Tag Archives: John 14:6

Yom Kippur – One Christian’s Perspective

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Yom Kippur – One Christian’s Perspective

Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) is a holy day established by God. The people were to approach Yom Kippur with humility – They were to see themselves as God does. For Jewish people it is considered the most serious and holiest day of the year. Yom Kippur was to provide an atonement for sin, including sins committed in ignorance. Yom Kippur foreshadows the second coming of Jesus

Yom Kippur means to cover, or cancel. Atonement is the reconciliation of God with sinners. It is both a solemn and joyful celebration. Solemn because we serve a holy God that cannot allow sin into His presence, and joyful because there is great joy in having your sins forgiven.

During Yom Kippur The People Were To:
* put themselves in proper perspective
* recognize their spiritual bankruptcy
* acknowledge their total dependence on God
* think about, acknowledge, and confess their sin

Yom Kippur Services
Today most of the Yom Kippur activity takes place in the synagogue. The people gather together for five services wearing white clothing. Many times these clothes are their burial garments. The men wear a prayer shawl. Each service has its own special feature. But all of them have a time of confession of sins. Many times the people stand for the entire service. Some Jewish people spend the night in the synagogue reciting the entire book of Psalms.

The afternoon services consisted of the people reading the book of Jonah. Jonah is a book about judgment, repentance and forgiveness. The book teaches that you cannot runaway from God and that God always accepts sincere repentance.

During one of the services the duties of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement in biblical days is recounted. The High Priest would remove his beautiful priestly robe, take a bath, and put on a plain white robe for his duties on Yom Kippur. Jesus also laid aside His royal garments and put on a plain white garment (burial robe / shroud) to come to this earth to perform the work of our High Priest. Just like the High Priest in biblical times, Jesus began His ministry with a bath (water baptism) also.
The priest would go to an area where there were two goats. One goat would have the sins of the people place on it and the other would be sacrificed. In biblical times, the High Priest was only allowed to go in the most holy place one time a year – on the Day of Atonement, where he would sprinkle the blood of a sacrificed goat on the mercy seat. On this day the High Priest had to wear eight different garments and make forty-three trips between the court and sanctuary.

 

Forgiveness Of ( Atonement Of ) Our Sin
Some Jewish people feel that prayer, repentance and good deeds are enough to gain atonement. As a Christian, we know that according to the Word of God, neither prayer or good deeds will atone for your sin. Only Jesus, the Son of God can take away your sins! The majority of the Jewish people do not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, the only one who can take away their sins. Jesus provided atonement for each one of us. Through the sacrifice that He made, we can be reconciled with God. It is only through the blood of Jesus, not through the blood of animals. Yom Kippur is a wonderful time to pray for the Jewish people. We should pray for the light to come and the reality of Jesus, to enter their hearts.

Romans 10:1 NKJV
“Brethren, My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”

Hebrews 10:1 NKJV
“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.”

Yom Kippur is a shadow of the sacrifice that Jesus made. It is only through the blood of Jesus that we can be forgiven.

Hebrews 10:4 NKJV
“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.”

 

The Good News Of Yom Kippur
The good news of Yom Kippur is that God provided us with atonement. When He looks down upon a believer’s heart, He does not see the broken Law. Instead, He sees the precious blood of Jesus. The ONLY blood that makes us clean. Christians know that Jesus has provided their atonement! Jesus’ death surpasses and replaces the atonement ritual of the Jewish temple.

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.”

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The Glory Of God

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The Glory Of God

The glory of the Lord is the manifest presence of God. Whenever man comes into the presence of God there is reverence, honor and worship to Him. The glory of God is not about work, it is about worship. God will not make His home where there is sin, therefore the glory of God will not rest upon a place where there is sin ( a church, a home or a person).

Romans 3:23
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

God wants to manifest His glory. He desires for His glory to arise upon the Church and His people. God’s glory is always associated with heart worship, worship from the heart, in spirit and in truth. In order for us to experience the glory of God we must invite, prepare and maintain.

