Recent Message Review – “Safety In Sacrifice”
Let us remember, there is ’Safety In Sacrifice’. Although conventional wisdom suggests that there is ‘safety in numbers’ or security in an abundance of substance, The Word of God teaches us to trust in the provision and protection of the Father. This is why we are willing to sacrifice and how we are able to endure situations which tempt us to act out of our flesh and selfish will.
James 1:1-8 1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. 2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
‘Perfect’, in scripture, means unified with Christ; complete in and through unity with the God to the point that we desire (worry about) nothing. We are made perfect through every scenario that we trust God in, applying the word appropriately with revelation. Therefore, a lack of patience stunts our growth, but a misapplication or perversion of God’s word leads to spiritual growth deformities.
A lack of patience stunts our growth, but a misapplication or perversion of God’s word leads to spiritual growth deformities.
Scripture is not intended for carnal success or personal gain, but it is intended for correction so that our faith (ability to trust God) continues to grow. Failure to endure correction through patience hinders our growth, spiritually, but manipulating the word to be something it is not is dangerous.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Any distortion of God’s word or its purpose brings about substantial consequences. It is important to realize what those consequences are, and it is also important to recognize how easily we can slip into them.
The Danger of Abandoning the Truth
Jezebel has such an arousing story. Even a sermon title that includes her names has a strange allure. By now we should know her and her story of seduction very well. But there is actually a strange type of phenomena that is going unrecognized. Many in the church are so busy looking for Jezebel, they’re not realizing they are becoming Ahab!
Many in the church are so busy looking for Jezebel, they’re not realizing they are becoming Ahab.
What does that mean? Let’s continue by confirming what the word of God is designed to do, and what happens when we fail to surrender to that.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
To say ’no’ to one things is to say ‘yes’ to something else. In this case, saying ’no’ to the process of patience and the faith-generating word of God means that you are virtually saying yes to seducing spirits. Denying the word and its purpose is an open invitation to the seduction of Jezebel’s deception.
We are often inclined reject the reproof, correction and instruction of God’s word, because it exposes our sinful flaws and deeds. There is nothing shameful about lacking faith in certain areas, but it is a shame to act as if those areas don’t exist. Life is a process through which God shows us how to increasingly trust us through His word. If we reject the truth that we lack any faith, we reject opportunities to grow. This growth process is nothing to be ashamed of, as Paul reveals in Romans.
Romans 1:16-20-25 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
God’s written word produces a conviction that leads us closer to Him, but that is not the only measure He has taken to draw us closer. The question is often asked, “what about those who have never heard the gospel? How is is fair for them to be guilty of sin?” The answer lies in God’s creation. The created world around us serves to demonstrate that there is an intelligent God greater than us all. Combined with our created conscience, creation causes us to begin the process of admitting our wrongdoings and surrendering to the creator of everything. As Romans 1:20 says, believers and non-believers are without excuse. Though some may not have a physical Bible, all are held responsible for responding to the level of information that is available to them. Secondly, we should not discount the multitude of ways that God has speak to individuals. Just because we aren’t aware of them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. The Lord is fair and just.
…Romans 1:21-25… “21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”
To ‘change’ is to ‘exchange’, and those who refuse to receive the written and revealed word of God exchange God for His creation as deserving of glory. In other words, our livelihood, well-being, salvation and eternity are improved and secured through creation without its Creator. Not only is it a lie, but it is foolish! This is why arguments that suggest that science somehow disproves God’s existence are self-defeating.
SIDE NOTE / MARVEL COMIC BOOK MOVIES: I believe the rise in Marvel comic movies is a direct parallel the rise in society’s desire to worship the creature more than the Creator. Many will not agree with this, and that is ok. But consider then following parallels for a moment. Romans 1 describes a situation where mankind chooses to worship a multitude of idols rather than God as creator and sustainer of all things. This things include, but are not limited to technology, money, national and military power, science, medicine and even magic. As a result of worshipping these idols, mankind is judged. Interestingly, almost all of the Avengers heroes (and other comic characters) depict a ‘marriage’ between a human and an idol, especially animals (aka beasts). Spiderman, Black Panther, Hawkeye and Ant-Man are just few that celebrate some combination of man and beast. Then, you have Captain America which depicts the idolatry of America as today’s global superpower. There is Iron Man who is a symbolic idol of mankind’s trust in human invention and technology as worthy solutions of protection. The Incredible Hulk represents the worship of science and medicine, as he is an unexpected creation of the two. Dr. Strange idolizes magic, sorcery and witchcraft. Black Widow also symbolizes a blend of man and beast, and she may have yet another deeply hidden meaning that we will explore a bit later.
