Deuteronomy 13:1-3 – Antichrist

Deuteronomy 13:1-3
1
If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

-Jesus told us in Matthew 24:5 that “many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”  As such, it shouldn’t surprise us that there are 100 different religions out there and seemingly more every day.  Some of these false philosophies may seem compelling and may even make sense to you, but it is important not to be duped by them.  It would be easy to follow behind someone who could work great works and persuade the masses, but calling down fire, healing the sick, or whatever else you can imagine is not the sign of God’s presence.  There is only one true test that is qualified to judge the spirits and it is given in 1 John 4:2-3; “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”  If someone doesn’t proclaim Jesus Christ as the foundation of everything, then it’s okay to deny them no matter who they are or what they can do.

Luke 19:39-40 – Cry Out

Luke 19:39-40
39
And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

-So fundamental is the need to sing praises to the Lord that creation itself stands ready to answer the call.  You may ask, “Why don’t the rocks just go ahead and shout?”  Because the Lord doesn’t want the rocks to praise Him, He wants you and me to praise Him.  But every time we fail to honor the Lord, something or someone else has to stand up and give the glory that we should be giving.  God will glorify His name; there is no question of that.  The question is, will we stand and offer the testimony due from our lips, or will the Lord have to assign our praise to a stone.

Psalm 34:5-7 – Not Ashamed

Psalm 34:5-7
5
They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

-The word “ashamed” in verse 5 carries with it the implication of regret, as in doing something and then later regretting it.  There are many choices that we make which leave us ashamed, but Psalm 34 tells us of a choice that never leads to shame and remorse.  Those who choose to follow the Lord come to find that they never regret having made that decision.  The Lord’s path is straight and narrow and can be difficult to follow but it is always worth it.

Matthew 9:11-13 – But Sinners

Matthew 9:11-13
11
And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

-First, so there is no confusion, let’s just say for the record that apart from Jesus Christ there is no such thing as a righteous person. When Jesus mentions calling ‘the righteous’, He is not speaking to the condition of the Pharisees’ souls, but rather the nature of their attitudes. These men believed that their works and their lifestyles made them good and clean and it is that very belief that puts them beyond the help of Jesus; the same belief that prevents millions from accepting Jesus even now. Human pride simply will not allow a person to admit that they are rotten sinners marching straight to Hell. Think about it, would you go to the hospital unless you believed something was wrong with your body? Would you call in a plumber unless you believed something was wrong in your bathroom? Likewise you wouldn’t come to Jesus unless you believed that something was wrong with your life. For the sake of those who have never heard it declared plainly before; if you haven’t repented of your sins and accepted Jesus Christ then THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOUR LIFE. But don’t fret about it; there is nothing wrong with you that Jesus can’t fix. Pride would be a terrible reason to miss out on salvation. Don’t let it rob you of your chance.

Hosea 11:9 – I Will Not Enter

Hosea 11:9
9
I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.

-In the book of Hosea, we see that because of Israel’s sin and unbelief, God has begun to exercise judgment and bring His wrath down.  Here in verse 9, He declares that although He is filled with anger, He will not destroy the nation of Israel.  “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 136:1)  Only a God of great mercy could be so provoked and still decide not to destroy.  While this is very comforting as we consider that we are all found wanting in the presence of a Holy God, notice what the Lord says at the end of verse 9; “I will not enter into the city.”  Because the Lord is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity” (Habakkuk 1:13), His only options when faced with Israel’s sin is to either destroy them or not come among them at all.  How often do we find ourselves in this very place?  We think everything is alright because the Lord has not brought judgment, but we miss that fact that the Lord has removed His presence from us altogether.

Hebrews 6:17-20 – Our Forerunner

Hebrews 6:17-20

17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:

18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

-Jesus Christ is here called our Forerunner; a forerunner by definition is “one who runs before another”.  In order for there to be a forerunner, it must follow that there be at least one other who runs after.  It is not enough to simply run, as there are many that do that.  Paul bore record of Israel “that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” (Romans 10:2)  No, it’s important that we run after Jesus; “because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14)  If we aren’t carefully following Jesus, how can we ever hope to follow such a narrow way?  Considering that the stakes are so high and the consequences so grim, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Luke 10:19 – Power For Living

Luke 10:19
19
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

-Often people make the mistake of thinking that the Christian life is powered by positive thinking and personal determination, but there is in fact real power for living our everyday lives that the Lord is ready to provide.  Now don’t go trying to step on snakes just to see if the Lord will protect you because you wouldn’t want to be guilty of tempting the Lord (Matthew 4:7), but think in terms of the problems  that we are bound to face without having to look for them.  Are you plagued by unholy thoughts and feelings?  Start your day by praying and asking the Lord to help you cast those thoughts away.  Do you get angry when those around you inconvenience you or “get in your way”?  Find in God’s Word how all that is really just a pride problem and ask the Lord to help you with it.  It’s easy to get focused on the Lord amazing provision of salvation, but don’t think that God only starts working when we get to Heaven; He’s ready to help this morning and every day after.

Isaiah 46:9-10 – The End From The Beginning

Isaiah 46:9-10
9
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

-Does anyone have a favorite book that you have read so many times you can remember the whole story?  As you read it again and again, you know the book so well that you know what events will happen on what pages and those events never change.  What happens on a given page will be the same every time you turn to that page.  Our lives appear the same way from the perspective of the All-knowing God.  While we look into our future with uncertainty, the Lord knows everything that will happen and everything happens right on cue.  This can be a great source of peace in our lives if we’ll allow it to be.  We often dread what’s waiting for us tomorrow, but let us never forget that the only things that can happen tomorrow are the things that are supposed to happen; God knows your tomorrow better than you know that page in your favorite book.  What’s more, God not only knows every page of our lives, but he is also the Author which means that all of our tomorrows are ordained by Him.  “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.” (Psalm 33:11)

Exodus 3:10-12 – The Sign of Worship

Exodus 3:10-12
10
Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.
11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?
12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.

-Did you catch that last part of verse 12?  What was God’s sign that He would be with Moses as he faced the might of Pharaoh; not a bright star, not the splitting of a great sea, but a command- when you make it back out of Egypt with the Hebrew people in tow, you will worship Me right here.  If you have faith to receive such a sign, you’ll find it’s the most powerful kind.  If God is right it means Moses will one day worship Him again in that very mountain; it means that both he and the rest of the Hebrew must make it out of Egypt alive.  Herein lies the greatest misconception that we humans have developed when it comes to worshipping God; it is for Him.  But it is not just for Him, it is for us.  God didn’t plant churches because He needed worshippers, He planted them as reminders that He is still with us and He is still bringing us out of our own personal Egypts.  When Sunday comes, find a church and go inside.  Not because you are doing the Lord a favor, but because He brought you through another week and it’s only fitting to worship Him for it.

John 20:13-17 – The First Easter

John 20:13-17
13
And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

-Jesus arose from the dead early that morning with a very important mission, to appear in Heaven before God the Father and present His blood as atonement for the sins of all mankind.  “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Hebrews 9:12)  All the power and wiles of Satan had tried and failed to stop the Lord from completing His atoning work as Savior, surely now that He is arisen and glorified nothing could stop Him; but He did stop.  Why?  To soothe the tears of a woman desperate to find Him.  The Bible is the story of how much God loves the human race and never is that illustrated more clearly than on the first Easter morning when Jesus paused the entire plan of redemption and a well-deserved return trip to Heaven to comfort one of His own.