Hiding from God

In the book of Revelation we see in the 6th chapter that God’s wrath is finally poured out upon the wicked. What we find is (to me) very interesting. We see people of all types running, hiding looking to escape God, more willing to die than yield to the truth.

Seen this on a church sign. The truth sounds like hate to those who hate truth!

  • Just a quick side note; truth is not subjective.
    •  Contrary to the lie that has been shared since our grandparents rejected God’s truth in the garden, which had Cain kill Able. That had scores of men and women refuse forgiveness and are condemned to an eternal hell.
      •  The same lie that has captivated and confused many a mind of those who are already searching for anything that will allow them to fulfil their lust and not feel guilty.
    • Truth is truth no matter where you find it.
      • It is not my truth and your truth. It is not relative.
      • Other words changing to ones conditions.
      • If it was true then it is true now and will always be true. ( like I said, quick side note)
    • Truth is NOT subjective!

We wonder how can this be? How and why would anyone given the overwhelming evidence, reject God’s truth?

 For the period of time we are looking at the answer is found in Paul’s 2nd letter to the church in Thessalonica. In speaking on the subject of the day of the Lord he says:

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.

2 thessalonians 2:11

For the day which we live in, it is simple. The bible tells us; men loved darkness rather than light.

Remember it is not that God is defrauding or deceiving, He is just allowing them to have what they desire. (Like those who want to believe in subjective truth?)He is removing His hand, He is turning them over to their own mind.  (Wow! that a scary place for many of us.)

Now we have many examples of mankind running or attempting to hide from God.

 We have Jonah. The illustration of the Prodigal son. To name a couple. But it all starts at the beginning. In the garden. It has been a character trait ever since.

This is why Jesus says “come unto me”. (Matt.11:28) We so busy running the other way, attempting to hide. Also “and if any man will come after me”. (Luke 9:23)  Jesus ain’t into the hiding seek thing. He says here I am.

This is what really floors me though. Have you ever experienced God’s presence? This is what revival is all about. Coming into the very presence of God.  If you have ever experienced it you know it’s an amazing place. Every day we should be, as born-again believers, should be in His presence. Life ought to be a romance.

If we were to be honest with ourselves this isn’t always the case. Why?

Look at (Genesis 3:6-9)

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

Genesis 3:6-9 KJV
  • His Presence.
    • If anyone should be able to speak about being in God’s presence it should be these two. Think of the effect that the little glimpse of God’s presence does in us.
      • Makes a drunk man sober, a stoner straight. It brings to light all the dark recesses of our heart and cleanses them. Sets us free.
      • Now think about it. God actually walking, talking on an afternoon stroll. I can’t comprehend it. How it must have been.
    • Now look at what they (Adam and Eve) are doing. Hiding.
      • From what? God’s presence. The very thing that had to be just out of this world. The very thing they come to expect, time with God. An experience that we can none testify to.
      • Walking with God. Talking about the events of the day.
  • Sins presence.
    • What caused this turn about? What could make you want to hide from the only one who created you? Who loves you? Who came purposely to spend time with you?
      • SIN!
    • When you carry sin in your life, when you justify its presence, it drives you away from the light, away from anything lovely.
      • Sin has so marred us that we see ones that love us as enemies. Ones that destroy us as desirable.  Ones that care for us as overbearing and ones that prey upon us as protectors.
      • Sin makes us hide from the only thing that can cleanse us, heal us, satisfy us.
    • What would have happened if Adam and Eve had come straight before God and repented instead of hid themselves and explain their rebellion away?
      • ( Isa 1:18) Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
      • .James said it like this; (Jas 4:8) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
    • We could most likely conclude that life would be totally different.
      • But what our grandparents started in the garden, we carry on today. We have been hiding ever since.
  • You’re present.
    • Even today there are those who would rather hide from the truth than to confess the truth before God.
      • Sin has blinded them into thinking that God is ok with what they have done or what they are doing.
      • They continue to go through the motions but death is at work upon them.
      • Slowly corruption is eating away at their love of anything Godly. Replacing it with a self -anointed, appointed theology of service.
    • Remember when you carry, hold on to unconfessed sin in your life; it drives you away from anything of worth, anything lovely, anything of God.
      • Part of our problem is what we consider confessing. Most of us fell its telling God.
      • He already knows.
      • Confessing is actually agreeing with Gods word about the issue. Total agreement seeing it as He does reacting to it the way He does.
    • Then when we can confess we can’t help but repent.
      • Remember how David repented. If it doesn’t cost you something there is not much repenting happening.
    • We can only guess at what might have happened to creation if Adam and Eve would have repented, but we don’t have to guess about what will happen if you do.
      • (Isa 55:7) Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
      • (1Jo 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
      • Jesus said: (Lu 15:7) I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
    • Two major obstacles of repentance. Pride and fear.
      •  Fear that what we done is unforgiveable. Fear of other people opinions. Fear of rejection. Fear of the unknown.
      • The other is pride. 

Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

Proverbs 13:10
  • If you’re struggling within come today. If you’re struggling with the words I have spoken, come.

