Tag Archives: James 4:7

The Shack – One Christian’s Perspective

Standard
The Shack – One Christian’s Perspective

From what I have read, the author of The Shack, Paul Young attended a Christian college where he took Bible courses in addition to other courses taught with a Christian viewpoint. Around the year 2000 he and another person founded a theology think tank that met on a regular basis. It was a forum where new and different ideas could be discussed, with a few guidelines. One guideline was that the truth of the Bible would be the final authority. Around 2004 Paul Young presented a paper to the group in defense of universalism. The next month another member of the group presented a rebuttal to Paul Young’s paper concerning universalism. That was to be the last time that Paul Young attended the group. Later Paul Young went on to write the book, The Shack.

Universalism is a theological doctrine that all human beings will eventually be saved.
People that believe in universalism …
* believe that all people will be saved.
* believe that a good and loving God would not condemn people to eternal torment in hell.
* believe that after a certain cleansing period, God will free the inhabitants of hell and reconcile them to himself.
* believe that after death, people will have another opportunity to choose God.
* believe that there are many ways to get into heaven.
* believe that in the end everyone will be brought into a right relationship with God
* ignore the consequences of unrepented sin.

I did read the book and I found that universalism and other ideas / theologies contrary to the Bible are laced throughout the book. Many in the world, and in the church, defend the book by claiming that it is just fiction.

The dictionary describes fiction as:
something invented by the imagination
an invented story
an assumption of a possibility as a fact irrespective of the question of its truth
the action of feigning or of creating with the imagination
written stories about people and events that are not real
literature that tells stories which are imagined by the writer

While the book may be fiction (in the sense of the definition of fiction) and a feel good book packed with emotion to some, the false teachings (universalism and other non-Biblical ideas) in it are very real. There is nothing wrong with using imagery in writing about God, but not in a derogatory fashion that goes against Him or His Word. We have been instructed to be careful what we set before our eyes.

Psalm 101:3-4 NKJV
“I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me.
A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness.”

God wants us to control what we think about, what we meditate upon, what we allow in our minds. Things can enter into our minds through what we watch and what we read.

Philippians 4:8 NKJV
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

If you choose to read the book, keep your Bible next to you as you read it and ask God for discernment. Does The Shack glorify the God of the Bible, the One true God? Is the doctrine of universalism presented in a positive or appealing way? Does it make light of the precious blood of Christ?

A few, but not all, of the heresies in the book are:

  • God the Father was crucified with Jesus the Son on the cross.
    False, God the Father was not crucified with Jesus the Son on the cross. If God was crucified with Jesus on the cross, why does Jesus cry out to God in heaven, “…why have You forsaken Me?”

Matthew 27:45-54 NKJV
“Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!”
Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.
The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,
and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

At the crucifixion, Jesus took upon himself the sins of the world. He did not become sin, He became our sin offering. For the first time, Jesus, a sinless man, felt what it was like to feel the weight and judgment of sin. The judgment for sin is separation from God – separation from the glory of God, the manifest presence of God.

Romans 3:23 NKJV
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,…”

Jesus took upon Himself the sins of mankind when He was on the cross.

1 Corinthians 15:3 NKJV
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures”

Colossians 1:19-22 NKJV
“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Isaiah 53:4-6 NKJV
“Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

1 Peter 2:24 NKJV
“who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed”

There was a darkness lasting three hours during Jesus’ crucifixion. During the three hours of darkness Jesus was separated from God the Father. We serve a holy God that cannot look upon sin. On the cross, as Jesus took upon Himself our sins, God could not look upon Him, His own beloved Son.

Matthew 27:45 NKJV
“Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.”

Mark 15:33 NKJV
“Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.”

  • God is limited by His love and cannot practice justice, and justice will never take place because of love.
    False, God is not limited by His love. God’s love and His justice are two sides of the same coin, they go hand in hand. God practices justice because He loves us. Justice is what is right – the way things should to be. In the Hebrew language the word justice and the word righteousness are, in many cases, interchangeable. God’s righteousness, justice, is not limited by His love.

