Fathers Day 2017

SCRIPTURE: 2 Chronicles 29:1-2, NLT

1 Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became the king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah.
2 He did what was pleasing in the LORD ’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done.

INTRODUCTION

If you do a study of the kings, you will notices something rather strange. There are no good kings back to back with one exception–Asa was succeeded by his son Jehoshaphat and that is as close as we come to having two good kings in a row. Even more amazing: Hezekiah and Josiah, the best two morally [David was the greatest but not necessarily the best] had evil fathers. Actually the best two had the worse two fathers. Hezekiah’s father was Ahaz, a vile man who was dedicated to the worship of Baal. He had his sons and daughters sacrificed the Molech and eventually closed the door of the Temple, outlawing Yahweh worship.

Josiah succeeded his father Amon who was so bad that he was assassinated by his own cabinet after serving less than two years. So you could say, Josiah followed his grand father Manasseh who has always held the distinction as being the worse of all of Judah kings. Manasseh was a cruel man, prone to violence and he filled the streets of Jerusalem with the blood of the innocent. He had the prophet Isaiah sawn into: put him in a hollow log and then sawed him into.

So the question I pose this morning is: How did these two good kings come from such sorry father’s. It doesn’t make sense until you study the habits of ancient Eastern kings.

  1. First of all, these kings had harems. They did not have one wife, they had wives. King David had 8 listed in scripture but everyone believes there were more. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son had 18 wives and 60 concubines. Rehoboam’s son Abijah had fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. If my math is right, that is 38 children. Fathers, it stands to reason, if you have 38 children, you are not going to be able to spend a lot of time with each individually.
  2. The mother and the children lived in a separate dwelling. The children we either in the harem or in school until of course they were grown.
  3. So, the mothers had more time with the children than the fathers. Why did two of the sorriest kings produce two of the best? The answer is, they had good mothers and the fathers spent so little time with their sons, the mother’s influence was dominant. For example: Abijah, Hezekiah’s mom was the daughter of a priest and no doubt, she is the one who instilled Yahweh faith in Hezekiah.

I know what you are thinking…“Here he goes again, lambasting fathers on father’s day.” Guys, I am going to ask you to do me a favor, bear with me, hear me out before you jump to conclusions. My purpose today is not to demean the roll of the father but to show you how important it is for men to be good fathers. Judah had five good kings and the best two were probably raised godly mothers but how many good kings would Judah have had if the good kings had mentored their sons? You think about that question for a moment. How many good kings would we have if the good ones had spent time with their sons and mentored them? It would be more than two. So my point today is…women are great at raising children but how much better would it be if we men did our part.

So Fathers, in a few brief moments, I want to challenge you and encourage you.

I. FATHERS, YOU ARE NOT JUST IMPORTANT, YOU ARE VITAL

 Let me share with you some facts about the fatherless…

  • About 40 percent of children in the western world will go to sleep in homes tonight in which their fathers do not live.
  • Before they reach the age of eighteen, more than half of our nation’s children are likely to spend at least a significant portion of their childhoods living apart from their fathers.
  • Never before in this country have so many children been voluntarily abandoned by their fathers.
  • Fatherlessness is the most harmful demographic trend of this generation. 

There are two kinds of absent fathers: [1] Those who are absent physically [2] Those who are present but emotionally unavailable.

I don’t know how credible these statistics are but they are worth mentioning…Children with absent fathers are…

  1. Five times more likely to commit suicide 
  2. They have higher rates of depression and anxiety.
  3. They are thirty-two times more likely to be incarcerated
  4. Five times more likely to drop out of school
  5. More likely to encounter relationship problems themselves
  6. Substance abuse is substantially more likely
  7. Behavioural problems more likely

Men, the women can give the children nurture but you and I, the father’s give them their identity. You recognize me today as a Bailey. My mother gave me birth but my father gave me my identity and that is an important piece of the puzzle. I’ve always known who I was, I am Eugene Bailey’s Son, I am Joe David Bailey’s grandson and Joe Bailey’s great-grandson. I am a Bailey.

Look, I am not a child pschologist nor the son of one, but I know that a child’s identity is very important to them. Every child wants to know who their father is and every child wants to know their father.

ALL I AM SAYING IS: FATHER’S YOU ARE IMPORTANT

II. FATHERS, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT BUT YOU NEED TO BE PRESENT

If you followed the last presidential election, you heard the name Ben Carson. Ben grew up in the inner city of Detroit. His fathers abandoned, he, his brother and mother when he was 8 years old. During the campaign, Ben talks a lot about his mom but he never mentions his father. My question is WHY? I would suppose that the main reason Carson didn’t mention his father was because he didn’t really know him. He left them when Ben was eight years old. Basically, Ben grew up without a father. There is no doubt that he suffered due to the absence of his father.

Ben Carson had an absent father, Ronald Wilson Reagan has an emotionally unavailable father. His father was a drunk who couldn’t keep a job. He wasn’t absent physically but he was emotionally. I don’t know which is worse, the absent father or the emotionally unavailable father.

Men we are the PROVIDERS, PROTECTOR and the PRIEST of the home. The one thing that is required in all three is time. We do pretty good at providing but there is more to it than providing. We are also the Priest, the spiritual leader, the intercessor, the instructor. I always found my responsibilities to nurture my children spiritually was the most difficult part of being a father and I didn’t do a very good job.

I have two primary goals for all my children and grandchildren: To love Jesus with all their heart and to love their neighbor as they love themselves. They don’t have to make a lot of money to please me; they don’t have to win any awards. They don’t have to be the best at anything. My hearts desire and prayer to God is that they love Jesus.

I will not lie, my goals have changed over the years. I one time, I dreamed of my son being a professional athlete and I admit that I was disappointed when he decided not to play college basketball. Sad to say, I was even disappointed when he told me the LORD was calling him to preach. But I was wrong on both counts and there is nothing he can do to make me prouder than his love for Jesus.

You have heard me tell the story about the young seminary graduate that had a sermon intitled “Ten Ways To Raise Children.” Then he had children and before they all got in school, he changed his sermon to “Ten Suggestions For Raising Children.” And then his children became teenagers and he changed the sermon again, “Ten Things Not To Do Raising Children.

Fatherhood is much harder than it looks but here are some suggestions:

  1. Pray for your children. You are their priest and they need your prayers.
  2. Build relationships. The fact that you are biologically linked doesn’t insure a relationship. You build a relationship by spending time with your children and you start when they are young. If you wait till they get to be teenagers, you are in trouble. Relationship building takes time and energy.
  3. Repair fractured relationships. Fathers: you are the one to initiate reconciliation for broken relationships. For Pete’s sake, don’t blame your children. You are the father. Take responsibility and work for a fix.
  4. Don’t act like a tough guy all the time. Be real, be gentle and convey your love verbally. Don’t give me that “My kids know I love them.” Are you sure they know. How many times have you told them. A dozen times, twice, once, never. I don’t care how well you provide or how much you give your children, they will doubt your love if you don’t reassure them. There may come a time when they will figure it out for themselves but you will probably been gone by the time they do.
  5. Be an Example: if you want them to be good to their mother, then you be good to their mother. If you want them to love Jesus, then you love Jesus. If you want them to put Christ’s Kingdom first, then you put it first.

The Invisible God

Scripture: Malachi 2:17

17 You have wearied the LORD with your words. “How have we wearied him?” you ask. You have wearied him by saying that all who do evil are good in the LORD ’s sight, and he is pleased with them. You have wearied him by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

 INTRODUCTION

I like the GWT version of verse 17, I think it puts everything in perspective…You have tried the patience of the LORD with your words. But you ask, “How have we tried his patience?” When you say, “Everyone who does evil is considered good by the LORD. He is pleased with them,” or “Where is the God of justice?”

