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Volume 2, Issue 2

The Truth in

The Truth in HD February 2012

The Enduring Word


Things like the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls are a testament to the creative power of God, and to the glory that is revealed Every once in awhile as Im through His creation. Even flipping through the televi- these natural landmarks, sion channels (its so hard however, are susceptible to to find something to watch time, weather, and erosion. when hockey is not in sea- Niagara Falls erodes 3 to 4 son) I find a documentary feet each year. If the earth about the seven wonders of stands until that day, the the ancient world. I like to falls will eventually reach look at pictures and listen Lake Erie. As aweto experts talk about what inspiring as a sight like that these things would have is, it will not stand forever. looked like. These strucThere are a multitude of tures were the greatest acthings in the world around complishments of man, the us that are almost beyond best that he could do with our comprehension in their the resources available to beauty and power. There him. Unfortunately, the are great feats of engineeronly ones that still stand ing that show the ability of are the great pyramids of some men to rise above the Egypt. Despite the planrest and do something that ning, and the labor, and the is memorable. Something wealth that was used to that they think will be lastbuild these structures they ing. Despite our greatest eventually failed to stand efforts, the Bible tells us the test of time. that there is only one thing that will remain after Man-made monuments are heaven and earth has not the only ones that com- passed away. It is Gods mand our attention. word. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My works will by no means pass away. -Luke 21:33 We can travel the world and see the beauty of nature in its fullness, and the greatest creations of man, but all of these things are only temporary. The greatest wonders that the world has ever known will pass away, but the words contained in the book that sits upon our coffee tables and our bookshelves, or our nightstands will last forever. Gods word was good in the time of Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus, and His word remains meaningful in our lives today. His word endures when nature erodes and when human engineering fails. We can travel the world and see all of the sights there are to see (someday I hope to see many of them myself), but if we are looking for something that will stand the test of time; something that will not fall; we need look no further than the Bibles that each of us possess.

Inside this issue: A Program That Works Holiness and Revelation Bearing Witness to the Truth Kingdom Consequences Now!

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A World Without Prophets

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Dates of Solemn Assembly:

March 18 May 20 July 15 September 16 November 18

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They had the Truth, the Holy Spirit who was, and is, capable of leading God ordained men to do the work of God to further the Kingdom of God.

Recently I typed Church Growth Programs into the search engine Google. I assumed there would be a significant number of programs in light of the technological era that we undoubtedly live in; I stopped reading on page two of 13 million. Yes, you read that right, 13 million pages of church growth programs, ideas, formats, surveys, and just about everything else to grow a church. I then turned to the second chapter of Acts, read verses 42-47, and came to the conclusion that the Christian church could be overcomplicating things just a bit.

the Truth, the Holy Spirit who was, and is, capable of leading God ordained men to do the work of God to further the Kingdom of God. I wonder what some might say if asked if these men were qualified to lead some of the churches we have today. The people devoted themselves to the Its not surprising that all apostles teaching because we need to know about church growth is contained the teaching was from in these six verses of Acts. God through the Holy This was the early church, Spirit. If it hadnt been the church wouldnt the church in its infant stage. Notice what is hap- have grown like it did. The first step in having a pening that makes the successful church growth church so attractive. The people devoted themselves program is having the Holy Spirit as our conto the apostles teaching. These apostles didnt have sultant. They devoted themselves to doctorates or PhDs, they Fellowship was a necesthe apostles teaching and to were given the great comsary part of being in the the fellowship, to the break- mission in Matthew 28:20 church. The new believing of bread and to prayer. which was to go into all the ers were to be trained in Everyone was filled with world and make disciples, the fellowship of the awe, and many wonders and and in John 14:26 they were church, translated in the miraculous signs were done promised the Holy Spirit Greek as sharing in the by the apostles. All the bewho would teach them all lives of other believers. lievers were together and had things and remind them of Acts 2:44: All the believers everything in common. Selleverything Jesus had said to were together and had eveing their possessions and them, and lead them into all rything in common. Acts goods, they gave to anyone truth (John 16:13) They had 4:32: All the believers were as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved ( Acts 2: 42-47).

