressed to where the direction it's going. Because remember, that's the way Satan is. He is the one controlling what is going on here and the people yield to the power that is there. Verse 16, "He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave to receive a mark on their right hand and on their foreheads that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name."

The infamous and the famous mark of the beast. Complete control. You know, I'm sure all of us used to look at that and think, "How would it be that someone could control and say you can't buy this or can't buy that?" And there's been speculation and however it comes about it's God's will, but we'll know what it is. But you know, since COVID, since things have gotten back to normal if you will, as we move around, we've seen other things happen. We've seen banking failures here in the United States. There was a couple back a few months ago then another one that happened and they happen every so often. There are reports out that many of the smaller regional banks are in trouble, but they're being held up. The government's response to everything that happens when these banks default is, "Don't worry, we can take care of everything." And so, many of economists and many of the people who keep track of the financial trends in the country say that where the move is going is toward a digital currency.

I'm sure you've all heard of digital currency, you won't have cash anymore. Everything is done by computer. So, if the world goes to a digital currency and America goes to a digital currency, which apparently is what the goal is, you don't need cash. In that way the government can with a touch of a button cut off all the money that you have. You say something they don't like, your money is frozen. You do something they don't like, your money is frozen. You could have $1 in the bank or a billion dollars in the bank, but if you do something they don't like, money can get frozen. We've seen that happen. We've seen our banks go in that direction. Banking failures is one thing, but in Canada, for instance, there were protests, if you remember, you saw them on the news, they would talk about the truckers who were protesting everything.

They descended on Ottawa in great numbers, and the prime minister up there didn't like it. Rather than talking to them... He would never talk to them. He chose to freeze their bank accounts, take away insurance, and he had the power to do that. Banks were willing to go along with that process, that was new, that was different. Here in America, our banks, we learned, by some who were in a certain place on a certain date that the government was very interested in who was in that city on that date. Banks were willing to turn over your records. "Well, look, the credit card shows they were there on that date. Boom, here, government, you get the information you need." So, we've seen banks are not so trustworthy anymore. They're not the ones who...that the things that we do are there were, you know, protected and confidential. It takes a question from a government official and they get the information that they need. So, we can see, well, if we draw the line from where we are now at the beginning of things that have changed so dramatically in the last 3 years to where it is in Revelation 13, it's not a stretch to see how we get from here to there.

One more scripture in Revelation in Chapter 17, and it's talking about the beast and it's talking about the nations that will yield themselves to the beast. Now, in the history of the world, nations have fought against nations. Nations, they might join alliances, they may develop alliances to fight one another, but rarely do they just give up their sovereignty to someone else. Here in Chapter 17 and in verse 12, it talks about the 10 nations that are part of this and it says, "The 10 horns, which you saw are 10 kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for 1 hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind. Whatever the beast says, we will do." These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. They will make war with the lamb.

It says in verse 14, but we see this willingness, "Whatever you say, we will give our power and authority over to you." That's different. That's not something we see or have seen in the world, but as we look in our own nation and see some of the things that have happened in the last three years, we see a political party where everyone is in absolute lockstep with one another. Irrespective of whatever it is, we all vote exactly the same way. Whatever you say, we give over our thought, we give over our principles. That's unheard of in American history. But we have this spirit that's there. We have this newness that's there. Whatever you say we will do, we give up our thought process, our independence, our vote, to do whatever it is you want done. There's a different spirit as the world marches toward a picture that isn't so pretty.

Not a pretty picture at all. If we turn over to Isaiah 59, we've seen a lot of other things going on since COVID, what doesn't make the news every day, but there's been a dramatic change in society that we need to be paying attention to, that we need to be aware of because our society, we all know, is completely different. The landscape of the House of Jacob and the English speaking nations is completely different. Now, the whole world isn't in lockstep with the morality that has become morality or commonplace in America and Britain, and even Canada. The whole world isn't joining in on this, but the House of Jacob is. As we see, what was ever unleashed back then has resulted in a world that is completely foreign to us and completely different than the world pre-COVID. In Isaiah 59, there's just an interesting set of verses that so well define the period of time that we're going in, and Isaiah's very much a book for our day.