A. Invite
We must invite the glory of the Lord by make room for the presence of the Lord. God will not send His glory where He is not welcomed, respected or reverenced. Nor will His glory be manifest where He is not the number one priority. Friendship with the Lord is for those who fear Him (respect, honor, reverence.)

Psalm 25:14 NKJV
“The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant”

Moses feared the Lord and because of this God revealed His character to him. Moses made a place for the presence of God by fearing Him (reverence, honor, respect) therefore, Moses had the privilege of talking to God face to face.

B. Prepare
Repentance is very important. The glory of God will always be associated with the blood of Jesus Christ. Everyone has sinned.

James 4:17 NKJV
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

When we have doubts whether an action is right and yet go ahead and do it, it is sin. It is also a sin to know to do right and yet not do it. Sin separates us from God. No one can live up to what God created us to be because of our sinful nature. Because of our sin, everyone falls short of the glory of God (the manifest presence of God). We will not experience a habitation of the glory of God in our life when we allow sin to go unrepented of.

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

A lifestyle of sin is lawlessness, and lawlessness is rebellion against God.

1 John 3:4 NKJV
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”

If we allow sin to go unconfused, eventually, we will face an eternity away from the presence of God in the lake of fire.

Isaiah 59:2 NKJV
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear.”

It is through Jesus that we win (receive) God’s favor and receive forgiveness of our sins.

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 is the propitiation for our sins. There is only one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ, His only Son.

1 John 4:9-10 NKJV
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

C. Maintain
We must sanctify ourselves. We must keep ourselves clean if we want to experience a continuing outpouring of the glory of God. The glory of God will come to the church first but it will not stay unless the people take it home with them. If we do not clean up our homes, and keep them that way, the glory of God will not stay in our church. God will not have a double standard. He expects the same standard at home as He does in His church.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NKJV
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
‘I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.’
Therefore
‘Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you
I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty’ ”

Each one of us should ask ourselves, “Is there life or death in my home?” There are different things in our homes that can (and will) bring about a spiritual death in our homes. Ultimately, spiritual death in our homes means spiritual death in our church.

Who Do You Say I Am?

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Who Do You Say I Am?

Matthew 16:13-15 NKJV

“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Whodo men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, someElijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?”

To truly worship Jesus, we must acknowledge Jesus’ relationship with the Father, the sacrifice He paid and who He is.

One definition of worship is to ascribe value to someone or something. You only value what you acknowledge as valuable. How can a person worship, ascribe value to, Jesus if you do not know who He is? Or what agony He suffered for them?

We must acknowledge Jesus’ relationship with the Father:

Jesus is the Son of God and He is the only way to the Father.

John 3:16 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.”

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.”

John 14:9-11 NKJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not know Me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the work. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”

John 17:21 NKJV

“That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; That they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

We must acknowledge Jesus’ sacrifice:

Jesus’ entire life centers around sacrifice and pleasing the Father. Jesus’ attention was not on the pain and agonies of the Cross, but on the joy that it would bring the Father. Jesus focused on the reward instead of the suffering.

Hebrews 12:2 NKJV

“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

We must acknowledge Jesus for who He is:

To truly reverence Jesus you must know who He is. Reverence is a feeling of deep respect mixed with wonder, awe, and love. When you reverence someone you will have great respect for them. We must worship Jesus for who He is.

Matthew 16:13-19 NKJV

“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Dear Father,

By the power of the Holy Spirit, cause me to always remember, and be thankful for, the sacrifice that Jesus, Your Son, paid for me. All the agony He suffered was for me personally. Through Jesus’ sacrifice I have access to You and my relationship with You has been restored. I have been given a new and everlasting life. May I follow Jesus’ example and focus on the reward instead of the suffering in all situations and circumstances. May I grow in reverence for You, O Lord.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Fellowship With God Restored

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BIBLE THOUGHTS

When sin entered the garden, it stood between man and God. Man could no longer enjoy the intimacy that he once had with God. God still loved man, and desired for the intimacy He once had with man to be restored. He was desperate for intimacy with us. He longed to fellowship and commune with man, but sin stood in the way. God is a holy God and sin cannot come into His holy presence. Those who approach God in worship must do so in righteousness.