In the latest Marvel movie, all of these ban together to destroy the worst of all villains, Thanos, whose name is strangely strangely similar to the Greek word for God. This series of movies appear to be a strange and subtle suggestion that the worship of the creature, its image (which they bear) and all idolatry can somehow come together to defeat God, the image of God and impending judgment on the ungodly. This is, by no coincidence, in direct opposition to scripture, namely Romans 1.
To deny God is to deny any solid foundation of truth. You cannot separate creation from Creator, but if that’s what you desire, the Lord will oblige…
…Romans 1:26-32 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
To continue abandoning your growth process as a believer is to become an Ahab and ‘lie with Jezebel.
It is not only evil to do the things that God hates through the worship of His creation over Him. It is equally wicked to find pleasure in those that do them. Too many professing Christians aren’t bold enough to act on the convictions of their sinful heart, for they know the consequences that will come. Yet, these same people will inwardly condone the sinful acts of others doing what they desire to do but are afraid to do. In a way, a believer can live vicariously through an unbeliever, because their heart has not been changed to surrender to God’s word. Acting on carnal desires is not the real problem. Simply having pleasure in them is. If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves wishing for the demise of our enemies or hoping for something or someone ungodly to deliver us from the processes that God has allowed us to be in. This was the problem with Ahab. He was selfish and impatient. He worshipped idols and was so covetous of vain glory that he sought a relationship with one seductress outside of God’s chosen people.
Now let’s look at one of the worst, memorable things that Ahab did…
1 Kings 21:1-7 And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2 And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money. 3 And Naboth said to Ahab, The Lord forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee. 4 And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread. 5 But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread? 6 And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard. 7 And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.
Jezebel is always seen as the manipulator of this story, but Ahab was just as well! Ahab desired the strength (the fortitude) of Jezebel, and Jezebel desired the power (the authority by position) of Ahab as king of Israel. These two worked together to manipulate masses of people, and the spirit of these two are at work today to manipulate people until the conclusion of this age.
*** While the church is looking for Jezebel, they are becoming ‘Ahabs’. Even the world is using this tactic to advance its agendas. The name of the game is to distract you with the allure of Jezebel’s spirit and destroy you with the spirit of Ahab . In other words, paint yourself as the victim to make your personal enemy a public villain. This is evil at its worst.**
1 Corinthians 6:15-17 “15Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”
Ahab is No better than Jezebel! He is just as guilty.
Revelation 18:1-10 “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. 7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. 8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. 9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.”
Those who are still servants of the flesh have not relationship with Christ. They are effectively ‘widows’, since Jesus, the Bridegroom, remains dead to them. Revelation describes this queen, Babylon, as one who refuses to acknowledge this truth. Instead of desiring a covenant relationship with Jesus, she claims that she is a “queen” and that she is “no widow”. She suggests that she does not need even need a relationship with God and that she will see no sorrow. This is the collective sentiment of Babylon, and the people of God are a part of it if they do not “come out of her.” Both Ahab or Jezebel form a Babylonian relationship which refuses the work of the Lord and His word upon our hearts.
Revelation 2:18-29 Message to the Church in Thyatira 18And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 19I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. 20Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. 24But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. 25But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 28And I will give him the morning star. 29He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Not only are we being saved from Jezebel, but we are being saved from becoming Ahab!
Matthew 6:16-21 “16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
We must be careful not to complain, murmur or manipulate people into feeling sorry for us because we are going through. It is a subtle way of using the strength of others to escape trials and temptations. ‘Let us endure hardship as a good soldier’ get our own way.
2 Timothy 2:3-5 “3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”