This Weeks Message...
Presented by Pastor
John S. Torell, Transcribed from his
weekly sermon given at
October 19, 1997
"HOW TO RESPOND TO GOD'S LOVE?"
Good morning everyone. We are going to start this morning in Romans chapter 3. Last week I taught on the subject GOD LOVES YOU-BUT DO YOU LOVE GOD? Today's message is a follow-up to this message. HOW TO RESPOND TO GOD LOVE. How do we respond on a daily basis to God's love? Last week I laid a foundation, which consisted of three things. We are going to go through them again, because we need to know who we are, where we're coming from and where we are going. The first thing we want to make clear today is that a human being in his sinful state has no value.
Please turn to Romans chapter 3 verse 9. What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with there tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every month may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God:
My first statement might be disturbing to you. Think about this. If after a person is born into this world, they grow up, live their life; they never learn about or accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. That human being has absolutely no value whatsoever. It has been a life that is totally thrown away. The Bible teaches this very clearly. Jesus said in the gospel of John, "No man comes to the Father except by me." In the book of Act's Peter says, "There is no other name under Heaven given whereby men can be saved." That name is Jesus Christ.
Billy Graham made a statement on national television a few months ago on Robert Schulur's program. Robert Schulur asked him, "What will happen to people who have never heard the gospel? Let us say people that live in Moslem or Buddhist countries, countries like this. They never hear the gospel. What will happen to them?" Billy Graham answered and said he has changed his mind now. He believes that people can be saved other than through Jesus Christ, if they are sincere and doing the best they can under their circumstances. God is going to bring even the Buddhist, the Moslem and others to Heaven, because God is merciful. Think about that statement. This is coming from a man who is considered to be the spokesman for the Christian community worldwide. If that is truth, than the reality is that Jesus Christ died in vain on Calvary. If there is a way that we can work ourselves to Heaven, through any type of system, it would have been very cruel for God to have Jesus Christ die such a terrible death on the cross for us, if man could be saved in an other way. Think about it. The fundamental truth that has been held by the apostolic church from the very beginning after Jesus Christ found it through the ages is this; unless a person accepts Christ as his own personal Lord and savior, that man or woman is lost forever. They will go first to hell, then later to the lake of fire and burn forever. That is the reason I made the statement. A human being without Christ is a worthless human, is a worthless being, until we are saved. That does not mean we can abuse people. Does that mean if they are not saved we can do all kinds of things to them? No, as long as there is life, there is hope. As long as people are still alive there is hope for salvation. As far as we are concerned, every human being is precious in the sight of God. We want to give them the gospel. WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT WITHOUT CHRIST WE HAVE NO VALUE INTERNALLY!
The second point is, please turn to Ephesians chapter 2 verse 8. [We are saved by Grace. It is very important that you understand this, salvation is by Grace.] For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
We are saved by Grace. We cannot work for our salvation. We have to understand that in ourselves we were useless, worthless, until Jesus came and saved us. Then it is total grace. Jesus had a parable that he taught his disciples. He said a man had vineyard, he went out at nine o'clock in the morning and hired workers. He went out at 10 o'clock and hired workers, 11 o'clock, every hour of the day he went out and hired workers. In the evening all workers expected to receive their pay. Those that he hired the last hour, he called up first and he gave them a full paycheck. Those that worked all day said, "This is great; we will receive more." Those that started work in the morning received the same paycheck. They began to murmur and say, "This is unfair, we worked all day when it was the hottest." Then Jesus said, "If I wanted to do good, may I not do good."
In other words, those that are saved on their death beds, will be as precious in God's sight as those who were saved when they were three or four years old and walked all the time with Christ. It is Grace, we forget that many times. After we have been saved for a few years, we get cleaned up. We begin to smell better and look better. We don't do a lot of things that we use to do. For some reason the human flesh creeps in and we began to feel that we are more respectable now. We seem to have some respectability. The only respectability that we have is the blood Jesus Christ. In ourselves we have no respectability. It is God's righteousness through Christ.