What's in Isaiah talks a lot about prophecy that has been fulfilled as a proof of God's existence. But a lot of prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled, that gives us a picture of what will happen between now and the return of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 59:1 says, "Behold the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save." And we'll come back and talk about that a little bit. "His ear isn't heavy that it can't tear, but your iniquities, your sins have separated you from your God and your sins have hidden His face from you." What we do, what the country does, what nations do that make these decisions, that make these choices that lead people astray, they're the ones who hide God's face from them. He's still watching but we no longer see Him.

"Your hands," verse 3, "are defiled with blood." We see the violence, we hear about that among our cities, and some of the stuff that went on in the past two or three years. "Your hands are defiled with blood, your fingers with iniquity. Your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity." So, in the last three years, or I guess I can even say in the last couple of years, we've seen just this whole society change. We have transgenderism that I don't know even crossed anyone's mind three and four and five years ago. We have things going on in schools that is absolutely unbelievable what is being taught and what is being put in libraries. You almost can't turn the TV on or read some of the things that are posted in some of the newsprints of... The parents that are upset when they learn what their children are being taught.

Schools are no longer safe havens for our children. You have no idea what they're being taught there, depending on what their teacher is telling them. It's no longer just about reading and writing arithmetic, even history is no longer a subject that who knows what they're teaching, right? All the people of old who might have framed a country in a way are now looked at in a different way. But morality is taught and our children are being exposed to things that they can't even grasp. We can't even grasp what it is and how people can reason in their minds that this is good and that this is right in society. This is the way society should go. It's an absolute mess. And so, far from the norm, you and I understood even five and six years ago, that you don't even recognize where we are anymore.

Verse 4 says, "No one calls for justice." How many times do we hear this phrase weaponization of the justice system? You hear that over and over and over. We didn't hear that 5, 6, 7, 10 years ago. No one calls for justice. No one pleads for truth. They don't want the truth. They don't want what your truth is. They don't want the truth of the Bible. They want their truth is, that furthers their methods. They trust in empty words, they speak lies, they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity. And sometimes you hear some of the things and you think, "Is that all you think about? Where do these thoughts even come from? Why would that thought even enter your mind that this would be okay in a child setting? Why would this be okay to enforce this and to say, "This is what the law of the land is or this is what people need to do and you need to accept it? And if you don't accept it, then you're nothing but biased, prejudiced," whatever the term is they want to use against us.

They conceive evil, they conceive it, they think about it. Remember who leads the beast power. It's Satan. It's Satan who leads that beast power. It's him who conceives and the depravity and the depth that Satan can go to and loneliness and just garbage. I don't think we've even begun to scratch the surface yet. We'll see it more and more as time goes on. The next verse is very interesting. It says in the New King James, "They hatch viper's eggs and weave the spider's web." In the Old King James, it says, "They hatch cockatrice," C-O-C-K-A-T-R-I-C-E, "eggs and weave the spider's web." Now, cockatrice is an interesting word that's there.

There is no such thing as a cockatrice. It is a mythical creature that the serpent that would be born or caused the birth from, you know, one of those fighting rooster's eggs, right? If you've seen those rooster fights, you have this that goes on, and what emanates from it is a serpent that can fly, a serpent that looks like a dragon, a serpent that can breathe fire. You have this mythical creature that comes out of cockatrice eggs. It's not something you would ever do. If you came across a cockatrice egg, you would not hatch it because it could mean your death if it happened to be there with you. It is unleashing a Pandora's box on society. So, they hatch vipers' eggs. Look what the world has done. Look at the things that have been opened up to the minds of people, to the minds of our children.

