THIS WEEKS MESSAGE
"The Mind and
Character of God"
This message is
available on audiocassette from our Book Store
March 8, 1998
How God Deals with His Servants, Paul the Apostle
Let's go back 2,000 years to Israel, the Roman Empire where Paul lived. There was no electricity at that time. The only electricity available at that time was through lightning. A house in those days did not have plumbing or running water. They did not even have glass for their windows, as we know it today. The windows were covered with sheets. People worked while the sun was up and when it was dark they slept. They did have small oil lamps that produced about as much light as a small candle. They did not know that there was oil in the ground. The oil they used in their lamps was olive oil. Life was very simple then. They did not have toothbrushes or toothpaste. They didn't even have showers. A person would bathe maybe once a year in the summertime when they could go to the river or to a lake. The norm was not to bathe. The American medical society in the last century said if you take a bath, it is dangerous to your health. That was the consensus at that time. The only way to obtain water was to get it from a well. They did not have modern bathrooms, as we know it today. The sewage system was open ditches. They did not have refrigerators. Every day they would go to the market and purchase what they wanted to eat for that day. They did not have stores, as we know it today. There were open-air markets where they would buy their produce. The meat they ate was slaughtered every day.
They also did not have hospitals. If someone would get ill they would use herbs to try and heal the sick. On the other hand people were not that sick in those days. The reason being they ate good food. They ate whole grains and fresh vegetables. Their water was pure they also had some sour wine, milk and honey. They did not have vitamin stores because they did not need them. Life was very simple. They did not even have a newspaper, radios or television. There were not even any telephones. The way they communicated was with messengers. He would come in to town say what had to be said and left it to the people to spread the news. This was a very simple society. Half the people living on earth at that time were slaves.
Something to think about. God wrote the book to a society that was more primitive than we are when we go camping today. Yet the word of God is timeless. It is timeless. It is so divinely inspired that it fits every century, even our complicated society of today.
God is interested in two things. Your relationship with Him and your relationship with other people.
Turn to Exodus, chapter 20 verse 1. "And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."
God is speaking here, as He gives his 10 commandments. This is how you treat Me. This is how you treat your fellow man on this earth. This is what God is interested in, your relationship with Him and your relationship with one another. At the time of Christ there was no pornography. It did not exist. There weren't any cameras. There was no video equipment. Everything that has been invented or discovered has been turned into evil, instead of making it a blessing.
At the time of Christ the people believed that the earth was flat. They did not believe that the earth was round. They felt if they sailed too far out unto the ocean they would fall off and disappear. This belief stayed in existence until about 1600 AD. There still are some people who think the earth is flat. This society still exists in England.
A person's life is divided into segments. What God is concerned about is our personal life, our everyday living, including human relationships.
Turn to Matthew, chapter 6 verse 25. "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?"
Let's go back to the time when Jesus is speaking. The society was primitive. There were three types of people living. The rich and famous, the free labor class and the slaves. At the time of Christ most people did not know how to read and write. That's why you'll find in the Bible people called Scribes. To be able to read and write was a profession all by itself. These people were well paid. There were lawyers also in those days. Lawyers have always been around. There were about 30,000 people that followed Jesus. They did not have automobiles to worry about but they had horses and donkeys. They did not have televisions to worry about but they had families, gardens and land outside of the city. The people that followed Jesus were intrigued because they saw that he had power. He could heal those that were sick. That was a wonderful commodity if you did not have a hospital or medical doctors. Could you imagine how exciting it was to go to Jesus and he would heal even leperse. He would even raise people from the dead. No wonder they loved Him. All this was free. They did not have HMO's in those days, it was called, talk to God. These people were just like you and I. They wanted all the best things that they could have in life. They wanted their children to have the better things in life. They did not know that Jesus was the Son of God. They did not know that he came to this earth on a divine mission. His work on earth would be eternal that would benefit every person who would ever live on this earth. They did not understand this. All they knew was that they had a job and they had to go do it, five days a week. They have bills to pay and they want to buy extra things for the family. Jesus proclaimed to these people, that He knew they had to live their everyday life. If you to go to Jerusalem today and look for the property and homes of the people that lived during Jesus time you will not find it. It is gone. Even their donkeys are gone. Everything that was dear and precious to that generation is today nothing but dust. What is left? Is there anything left? YES! What they put into the kingdom of God. We are reading Matthew and Matthew's house is gone. Everything is gone that Matthew had. 2000 years after Matthew we still read the gospel of Matthew, John, Mark and Luke. The labor made by these men and others has lasted for over 2000 years. The rich people that lived at that time are all gone. They are dust. Their belongings have evaporated. As you look at what you have just heard do a survey on your own personal life. Your everyday living, including human relations, is not a priority. It is something we have so that we can function on this earth. No wonder Jesus proclaimed that we are much better than fowls of the earth. Something they did not mention is that in Jesus time they did not have electrical ovens or microwaves. Everything was cooked on an open fire or fireplace.