Please turn to Roman's chapter 10 verse 9. [Salvation is by Grace and it is by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.] That if thou shalt confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confessions made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of Lord shall be saved. (Verse 17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
I want to hammer this into you; salvation is by Grace. It is accomplished through faith. We have had a number of religions crop up on this earth. By the way, we do not have religion in this church. We have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. A lot of religions have come about over the years. The first one to emphasize this is the Roman Catholic church. It stated this; yes, Jesus died for our sins but salvation is through the church, the sacraments. In the Roman Catholic church, in the Greek Orthodox church, in the Russian Orthodox church the teaching is this: your salvation comes through the confession, in partaking of the sacraments, the little wafer, the wine and the last rights. Over the years it has developed to where they have added, that you must be baptized in water through emersion. Then they add to this all these different things. I would like to focus on one thing that happened at the cross. There was a thief that hung on the cross some 2,000 years ago with Jesus Christ. He had been nailed to that cross. His hands were hanging there. His feet had been nailed and he could not get down. He said, "Jesus, would you remember me today when you come into your kingdom?" Jesus did not say, "Sorry pal you know the rules, you have to be baptized in water, you have to attend church, you have to have the sacraments, you have to do the foot washing, you have to keep the Sabbath, , you have to speak in tongues, you have to do all these different things and then you are saved." What did Jesus say? He said, "Today you shall be with me in Paradise." The moment we whisper the name of Jesus and we say, "Father God, In the name of Jesus I repent of my sins, forgive me, cleanse me and save me for Jesus' sake." At that moment you are born again; not by flesh, but by the will God. Because we are born again we do go into baptism for this reason: we can be baptized with the Holy Spirit and filled with the Holy Spirit, by Grace and through faith.
God did not save us because we are great.
Please turn to Deuteronomy chapter 7 verse 6. For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Look upon that statement and understand it. God did not select you and I for salvation because we were great or powerful. He selected us because He loved us. When someone does something nice for you because they love you, you have nothing to brag about. There's nothing to brag about even if do you say, "I am a great person." You did not make yourself. You did not build your own brain. You cannot buy more computer boards and put them in your brain. There are a lot of things you cannot do. God loved us. He selected us because he loved us. There's nothing we can do about it.
I heard on a Christian station just a few days ago the following news. It was really tragic. There was a mother who had become pregnant; she and her husband went to her doctor for a check up. They found out that she was going to have twins. Somehow the medical doctors were able to say that one baby was just fine. The other one was suspected of having downs syndrome. This child would be retarded. The mother and father had a conference with each other. They decided to murder the child that could possibly be retarded. They went back to the medical facilities. The doctor went in with a needle and scrambled the brains of the child that might be retarded. They killed the child right in the womb. They left the dead baby in the mother and the other baby was carried to life. Where in the Bible does it say that you and I have the right to make these selections? To take a life. Life belongs to God. In this situation these parents say, "Well, baby one we love and we want to have. Baby two we do not want to have because it would cost us a lot of money. It would be a lot of heartaches. Who wants to have a retarded child to run around with? There's only one option. Kill the child. Did someone ask the child?
My wife and I had the privilege of working with a young lady who had downs syndrome. She was a happy person who was about 30 years old. She accepted Christ and she loved Jesus. She is going to be a joint heir with Jesus Christ. Isn't it cruel to take away someone's life, so that they cannot accept Jesus Christ and be a joint heir with Him?
We now have the opportunity to do surgeries on babies before they are born. Doctors today can even do a heart transplant on a baby that is still in the womb. We have the technology to do all these different kinds of things. Man is now determining who is going to be loved and not loved. This is what I want you to see and understand this morning. God did not select us because we were great. He did not select us because we were marvelous. Some of us have been pretty ugly over the years. He knew that some of us would become alcoholics. Some of us would commit crimes. Some of us would do all kinds of bad things. Here is the love of God. I can see someone down the road who is going to do bad things, so I'm going to kill them now. This is what God says, "I am going to love them. Down the road I'm going to save them and redeem them."
