A Call to Repentance
by Bro. Ken
In the last year or so I have been sharing and teaching about the Old Testament Prophets and what they have to say to us today. Jesus made it very clear that He did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets---but to fulfill them. Here are His words, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Matthew 5:17. Look closely with me at two statements Jesus made. First He said, "Do Not Think", In other words Jesus coming was not to replace The authority of the Law of God or that of the Prophets. Second Jesus coming was to fulfill what the Law and the Prophets gave witness too. This Jesus did in His first coming, and will bring to conclusion the fulfillment in His second coming. This is made clear in His words found in Matthew 5:18. "I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, nor the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until (everything) is accomplished."
In reading some material for my research on the Prophets, I came across these interesting words, "History is God's teaching by example". I believe this is true and because God is perfect in every way, He does not change. The words from I Samuel 15:29 speaks to this, "He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change His mind." I believe God is speaking out of history, and out of the dealings of nations of the past including Israel of what is coming to this nation and to the church. So what is it that we need to learn From God's dealings with peoples and nations that have gone before us?
First---God is always more concerned for redemption then for Judgement. Judgement always came as God's last resort toward His creation. In fact, God's love and patience have been misunderstood by more than a few, that some how God has winked at sin, rebellion, disobedience and does not feel now toward sin as He did in the past. God is not a respecter of persons and where much is given, much is also required. We as a nation have been given much, more than any nation on the earth. The sins of other nations that brought judgement on them will in turn bring judgement on us as well. Pray that our hearts will become soft and teachable and we will turn again to God for mercy.
Second--God has always been a God of Grace. This is not just a New Testament them. Listen to the Word of God found in Exodus 34:6, "The LORD, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious GOD, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin." See God's heart revealed to those who rejected his message through the Prophet Isaiah. Isaiah 30:18, "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him." Look at John 1:14, "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." God is a God of grace, but grace is not a substitute for sin, rebellion and wickedness. In fact the opposite is true, for grace is that inward change brought about to cause us, and to help us walk in obedience to God's Holy Law. Jesus said these words about Grace and Obedience. John 14:21, "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me." Grace is the means to obey God's Holy Word, thus we love Him.
Third - A look at the sins that brought judgement on God's special chosen people Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Before we look at these sins, we must note a time of great prosperity that preceded God's judgement. Do not mistake prosperity as being God's approval. The sins of judgement, Baal worship---Baal was the Canaanite god of fertility who's worship involved sexual rites. Worship of the god Moloch - the chief deity of the Ammonites. To this god little children would be sacrificed in the fire. The following sins among others were prevalent in the days prior to the judgement. Idolatry, Immorality, Covetousness, Lawlessness, Heeding false prophets, Soothsaying, Gossiping and deceit, and the Rich oppressing the poor. These were just some of the sins that led to the coming judgement of God.
In conclusion let me say the judgement of God is fast approaching our nation, the clock is ticking and time is very short. We as a church have the opportunity to repent and turn to God. We have the opportunity to share God's Grace and Love with others, we have the opportunity to really love one-another. Let's not miss the opportunity. God's Grace Be Upon YOU.