What on earth? How could you possibly think that what has been unleashed, unleashed on the world in terms of morality could ever lead to anything good? All it is doing is messing up children's minds. If society was to go on for decades, the world would be an absolute mess. We can't even imagine what young children who are being exposed to these things, who are making decisions on whether I'm a boy or a girl. Who would've ever thought that was a question they would ask? That's a question in society that we would even have a candidate for one of the highest offices in the land when she's asked what is a woman. She can't answer it. Where has society gone? That's the level that we have gone down to in this society. A thought process and a morality and a way of life that is the complete antithesis to what God would have us do.

They hatch cockatrice eggs. What is being unleashed on society? What is being done here? And once it's hatched out of that egg, it can't be put back in. It's there, it's destructive. If you look at verse 5, "He who eats of their eggs dies." Not a healthy diet, not anything that you wanna go to. What's being hatched and if you hatch that egg, you have doomed yourself. You are headed in a direction that no one would want if they understood what you and I understand that God wants us to do. "He who eats of their eggs dies." And from that which is crushed, a viper breaks out or a cockatrice breaks out and he's a mythical, powerful creature that only brings about terrible things. And so, we look at the world we live in, and that's where we are when you look at it realistically of what's happened. Can things ever go back to the way they were pre-2020? Not that that was the greatest time. No, they cannot go back. Once it's unleashed, it's there. There's only one way society can be saved from the absolute certain path that it's on.

You know, keep your finger there in Isaiah, we'll be right back to it. One verse I wanted to... Back in the beginning of Isaiah, in Isaiah 3:12 there. Another verse that, you know, maybe over the years we've looked at and wondered how could that ever happen. But we begin to see what's going on today, Isaiah 3:12 says, "As for my people..." And God's talking about His people, His physical people, right? The House of Jacob, the Israelite nations of today. "As for my people, children are their oppressors and women rule over them. Oh, my people, those who lead you cause you to air and destroy the way of your paths." You know, it's very interesting and again, it's one of those things that you think, "What person is thinking that an 8, 9, 6, 12 year old can go to his parents and say, "I don't wanna be a boy anymore. I wanna be a girl." Or a girl can say, "I don't wanna be a girl anymore, I wanna be a boy." And the government would say, "If you stand in their way, you're the one who goes to jail. We do what the children say. They make the choice." If you lived in a state or the other states that will pass such a bill in the future, can you imagine what life would be like if you had a child come home and tell you that based on what they've heard or what's been planted in their minds?

The power's taken away, children rule over them. What possible government or thought could ever put anything in that? But we begin to see a complete change in society that's foreign to everything that is ever in the history of man. Well, let's go back to Chapter 59. We'll go down to well verse 7. Verse 7, "These people who hatch these cockatrices, their feet run to evil." They make haste to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are thoughts of inequity and that's what's going on. Wasting and destruction are in their pasts. "The way of peace, they have not known and there is no justice in their ways," God says. They don't know the way to happiness, peace, whatever they say that they're leading countries, nations, peoples too, is absolutely the wrong way. They have made themselves crooked paths. Whoever takes that way shall not know peace.

In verse 10, then you see that there's these people, they don't know, they're looking for answers. They have no hope. They don't know where to look. The world is a mess. Their world is a mess. Everything is upside down. What do we do? We grope for the wall like the blind. We grope as if we had no eyes. We stumble at noonday as at twilight. We are as dead men in desolate places. What do we do? How did we get here? What's the way out of this? It's not going the way we thought. This isn't at all what we signed up for. This isn't at all what we thought was going to happen to us. You know, you add to the cockatrice eggs, you know, the immorality that's out there and the new morality that's out there that the world has adopted.

Add artificial intelligence to the whole mix. You know, I have been absolutely amazed. I mean, artificial intelligence is something that has been talked about over the last several years, but in the last few weeks, it's like it has just exploded onto the world. I had no idea that the everyday person could just go and use artificial intelligence. I thought you had to be a professor or something in a college to do that. I came to realize, no, anyone can go into it. All of a sudden you see people talking about it everywhere. There was an article, if you read the "Prophetic Times" that was in there yesterday that said someone is even espousing, the artificial intelligence, it should write a new Bible for us. That it has all the access to all the knowledge in the world. And so, for the first time, they said there can be a Bible written using superhuman intelligence that can show the weight of the world and give us a path of the way forward.

