Joel 2:15-17 (NASB95) 15 Blow a trumpet in Zion,
Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly,
16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation,
Assemble the elders,
Gather the children and the nursing infants.
Let the bridegroom come out of his room
And the bride out of her bridal chamber.
17 Let the priests, the Lord’s ministers,
Weep between the porch and the altar,
And let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord,
And do not make Your inheritance a reproach,
A byword among the nations.
Why should they among the peoples say,
‘Where is their God?’ ”
Leonard Ravenhill, an English Christian Evangelist and author who focused on the subjects of prayer and revival, wrote an excellent sermon with the same title as ours today. I wish to give credit where credit is due and acknowledge that a lot of thought went into this sermon today, and I am grateful to be able to build upon what Dr. Ravenhill spoke about.
It is as the Rabbi Sha’ul [Paul] said in 1 Corinthians 3:6-9…
6) aI planted, bApollos watered, but cGod was causing the growth.
7) So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.
8) Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will areceive his own 1reward according to his own labor.
9) For we are God’s afellow workers; you are God’s 1 bfield, God’s cbuilding.
It is true that one plants and another waters, but God should always get the glory. I am grateful He allows me to water today. In His sermon, Dr. Ravenhill quoted Dr. J. B. Phillips, translator of the Phillips New Testament, on his comment on the “church” of Acts, chapter One:
"This is the church of Jesus Christ before it became fat and out of breath by prosperity. This is the church of Jesus Christ before it became muscle bound by over organization. This is the church of Jesus Christ where they did not gather together a group of intellectuals to study psycho-sematic medicine, they just healed the sick. This is the church of Jesus Christ where they did not say prayers, but they prayed in the Holy Ghost. There's a vast difference.”
What is the difference? Men who pray know of God; men who pray in the Ruach Ha’Kodesh [Holy Spirit] know God. In today’s tired and sick world, it is no longer enough to know the Word of God; we have to know the God of the Word.
For what does it profit us simply to be well versed and trained in the Word, if we do not know and understand the God that gave us this Word? What is it we have faith in? The Word, or its Author?
Does it really matter you might ask…?
Let me put it this way. What is faith? The Word of God states it this way:
Now faith is the 1 aassurance of things 2 bhoped for, the 3conviction of cthings not seen.
Faith is not a feeling. It is not some sort of out of this world kind of experience, some supernatural force that invades our lives. Faith is action, faith is a decision. In having faith, three things must happen:
We must harken back to the very first commandment of God given to Moshe [Moses]:
Exodus 20:1-2 Then God spoke all these words, saying,
aI am the Lord your God, bwho brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of 1slavery.
In this commandment we see the first element of faith: Trust. Do we trust God? Is His Word true? Is He really God? Did He really brings us out of slavery? If we can trust Him at His word, then we move into the second element:
Belief. Hebrews 11:6 “… And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who acomes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him….”
We have to decide; if we trust His word, then we have to believe in Him. I know it sounds as if the two should be reversed, but it does not work that way. We first have to decide to trust the Bible, that it is the revealed Word of God, a true and faithful witness of the Creator of all Things, and then we must believe that He is.
Finally, if we can wrap ourselves around the first two elements, we can move into the third one of faith: commitment. We have to commit ourselves, our lives, our hopes, dreams, fortunes, everything to the service of this God and His Son.
So, faith, true faith is this: trust, belief and commitment. Lose one of these elements and your faith is in vain, for this is the faith that causes change in your life, and let me tell you a truth; if your faith is not strong enough to change your behavior, it is not strong enough to change your destiny. What does this mean?
If your life does not change, if you are only going through the motions of this walk with God -singing songs, saying a few prays, listening to a few sermons, going to church on Sunday or whenever – and your life style has not changed, you are in danger. If God and His Spirit have not broken your heart by revealing your sins, you are in danger. If you can walk out of church and still drink, smoke, cheat, lie, steal, lust or any such thing without remorse, you are in danger. Your eternal destination might not be in the presence of God, but in the lake of fire.
So we spend a lot of time and effort teaching and preaching the Word of God; those of the congregation go out of their way to come together once or twice a week, maybe more, but they come to hear the Word of God, but this question must again be asked:
Do those that teach and preach and those that come to hear the Word of God, know the God of the Word?