 

1 Thessalonians 4:7 NKJV

“For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”

Psalm 24:3-4 NKJV

‘Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?

Or who may stand in His holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,

Nor sworn deceitfully.”

Adam and Eve could no longer experience the glory of the Lord (manifest presence of God) because of sin. The same is true today.

 

Romans 3:23 NKJV

                                        “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of 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.

The blood that Jesus shed was for man’s sin. His precious blood provides atonement for our sins. Through His blood we can be restored into right fellowship with God. Because of His sacrifice we can once again experience the intimacy with God that He desires to have with us.

Dear Father,

Make us hungrier for Your presence. Cause us to be worshipers of You. Let our worship be a sweet smell to You and be pleasing. We are desperate for You and Your presence.

n Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

 

Esther and Purim

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          Purim is a festival (holiday) from the book of Esther that celebrates God’s protection for His people. The word Purim is an Aramaic word meaning “lot”. Lots, somewhat like drawing straws, were chosen in the book of Esther to determine the date in which the Jews were to be destroyed. Haman, an enemy of the Jews, had sought to destroy them. Purim was instituted when God lead the enemies of His people to their own destruction. Purim is therefore about deliverance.

 

Purim Is A Reminder of God’s Faithfulness.

The feast of Purim is an annual reminder of God’s faithful on behalf of His people. It is celebrated on the fourteenth and fifteenth day of Adar.

Esther 9:18 NKJV    

“But the Jews who were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day, as well as on the fourteenth; and on the fifteenth of the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another.”

Purim Is A Reminder of God’s Providence and Protection.

We can learn many things from the story of Esther and from the feast of Purim. As a child of God, we too, are in the hand of God’s providence and protection. God intervenes on our behalf. As we look back on our life we can see where God has been working on our behalf.

Psalm 37:23  NKJV    

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.”

     Just like the Jews in the book of Esther, we too, have an enemy that is out to destroy us.

I Peter 5:8  NKJV   

  “Be sober, be vigilant;because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

      God’s hand of providence and protection on behalf of His people is evident throughout the book of Esther even though His name does not appear once in the book. The hand of God, working on behalf of His people is seen throughout the entire book. God’s plan of deliverance saved the Jewish people from a plot to destroy them. Just like the Jewish people in Esther, God has planned a way of deliverance for us from Satan, our enemy too.

 

Purim Is A Time Of Celebrating God’s Promise To Preserve His Children.

Purim has evolved into a holiday about rejoicing. Traditionally on Purim the entire book of Esther is read from a megillah (scroll). As the book of Esther is read the children make a noise with a noise maker every time the name of Haman is read. Also, the name of Haman may be written on the bottom of their shoes and then they stomp their every time the name of Haman is read.

Purim plays are popular. The story of Esther can be acted out in many different ways, and the people really have fun doing it. A custom of Purim is , Mishloach Manot, the sending of gifts. It is very popular and important. These gifts usually take the form of festively wrapped food to your friends and gifts to the poor.

Children around the world celebrate Purim in many different ways. Sometimes children celebrate Purim by dressing up as Queen Esther, Mordecai, and Haman and parading through the streets. People sometime wear costumes on Purim because Esther had to keep her identity a secret when she first became queen. Some people have a bonfire and burn a replica of Haman.

Purim usually ends with a party that includes a lot of music and good food, including a special triangle-shaped cookie called Hammentashen (Haman’s ears).

No matter how you may choose to celebrate Purim, you should always remember that God’s promise to preserve His children cannot be overcome. God is in control, even while He is concealed,

Purim Is A Time To Reflect On What We Can Learn From The Book Of Esther.

* God will lead our enemies to their own destruction.

* When we take time to find out what the King of Kings likes, what pleases Him, we will find favor in His sight.

* We must prepare ourselves to go into our Kings presence.

* When we take time to find out what our King likes and prepare ourselves to go into His presence, we will be able to be used by Him to deliver others.