Can you imagine? Can you imagine the first time a superhuman intelligence can lead us in that way? You know, it does make you think about, in Daniel 11 where you have the beast power that's there, the king of the north. And it says that, "He worships the God his fathers didn't know." He doesn't have any regard for women, he doesn't have any regard for anyone, but he is his own religion and it's a new religion. So, you hear these comments that come out about artificial intelligence and how it's going to change the world, and I'm sure it can certainly be used for good, but in this world, it may just be another one of those cockatrice eggs that has been unhatched that will place the world and propel us into a time of confusion and deception. That if we are not close to God, if we don't know the truth, if we aren't very, very, very close to God, that we can be some of that as Christ said in Matthew 24, the very elect who could be deceived if we kind of buy into this stuff.

And it makes me wonder is that Bible? Sometimes you read things and you think, "That doesn't even make sense," but here's this artificial intelligence being promoted as just this superhuman thing that we follow. Just kind of an amazing thing to see. And it is just developing at rocket speed, you know, from everything you listen to. So, you see what's going on, right? If we rope for the wall, what do we do? We're looking for peace. We're looking for the answers. We're looking for hope to come out of the world. Verse 11, "We all grow well, like bears. We moan sadly like doves." We look for justice, but there's none. There's nothing there that gives us the light that we're looking for. There's nothing there that gives us the hope that we might need to find. And people are saying, "I want hope." Where is it? Where does hope begin?

"We're looking for salvation," verse 11, "but it's far from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before you God and our sins testify against us. Our transgressions are with us. And as for our iniquities, we know them. In transgressing and lying against the eternal and departing from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood, justice is turned back. Righteousness stands a far off. Truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter." If you have the truth, if you're living by a different set of a different way of life than the world wants you to live, can't even enter, not even gonna pay attention. So, truth fails and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

We've already seen that happening. We'll see it happening more and more when we take a stand and this is right, this is what the Bible says. This is what it says, we will make ourselves a target. The church of God will be a target. As many, many have been that way. And, you know, truth fails. Where's the churches of the world? I read an article that talked about how the churches of the world are just caving in left and right to this new morality, all couched in, "We have to be people who love and approve and accept, and everyone should just live their way of life." You and I can't cave to that mentality. You and I and the church cannot cave to that mentality. It is of Satan, it is not of God. Truth fails and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

Then the eternal saw it and it displeased him that there was no justice. Now, verse 16 is very interesting. He saw that there was no man and wondered that there was no intercessor. Where are the people who stand for truth? Why is everyone just letting this happen? Why is it going down, down, down, just continually into a downward spiral that's going to lead to the complete breakdown of morality and standards and the society that we live in? That's where it's headed. It can't head any other way. If you're a thinking human being, if you're in the church of God, if you have God's Holy Spirit, you know it cannot lead to good. It cannot lead to anything that the world is saying it is. It's completely different from God's way of life. It's completely different. We live in a completely different world.

Now, some would say, "You've just given us another sermon on gloom and doom." We hear that, right? We don't want to hear that. It is gloomy, but let me tell you, it's reality. What you just received is a sermon on reality. That is the reality of the world we live in. That's the reality of where things are going. And if we don't accept that reality, if we don't get that reality, if we don't acknowledge that reality, then we are no better than the rest of the world around us. We are like the people in verses 10 through 12 there that we've read that are groping. Where do we go? Who do we look to? Where's the hope? Let me tell you where hope is.

Hope begins with the realization that this world cannot solve its problems. Hope begins in the reality and the acceptance that man is incapable of changing the world and leading it to the kingdom of God that we want. Man is incapable of doing that. That's basically where it begins. Apart from that, there is no hope. The world is hopeless. There is no man. There is no political party, there is no nation, there is no person. There is no institution on earth that can possibly provide the hope we're looking for, and if we don't understand that hope comes from one place and begins in one place, then we haven't come out of the world and we haven't begun trusting in God the way that we need to.