This should be a sobering thought, one that makes you search deep within your soul for the right answer, for this question determines the reality of your faith.
Most of us come to church for fellowship and easy words. These will not be easy words today; they cannot be. The Spirit of God is calling out to His people, and Her words are not easy. It is time to come out of your slumber, out of your sleep church!
Men and Women of God – Do you know Him?
Do you know Him as He defines Himself or do you only know of Him?
Is your knowledge His knowledge or have you let someone else tell you who He is?
Most of us claim to know God – but the truth is we are still strangers to Him.
In Psalm 103:6-7 the Word says:
6 The Lord performs righteous deeds and judgments for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.
In Exodus 33:7 we see Moshe [Moses] would pitch the Tent of Meeting (the place where he would go to meet God) outside the camp of the Israelites. In Exodus 33:8 we see:
8 And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent.
“…that all the people would arise and stand…” Did you catch that? In the Hebrew what this means is that the people would begin to position themselves for the arrival of the King. Is not God the King of Glory? He says He is. Is not Yeshua [Jesus] our King? He says He is. They would stand and ready their hearts… should we do any less?
9 Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the Lord would speak with Moses.
They knew God by the Fire at night and the Cloud by day. This was the presence of the Living God to them. Would any of us sit still in His presence or would we do as the people of Israel did in verse 10:
10 When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent.
The Hebrew word translated as “worship” is the word שָׁחָה shāchāh: Literally, it means to “fall down flat”. In the presence of the Cloud the people would “arise and worship”… the word “arise” in Hebrew means to “show honor and respect”; they did so by falling down upon the ground and stretching themselves out flat in the presence of the Almighty God. How have we been taught to “worship”?
11 Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.
The Hebrew word for “friend” that is used here is the word רֵיעַ rēyaʿ. “…The basic meaning of rea˓ is in the narrow usage of the word. A rea˓ is a “personal friend” with whom one shares confidences and to whom one feels very close…” Rēyaʿ is also used to describe a personal relationship, that of a brother or son.
This word, this concept of friend we will see again.
What is the point? God spoke to Moshe face to face, while the people stood off afar… Today, we must ask ourselves if we speak to Him up close, or a far… The answer depends on if you know the God of the Word.
Do you know this God?
Isaiah 45:5-7 (KJV)
5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. 7 I form the light [truth], and create darkness [sin]: I make peace [well being and life], and create evil [calamity arising out of sin and death]: I the LORD do all these things.
Luke 21:20-24 (NASB95) 20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near.
21 “Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city;
22 because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled.
23 “Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people;
24 and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be ctrampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Hosea 13:16 (NASB95)
16 Samaria will be held guilty, for she has rebelled against her God. They will fall by the sword, their little ones will be dashed in pieces, And their pregnant women will be ripped open.
God has no pity on those who openly rebel against Him.
Jeremiah 2:1-37 WoY
Moreover the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, (2) Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith Yahweh; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. (3) Israel was holiness unto Yahweh, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith Yahweh. (4) Hear ye the word of Yahweh, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel: (5) Thus saith Yahweh, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? (6) Neither said they, Where is Yahweh that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt? (7) And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination. (8) The priests said not, Where is Yahweh? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. (9) Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith Yahweh, and with your children's children will I plead. (10) For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing. (11) Hath a nation changed their elohim, which are yet no elohim? but my people have changed their dignity for that which doth not profit. (12) Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith Yahweh. (13) For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. (14) Is Israel a servant? is he a homeborn slave? why is he spoiled? (15) The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant. (16) Also, the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head. (17) Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken Yahweh thy Elohim when he led thee by the way? (18) And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river? (19) Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken Yahweh thy Elohim, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Sovereign Yahweh of hosts. (20) For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot. (21) Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me? (22) For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Sovereign Yahweh. (23) How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways; (24) A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her. (25) Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, there is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go. (26) As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets, (27) Saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. (28) But where are thy elohim that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy elohim, O Judah. (29) Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith Yahweh. (30) In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion. (31) O generation, see ye the word of Yahweh. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are restless; we will come no more unto thee? (32) Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number. (33) Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love? therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways. (34) Also, in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these. (35) Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with thee because thou sayest, I have not sinned. (36) Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria. (37) Yea, thou shalt go forth from him, and thine hands upon thine head: for Yahweh hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them.