* We must be properly clothed (we must cloth ourselves with the righteousness of Christ) – we must prepare ourselves to look like the bride of Christ.

* As we stand before our King, properly clothed and prepared, we will not be separated from His presence by death.

* God’s promise to preserve His children cannot be overcome.

* God is in control, even while He is concealed.

* God is faithful to His people.

* As a child of God, we are in the hand of God’s providence and protection.

* God intervenes on our behalf, even when we are unaware of it.

* You must realize that you are in danger, know who can save you, then go to the person that can save you. Our salvation comes only from God.

* We should never stop rejoicing in the salvation that God has given us.

 

Like Esther We Must Realize That We Are In Danger.

Esther was made aware of the fact that the Jews lives were in danger. A plot had been made to kill them.

Esther 4:7-8  NKJV    

“And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries to destroy the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the written decree for their destruction, which was given at Shushan, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her, and that he might command her to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people.”

     Every person born is in danger of separation from God because of sin. Every person has sinned. Every person has an enemy that would love to see them thrown in the Lake of Fire (away from God’s presence.) You must realize and admit that you have sinned.

1 John 1:8  NKJV   

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

 

Romans 3:23  NKJV  

  “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

 

Romans 6:23  NKJV 

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

Like Esther We Must Know Who Can Save Us.

Esther knew who could save her and her people. She knew that the king held the power to save them.

Esther 4:16  NKJV  

   “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

    We must know who can save us. Jesus is the only way we can be saved. It is only through His blood that our sins are washed away.

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.”

 

Romans 10:9  NKJV  

   “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Acts 16:31  NKJV     “So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Like Esther We Must Go To The Person That Can Save Us.

Esther went directly to the king to tell him about the plot to destroy the Jewish people. She did not send a message to him by someone else. She went personally to the king.

Esther knew her life would be put in danger by going to the king personally. At first Esther was not willing to do what she knew that she had to do. She did not go to the king. Then Esther realize that if she did not go to the king that she would be separated from His presence forever by death.

Esther 4:13  NKJV  

   “And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews.”

     Many times we are like Esther. When the Holy Spirit tries to draw us to the King (God) for salvation, we think of excuses not to go. We are afraid of loosing our own life. But the truth is, if we don’t go to the King (God) for salvation we will be separated from His presence forever.

At Jesus’ death the veil in the temple was torn into, from the top to the bottom, by God.

Matthew 27:51  NKJV  

   “Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split”

     Today you are to go directly to God (in prayer) to receive salvation through the blood of Jesus. There is no man, church, or religion that has the power, or authority, to save you. You can’t send word by someone else that you want salvation. Salvation is a personal thing. You must go directly to the King (God) yourself.

Hebrews 10:19-20  NKJV   

  “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh”

1 John 1:9  NKJV   

  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Taking The First Step

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Taking The First Step

desperation - Copy    

          The first step to worshiping God is salvation. You cannot truly worship God with sin in your life because worship is a lifestyle that reverences a holy God. It is not just singing a song with your mouth – it comes from within you. Worship involves every part of you. We can follow the examples of the prodigal son, the sinful woman, and Esther to become a child of God. Like them we must:

1. Realize that we are in danger.

2. Know who can save us.

  3.Go directly to the one that can save us.

I. Realize That You Are In Danger

As the prodigal son was in the pig pen (the lowest point in his life) he realized that he had sinned against God and against his father.

Luke 15:17 NKJV    

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!’ ”

          The prodigal son had to go through a lot of bad things and hard times before he would admit that he had sinned and that he was in danger. The woman with the alabaster box knew that she was a sinful woman. She knew the law and the penalty of breaking the law. She had probably been standing among the crowd as Jesus spoke before. In His presence she truly realized that she was in danger spiritually. The Holy Spirit began to convict her of her sin and within (unseen to the eye) her heart began to change. She might have even had thoughts along the same line as Isaiah when He encountered the holy presence of God.

Isaiah 6:5  NKJV     

“So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips; And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.’ ”

            Esther was made aware of the fact that the Jews lives were in danger. A plot had been made to kill them. It was a plot that, had it been effective, would have separated her from the king.