Please turn to Romans chapter 5 verse 5. [Aren't you glad that the Apostle Paul's mother could not go to the abortionist and say, "I don't like the sound of this baby. Will you blow his brain out?" Aren't you very thankful that your mother carried you and gave you life? It is a gift. Babies today cannot take that for granted.]
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, and in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
Look again upon these three points for they are very important. Know and understand, a human being in his sinful state has no value. Salvation is by Grace and through Faith. God did not save us because we are great, but because He loves us.
Knowing this as a mortal creation means HOW DO WE RESPOND TO GOD AND HIS LOVE?
Please turn to Psalms chapter 6 verse 1. [Let's have the Bible teach us how God wants us to respond.] [Before we read this verse I want to share something with you. Twelve or thirteen years ago at the time Resurrection Life of Jesus was being birthed. We were meeting in a home setting. We were praying as we were growing, for a building. One day God spoke to me saying that there was a building available on a certain street on Auburn Boulevard just off the freeway. You may say, "How did God speak to me?" It was in thought, very strongly. I drove down to this particular building. I looked up and there was a large banner on the building. It said for lease and a phone number. In those days I did not have a car phone, so I wrote down the number. I traveled all the way back home and called the number. I talked with a real estate person and they said it was available for lease. An appointment was made to inspect the building. It looked very promising. The real estate person wanted me to meet the owner. Later that day I was introduced to the owner. He was a young man in his early 30s. He is one of the better known builders in our area. He is a multi-millionaire. I did not know the man at that time. We looked at the building and some others. They did not work out to our needs. He made this statement to me: "John, here is what you can do. Go find a building that is an empty shell. I will build a church for you." I thought to myself, "I have heard a lot of hot air before in California." I was confronted with love. I did not believe it. I could not accept it. I had never experienced that kind of love before. I came home to my wife and told her that it did not work out with this builder. He did not have anything for us. He said he would help us out but you know how people are in California-easy come, easy go, no yesterday, no tomorrow. I said, "That is that." The Lord led my wife to find a place. Through her we found a building on Auburn Boulevard in Citrus Heights. We were there for about ten years. It was empty unfinished building. She asked if I was going to call that man? I told her, "Not really; I don't want to call him." The reason I did want to call him was I did not want to be disappointed. I did not want to be let down. She said, "You should call him." I said, "No, I don't want to." Finally, she got me to call him. I called in a lamentable voice. Hello, do you remember me? He said, "Did you find a building?" I said, "Yes, we have a building." He said, "Where is it located?" I gave him address. He said, "I will see you there in 25 minutes." I said, "You will?" He said, "Yes, get over there."
I did not know how to respond. I drove over there and the Devil began his workings. He started to say to me, "He is only going to give you 200 dollars. Maybe he will give you some cement or some wood." He drove up with his fancy car, and all the its gadgetry. He was in his three-piece suit. He got out of his car, looked everything over and said, "This is the place, let's build it. I said, "Really?" He said, "Yes!" He took out a piece of paper. He wrote down some phone numbers. He said, "This is my business manager. Whatever you need tell him; it will be sent to you."
God was using this man to pour out His love but I did not know how to respond. I had never had anyone give me this kind of love, that I had not earned. I never earned that kind of love from this man. I did not know him. He put into this building probably $50,000. All the materials came to build the building, lumber, insulation, painters, everything we needed. One day he called and asked, "How are things going?" I asked, "Why do you do things like this?" He said, "God has called me to build churches. I want to build a place here where people can be saved. I'm not building it for you. I am building it for God."
You and I are not used to having a God that loves us unconditionally. I had to learn to trust in that man. This is what we need to do with God. Trust in our heavenly Father on a daily basis in true repentance.]
O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O Lord, how long? Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake. For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks: I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer. Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.
We have to learn to trust God in that we are forgiven. That we have been washed in the blood. That we have been accepted in the kingdom of God. Walking with Him in repentance. Everyday you and I are going to blow it. Everyday His mercies are there to forgive us.