This brings up an age-old argument: Can God’s patience be exhausted? Does God get tired of our constant complaining? Before we attempt to answer these questions, let’s establish some fundamental things that we do know about God.
  1. God is not Apathetic. He is im·pas·si·ble in the sense that our emotions do not rule Him nor change His essential nature but at the same time, He does feel our pain. At Laarus tomb, Jesus wept with Mary and Martha. Isaiah said of Jesus, “He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with our grief.” The word acquainted means to know or learn by experience. Impassibility means to be incapable of suffering or feeling pain. Jesus laid this myth to rest. God does feel our pain but don’t ask me to explain, I can’t explain it and yet I believe it. This is what I call the paradox of faith.
  2. So we can say with confidence, God is not Apathetic but neither is He pathetic or at the mercy of man’s emotions. In other words, our emotions do not rule Him. We are sinners in the hand of an angry God, not the other way around…God in the hands of angry sinners. We are at His mercy.

So the same paradox exist when it comes to God’s patience. God can not run out of patience because He is infinite and there is no end to His resources. Surly you do not believe that God is limited in any capacitySo in one sense, the answer is no, God doesn’t run out of patience. In other words, our constant complaining will never transform God into an impatient God. But when we flip the coin to the other side, God does have an allotted degree of patience for each one of us. In this sense, His patience can be exhausted as it was with Sodom and Gomorrah and the children of Israel in the wilderness

This fact makes it unwise to presume on God’s patience or mercy. God did grow weary of the Israelites incessant complaining and He sentenced them to 40 years of futility in the wilderness. So, there is a line that can be crossed and once it is crossed, there is nothing but judgment.

In today’s text, the Israelites are making the same mistake that their forefathers made in the Wilderness, they are trying God’s patience, which is never wise.

The situation reminds me of a story told by Bill Patterson. It is the story of Robert Shelton. Robert Shelton lost his job but only after he had exhausted the patience of his employer. Robert had been warned repeatedly about being late for work and about his lack of productivity when he was at work. His boss even enrolled Robert in a program to improve his job performance but Robert made no attempt to learn from the training. He continued to do what he had always done until the day he was called into the office and handed a pink slip. Robert went ballistic. He was outraged. He began a tirade of complaints beginning with his supervisor whom Robert said, “Had been unclear on instructions.” Then Robert lashed out t his co-workers, accusing them of conspiring against him. Then he made excuses…his assigned task was beyond his abilities and training. Robert blamed everyone except the guilty party, Robert.

The Jews of Malachi’s day were a lot like Robert…they blamed everyone except themselves. The truth is, they brought much of their suffering upon themselves. They were their own worst enemy but would not confess it and for such people there is no help.

The Jewish Problem

  1. Oppression from foreign domination

  2. Surrounded by hostile neighbors

  3. Injustice and exploitation {Economic}

  4. Skepticism and indifference {Spiritual}

Three Areas Where We Have To Be Careful of Exhausting God’s Patience

I. NUMBER ONE IS ATTITUDE

Irresponsible people believe that bad circumstances validate a bad attitude but nothing could be further from the truth. God expects each of us to have a good attitude no matter what our circumstances. Joseph had a good attitude in bad circumstances and so did Daniel and Nehemiah. How would you like to be a slave? Those three handled in pretty well, did they not.

Circumstances on this earth are never going to be ideal. I am a fan of the Jesse Stone murder mysteries. Jesse Stone is the police chief of Paradise, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. Actually Paridise, Massachusetts is is fictional. It does not exist. The definition of Paradise is an ideal place of extreme beauty, delight, or happiness where everything goes beyond expectation. We are not going to find that here on earth. We must do the best we can in less than ideal circumstances. As Erma Boombeck was fond of saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonaid.”

The Jews had a bad attitude not because circumstances were bad but because their thinking was bad. They had some stinking thinking. They were blaming God. They accused Him of being partial to the wicked. Their complaint was that He was not holy, that He was lacking in moral judgment. When our attitude is bad, it is the result of bad thinking or theology.

God is holy, moral and good. He is not the enemy. When we reach the point where we accuse Him of being the problem, we have a problem.

II. THE SECOND PROBLEM IS OUR TONGUE

Complainers are vocal by necessity. People who complain are outspoken. Do you remember the Israelites in the wilderness–they murmured and complained constantly. They grumbled in their tents…

Exodus 16:2…I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.’”

Number 14:27…“How long must I put up with this wicked community and its complaints about me? Yes, I have heard the complaints the Israelites are making against Me.”

What was the result of their complaining in Numbers 14….The Lord told Moses to tell them...”I am going to do just as you have suggested, you will die in the wilderness.” Be careful what you say, the LORD is listening.

III. THE THIRD PROBLEM IS THEIR SIGHT OR INSIGHT

They have not acknowledged what God has already done. They refuse to see His goodness and mercy. They were released from Babylon by a miracle of grace. They did not gain their independence via a war, it was given to them and yet they could not see God’s goodness.

God had made the Jews some precious promises through the prophets.

  1. They would return to the homeland and the temple be rebuilt
  2. The LORD Himself would visit the Temple
  3. Israel would have a time of prosperity and peace
  4. Israel would have promonence in the world

The first promise had been fulfilled but they were waiting impatiently on the others. Malachi’s word to them in chapter 3 is…God is going to keep His promises, He will come to His Temple but when He does, you will not recognize Him and they didn’t. So we are talking about spiritual blindness, a sight problem.

Conclusion

“Where is the God of justice?” The Jews were asking. Sounds exactly like their forefathers who is Exodus 17:7 said, “Is the LORD among us or not.” The Israelites craved a God they could see, they wanted a visible manifestation. Yahweh cannot be seen. We don’t have a lens or scope big enough to see Him. He is the invisible God. I think it was Josie who asked about this a few days ago. Christ is the image of the invisible God. [Colossians 1:15]  Paul said to Timothy, Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever.

We are not to question God’s presence merely because we do not feel it, sense it, or see it. Jeremiah 23:23-24…. “I am a God who is everywhere and not in one place only. No one can hide where I cannot see them. Do you not know that I am everywhere in heaven and on earth?” You don’t have to feel His presence, or sense His presence–you simply have to believe the truth–He is present. It is impossible for Him not to be present.

Growing up in church, I never go to go out to the bathroom during a service. Once the service started, we were planted. If we moved, there were consequences. One Sunday night mother had a headache and so she stayed behind, the rest of us went on the church. My daddy slept soundly once the preacher got started and since mother was not there, I seized the opportunity to go out during a service. I eased out and daddy never opened his eyes so I head for the foyer. Our building had those saloon doors that open both ways and I hit them almost on a run, but there sitting behind them was mother. I did a quick 360. She was there all the time but I didn’t know it.

Bottom line: Jesus said, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” It is a simple matter of faith–do you believe what Jesus said?

The Process

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

16 We never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.
17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

INTRODUCTION

We have come together today to celebrate the life and memory of Ruth Livingston. Ruth and I had a strange relationship. Casual observers assumed that we did not like each other but nothing could be further from the truth. I guess one of the reasons that we didn’t get along was our likeness. Neither of us would give in. I have pieced together a little acrostic that spells RUTH.