Romans 3:25-26 NKJV
“whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Justice is described as…
the administration of law
the quality of being just, impartial, or fair
conformity to this principle or ideal
the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity
conformity to truth, fact, or reason
what is right or what is normal
fairness of laws coupled with fair and equal treatment
a recognized code of conduct.
what is right or as it should be

Righteousness is described as…
acting in accord with divine or moral law
free from guilt or sin
morally right or justifiable
conforming to a standard of what is right and good
conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right and wrong
rightness, fairness, or equity
moral excellence in character
guiltlessness or blamelessness
moral eminence and freedom from anything petty, mean, or dubious in conduct and character

John 3:16-21 NKJV
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Justice requires a penalty for sin – there is a judgment for sin. God loved us so much that despite the fact that our sin demand judgment, He sent His Son, Jesus, to be our substitute upon the cross. By doing so His justice was not violated, but instead satisfied.

When God’s offer of salvation and forgiveness of sins through Jesus is rejected, justice calls for us to be judged for our sins. To God sin is lawlessness (not obeying) and iniquity (wickedness).

1 John 3:4-9 NKJV
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.
Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”

Sin represents everything that goes against God’s holy nature. Sin is disobedience to God and justice demands a penalty. The penalty for sin is eternal separation from God’s presence. There is a penalty for sin.

Romans 1:18-32 NKJV
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

Romans 3:23-26 NKJV
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to pay our penalty for us because He is both a loving God and a just God.

Romans 5:8-11 NKJV
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

Romans 6:23 NKJV
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Eternal life, a gift from God, is available to all who believe in His name.

John 1:12-13 NKJV
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

John 20:31 NKJV
“…but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

God’s own righteousness is given as a gift (salvation) to anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior. Salvation is based upon God’s grace and mercy in response to our faith in Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:4-10 NKJV
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

The Bible tells us that God loves justice.

Psalm 37:27-33 NKJV
“Depart from evil, and do good;
And dwell forevermore.
For the Lord loves justice,
And does not forsake His saints;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.
The righteous shall inherit the land,
And dwell in it forever.
The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom,
And his tongue talks of justice.
The law of his God is in his heart;
None of his steps shall slide.
The wicked watches the righteous,
And seeks to slay him.
The Lord will not leave him in his hand,
Nor condemn him when he is judged.”

Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

  • Hierarchical structures (whether they are in the Church or in the government) are evil, and there is not a hierarchical structure in the Godhead.
    False, God is a God of order and authority.

Job 25:2 NKJV
“Dominion and fear belong to Him; He makes peace in His high places.”

Jesus submitted to the will of the Father. This doesn’t mean that one Person is higher or better than the other; just unique. Jesus said, “I came to do the will of Him who sent me. I am here to obey my Father.”

John 4:34 NKJV
“Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”

Luke 22:42 NKJV
“And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

Jesus also said, “I will send you the Holy Spirit”

John 14:26 NKJV
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

John 15:26 NKJV
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”

There is to be order and authority in our life. We are to submit to God.

There is to be order and authority in our family.

There is to be order and authority in the church.

There is to be order and authority in the government.

When there is not authority everyone does what is right in their own eyes. And that is evil.

Proverbs 21:2 NKJV
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts.”

  • On the Cross, God forgave all of humanity, whether they repent or not. Some choose a relationship with Him, but He forgives them all regardless. There is no need for faith or reconciliation with God because everyone will make it to heaven.
    False, to receive forgiveness you must repent. Those who practice unrepented sin will not be in heaven. No matter what our relationship is with God, He loves us, but He hates sin. We have the choice to accept forgiveness of our sins (through repentance) or to reject it. Relationship with God is a choice and so is forgiveness. Not everyone will make it to heaven.

Matthew 7:13-23 NKJV
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

The only means of being cleansed from sin is through repentance and faith in the precious blood of Christ. Man’s only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 24:47 NKJV
“… and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

John 3:3 NKJV
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Romans 10:12-13 NKJV
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.
For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Ephesians 2:8 NKJV
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God…”

Titus 2:11-14 NKJV
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

Titus 3:4-7 NKJV
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

On the cross Jesus provided us with a way to be restored unto God. Forgiveness and a right relationship with God is offered to us through the work that Jesus did on the cross, however we have the free will to choose.

John 14:6 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Jesus said, “Only those who believe in me will have eternal life”

John 3:14-17 NKJV
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

John 3:36 NKJV
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

John 5:24-27 NKJV
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.”

John 6:40 NKJV
“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

  • God will never judge people for their sins.
    False, all sin will be judged. If we choose to reject repentance and a true relationship with God then we will be judged for our sins.