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one in heart and mind. The necessity of fellowship was highly stressed in the early church, and was in fact a requirement of new believers. The early church was united as a result of their fellowship and guidance from the Holy Spirit. Verse 46-47, Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. The Matthew Henry Complete Bible Commentary describes the fellowship as follows; They not only had a mutual affection to each other, but a great deal of mutual conversation with each other; they were much together. When they withdrew from the untoward generation, they did not turn hermits, but were very intimate with one another, and took all occasions to meet; wherever you saw one disciple you would see more, like birds of a feather. See how these Christians love

one another. They were concerned for one another, sympathized with one another, and heartily espoused one anothers interests. They had fellowship with one another in religious worship. They met in the temple: there was their rendezvous; for joint fellowship with God is the best fellowship we can have with one another, 1 John 1:3. Observe, they were daily in the temple, not only on the days of the Sabbath and solemn feasts, but on other days, every day. Worshipping God is to be our daily work, and where there is opportunity, the oftener it is done publicly the better. God loves the gates of Zion and so must we. They were with one accord; not only no discord nor strife, but a great deal of holy love among them and they heartily joined in their public services. Though they met with the Jews in the courts of the temple, yet the Christians kept together by themselves, and were unani-

mous in the separate devotions. They frequently joined in the ordinance of the Lords supper. They continued the breaking of bread, in celebrating that memorial of their Masters death, as those that were not ashamed to own their relation to, and their dependence on, Christ and Him crucified. They could not forget the death of Christ, yet they kept up this memorial of it, and made it their constant practice because it was an institution of Christ, to be transmitted to the succeeding ages of the church. They continued in prayers. After the Spirit was poured out, as well as before, while they were waiting for him, they continued instant in prayer; for prayer will never be superseded till it comes to be swallowed up in everlasting praise. The fellowship experienced by the members of the early church possessed a deep sense of family, unity, compassion, and trust. There was

no division; there was no room for it. These people loved each other and put each other before themselves, sacrificing lots of things on many occasions to help a brother or sister in Christ. When people outside the church saw how they treated each other inside the church, the church became irresistible to them; which is why so many people were being added to the church daily. The second step in a successful church growth program is having a fellowship of believers that loves each other like Christ loved the church. When the church is led by the Spirit of God, truth is revealed to all the members, enabling us to fellowship with one another in unity. A unified body of Christ, worshipping in spirit and truth, is irresistible to a world that is lost and dying in sin.

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And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done (Gen. 2:3).

When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am." "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God (Exodus 3:4-6). The word holy in this passage of Scripture is only used for the second time since the beginning of the Bible. The first time it is used says, And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done (Gen. 2:3). It has been approximately 500 years or more from the time in Genesis until this event in Exodus. This is the first time in Scripture that God is revealing himself personally to someone as a Holy God. Up until this

time in Scripture, in all the times God was present with man i.e. Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and others, He revealed himself as the God of promise and God the Almighty. In this encounter with Moses, we want to explore and discover the golden nuggets of truth the Bible has to reveal to us regarding God speaking here to Moses. This begs the question, however, WHY WAS THE GROUND HOLY? Because God had come there and occupied it! Where God is, there is holiness. It is the presence of God that makes the place holy. Because God was present, what had been ordinary became "holy ground" and consequently "set apart" for a distinct use. The place where sheep and goats had traveled just a short time before was transformed into "holy ground" because of Gods presence. What lesson can we be learned by this revelation of God, or God revealing Himself as holy? There were three things Moses did when he

heard the voice of God. Two things by instruction or command from God and one on his own. 1). Moses didn't go any closer to the burning bush when God told him to stop. 2). Moses took off his sandals at Gods command. 3). Moses was afraid to look at God! He hid his face from God on his own without the command of God.

God said to Moses, "Do not come any closer.......!" God would not allow Moses to come any closer. God then came to Moses. Its not because God did not want Moses to be close to Him, it was because in the presence of God, theres a sense of sin and unfitness for God's presence. When Isaiah realized he was in the presence of God his response was, "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty (Isaiah 6:5)."

