Good morning and thank you for attending this morning. We are going to go in many directions this morning. Some of these things we have touched on in past sermons, but I believe that when we are at the end of this message, you may get a different picture and hopefully a better understanding of God’s promises and a better look into your own life. Praise the Lord.
Friends, this world is changing at an alarming rate. Turn one newscast on and within a half hour, you are going to see so many things that are happening in this world that will make your head spin. Yet if you read your Bible, you will see that Jesus and many of the prophets of old predicted these things would come to pass before our Lord and Savior returns. I have some links that I keep an eye on that tells more of what truly is happening that our government doesn't want us to know about.
I am seeing so many times in blogs posted by others and from so called Christians that God is a killer, a ruthless murderer. This bothers me. This bothers me because it proves to me that they don’t know their Bible. This bothers me, because they are listening to a false preacher who also doesn’t know the Word of God. I know the verses where one could get this idea that God kills, but they have not read the whole chapter.
Why does God allow people to suffer and the key word is ALLOW?
There may be several reasons for suffering. A major factor is our fallen, sinful world. Because of sin throughout the ages, the perfection and goodness of the world is tainted. We experience illness, disease, natural disasters, hunger, and all types of suffering. We must remember that God is a Holy God. Also He has given us all a free will.
As mortals, we cannot know all of God's reasons. His ways are not our ways. God loves us enough to give us free will. We are not robots. As a result, people make mistakes. People turn away from God's perfect goodness through sin. Our own choices sometimes produce evil over good. It is impossible for God to have created man with free will and evil not be a consequence, as we saw last week with the fall of man through Adam and Eve. Also, the choices of others (including previous generations) can produce suffering. The consequences of bad choices sometimes affect not only the person who makes the wrong choice but also their family, friends, and sometimes even society.
The Old and New Testaments make it clear that suffering can be a result of God's discipline in our lives similar to the discipline a loving parent has for his child. A loving parent stops a child from putting his hand on a hot stove. The child suffers at that moment, by being denied access and by the temporary pain of a spanking. But the parent sees the big picture and disciplines the child. God disciplines us. Please turn to Hebrews 12:10-11 which illustrates this point: Hebrews 12:10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. :11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Is that what you seek to be?
It can strengthen people, lead people to faith, help us to appreciate the good, and be a tool to influence others. Indeed, suffering can mold us. Suffering produces perseverance, character, hope. Romans 5:3-5 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us as apostles.
Peter relates, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith of greater worth than gold, which perishes by fire may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed
1Peter 1:5-7 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. :6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: :7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
The actual trials of faith are worthwhile and as precious as is faith itself. Our faith is strengthened as we rely on Christ to see us through troubling times.
My thoughts on those who say God is a killer is used as an excuse by some to try to blame God or to deny God's existence. But on reflection, most will acknowledge that we really cannot blame God for our troubles. Actually, the reality of evil, suffering, and injustice when considered fully, is an argument for the existence of a good God. Certainly, abandoning God does not make the problem of suffering any easier. That is where we as true believers need to teach God’s truth, by His true Word.
It is the knowledge that God sent His only Son to suffer and die for us that our sins are forgiven and that our ultimate suffering will be relieved. God is not only aware of suffering, He feels it. No pain or suffering has ever come to us that has not first passed through the heart and hand of God. Comforting are the words of Isaiah the prophet, foretelling the agony of Christ: 'He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.' I know I use these scriptures often, especially in prayer and on many sites, but there is a strong message here that we need to get into our hearts. Amen?
Isaiah 53:3-5 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. :4 Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. :5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.
Now, I know some may be ready to say but Brother Jim, what about Deuteronomy chapter 28? I trust those of you hearing this message, or that may read it on one of the various sites that I might share this message, will read in your own Bible along with me to make sure that what I am speaking is correct. God did speak blessings and curses, so let’s continue. God did say these curses would fall if His chosen people didn't obey. They had a choice. We, because we have been grafted into God’s chosen family, are considered God’s chosen people.
Now, here comes the good part. Let’s read several verses in Exodus chapter 12, starting with Exodus 12:12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. 13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
Someone maybe saying, "I knew it, God did kill people, so how could He be good?" I say, you need to read further.