Judgment is described as:
a formal utterance of an authoritative opinion
a formal decision given by a court
an obligation (such as a debt) created by the decree of a court
a divine sentence or decision
punishment for breaking the law or a code of conduct

2 Peter 2:9 NKJV
“…then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment…”

2 Peter 3:7 NKJV
“But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”

Jude 1:14-15 NKJV
“Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

Hebrews 9:24-28 NKJV
“ For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another– He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

Romans 2:12-16 NKJV
“For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”

2 Timothy 4:1-3 NKJV
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

The Word of God repeatedly invites people to escape from the judgment of God by believing in Jesus Christ, His Son.

John 1:12-13 NKJV
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

  • God submits to human wishes and choices.
    False, God never has and never will submit to our choices and wishes. He is not a god created for us, we were created by Him and for Him. Our choices, wishes, desires and will must submit to Him. There will come a day when each and every person will bow down to God / Jesus in submission and reverence.

Romans 14:11 NKJV
“For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”

Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Isaiah 45:21-24 NKJV
“Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me. “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath. He shall say, ‘Surely in the Lord I have righteousness and strength. To Him men shall come, And all shall be ashamed Who are incensed against Him.”

Revelation 5:13 NKJV
“And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

We are to submit to God in all things.

James 4:7 NKJV
“Therefore submit to God.”

Job 22:21-22 NKJV
“Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; Thereby good will come to you. Receive, please, instruction from His mouth, And lay up His words in your heart.”

We do not decide the path that leads to heaven. We must submit God’s will and to the one and only path that leads to heaven.

John 14:6 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

  • There is no such a thing as eternal judgment or torment in hell.
    False, there is a literal hell and lake of fire. The lake of fire will be the eternal home of those who reject God’s free gift of salvation, along with all the fallen angels and demons. Hell is just as real as heaven, however more people believe in heaven than hell.

. The Bible gives us several descriptions of hell and the lake of fire.

Luke 12:4-5 NKJV
“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”

Luke 16:19-31 NKJV
“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ “

Revelation 20:11-15 NKJV
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who 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, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Jesus is walking with all people in their different journeys to God, and it doesn’t matter which way you get to Him.
False, there is only one way to God and only one way to eternal life with Him. That way is through Jesus Christ, God‘s only Son. If there was more than one way to God, Jesus would not have had to sacrifice His very own blood to redeem mankind. Jesus Himself said that He was the only way to God.

John 14:6 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Conclusion:
The Bible tells us that in the last days many will be deceived. Each believer must stay full of the Holy Spirit in order to avoid the deceptions that will come.

1 Timothy 4:1-3 NKJV
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”

Matthew 24:4-8 NKJV
“And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

Deceptions can come in many different forms, but we have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to see the deceptions for what they are. And we have been given the armor of God to help keep us spiritually strong, especially in the last days.

Ephesians 6:10-20 NKJV
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints– and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

1. As a believers you must study the Word of God for yourself – don’t just lightly read over it, or hear it from someone else. If the only thing you know about what God says in His Word is what you have been told then you will not be able to stand. The only way to keep from falling prey to false doctrine is to know what God says. You must have a firm foundation and that only comes from you reading and studying God’s Word for yourself. Jesus and His words are our firm foundation.

Matthew 7:22-27 NKJV
“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

2. As a believers you must pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment.

3. As a believers you must be care what you allow into your mind. You must be careful not to allow the enemy into your life by opening a door. All actions, good and bad, start with a little thought in your mind. Don’t allow the enemy to plant evil/sinful thoughts in your mind. Guard the door of your mind Remember, it is the little foxes that spoil the vine.

4. As a believers you must keep your eyes on God alone. Don’t put people ( leaders, actors, singers, pastors, churches, radio stations, television stations….) on a pedestal. If you do and they fall, or error spiritually, you will be disappointed. In this life people will disappoint, but God never will.

5. As a believers you must know what you believe and why. You must know error and hearsay when it comes to you – even when it is sugar coated.

6. As a believers you must determine that you will stand for God and what’s right even if you have to stand alone. Remember: What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.

Advertisements

YOU MUST OVERCOME A DEFEATED SPIRIT, MINDSET AND ATTITUDE

Standard

 

There are too many believers with a defeated sprit, mindset or attitude.

