THIS WEEKS MESSAGE
THE MIND AND CHARACTER OF GOD
Is presented to you by
Pastor John S. Torell from his home church
Your responses and comments are
8 February 1998
Last week we talked about how God does not change his characteristics, there are no other gods and that God did not create evil. Evil was born when Lucifer of his own will decided to sin. I also made this statement, "When we sin, evil is created at that very moment. Evil is created just like other things are created. More evil is created when man sins. God does not want us to mix with evil and we are to reject all evil."
Turn to Genesis, chapter 3 [What we are going to deal with today is: God, is a God, of judgment, of love and mercy. God has these characteristics, judgment, law, and mercy. Think about this. When we get anxious or nervous and things are not going our way God created us and is sustaining us. God is going to bring us home after this life is over. Do you know what that means? It means that the responsibility of creating us, saving us, keeping us, and bringing us home, is God's responsibility. I can throw a temper tantrum out in the parking lot, cry and run around but it will do me no good. A lot of us Christians are turkeys. I say that for this reason. A turkey does not know that it is too heavy to fly. When we get anxious or nervous we are saying that God is not in control. He is not able to stabilize the situation. There is going to be a panic attack and something is wrong. Then God says, "Go right ahead and have a tantrum. When you are done we will have a talk." Some people come back after ten or fifteen years. Some people come back after a few minutes. Do you know the definition of the word worry? The Swedish definition of the word, worry, is, sawing sawdust. It is very effective. You can saw in sawdust all day but you will not go anywhere. God is upholding his law today.
Turn to Genesis, chapter 3 verse 9. "And the Lord called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou was naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commended thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." Notice how God is moving on down the line. He went from the man to the woman and then to the snake. The snake has no one to blame. "And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:" The serpent or snake was cursed. God said, "You are going to blame it on the woman." He went from the woman to the snake and pronounced judgment on to the snake. Then he moved back and said, Here is what I'm going to do. "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; and it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heal." [God did not say that there would be enmity between the seed of Adam and the seed of the serpent. He said, "The seed of the woman." This is significant and I have had some people challenge me on this. The woman's egg carries no blood. The man's sperm carries the blood. If you open up a chicken egg that has been fertilized you'll find that there is a small spec of blood in it. Why did God say this? Because who is Jesus? Jesus was not the son of Joseph. Joseph, was His stepfather. Who is the father of Jesus Christ? It is the Holy Ghost. What do we read in Matthew 1:20? It says, "That Mary was told that the Holy Ghost overshadowed her and she shall become great with child by the Holy Ghost." It says that Joseph never knew her or had sexual contact with Mary until she gave birth to Jesus. What did Mary give? She gave an egg, which gives the bones and the flesh, the blood. The blood that was in Jesus was divine. It came from the Holy Spirit. In Matthew, here is the first gospel message where God says there is going to be war between you and the woman. Between the seed and the serpent and the seed of the woman. Who is that seed? Singular, it is Jesus the Messiah. The seed of the woman shall bruise your head. In other words, the head of the serpent. You shall bruise his heel. This is the first thing God said. Verse 16. "And Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat out it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it was thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shall thou return. And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them."
Notice here that God is not sentimental. God knew before He had created Adam and Eve that they would fall. He had already made the provision.
If you are a sentimental parent you will actually destroy your child. What will happen is you will pamper your child. You will try to cushion things instead of trying to deal with the root problem. Let's say God would have been sentimental. He would have said, "Adam, how could you do that?" "Well God, you know how it is, this woman she seduced me." God could have said, "Eve, why do you do things like that." "It was that snake over there." God could have said, "I know the snake is rotten. We will work this out somehow. You can stay." If God had said this, it would have meant two things for us. We would have been forever trapped in sinful bodies. We would have never been able to be forgiven of our sins. If they had stayed in the garden they would have eaten of the tree of life. Verse 22. "And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned in every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."
