Sermon Notes




Wisdom and Temptation

10/21/12

Missionary Patrice Fletcher

“Wisdom” a word that we use everyday.

-This is because we are faced with situations that require us to make decisions every minute of the day.

-Yet we are not taught to seek and desire the gift of wisdom.

-Along with having wisdom we are also faced with temptation

-The problem is we often don’t recognize that we are placing ourselves in the path that leads to temptation.

Proverbs 7, is said to be a parable about “the wiles of a harlot” and today we will focus on the mental state of man in temptation

Define wisdom:

- the quality or state of being wise;  knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.

"A moral rather than an intellectual quality. To be "foolish" is" to be godless (Ps. 14:1; Judges 19:23; 2 Samuel 13:13).

Define temptation:

"(1.) Trial; a being put to the test. Thus God "tempted [Gen. 22:" "1; R.V., `did prove'] Abraham;" and afflictions are said to" "tempt, i.e., to try, men (James 1:2, 12; comp. Deut. 8:2)," "putting their faith and patience to the test. (2.) Ordinarily," "however, the word means solicitation to that which is evil, and" "hence Satan is called "the tempter" (Matt. 4:3).

Define Harlot:

zanah: to commit fornication, be a harlot

"(1.) Heb. zonah (Gen. 34:31; 38:15). In verses 21, 22 the Hebrew" "word used in kedeshah, i.e., a woman consecrated or devoted to" prostitution in connection with the abominable worship of "Asherah or Astarte, the Syrian Venus.

The harlot represents something that we lust after, something enticing,

Word Origin & History

harlot

early 13c., "vagabond," from O.Fr. herlot, arlot "vagabond, tramp" (usually male in M.E. and O.Fr.), with forms in O.Prov. (arlot), O.Sp. arlote), and It. (arlotto), of unknown origin. Used in both positive and pejorative senses by Chaucer; applied to jesters, buffoons, jugglers, later to actors. Sense

VS 7: And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding

Youth

Strong passion is characteristic of youth, and many think that yielding to these evidences manhood, but actually the opposite is true. Lack of discretion and self-control is characteristic of immaturity. Manhood is manifested by self-control and understanding of what is right and proper, and acting accordingly.

VS 8-12

8Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,

9In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:

10And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.

11(She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:

12Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)

This is what we see

-       Because he did not have clear direction for his life he was passing through a place where he should not be.

-       So in essence you could say he is lost, so we are lost,

-       Meaning when we do not have the Lord directing our path we are usually wondering in darkness,

-       There is no clear vision or knowledge what lies around the next corner, you are in an unfamiliar place

-       However while we may not know our surrounding, it is here where the enemy lays in wait.

-       We are in his neighborhood, he knows everything while we know nothing

-       Vs 11 and 12 tells us that she is dressed as a harlot, meaning she appears to be a light because she is loud and she stands out in the darkness

-       Now because we are lost we are going to go towards this false light.

-       Remember in this parable temptation appears as a woman, a symbol of someone we can trust, someone who gives nurture, someone that is harmless and she is also enticing in her appearance

Vs 13-15

13So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him,

14I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.

15Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.

16I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.

17I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.

18Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.

19For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey:

20He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.

She tempts by

  • -       Giving a sample of what she can give
  • -       By telling him that it wont cost a thing
  • -       By telling him that he is special (you are the only one – I have made a special place for you)
  • -       No one will find out

Aloes is a name applied to a variety of trees containing a fragrant or aromatic substance described in the scriptures as a perfume.

Aloewood was used by the Egyptians" for embalming dead bodies. Nicodemus brought it (pounded aloe-wood) to embalm the body of Christ (John 19:39); This species is of great rarity "even in India.

Myrrh is an aromatic gum resin, generally believed have been obtained from the low-growing thorny shrub or tree known as Commiphora myrrha (Balsamodendron myrrha) or the related vari ety Commiphora kataf. Both thrive in rocky areas particularly on limestone hills.

It was a custom of the Jews to give those who were condemned to "death by crucifixion "wine mingled with myrrh" to produce" insensibility.

Following the death of Yeshua the Anointed, Nicodemus brought “myrrh and aloes” weighing about a hundred pounds to be used in preparing Yeshua’s body for burial (John 19:39).