Let's look at a few verses. We're here in Isaiah. Well, let's go first to Ezekiel. Ezekiel 20. Another verse that I've looked at over the last few years and come to understand what God is doing and that there will be a realization and a recognition somewhere down the road on the people of our countries who are hatching these cockatrice eggs, and who are unleashing these things on an unwitting and undiscerning society. In verse 43, God is talking about when He's gonna bring Israel back from captivity because He talks about the downfall of the nations. That's a prophetic thing that is yet to happen. Verse 43 says, "There you shall remember your ways." There will come a time when you remember what you did back there in 2023 and 2024 and however many years between now and the return of Jesus Christ. There you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled. You did. It's what God said. You did it to yourself.

You're the ones who made the decisions. You chose to follow Satan rather than follow God. You'll remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils that you have committed. That will be a tough, tough time for people to realize we did it. All this misery, all this suffering, all this that we've gone through, we did it to ourselves and they'll realize that. And God says in verse 44, "Then when you come to that realization when you get it, then you shall know that I am the eternal. When I have dealt with you for my namesake, not according to your wicked ways or to your corrupt doings, oh House of Israel, then you will know that I am God." Where hope begins is in the recognition that there is no hope. Nothing in the world, any hope we put in, any institution, party, person, or happening in the world other than Jesus Christ is a completely false hope. It will disappoint. It will not lead. True hope begins in the recognition that man cannot solve his problems.

We're in Ezekiel. Let's go back to Jeremiah. Jeremiah 17, we will see and we will learn this verse and the world will learn this verse as time goes on and they see what they bring upon themselves because remember, Satan's way never leads to good. His entire intent is the destruction of mankind. His entire intent is destroying mankind. He hates the potential that mankind has. He hates what God is doing. The reason that God created the physical earth, the physical man, he hates all that. Jesus Christ will be the one that will come to destroy those. It tells us in Revelation, I think it's 11, "To destroy those who would destroy the earth." Hope begins in realizing the world doesn't have the answers and no one in the world. Verse 9, we will learn this, the heart is deceitful above all things. It is deceitful. We're beginning to see that, the heart is deceitful above all things. It's desperately wicked. Who can know it?

We don't even know yet what the next thing to drop on society is going to be. Who can know where it's going? You would have to know the mind of Satan and just be completely yielded to him. We don't need to turn to Romans 8:7. We're gonna understand that verse more too. The carnal mind is enmity against God. It's not subject to the way of God. Neither indeed can be. Only if God calls, only if we repent and turn to Him. Only if we receive the Holy Spirit after baptism. Only then can we understand His ways and be subject to His laws. The world doesn't have it, they can't do it. It's just a fact of life. If we look back up in verse 5 here, God tells us, "Don't trust in man. Don't trust in an institution. Don't clench in the government. Don't trust in a political party. If you put your hope in that, it's going to fail, it's going to disappoint," thus says the Lord. Verse 5, in Jeremiah 17, "Cursed is the man who trusts in man." Plain words, "Cursed is a man who makes flesh his strength and whose heart departs from the eternal."

We all have these things. One of the things that we do in our lives is more and more we yield to God, learn to trust in Him, and one by one He'll break down these gods that we have in this world. The banks, we know we can't trust, the economy we can't trust, the edicts on morality we can't trust. They don't lead to anything good. We will learn one by one. Anything that we've done that doesn't work. Verse 6, "The curse of the man who trusts in man will be like a shrub in the desert. He shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the partial places in the wilderness in a salt land which is not inhabited." No hope for him. False hope, but consistent disappointment when it doesn't happen.