Please turn to Psalms 90 verse 1. [Make God your spiritual dwelling place.] Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hast formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, you children of men. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
God is our dwelling place. Begin to trust the Lord. If you had a fairly normal fairly life [I have to be careful when say this because there are so many dysfunctional families.] when you were child, after you were done playing outside, you did not have to knock on the door and ask, "May I come in, mother?" You just opened the door and ran into the house. She might scold you if you had dirty shoes. You would kick your shoes off and you didn't go in and sit down at the kitchen table and say, "My dear blessed mother, is it possible for me to open the refrigerator and get a tiny little sandwich.?" No! You just run in and help yourself. It is your home. You live there. You are loved. You have a father and mother. You are secure. It is your dwelling place. When things went wrong in your world, where did you go? YOU WENT HOME! Who did you call on? You called on your mother and your father. You said, "I am hurt." I'm talking here about normal parents. That is the way it should be. This is what God wants us to do. Run to Him and say, "Daddy hug me today. Daddy I need you to wipe away my tears today. Daddy I need to have some spiritual food today. He will not knock you. MAKE GOD YOUR DWELLING PLACE! Be secure in His love. Understand this-God will never turn down his child. He will never leave you or forsake you.
Put all your trust in God. Please turn to Psalms 91 verse 1. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and fortress: my God; in him will I trust. [If you made God your dwelling place He said, " He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." We need to say, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in Him will I trust." How do you think Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, could trust God unless they had made Him their dwelling place. The same with Daniel and the others. God is saying to you and I today, "Trust Him. Let Him be your heavenly Father."] Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that waseth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. [Trust the Lord. Put all your trust in Him. I want you to think back in your life. Everyone of us has had a number of crisis haven't we? Sickness, financial crisis, marriage crisis, all kinds of different crisis. God carried you through. YOU THINK ABOUT THAT! Today you have a place that you can call home, whether you rent or whatever you do. I don't believe there's a person here that doesn't have a bed at home with clean sheets. When you go home today you have a refrigerator with some food in it. If you did not have transportation you would not be here today. God has done so many things for us. Yet the moment there is a crisis we say, "Oh God you can't handle this. God this is out of control." GOD SAYS, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, CHILD? I conceived you. I protected you in the womb. I was with you when you were born. I was with you when you were raised up as a child. I have been with you all these years and you still do not know how to trust Me." He will be with you. When you crossover that border to go home to be with Jesus. He will be with you at that time. Jesus said in the gospel of John, "You shall not see death." Yes your body will die but you will step out of it. You'll not lose consciousness. You'll go from one state to another state and be with the Lord. It is precious. I did not plan on sharing this with you I would like to so that I may show you how we can trust our heavenly Father.
About 15 years ago, there was a lady in our ministry who was coming to our services regularly. She is still on our Board of Directors. Her husband was an alcoholic, a Roman Catholic and unsaved. We tried to witness to him from time to time, but he would just blow me off. He would say, "I don't need this and that." I will never forget the time 15 years ago when the phone rang in the morning. I answered the phone; it was her husband. Her husband said, "John I want to talk with you. I am at the end of my rope." I said, "Fine." We cleared the calendar so that we could pray for him and his wife. About an hour later they came to our home. He walked in. He is a successful businessman, a millionaire. He is a self made man. This morning when he walked in he was not proud. He said, "John, I am an alcoholic. I can't handle alcohol. Will you pray for me?" I said, "We are going to do something better than that. I want to find out, do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and savior?" He said, "Not really." I said, "Let's start with the basics." My wife and I sat at the kitchen table with him and his wife and we led him to Christ. I said to him, "Are you willing to give up the alcohol?" He said, "Yes, I am ." I said, "We are going to throw these demons out." We did what is called a partial deliverance for that particular thing. He never had another drop of liquor after that day. I knew he was saved. Last week he made his final flight. He is now in heaven. He left last week. I thought about the mercy of God. This is what I would like you to understand. When you receive a phone call or when someone comes up to you, it may be the only opportunity for that person to receive Christ. God had been preparing this man for a long time to meet with us. He was not able to come to a church and be saved, because he was too much of a Catholic. Every person is different. Some people are saved in their home, some in their car, some in a parking lot, wherever they are. There is a divine appointment. As I went bed last night we heard the news. I was so happy. I said, "Thank you, Lord. Thank you Father God, that I prioritized that morning." When I received that phone call I didn't say, "We would really like to help you, but we have something else to do now." Instead we took that soul first. Praise God for that. Learn how to trust in your Father. Learn how to trust in Him. Let Him be your shepherd.