Thanksgiving 2020

                                                       (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

I spoke to you a couple of weeks ago about gratefulness. One of the most profound statements to me in that sermon was this. 

Someone once said that gratitude is the source for all other Christian virtues. If that be the case, then perhaps we need to reason that ingratitude may well be the source of all, or at least much of our vileness, our depravity as well.

In the letter to the Thessalonians, Paul gives out instructions to this congregation on how to not only survive but thrive. He speaks of rejoicing, praying, even being careful not to quench the Holy Spirit. He also lays out for all to see what God’s will, His desire, His plan for those who trust Him is.

In everything give thanks:

for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

It really is the will of God to live a grateful life.

What do we know about gratitude and being grateful?

Often we hear things like; well I’m grateful in my heart, but I’m just not very good at showing it. But you know my heart. 

No I don’t know your heart, what am I, a cardiologist? I don’t know your heart, unless you say it and show it.

I want to give you three things to help us grasp a biblical understanding of gratitude.

  • True gratefulness, gratitude is never invisible or silent.
    • My Lord said:

(Lu 6:45) A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

  • When your heart is grateful, it’ll overflow to your mouth. 
    • When you’re grateful, you’ll say it and you’ll show it. 
    • When you’re grateful to God, you’ll tell Him, and you’ll show Him, you won’t just assume that He knows, 
    • When you’re grateful to God for others, you’ll tell them, and you’ll show them.
    • If you’re grateful in your heart… out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 
      • So if you’re not speaking it, your heart isn’t really grateful.
    • Some like to say,” well I’m just not that type…
      • Can I say this one more time?… for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
    • From the overflow of your heart, the mouth has to speak, and if you’re really grateful it will show up in your life, through your words and your actions.
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  • Have you ever received something special or seen someone who has received? 
    • Often they break down with emotion. They can’t speak, they are overwhelmed and the face, body, their being shows it.
    • I’ve seen proud, ungrateful people get mad. Get bitter. Feeling now they have to do something
      • But I’ve seen grateful people humbly, lovingly, gratefully, accept and not feel they have to do something of equal value.
    • Now, if we can be that thankful for a special touch from someone, then I know the church of Jesus Christ ought to be able to give God the same kind of praise, for sending His son Jesus Christ to die on the cross. 
      • To set us free forever from our sin and guilt.
      •  Giving us eternal life,
    •  Are there any grateful people here today? 
      • Is there anybody who isn’t just grateful in your heart, but you’re willing to show it with your life, you’re willing to shout it with your mouth?
    • Now I know that you have to be real, I know that you can’t walk around all the time saying, praise the Lord, about everything, or you’ll sound phony,
      • I’m telling you, most of us are in no danger of being too grateful to God. That’s not what we’re struggling with.
      • Gratitude is never invisible or silent
  • Gratitude Sustains Joy and Blessing.
    • A piano has three foot pedals below its keys. The one on the far right is the damper pedal also known as the sustain pedal.
      • When this pedal is depressed it lifts the dampers off the keys allowing the sound to be prolonged.
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  • Does anybody here remember a time in your life when you relieved an offense over and over again, 
    • Somebody hurt you and you replayed that in your mind a 100 times, through bitterness.
    • There is a perverted power or pedal in our mind that enables you to re-live an offense over and over again because of bitterness and un-forgiveness.
    • If you’re a follower of Christ and the Holy Spirit is in you, then by the perfect power of the Holy Spirit, ,( the regenerated pedal)  you can relive the blessing of God over and over and over again, and you can sustain the blessing of God.
      • Even when your situation starts to go bad, or even when someone hurt you today, you can flash back to the times in your life when God was faithful, and He worked it out, and He blessed you.
      • It depends on what note you’re wanting to prolong?
      • Gratitude sustains joy and blessing in your life.
  • Lastly, and very powerful! Gratitude Begins Where My Sense of Entitlement Ends.
    • You cannot be grateful for something that you feel entitled to.
      • That’s why people don’t write thank you notes to the IRS when they get a tax refund.
    • If you start to feel entitled to something, then your gratefulness just immediately ends.
      • It’s gone, disappeared, the moment you feel entitled.
    • When you first became a Christian and you felt that forgiveness and grace of God.
      • You realized what Christ had done for you on the cross, and the huge price He paid so you could be part of His family, you feel so grateful, so blessed. But what happens?
      • Over time you start to take it for granted, and you start to feel entitled. 
    • It is an honor to be allowed to serve Him, even the privilege of knowing Him is a huge blessing.
      • How in the world can we ever start to think we’re entitled to any of that?
      • We’re not entitled to any of it, but we are hugely blessed by God, and we ought to be extremely grateful.
    • Now, the unfortunate truth is, some people in the church do feel entitled. 
      • We get the privilege to teach a class, sing a song, lead in silent prayer all of a sudden it’s ours for life.
  • Let me close with this:
    • Gratitude is never invisible or silent. Gratitude Sustains Joy and Blessing. Gratitude Begins Where My Sense of Entitlement Ends.

To the chief Musician upon Muthlabben, A Psalm of David.

I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvelous works.

Psalms 9:1

  • Are you grateful for what God has done in your life? 
    • What He has allowed you to be a part of?
    • For those He is letting in to be to carry on?

