(Church at Home)

Lyall Johnston—July 11, 2015

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Greetings, everyone! This is Lyall Johnston, welcome to Church at Home! Church at Home is sponsored by the Christian Biblical Church of God, and we are dedicated to restoring original Christianity for today.

I have in my hands a page out of a TV Guide and it is referring to a BBC knowledge program called The British. Let me just read what it says in one paragraph:

This program explores how the inhabitants of a group of islands off the coast of Europe became a global superpower that spread its culture, language and influence to the furthest corners of the world, creating new nations along the way.

That is just what we have been talking about. That superpower that once was the great British Empire, the people of whom are the descendants of one of the sons of Joseph whose name was Ephraim. It is a very powerful story.

It's a story of a people who have been blessed by God because Abraham obeyed the voice of his God. That God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is the God of the British people, who are descended down from Abraham through Ephraim.

That is another name, and as we have seen, Jacob—grandson of Abraham—placed his name on Ephraim and Manasseh, his brother, the name Israel.

So, modern Israel today are not the people situated in the Middle East know as the Jews in the territory setup as Israel back in 1948. It happens to be today the people of God, the Israel of God, the people who carry the birthright promise, the ones whom God blessed with great wealth, plenteous crops, and with so many other blessings that it was hard to contain.

That is being taken away today. The Jewish people also have prophecies for them. They also have a place in the plan of God. But today God is working through and dealing through, primarily, His people Israel, meaning the British people and the American people.

However, we do have some problems because we have moved away from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and we are worshiping all other kinds of idols: television and entertainment stars. We call them idols and we worship them, publish magazine after magazine of their lives. We seem to be in a trance as we worship them, as we follow every little word they say, we follow ever action and dress styles. Most of those people, their lives are in a mess!

  • Why would we want to follow people?
  • Why would we want to be like people who reject God in their lifestyles?
  • Who violated all of God's laws?

Why would we not follow someone who is righteous? We have plenty of examples of righteous men and women, but they're not in the pages of our entertainment magazines. But we can find those examples in the pages of God's Word, the Bible.

Because our sins are so great, God told His servants, the prophets of old, as we can read in the book of Isaiah what God has to say to us today. There are no prophets today. There are many men and women who claim to be prophets of God, and they will make their predictions.

But as God says, 'When their prophecies fail, then don't believe them, because I have not sent them.' We know that the prophets in the Scriptures were the true prophets of God, and God spoke to the people of that day through His prophets. Today, God is still speaking to us through His prophets. Any man who wants to be a prophet needs to think twice.

However, God has given the commission to His Church to go to those prophecies of the Old Testament and the prophecies of the New Testament and take God's word to the people. The prophecies are already given.

As we said, there are no prophets today, but there are prophecies. The Scriptures tell us that there are two witnesses yet to come who will speak for God and they will give the word to this world, the words that God puts in their mouths!

God is speaking directly to Isaiah. Isn't it interesting that these words have been written and recorded for posterity? Written and recorded for us today? Otherwise, why the Bible?

Isaiah 58:1: "Cry aloud, do not spare, lift up your voice like a ram's horn…" A very loud and piercing sound that can strike fear into people. What were the words that Isaiah was to say?

"…and show My people…" Here is a message from God through the prophet Isaiah to the British peoples, the peoples of God, the descendants of Ephraim; wherever we live, whatever nation we occupy on this planet.

"…their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins" (v 1). The house of Jacob is the house of ancient Israel, which was made up of 12 tribes—the 12 brothers—the 12 sons of Jacob.

As we have seen, God selected Ephraim and Manasseh and put the birthright blessing, which went to the eldest son. Not to the eldest son Reuben—who today we know as France—because Reuben defiled 'his father's bed.' So, God directed Jacob, whom He had renamed Israel, to select to the two sons of Joseph: Ephraim and Manasseh.

So, "…My people…" today—specifically Ephraim and Manasseh—is to the whole house of Israel.

There is a very special reason why Ephraim and Manasseh were given the Word of God. They were to do a very special thing, and that is to carry the Word of God to the rest of the world through the English language.