Can today’s church see herself in the lament of Jeremiah?
Lam 3:41-50 WoY Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto El in the heavens. (42) We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned. (43) Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied. (44) Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through. (45) Thou hast made us as the offscouring and refuse in the midst of the people. (46) All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. (47) Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction. (48) Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. (49) Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission, (50) Till Yahweh look down, and behold from heaven.
O brethren, do you know this GOD?
This Consuming Fire?
Or would you as most say today “I could never serve a God like that!”?
But does not our God say this in Malachi 3:6…
Malachi 3:6 (NASB95) 6 “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
We must pause… We must give great though to Whom it is we stand before.
2Only you I have known of all families of the land; therefore I charge on you all your iniquities. 3Do two walk together if they have not met?
14 ‘I am the good shepherd, and I know my sheep, and am known by mine, 15according as the Father doth know me, and I know the Father, and my life I lay down for the sheep,
In many Jewish synagogues, a sign can be found above the ark [cabinet] that holds the Torah scroll. It reads:
Or transliterated: “Da Lifnei mi atah Omed”. It means “Know Before Whom You Stand”.
The idea for this comes from Moshe’s experience in the wilderness at the burning bush (see Exodus 3:2-15). The concept behind this statement takes its place as a reminder that when we approach God in either prayer or study, it should be with a respectable awe and a focused, reverent attitude.
The truth to this is that we are always in the presence of God as Paul alludes to in Acts 17:22-28 and as Isaiah relates to us in Isa 6:1-8. If we hold this to be true, then should not we always be aware that everything we say, think and do is in the divine audience of the Living God?
This ought to all believers be a soul-searching thought. I know it was for me. How many words have I spoken that I had not taken into account who my true audience was? How many idle, vain words, hurtful words, angry words, and blasphemous words have I thought or uttered? How often have I lashed out in anger or rage, how many great swelling words have I shouted at another in defense of one attitude or another and not regarded who else was in the room – the Presence of the Most High God?
Brethren, the days in which we are in are dark; and the world where we have to live is lawless and wicked. Men do what is right in their own eyes and stand in direct defiance before a Holy God. They stand and say:
“We will not believe!”
“We will not listen!”
“We will not obey!”
As were the days of Noah, so are the days in which we live.
What happens when men do this?
Therefore, thus says the Lord, “Behold I am bringing disaster on them which they will not be able to escape; though they will cry to Me, yet I will not listen to them.
22 therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, I am about to punish them! The young men will die by the sword, their sons and daughters will die by famine; 23 and a remnant will not be left to them, for I will bring disaster on the men of Anathoth—the year of their punishment.”
10 “Now when you tell this people all these words, they will say to you, ‘For what reason has the Lord declared all this great calamity against us? And what is our iniquity, or what is our sin which we have committed against the Lord our God?’
11 “Then you are to say to them, ‘It is because your forefathers have forsaken Me,’ declares the Lord, ‘and have followed other gods and served them and bowed down to them; but Me they have forsaken and have not kept My law.
12 ‘You too have done evil, even more than your forefathers; for behold, you are each one walking according to the stubbornness of his own evil heart, without listening to Me.
13 ‘So I will hurl you out of this land into the land which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers; and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will grant you no favor.’
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me saying,
6 “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. 7 “At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; 8 if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it.
9 “Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it;
10 if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it. 11 “So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh, turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.” ’ 12 “But they will say, ‘It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’ 13 “Therefore thus says the Lord, ask now among the nations, Who ever heard the like of this?
The virgin of Israel Has done a most appalling thing. 14 ‘Does the snow of Lebanon forsake the rock of the open country? Or is the cold flowing water from a foreign land ever snatched away? 15 ‘For My people have forgotten Me, They burn incense to worthless gods
And they have stumbled from their ways, From the ancient paths, To walk in bypaths, Not on a highway, 16 To make their land a desolation, An object of perpetual hissing; Everyone who passes by it will be astonished And shake his head. 17 ‘Like an east wind I will scatter them Before the enemy;
I will show them My back and not My face In the day of their calamity.’ ”
He changes not. If He did this to His people Israel because they turned their backs on Him and “…we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the bstubbornness of his evil heart…”; then how can we think He will spare us in our rebellion?