Please turn to Psalms chapter 7 verse 8. The Lord shall judge the people: judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me. Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God to trieth the hearts and reins. My defense is of God, which saveth the upright in heart. God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
Learn to trust God to judge you; that is important.
Please turn to Psalms chapter 26 verse 1. [David is speaking here.] Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. For your lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in your truth.
So many of us are afraid. We say, "OH GOD! DON'T JUDGE ME! DON'T JUDGE ME! JUST LOVE ME! If God loves us, HE WILL JUDGE US!" What is judgment from God? It is CORRECTION! God corrects us. Only a bastard is not corrected.
After I was saved I thought I was the hottest potato on the grill. I thought I was the best thing that happened in the world since sliced bread. The world did not know how happy and blessed it could be without John Torell. I was so out of whack in the early years. I can look back now and say, "Thank you, Lord, for judging me." It was in judgment that He corrected me. I will never forget as pastor of Christian life ministries in Carmichael-at that time we had between 200 and 300 people attending-we were an upcoming church. I had looked at the productions of Catholic Christian Center. I thought to myself, "Hey! Move over we're going to have a bigger production then you are having." We had Christmas and Easter productions. I was looking forward to it. We were going to have the biggest spectacle in town. We were going to out shine them all. We had some good stuff, but it was all paganism. Did I know that? No! I was ignorant, in bliss. I was preaching it. You can still hear them; we have them on tape. There's nothing wrong with the sermons except I was into idolatry. God could not speak to me. What did God do? He shut the church down. The church went out of business. I cried my eyes out. I said, "Dear God, what is wrong?" He did not answer me. I said, "God, I want you to judge me, but not that hard. God this is rough!" No answer. We want God to do it painlessly. Discipline is not always painless. Today I am thanking God that He took that church away from me. I thank God on my bare knees many times when I think about it. What if He would said to me, "Alright John, go ahead and run with it. I will let you go with the rest of them. You could have a 5000 to 10,000 group; go for it." You would not be able to talk to me today. My head would've been as big as a bushel basket. I would've had bodyguards all-around me. I would've been driving a limousine with tinted glass. I would've come in the back door when the congregation was in. I would have walked upon the platform thinking that I was the best thing that ever happened to them. You could not have touched me. God simply said, "We are not going to go that route." He cut my wings down. Have you ever seen a chicken with it's wings cut? It will spin in circles. That is the way I was. I said, "GOD, WHY DID YOU CUT MY WINGS SO MUCH?" He said, "I am going to slow you down." I don't want to be slowed down Lord. I want comfort. I am having comfort now. I'll never forget when we started another church. I was determined to have idolatry in the church. One day a lady walked in after our service. She came up to me and gave me a little green book titled THE TRUTH ABOUT CHRISTMAS. It is the same one we sell in our bookstore. It was only two chapters at that time. She said, "Pastor John, will you read this book?" I said, "No, not really. That looks like pain to me." I took it home and laid it down. My wife read it. She has insight. She said, "John you should read this." I said, "I don't have time." Translation, I don't want to. So guess where the book ended up? In the bath room. It's the place where we all have to go every day. There it was laying there looking at me. I picked it up to one day and God said, "Now let's talk." I thank God for that. As we go through different things don't whine or cry. Give God glory and say, "Praise God! Alleluia, I am not a bastard. He is working with me. I am learning something." He is perfecting us. TRUST HIM!
Know and understand your position as a human being who has been redeemed, born again and given eternal life with Christ.