After the flood the tree of life was gone. If God would have been sentimental like you and I, if He would have allowed them to stay in the garden they would have eaten of the tree of life and they would have never died. Their offspring would have never died. You and I would never die and we would be stuck on this planet forever or some other place in our sinful bodies. Think about this. You can read in First Corinthians where Paul says, "We have to put off this earthly body." We have to drop this body. I thank God that someday yours and my body will give out someday. I would rather have an eternal body that is righteous through Christ where I can live in heaven for eternity than have a physical body and never be redeemed from sin.
Here is what happened to the Angels. God had no redemption for the fallen Angels. When they fell, they were stuck. But God had a plan for us. God upheld his law. You sin; you are out of the garden.
Turn to Genesis chapter 18 verse 17. "And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he had spoken of him. And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Preadventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?"
You can read the rest of the chapter how Abraham bargained with God.
Verse 32. "And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: preadventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. And the Lord went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place."
In Gen. chapter 19 verse 24 God did not find ten righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah. "Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he over threw those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord: And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace."
If you travel to this area you can actually see the destruction today. The sand at places melted and became as glass. That whole Valley is a wasteland. God said, I will not tolerate this anymore: He had spoken. Abraham came in and asked God for mercy. He interceded. God said, "Yes! If I find ten righteous men there I will spare them."
Why do you think that America has been spared so far? America has been spared because of the righteous people living for Jesus Christ. Not because of our military might. Not because of our political might. It is because God is merciful and because He has enough righteous people here. So He has spared us. God is upholding His law. If you read this story you will find that Lot's daughters went out and talked to their husbands. They tried to persuade the families to flee and get out of the city. They laughed at them! God, is not mocked! Judgment came and it was too late for them to repent. God does uphold His law.
Think about this. You are His child. You are in an automobile accident. At that moment you realize you have lost all control and there are powers greater than yourself. You are at the mercy of these powers. As we drive our automobiles, God has given us traffic laws for our safety. Let's say you are a child of the King and you are filled with the Holy Ghost. For some reason you become a little bit careless. You're not thinking. You're going little bit too fast. The road is a little wet and hit someone. In His is mercy God will cushion us. But God will not hold back that accident. Because God's laws are in effect. Gravity works. The law of speed works. We have to learn to operate within God's parameters.
Turn to Matthew, chapter 5 verse 17. "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." [Law here means Torah. This is the Hebrew word for the five books of Moses.] "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and to teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
It is very, very important that you and I understand that if God will not uphold His laws we will move into chaos. We can function because we know that gravity will be the same tomorrow as it is today. We can function in life today because we know God's physical and spiritual laws will be the same until Jesus comes back. We can trust them. They are protection for us. This is part of God's character. He will uphold His laws as long as the earth stands, until Jesus comes back. This is why we can have confidence that insulation over electrical wires will protect us. But without insulation over those wires we will get hurt. Is that good or is that bad? It is good because by having electrical laws, physical laws and chemical laws we can create things and they can function. If we did not have any laws we could not make anything. Nothing would have integrity. There would be constant change. God, is a God of law and order. He upholds His creation.
Turn to the Genesis, chapter 2 verse 15. God expects his creation to follow His laws. "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." That was a law! It was kept. God did not change it. Adam and Eve died spiritually the day they ate of that fruit. A thousand years later their physical bodies died. God expects his creation to follow His laws.
Come with me to a parachute factory. You are working there. Your job is to put together parachutes for the military. If you make a mistake, you don't die. The one who uses the parachute will die. You are told that this is the place where you make no mistakes. Another person will work on the same parachute to make sure that you have made no mistakes. When you have to have something that is 100 percent perfect you need to have at least 2 or 3 people working on it. Even then there are mistakes at times. A paratrooper will check out his parachute. He is counting on you, the production worker and the inspector to produce a parachute that will work when he jumps out of an airplane. That it will protect him from smashing into the ground. This is how God wants us to work in everything. It is when we ask, Father, God, help us to be obedient. Help me Lord to not be rebellious.