  • Ruth was Redeemed: I have no doubt that Ruth loved Jesus and that she understood the gospel…that all have sinned and come short…wages of sin is death and the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our LORD.
  • Ruth was Unique. She was a pistol. She had a mind of her own. It was not easy to direct Ruth. Matter of fact, I don’t know that I ever directed her. If she wanted to sing, she would sing but you were not going to coheres her to do something she didn’t want to do. I was never able to get her to one Senior Adult function. I tried everything. I tried putting her on a guilt trip but she was buying any of that and she told me that she wasn’t going to come.
  • Ruth was Talented. She lead the music at DBC at one time. She sang duets with Lou Hayes. She sang in a trio with Lou and Virginia Penney. She sang with a quartet: Lou, Virginia and Hugh.
  • Ruth was Honest. Boy was she honest! She said what she thought and of course, so do I. {maybe the reason we didn’t get along} This blatant honesty can be a virtue or a vice. Ruth and I got involved in more than one heated discussion. She told Joe David that she was just pulling my chain to see me react and that could be true. I know it is true that I was pulling her chain. I use to brag {in Ruth’s presence} about how hard Ed worked. She would take just so much and then she would interrupt: “Old Ruth works hard too.”  She did enjoy working in her flower beds.

 

Ruth just got tired of living, she packed her bags and waited for her flight. She was ready to go and no one needs to be upset with her departure–it is what she wanted. We grieve her absence but we do not grieve her promotion.


I have chosen three verse in 2 Corinthians for today’s message and I share this very brief message in Ruth’s honor.

TRANSITION

I want you to notice four things from this text:

I. OUR BODIES ARE DYING/DECAYING

As we get older, these earthly tents/tabernacles begin to wear out and they become a burden to us. Things that were once easy become very difficult. Ruth’s body was wore out, she was tired and homesick. You young people don’t understand what I am talking about but these bodies are in a state of decay. Our bodies are dying because we live in the world of the dying but Ruth has departed that world: she is now in the land of the living. There is only one death in eternity future and that is separation from God. Other than that, everyone is a live. According to Jesus, Sodom has yet to be judged. The same is true of Nineveh. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive. But due to sin, these old flesh and blood bodies are subject to death.

II. OUR SPIRITS ARE BEING RENEWED

The word renewed means to be changed for the better. It actually means to renovate. While our outer man is decaying, our inner man is being renovated. God’s grace is at work in our spirit and He is transforming us into the likeness of His dear Son.

III. OUR TROUBLES ARE SMALL

You may be thinking, “Speak for yourself,” my troubles are not small. Well they are small in comparison.

IV. OUR GAZE IS ON THE UNSEEN

What better time to think of heaven than today! The Greek word translated ‘gaze’ is ‘skopeō’ from which we get our word scope. It means to look at, observe, contemplate, to mark, to fix one’s eyes upon. Literally, to take aim. Now, you cannot see heaven and neither can I but we can set our aim on heaven.

What is your aim on today? What do you have your eye on? More money…more success… more possessions…more pleasure. You have your eye on something. Are you gazing on the visible or the invisible? Everything you see with the outer man’s eye is going to disappear, it is a temporary thing. It is in a state of decay just like you and it will not last. The things you cannot see with the outer eye is what will last through eternity.

You cannot set your sight on heaven without setting it on Jesus. God cannot give you salvation a part from His Son.

 

 

The Rich Fool

Scripture: Luke 12:13-21

13 Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”
14 Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?”
15 Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
16 Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops.
17 He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’
18 Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods.
19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
21“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

INTRODUCTION

God labeled this man a fool. Why did God call him a fool?

I. BECAUSE HE THINKS LIKE A FOOL

  1. HE THINKS ONLY OF HIMSELF: This is an amazing story. The man Jesus describes is an egomaniac, he thinks only of him self. He has not the first thought for God who is the source of all blessings. This fool does not acknowledge God; he does not thank God for his bountiful provision. This is amazing to me: how could the fool not give God a thought. But neither does he think of anyone else. He never mentions family, wife or children. He never thinks of anyone other than himself.
  2. HE THINKS ONLY ABOUT THINGS: ‘Crops,’ ‘Barns’, etc. He never thinks about people.
  3. HE THINKS LIFE IS IN HIS POSSESSIONS: He believes the more he keeps to himself, the more he has. He believes success is measured by how much a person owns.
  4. HE THINKS ABOUT SAVING BUT NEVER ABOUT GIVING: There is a simple solution to his problem. Instead of spending all that money on tearing down old barns and building new and bigger barns–the wise thing to do would be to fill the old barns and give the excess away. This would save him thousands of dollars. How is it, that this fool never thought about giving? Because he was obsessed with his greed. Greed had totally consumed him and greed never sees giving as an option.
  5. HE THINKS HAPPINESS IS IN HAVING THINGS: This fool was not riding a white horse and shooting silver bullets, most Americans believe that happiness is bound up in things. If I can get this car…I will be happy. If I can just own my own home… I will be happy. If I can get this piece of property…I will be happy. Yet the more we get, the more we want.

STORY

I know what it’s like to want. I bought my first car when I was 19 years old. I bought if from a Baptist deacon. He told me what he wanted for the car but when I got there to pick it up, he upped the price $100 which was a lot of money in 1968. My daddy warned me, not about dealing with a deacon but about buying a foreign car: it was an Austin Healey Sprite. Daddy told me, “Son that car is wore out which is why he wants to sell it. You will spend more money on the car than it is worth. Don’t get the car.” Did I listen to my daddy? No! I bought the car and my daddy was right. The car became a headache, a nightmare to be honest. Things will not make you happy. Elvis had things, any thing he wanted but he died from abusing drugs which means he was not happy.

II. BECAUSE HE LIVED LIKE A FOOL.

This man was a practical atheist: He lives as though God did not exist. Not only does he refuse to show gratitude to God, he ignores his accountability to God. The man is a horrible steward. He lived like there is no judgment. Unfortunately, there are people today who think a lot like this man. Many of them do acknowledge God but they make the same mistakes with the resources God has entrusted to them that this man made. He was so intent on saving and hoarding that he lost everything. You would be shocked at the number of people who live without regard for others when it comes to sharing resources. GREED is a huge problem in the Baptist Church.

I met a man just last week who is being cared for by one of his daughters who is doing it with his money but her sister is upset that she is spending their inheritance taking care of their father. Our church is in partnership with Guatemala where we build houses for $400. It is actually a shed, something we would used to store tools in here in America. I know a man who not only has wealth in banks, he has old cars, barns filled with old cars, washers, dryers, refrigeration. This scrap metal that is rusting is worth thousands but he will not part with it. It isn’t helping him, nor is it helping anyone else. He could build 4-6 houses in Guatemala by just getting rid of scrap but he will not allow you to touch it. This is horrible stewardship. No one is getting any use of these wasted resources. Like the unfaithful Steward, he has buried God’s resources so that no one can benefit from them. All misers are miserable: there are no happy misers.

 

What would you call a person who built a house on a camping spot? It would not be intelligent or wise. If you drove into a State Park and saw camper after camper and then some dude building a house on one of the camp sites, you would laugh and say, “What a fool?” You can’t build a permanent home on a campsite. You don’t have a deed to the land. Sooner or later, the park ranger is going to show up and your little mansion is coming down. You may not like my analogy but this world is a “camp ground” not our home. We are here for only a short time. Abraham understood this principle and that is why he lived in a tent; even then he didn’t drive his tent stakes too deep. He never settled in this world and neither should you.


III. BECAUSE HE DIED LIKE A FOOL. 

This man was a fool because he prepared to live but made no preparations to die. As John Newton said, “We live in the land of the dying.” Earth is a dying planet and the evidence is everywhere. Grave yards and funeral homes dot the landscape. I personally don’t know how a person can miss it but greed has a blinding effect on our minds and we fail to see the inevitable.

This man was an absolute fool because he made no preparations for eternity. Have you made preparations for eternity? Are you laying up a treasure in heaven? Do you love money more than Jesus? Do you understand that money has no future? They use gold to pave streets in the next world. In the world to come, things that are of value here will not be worth anything. Are you spending your times hording manna that will canker and rot?