A defeated sprit, mindset or attitude can…
* hinder God’s blessing.
* lead to anxiety and insecurity.
* cause unbelief.

Defeated Spirit
Oppression is often the source of worry, stress, or anxiety. Demon oppression involves a demon attacking a person spiritually. Demons will try to cause a person to worry or fear. The Bible is very clear about where worry and fear come from – they do not come from God. A defeated spirit is often characterized by a sense of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness.

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”

Psalm 42:5 NKJV
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.”

Psalm 42:11 NKJV
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.”

Psalm 43:4-5 NKJV
“Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.”

Don’t allow Satan or the other fallen angels (demons) to gain access into your life through worry or fear.

1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

Psalm 55:22 NKJV
“Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be
moved.”

God has told us in His Word, not to worry and that worrying does not help.

Matthew 6:25-34 NKJV
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble”

Oppression over a long period of time can lead to depression. Depression can come from several things: a physical reason/disorder, a demonic attack, or by opening the door to demonic influences through sin. Not all depression comes from a physical or mental disorder, and not all depression come from a demonic influence. However, it does not matter where it comes from because Jesus paid the price for freedom from all oppression and depression.

Hebrews 4:15-16 NKJV
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Instead of worrying about something, a believers needs to immediately give the problem or situation to the Lord. Not only can He work things out, He sympathizes with us. In Him we will always find the exact help we need, mixed with mercy and grace.

Defeated Attitude
A believers attitude has an effect on them, both physical, psychological and spiritually. We are instructed to have the same attitude as Christ.

Philippians 2:5
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

People with a defeated mindset or attitude…
* are unable, or unwilling, to forgive themselves.
* desire to blame others
* dwell on the past.
* engage in self-defeating talk
* fear failure.
* fear making mistakes.
* make negative assumptions – about themselves and/or others.
* make negative comparison with others.
* tend to have a victim mentality.

Your attitude will determine your victory, or lack of it. The twelve spies are a good example of this.

Numbers 13:1-3 NKJV
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.” So Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran according to the command of the Lord, all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel.”

Numbers 13: 27-33 NKJV
“Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

Numbers 14:1-34 NKJV
“So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.” Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel. Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.” And Moses said to the Lord: “Then the Egyptians will hear it, for by Your might You brought these people up from among them, and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, Lord, are among these people; that You, Lord, are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if You kill these people as one man, then the nations which have heard of Your fame will speak, saying, ‘Because the Lord was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.’ And now, I pray, let the power of my Lord be great, just as You have spoken, saying, ‘The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’ Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” Then the Lord said: “I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord– because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valley; tomorrow turn and move out into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea.” And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness. And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection.”

Moses choose twelve men and sent them to spy on the land of Canaan. The twelve men found that the land is rich and fertile, that giants lived in the land, and that the cities were large and fortified. Upon their return Caleb and Joshua had a good report concerning the land and a winning attitude, however the other ten gave a negative report and they had a defeated attitude. The people chose to go with the defeated attitude and it cost them the promised land. For forty years they wandered around in the desert. Like them, there are believers that seem to always be wandering around, never getting anywhere. God has many promises for them, but they are hindered because of their negative attitude.

Inability to overcome temptation and sin.
A believer should not be under the power of sin. God, through Jesus, has given us the victory over sin. Sin in the life of a believer dishonors the name of the Jesus, cause you to not experience true joy and power, and it destroying your testimony.

James 4:7 NKJV
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

It is possible to resist the devil or God would not have instructed us to. Resist means to withstand, strive against, or oppose in some manner. If a believer wants the devil to flee from them, they must first submit to God and they must resist the devil. Resisting the devil must be accompanied by submitting to God. The devil will not flee from a disobedient or unsubmissive believer – they will not see victory over temptation.

There will always be temptations that come our way. When they do come, don’t play with them. It is not a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin to act upon that temptation.

Submit To God’s Authority
Submit means to place oneself under the authority of another. When we submit to God, we surrender our lives to His authority and control. All areas of our lives are to be submitted to God and placed under His authority. Sometimes believers do not walk in total victory is because they haven’t totally submitted to God and His authority. Instead of giving God every area of their lives they try to hold back a certain part of it to control themselves. With God it is all or nothing – He will not be a partial ruler or a co-ruler.

Commit To The Lord
When a believer truly commits to God they can live in victory. They can calmly and fearlessly confront, and overcome any situation that may arise. If you want to walk in victory commit yourself to God.

