Friday, September 19, 2014

THE JUDGMENTS OF THE LORD ARE TRUE

David's love for the Lord never grew cold because he had respect for every word. “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:9-11). “By them thy servant is warned.” Who is going to warn all those deluded sheep whose shepherds do not tell them the truth? They call this doomsday preaching negative, false prophecy but David and the prophets called it all sweet honey!

The sweetest, most merciful thing God is doing today for His people is to once again send fearless prophets and watchmen to awaken the church and instill the fear of God. How sweet the sound: “Flee the wrath of God.” Honey! “Without holiness no man shall see God.” Honey! “Except ye repent, ye shall die in your sins.” Honey! “The earth and also the works therein shall be burned up!” Honey! I trust you can say with Jeremiah, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart” (Jeremiah 15:16).

Jesus warned, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13). This speaks of those whose love never decays, but rather grows and perseveres through all trials. Timothy ties it to our attitudes toward sound doctrine: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine . . . and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). A great resistance to pure, uncorrupt doctrine is coming in these very last days. Sound doctrine conforms hearers to godliness but many will not put up with it—they won’t endure it. There will be a widespread rejection of holiness preaching and prophetic warnings (see 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).

Thousands of Christians will be so cold at midnight that not even the falling judgments will move them back to God. Jeremiah mourned for his people: “Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction” (Jeremiah 5:3). We have this warning from Peter: “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:17-18). Do not be led away by sin or false doctrines or by anger at the Word!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

HONEY FROM HEAVEN

We must learn to accept every word from Him as honey from heaven. You can measure any believer’s love for his Lord by how much he respects every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. A preacher once said, “I can’t serve a God of wrath! I will preach nothing but encouragement—no reproof. God is love! Enough of all those lamentations and woes!” This man knows nothing of God’s honey.

The Lord instructed Ezekiel: “Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. . . . I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. . . . But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; and he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe” (Ezekiel 2:1, 3-4, 8-10).

God’s woes were honey to the prophets. “Be not thou rebellious.” How could Ezekiel be rebellious? By not preaching the truth about judgment that God had given him. “An hand was sent unto me.” This was the hand of God! God’s hand held out a scroll, inscribed on both sides with “lamentations, and mourning, and woe”—all written by the finger of God. What was Ezekiel to do with these very hard words of God? He was told to eat them! To satisfy his belly with them! “Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness” (Ezekiel 3:1-3).

This was food from heaven, manna dipped in honey! “Fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee.” Bowels represent the heart and “eat it” means to take it to heart, heed it! “Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.”

Jeremiah said that all the prophets of old warned of judgment and woe. “The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence” (Jeremiah 28:8). All the prophets lived by every word out of God’s mouth—the sad word, as well as the glad word. They took it all in as honey!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

THE PREPARING OF ZION

Peter was given awesome warnings to stir up pure minds, to bring to remembrance the warnings of the prophets (see 2 Peter 3:1-2). Peter went on to say, “There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying [teaching, preaching], Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4). Peter calls these scoffers liars! Things have not continued being “business as usual” from the beginning of creation! These preachers are willfully ignorant of God’s past dealings of judgment. “They willingly are ignorant . . . that . . . the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Peter 3:5-6).

This is a serious charge by Peter! He is saying, “They know there was once a preacher of righteousness named Noah, who warned of judgment for a hundred and twenty years. They know that God has already shown the world that He will judge wickedness and violence. They know God sent a raging flood and destroyed all that breathed on the earth!” We have teachers and false prophets who know that the Bible is full of warnings, full of examples of how God judges sin (e.g., the destruction of Sodom), but they willingly ignore it all. Why? Because they are walking after their own lusts! Their desire for acceptance or popularity has made them willingly blind to all God’s righteous judgments.

These preachers are preaching the very opposite of the message of Peter and the apostles. Peter warned, “We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Peter 3:13-14).

Why have we been spared until now? For the same reason God waited patiently for a hundred and twenty years in the day of Noah. “When once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was [being prepared], wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (1 Peter 3:20). The Lord gets no pleasure out of the death of the wicked. Even now, He is “longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

God is waiting now for the preparing of Zion, His holy people of the last days. He is pouring out His Holy Spirit, calling out a people wholly given to Him, without spot or wrinkle and blameless.