The groundwork for our true knowledge and worship of Him as the Holy

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One is to understand our place in relation to God and His holiness. The Scripture says, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water (Heb. 10:22). Our ability to draw near to Him is based on our attitude toward Him and that is an issue of the heart. It is in humility that we draw near to God and we have a change of heart toward God, when we have been made a new creation in Christ (1 Cor. 5:17). We have to have a repentant attitude in seeking to be Christ like. God commanded Moses to, "..........Take off your sandals......" Shoes symbolize the means of contact with the world, through which the flesh or nature does its will, moves about and does its work. When standing on holy ground, all of the ways of the world must be put off. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of

your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:22-24). It is with naked feet, naked and stripped of every covering, that we must bow before a holy God. "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account (Heb. 4:13)." Our utter unfitness to draw near or have any dealings with the Holy One in and of ourselves is the first lesson we have to learn if ever we are to participate in His holiness. Holiness is more than goodness and the freedom from sin. Holiness is the glory by which God is separated from all that is created. There is a chasm between God and man, a distance, as a result of sin. Who can express, who can realize the humiliation, the fear, and the shame with which we ought to bow before the voice of the Holy One? One of the most terrible effects of sin is that it blinds us. "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The

god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:34)." It is very difficult for us to even realize how unholy and how abominable sin and the sinful nature is in God's sight. Moses did not have to be told to cover his face, the second he understood he was before a Holy God, he covered his face! Moses understood his unholiness before God as did Isaiah. For this is what the high and lofty One says-- he who lives forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite (Isaiah 57:15)."

Who can express, who can realize the humiliation, the fear, and the shame with which we ought to bow before the voice of the Holy One?

Gods presence revealed itself and He made Himself known in the midst of the fire in the burning bush. THE BURNING AND UNCONSUMING FIRE OF GOD. Elsewhere in Scripture the connection between fire and the holiness of God is clearly expressed.

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In all of God's revelation to mankind, one will always find it repelling, or attracting.

The nature of fire is twofold, it is either destructive, or it is benevolent. An example of this is the sun. The center of our universe and sustainer of life may either give life and fruitfulness, or it may scorch to the death. It all depends on the position the sun is in, or the position we are in in relation to the sun. So wherever God the Holy One reveals Himself, we will find the two sides together: God's holiness as judgment against sin, destroying the sinner who remains in it, or as mercy, freeing His people from sin. "We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him (Heb. 2:1-3)." God's judgment and mercy go together. John the Baptist said, "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will

come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matt. 3:11-12)." And also, "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you (1 Cor. 3:1116)?" "for our "God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29)." "His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire (Rev. 1:14)."

In this passage (Exodus 3:4-6) we are examining, the Law will be given to Moses in the near future. Sin will be made manifest, the distance between God and man will be felt in order that man, in learning to know sinfulness, may learn to know and long for God to make him holy. In all of God's revelation to mankind, one will always find it repelling or attracting. "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke."Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty

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We, as Christians, hang "I turned around to see the our whole being on the saving grace of Jesus voice that was speaking to Christ, the cross and the me. And when I turned I ultimate price He paid for saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lamp- our sins. There is more to stands was someone "like a the story however, there is the glory of Gods son of man," dressed in a righteousness, Gods holirobe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash ness and Gods righteous judgment. The God of around his chest. His head Scripture is not just oneand hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and dimensional. He is our loving God and Savior his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze but also a hater of sin. glowing in a furnace, and Holiness is the fear of his voice was like the sound God, Moses hid his face of rushing waters. In his before God not daring to right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth look or speak. This is the beginning of understandcame a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the ing. "And he said to man, 'The fear of the Lord--that is sun shining in all its brilwisdom, and to shun evil is liance. When I saw him, I understanding (Job fell at his feet as though 28:28).'" (See also Psa dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: 19:9; Prov 9:10; Acts 9:31.) "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last (Rev. Fear defined in Acts 9:31 1:12-17)." means Reverential fear Holiness is the fire of God of God, as a controlling that consumes! Praise motive of the life, in matGod that there is a power ters spiritual and moral, that can consume the not a mere fear of His most vile offender and the power and righteous retsin and rubbish, the sinful ribution, but a wholesome nature that mankind infear of displeasing Him, a herited by the Fall. It is a fear which banishes the power that will not leave terror from His presence, sinfulness undisturbed, and which influences the "The bush burned but was disposition and attitude not consumed." of one whose circumstances are guided by (Isaiah :1-5).""

trust in God, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (Vine's) This fear of God will make us, like Moses, fall down and hide our face in God's presence. We will wait for His Holy Spirit to open our eyes to His ways, and to put His thoughts on our hearts. We will worship Him in spirit and in truth. We will indeed be able to draw near to Him, the Holy One and He will reveal Himself to us and He will gently lead us on our journey. Just as God revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush, He will reveal Himself to us today. The Scripture says, "And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever (1 Chron. 28:9). If we indeed seek after Him, He will reveal Himself to us.