* Commit your sprit, mind and attitude to God
* Commit your past, your present, and your future.
* Give God control of your life and the lives of your family.
* Don’t hold anything back from God.
* Give God your sins and your failures.
* Give God your hopes, dreams and plans.

Return To The Lord And Be Blessed

Standard

desperation - Copy   

2 Chronicles 30:9  NKJV    

“For if you return to the Lord, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.”

         Throughout the Bible we see where there were times that God raised up a person or a group of people that called for the people to repent and to return to the Lord. Hezekiah called for the remnant (those who had survived the attack of the enemy) to repent. If they obeyed and repented, they were told that their brethren and their children would return to them from captivity.

2 Chronicles 30:8  NKJV    

“Now do not be stiffed-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the LORD you God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you.”

          The people were to yield themselves to the Lord, enter into His sanctuary, and to serve the Lord.

I. Yield Yourself To The Lord

The people were to yield (submit) to the Lord. When you submit to someone you willingly come under their authority. When you yield yourself to the Lord, you submit yourself to His power, control and authority.

James 4:7  NKJV    

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

A. Submit to the Lord’s power

We should submit to the Lord’s strength, might, and influence. All power belongs to the Lord and comes from the Lord. The Lord’s power is so strong that there is nothing too hard for Him.

Jeremiah 32:17  NKJV    

“Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by

Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.”

Psalm 21:13  NKJV    

“Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength!

We will sing and praise Your power.“

Psalm 62:11  NKJV   

  “God has spoken once,

Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God.”

Revelation 19:1  NKJV    

“After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!’ ”

We should seek the Lord for our strength and submit to it.

1 Chronicles 16:11  NKJV   

  “Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore!”

1. When we submit to the Lord, His power can save us. He has the power to make us safe from harm, danger or loss. He has the power to set us free from sin and its results.

1 Corinthians 1:18  NKJV    

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

For those who humbly accept (by faith), the gospel of the Good News, the Lord’s power will save them from death (spiritual) and impart eternal life.

2. When we submit to the Lord, His power can deliver us. When faced with desperate situations, the Lord will give you the strength that you need and His power will deliver you. His power is stronger than that of the darkness. He can deliver you from the dominion (power, rule or control) of darkness (evil).

Colossians 1:13-14 NKJV   

  “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

3. When you submit to the Lord, His power can keep you.

Ephesians 6:10-13  NKJV  

   “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the veil day, and having done all, to stand.”

Our strength alone will not keep us. We must rely the power of the Lord. We are empowered by God’s strength.

Colossians 1:10-12  NKJV    

“That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualifies us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”

1 Peter 1:5  NKJV   

  “Who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

4.  When you submit to the Lord, His power can (and will) resurrect you into glory. By the Lord’s power, everyone will be resurrected, either  to everlasting life or everlasting damnation.

1 Peter 1:3-4  NKJV    

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”

B. Submit to the Lord’s control.

He alone has the power and right to direct and guide us. If we submit to His direction, He will show us the right path and help us to stay on it. God will be our guide, if we allow Him, and He will give continuous direction for the course set before us. If we try to control our own lives in essence we are telling God that we can do a better job of it than He can.

C. Submit to the Lord’s authority.

The centurion understood authority. He knew that when someone in authority gave an order it was to be carried out immediately, without question. The person giving the order did not have to check to see that it was done or do it himself. All he had to do was speak the ‘word’ and it would be done. The centurion knew that Jesus’ ‘word’ alone was enough to heal his sick servant.

Luke 7:6-10  NKJV   

  “Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying, ‘Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But  say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’ When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, ‘I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’ And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.”

Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith. Because of his faith, in the authority of Jesus, his servant was healed.

Authority: the right to control, command, or make decisions, power to enforce obedience, or jurisdiction.

He has the right to control us, command us and make decisions for us. He also has the right to enforce obedience and to be our judge and jury.

Psalm 9:8   NKJV   

  “He shall judge the world in righteousness,

And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.”

Jesus submitted to the authority of the Father, and the Lord expects us to yield (submit) to his authority also. When we do not submit to the authority of God (or the authority that He has placed over us), it is the same as telling God that we know better than Him concerning the situation or the running of our lives. Submitting (yielding to God) and faith go hand in hand. When you do not submit to God you show a lack of faith in Him. Faith without works is dead.