It also seems logical that the mixture would have been put into the shroud enveloping Yeshua’s body. The mixture of myrrh and aloes would mask the odors of petrification in multi-occupant tombs.

Cinnamon

It was one of the principal ingredients in the holy anointing oil (Ex. 30:23)

Perfumes

The heady scent of perfumes were meant to stir the heart, (27:9), even as now, and in a land where filth and unpleasant orders generally dominated the towns, a room filled with all sorts of pleasant odors would add much to the romantic atmosphere

Proverbs7:25 “Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.” The heart always first declines to evil before one goes astray in the path of evil, which is why there is a need for us to suppress the first motions of sin—the thoughts and desires—and we will not therefore be found in the paths of wickedness. The Latins had a saying for it: obsta principii—resist beginnings. If we nip sin in the bud, we will not have to eat of the bitterness of its fruit.

 

Temptation

1.   Because of immaturity – If we do not know what is our purpose in life, then we will not have a goal and we will not have a drive, because we do not know our destination. Example, if we not know where we are going then we will wonder aimlessly, seeing everything around us, believing we can try everything but there is always the possibility of danger in going places we have never gone before. I Cor. 3:1 (NET) 3:1 So, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but instead as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.

2.   Because of past offenses – we are sometimes tempted because we want to cover something we have done. If there is a possibility that our past sins may be covered we will give into something or someone we know is bad for us

3.   Because of lack of Knowledge – if we lack knowledge we are more easily persuaded to give in to temptation; we will be easily swayed by someone who seem to know more than we do. 

Proverbs 7:26 “For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.” One of Satan’s very effective tools is human pride. He appeals to it by telling the tempted one: “Do not fear” Only the weak succumb to evil. You are strong. You may walk by sin and look upon it, but you shall not be caught by it.” So he ensnares many, and not a few of these are strong, for sin is always more powerful than human strength and wisdom when men foolishly toy with it. Those who are destroyed by this evil woman were not just the ignorant and weak, but were the wise and the strong. Satan’s snares are all by very gradual steps away from truth and right, each so subtle that man does not realize he is approaching the brink until too late.

 Psalm 14:18

18 The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.

True wisdom is a gift from God to those who ask it                                                                       

(Job 28:12-28; Prov. 3:13-18; Rom. 1:22; 16:27; 1 Cor. 1:17-21; 2:6-8; James "1:5).

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Call me Maybe

10/28/12

Missionary Patrice Fletcher

Last week: Wisdom and Temptation

Proverbs 7 is said to be a parable about “the wiles of a harlot”

Things we took away from message

Temptation

1.   Because of immaturity – If we do not know what is our purpose in life, then we will not have a goal and we will not have a drive, because we do not know our destination. Example, if we not know where we are going then we will wonder aimlessly, seeing everything around us, believing we can try everything but there is always the possibility of danger in going places we have never gone before. I Cor. 3:1 (NET) 3:1 So, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but instead as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.

2.   Because of past offenses – we are sometimes tempted because we want to cover something we have done. If there is a possibility that our past sins may be covered we will give into something or someone we know is bad for us

3.   Because of lack of Knowledge – if we lack knowledge we are more easily persuaded to give in to temptation; we will be easily swayed by someone who seem to know more than we do.

She tempts by

  • -       Giving a sample of what she can give
  • -       By telling him that it wont cost a thing
  • -       By telling him that he is special (you are the only one – I have made a special place for you)
  • -       No one will find out

He teaches the way to protect yourself is to;

1My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you.

2Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.

3Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

4Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your kinsman;


This week do you know these lyrics?

Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy

But here's my number, so call me maybe

I miss you so bad, I miss you so, so bad.

Today we are faced with so many temptations, troubles and trials and a lot of decisions to make

So where do you go when you need an assist, or whom do you call on for help,

Both the Hebrew and Greek words for “call” denote “to call, cry, to utter a loud sound, call out, call upon, call upon someone for aid, or to invoke.” In other words, it is to call a person by saying his name aloud. Although prayer may be silent, calling must be audible.

The Hebrew word qara which is usually translated “call”, may also be translated “cry with a loud voice” as in Leviticus 13:45:

            1.     To call on the name of the Lord for Help

               (v. i.) To make a demand, requirement, or request.