Holiness is the fear of God, Moses hid his face before God not daring to look or speak. This is the beginning of understanding.

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Then Pilate said to him, So you are a king?

Then Pilate said to him, So you are a king? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the worldto bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice. - John 18:37 As he had his death in sight, Jesus continued to do the will of His Father. A death that was sure to be painful and torturous could not make this man weaken at the chance of escape. In fact, he had the opportunity to deny himself as king in order that the Jews may let him go free. But for this reason he was sent to us- to bear witness to the truth. At some point we ask ourselves: where can I find the truth? Logically, we must possess the truth in order for

But for this reason he was sent to us- to bear witness to the truth.

us to bear witness to it, right? Well, truth comes to us by means of revelation from God. Jesus was and is the very revelation of God to us. He said to his followers that whoever has seen him has seen the Father. In other words, the source of all truth is Jesus Christ. I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). We must put ourselves in a position to receive Jesus in order for us to receive the truth. To find answers, we need to go to Him, who possesses the answers. In Christ are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:3) We can be sure that all revelation and all knowledge comes through Him alone. No revelation can be genuine that is not found in Christ. We can search our whole lives for answers, but

only He can satisfy answer to the questions we carry. If we are to bear witness to the truth, we need to first receive it from Jesus. We must pull away any philosophical bias and step back from traditionalism, so that we can commit only to what is known about God through the revelation of Jesus. The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. (Revelation 1:1) After making the necessary changes in our lives to be submissive to Jesus and his words, we need to learn to grow in his truths. One thing I have learned in my relationship with God is that truth is practical. Paul writes to Timothy these words,

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All scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). In time, we will grow into more understanding of the truth. This understanding doesnt happen without effort. We are called to live out our days for new revelation, spending our time seeking for divine inspiration. This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it (Joshua 1:8) Paul also shows Timothy the importance of teaching and correcting. Truth has the power to position us humbly before God and show us our desperate need of faith in him. We grow in truth so that we can

obey Him who wrote the Law. Growing in truth means more than a better understanding of God, but it allows us to have a closer relationship with Him. There comes a time, when after receiving and growing in truth, that we must stand up for it. This in essence is what it means to bear witness to the truth. To what extent will you bear witness? Consider how far Jesus took his stand for truth. He took it as far as the cross. He faced death to stand up for the truth. It is interesting to see how people react when faced with the truth. Even in our own personal experiences, we see that there is a decision that is made on whether to stand up or step down from the standard of truth. Revelation 10:9 states, so I went to the angel

and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey. The truth revealed through Jesus Christ is bound to offend. Its bitterness upsets. When we take and eat it, we can taste its sweetness. We can see that the truth Jesus proclaimed upset enough people to cause them to crucify him. We know his purpose was that he bore witness to the truth. Is that not what he has commanded from us also? I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the father. (John 14:12)

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the father. (John 14:12)

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Consequences are part of Kingdom life right now. We may or may not think about them but we will discover them one way or another.

I dont know about you but there are some things I just dont like consequences tied to. Im thinking of ice cream, for instance. Why does there have to be consequence attached to something so good! We accept them in many places, especially if the consequence is in our favor. When your football team wins, thats an acceptable consequence because your team won and someone elses team lost. But when you personally suffer a negative consequence, it really isnt that great. Most of us would like a consequence-free world. Like the day I was driving into town day dreaming about something which I had long forgotten and not paying any attention to my speed. There was a consequence that I didnt like when the policeman asked me if I knew why he pulled me over. Consequences are part of Kingdom life right now. We may or may not think about them but we

will discover them one way who controls eternal or another. matters. The fear Jesus is pointing out must be a Jesus pointed out as He core focus for life that preached the Kingdom over guides us. and over again the Hell Consequence. In Matthew There are fears that can 10:28, And do not fear temporarily move us in those who kill the body but the right direction. cannot kill the soul. Rather When God was drawing fear him who can destroy me to Himself, he used both soul and body in hell. just such a fear to That definitely sounds like awaken me. One Sunday a consequence to me! morning the pastor ended the message by The text is filled with words saying there would be no we would just as soon not altar call that morning, have to face but we must. that we were to think The first is fear! Have you about the reality that a ever had to face a fear in day would come when your life? It really isnt that there was no more opfun, but it is necessary if we portunity to respond. are going to be growing Needless to say, in my people. Negative fears are case, it served the purparalyzing. They can literpose. The next Sunday ally cripple us. There is the he didnt need to preach. consequence of losing our I was all about being spiritual freedom when we ready. I just needed an are held in fear and that is opportunity to respond. also a negative. The word The fear of punishment fear obviously has more can serve the purpose to than one meaning. Jesus bring us to a deeper fosaid we shouldnt fear those cus. This fear is the total who can kill us, have a limadjustment of life around ited consequence over us, Jesus Christ. When fear but we should fear Him of punishment leads us

