Sunday, March 13, 2022

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - A Dire Warning

Paul, in chapter twelve of his first letter to the Corinthians, writes, “He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said.

Although I wasn’t given the ability to prophesy, I can still see the handwriting on the wall and tell you what the Lord has placed on my heart to share with each of you. In the past couple of years, we have seen a great many things occur. We have seen each of the Four Horsemen from the Book of Revelation ride out and cause disease, famine, war and starvation. You can argue that all of these events happen from time to time and they are just the things that Jesus foretold when he talked with his disciples of “wars and rumors of wars”.

I agree and know that wars will always happen and that we may think we are in the last days. But, that isn’t my point. For me, it is not the events themselves. It is what we should be doing to prepare ourselves spiritually that matters most. I am not here to tell you to store food and water for a lengthy period of time or have investments in gold, silver or cryptocurrency. My dire warning is to be prepared and realize what has gotten us to this point. I am asking each of you to look at our society and yourselves. 

Over the past couple of years, I have been looking deep within my heart and soul and discovered that I have not spoken out against disobedience or sin. When we, as Christians, begin to compromise on God’s laws, we start down the road that leads to damnation and separation from the Father. 

When you examine the Old Testament, you see how many times the Lord sent a prophet to warn the people and what He will do if they refuse to return to the righteous path. He gave them ample opportunity to return to Him, but they chose not to return to Him. In the messages given by the prophets to His chosen ones, He tells them what they are doing wrong. God didn’t mince His words or become vague. He was very specific in His indictment of the Isrealites.

After the indictment, God tells them what their punishment will be and also goes through what their reward will be if they give up their sinful ways. With God being so direct and completely open to them, you would figure that His children would immediately stop sinning and return to Him in one quick hurry. But, they chose not to do it. Instead, they snub God and go on with their lives and ignore the warnings.

In chapter thirty-two of the Book of Jeremiah, God says, “Now I want to say something more about this city. You have been saying, ‘It will fall to the king of Babylon through war, famine, and disease.’ But this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I will certainly bring my people back again from all the countries where I will scatter them in my fury. I will bring them back to this very city and let them live in peace and safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God. And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land. Just as I have brought all these calamities on them, so I will do all the good I have promised them. Fields will again be bought and sold in this land about which you now say, ‘It has been ravaged by the Babylonians, a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yes, fields will once again be bought and sold—deeds signed and sealed and witnessed—in the land of Benjamin and here in Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the hill country, in the foothills of Judah and in the Negev, too. For someday I will restore prosperity to them. I, the Lord, have spoken!

This passage gives clear direction to the Isrealites. There is no room for misinterpretation or misunderstanding. They have sinned. They have the opportunity to either return to the path of righteousness or suffer the consequences of their disobedience. If they decide to return to God and truly be His, then He will restore their prosperity and bless them. These aren’t just idle words, but, rather, promises. If you don’t heed the dire warning, you will be punished. You can’t get anymore plain or simple when it comes to God’s message.

After hearing His words to the Isrealites, let us examine our own lives and society. We haven’t exactly been His children. We occasionally return to Him when we want something, but, for the most part, we have gone our own ways. We have become disobedient and selfish. We have left God for the things of this world. We would rather walk in darkness or skulk in the shadows. For some, we walk that fine line between disobedience and righteousness and smugly feel that we are getting away with it.

I’m here to tell you that you aren’t getting away with anything. For each of us, we have been weighed, measured and found wanting. These aren’t my words; they are the words of God.

In chapter five of the Book of Daniel, Daniel was called by King Belshazzar to explain the words written by a mysterious human-like hand. Belshazzar was frightened to the point of turning pale with fright. Prior to this moment, he was feeling great. He had just ordered that the gold and silver cups be taken from the Temple of Jerusalem and be used by his nobles, his wives, and his concubines.

Daniel was brought before him to explain these words and, like the bluntness of the words, Daniel was equally blunt when he explained the words to Belshazzar. 

Daniel looks at the king and tells him, “For you have proudly defied the Lord of heaven and have had these cups from his Temple brought before you. You and your nobles and your wives and concubines have been drinking wine from them while praising gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone—gods that neither see nor hear nor know anything at all. But you have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny! So God has sent this hand to write this message. This is the message that was written: Mene, mene, tekel, and Parsin. This is what these words mean: Mene means ‘numbered’—God has numbered the days of your reign and has brought it to an end. Tekel means ‘weighed’—you have been weighed on the balances and have not measured up. Parsin means ‘divided’—your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

After hearing the words of Daniel, that night King Belshazzar died.

We, as a society and as individuals, have to make a choice. We can either return to God and walk the path of righteousness daily or we can remain disobedient and skirt His laws. If you believe that you can somehow justify your actions on the Day of Judgment, I will tell you this. No amount of words will sway God’s decision. No amount of tears will wash away the sins. You will be weighed, measured and found wanting in the end.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way at all. Societies change when each member of it changes. It took time to get here and it will take time and a lot of effort and faith to return to God. You just have to take the first step and commit to taking the next. When you do this, others will see what you have done and will go through the same self-examination. Once they see the errors of their ways, they will take that step as well.

With all of us taking that first step back to God and making the commitment to take the next, we all will be able to stand firm in His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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