 Mark 10

Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight

46- Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging.

47- When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

48- Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

49- Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 

50- Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

51- “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

52- “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

In this scripture Blind Bartimaeus had a problem and one that he had for a long time, he heard of Jesus and all that he can do and he made a decision that of all the people around me, I can call on this guy for my sight, everyone else I call on them for material things.

            2.   To call on the name of the Lord in worship

               To summon, to bring response, or bring person near

Psalm 66

16- Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.

17- I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.

18- If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;

19- but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.

20- Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!

Because we know who God his we want to acknowledge him for is sovereign authority, and so we cry out to him praise not always as a prayer, but to keep him near, so we can be comforted in our seasons of trial because we have a relationship with him

            3.    To call on the name of the Lord to invoke a response                 

                                    (v. t.) To invoke; to appeal to

Isaiah 58

6“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

7Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness a will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

9Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.

11The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

So many people today when they are in trouble call out to the Lord because they know of him but they do not know him, they do not have a relationship with him. So if you don’t really know him that you don’t really know how to reach out to him, you are not sure what he can do for you,  you only call just incase he will answer.

But here the scripture says, if you have been busy  doing the things that I have commanded, then my response to you will be quick. Because your light stands out I can see you in the darkness

        4.   To call on the name on the Lord in prayer

Luke 18 (New International Version 1984)

 

 The Parable of the Persistent Widow

1- Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

2- He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men.

3- And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4- “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men,

5- yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’”

6- And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says.

7- And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?

8- I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Sometimes we have a relationship with God, we know who he is like blind Bartimeaus, we call out to him in our time of need, but he doesn’t respond right away. Here we are encouraged to pray continually, because if a worldly leader is able to answer because the widow was persistent, wont our Savior do the same thing for us. He knows and sees you in your need, don’t give up call on his name, he will show up on time

CONCLUSION

So in conclusion I encourage you to call on the name of the Lord,

  • ·      We should know who he is
  • ·      Know what he can do
  • ·      Be persistent

Because he desire to answer when we call

5. To call on the name of the Lord, to proclaim who he is

Isaiah 12 >>

King James Version

4 And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.

5 Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.

6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee

Let your call to him be frequent, he waits patiently for us to call him, let it not be like the song says CALL ME MAYBE, but turn to him always. He desires to be intimate with us, and when we neglect him he misses us so bad

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Stand

11/12

Elder Ian Fletcher

Genesis 5(19-24)

Stand: (of a person) to be in an upright position on the feet.

Walk: to advance or travel on foot at a moderate speed or pace; proceed by steps; move by advancing the feet alternately so that there is always one foot on the ground in bipedal locomotion and two or more feet on the ground in quadrupedal locomotion.

Enoch, the seventh from Adam: the rest, we may suppose, did virtuously, but he excelled them all, and was the brightest star of the patriarchal age. It is but little that is recorded concerning him; but this little is enough to make his name great, greater than the name of the other Enoch, who had a city called by his name.

Now Enoch: Here Jude quoted from Enoch, who is described in Genesis 5 and mentioned in Hebrews 11. The ancient book of Enoch was not received as Scripture, but it was highly respected among both the Jews and early Christians.

i. “Tertullian tells us that the book of Enoch’s prophecies were preserved by Noah in the ark, and that they continued and were read until the times of the apostles. But because they contained many famous testimonies concerning Jesus Christ, the Jews out of malice suppressed and abolished the whole book.” (Trapp)

ii. Jude did not quote from Enoch to tell us anything new, but to give a vivid description of what the Bible already teaches. The Apostle Paul also quoted non-Biblical sources on at least three different occasions (Acts 17:28, 1 Corinthians 15:33 and Titus 1:12). This wasn’t to proclaim a new truth, but to support an already established Biblical principle.

iii. Jude’s quoting of the book of Enoch doesn’t mean that the whole book of Enoch inspired Scripture - only the portion Jude quotes. In the same way, when Paul quoted a pagan poet, he didn’t mean that the entire work of the poet was inspired by God.

i. Jude 1:14 also tells us Enoch was a prophet; even from his vantage point long ago, he could see the second coming of Jesus (Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly . . .).

Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begot Enoch. After he begot Enoch, Jared lived eight hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years; and he died. Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and begot Lamech. After he begot Lamech, Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died.

a.  Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him: Enoch, the son of Jared, was carried away to God in a miraculous way.

b.  After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God: It seems Enoch began to walk with God in a special way after the birth of Methuselah. The name Methuselah means, “when he is dead, it shall come.” At the birth of Methuselah, Enoch had a special awareness from God that judgment was coming, and this was one of the things that got him closer in his walk with God.

c.  Enoch walked with God: Walking with God means

1.     Walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7),

                    2Cr 5:7 KJV - 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

2.     Walk in the light (1 John 1:5-7),

1Jo 1:5-7 KJV - 5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

3.     Walk in agreement with God (Amos 3:3).

Amos 3:3 KJV - 3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

After walking like this with God, it is as if one day God told Enoch, “You don’t need to walk home. Why don’t you just come home with Me?”

i.   Hebrews 11:5 tells us the foundation of Enoch’s walk with God: By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

You can’t walk with God, or please God, apart from faith.

To walk with God is to set God always before us, and to act as those that are always under his eye. It is to live a life of communion with God both in ordinances and providences. It is to make God’s word our rule and his glory our end in all our actions. It is to make it our constant care and endeavour in every thing to please God, and nothing to offend him. It is to comply with his will, to concur with his designs, and to be workers together with him. It is to be followers of him as dear children.

Eminent religion. He was entirely dead to this world, and did not only walk after God, as all good men do, but he walked with God, as if he were in heaven already. He lived above the rate, not only of other men, but of other saints: not only good in bad times, but the best in good times.

1Sa 2:30 KJV - 30 Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed [that] thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

Zec 3:7 KJV - 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.

Enoch lived, says, Enoch walked with God; for it is the life of a good man to walk with God. This was, [1.] The business of Enoch’s life, his constant care and work; while others lived to themselves and the world, he lived to God. [2.] It was the joy and support of his life. Communion with God was to him better than life itself. To me to live is Christ, Phil. 1:21.

Phl 1:21 KJV – 21-For to me to live [is] Christ, and to die [is] gain.

Psa 104:33 KJV – 33 -I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

Walking with God pleases God. [2.] We cannot walk with God so as to please him, but by faith. [3.] God himself will put an honour upon those that by faith walk with him so as to please him. He will own them now, and witness for them before angels and men at the great day. Those that have not this testimony before the translation, (change or conversion to another form, appearance, etc.; transformation: a swift translation of thought into action.)

 yet shall have it afterwards. [4.] Those whose conversation in the world is truly holy shall find their removal out of it truly happy. Enoch’s translation was not only an evidence to faith of the reality of a future state, and of the possibility of the body’s existing in glory in that state; but it was an encouragement to the hope of all that walk with God that they shall be for ever with him: signal piety shall be crowned with signal honours.

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Raising a standard

12/2/12

Missionary Patrice Fletcher

 Isaiah 59:19 

So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.

 Definition of Standard

1.   (n.) A kind of flag attached to a spear or pike by a crosspiece, and used by a chief as his standard in battle.

Isaiah 59: 12-21

12- For our transgressions are multiplied before You,
And our sins testify against us;
For our transgressions are with us,
And as for our iniquities, we know them:

13 - In transgressing and lying against the Lord,
And departing from our God,
Speaking oppression and revolt,
Conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.

14- Justice is turned back,
And righteousness stands afar off;
For truth is fallen in the street,
And equity cannot enter.

15 - So truth fails,
And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him
That there was no justice.

16 - He saw that there was no man,
And wondered that there was no intercessor;
Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;
And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.

17 - For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,
And was clad with zeal as a cloak.

18 - According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay,
Fury to His adversaries,
Recompense to His enemies;
The coastlands He will fully repay.

19 - So shall they fear
The name of the Lord from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun;
When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.

20 - “The Redeemer will come to Zion,
And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,”
Says the Lord.

21- “As for Me,” says the Lord, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the Lord, “from this time and forevermore.”

 Today we are living in times of much death, destruction, sufferings, sickness, promiscuity and hopelessness.

 And Christians are preaching from the pulpit about end times.

