Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

GOD

The Bible is God’s revelation to us, and it states very plainly…

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

“In the beginning God…”
All our beginnings must be traced back to God.

Revelation 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”

This traces all things back to His pleasure and purpose.
“Pleasure” here means His determination.
His purpose is His Will or Plan for each of us.
His determination is His setting all things in order to bring to pass what He wills for us.

How can that be, you say, for we are in a big mess? O.K., we know we got here ourselves, by our own willful choice; so how can His determination be seen?
Shouldn’t He have kept me out of this mess?

Simply, He let you slide into that mess. To show you what your way produces; to produce in you that repentance which is not repented of. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Didn’t He warn you by His Holy Spirit?
Since you know it was of your own will, hasn’t He provided you light?
Light, which you refused, then; but maybe will listen to now?

Well, here the Word of the Lord, and what He said to Israel, before they were removed for a time from the land God gave them:

Jeremiah 4:10, 18 “Then said I, Ah, Lord God! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul.”
(God promised them peace and security, if they put away their idolatry, and returned to Him; but they did not. Oh, they never stopped pretending to worship God in His temple, but they refused to wholly follow the Lord.). So the Lord said to them:
“Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart.”

He plainly told them, through Jeremiah, that their sins were bringing these troubles on them.
Would they hear?

Jeremiah 2:19, 3:22. “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backsliding shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear in not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts.
“Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backsliding. Behold, we come unto Thee; for Thou art the Lord our God.”

His determination for us is to share in His fellowship, and power and glory.
But we often refuse, for something the world tells us is better.

So, the Lord also determines to let us feel the bitterness of our sin, to make us see that what we had with Him is so much better than what the world offers. To make us want to return to the Lord.
When we do, we see the goodness and sweetness of His forgiveness, and renewed joy.

Let us talk about the prodigal son:
Luke 15:11-13 “And he (Jesus) said, A certain man had two sons:
And the younger of them said unto his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth unto me. And he divided unto them his living.
And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.”

Jesus tells this parable about a man with two sons. His sons are grown and the younger one wants to get away from the duty of the farm, and go and “have some fun”.
The Father (who is our Father God) takes His goods and divides it between these two sons (which represents all of God’s children; there are two groups).
Now in the days Jesus speaks of, the elder son would have gotten a two thirds portion; and the younger, the rest.
The determination of the Father for His sons, is that they labor with Him in the fields and with the sheep, and be blessed with all that He is (His power) and all that will be produced (His abundant life).

But the will of the younger yearns after the world’s “good time”.
So the outcome is that the younger leaves, as soon as he turns his portion into usable cash.
And, for a while he has just what he thinks, out in the world.
But he spends all his money, and just about that time, his “good time” and all the friends he has gotten through his money; runs out.

Now I will mention here that the “portion” of every Christian is his will.
If he wills, the child of God, can spend his days in sweet fellowship and good works, with God.
But often our wills seek another “sweetness”.
We may run after the world’s goods, and for awhile rejoice in them.
But there will come a day, if we are true Christians, that the will for these things, “runs out”; or becomes aware of it’s poverty. It will wake up, and realize that it has nothing. A barrenness comes into the soul of such a Christian, and there is a famine–a mighty famine. (Amos 8:11)
Luke 15:14 “And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.”

So what does he do?
Luke 15:15-16 “And went an joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
And he would have vain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.”

Now here is a great lesson: he leaves home so he does not have to labor in the fields, or feed sheep; and he ends up in a field, feeding pigs.

But because he is a true Christian, the Holy Spirit never leaves him. And though no man gives to him, yet he is called back home by a voice inside himself which calls, “Return”.

Luke 15:17-19 “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
I will arise and go unto my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”

But he was not going to return and demand anything from his Father, no.
He was going to come and seek forgiveness, and try and get just a simple servants place in his Father’s house.
And he did; and confessed to his Father.

But his Father sees things differently:
Luke 15:20, 22-24 “…But when he was a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
But the Father said unto his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry.
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”

When we return to Him, the Lord always returns to us; more than we ever expected.

God’s determination for us, His children, is that we fellowship with Him, and enter into His work, bringing blessing and glory to Him; which He always shares with us.

But when we refuse to obey; He often lets us go our “own way”; still calling by the Holy Spirit within to return.
He will let us taste the bitter “husks the swine” eat; till we come and be reconciled to Him.
He is God. He has planned all things for us. And made a way in the wilderness of this world, and a way back, as well.

 

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