As the article from this particular TV Guide said, "…the inhabitants of a group of islands off the coast of Europe…" is referring to the United Kingdom, the British Isles, which "…became a global superpower that spread its culture, language…" That spreading of the language is so important, the language of international relations today and communication between the nations is the English language. It is through the English language that God began that process of spreading His Word so that His servants could "Cry aloud…" and tell His people their sins, as well as the other nations of this world, "…to the furthest corners of the world, creating new nations along the way."

What that program, of course, doesn't say is what plan God had in mind. As far as the Bible is concerned, the reason for its expansion, the reason for its spreading around the world comes right down specifically to one man William Tyndale, who translated the Holy Scriptures from their original Greek and original Hebrew into the English language.

In that language it was first published, the complete Scriptures, to go to all mankind. God used that man! Because Tyndale was dealing with the Word of God, the same happened to him as the other prophets of God. He was burnt at the stake after having been strangled. That's what we do to those men who bring to us the Word of God. Read the history of the Bible:

  • What happened to the prophets of God?
  • What happened to almost all of the apostles of Jesus Christ?
  • We murdered them!
  • We put them to death in some very horrible way!

God wants this Word preached to the world today. It was written so that it could be preached in the end-time. Because in the end-time, as we read in Matt. 24, this world has so much unrighteousness that it is bringing all manners of troubles upon us that will bring us right down to where we are today, the beginning of the end-times.

God says, "Cry aloud, do not spare, lift up your voice like a ram's horn…" In a manner that people will actually begin to fear what is about to come upon them because of their sins, because of the evil we do.

Where is that rams horn today? Yes, it is through the Word of God! God's servants are required to preach the Word of God. Even in the Church in the early days, what did the Apostle Paul tell the young evangelist Timothy? These are some of the strongest words in the New Testament and they equate with what we read here in Isa. 58. Paul said to Timothy, and to all ministers—then and now today:

2-Timothy 4:2: "Preach the Word! Be urgent [instant] in season and out of season...." because times are coming when people will just refuse to listen to the Word of God. Isn't that true today? Indeed, it is!

After the captivity of the house of Judah, after they returned to the land—somewhere around 400B.C.—we have the writings of Nehemiah and Ezra. We have some interesting comments:

Nehemiah 1:1: "The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certainmen of Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped… [from Babylon] …who were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, 'The remnant who are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach. And the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.' And it came to pass when I heard these words, I sat down and wept…." (vs 1-4).

The people had not yet fully returned to God. Only to Jerusalem and the land we know today as Israel.

"…And I mourned for days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven. And I said, 'I pray You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God Who keeps covenant and mercy for those who love Him and keep His commandments'" (vs 4-5). Yes, that is a true statement for us today:

Verse 6: "Let Your ear now be attentive, and Your eyes open, so that You may hear the prayer of Your servant, which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants…"

Who are the servants of God today who have turned their back on Him. Yes, part of those servants are the British people; that's us.

"…and confessing the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You…." (v 6). Here is a servant of God who is not proud and arrogant. He doesn't stand up and say, 'God, your people have sinned and You need to punish them.' NO!

Nehemiah in this case equates himself to: "…even a man who is righteous before God…." (v 6).

He doesn't look down on the people with pride and arrogance, such as we have in our British system. No! Nehemiah equated himself with the people, as a sinner before God. He saw himself as one of the people, one who had concern for the people, one who had love for the people, one who wanted to see the people turn back to God.

Any true servant of God today, when he is preaching the Word of God, he must have that love, he must equate himself with the sins of the people. He doesn't stand above them. Yes, he is to cry aloud, but that's the command from God.

In the New Testament, the command of the Apostle Paul—under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit—to all those who would be servants of God, ministers and elders, must also be humble, because God does not look upon the proud. God hates pride! God is going to humble the proud, and God is going to elevate the humble.

"…Both I and my father's house have sinned" (v 6). This is the kind of prayer that God listens to. Nehemiah is again equating himself with the people, not setting himself up on some high and mighty position: 'I am the servant of God and you better listen to me.' NO!

He's crying out because of his care and concern for what he sees in his people. He even recognizes the same attitude in his mind that's very deep within himself, like it is with every human being.

Verse 7: "We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments nor the statutes nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses." Here Nehemiah recognizes that all of the laws and commandments were not those of Moses, they were the laws and commandments that God gave to Moses. Then Moses gave them to the people. That's something that we can see from Nehemiah.