Please turn to Psalms chapter 8 verse 3. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and suckling's hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightiest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
Think about that. What is man that you are mindful of him? If you have ever been outside at night, laid down on the ground and looked up at the stars and think about the vastness of the universe, the vastness of God, how big he is? I'm thinking about how he did all this, where you have five billion people plus, going around like ants and God knows you by name. Not only does He know your name but He has angels counting your hair, every day. YOU THINK ABOUT THAT! This is how much God loves us. Jesus said that.
Please turn to second Corinthians chapter 5 verse 17. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (Verse 16) Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
We have a new beginning. We have a new life. We have been redeemed, ministered to, washed in the blood, filled with the Holy Spirit, sanctified by Jesus Christ. Know and understand your position as a human being who his been redeemed, born again and given eternal life in Christ. Begin to praise God for that. Thank Him for it.
Please turn to Psalms chapter 18 verse 1. [When someone belittles you tell them this: I am a joint heir with Jesus Christ. You can become one too. Do you know what I tell people when they tell me to go to hell? (Have you ever had anyone tell that?) I say, "No! I am going to heaven. Don't curse me. I am not going to the hot place. Do you want to go with me? I can tell you how to get there." When someone calls and you hear them say, "JESUS CHRIST!" I say to them, "What, are you a believer?" It shakes them up. They say, "What do you mean?" I just heard you use the Lord Jesus Christ's name. Are you born again? They get it. You have to be on your toes. Know who you are.] I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
I will love you, oh Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock. I want you to understand something here. A lot of people say, "When I feel there is a heart attack coming or something like that, I will start seeking the Lord." There will not be any time. This brother in Christ whom I just mention to you, he died in his bathroom. He went in to take care of a cut on his arm. It was a normal morning after breakfast. His wife was out shopping. He walked into that room and did not know that it was the time that God was going to call him. That is where he was found laying on the floor behind the door. He had made Jesus his rock. You do not know when you are going to go. This is why it is so wonderful to know that it doesn't matter where you are. When the day comes, the Lord is my rock and my salvation. We sang this morning' whom shall I fear.' He is my strength, in whom I will trust, my buckler, and the horn of my salvation and my high tower I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, so shall I be saved from mine enemies. They enemy is Satan, death and others. Make God the rock of your life. Begin to proclaim it.
Rest in God's love and His plan for your life.
Please turn to the gospel of Luke chapter 1 verse 26. [We don't speak much of Mary the mother Jesus. There are some things we have to hand to her. She was a woman of faith.] And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. [She was engaged but they were not together. She never had sex with her husband.] And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that are highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. [How old was Mary? She was probably about 16 years old. The angel walked up to this teenager and said you are blessed.] And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. [Have you ever seen verse No. 30? Fear not Mary for you have found favor with God. God is saying the same thing to you and I. FEAR NOT! You have found favor with God, God has saved you. He selected you. He searched you out. He says, "I love you." You have found favor in the eyes of God. This is a nice verse to know.] And, be hold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? [If you do not have a good biblical background you may not understand this passage. Back then they had a what is called arranged marriages. Mary and Joseph were married when they were children. They lived apart. The Law said in Israel at that time if a girl had been engaged to a man through the parents, if she became pregnant before they came together by someone else, she was sentenced to death. It was an automatic death sentence. They would take the girl outside and stone her. How could Mary come to Joseph and say, "Something funny happened to me today. The Holy Ghost talked to me, an angel was here and I am pregnant." How many boyfriends would believe that? And say, "Oh, isn't that nice." How many parents would believe that? This was the situation for Mary. She had to have a lot of faith.] Verse 35, And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. [We like that verse, For with God nothing is impossible.] And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to they word. And the angel departed from her. [She simply said, "I surrender, I accept it, I believe it." At that point she believed that she would not be stoned, that she would not be killed and executed.] Verse 46, And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for behold, from hence forth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
Mary had faith. That is why God selected her. This is how God wants you and I to respond-to be content with what God has given us. The task is before us-our lives. We say to God, "This is a bum wrap. I want to live in another place, another generation. I want more money or less money. I want this, that and the other thing. I want a different wife. I want a different husband. I want new children." BE CONTENT WITH WHAT YOU HAVE! Begin to praise God for what you have. Build upon the things you have making them into something beautiful. There is a song that we sing here called HE GAVE ME BEAUTY FOR ASHES. God wants us to respond to his love, with praise and worship.