On the other hand, "Blessed," verse 7, "is the man who trusts in the Lord whose hope is in Him." That's where hope begins. That's where hope is. More sermons on hope have to be about Jesus Christ. And you can't separate what's going to happen from what the reality is. In Isaiah, there's a whole series of sections of Isaiah, 12 chapters. And in it God consistently... The pattern in it is there's destruction, there's punishment, there's devastation. It's always followed by hope. It's always followed by salvation. That's the pattern. It's not separate. When you get to Isaiah 40 for instance, then you talk about the comfort that comes from God, but He reminds them this is what you had to go through before you could see the hope and where the true hope is. So, you have this pattern. You have what God says, "Blessed is the man whose hope is in the eternal." That's where hope begins.

Go ahead and read 8. This person who trusts in God will be like a tree planted by the waters which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes. They won't be daunted, it won't be pleasant, but they'll stand up. They'll have the character, they'll have the strength, they'll have the Holy Spirit. They'll have the trust in God, that I won't trust and no matter what man can do to me, he might be able to take my physical life. As Jesus Christ said he can't take my eternal life. I'm the only one who can give that to him if I yield to him. And if we're developed in that way, if we're grown in that way, if God's spirit leads us into that recognition and that realization, that's where our hope will be. But we can't separate it and we can't bury our eyes and our minds to what is going on around us because it will be a daunting time if we are not developing and have our eyes open.

There's a reason that Jesus Christ said, "The wonders that will happen and what goes on between now and then, even the very elect, if they weren't close to God, would be deceived." That should stir us all. You know, what's going on in the world shouldn't petrify us. It shouldn't fear us. If we're developing the love of God, I think it's 1 John 4:18 says, "Perfect love." What does perfect agape do? Cast out fear. We know what God's will is. We know what the plan is. He hasn't hidden things from us. And He'll reveal more and more as time goes on. But perfect love casts out fear that it won't be pleasant, but we stand up for what's true. That's the strength and the character that we need to develop. Now, that's where the hope is. The hope isn't in yielding to the world around us. It's failing. It cannot go on.

Going on. "It won't fear when heat comes, but its leaf will be green, and it will not be anxious in the year of drought. Nor will it cease from yielding fruit all through it." The fruit that God desires for you and I to be producing will continue to grow when we have our eyes wide open, when we're not in denial of what's going on, when we wanna just forget about it and only have smooth things spoken to us. But the reality of what is going on coupled with a stronger and stronger and growing and developing hope in where hope begins. Trust is not in man. Trust is in Jesus Christ. Trust is only in God.

Jeremiah 29. Jeremiah 29:11, a memory verse for many people, a very encouraging verse, a very upbeat verse. The Bible is an upbeat book. The Bible is a book of salvation. The Bible is a book for the future. The Bible is a book that talks about the kingdom of God and everything good that God will bring about it. But it can't happen until mankind has the reality that his way, Satan's way does not work. It leads to a mess. And what we read is going to happen. Jeremiah 29:11, "'You will seek me,' God said." That's not 11. Yeah, verse 11, "'For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,' says the Eternal. 'I think of peace and not of evil. To give you a future and to give you a hope.'" That's where hope is. That's where it is. The kingdom of God, the return of Jesus Christ. Hope began when Jesus Christ came to earth and He died so that our sins could be forgiven. And in Romans 5:10, we have the hope of eternal life because God rose Him from the dead, resurrected Him from the dead, and He was the forerunner of everything that He will do for us. That's where hope is.

1 Peter 1:3. Peter understood it. He understood the light that you and I have been called to, the light that God has shown on us, that called us out of this darkness. Can you imagine what it'd be like if we didn't know what we knew and we were living in the world around us today? 1 Peter 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy..." And isn't that true? The mercy that God has had on us, that He's opened our minds to see. The patience that He's had with us as He grows us and develops us, and works with us to become the people He wants us to become. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again to a living hope." The hope that should drive us, the hope that should produce the zeal that we need to do God's work in our personal lives, in our collective lives, in the church lives to do His will, to do His work, to fulfill the commission that He has called us to.