When we see these things happening all around us we can easily find in the bible the prophecies that let us know that these things will come to pass.

But I woke up this morning and I hear the Lord saying, “Raise a Standard”

 It seems we are giving up too easily to what is going on around us

 I believe the Lord wants his children to join him in “raising up a standard”.

 In the scripture we read that man had given themselves up to their sinful nature and the bible says it displease God

 Are you displeased with what you see today?

 It seems instead of going into battle more Christians are storing up salvation for themselves. “I want to be right, I want to make sure that I am ready for the coming of the Lord”

 But the bible says God looked out and saw no intercessors that will stand for the lost and hopeless who can he use to raise a standard.

 A standard by definition is a flag, a sign, will you be that sign or flag that others can find in a sea of hopelessness.

 The Lord will not wait on us he will raise “the standard.” The question is who is available be “the standard.”

 He desires for us to join him.

 In Genesis 18, Abraham when God said he was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah asked the Lord if he could find 50 righteous people, all the way down to ten would he spare the city. God said he would.

 Today there are many places being destroyed whether by storm or wars. Do we have any Abraham boldly going before the Lord asking him to save the land or save the people?

 I believe Jesus is looking for a few good soldiers that will give themselves to be the banner of hope that Jesus will use to “raise up a standard” for him.

 It is (truly) time for us to put on the whole armor of God:

Ephesians 6

13 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.                                                                                                                                                   14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,                                                                                                                                                                                       15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;                                                  16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.                                                                                                                                                                                   17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;              18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints

Matthew Henry in his commentary said

"They complained that God did not appear for them (ch. 58:3); but God with much more reason complains that they did nothing for themselves, intimating how ready he would have been to do them good if he had found among them the least motion towards a reformation."

Nehemiah 1: 2-4

that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.                              And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.”                                                                                                                                                                                                 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

Nehemiah was in a place where he was in a position where he was well off compared to the remnant that was left in Jerusalem. Like most Christians today he interceded for his brethren and stepped out of his comfort zone and fasted and prayed.

 Today there should be more emphasis placed on prayer, praying for people, places and things under the leadership of the Holy Spirit

 In conclusion I leave with these words by Matthew Henry, which reads

"There was no intercessor, either none to intercede with God, to stand in the gap by prayer to turn away his wrath (it would have pleased him to be thus met, and he wondered that he was not), or, rather, none to interpose for the support of justice and truth, which were trampled upon and run down (v. 14), no advocate to speak a good word for those who were made a prey of because they kept their integrity, v. 15."

 Will you be the banner for the Lord? Can Jesus rely on you to be ready when he requires to use you to raise a standard, concerning a person, place or thing?

 Has the scripture say, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.”

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We Pray for Blessings

12/16/12

Elder Ian Fletcher

Deuteronomy 28(1-14)

Deuteronomy 28 - Blessing and Cursing

A. Blessings on obedience.

1. (1-2) Overtaken by blessing.

Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:

a. If you diligently obey the voice of the Lord: The word “if” looms large. In this chapter, Moses exhorted the nation with choice. The covenant God made with Israel contained three major features: The law, the sacrifice, and the choice.

i. The idea behind the choice is that God was determined to reveal Himself to the world through Israel. He would do this either by making them so blessed that the world would know only God could have blessed them so; or by making them so cursed that only God could have cursed them and cause them to still survive. The choice was up to Israel.

ii. As a literary form, this chapter is similar to ancient treaties between a king and his people; this is God the King, making a covenant with His people, Israel.

iii. “In the ancient Near East it was customary for legal treaties to conclude with passages containing blessings upon those who observed the enactments, and curses upon those who did not.” (Harrrison)

b. That the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth: Therefore, if Israel would obey the Lord, He would set them high above all nations of the earth, and the blessings would be so powerful that they would come upon you and overtake you. They wouldn’t be able to escape the blessings.

2. (3-14) God will richly bless Israel’s obedience to the covenant.

Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you. The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

a. Blessed shall you be: An obedient Israel would be blessed everywhere: In the city . . . in the country . . . when you come in . . . when you go out. An obedient Israel would be blessed in their homes and in their farms, and in their kitchens (the fruit of your body . . . the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds . . . Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl).

b. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways: An obedient Israel would be blessed in warfare. This degree of blessing speaks of a clearly Divine blessing.

c. The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself: Perhaps the best blessing had to do with Israel’s own relationship with God. God would separate and obedient Israel unto Himself, speaking of a special relationship. If not for this, all the material blessings described previously would be empty.

d. All the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord . . . the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath: God’s purpose in blessing Israel was greater than just enriching the nation for its own sake. He intended to glorify Himself through blessing them.

i. When Israel walked after the Lord, these blessings were real; one example of this is when the Queen of Sheba came to Solomon and saw a nation so blessed, she knew it had to be of God (1 Kings 10:1-13).

 

Leviticus 26(3-13`

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Great and Mighty Is our God

1/27/13

Elder Ian Fletcher

Deuteronomy 10 - Recovering after a Fall

A. God’s plan of recovery for Israel after the rebellion at Mount Sinai.

1. (1-5) Israel had to get back to the Word of God, so God commanded the giving of the new tablets of the law.

At that time the Lord said to me, “Hew for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and come up to Me on the mountain and make yourself an ark of wood. And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke; and you shall put them in the ark.” So I made an ark of acacia wood, hewed two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain, having the two tablets in my hand. And He wrote on the tablets according to the first writing, the Ten Commandments, which the Lord had spoken to you in the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them to me. Then I turned and came down from the mountain, and put the tablets in the ark which I had made; and there they are, just as the Lord commanded me.

a. Hew for yourself two tablets of stone like the first: Moses broke the tablets of the law, not only out of anger, but also as a powerful visual representation of Israel’s breaking of the law of God. Now God commanded that the law be restored by bringing forth two new tablets of the law.

b. He wrote on the tablets according to the first writing: God wanted His written word to be the starting point for Israel’s right walk with Him. Therefore He restored the tablets, even writing on the second tablets with His own hand.

i. This is a powerful picture of the inspiration of God’s word; though God did not literally write the Scriptures with His own hand, He did perfectly guide the minds and hands of the writers, so that the Scriptures are “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16), that is, given by the inspiration of God.

2Ti 3:16 KJV - 16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

c. And put the tablets in the ark which I had made; and there they are: Getting right with God after a time of rebellion must always begin and center on God’s word. In the days of Josiah, King of Judah, repentance and revival came to the people of God when they focused on God’s word again (2 Kings 22:8-23:25).

2. (6-9) In order to deal with Israel’s sin problem, God established an enduring priesthood.

(Now the children of Israel journeyed from the wells of Bene Jaakan to Moserah, where Aaron died, and where he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered as priest in his stead. From there they journeyed to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Jotbathah, a land of rivers of water. At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister to Him and to bless in His name, to this day. Therefore Levi has no portion nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, just as the Lord your God promised him.)

a. Where Aaron died, and where he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered as priest in his stead: This parenthesis speaking about the priesthood demonstrated the need for priestly sacrifice and intercession in getting right with God after a time of rebellion. Israel needed the sacrifice, intercession, and blessing that the Levites would bring to the nation.

i. The need for a priesthood shouted to Israel: “You can’t do it on your own. You need to come to God through a mediator, who will atone for your sin, pray for you, and bless you. If you refuse your priestly mediator, and trust in your own ability to do these things, you will perish.”

II. He led them forward towards Canaan, though they in their hearts turned back towards Egypt, and he might justly have chosen their delusions, v. 6, 7. He brought them to a land of rivers of waters, out of a dry and barren wilderness. Sometimes God supplied their wants by the ordinary course of nature: when that failed, then by miracles; and yet after this, when they were brought into a little distress, we find them distrusting God and murmuring, Num. 20:3, 4.

1. We Must Separate our Self from the World

b. To stand before the Lord to minister to Him and to bless in His name: Getting right with God after a time of rebellion must always have a focus on the priestly ministry of Jesus on our behalf. This work of Jesus is shown in His atonement for our sin at the cross, on His intercession for us in heaven, and on the blessing that He brings to us from heaven.

3. (10-11) Israel need to move on towards the Promised Land, so God gave Moses the command to go forth.