Matthew, chapter 6 verse 27. "Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
If you can, for a moment, try to think like Jesus. He had memories of how it was when He was in heaven. He is the creator. As Jesus walked on the earth He saw how man labored so hard and lived in a crude house. He saw the King living in his crude Palace. Jesus may have said to himself, "King you are living in a dump. King you know nothing." The generations to come will call your Palace an out-house or a dump. If you compare what we have here today to what it is like in heaven we would say that we are living in a dump. Jesus never put anyone down. He did not say to the people, don't you know you're walking on top of oil? Do you know what electricity is? Jesus could have used his divine understanding and brought in technology that would've been far more advanced than what we have today. Jesus did not come into this earth to bring in technology. He came to bring in a knowledge of relationships. On earth life is not a life of getting more. It is a life of getting saved, to be disciples, so that we can grow spiritually and to bring others to Christ.
As you read the Bible you'll find that angels came down from heaven in every generation. It is obvious when we read the Bible that these angels had technology that surpassed any knowledge here on the earth. Never once did an angel say, let me give you technology so that you can build something better. They never did and neither did Jesus.
In 1948 from the demonic world the plan was given and was allowed by God where demonic entities released a technology that has been slowly put into our society. It has changed everything in our society, beginning in 1948. I will not go into detail about it at this time, but everything that we do electronically, construction, computers we did not have prior to 1948. After that date we took a thousand year leap. We went from Stone Age technology to super age technology. This was predicted in the book of Daniel. This technology is going to use by the anti-Christ system to control the earth. With all of it he cannot do it. In the meantime we benefit from this technology. Jesus wants you and I to have a personal relationship with Him and to have relationships with other people. That is our personal life.
Turn to Hebrews, chapter 5 verse 5. "So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. 11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
God wants spiritual growth. The people living at the time of Christ were no different than you and I. They were looking for the Messiah. They were looking for prophetic things. At one time they took Jesus by force and tried to make Him the Messiah. This happened when they said, "Let us throw out the Romans." Who were the Romans? They were nasty people who occupied the land. They taxed the people severely and the system was unfair. The people were oppressed. Jesus could have very easily done away with the Romans. He could have established the kingdom of God at the time. This is what the people wanted. Jesus, said, "No! My kingdom is not of this world." Instead, Jesus wanted to give his life on Calvary, so that every generation could be saved regardless of technology or who ruled. Kingdoms come and kingdoms go but God remains. This does not mean that we should not be involved in civic duties. The primary focus in our lives should be to grow spiritually after you are saved. As spiritual giants the world will be changed. The testimony we heard today fits into this category. It is that we will live Christian lives on a daily basis. This is how we impact people and they are able to see that there is spiritual growth in our lives. If you would examine the average church today you would find that the people have not changed from the day that they were saved. They did not grow spiritually. They did not grow beyond salvation. There are great numbers of people in these churches. What they actually are, are huge nurseries. These are mega-nurseries three or five thousand members. There is a huge staff to run these nursery to entertain and make these people feel good so that they will think that they are worship God. What is the fruit or production of these people? There is none. Nothing is ever made in a nursery. Visit a nursery school or preschool and you'll not find anything being manufactured there. What happens there is the children are entertained. The caretakers tried to teach them a few things. GOD WANTS SPIRITUAL GROWTH. A lot of us do not want spiritual growth because with spiritual growth comes responsibility. The thought is, if I don't know I'm not responsible. God wants spiritual growth.