Please turn to Psalms 23 verse 1. [Make him your shepherd.] The Lord is my shepherd; [David said this. David, a man who had murdered, committed adultery, cheated, lied, stolen, played mentally sick, he walked in forgiveness. He asked God to forgive him. He said' "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want." This is what you and I need to meet the devil with when he tries to discourage us. When you feel everything is crashing down around you, say] "The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths o righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. [Where is God going to feed you? In the midst of your enemies. In the turmoil. In the destruction. Where everyone runs and raves around you, that is where God's table is-where He will feed you, meal after meal. Everyone will see you feasting with the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord!] Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I want to call out names today, but I won't embarrass you. I want to say, "Hey man, you are going to dwell forever in the house of the Lord. What is the big deal." The Lord is your shepherd. I shall not want. This is the way we should respond to God's love. To begin to yield yourself to God. Let the Holy Spirit lead you 24 hours a day. Ask God to bless you.
Please turn to Psalms chapter 103 verse 1. [We are to bless the Lord. We are to remember what He has done. Look at His grace and mercy. God removed all your sins. God is in the process of healing you now. Walk in His commandments.] Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me , bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; [David is saying to his soul, start praising Him. Let's begin to believe God. As I opened up my sermon today about that builder, I did not believe him. I was very cautious with him. I was short with him. I didn't want to be hurt. I had to learn that he meant business. He had integrity. I have met too many people who did not have integrity. That's the problem we have with God. We have met so many people that have been flakes. There have been too many broken promises. GOD IS FAITHFUL! He will not let us down. Let us bless Him. Let us praise Him.] He redeems our life from destruction. He crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies. Who satidfieth your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppresed. He made known his ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth has children, so the Lord pitith them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. [This Psalm is the most fantastic antidote against depression that you can find. We need to begin to read it, speak it, proclaim it, and to live it. We come to the end. Look what God writes. We have another song. Praise Him in the morning, praise Him in the noon time and so forth. Praise God in the morning means early in your life. Praise Him at the noon time; not only in the middle of the day but in the middle of your life. Praise Him in the evening-that is when you are getting older. Praise Him in good times. Praise Him in bad times. Praise you the Lord. This is what God wants. How does God want you to respond to Him? WITH PRAISES! THANKSGIVING! WORSHIP!
Please turn to Psalms chapter 9 verse 1. I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; [That is your soul.] I will shew forth all they marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. [Do you know what that does in the spirit world? When you just received some bad news, about your job, your car, about all different things, Satan has sent down a horde of demons to torment you with gloom and doom. They have the funeral home music playing for you. Suddenly they hear someone saying, "PRAISE THE LORD! GLORY TO GOD!" Those demons scatter. They get splitting headaches. They run. They say to the devil, "It back fired. They are praising God." The devil says, "Afflict them some more. Hit them the second time."]
Please turn to Psalms chapter 98 verse 1. [First you knock the demons out with Psalms nine, then you get them with Psalms 98, right smack in the kisser.] O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. The Lord hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly showed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. [Make what?] MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE UNTO THE LORD, ALL THE EARTH: MAKE A LOUD NOISE, AND REJOICE, AND SING PRAISE. Sing unto the Lord with a harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.
This is how God wants us to respond. Look in Psalms 100. It doesn't say all the people that have perfect pitch lineup. He says, "Make a joyful noise." That means me. I can sing. Praise God! I can make joyful noise unto the Lord. I don't have to say, "Well, sorry I can't sing harmony. I do not know how to sing parts." I can sing, GLO--RY ALLELUIA! MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE ONTO THE LORD ALL THE LANDS! Serve the Lord with what? GLADNESS! COME BEFORE HIS PRESENCE WITH SINGING!
My God richly bless you is my prayer.