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to a born-again experi- thing left is Hell, the ultience, then it has served mate consequence. the right purpose. Some have decided on a difWe cannot ignore the ferent meaning for Hell but Hell consequence even if we will be true to scripthough it might be un- ture, then we really have to popular and not under- accept what Jesus had to stood. Hell is real and say. In Matthew 13:41-42, it is the consequence of The Son of Man will send not choosing love. his angels, and they will Love is made to sound gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all lawreal mushy in the popular culture. Many breakers, and throw them years ago the movie into the fiery furnace. In Love Story made that place there will be popular the saying that weeping and gnashing of love means you never teeth. While we may want have to say you are to believe that the nonsorry. Thats love believer is simply annihiwithout consequence lated, that wont stand up with the truth. Hell is eterand that isnt Gods love. Gods Love is nal separation from love, experienced when we Jesus Christ, and those in respond to His Love hell suffer all the conseand turn away from quences of that separation. selfish choices. Hell is Jesus teaching in Luke 16 the rejection of love. tells us Hell is a place of torTo reject love means ment and that there is a that every good thing separation between those that is a benefit of love, who have chosen God and you are deciding to ex- those who reject Him. H. M. Riggle stated, But what clude from your life. Once you have chosen of those who reject the beneto exclude every prod- fits of His atonement, trample upon his mercy, refuse uct of love, the only

been a lot of conjecture concerning the degree of Gods involvement in everyday life. Some have believed that God isnt all that involved and just set everything in motion. But to say a sparrow doesnt fall to the ground outside of His knowing sounds like He is rather involved. Most of us will agree that you value what you spend your time on. His ultimate concern is you and me and our relationship with Him. His value of us means that He is actively involved in life. He wants more involvement Jesus gave us another Kingin our lives not less. dom Consequence in the Our personality reaches same passage. He taught us the great value He places the development God on human life, and His in- desires as we are investment in what He values volved with Him and brings us face to face with that would go to the issue of why He is inanother kingdom consequence; The Value Conse- volved and what He ultiquence. Jesus teaches that mately desires in us. the smallest sparrow does- God seems most concerned with us becoming nt escape His recognition like His Son. Romans 8 nor do they fall to the ground without His knowl- tells us in verse 29 that edge. There has always Those whom he fore-

to be saved, and close their probationary state in rebellion against his throne? There can be but one answer; they must suffer the penalty of a broken law (Pg. 5, Hell and Everlasting Punishment). Hell is a kingdom consequence for all that reject the Kingdom now. That great old hymn of the Church, The Kingdom of Peace, reminds us , Tis a kingdom of peace, it is reigning within, It shall ever increase in my soul; We possess it right here when He saves from all sin, and twill last while the ages shall roll

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That growth is all through His great grace and love. The very grace that called us out of darkness takes His love and works within us until our hearts echo the cry, Abba Father.

When we simply see confession as words, we lessen the meaning. But confessing Him is to live for Him and living for Him calls us to the deepest relationship.

knew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. That growth is all through His great grace and love. The very grace that called us out of darkness takes His love and works within us until our hearts echo the cry, Abba Father. The value placed on us by the Lord calls us to be open to His activity in our lives. Today we hear that the Church isnt doing well and we need to consider something new to reach the people because everything is different. If Jesus values a sparrow and places far greater value on His people, dont you think He wants us to call upon Him and cry out for His involvement in the Church to meet the needs? The life He desires to be evident in the Body of Christ must come from this great value He has placed on

His people and, in turn, His Church. We need a move of God and we need it now. The Value Consequence is just this; if we turn anywhere else for our needs to be met, we have turned away from the very source of life, Jesus, and we will only find some poor substitute that wont really revive His Body, the Church.

Spirit of God holding the key to the depths of us. We can only confess what we know in and through our experience in the Spirit of the Living God.