Verse 8: "Remember, I beseech You, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, 'If you deal treacherously, I will scatter you among the nations.'" This is precisely the Word of God to us, the British people today, the people of the British Isles and the nations of the British people in the furthest corners of the world in those other nations. This is going to happen again.

What are we reading and seeing on our television news? What are we reading in the newspapers and hearing over the airwaves? As we speak we have these terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq and other Middle Eastern nations where they are threatening to kill every 'infidel.'

If you are not of the Muslim faith, you are an infidel according to their belief system. They're stating specifically that we're the people—with the young people that they have indoctrinated—to go and learn the activities of terrorism and to just slaughter 'in whatever manner you want' anyone who is not of the Muslim faith, if they will not turn to the Muslim faith.

Do you think that's pleasing to God? The god they claim as Allah, they claim that what he wants. That is not the truth. That is a lie! That is heinous in the eyes of God! But God is going to use these people to bring us to our knees because we have sinned against our God. "…I will scatter you among the nations."

This is part of how God is going to scatter us among the nations. This is the beginning and we haven't seen anything, yet. As Jesus said, there is a time coming, troubles in this world such as have never been seen in all the wars, all the persecutions before. At it's very worst we have not yet seen the worst. We have not seen, yet, what God will allow, because we, as His people, have broken His laws and commandments. We don't even recognize God; we don't even know Him!

As Jesus would say, 'He or she who has ears, let them hear what God says, in His Word!'Here is the other side of the story; here is the corollary:

Verse 9: "But if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them…" What commandments are we talking about? In Exo. 20 they are outlined! The Ten Commandments!

We perhaps have heard of them; we may have at some stage memorized them! But God says that you 'shall have no other gods before Me.' He said that 'you should not make an idols of anything on the earth or in the heavens,' and 'you shall not take My name in vain.' We use the term: Oh, my God! for every little incident. That is blasphemous and taking the name of the Lord God in vain, and He will not hold anyone guiltless who takes His name in vain.

Then the fourth commandment: Oh, would we like to do away with the fourth commandment, when in fact, we have! God says that you 'shall remember the Sabbath Day' because of what it teaches. The Sabbath Day teaches us about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Why did Jesus Christ come? Jesus Christ came preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God! And the righteousness of God, about the coming kingdom. That kingdom is not here; many say it is, but it's not.

If the Kingdom of God were here on earth today, we would have peace. We would have happiness and prosperity. Is that what we have today? No! The people of God have had the prosperity, we have had some very strong leaders, but God has removed them and we're wandering around not knowing who we are, where we're going or what we should do. Yet, if we would open the pages of ou Bible, God shows us very clearly.

Yes, the Ten Commandments! We refuse to keep them, Verse 9: "But if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them…"

  • Would you be prepared to do that if you really wanted to know God?
  • If I really wanted to know God, would not I be keeping His commandments?
  • Would I not be keeping His Sabbath Day?

Which, when God looks down on the earth, it's one of the main factors whereby God identifies those people who are following Him. Also, it helps to identify the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God Who reveals Himself to us through His Word!

If we don't keep the Sabbath Day, we don't know Who God is. He doesn't recognize us as His people. We've quoted many times from Matt. 7, there are many who are going to come to Christ and say, 'Lord, Lord, I want to be in Your kingdom. I've done many wonderful works in your name. I've healed the sick, I've cast out demons, and I've gone out into the mission fields.'

What's the answer of Jesus? It's astonishing! He says to these people, 'Depart from Me, I don't know you; you who work lawlessness!' Can we see that lawlessness is what we do when we walk all over the commandments of God? When our nations, the British people, are filled with all manner of evil:

  • committing adultery

We never think twice about jumping into bed with somebody we are not married to. We jump into bed with people of the same sex. We marry people of the same sex. An abomination in the eyes of God! Will your pastors, ministers, preachers, and priests stand up and say that this is sin against God? This is breaking God's commandments?

  • murder

Do we hate our brother? Jesus said that if we even contain that hatred in our heart for our brother we're as good as having killed him.

However, the corollary is this, v 9: "But if you return to Me… [How do we return to God? By keeping His commandments!] …and do them." Here we have a statement that is repeated: "…keep My commandments and do them."