Esther 4:7-8  NKJV    

“And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries to destroy the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the written decree for the destruction, which was given at Shushan, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her, and that he might command her to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people.”

          Every person born is in danger of separation from the King (God) because of sin, Every person has sinned, and every person has an enemy that would love to see them thrown in the lake of fire (away from God’s presence.) The first step to salvation is admitting that you have sinned. Once we take that first step, God is there like the prodigal son’s father with arms outstretched for you.

1 John 1:8-9  NKJV    

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and top cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Romans 3:23  NKJV   

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” 

Romans 6:23  NKJV   

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

II. Know Who Can Save You

The prodigal son knew who could save him. He knew that his father was in a position to help him.

Luke 15:18-19  NKJV 

    “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to  be called your son. Make me one of your hired servants.’ ”

           The woman with the alabaster box knew who could save her. She had heard Jesus speak before and she knew the message of salvation and hope that He brought. She knew His repetition and that He welcomed everyone into the kingdom of God. Maybe she had even heard about the woman ‘caught’ in adultery or the woman at the well. Esther knew who could save her and her people. She knew that the king held the power to save them.

Esther 4:16  NKJV  

   “Go gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

         We must know who can save us. Jesus is the only way we can be saved. It is only through His blood that our sins are washed away.

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.”

Romans 10:9  NKJV  

   “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Acts 16:31  NKJV   

  “So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

III. Go To The Person That Can Save You

The prodigal son arose from his present lifestyle and went to His father.

Luke 15:20-22  NKJV  

   “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.”

         The sinful woman went to Jesus. The Holy Spirit had already began a transformation in her heart. Quiet possibly alone, at home, the woman experienced convection and true repentance. She had already had a heart change before she went to the house to anoint Jesus’ feet.  Because of her ‘new heart’ she wanted to let Jesus know how much she loved Him and what He meant to her (worship).

Esther went directly to the king to tell him about the plot to destroy the Jewish people. She did not send a message to him by someone else, she went personally to the king. Esther knew that her life would be put in danger by going to the king personally. At first Esther was not willing to do what she knew that she had to do. She did not want to go to the king. Then Esther realized that if she did not go to the king that she would be separated from his presence forever by death.

Esther 4:13  NKJV   

  “And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: ‘Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ ”

          Many times we are like Esther – when the Holy Spirit tries to draw us to the king (God) for salvation, we think of excuses not to go. We are afraid of loosing our own life. But the truth is, if we don’t go to the king (God) for salvation we will be separated from His presence forever.

At Jesus’ death the veil in the temple was torn into (from the top to the bottom) by God.

Matthew 27:50-51  NKJV    

“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.”

          Today you are to go directly to God (in prayer) to receive salvation, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. There is no man, church or religion that has the power (or authority) to save you. You can’t send word by someone else that you want salvation. Salvation is a personal thing. You must go directly to the King (God) yourself.

Hebrews 10:19-20  NKJV    

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus”

1 John 1:9  NKJV  

   “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Remove The Idols

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desperation - Copy    

Exodus 20:1-6 NKJV    

“And God spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image- any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.’ ” 

          We serve a jealous God. Jealous mean requiring complete loyalty or faithfulness. He will not share you with anyone or anything. He requires that you are loyal to Him and that you are faithful to Him. In order to draw close to God (and be intimate with Him) you must remove the idols in your life. You must be faithful and loyal to Him and to Him alone. You must not play the part of a harlot.

2 Kings 18:4  NKJV    

“He removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke to pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan.”

          Hezekiah called for the people to remove all the idols that they (corporately and individually) had erected. He called for them to remove the high places, to break the scared pillars, to cut down the wooden images, and break (and utterly destroy) the bronze serpent.

I. Remove The  High Places:

Hezekiah removed the high places. Like Hezekiah, we must remove all the ‘high places’ in our lives. A high place was a place of worship on a hill or on a platform in a temple. The Canaanites usually built their places of worship on a hill. They considered the high places a gateway between them and heaven. It was their ‘way’ to their god. Some Israelites began to use these same places to worship God. The people used the high places to worship God, Baal and Asherah all at the same time. Trying to mix the two types of worship (true and false) together eventually led to idolatry.