Exodus 12:23 For the LORD will pass through to smite (here it is again, but continue reading) the Egyptians; and when He seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.
Did you notice anything here? Read it again and meditate on it. I really want to have everyone catch this so that you have the full message here so you know and you can educate someone else when they tell you God is a killer.
Notice what it says about the destroyer. Who is the destroyer? Yes, that’s right, it is Satan. Hmmmm. Ok, Brother Jim, but God allows bad things to happen. Yes He does, but we have a choice. He has given each of us a free will. It is not the will of God that we should suffer, but He must pass judgment, for He is righteous. Lamentations 3:32 and 33 But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. :33 For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.
Let’s look at 1st Corinthians concerning communion. Again we have a choice. 1Co 11:28 and 29 Those of you who have been with Leanna and I on Sundays know that we urge everyone before we partake of communion to prepare our hearts prior to taking communion. 1Corinthians 11:28 and 29 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. :29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
Wow!!! that is a powerful scripture, and I wonder how many times this has been done. And yes, I have done it. It is all part of knowing Him.
We all know the story of Lot. Lot was probably the most righteous of all, and remember Satan went to ask God if he could tempt him. Even if we have messed up badly, we can turn from these things. We can repent and turn from those things that would have caused God to judge us. You need to believe you are righteous. You may be saying I'm saved, but I wouldn't say I am righteous. Then my friend, you are not saved. You can't have it both ways. The only way you can become saved is because you have become righteous. Not because of what you have done, but because of the blood of the lamb. Praise God!! There are only two major reasons why there may be a curse upon your life. (Go back to Deuteronomy chapter 28, blessings and curses) 1, you don't believe in Jesus and what He did to set you free. That He redeemed you. And secondly, the Lord is speaking to you on a particular situation dealing with sin, and you are rebelling against Him and His Word, and you won’t repent. If you are rebelling against Him and His Word, you cannot escape condemnation. But my friends, here is an awesome promise.
1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. No matter how bad, dirty, dark, secretive it is, If you shall ask for forgiveness, and turn from it and mean it with all sincerity, God is faithful and just and has the right to forgive you and cast it away, never to be remembered again, because of what Jesus did on the cross. Amen? When we are saved, we have been made righteous by the blood of the lamb and by our faith. Say this out loud: “I have been made righteous by the blood of the lamb and by my faith. I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.” Friends, we don't have to fall under the curse if we live our lives for Christ. Catch this verse.
Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.
So, someone might be wondering what curses am I talking about that we may be redeemed from. To find out, you need to read the curses found in Deuteronomy 28:15-68. I won't go over all of this today, but I truly hope all of you read through it. I am, however, going to read verse 60.
Deuteronomy 28:15-68 KJV (15) But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: (16) Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. (17) Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. (18) Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. (19) Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. (20) The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. (21) The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it. (22) The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish. (23) And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.
(24) The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. (25) The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. (26) And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away. (27) The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed. (28) The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: (29) And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee. (30) Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof. (31) Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them. (32) Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand. (33) The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway: (34) So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. (35) The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head. (36) The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. (37) And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee.
(38) Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. (39) Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. (40) Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit. (41) Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity. (42) All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume. (43) The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low.
(44) He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail. (45) Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee: (46) And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever. (47) Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; (48) Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.
(49) The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; (50) A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young: (51) And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. (52) And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. (53) And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee:
(54) So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave: (55) So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. (56) The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, (57) And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates. (58) If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; (59) Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. (60) Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. (61) Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed. (62) And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God.
(63) And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. (64) And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. (65) And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:
(66) And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: (67) In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. (68) And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.
Yet again what does Galatians say? Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.
When we truly give our hearts to Jesus, we have been redeemed from the curse of the law. Do you all understand this? We need to put our faith in this. We need to be in prayer daily. We need to be seeking God through reading His Word daily. There is so much more that can be taught on this, but because of time, I will pick up on it at another time.
Friends, It is God’s will that we are all saved. His word says that He wishes no one perishes. I believe that He wishes that we are healed from sickness and disease, but several reasons I believe keep people in bondage. Some of these reasons are faith issues, religious spirits from things taught in some denominational churches, unbelief, unforgiveness, and that is a big one that we will discuss at another time.
I pray that there might have been something here that might have helped everyone out.