As at the first time, I stayed in the mountain forty days and forty nights; the Lord also heard me at that time, and the Lord chose not to destroy you. Then the Lord said to me, “Arise, begin your journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.”

a. Arise, begin your journey: Israel’s rebellion at Mount Sinai with the golden calf was significant; it was no small matter. Yet God was not done with them. After they came back to His word and came through His priesthood, it was time to move on. God had a place to take them and they had to get about the business of getting there.

b. That they may go in and possess the land: Getting right with God after a time of rebellion must always come to a place of progress again. It does no good to come back to the word, come through God’s priesthood in Jesus, and then remain stuck in the same place. God wants us to move on with Him, and when we are walking right with God again, we will go in and possess the land.

B. What God requires of Israel.

2. We must what God requires us to do

1. (12-13) What the Lord requires of His people.

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, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?

a. Fear the Lord your God: God requires from us a reverential honor towards Him; not a fear that would make us shrink back, but a heart that so honors God that we would be hesitant to offend Him.

b. To walk in all His ways: God requires us to live our lives after the pattern He has set for us; to walk on His road not on our own.

c. To love Him: God requires us to love Him. This means the love He expects isn’t a love that just happens, but it is a love that comes from a decision to set our affection upon Him.

d. To serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul: God requires us to serve Him, to see all that we do as service unto Him, and to do all that we do as if doing it unto Him.

e. To keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes: God requires us to not only know His word, but to keep it - in the sense of possessing it in ourselves, and in the sense of protecting it.

f. For your good: every command of God is given for our good. They are never given so He can exercise His power, or so He can feel important. Every command He makes is with our best interest in mind, even if we cannot sense it or understand it.

2. (14-15) Why God requires this from Israel.

Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it. The Lord delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day.

a. The Lord delighted only in your fathers, to love them: God requires this conduct from His people because they are His special possession. Though heaven and earth belong to God, He set His focus and attention on Israel beginning with their fathers.

b. You above all peoples, as it is this day: Being chosen - having the special attention of God focused upon you - is a place of great privilege, but also a place of great responsibility. Israel had a special responsibility to obedience.

3. (16) What it takes to fulfill what God requires.

Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.

a. Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart: All males among Israel had to be circumcised eight days after they were born. But this minor surgery was merely a symbol for the real work of cutting away the flesh God that desired; the work of taking our hearts inclined after the flesh and giving us hearts inclined after the spirit.

b. And be stiff-necked no longer: This theme would be repeated later in the prophets. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your hearts (Jeremiah 4:4).

Jer 4:4 KJV - 4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench [it], because of the evil of your doings.

To fulfill God’s law, it takes more than being given a command - it takes an inner transformation, a transformation that only God can bring.

i. God command them to do something that only He could do in them to show them the need to have the inner transformation, and to compel them to seek Him for this inner work.

ii. Israel is said to have uncircumcised hearts in Leviticus 26:41; Jeremiah 9:26; Ezekiel 44:7, and 44:9.

Lev 26:41 KJV - 41 And [that] I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:

Jer 9:26 KJV - 26 Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all [that are] in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all [these] nations [are] uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel [are] uncircumcised in the heart.

Eze 44:7 KJV - 7 In that ye have brought [into my sanctuary] strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, [even] my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations.

Eze 44:9 KJV - 9 Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that [is] among the children of Israel.

3. We must honor the Mighty God

4. (17-22) A call to obedience, reverence, and compassion.

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen. Your fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now the Lord your God has made you as the stars of heaven in multitude.

a. The Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome: The basis of this brief section of commands is set in the character of God.

b. The great God, mighty and awesome: When God requires us to show justice (no partiality nor takes a bribe), compassion (loves the stranger), and reverence (take oaths in His name), it is because these virtues answer to aspects in God’s own character.

c. Who has done for you these great and awesome things: The obedience God calls us to is always set in the context of what He did for us. Our service and obedience unto the Lord is based on what He has done for us, and is to be the grateful response to His goodness. If there is a lack in obedience and reverence, there is almost always a lack of appreciation for what the Lord has done.

d. He is your praise: This is true in two senses. First, He is the object of our praise; second, He is also the One who makes us praiseworthy. Any wisdom, beauty, or skill we show is not to our praise - but He is your praise.

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