John Wesley said, The testimony of the Spirit is an inward impression on the soul, whereby the Spirit of God directly witnesses to my spirit, that I am a child of God; That The Confession ConseJesus Christ hath loved quence found in Vs. 32 of me, and given himself for Matthew 10 is a conseme; and that all my sins quence of life itself. I are blotted out, and I, even found in a very old com- I, am reconciled to God mentary that the literal (Pg. 115, The Witness of translation is Confess in the Spirit, Works vol.5.). Me before man, then He We can only confess what will confess in us before we have experienced and the Father (Cambridge Bi- God wants our confession ble for Schools and Colto be revealing His deepest leges). The Confession work that He desires to do Consequence brings us in each of us. right back to our relationThe Confession of a heart ship with Christ. When set free from all fear that we simply see confession lives out of the value God as words, we lessen the has placed in us is set free meaning. But confessing to speak of Gods all surHim is to live for Him and passing love! living for Him calls us to the deepest relationship. We live out of Kingdom The depth of all the Lord Consequences Now as we has for us is found in the live in Him!

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The people of Israel waited 400 years for a word from God. As they looked around their country and watched the Roman soldiers move in and out of their cities they anxiously awaited the day when God would bring judgment on the pagan nation that occupied the land of His people. With each passing year the discontent with their situation grew and with it their desire to see Gods mighty work. More than anything in this earthly existence they hoped to see the Messiah come and set up Gods Kingdom in Jerusalem so that they could become the ones who occupied other nations. The people wanted the nations that had oppressed them for so many years to bow before them and live in subjection to their rule.

Have you ever been confronted with a time when Gods instruction was not what you hoped it would be? We all have high hopes and great expectations regarding what we think God should do for us. We spend countWhen Jesus came onto the less hours talking about His scene, the one who John the mercy and compassion (and Baptist had proclaimed and rightly so), but how often do for whom the people we consider the judgment of waited, His presence and God? Do we ever consider teaching were met with the words He has for those That the judgment of God excitement. God was fiwho may have strayed, or is clearly proclaimed nally going to place all the nations that have turned throughout the entirety of enemies of Israel under their backs on Him? Holy Scripture is clear to their rule. But Jesus came Gods judgment is likely to see. Many refuse to acteaching a different kind of be the least popular topic in knowledge the judgment kingdom than the political all of Christianity rivaled proclaimed in Old Testareign that they expected. only by preaching or teach- ment times, but it is He was not interested in ing about Hell. In a society quoted and restated in the rewarding a nation that that is focused on feeling New Testament. Some had lost sight of God in the Year by year they good about yourself and the type of warning against waited without so much midst of all their ritual and way you live it is difficult for straying from God is aptradition, but He came to as a word from Gods preachers and teachers of the parent in almost every call that very nation to reprophets until seemBible to proclaim Gods book of the New Testapentance. The same people ingly from nowhere

the most unlikely man appeared in the desert. He was clothed in animal skin and ate things that would turn the stomach of most. But the message he carried was the one that Israel had waited hundreds of years to hear, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt. 3:2). People left Jerusalem and flocked to the desert to hear this man proclaim Gods Kingdom. Many were sure this was what they had been looking for, but was it?

who waited with great anticipation for the Messiah were confronted, not with the message they wanted to hear, but with a call to leave their self-righteous lives behind and return to a God whom they didnt even realize they had left.

words of judgment against the sinful things of the world. Some people treat the prophecies and passages of Gods judgment as some type of caricature, or an idle threat made by a God who would never really punish anyone for anything, despite the fact that Jesus said, Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline (Rev. 3:19) And the writer of Hebrews reminded us, My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives (Heb. 12:5, 6).

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ment, and it is difficult to read more than two or three chapters of the Bible without seeing reminders that God is jealous for our love and devotion and will not settle for anything less. But if this is the case, why do we not hear more preaching and teaching about Gods judgment? If Jesus really rebukes and reproves those whom He loves, why is it not clearly proclaimed throughout the church today? Surely there must be things happening in the world around us and maybe even in the church that are not pleasing to God. In a day when sound doctrine (yes, some of us still consider that important because Scripture teaches that it is) is compromised in the name of numbers, and standards of personal holiness are all but nonexistent there must be a word of reproof from the God who loves us.

and the revelation of His character that comes from the Bible it becomes very clear that God will not simply smile and wink at sin among His people. In fact, He continues to judge sin when it occurs among them. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God (1 Peter 4:17). God told the people of Israel in Old Testament times, You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities (Amos 3:2). Sadly, many Christians today can go a lifetime without hearing a single sermon, or even a lesson in a Bible study or small group on Scriptures like these. They seem to continually be overlooked. But why the hesitation to address these verses and others like them? Why the nervousness about boldly proclaiming the Word of the Lord?