If you say you know God, then the truth is you must FEAR Him. For He is worthy to be praised, to be worshipped, to be feared.
He is to be obeyed.
Do not think you can go your own way without consequence. The opposite is true though, blessings flow when we walk in obedience. Is there sickness in your life? What about your family?
Turn from your own way and seek Him!
Follow His path and not your own.
Remember what Rabbi Sha’ul [Paul] told us:
Romans 11:21 (NKJV) 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.
We must understand the order of things in God’s world: to the Jew first, and then the Greeks; what happens in the natural is what is happening in the supernatural. There was a blessing for the Jews if they obeyed; there is a blessing for us if we do so. But we will reap what we sow, for God is not mocked.
God will never change.
Do you know Him?
Everyone comes to church for some reason. Some for fellowship, some to be uplifted, some to praise and worship. Indeed, we come to be edified; we come to encourage one another. I do not speak these words to hurt or anger anyone, but if we come only to hear a happy message then we are in a dangerous place. God’s words are not easy – they are full of power and blessings, curses and fear, joy and peace. There is just one catch:
He demands His people obey His voice and walk in His ways.
What a large part of Christianity has grown to love is not the true God or Christ: they are in love with the image that they have made, with the god that bests fits their lifestyle. Most want the easy way, the way of the flow, the way that will have a minimal impact on their ambitions, possessions, and their pleasures. We as a body suffer from the lack of the knowledge of God, the lack of the understanding of the attributes of God. Instead of a daily diet of repentance, self-sacrifice, carrying our cross and dying to ourselves, instead of a steadfast plan to keep ourselves immersed in the word of God, what do we do? We work, we worry, we stress; we obsess over the latest fashions to “look good”, we covet, we strive, we envy, we gossip… Because we don’t know God, we need all these little tricks of the flesh to fill in the gaps, those deep yawning chasms of emptiness that mark a life that is without the knowledge of God. Worse of all, we mistake grace for license and the result is rampant sinning!
1 Corinthians 15:34 (KJV) 34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
The question we must ask is “Why this lack of the knowledge of the one true God?” The answer is simple. We are not taught who God is. We are told in Ecclesiastes:
Ecclesiastes 11:5 (KJV) 5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.
In Ecclesiastes Solomon tells us in Chapter 11, verses 1-6, four times “…thou knowest not…” He says in verse 2
“… Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth…” ;
“…knowest not what is the way of the spirit…” and “…thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all…” in verse 5 [ this is also translated in the Greek Septuagint as “…you shall not know the actions of God, as much as He shall do in all things…”]; and finally in verse 6 he says “…In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand; for thou knowest not which shall prosper, whether this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good…”
Shame be upon us brethren! I know we cannot know all about Him, (Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.)
1O Jehovah, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; Thou understandest my thought afar off. 3Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4For there is not a word in my tongue, But, lo, O Jehovah, thou knowest it altogether. 5Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thy hand upon me. 6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain unto it.
But we must ask ourselves this: why aren’t our lives so entwined with His that we share in His most intimate secrets? In Amos 3:7 the Word of God states:
“…Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless dHe reveals His secret to His servants the prophets…”
Yeshua Ha’Machiach addressed this in John’s Gospel:
John 15:15-16 (NKJV) 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, sfor all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 tYou did not choose Me, but I chose you and uappointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father vin My name He may give you.
If this then is the case, why do we “…knowest not…”?
Deuteronomy 29:29 says
“…“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law…(emphasis mine)”
Bear with me now. To understand God’s word, we must define the terms. Let us define “servant”. When looking at the word in Amos 3:7, servant is the Hebrew word (Strong’s #H5650) עבד ‛ebed eh'-bed. While technically defined as “slave” or “servant”, a broader context of the word is “one chosen and beloved by God”.
In the context of John 15:15, the word for “servant” is (G1401) δοῦλος doulos doo'-los, which carries with it the same general connotation, along with the idea that “…Often the service involved is voluntary, in which a person willingly offers obedience, devotion, and loyalty to another, subordinating his will to him…” I believe we have to look even deeper still to find the more subtle use of the word by Christ. I deduce this from the new name Christ uses to describe them with – the word for “friend” (G5384) φίλος philos.