I shared with you some years ago about the DC-10 that was produced in Los Angeles. In the design of this plane there was a very large bolt that held the engine on. It was calculated the bolt could be installed upside down. There was a foreman working in the plant who was rebellious. He said, "That is stupid. I have worked on planes for years. We never put a bolt upside down. They go right side up." He overruled the specs and put the bolt in the way he wanted. A couple of years later 300 people plus paid for it with their lives in Japan when the back section of the plane fell off. The bolt had been sheered off. All these people died because of this foreman. This is the spirit of man, rebellion. REBELLION! IT IS MY WAY BECAUSE I KNOW BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE! More than 300 people died because this man was rebellious. Every time you and I break God's laws someone has to pay. Something happens in the kingdom of God. God expects us to obey his laws.
Turn to First Samuel, chapter 15 verse 22. "And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifice, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being King."
Think about this. King Saul became rebellious. He said, "It does not matter that much." How many people have to pay for the sins of Saul? His sons, his grandchildren, his great-grandchildren. The family of Saul was removed from the kingdom of Israel. God moved in the house of David. David came into the line of the Messiah. The whole family of Saul lost out spiritually and physically because of Saul's sin.
Each one of us has picked up our own sins. Every one of us has picked up problems created by our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, people in our blood line as far back as 200 to 300 years ago. One of these people made the wrong decision, brought a curse upon the family and it has been in the family all these years until we finally come to Christ. We recognize our authority in Jesus, we break the curses, we destroy and we break free. Think about yourself when you were a child, the things that happened in your family when you were a child. You did not asked for those things to happen. The things that happened to you during your childhood shaped your life, for better or for worse. Praise God for Jesus Christ, who can come in, forgive and do a restoration. Can you imagine how different your life would be if you would have come from a family that was God fearing and God-obeying? We would have had a flying start. There may be some of you that have come from families like that. Do you understand why it is so important that you and I live like this today so that we can give our children the right start? God expects obedience!
Turn to Luke, chapter 15 verse 11. [God is not a socialist. Socialism is not of God. Here is the reason why. God is compassionate but not a socialist. What is socialism? First it is based upon humanism. It is based upon going to the lowest possible denominator. That is, instead of having people excel, it has people lower themselves so that everyone is the same. It is not in the Bible. God, allows man to make a choice.] "And he said, a certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. [God is not sentimental. The father knew very well that his son was to waste his inheritance. God did not hinder the son. The son wanted the richest. God said, "You can have them." God will give us a choice. When God gives us a choice He also gives us the right to fail. Socialism does not give us the right to fail. They always pick you up. It is called a safety net. God says this, "You make a choice and when it is the wrong one you have the right to fail." What happened to this young man?] And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in the land; and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him."
Understand this. God allowed this man to the fail. It is only when we fail do we recognize that we need a savior. If God, the Father, had been sentimental he would have said to his oldest son, "Look your brother is not fairing too well. Let's send him care packages. Let's send him some money. We have to keep that boy afloat." God did not say that. He wanted that man to sink to the bottom. It is only at the bottom that we look up and say, "Father, God, I need to repent." As long as we have money and resources we will not repent. This is where a lot of people are. As long as their demon is being fed they will not repent. God will allow men to fail.
God will not restore a person until that person repents.
Verse 17. "And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and say unto him, Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants."
Restoration cannot come before repentance. Here's what happens in socialistic programs. They try to educate. They try to reason with people. They try to move them into better neighborhoods. Their sin problem is still with them. Unless you deal with the sin problem, the person is still the same. God is not going to move until he sees repentance. It must be genuine repentance. There's something called a fox-whole repentance. "Oh, God, save me from this and I will serve You the rest of my life." God bails them out and they say, "That was a close one. I'm not going to serve God." When God sees true repentance He will restore.
Verse 20. "And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion [not sentimentality], and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father I have sinned against Heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called by son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry."
When God forgives, He forgives. There must the repentance first.