The kings before Hezekiah had failed to destroy the high places. The high places had been allowed to remain.

2 Kings 15:34-35  NKJV    

“And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord; he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done. However the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.”

          When you know that God is calling you to turn toward Him and worship Him and you refuse to get rid of  the things that He is telling you to, you are allowing “high places” to stay in your life. You are defiling yourself. When you defile something you make it filthy or dirty, you destroy the purity or cleanness of it, you stain or dishonor it or you violate it.

Ezekiel 20:30  NKJV   

  “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: ‘Are you defiling yourselves in the manner of your fathers, and committing harlotry according to their abominations?’ ”

          God does not desire for you to defile your worship to Him. You cannot minister to the Lord (or serve Him) and dabble with sin at the same time. You cannot serve two masters.

Matthew 6:24  NKJV   

  “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

          When we began to mix the things of the world with our worship to God it can lead to idolatry in our lives. God has called us to be separate and to destroy all the ‘high places’ in our lives. We are not to compromise our worship with sinful values or practices. We must maintain integrity in all parts of our lives, including our worship.

2 Corinthians 6:17 NKJV    

“Therefore

Come out from among them

And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean,

And I will receive you.

I will be a Father to you,

And you shall be My sons and daughters,

Says the Lord Almighty.”

          The Israelites used the excuse that they did not have a place to worship God in order to use the high places.

I Kings 3:2  NKJV    

“Meanwhile the people sacrificed at the high places, because there was no house built for the name of the Lord until those days.”

          The high places were defiled and therefore not an acceptable place for worship for God. God had specifically told the people (in the Ten Commandment) that He would not accept defiled worship. The people tried to justify (defend, to make right) their sinful actions. God tells us that obedience is better than sacrifice. Sincerity (freedom from pretense or deceit; honesty) and obedience (doing what one is told, submission to authority) are the prerequisites for worship that pleases God.   Disobedience in our worship is idolatry because we are putting our will before God’s will.

1 Samuel 15:22  NKJV   

“So Samuel said: ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,

As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,

And to heed than the fat of rams.’ ”

          Today people still try to justify their sin. As long as we dabble with high places (mix the things of the world with our worship to God) we will set ourselves up for pain, trouble and eventually judgment. Denying God’s authority (even concerning worship) always has consequences.

Leviticus 26:30  NKJV   

  “I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars, and cast your carcasses on the lifeless forms of your idols; and My soul shall abhor you.”

Psalm 78:58  NKJV     “For them provoked Him to anger with their high places And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images.”

          Before entering the land that God had promised the Israelites, they were instructed to abolish all the high places where idols were worshiped.

Numbers 33:52  NKJV    

“Then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their engraved stones, destroy all their molded images, and demolish all their high places.”

          We too, must abolish (do away with, put an end to) all the ‘high places’ if we want all that God desires for us. The Canaanites thought that their ‘high places’ would lead them to their god- it was their pathway to their god. Today there are many people that are trying to reach God through many different ways, other than the pathway that God has given us.

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.”

          High places are ‘footholds’ that you allow the enemy to have in your life.

II. Break the sacred pillars:

Monuments dedicated to one of the pagan gods were referred to as sacred pillars. The pagans believed that the false gods had power concerning fertility. The sacred pillars were objects for idolatrous worship and behavior. When God was renewing the covenant with Moses, He instructed the people to break down the sacred pillars.

Exodus 34:13-14  NKJV    

“But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images. (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God)”

Deuteronomy 12:3  NKJV    

“And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wood images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place.”

          God prohibits us from setting up sacred pillars in our lives.

Deuteronomy 16:22  NKJV   

  “You shall not set up as a sacred pillar, which the Lord your God hates.”

          We are not to try to rely on (depend on, put our trust in) things for the power that only God has. Sacred pillars come in many different forms. Some may be people, money, jobs, or self. Anything that you depend on, or put your trust in, other than God is a sacred pillar that you have erected in your life.