Jesus Christ, by His use of this word, has drawn them into a deeper relationship with Him, from one that is subject or bound to Him (even if willingly), to one He associates with, the bridegroom’s friend who on His behalf, asks for the hand of the bride and then renders to Him various services in closing the marriage and then joining in the celebration of the nuptials.
You can see my friends, how we are held in esteem by our Yahvey Adonai. Think of your friends – who are they to you? Dare I say that there are few if any you hold close enough for you to send them to the one you love to ask them for their hand in marriage to you, yet this is precisely the distinction Christ holds us in as His “philos.”
O brethren! “…Thou knowest not!” O pastors! Why don’t you teach who God is! O teach upon His attributes, His infinite Glory; get to know Him! This is our eternal life! Eternal life begins not at the gate of heaven: it starts at the regeneration of our heart! It started before the foundation of the world! Look at how He trusts His own - are we included in this trust? We, who by our former natures were at such odds with Him, yet now are held by Him as עבד ‛ebed – one chosen and beloved. O shame I say again Christian! That we know not Him so deeply. O how His heart must ache for our closeness, for the familiarity that He desires, that He craves! Yes, Craves! Our Master longs for our love, our undivided, unfettered love! How can we be so fickle, so hard-hearted as to deny Him this intimacy that He seeks? What holds you away beloved? Why thou knowest not?
…O men and women of God…
Here, between the porch and the altar are you weeping?
Are you weeping for your family as I am weeping for mine here in America and my extended family in Chuuk, Micronesia? Are you weeping for yourselves?
Can you let God break your heart?
Can we be as Daniel, crying out for himself and Israel “...O we have sinned…”
Be not like the Pharisee and say “I am glad I’m not like this publican…”
But plead, o cry out to God to be merciful to us
…To have pity…
O pray our hearts have not hardened and we say
“We will not believe!”
“We will not listen!”
“We will not obey!”
Jesus said in John 3:14-21:
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
Are our deeds in the light?
Are we producing the fruit that leads to life?
Our fruit is the product of our faith, which comes from knowing God. What fruit do we bear? There are only three kinds:
None: We are an empty dead tree, much like the fig tree in Mark 11:13-24.
Poison: Will our fruit be as thorns and thistles (Matt 7:16-18) or the fruit of lies (Hosea 10:13)? Will it be the fruit of the flesh as found in Romans 1:28-32:
“…And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they aragossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
Or Will we produce the Good Fruit:
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Again I ask, “Do we really know God?” Better yet, does He know us?
If we are not sure, we are in danger of hearing these words:
Matthew 7:21-23 (NASB95) 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’
23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
Lawlessness. The product of our own way. The result of our bringing strange fire and strange incense before God. Without His Law, His Torah, His way, His ancient path, He will not know us.
Jeremiah 18:15 says:
‘For My people have forgotten Me,
They burn incense to worthless gods
And they have stumbled from their ways,
From the ancient paths,
To walk in bypaths,
Not on a highway,
When we remove the ancient landmarks and stray from the path God set before us, then we have erred and have gotten off the narrow path that leads to life and instead have found ourselves on the broad way that leads to destruction.
Do you know God?
How can you be sure you know Him?
If you fear Him - you know Him.
If you humble your heart before Him – you know Him.
If you can surrender all you are to Him – you know Him.
If you weep between the porch and the altar – you will know Him.
On the altar burns your fire, but you cannot get to the altar without weeping.
O, brethren, I do not do altar calls, but the Altar of God is calling you. If anything, you have heard today has quickened your heart, has broken your heart, come, come to the altar and worship; come and shakaw – fall before Him today. Let your tears be seen of God – let your cries go up unto Him!
O, for your families, for your children, for your wives, yours mothers, your fathers, your sisters, your brothers, your home, your health, yourself… do not be ashamed to come between the porch and the altar… Come and weep before your God…
These words I have spoken are not meant to do anything but break your heart. If we do not seek His Holiness, we will not see Him. If we will not let Him break us, He cannot heal us. If we will not weep, He cannot hear us.
Pastors, teachers, brethren; God is calling.
O, let not the unbeliever say “Where is their God?”
But let us say:
“We know where He is:
He is in our tears
Between the Porch and the Altar.”
Let those in need
Come and weep.
In the names of Yeshua Ha’Machiach, Jesus our Messiah