What happens if we do restoration before there is repentance? We create a monster. I'm sure you have seen them. We need to pray that God will give them repentance.
You and I have a chance to make a choice. We are also given the chance to fail. God will also restore. That means everyday we will make decisions.
Some time ago we had some laws past concerning no-fault insurance. Is this fair? I've decided that I do not want to carry auto insurance. You are faithful in paying your insurance premiums, even though you do not have a lot of money. In order to do this you purchase less groceries and clothing. You cut back so that you can be responsible. Here I come. I haven't paid my premiums so do not have auto insurance. I use my money to purchase extra food and clothing and have a good time. You and I may meet some day on the street by an accident. You have worked hard to pay for your automobile and now it is totaled out. I greet you and say, "Sorry I have no insurance." How does God look upon this situation? Is God going to look down and say, "This person has absolutely no responsibility and this person is responsible? So I'm going to make the responsible person pay for the irresponsible one." God does not think that way. God is going to extract something. If I'm not responsible and waste my time and energies and years, I can never come later on and say when I'm 65 " I want a larger social security. I want just as much as this guy is getting." That man spent his time well. He did not waste it. He was very prudent. While this other person wasted all of his life.
Socialism says this, "Let's help the one that does not want to help himself. Let's take from the responsible people and give to those who are not responsible, so that they can continue to be irresponsible." This is what happens so often in our welfare situation. God's kingdom does not work this way. In God's kingdom he will allow us to fail but God will hold us responsible.
Turn to Jonah, Chapter 3 verse 1. [God is merciful when people repent.] " And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great City, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great City of three days journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown."
If you look upon the character of Jonah you'll find that he did not want Nineveh to repent. He wanted them to be destroyed. Something happened in verse 5. The people in Nineveh were the cruelest people living on the earth at the time. These people now believe God because of Jonah's preaching. "So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the King of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd or flock, taste anything: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands." [King recognized how evil they were.] "Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?" [Good news in verse 10.] "And God saw their works, that they turned from the evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly and he was very angry."
God is merciful when people repent. There are certain people that we hope will not repent because we would like to see them destroyed. We want them down so that justice will be done. That is our nature. God is merciful. When we repent, God will forgive. But we have to repent in order to receive forgiveness.
Turn to Isaiah, chapter 55 verse 6. "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 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 your God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
The tragedy of most people is that they will not repent. I know of a person who at the age of forty got a divorce. He had two children from this marriage. He had accepted Christ but lived in bitterness. For 30 years of his life he alienated his sons and his family. He got involved with alcohol and drank every day. Instead of seeking God he found comfort in a bottle. When he turned 70 he was having strokes and complications from other diseases. He was taken to a hospital against his will. He had written a letter to one of his sons, saying "Son, I want to give you my property and my money. Will you come and take care of me? I am in a dying condition." The son wrote back and said, "As far as I'm concerned you can go to H-ll. You can take your money and property and trash them. I'll have nothing to do with you. I hate you." The man simply lost his mind. They had to put him in restraints in the hospital.
This is a man who made choices. Choices that were made when he was young, twenty, thirty, forty, and these choices determined the outcome of his life. This man is now in a convalescent home somewhere. He is restrained with bands and straps. He is losing his mind because of the decisions that he made years ago. He chose unforgiveness and bitterness instead of going to God. Instead he went to the demon of alcohol. Now he is paying for it.
Let's look again at Isaiah, chapter 55 verse 6. "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:" [There is a cutoff date when you'll not be able to call upon the Lord anymore. He will say, "It is finished. It is over." God is merciful when people repent. Are we willing to repent?
Turn to the Psalm, Chapter 103 verse 1. "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; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth my mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. 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 this anger forever. 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 his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust."
God wants to forgive us. If wants us to understand that we have to come to him in repentance. We cannot maintain unforgiveness in our lives. It will destroy us.
Turn to First John, Chapter 1 verse 9. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Learn the character of God. God is merciful, when we repent. There is a cutoff date.