James 2:20-22 NKJV   

  “But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?”

You can not have faith in God without yielding to Him or obeying Him (works). Abraham yield to God. He submitted to God when he offered his son on the altar. Abraham was justified by his faith and obedience (works) working together. It is impossible to please God without faith.

Hebrew 11:6  NKJV  

   “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

II. Enter His Sanctuary

The people were to enter into the Lord’s sanctuary.

Sanctuary: the most sacred part of any place of worship, a place of refuge or protection.

Sacred: belonging to or dedicated to God, holy, worthy of reverence, dedicated to some person object or purpose, something that must not be violated or disregarded.

           They were to return to intimate fellowship with God again. They were to return to their first love. The sacred intimacy that they once had with the Lord was to be restored. Just like the church of Ephesus they had turned away from their love of the Lord and to the Lord.

Revelations 2:4  NKJV   

  “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”

         They were to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover, Lord’s Supper, communion or love feast).

2 Chronicles 30:13  NKJV   

  “Now many people, a very great assembly, gathered at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month.

A. Sacred intimacy requires the removal of idols and alters (holiness). The people removed the altars that they had used to worship false gods.

2 Chronicles 30:14  NKJV    

“They arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and they took away all the incense altars and cast them into the Brook Kidron.”

         The people took away the altars. They had to decide who they were going to serve. They had to make a conscious decision. We too, must decide who we are going to serve. Are we going to serve the Lord or are we going to serve an idol?

Joshua 24:15  NKJV   

  “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, wither the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Deuteronomy 30:19  NKJV   

  “I call heaven and set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”

B. Sacred intimacy requires spiritual preparation and dedication. Not only did the people make physical preparations for the Passover, they made spiritual preparations also.

2 Chronicles 30:15  NKJV   

  “Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priest were ashamed, and they sanctified themselves, and brought the burnt offerings to the house of the Lord.”

Prior to the Passover, the people would remove all the leaven from their homes, and during the Feast of Unleavened Bread they would not eat any bread (or food) with leaven in it. Sometimes in the Bible, leaven refers to sin (the influence of sin / evil).

Exodus 12:15  NKJV   

  “Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.”

The people were to be sanctified (set apart for God). We also, are to sanctified and set apart for God and unto God.

Matthew 16:6  NKJV    

“Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”

Sin (no matter how little it seems to us) has a tremendous negative influence. We are not to tolerate sin. If it is not removed from our lives (or church) it grows.

Matthew 13:33  NKJV    

“Another parable He spoke to them: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like

leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.’ ”

Sin is a lot like yeast. When you put yeast in bread dough it expands (rises).

Galatians 5:9  NKJV    

“A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”

Left unchecked, sin can contaminate everything that it comes in contact with.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8  NKJV    

“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

We must remove sin (the influences of sin / evil) from our homes. The church will not be any different than our homes. If there is sin in our homes, then there will be sin in our churches. God does not have a double standard.

C. Sacred intimacy requires you to return to the Lord’s table.

You must not violate or disregard what was given to you by the Lord (the Lord’s Supper).

2 Chronicles 30:21  NKJV    

“So the children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing to the Lord, accompanied by loud instruments.”

Communion is a very sacred and intimate time between you and God.

III. Serve The Lord

The people were to serve (minister to) the Lord. We, too, are to serve the Lord. We are to minister to Him (worship) with all our heart and all our soul.

Deuteronomy 10:12  NKJV   

  “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Psalm 2:11  NKJV    

“Serve the Lord with fear,

And rejoice with trembling.”

Conclusion:

If the people obeyed, they would be blessed and if they disobey, they would be cursed. If they obeyed, the wrath of God would be turned away from them.

2 Chronicles 30:27  NKJV    

“Then the priests, the Levites, arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard; and their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.”

          One blessing was that their voice would be heard, and that their prayers would come up to His holy dwelling place. If there is sin in our life, our prayers will not be heard (other than the prayer for forgiveness). A Christian can not have ongoing sin in their lives if they want to have an effective prayer life.

Psalm 66:18  NJKV    

“If I regard iniquity in my heart,

The Lord will not hear.”

          God is once again raising up people that are sounding a cry for God’s people to “Return to the Lord!” To yield themselves to the Lord, to enter His sanctuary and to serve Him.