Hope

Scripture: Romans 4:17-25, NLT

16 For Abraham is the father of all who believe.
17 That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.
18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”
19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.
20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.
21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.
22 And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.
23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded
24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised to life to make us right with God.

INTRODUCTION

I preached this message at the Sunrise Service of 1990 {April 15}, our last Sunrise Service at the old campus. Our very first service here was on Easter 1991 which was on March 31. I know you don’t remember the message because I don’t. In the process of moving my office, I came across this sermon and laid it aside. I have made one or two changes but it is basically the same message I preached in 1990.


Our text today is about Abraham who seems to be stuck in a hopeless situation. Abraham is nearing the age 100 and Sarah is 90 and she has yet to produce a son. God has made it clear, the son of promise must come via Sarah. Ishmael is 13 years old but God has already made it clear that he will not be the son of promise: Ishmael was born as an act of the flesh or the will of man. The promised seed will be an act of God.


Although it was a hopeless situation; Abraham did not lose hope. Romans 4:18 states this fact clearly, Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”

Transition

When you think about it, the history of God’s people is made up of hopeless situations.

  • Adam and Eve– Genesis 3:23-24…. So the LORD God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. After sending them out, the LORD God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. Adam and Eve were banished, cursed and separated from the Tree of Life. They had one hope and it was in a seed. {Genesis 3:15} And I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seedHe {Messiah, Jesus the promised seed} shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel.” Paul gives us commentary in Galatians 3:16….Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ. Adam and Eve’s hope was in a Seed. That Seed was Jesus!
  • Noah the faithful Sethite living in a world of corruption and violence. He had no protection and things were getting worse and worse. Noah had only one HOPE and it was an ARK. That ARK was Christ. It had only one window and one door: it was the only way and it was God’s way.
  • Joseph in Prison. Betrayed by his own brothers, falsely accused by his captors, unjustly treated by the courts of Pharaoh. He was alone, no help from the embassy. He had no friends or relatives to plead his case from the outside. He had only one Hope, a divine intervention.
  • Jacob living in constant grief. Living under the oppression of a diabolic lie fabricated in the halls of hell and perpetuated by depraved humans. He was a man without hope but then someone told him the truth. Joseph is alive, he is well and he is ruling all of Egypt. Jacob had only one hope, the truth and the truth revived him. The very same TRUTH that sets you and I free, sat Jacob free. Jesus is the TRUTH.
  • Then there is Israel in Bondage. Enslaved, weaponless, oppressed, beaten down to a slaves mentality with no hope. Well they had one hope and only one hope: it was a prayer to Yahweh the Holy One. God heard their prayer and send them a deliver, a liberator named Moses who like Joseph is a type of Christ.
  • Then there is the divided and then fallen kingdom of David. A kingdom that was supposed to be perpetual; a never ending kingdom. But 600 years before Christ, this kingdom bit the dust. It was shattered like a piece of pottery. Again a seemingly hopeless situation but there is one hope…Isaiah talked about in Chapter 53, “The root out of dry ground.” Out of the dust of a fallen kingdom, the Messiah was born, the son of David. The ONE and only ONE who could fulfill the prophesies made to Adam, Abraham, Moses and David. God promised David, “I am building you a Royal House. You will always have a descendant on the throne. This kingdom will last forever. Just as Adam and Eve thought Cain was the promised seed, David and Israel thought Solomon was the one to build the temple and perpetuate the kingdom. But it was never Solomon that God had in mind, it was another Son of David, Jesus the Messiah.
  • Then there was the Crucifixion of Christ: the most horrible event in man’s history. Depraved humanity acting like mindless beast crucified a perfect man. His mother and His disciples watched Him suffer and die. When He died, they died or so it seemed. They were devastated, discouraged, depressed and deeply distressed. If was the blackest hour of their life. It was a hopeless situation if ever there was a hopeless situation but wait, there was ONE HOPE. The disciples remembered Him saying, “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.’” Unfortunately, it was not His promise that gave them hope; it was His resurrection. Some doubted even after He appeared                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Man of Iron

Scripture: 2 Samuel 19:31-38

31 Barzillai [bear-zi-lie] of Gilead had come down from Rogelim [Ro-gee-leem] to escort the king across the Jordan.
32 He was very old—eighty years of age—and very wealthy. He was the one who had provided food for the king during his stay in Mahanaim.
33 “Come across with me and live in Jerusalem,” the king said to Barzillai. “I will take care of you there.”
34 “No,” he replied, “I am far too old to go with the king to Jerusalem.
35 I am eighty years old today, and I can no longer enjoy anything. Food and wine are no longer tasty, and I cannot hear the singers as they sing. I would only be a burden to my lord the king.
36 Just to go across the Jordan River with the king is all the honor I need!
37 Then let me return again to die in my own town, where my father and mother are buried. But here is your servant, my son Kimham [Ken-hum]. Let him go with my lord the king and receive whatever you want to give him.”
38 “Good,” the king agreed. “Kimham will go with me, and I will help him in any way you would like. And I will do for you anything you want.”

INTRODUCTION

Barzillai {Bear-zi-lie} was a highlander from Gilead. He lived in the mountain village of Rogelim {Ro-gee-leem}. I’m sure the village was located on a mountain stream because the name Rogelim means “place of the fullers,” which means the place where they washed clothes. We don’t know a lot about Barzillai other what we have detailed in this story. We do know he was a SENIOR ADULT. I don’t understand why some have such a problem admitting their are SENIOR CITIENS: I love it. I enjoy being a Senior Adult. Why would I enjoy it when so many make fun of the way I walk, my failing memory and my lack of a filter. They made fun of me long before I became a Senior Adult. Most of them are not mean spirited when they make fun of me, they are just having fun and I have fun along with them. One guy did tick me off the other night at a ball game. Some of my friends and family were picking at me about my construction ability and this guy who I do not know chimed in with…”Yeah, he is a jack of all trades and master of none.” I wanted to go slap him but he is bigger and younger than my self.

TRANSITION

I have an idea, lets find a better example of a SENIOR ADULT than myself to talk about today and I think Barzillai is just the man. Alexander Whyte describes Barzillai and as a “Lovable old man with invincible charm.” His name means, “Heart of Iron.” This doesn’t mean he was hard hearted, he had a committed and courageous heart. Actually, he was all this and more.

I. BARZILLAI WAS COURAGEOUSLY LOYAL

David was his king and he loved him. David probably never recovered from the betrayal of the elders of Judah and Israel. All were solidly behind Absalom. David was literally run out-of-town in a shameful and disgraceful manner. Where as he had a large and loyal support among the military, he had become immensely unpopular with the public and the policy makers. Things did not look good for David. Everyone thought he was as good as gone. His enemies cursed him and his fake friends deserted him.

It is easy to be a friend with someone when things are going great for them but can you be a friend to those who are being persecuted, falsely accused, caught in a web of shame and scandal? Many are capable of being fareweather friends but few have the courage to stick with you when you are headed for the gallows. With the risk of facing scorn or even death, Barzillai brought necessary provisions to the hungry, thirsty followers of David. Are we as loyal to our heavenly Monarch as Barzillai was to King David? 

II. BARZILLAI WAS GENEROUSLY KIND

When David and his weary antorogue crossed the Jordon as they flead from Absolom, Barzillai and other were their with provisions. They brought sleeping mats, cooking pots, serving bowls, wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans, lentils, honey, butter, sheep, goats, and cheese for David and those who were with him.

Some times Senior Adults have the tendency to grow selfish in their old age. We have this fear of running out of money before we run out of life. It is a legitimate fear but we cannot allow it to control us. The bottom line is we must trust God. How many times has He failed us in the past?