Do you really know Him? 

Does it show? 

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Weeding Your Garden

James 1:12-17

As we spoke last week about fishing being in the air this time of year, there is another thing that comes to mind which we start seeing more and more this time of year. 

Gardens. Some big. Some small. Vegetable, flowers, plants, all types. Jesus often used farming, gardening as illustrations because, unlike today, most people understood it.

Gardening is fun, even therapeutic. It provides pleasure and produces beauty and food. But gardeners have to be on guard. There are menaces to a garden.

If the soil is too wet or dry you can damage the plant and hinder the crop. You have diseases, pests of all types. Wildlife, weather. A gardener has to watch all these things.

There is a more subtle menace, one that at first glance doesn’t look harmful but in reality it robs the plant from nutrients and water. It can retard the growth of the plant and decrease fruit. WEEDS!

As we have seen over the last couple of weeks, Samson’s sad descent from God’s gift, to God’s laughing stock, we have to be aware the same trap can be used against us.

Like the gardener being on guard to protect their garden. We need to be conscious of the fact that there are many things out to deceive us and destroy our relationship with God.

Like Samson we can become proud of where and how God used us and even began to think it is us. That is why I must point out again what Paul said to the Corinthians. 1Co 10:12, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

So what can we do? What is there for us to use to ground ourselves? To protect ourselves?

The day in which we find ourselves is a very trying time. It is easy for us to look down on others. It is easy for us to worry. Begin to doubt.

Remember. Our minds are like hotels. You cannot prevent someone from coming into the lobby, but you can prevent them from getting a room.

Look at our scripture: James 1:12-17 

  • Temptation
    • The root of temptation is a selfish desire.
      • When our desire is conceived it grows and matures until it sprouts.
    • The shoot appears. 
      • In the form of a sinful action or decision.
    • If left untouched it produces fruit.
      •  A seed pod that will reproduce the cycle again and again.
  • Our Nature
    • We have a sinful nature. That is why apart from the Holy Spirit of God we cannot understand God’s word. We cannot act on God’s word.
      • 1Co 2:14, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
    • Fact is we could shut down every “den of iniquity” 
      • From the casinos to the media outlets. From the bars to the porn shops. It still wouldn’t stop or eliminate temptation to sin.
    • Adam and Eve had a perfect world.
      •  They had the perfect environment yet they succumbed to temptation. Why?
    • Because temptation comes from an internal source.
      • The external forces are only enticements to sin.
      • The problem begins with the human heart, mind.
    • In order to overcome this propensity to sin we have to have a new nature.
      • Jesus gives us that when we submit to His will instead of ours.
    • People indulge in various sins because they think it will make them happy.
      • We sin because of the pleasure it will bring. Though it is fleeting, passing, it only lasts a moment, we cannot see past our desire to the permanent scarring and pain it inevitably causes us and others. 
  • What do we do? How do you get weeds out of your garden?
    • Some think dealing with the fruit section of the weed will take care of it.
      • For a time it seems to work but then…
      • Just like when we deal with our secret sins by addressing only the visible parts of it, it is not likely that much headway will be made.
      • Why so many fall into depression and back into the same ole grind.
    • Others like to mow the weeds down. Cutting down the shoot.
      • Once again it looks good for a while but then often it seems to spread and make matters worse.
      • Again we deal with the externals
    • The only way to eradicate weeds from your garden is to deal with root, shoot fruit and all.
      • Rather you use a herbicide, a non- chemical home remedy or pull them up, it is the only way to rid your garden of these life threatening, substance sucking, light stealing pests. 
      • To eradicate perpetual, habitual sin in our lives, we must, underscore must, deal with our innate selfish desires.
      • Call it what it is. it is not a mistake/ it is sin against a holy God.
    • That is the question. Just like succeeding. Do you want to live a life successful in the eyes of God?
      • Do you really want to rid your life of these joy stealing, life draining, light sucking parasites or do you enjoy them more than you enjoy the promises of God?
  • Here are three questions to determine if what you are thinking of doing is worth it.
    • Can I thank God for it?
      • Jas 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
      • 1Th 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
      • If you go ahead and do this can you look back and thank God for it?
    • Can I do this in the Name of Jesus?
      • Will this be like Samson? Give the lost world reason to mock God?
      • Col 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
    • Can I do this and give Glory to God?
      • 1Co 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
    • I realize you have many formulas per say to help you. Truth is if you don’t invoke them, put them to use, you have what you want.
  • Make America Great Again.
    •  We have all heard the slogan. Fact of the matter many of us have shared what we believe will make America great in our minds.
      • The hope of America is not found in a revival of family values. It is not restoration of constitution law.
      •  Not a renewed respect for parents, elders or even authority though all of this is good.
      • Believe it or not it wont come from even upgrading the education system, health care system or court system.
    • What will make America great again is when Born again believers take a stand against sin.
      •  Not in the outside world but in our own lives!!
    • We need to get busy weeding out our own minds.
  • Church , this book is for you!!!
    • Today you have been given a choice.
      • To ignore these words. Chalk it up to another sermon down or REPENT.