Turn to Matthew, chapter 18 verse 23. [God expects us to be merciful to one another.] "Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain King, which would take account of his servants. And when he had began to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him 10,000 talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and his children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the Lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him and hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and him cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
What is God telling us in this passage? He is saying, "The things that we do to one another are so insignificant compared to the sin debt we owe God, the two cannot be compared." As God has wiped out our entire sin debt, we have no other choice but to forgive those who have hurt us. We forgive them in the name of Jesus. We forgive because we ourselves have been forgiven. Do you hold any grudges? Are there things that have happened in your life where you say, you just cannot forgive? If you do not forgive you are liable for judgment. And we read again in verse 34, "And his Lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him."
You should visit a convalescent home sometime or some hospitals. Visit some of the old people that are living there. Many of them have lost their minds. They are filled with much disease and pain. They sit in their pain and are being tormented. You might wonder how much unforgiveness are in his people? We do know this that arthritis comes from unforgiveness. Bitterness will cause all kinds of diseases. If you want to live a life that is abundant you must say to our heavenly Father, "In the name of Jesus, give me strength to forgive. Father, remove all bitterness from my heart. Father, remove all resentment from my heart. All the pain and hurts that I've received remove them Lord, because I cannot afford to have it. It will poison me. It will destroy me." If we ask that, He will remove it. If you hate and have unforgiveness you are shuttle. You are shuttle to that person. These people are constantly on your mind. Their image is constantly with you. It will eat you alive. That is a tormentor. How wonderful it is to say, "Father, God, I forgive them. I release all my pain. I'm going to walk away with Jesus." God expects his people to love one another.
Turn to John, chapter 15 verse 9. [It is one thing to forgive but do I have to love them to? We have no choice.] " As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my Commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
Jesus was tough. In other places He said, "Love your enemies. Do good to them that hurt you." This is not in our nature. It is hard to forgive, but to love them? Can't I just ignore them? "Father God, can't you send them some other place? I do not want to see those people anymore." You and I have an appointment. It is called the judgment seat of Christ. At the judgment seat of Christ every believer shall appear. Every score shall be settled. If there are people that you do not want to see or be with here on earth, guess who you are going to meet at the judgment seat of Christ? That person is going to be there and this time it is going to be worse. The reason being, here on earth you can smile at them and they cannot read your mind but up their what everything will be televised. It will be public knowledge. There will be no place to hide. You may say, "Oh dear God, not him." God says, "You known what will happen now." You say, "Yes, Lord." If you read First Corinthians chapter 3, it says that at the judgment seat of Christ, the fire will try our works. Will you be able to stand the embarrassment? At the judgment seat everything will be as an open book. We will have to make payment at that time for our unforgiveness. While we are here on earth we have the blood of Jesus to cleans us. With that we have to forgive from our heart. We have to love because if we don't there is a day of reckoning. God expects people to love one another.
Turn to First John, Chapter 4 verse 6. "We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us, Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." This does not mean that you love peoples sins. It means that you love the people and pray for them. You must be like God and have compassion. He deals with sin and has compassion. He is a God of judgment and the God of love. This is how you and I have to act if we are going to be like the Lord.
GOD IS A GOD OF JUDGMENT.
Turn to Deuteronomy, chapter 7 verse 10. "And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face."
God said, "If we do not repent there will be a judgment."
Turn to Revelation, chapter 20 verse 11. "And I saw a great white throne name, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
What does all this mean to you and I? It means that there will come a day of cutoff. Every person that has lived on this earth that died without receiving Christ will be sentenced to the lake of fire. God is not sentimental. On that day they cannot say, "We lived during the time when the gospel was not preached." God says, "It makes no difference that you were not born again. To the lake of fire." All the people of the different countries and nations of the world, who have not heard about Jesus or repented of their sins, will be sent to the lake of fire. There will be no exceptions. There are a lot of Christian denominations that try to cushion this reality. If they didn't hear about Christ, God will have another deal for them. There will be no deals cut. It is not like our court system where you can bargain. Verse 15 again. "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." How do we have our name put in the book of life? Jesus said, "No man come to the Father but by Me." In the book of Acts it says, "There is no other name given under heaven whereby man shall be saved." Jesus is the only one. If we understand this it will make us evangelistic. We will be a witness and we will serve God, like we have never done before.