There are two things we Seniors can do better than anyone else: We can give and we can pray. How many of these young people are head over heels in debt. They drive $50,000 automobiles and live in $300,000 dollar homes. Some of them have mortage payments that are higher than our income. On the other hand, how many of you SENIOR ADULTS are in debt at all? What these kids owe for, you have in a saving account. Guess what: some of you are still saving. How foolish! You are going to lose it all. You say, “I would help if there was a legitimate need.” No you wouldn’t, you would come up with another excuse. Where there is a will there is a way but where there is no will, there is an excuse. Do you not consider the ministries of DBC a legitimate need? Do you think that a $400 dollar house in Guatemalla is not a legitimate need? YOU ARE NOT TOO OLD TO GIVE. Why aren’t you giving?

The second thing we should be very good at is PRAYER. We have more time. I can’t spend time playing ball anymore. I don’t spend time jogging. I can barely walk. My knees hurt so bad I have a hard time going to sleep. I can still work a little but not like I could. My body is old and it demands more rest. I love being retired. I go to bed when I want to, get up when I want to, work when I want to and quit when I want to. It is not uncommon for me to come in at 3:00 or 4:00 oclock and take a shower and a nap. Sometimes I don’t make it until 3:00. Don’t give me excuses, you have more time. What are you doing with the time you have?

I can tell you what we Seniors do best or at least what are number one past time is: its COMPLAINING. If the Senior adults in this church prayed to God as much as we complain to others, we would have revival.

Look at how much complaining Barzillai did:

  • I can no longer enjoy anything.
  • Food and wine are no longer tasty.
  • I cannot hear the singers as they sing.
  • I would only be a burden to my lord the king.

Seniors, it is OK to complain a little, that is who we are but lets make an effort to balance the board: let covenant together to pray as much as we complain.

III. BARZILLAI WAS HONESTLY NOBLE

The King said to Barzillai…“Come across with me and live in Jerusalem and I will take care of you there.” Barzillai had pleased the king and David wanted to reward him. Are we living to please the KING? Little else matters if we do not please our LORD and KING.

David wanted to provide for Barzillai in his old age but the noble and independant Barzilla would have no part of that: he refused the king’s request. Barzillai realized that it was not about himself. He couldn’t really be a lot of help to David on account of his age. He was afraid he would be a burden on the king so he gave the king his own son. He gave him to be king david’s servant. Of course David, out of respect for Barzillai does not make his son a servant. He gave him title to property in Bethlehem where the son built an Inn. Possibly the same Inn that had no room for Jesus.

We SENIOR ADULTS are known for our honesty. One of the kids from the band was in shock the last time I preached on Sunday morning. He came to me after the service and said, “Brother Jack, I enjoyed the message. You are really blunt.” I would have preferred him to say “You are really bold or brilliant” but he said ‘blunt.’

Barzillai was honest and a bit blunt but he knew that the kingdom did not revolve around him. He had no grand illusions about his own importance. His highest allegience was to the king and his welfare. He simply reminded the king, “Things will be OK now, you no longer need me, you need someone younger so I will give you my son. I prefer to go back home and sleep in my own bed. I want to depart this world from my humble abode and to be buried with my parents.”

Noble men and women are rare: they stand on principle. They give no credence to opinion polls. They have no affinity for popularity or praise. Barzillai told David, “If you want to honor me, let me cross the river with you and then return to my home. That will be honor enough.” Wow, these are the words of a NOBLEMAN. Barzillai felt his services were trivial and unworthy of any recompense from David.  He did not want rank or riches: he simply wanted the honor of being in the presence of his king.

John Trapp said of Barillai, “He was a rose that had lost its colour but not its fragrance.” May the grace be ours to grow old gracefully and beautifully! We may lose our color but may we never lose our fragrance.

Noah And The Flood

Scripture: Genesis 6:1-9, NLT

1 Then the people began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them.
2 The sons of God saw the beautiful women and took any they wanted as their wives.
3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.”
4 In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times.
5 The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.
6 So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart.
7 And the LORD said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.”
8 But Noah found favor with the LORD .
9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.

INTRODUCTION

Sin by its very nature is destructive and the antediluvian world that Noah lived in was in a self-destruct mode. The only way for God to save a world from self-destruction is judgment. I call this doctrine Salvation/Judgment. There are two universal judgments in the bible and both wrought SALVATION to man. The first was involved the “Flood” and the second involves the “Blood.” The means of the first was a boat, the Ark, the means of the second was a person, Christ.


Today, I want to talk about the first, the judgment of the flood. This message is constructed around the story of Noah and the Ark. God instructed the patriarch Noah to build a huge boat or barge. This flotation device had no engine, sails, rudder. It had three decks, one window and one door. The interesting thing about the story is the threat of the flood. God warned Noah that a flood was coming due to excessive rain but it had never rained. Rain was unheard of, it had no history. Due to Noah’s respect for God and his faith in God, Noah obeyed the LORD and built an ARK when there was no water to support it. So let’s get into the story and we will begin with….

I. A WICKED WORLD

The world that Noah lived in was unimaginable to Westerners of today. Those living in Africa and the East could better relate…First of all….

  1. It was a DANGEROUS WORLD…twice the scripture says “the earth was filled with violence.” {verses 11, 13}
    • It was a world without churches. If you think our world is bad, try to imagine what it would be like without churches. There is no question that we as the church have failed but if you removed the influence of the church, our society would rot in a hurry. Who fights vice and crime? Who opposes gambling, alcohol and abortion? Who began our colleges and universities? Who planted hospitals and orphanages all over the globe?
    • It was a world without government. I’m talking none, nada, zilch. No police force, no militia, no army, no judges, no law enforcement at all–none. You think crime is bad now; remove all law enforcement and see what happens.
    • It was a world controlled by crime. Keil and Delitzsch believe that the world was controlled by these “heroes” or “warriors” mentioned in verse 4. It was run by organized crime. In other words, it was a frightening world. Noah was the last of the Sethites, those who feared God–all the rest had died or had been murdered.
  2. It was a DEPRAVED WORLDThe LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.

    The second thing I call your attention to is….

II. A GRIEVING GOD

Note verse 6, So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. The AV, which I grew up on, reads….And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

The NIV reads…The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.

Classical theism affirms that God is dispassionate, they He cannot be moved by human emotions or feelings. Therefore He cannot be grieved with man’s actions but Jesus was anything but dispassionate. Jesus was compassionate. He wept at the tomb of Lazarus. He lamented over Jerusalem. As a matter of fact the word used in Luke 19:41 means to wail which is a violent form of weeping. The kind of weeping we do when the death angel strikes.

Although God is self-sufficient and has no needs, He chooses to love us and where there is love, there is grief. Grief is the price we pay for love. Because sin hurts us, God grieves when we sin. Indifference laughs and scoffs but love grieves because it cares deeply.

Genesis 6:6 is the John 3:16 of the old testament. For God so loved the world, it grieved Him when sin began to destroy it. Let me share a story, a true experience that will help you grasp this point.

Growing up, I was very rebellious. I was not mean. I did not like nor enjoy hurting things. I did not torture animals or anything of that nature but I had a hard time with rules and I didn’t like anyone telling me what to do. My mother was a good woman, ultra Victorian, very strict. She did not believe in sparing the rod nor spoiling the child. One day {I was 15 or so} she was beating me for being disobedient and I got angry. I did not hit her but I stood erect and refused to cry. I also looked at her with as much contempt as I could muster under those conditions. She did something that day that she had never done before, she stopped whipping me. Then she collapsed on the ground and began to sob. Her weeping was hurting more than the switch. 