The reason we do not hear the Word of God in its entirety is because we live in a world without prophets. As we consider the full- In Old Testament times ness of the Word of God God would call people to

deliver His message to the masses who had forgotten Him. When the wealth and comfort of the people began to take their attention from God He would raise up a prophet to proclaim, Hear the Word of the Lord. Men who would carry the message fearlessly to a hostile people; who took their lives in their hands every time they relayed what God had revealed to them. Amos told the people of his day, the Lord does nothing without revealing His secret to His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). When the people seemed beyond hope, and their relationship with God had faded into little more than a distant acquaintance, God sent His prophets to warn the people of His impending judgment not because He no longer loved them, but because He wanted to discipline them and give them an opportunity for a new beginning and a fresh start. Even when God flooded the earth it was so that Noah, who was righteous in his day,

could begin anew without the corruption of sin in the world around him. Each time a prophet cried out, each time they uttered Gods judgments and commands the people were given a chance to repent and return to God. Unfortunately, the prophets were commonly met with receptions of anger and violence. Many were beaten and killed because the people just refused to heed the Word. Even Jesus was met with scorn and ridicule when the Word He delivered from God was not the word that the people of His day wanted to hear. When Amos proclaimed the Word, Amaziah the priest accused him of conspiracy and told him to leave the people and not to continue to prophecy (Amos 7). Even after thousands of years the reception of Gods messengers has not changed. People expect to listen to sermons each Sunday and go home feeling good for the week. Many even expect to feel good about and at times be commended for their

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sinful lives. If the preacher to whom they listen will not give them what they expect they will go down the street and find another who will. No matter what community they live in people can always find someone who is willing to proclaim less than the fullness of the Word of God. Preachers in our day do not help matters. There are always preachers who are willing to tickle the itching ears of the people. They have found that if they continually work to please people that they can accumulate great numbers and build large programs and function on vast budgets. In the process of all this, the prophets who will boldly proclaim the Word of the Lord His love as well as justice, and His mercy as well as judgment have essentially disappeared. The watchmen that God has set over His people

have failed time and again to sound the alarm and give warning of the impending judgment of God. Scripture teaches us that Gods wrath will be shown from heaven against those who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth (Romans 1:18). Notice, this is not an Old Testament prophecy that many so easily right off, but a New Testament truth. That Gods judgment is at hand when we compromise His Word is no secret. Yet the years go on, and the sin increases and the warnings never come. There are many who will be accountable for the things they have taught, but also accountable for what they refused to teach. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes ANY ONE of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchmans hand (Ezek. 33:6). It is difficult to be a watchman, given the

charge of proclaiming the who will not fear? The Lord Word of God whether it is God has spoken; who can but pleasant or difficult for the prophesy (Amos 3:8). people to hear. But God has Scripture makes no precalled people to do it none- tense that it is a fearful job theless. Based on what we to proclaim the Word of are taught in the New Testa- God. People will leave ment we have to believe churches, and some will that God is speaking to His mock and ridicule the teachers today about the sin prophet. A.W. Tozer and depravity that are not spoke to the current situaonly prominent in society, tion when he said, I do but have become a not know what the future normal part of life within holds. But I know one the church. God is calling thing: Rather than betray people who will preach His the sheep of God, rather Word with fear and trem- than lie to them and debling (not of the people, but ceive them and keep them fear of the one who called agitated and stirred up them). Though the people with all kinds of popular may try to suppress this topics rather than take my truth it must be proclaimed. material from Time magaIt must be taught and zine, Ill preach the Word shown to those who are to empty seats and sigh struggling through life in and cry for the abominasin. God has a Word for us tion that is in the earth. in our day just as He had Though our times may for the people of Israel so many years ago. Where are seem difficult and even impossible, and the world those who will fearlessly speeds on at a torrid pace deliver it? Where are those to Hell, the charge given who are so consumed by to preachers remains the love for God, so committed same, preach the Word; be to His Word, so recklessly ready in season and out of faithful that nothing will season; reprove, rebuke, and stop them from telling oth- exhort with complete paers what He is revealing to tience and teaching (2 Tim. them? The lion has roared; 4:2)

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