Turn to Hebrews, chapter 6 verse 1. "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment."
Turn to First Corinthians, chapter 2 verse 9. "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
What is the typical activity in a nursery? There is feeding of juices and crackers. There's also a lot of crying because someone has taken another child's toy. So the worker has to wipe the tears away and comfort the child. The child will be happy for a short time until something else happens. This is the same thing that happens in our churches. For some reason the devil walks around stealing everyone joy. It doesn't take much to bring our joy level down. It may be a phone call or a letter. One day you are giving glory to God but the next day your joy is gone. All because someone said something. The tragedy is that we are focusing on earthly things that really doesn't matter all that much. We need to focus on spiritual things. Know that when you focus on Jesus Christ things will work out. So what if you are sick. If you can get over your grief and sorrow your body will heal. Many people need their bodies to be healed but first they need their souls to be healed. When you express to them that they need to release their burdens the response is, "I cannot do that. I will not be able to worry anymore. I always worry. My family is a worrisome family. That is our trademark. We are worry warts."
1Co 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 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. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." [Spiritual growth, God is concerned. He wants us to grow up and be mature.]
Service in God's kingdom.
Turn to Luke, chapter 9 verse 23. "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
Friday night as we were here, the door Bell rang and a lady stood at the door with a baby in a basket and a toddler standing by her side. She asked if she could use our telephone. She explained that her car had broke down. We said she could our telephone. She called everyone she could think of but no one was available to help her. Being that I was so tired because of the long workday I did not feel up to transporting anyone. But we offered to take her home anyway. She was most thankful. In our conversation she expressed that she was looking for a church. I expressed that maybe it was God's away of having her find us by having her car break down by our door. She did not respond to that statement. We gave her some information about a church and we transported her home. We never know when God is going to have us help others.
Lu 9:24 "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? Lu 9:26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels."
We are always on call to minister to those in need. Whether it me to minister to someone in the community or take care of the something that our church facility. Service in God's kingdom is at His will not when it is convenient for us. God is looking for men and women that will serve.
Lu 9:57 "And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God."
What did Jesus mean here? The custom at the time of Jesus was that the oldest son would not leave the home until the father died. It could then be many years before this person's father would have died. The fellow wanted to wait until his father died before he would follow Jesus. Today is the day that God is calling us.
Lu 9:61 "And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. Lu 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Think about this. Jesus had 3 1/2 years to present the gospel. He selected His apostles, the 70 others, the women and He had to train them. He knew that in three and a half years they had to make it on their own. He only had three and a half years to build His church. He started with 30,000 people in Galilee. On the day of Pentecost it was down to one hundred and twenty, minus Judas who betrayed Him. On the day of Pentecost something happened. The Holy Ghost came down upon the one hundred and twenty. They were baptized in fire. These people were changed forever. These were no longer spineless men and women. They were fearless, powerful and unmovable. They lost interest in their businesses, land and everything. They had a desire to go out and tell a dying world that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. God is still looking for men and women like this. Not everyone went out but they were all united in an effort. Everything else that happened on earth at that time in Israel is gone. The sports, entertainment, artists, these things and people are gone. They are forgotten and not thought of anymore. One thing we still have on this earth and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I challenge today.
SUFFERING FOR CHRIST, if you want to follow Jesus, there is suffering. It is guaranteed.