I stood there like a hardened criminal. Then I heard her say, “Son, rather than see you grow up and act like a stubborn fool, I had rather you not been born.” That got my attention. I walked away to lick my wounds so to speak but what she said stuck in my hard head. It remained an unsolvable mystery until years later, I read Genesis 6:6 and the truth hit me like a bolt of lightening. My mother knew that ultimately, rebels end up in hell and she was afraid that is where I was headed. When she said, “I wish you had not been born,” she was not saying “I don’t love you,” she was saying the opposite. It was the ultimate expression of a mother’s love. She would rather forfeit the privilege of motherhood rather than see me go to hell.


If God did not love us: He would not care what we do…


III. A MAN NAMED NOAH

This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God. {Genesis 6:9}

  • Noah was a godly man. [verse 9]
  • He was without blame among the people. [verse 9]
  • He walked with God.[verse 9]
  1. Noah’s ObedienceNoah did everything exactly as God commanded him. {6:22, 7:5}
  2. Noah’s Sermons: He did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others.
  3. Noah’s Salvation: Noah went into the Ark and “The Lord Closed the door behind him.” {Genesis 7:16}

CONCLUSION

John 10:7-9 {NKJV}

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.
9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
Jesus is the ARK, Jesus is the Door. He is the means and He is the way. He is the ONLY door. He is a timely door. He is open now, may not be open tomorrow.


I ran cross country in college. I loved and admired our coach. I never heard him use any foul or off color language. I assumed he was a Christian. One late Saturday night as we drove home from a meet in South Alabama, I asked him about church and I was stunned at his answer. He said, “I don’t attend church. I should but I don’t. I do believe a person has to repent and trust Jesus but I am not ready to do that at this time. Some day I plan to be saved, to join a church but right now is not a good time for me.” I trembled at his response. He treated salvation like a loaf of bread, something he could go to the market and get anytime he wanted.


God’s word teaches us that God has to draw us {John 6:44}… No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. Look at Genesis 6:3, And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

Five Kings In A Cave

Scripture Text: Joshua 10:1-8

Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard that Joshua had captured and completely destroyed Ai and killed its king, just as he had destroyed the town of Jericho and killed its king. He also learned that the Gibeonites had made peace with Israel and were now their allies.
2 He and his people became very afraid when they heard all this because Gibeon was a large town—as large as the royal cities and larger than Ai. And the Gibeonite men were strong warriors.
3 So King Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem sent messengers to several other kings: Hoham of Hebron, Piram of Jarmuth, Japhia of Lachish, and Debir of Eglon.
4 “Come and help me destroy Gibeon,” he urged them, “for they have made peace with Joshua and the people of Israel.”
5 So these five Amorite kings combined their armies for a united attack. They moved all their troops into place and attacked Gibeon.
6 The men of Gibeon quickly sent messengers to Joshua at his camp in Gilgal. “Don’t abandon your servants now!” they pleaded. “Come at once! Save us! Help us! For all the Amorite kings who live in the hill country have joined forces to attack us.”
7 So Joshua and his entire army, including his best warriors, left Gilgal and set out for Gibeon.
8 “Do not be afraid of them,” the LORD said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.”

INTRODUCTION

Five Amorite kings conspire against Joshua and Israel. They join forces to attack and destroy the people of God. The good news is: there conspiracy failed and Joshua [a type of Christ] prevailed. Understand what is going on here: the Israelites are in the land but they have to fight to keep it. It is a fact of life, although we are saved, we can still become enslaved just like the children of Israel in Egypt. It is not God’s will for us to live in bondage to sin and Satan. In Israel’s case, there bondage did not alter who they were, they were God’s chosen people but they were enslaved to Pharaoh, a type of the flesh. They were not free to worship or serve Yahweh. God working through Moses delivered them from Pharaoh and lead them into the wilderness for training but  even though that had vivid images of Pharaoh’s death in their minds, they still thought and acted like slaves. It is God’s will to deliver us from the power of sin.

Dr. James MaHoney in his book, JOURNEY INTO FULLNESS, said, “If I could teach a new convert only one truth it would be this fact; your battle with Satan is not over when you get saved, it’s just beginning.” Simply because you gave your heart to JESUS, does not mean that Satan walks away and abondons his plan to destroy your life. Whereas it is true that he cannot touch your soul, he can still wreck your life, destroy your testimony and rob you of peace and joy. Satan doesn’t spend his time with those walking in darkness, his hatred is for the children of light. He hates Jesus and he hates all those who follow Jesus.

In today’s scripture {story}, the Israelites have already won decisive victories at Jericho and Ai but the natives of the land, the Amorites are not happy with their presence. So they conspire to defeat the Israelites and re-enslave them.

The five kings represent the stronghold of the flesh that rear their ugly head and try to dominate us and keep us from living the victorious Christian life. Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” It is not God’s will for us to live as slaves to sin and our fleshly nature. 


Let me inform you or remind you that we are in a war and it is a spiritual war. Paul said to the Ephesians 6:12…We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

It is a spiritual war. Paul also told the Corinthians… We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. {2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NLT}

It is a spiritual war which means, we cannot see our enemy but he is there and he is real: his goal is to enslave us, destroy our testimony and disable our ability to worship God and serve others. 

Paul made it emphatically clear in Romans 6…

11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
12 Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.
13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.

14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.


When Jesus died, He broke sins grasp on our lives so that we no longer have to serve sin or bow to the power of sin.  We should consider ourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. We cannot let sin control the way we live; we must not give in to sinful desires of the flesh. BUT these sinful desires are there embedded in our flesh and trying to destroy our peace and joy. The presence of sin in our flesh and the world creates a struggle, a war, a spiritual war. As surely as Joshua and the Israelites were in a war, you and I are in a war.
These five kings are symbolic of the POWERS OF THE FLESH that conspire together to enslave and destroy us.

I. THE FIRST KING IS PRIDE

The first king is Adoni-zedek {At-a-knee-sedek}. Adoni means LORD and sedek means rightousness. Together, they mean “Lord of Righteousness”. This king was neither LORD nor righteous but he thought he was. He was not filled with righteousness, he was filled with himself…he was reeking with pride.

Pride is the mother of all sins. There is no sin without pride. Pride turned Lucifer into a demon. Pride is no respector of people. It tempts the good as well as the evil. There is no greater pride than to glory in our morality or accomplishments. Right in the middle of PRIDE is the unbended, stiff necked I [ego].

The following is a list of prideful features: only the Holy Spirit can help us see this inordinate pride that lurks in the shadows of our life: as I list them, examine yourself in the very presence of God. Are you ever conscious of:

  • A secret spirit of pride—an exalted feeling in view of your success or position; because of your good training or appearance; because of your natural gifts and abilities. An important, independent spirit?
  • Love of human praise; a secret fondness to be noticed; love of supremacy, drawing attention to self in conversation; a swelling out of self when you have had success.
  • The stirrings of anger or impatience, a touchy, sensitive spirit; a disposition to resent and retaliate when disapproval of or contradicted; a desire to throw sharp, heated flings at another?
  • Self-will; a stubborn, unteachable spirit. A headstrong disposition.
  • A critical or judgmental disposition.
  • A peevish, fretful spirit; a disposition that loves to be coaxed and humored?

Since humility is the chief Christian virtue, the one upon which all ministry, evangelism and missions is carried out; it stands to reason, pride is our greatest foe. We must constantly guard against pride. Sin itself is deceptive and pride is the most subtle of them all. It can be present in our life and us not even know it. Pride is the one disease that everyone knows a man has except the man himself. It can cause the greatest to fall.

II. THE SECOND KING IS GREED

Greed, like jealously, is an unpopular sin: no one ever confesses greed. Does this mean no one is greedy? Does this mean that none of us have been enslaved by greed? You know better. The greed bug or virus lives inside every person. There is no exception.