Because we have that vision of the world, what it could be like because we sigh and cry for what the world is going through now and doesn't even know what their future is. Sighing and crying and mourning for what they're doing to themselves that they will eventually loathe themselves for. But the vision of the kingdom that should drive us and propel us because that's the hope. That's what God has called us to, that's the vision. Because what is going to happen to this world is certainly going to happen. No amount of prayers, no amount of wishes, no amount of burying our heads in the sand is going to change what is going to happen. It would only take a worldwide repentance and turning to God that would make that change. And it sure doesn't look like the world in any way or shape or form would even consider that. God isn't even part of their thoughts anymore. So, 1 Peter 1:3, God has called us to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

That's where hope begins. That's where the future is. That's where our hope is. And if it's any place else, it's a misplaced hope. It's a false hope. It's a hope that will disappoint. "Come out of her my people," God said. And when He said, come out of her my people, it's like you're gonna live there. You're gonna have to endure and see what goes on. Because you too need to see what the evils of Satan are and how destitute and depraved humanity can become. But you come out because you trust and live God's ways, citizens of the kingdom of God, not the citizens of America, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, or whatever other place on earth, citizens of the kingdom of God, living in His way following that King, following Jesus Christ, having our hope firmly and surely placed in Him.

Now, if we believe Jesus Christ is the hope, which I'm sure everyone in this room agrees to, everyone listening on the web does agree to, if they are thinking through things clearly and that they believe the Bible is the word of God, then what do we do? There is something if we have that hope in us that we have to do. Yes, Jesus Christ came and died for our sins. Yes, God the Father resurrected Him from the dead. So, we have this hope, but what happens to those who have that hope? We are here in 1 Peter, I might have you later go on and read Ezekiel 18, the last 8 or 9 verses in Ezekiel 18 where God tells the people of Israel back then, "Turn to me. Why would you die, oh House of Israel?" If you remember that. "Why would you die? Turn to me and live." And that's for those who have the hope of God. Those who get the reality and accept the reality of what's going on. Not what God wanted for mankind, but it's what mankind chose for himself to live in this world, and be led by the God of this age, as it says in 2 Corinthians 4:4, those who had that hope, what do they do? Well, another memory verse.

1 John 3 and let's read verses 1 to 3. Verse 3 is where I'm going because it says it very succinctly in verse 3. Verse 1, "Behold, what manner of love the Father is bestowed upon us." Look at the mercy, look at the goodness. Look at what God has opened our minds to, to give us that hope and to know where things are going. "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God." Therefore, the world doesn't know us just like they didn't know Jesus Christ. They're marching to a different drummer. They're following a different God. The world does not know us because it didn't know Him. But beloved, now we are children of God and it hasn't yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we will be like Him.

That's why we're called, "Become more like Him." Disciples of Christ, growing in the way, growing in the manner of Jesus Christ, studying His truth, becoming like Him. Developing the fruits of the spirit and the character that God wants in us. We will be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in Him does what? Purifies himself just as Christ is pure. If you have this hope, what do you do? You repent. You turn to God. You pattern your way after God's ways, you adopt His way of life. You deny self...well, deny self, deny your personal thing, whatever it is that sin that easily besets us. The attitudes that might beset us as well. Purify yourself, turn to God, and follow Him implicitly. Use the Holy Spirit that He gives us to become like Him. If we have that hope, that's what we do. That's what we've been called to. Individually and collectively God will perfect us. He will purify us. He will help us to become spiritually mature. We have to trust in Him. We have to yield to Him. We have to do what He says. We have to use His Holy Spirit. And when we do, we'll feel that hope, that living hope in us. Where it begins, where it leads, where God wants us all to be, in His kingdom when Jesus Christ returns.


  • bettyhougland@gmail.com
    Dear Rick! Thankyou for giving this message!! So wonderful to hear a church leader speak the true reality of what has transpired these past 3 years!! We are finally going to hear truth and not be lulled into the arms if this evil system through smooth and soft words. Through the manipulation of scripture to make those of us who do make a stand be stifled and made to feel guilty because we refuse to go along with the narrative of this evil world. Thankyou so much for this truthful reality check!!
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