Turn to Matthew, chapter 25 verse 1. [When a person makes their own decision that they do not have the time to repent and to seek forgiveness before time us up. Judgment will fall and it will stand for eternity.] "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. [The weddings at the time of Christ were secret. There was a 24-hour timeframe, from 6:00 in the evening until 6:00 the following evening. The bridesmaids and attendance including the guests had to be ready during this timeframe. They had a small lamp that they would fill with oil. There no matches in those days so when the lamp ran out of oil and the light went out, the lamp could not be lit again. This is the reason why some of them had extra oil with them.] And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour or wherein the Son of man cometh."
Of these ten women, five of them had gone out and acquired extra oil, which signifies salvation. The other five did not have it." They had to go out and buy it. How many people have you met over the years that have said, "When I get older I will ask Christ into my heart? I do not want to get saved now because I'm too young. I have too many things to do." The day finally came when the bridegroom came.
Understand verse 13. "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." They ask him, "Lord open the door unto us. "He answered and said, I know you not." God is not sentimental. There is a cutoff date. Every time you talk to someone about Jesus you must give him or her the urgency. The urgency is that they need to receive Christ, now! We never know if there will be another day.
God will forgive, but the consequence of sin shall stand.
Turn to Second Samuel, chapter 12 verse 7. "And Nathan said to David, thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee King over Israel, and I delivered thee out all of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun."
Verse ten. "Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house."
Thousand of years later, the sword still has not departed from the house of David. Yes, he was forgiven. Yes, he was in the land of the Messiah. Jesus came; died on the cross, rose on the third day and the throne of David will stand forever. The sword has never departed. This is the consequence of sin. We must understand that God will forgive us. God, will restore us. But there are certain consequences that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. That is why when it comes to sin, do not take it lightly! Do not think that it is okay. I can ask God for forgiveness and then He can wipe it out. The consequences will still stand. What a tragedy!
God, is calling you and I today.
Turn to First Samuel, chapter 15 verse 24. "And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord. And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hast rejected thee from being King over Israel."
Examined your life today. What do you have for the Lord today? There are so many of us that do not care. If God has given you a ministry or a certain life, are you protecting it? Is it precious to you? Don't despise it or take it lightly? We can lose our position in life and you'll never be able to recover it. You can be forgiven and be restored but you'll travel second class or lower. You have lost your position. Guard your position today. If God has given you a ministry, no matter what it is don't despise it, hang unto it.
Turn to Isaiah, chapter 1 verse 10. "Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; and give ear unto the law of your God, you people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of the sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When you come to appear before me, who has required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are trouble unto me; I'm weary to bear them. And when you spread fourth your hands, I hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be as red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you be willing and obedient ye shall eat the good of the land: but if you refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."
God is calling us today. He wants to reason with us. We've learned in the past three sermons a number of things about God. We need to know whom God is in order to function. My question to you is this. Are you holding onto your position in Christ? I spoke today about asking for forgiveness, forgiving others, and releasing all bitterness and pain, loving one another and about walking with the Lord.
My question to you is this. If you were to die today, called home within a short time, would you say, "Glory to God, I am ready. My sin account is wiped out. I am walking in love, forgiveness, I have released everything." Or would have to say, "Oh, my God, there so much I haven't finished." Don't take a chance! Today is the day that the Lord is calling upon you. You can become totally clean. You can be reconciled to others.
Pray with us right now. Say, "Father God, in the name of Jesus I come and surrender all my fears, all my bitterness, all my resentment, all my anger, everything. Today Lord, I want to hold up my hands and allow the blood of Jesus to rush through me. Cleans every fiber within me so that I can stand and forgive and love."
May God richly bless you is my prayer.