Giving is down across the nation and across the board. The average protestant gives only $10 per Sunday, a little over 500 per year. I don’t know of anyone making less than $5,000 per year. In a recent Barna survey, 69% of protestants said they were giving less and it is reflected across the nation. Mega churches had some increase last year but the average church did not. Yet, go to an Alabama or Auburn football game and observe the money being spent.


Robby Gallaty, the author of this years January Bible Study book is a pastor in Tennessee. A church member came to him and said, “Pastor, I want to volunteer to do the sheetrock work on the new building. I cannot afford to tithe and this is my way of giving back to the church.” The wise young pastor said, “Since you have confessed that you do not tithe, do you mind if I share with you what the bible says about this subject.” Reluctantly, the man agreed and the Pastor opened his bible to Malachi 3:10…

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!

He said the LORD is challenging you to put Him to the test, so do you have a financial problem or a faith problem? The young man thought for a few moments and then confessed, “I guess I have a faith problem.”

Attendance at our church is sporadic to say the least because on any given Sunday, we will have a dozen families on vacation. I’m not talking about their only vacation of the year, I am talking about the first of twelve. Our pastor has challenged us to commit 48 Sunday to DBC. There is no telling what we could do if we were faithful to attend and faithful to tithe. Why don’t we?

If you are not proactive, if you do not attack your greed, your greed will ultimately control your life and with it will come many sorrows.

III. THE THIRD KING IS PLEASURE [hedonism]

We as a society have gone nuts over entertainment and pleasure. We are becoming a nation of hedonist. Like Esau, we live for pleasure. I don’t have anything against sports or entertainment these things are not to be our driving passion. Like Esau, we are more focused on happiness than we are holiness. Entertainment is to be one aspect of our life but not life; it is not to be our god.


Americans spend 6% of their income on entertainment. Not bad, right. That is almost twice what we give to charitable causes. The average church member gives only $10 per week or about $500 per year. When spend far more than $500 dollars on cable TV, not to speak of internet, Nexflix, computer games and etc. We all need a little entertainment but we don’t need to be entertained all the time.

IV. THE FOURTH KING IS ADDICTION

There are a wide range of addictions; not just drugs and alcohol. Porn is addictive and so is gambling: we will get to pornography in a moment. Right now, I want to talk about a huge problem in today’s society and that is substance abuse.

In the USA, we spend 700 billion dollars a year on substance abuse: this includes loss of work and rehab. Drug abuse is epidemic; if you don’t believe me, visit our Morgan County court house and observe what is going on in our court rooms. I would venture to say, 90% of the cases are drug related.

Young people listen to me, 90% of those addicted to drugs began by smoking and drinking. There are a wide range of drugs on the streets: marijuana, heroin, Crack Cocaine, Stimulates, prescription drugs, Opiates, Cocaine, Tranquilizers, PCP {Angel Dust, anesthetic, sedatives, hallucinogens and inhalants. Yet the number one problem continues to be alchohol. Every 53 seconds, someone is killed in an alcohol related accident. One out of every three automobile accidents is alcohol related. We spend 300 billion dollars a year trying to clean up the mess that alcohol leaves behind. You can visit the FOUNDRY or any drug rehab facility you choose and you will discover that alcohol is the number one drug problem in America. You will not hear the truth on Channel 19 or from the Decatur Daily, they profit from the advertizements but Alcohol is extremely costly to the tax payer and society as a whole.

Patrich Means an expert on drug addiction said recently, “When we want something badly enough, we’ll deceive whomever we have to in order to get it.” All sin is decietful by its very nature but addiction is extremely deceitful. Those addicted always convince themselves of two lies: {1} I don’t have a problem {2} I can handle this on my own. I don’t need intervention.

Satan is a clever stratigest, he is fighting to control your mind, the way you think. He wants you to think that your situation is hopeless, you are too far gone, you cannot change. He wants to trap you in toxic shame and endless regret. If you allow him to, he will make your life a living hell. He will engulf you with guilt and shame. Guilt is related to what we do but shame is how we feel about ourself and it is toxic, it can poison your entire system.

V. THE FIFTH AND FINAL KING IS LUST

Lust like greed is prevelant yet seldom confessed. Every 98 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in America and young people are often the victims. Pornography is rampant thanks to the internet. Porn is one click away. Some estimate that 37% of internet sites are porn related. Some estimate that there are 260 million different porn outlets on the internet. Porn is highly addictive. The two addiction I fear most are porn and gambling. I had childhood experiences with both and I know what they can do. I stay as far from them as possible.

Conclusion

You will never get victory over these kings until you follow the biblical example in Joshua 10:22-26

22 Then Joshua said, “Remove the rocks covering the opening of the cave, and bring the five kings to me. 

23 So they brought the five kings out of the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon.


[1] Bring them out of the darkness into the light


24 When they brought them out, Joshua told the commanders of his army, “Come and put your feet on the kings’ necks.” And they did as they were told.


[2] In obedience to Christ command, take authority over them


25 “Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men. “Be strong and courageous, for the LORD is going to do this to all of your enemies.”


[3] Exercise courage…this takes guts which is why most folks try to keep their sins hidden. They lack the courage to confess, to be honest.


26 Then Joshua killed each of the five kings and impaled them on five sharpened poles, where they hung until evening.


[4] Give your sin, shame, addiction to Jesus, He will execute them for you.

Victory is accomplished by His glorious grace…verse 25 “The LORD is going to do this.” You and I will never be able to execute the powers of the flesh, we don’t have the stomach for it but Jesus does and he will carry out the execution the moment we surrender our will to Him.
A family had a little dog get hit by a car. The dog was injuried internally and could not recover. The vet told the family, the dog must be put to sleep, it is the only humane thing to do. The children began crying and the dad said, “I don’t think I can do it.” The vet said, “You don’t have to. I will do it for you but you have to give me permission. Sign this sheet paper, say good bye to your pet and walk out. I will do the rest.”

BOTTOM LINE: “Do you want to be free to worship and serve Christ? Or do you prefer to be a slave to your sin?

Irresponsible Priest

Scripture Text: Malachi 2:1-9, NLT

1 Listen, you priests—this command is for you!
2 Listen to Me and make up your minds to honor my name,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “or I will bring a terrible curse against you. I will curse even the blessings you receive. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you have not taken my warning to heart.
3 I will punish your descendants and splatter your faces with the manure from your festival sacrifices, and I will throw you on the manure pile.
4 Then at last you will know it was I who sent you this warning so that my covenant with the Levites can continue,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
5 “The purpose of my covenant with the Levites was to bring life and peace, and that is what I gave them. This required reverence from them, and they greatly revered Me and stood in awe of My name.
6 They passed on to the people the truth of the instructions they received from Me. They did not lie or cheat; they walked with Me, living good and righteous lives, and they turned many from lives of sin.
7 “The words of a priest’s lips should preserve knowledge of God, and people should go to him for instruction, for the priest is the messenger of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
8 But you priests have left God’s paths. Your instructions have caused many to stumble into sin. You have corrupted the covenant I made with the Levites,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
9 “So I have made you despised and humiliated in the eyes of all the people. For you have not obeyed me but have shown favoritism in the way you carry out my instructions.”

INTRODUCTION

Chapter two of Malachi is an indictment against irresponsible priest: they were not doing their job. They were not living up to their call. They were accursed in the Mosaic sense. Note Malachi’s words in verse 2….

Listen to Me and make up your minds to honor my name,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “or I will bring a terrible curse against you. I will curse even the blessings you receive. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you have not taken my warning to heart.

