But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29
“Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: Instruction will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations. My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to men and wait in hope for my arm. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail. “Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have taken my instruction to heart: Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals or be terrified by their insults. For the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool. But my righteousness will last forever, my salvation through all generations.” Awake, awake, arm of the Lord, clothe yourself with strength…” Isaiah 51:4-9
“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God…” Luke 12:4-6
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:10-12
I think I am going to end my preaching the Word this morning with one more verse: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15
These are not pretty verses…many verses and stories in the Bible are not… because our history since the beginning is not pretty. The Bible is not just the story of God, but our story. It is about our greed and our rebellions and our hates and our lusts and our murders and our betrayals…and it is about His forgiveness and His redemption.
This is a day of atonement, a day of prayer, a Holy Day…the Holiest of all of the Holy days, the “Sabbath of Sabbaths” for the Jews. I am not Jewish, but I know very well that without their dedication and commitment to God that we “Gentiles” would not know His story and how He has been with us, guiding us, loving us, longing for us from the very beginning of our creation. And I am so thankful. So grateful. Ok…one more verse:” But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine’.” Isaiah 43:1
I have already failed in my plan to fast last night and today. My flesh is weak. But I did not want this day to pass without asking anyone and everyone to pray. Pray for people who do not Know God – in a real way…not in a “head” way but in a “heart” way. There are so many people who think that they know God because they have heard about God or have a “2nd hand knowledge” imparted by the testimony of others. They have heard preachers and inspirational speakers and have heard friends, family, acquaintances speak about personal “miracles”. Sadly, those of us who KNOW God can not impart our sure knowledge to others. So, I pray for experiences for people that create 1st hand knowledge…that will create Life change.
When we all have our heart right then we can hopefully see things…including who we are, Who God is, and how we should be to one another in a very different light without scales on our eyes. God, please take the scales off of our eyes.
Please read about Yom Kippur. We all need to ask forgiveness and get right with God. Please join me in prayer… start by reading Matthew 7 and believe Jesus when he tells us in the Good News:
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
Amen. But we must first ask…please start now, with me. “God, help us…”