Turn to Matthew, chapter 10 verse16. "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. 21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. 24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?" [There is suffering.]
When my wife and I accepted the Lord we thought we were on Glory Street. We thought that everyone that took the name of Jesus would love us and everyone else. We began to work in the church. We found out after six months that there are church fights. I could not believe it. I said, "Dear God, the bottom is falling out. All these people are Saints and they are fighting among themselves like mad dogs." God sustained us. I remember being in the seminary. I thought that I was going to preach the gospel and change the world. We took four months off to go overseas and have crusades. We had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. There were tremendous things happening overseas. People were healed, miracles were happening. People received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. They spoke in tongues and prophesied. It was glorious. We cannot wait to get back to the seminary and tell them the good news. When we returned we were doused with cold water. I was told that they wanted to expel me from the seminary because they said, "We do not believe in the Holy Ghost. We do not believe in what you are doing. We cannot have this going on." I could not believe that a professor who spoke so eloquently in our chapel time could be so mean and write in my file that I was unfit for service. Black ball him. I could not believe that this was happening. Four years later I found out that anyone that sought counsel from me was told that I was one of the most dangerous people on the earth. No details were given but they were told not to go near me. I remember two years after my graduation from the seminary when I forced the issue. I met with a professor with a couple of other men and ask them how they man speak lies about me who is supposed to be a man of God? He stood in front of me speechless. I did not know that there was suffering when you came to Christ. I didn't know that people would treat you cruelly. I have been called all kinds of different names and given different labels. Through all of this I have relied on the words of my master, "It is enough for the disciple to be as his master." Jesus was ridiculed and so will we be. There is a suffering for Christ and I take it. I know that one day there will be a crown. We have to learn to suffer for Christ.
Turn to Matthew, chapter 22 verse 1. "And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things [are] ready: come unto the marriage. 5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them."
This is how the kingdom of God is. People do not have eternal values. They were simply more interested in their farms, their merchandise, and the animals than to come to the King of Kings.
Mt 22:7 "But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen." [Eternal values]
When I came to this country I came here to make money. God saved me. My goal was to collect and to accumulate what I could but God showed me that it is all dust. It is all vanity. It will all be destroyed. Our thoughts should be upon eternal values.
Something happened to me this week as I was doing some printing. For six years I've been trying to complete one of my study books. This week we printed the first three chapters. As I watched the pages being printed I was reading them. This thought came to me. This is a legacy that I am leaving behind for the next century. It is a production of all the things that God has taught me over the past 30 years. This has been written down and processed. People will read this material in the next century that will be saved. It could be even longer after I have left this planet. I realized if there was any fruit in my life that God had planned for me it was this material that I was seeing printed. The truth cannot produce fruit until it is mature. It takes years before a tree can mature and produce fruit. I wanted to this work years ago but I was not ready. Now I can do it.
I want to ask you a question. What type of eternal values are you working on? What kind of legacy are you leaving behind?
We have a couple that came into our church about eight years ago. The husband bought the study book number one before we sold out. He gave it to his wife and she read it. Through that book she gave her life to Christ. We're ministering in other ways also but as we come together here today, what are our eternal values? What are you going to leave behind? A home that is paid for, vehicles, some belongings or are you going to invest yourself in people? Are you going to invest yourself in the kingdom of God? So when you are gone from this earth the gospel will continue. You will have led someone to Christ who will in turn lead someone to Christ and the chain will continue. What are your eternal values?
Let's look at the five points I have covered; Personal life-every day living including human relations, Spiritual growth, Service in God's kingdom, Suffering for Christ and Eternal values. We do have our every day living but that should not be our main concern. Are we growing spiritually? How is our service in God's kingdom? Have you suffered for Christ? What are your eternal values? God is speaking to us today. He wants us to make a decision to either live unto ourselves or to live for him.
My God richly bless you, is my prayer