The curse Malachi is referring to is in Deuteronomy 28…

15 “But if you refuse to listen to the LORD your God and do not obey all the commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overwhelm you:
16 Your towns and your fields will be cursed.
17 Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be cursed.
18 Your children and your crops will be cursed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be cursed.
19 Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be cursed.
20“The LORD himself will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in everything you do, until at last you are completely destroyed for doing evil and abandoning me.


The word Moses uses in Deuteronomy 28 for curse is kel·ä·lä’ and it comes from the root word kä·lal’ which is a very interesting word. It means to treat lightly, to trifle, to water down, to lightly esteem, to treat something holy as common. The priest were taking worship too lightly, they were taking their responsibilities too lightly, they were trifling with holy things and in so doing, they were dishonoring God’s name.

Dr. Page Kelly, whom Joe David knows personally, wrote the Broadman Laymen Commentary on Malachi: Dr. Kelly says: “Humanity’s highest duty is to hallow God’s name.” Needless to say, these levitical priest were not treating God’s name with reverence and respect.

I imagine someone in the congregation today is asking this question–“What does the irresponsible Levitical priest have to do with me, I am not a priest.” My answer would be, yes you are. If you are saved and under the blood–Jesus Christ has made you a priest….

I Peter 2:9

 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.


Jesus has changed everything. The Levitical priesthood is history, passe, they don’t exist anymore but Jesus transformed the Levitical Priest into Royal Priest. Every believer is a priest but we do not go back to Levi, we go back to Christ our High Priest. We do not serve a patriarch, we serve the King of kings, thus we are Royal Priest.

The GOOD NEWS is– Jesus made us priest and we have all the privileges of a priest. Actually we have much more than the Levitical Priest: we can approach the throne of grace any time day or night. BUT the BAD NEWS is–we also have all the responsibilities of a priest. About now, you are thinking, “Oh no, I thought he was going to be preaching to himself.”


In verses 8-9, Malachi levels five complaints against the priest. Let’s look at those and then draw some parallels.

8 But you priests have left God’s paths. Your instructions have caused many to stumble into sin. You have corrupted the covenant I made with the Levites,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
9 “So I have made you despised and humiliated in the eyes of all the people. For you have not obeyed me but have shown favoritism in the way you carry out my instructions.”
  1. They had strayed from the path. The ESV reads, “You have turned aside from the way.” [The way being God’s way] When we turn aside from His way, we turn to our way.
  2. They had become a stumbling block–They caused man to stumble into sin.
  3. They had corrupted the Levitical Covenant by violating it. They were not living up to their call.
  4. They had not obeyed the LORD.
  5. They were showing favoritism.

One other thing before we get to the heart of the message….What are the inherent responsibilities of the priest? They are listed in verses 5-7…

5 “The purpose of my covenant with the Levites was to bring life and peace, and that is what I gave them. This required reverence from them, and they greatly revered Me and stood in awe of My name.
6 They passed on to the people the truth of the instructions they received from Me. They did not lie or cheat; they walked with Me, living good and righteous lives, and they turned many from lives of sin.
7 “The words of a priest’s lips should preserve knowledge of God, and people should go to him for instruction, for the priest is the messenger of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
  1. They were to convey life and peace.
  2. They were to reverence and stand in awe of God’s name.
  3. They were to pass on God’s instructions.
  4. They were to live lives of integrity [no lying or cheating]
  5. They were to walk with the LORD.
  6. They were to embrace right and turn away from sin.
  7. They were to turn others from sin.
  8. They were to preserve the knowledge of God before the people.
  9. They were to be people you could go to for help and instruction.
  10. They were to be God’s messengers.

I am going to simplify things for you: our basic responsibility as PRIEST are two-fold: [1] We stand before God in behalf of men [2] We stand before men in behalf of God. The first responsibility has to do with prayer and worship and the second involves our witness and ministry.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, let me ask you some questions:

  1. Are you walking daily with the LORD. Are you on His path or your path?
  2. Are you faithful in your ministry to HIM. {standing before him in prayer}
  3. Have you become a stumbling block. People are watching you and me. Who do we need to apologize to today? {Because we’ve been a bad example}
  4. Are we living up to the responsibility of our calling, or are we shirking our responsibilities as a PRIEST?
  5. Are we obedient? Will you be willing to OBEY God during the next five minutes?
  6. Are we loving our neighbor as we love our self… we cannot be instruments of life and peace unless we love each other and treat each other fairly.

    I close with a story to illustrate the point:

In the book, “A Promise Kept”, is the story of Robertson McQuilkin, a former missionary and seminary president who gave up his post because his wife Muriel had Alzheimer’s disease. He dedicated himself full-time for as long as the Lord deemed necessary to take care of his wife. He wrote of traveling with his her:

Once our flight was delayed in Atlanta and we had to wait a couple of hours. Now that’s a challenge. Every few minutes we’d take a fast-paced walk down the terminal in earnest search of what? Muriel had always been a speed walker. I had to jog to keep up with her.

An attractive woman executive type sat across from us, working diligently on her computer. Once when we returned from an excursion she said something without looking up from her papers. Since no one else was nearby I assumed she had spoken to me, or at least mumbled in protest for our constant activity. “Pardon?” I asked. “Oh,” she said, “I was just asking myself, ‘Will I ever find a man to love me like that?'”

McQuilkin turned to the woman and said, “Oh yes, you can find a man like that. You can find a man like that, because I’ve found a man like that. The only reason I love my wife the way you see me loving her is because the man Jesus first loved me. The only resources I have to draw upon to love my wife the way I do are the resources He gives me. Mirrored in my relationship here with my wife you can see the faithful love of God for me.”


We share life and peace in our love and ministry to others: it is the strongest aspect of our witness. May God help us to be responsible priest who share life and peace with others.

Dealing With A Tragic Death

Scripture: Job 1:18-22

18 While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home.
19 Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”
20 Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship.
21 He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD !”
22 In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.

INTRODUCTION

Death, in and of itself, is hard to deal with. I try never to make light of death. It marks the end of our life here on earth and it constitutes a separation. My parents are no longer in this world of death and sin: they have moved to the world beyond. I miss them and the longer I live the more I miss them. 


As difficult as it is to deal with sickness, cancer and prolonged illness, I think tragedy is harder to cope with. First of all, tragedy strikes with no warning. Our love ones are suddenly snatched away from us and usually the tragedy that took their lives is unexplainable. It is impossible for us to make sense of tragedy.

A few months ago, I couldn’t not have told you I know how you feel but last August 15, I had beautiful niece get killed in a tragic automobile accident in Ardmore, TN. The worse thing about the whole affair is that it made no sense. She was a good kid but she was riding with a boy who was showing off: She begged him to stop and let her out but he refused and then he hit a tree: she was killed instantly and he barely got a scratch. I was very upset. I am still upset. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t think of Kaley who was only 16 years old.


Job understood that LIFE is a GIFT. It is God who gives us life and breath. Everything we have is a gift from Him. He satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. “His purpose was for the nations to seek after HIM and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him—though He is not far from any one of us.

For in Him we live and move and exist. Job understood this, life is a gift from God, the LORD gives….


But Job also said, …The LORD takes away. We don’t know why some die tragically, or young but far beyond our ability to comprehend, there is a plan, a purpose and although life here ceases, life itself does not. John Newton’s last words were: “I am still in the land of the dying, but I am going to the land of the living.” God is not the God of the dead but of the living. He who dwells in eternity knows no death. God is not surrounded by death: everything in His presence is alive. He simply takes life from the clay body, from the mortal and puts it in the immortal.


The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the LORD. The one thing we know for sure is, “We are not in control.” There is someone above us, someone far greater than we ourselves. He is the Eternal One, Yahweh is His name. He is the self-existent, eternal, unchanging God. The same yesterday, today and forever and He deserves our worship.