"…though your dispersed were cast out to the outermost part of the heavens, yet, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place that I have chosen to cause My name to dwell there" (v 9). That is Jerusalem! That is the land where the 12 tribes of Israel, the land given to Abraham, will be inhabited by the children of Abraham again. That must wait until after Jesus Christ returns. That is not what is happening today with the Jewish state. This is referring to a time after the return of Jesus Christ.

Verse 10: "Now, these are Your servants and Your people whom You have redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand." God did that physically when He delivered the people of ancient Israel out of Egyptian slavery.

Yet, we—the descendants of those people—are going into captivity again because of the evil we do. This is telling us about the future of what God is going to do in spite of ourselves. God is honoring the promise and the covenant He entered into with His friend Abraham, from whom the British peoples are descended.

"…these are Your servants and Your people whom You have redeemed…" Yes, God will redeem us again, but not until we have learned the lesson. Not until we have received the punishment as His children whom He loves, because He doesn't want to see us perish. He doesn't want to see us die.

As He has said, 'Why would you die O house of Israel? I want to give you life, but you must turn to Me and follow My ways. Not your ways. Your ways end in death.'

God has redeemed us, and will redeem us by His great power and strong hand.

Verse 11: "'O LORD, I beseech You, let now Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who delight to fear Your name….'"

Yes, there are servants of God today who are praying for God's intervention, for God to help us as His sons and daughters so that we may share eternity with Him. That we—mortal puny human beings— may eventually put on immortality, eternal life. There is only one way to receive eternal life, and that is in the name of the Son of God Jesus Christ. He came and shared His blood as God's sacrificial lamb to cover your sins and my sins.

  • How grateful are we?
  • How thankful are we?
  • To God for providing this sacrifice in spite of ourselves?

In one sense we can say that God died so that we could live. The blood of Jesus Christ was shed because of His righteousness, because He never once broke any of God's commandments. He kept them perfectly in the letter and the spirit, including the Sabbath Day of which He is the Lord. Why would He want to do away with the day that He's the Lord of? and Take on a day that the Catholic Church has foisted upon the world? Never happened!

That Sabbath stands today as it did from the day that God rested after He re-created the heavens and the earth, as recorded in Gen. 1, the very beginning of the world as we are given to understand it through the Word of God.

Verse 11: "O LORD, I beseech You, let now Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who delight to fear Your name…." Not take it in vain, but to hold it in such awesome respect that we will willingly obey Him as He gives us the strength, as He gives us His power and His might to obey Him. That is the only way we can truly obey God.

"'…And I pray You, make Your servant successful today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man' (for I was the king's cupbearer)" (v 11).

  • we have that story
  • we have the knowledge of what God has in mind for us

Again, there is a sense of terror striking the people, the British people, just as it is for our brother people, the people of America. A terror is being brought upon us because we have strayed from the ways of God. God is bringing that punishment upon us and causing the 'stranger in our midst'—all those who have now going out to fight on the side of ISIS.

We are afraid because they have learned to kill and to butcher in all manner of unsavory ways. When they return, when they come back and setup their little terror cells in our countries, and when they take strangers off the street and videotape them as they decapitate them, is that not going to strike even more fear? Afraid to go into our major cities not knowing:

  • when a bus that we are on may be blown up
  • when the car or vehicle we are riding in may be hit by a rocket fired from a terrorist from the top of some building

Oh yes, much is to happen, yet. But:

  • IF we are prepared to turn to God
  • IF we're prepared to follow His ways
  • IF we are prepared to keep His commandments

then

  • there is a way to salvation
  • there is a way to escape all this
  • there is a way to enter into the kingdom that God is going to bring on this earth
  • there is a way to immortality, where we can live forever according to God's way
    • IF this message has any meaning for you and you want to know Who God is
    • IF you don't know Him and you're looking for an understanding of prophecy
    • IF you want to understand
      • What is human destiny?
      • What Christian living is all about?
      • What about the Kingdom of God?
      • Why did Jesus Christ say He would build His Church?

Go online at our websites: cbcg.org and churchathome.org; you will find sermons, articles and books that you can either download or request free of charge, which will help you in your search.

Once again, thank you for inviting me into your home. Until next time, this is Lyle Johnston saying so long everyone!

Scriptural References:

  • Isaiah 58:1
  • 2-Timothy 4:2
  • Nehemiah 1:1-11

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Exodus 20
  • Matthew 7
  • Genesis 1

LJ:bo
Transcribed: 9-2-15

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