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!’ ”

III. Cut down the wooden images:

Wooden images were poles or trees dedicated to the goddess Asherah. They were used as a representation of fertility gods.

Deuteronomy 16:21  NKJV   

  “You shall not plant any tree, as a wooden image, near the altar which you build for yourself to the Lord your God.”

          The wooden images were statues representing false gods. God has instructed us in His Word not to make images to worship.

Exodus 20:4-5  NKJV   

  “You shall not make for yourself a carved image- any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them…”

          Wooden images were substitutes for God. Religion is a ‘wooden image’. There are many people that use religion as a substitute for a relationship with Jesus Christ. They go to church, they do all the right things, but their heart condemns them. They worship religion  (or going to church, praise and worship, fellowship with others, being seen) instead of the Lord.

We must remove everything that distracts us from worshiping the one and only living God. We must remove the ‘wooden images’ (substitutes for God) from our lives and prepare our hearts to seek the Lord.

2 Chronicles 19:3  NKJV   

  “Nevertheless good things are found in you, in that you have removed the wooden images from the land, and have prepared your hearts to seek God.”

          What have we dedicated our lives to, religion or relationship?

IV. Shatter the bronze serpent:

We must never allow symbols or objects (or things that God gives us) to become something that we worship.

Numbers 21:8-9 NKJV   

  “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.’ So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when they looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”

          The people had taken something that God had instructed them to make (the brass snake) for a specific purpose and they began to worship it instead of God. After a period of time the people began to look only to the brass snake instead of God. The brass snake became an idol. Many people do the same things today. They put things, people and programs (works) before God. The people sought healing, but they did not seek the Great Physician. The same can be said of some people today. They seek things other than the true and living God.

Some people seek healing, but they don’t seek the Healer.

Some people seek deliverance, but they don’t seek the Deliverer.

Some people seek finances, but they don’t seek the Provider.

Some people seek blessings, but they don’t seek the One Who Blesses.

Conclusion:

We must remove all the high places, scared pillars, wooden image, and  bronze serpents in our lives and in our churches. We are not to have anything in our lives that will distract us from exclusively worshiping the living God. If we are desperate for a relationship with the Lord, and if we are desperate for a habitation of His presence, then we must remove all the idols (anything that you receive your strength from or give your strength to other than the Lord / anything that you put before God) in our life.  Worship of the one and only true God must not be mixed with any pagan ritual or reminder of paganism.

Deuteronomy 12:1-4  NKJV    

“These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wood images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things.”

          If you are desperate for more of the Lord or a deeper intimacy with Him you to must remove the ‘high places’ in your life (you must use the pathway that God had provided), break down your scared pillars (don‘t rely on the things of this world for the power that only God has), cut down the images you have erected in your life (remove the substitutes for God in your life), and shatter all idols (get rid of the things that take the place of God).

Josiah wanted a deeper relationship with the God of his father David. He knew the type of relationship that David had with God and he desired the same thing.

2 Chronicles 34:1-6  NKJV   

  “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, and the carved images, and the molded images. They broke down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and the incense altars which were above them he cut down; and the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images he broke in pieces, and made dust of them and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. And so he did in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, as far as Naphtali and all around, with axes.”

           The Bible tells us that Josiah walked in the ways of David. Josiah sought God with all his heart, then he began to remove all the high places, wooden images, carved images, altars, and molded images from all the surrounding areas. Everyplace that the enemy had gained a foothold (through idolatry) was destroyed.

2 Chronicles 34:7  NKJV   

  “When he had broken down the altars and the wooden images, had beaten the carved images into powder, and cut down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.”

        We too, must seek God, remove all the idols/altar/images from our lives and return to Jerusalem (a place of true worship). We must be faithful and loyal to God. Our intimate relationship with the Lord must not be defiled by idolatry. Spiritual adultery is just as much a sin as physical adultery. We are the bride of Christ and we must act like it.

Hebrew 13:4  NKJV    

“Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”