Plans of men will never work against the punishment of God

Fred R. Coulter—June 25, 2016

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Brexit: What does it mean? Everybody's been following along with the Brexit. It was very captivating watching things happen Thursday night. Last week was pretty consequential:

  • the sit-in with the guns
  • the court case that came down that immigration was not Obama's law
  • the Brexit
  • Trump in Scotland

Someone made the comment, and I was thinking of it yesterday when I was watching the short little history on Boris Johnson, who may be the next prime minister of Britain, if the vote holds. There are some people who want to go back and re-vote again, but we don't know how that will go.

Every prophecy saying that ten nations in Europe are going to arise, when there have been 28 that have been in the EU, or associated, now you're going to have to re-think all your prophecies and re-think how they apply and apply it to a worldwide situation.

You've got Israel, the ten tribes. You have the Jews scattered and in the Middle East. All of these things have to be considered in different ways. You've got the rise of China, but it looks like it's going to have a huge economic collapse. You have the rise of Iran, but who knows where that is going to go. You have the Middle East on fire. You have all the war that's going there.

So, last week before any of this happened, I called Ron and told him to write it down, so I haven't heard from him on the e-mail from it, yet. I told him I thought the Brexit vote would pass and Trump's ultimate solution for the Middle East in conjunction with Europe would be to fund Turkey to send their armies in to take care of the problem.

Turkey's armies are well equipped. They are good fighters, plus the areas that are all on fire and fighting used to be part of the Ottoman Empire. The prime minister of Turkey has dreams of renewing the Ottoman Empire.

What that would do, that would set up all the prophecies in the Middle East. That would keep us out of it. It would give us a reprieve. I think that with Donald Trump being in Scotland, with all of this going on, and Hillary Clinton stuck, not able to say anything, that it gave Trump an opportunity to become more presidential. More people will see that, yes, he could do it. The more that they expose about Hillary, the more likely he may be president. So all of those are if they take place.

What does it mean? I think it means that it gives us an opportunity as nations to change and repent! There will be various levels of repentance:

  • unto salvation

That will be the work and the business of the Church

  • the repentance of religious leaders coming back to God in various forms

Hopefully more of them coming back to keeping the Sabbath.

  • give politicians an opportunity to set things correct and get rid of the corruption

That would be a form of repentance, changing from bad to good. There will be various degrees of various things.

I think if you read and study the book of Jeremiah, you will see so many parallels that it's almost unreal. Stop and think about all the troubles and problems we've been having: different curses that God said would come are coming. Such as

  • the wild animals, that's happening more and more
  • fighting against each other, that's happening more and more
  • the rise of homosexuality and things like that, that's rising more and more

Plus there are some people who are wanting to stop a lot of these things. So, all of that is in the mix. However:

Jeremiah 2:19: "Your own evil shall correct you…" That's true at every level. Individual level—if you sin, it's going to correct you—on a family level, group level, community level, state level, country, level.

"…and your backslidings shall reprove you; therefore, know and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the LORD your God…"

I even had one man write me—to show you how some of this goes—he wrote me and said that 'I'm born again and I haven't sinned for 9 years.' I e-mailed him back and said, 'Do you keep Sunday, Christmas, Easter, New Years and Halloween?' He wrote back and said, 'I keep all of them but Halloween, but God can take what Satan has done and make it good.' I sent him an electronic/digital copy of Occult Holidays or God's Holy Days—Which? He promised he would read it.

I told him, 'You are living in sin and you are very deluded in your thinking.' We'll see what happens. How many people out there are that way? Sooner or later it's going to come crashing down on them.

"'…and that My fear is not in you,' says the Lord GOD of hosts. 'For of old time you broke your yoke and tore up your bonds; and you said, "I will not serve"…'" (vs 19-20). That's what they've said concerning God and His commandments. How many warnings have they had concerning all of these things?

 "…yea, upon every high hill and under every green tree you lay down like a harlot. Yet, I planted you a noble vine, wholly a true seed. How then have you turned into the degenerate shoots of an alien vine to Me" (Vs 19-21).

When these things come along, it looks like it's going to be a change or a reprieve, God is giving an opportunity for repentance! Just like He says, it has to be God's way.

Verse 22: "'For though you wash yourself with potash, and multiply soap for yourself, yet, your iniquity is marked before Me,' declares the Lord GOD." Here we are. Just like this man who sent me the e-mail.

Verse 23: "How can you say, 'I am not defiled; I have not gone after the Baalim'?.…"—'I'll make Sunday the Lord's day.' Then He says what they are to look at and see what it is.

Jeremiah 3:22: "Return, O backsliding children… [that's what is used all the way through] …and I will heal your backslidings. 'Behold, we come to You; for You are the LORD our God. Truly, in vain is salvation hoped for from the high hills, from the multitude of mountains. Truly, in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel. The shameful thing has eaten up the labor of our fathers from our youth, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covers us; for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God'" (vs 24-25).

It shows there can be some repentance, but what kind? A little dab here, a little dab there? Will that be sufficient? God says there has to be repentance and returning!

Jeremiah 4:1: "'If you will return, O Israel,' says the LORD, 'Return to Me…'" Very interesting. A lot of them are going to turn to their own devices. They're going to turn to what is good in their own eyes, rather than to God.

"…And if you will put away your abominations out of My sight, then you shall not be removed, and will swear…" (vs 1-2). We can apply this part to the Church indeed, because there are various levels of repentance that takes place.

"…'As the LORD lives,' in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness…" (v 2). He applies it to the nations as well.

I can't help but think of this many, many times over and over again—I think we still have them, McGuffey Readers. Have you ever seen the McGuffey Readers in teaching the young kids in grade school a hundred years ago? More than a hundred years—130-140 years ago. Taught about God; taught about treating each other nicely; taught about the things out of the Bible, Proverbs and things like that.

Today what do they have? They have LGBT agenda in kindergarten! There would have to be a lot of repentance on a national level.

"'…then the nations shall bless themselves in Him, and in Him they shall glory.' For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, 'Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart… [in the New Testament that is repent and be baptized] …men of Judah and people of Jerusalem; lest My fury come forth like fire…'" (vs 2-4). We haven't seen that, yet, but it makes you wonder how far off is it?

It could be thought of that the shooting and episode in Orlando—now some people won't like it—but it could very well have been a judgment of God, because they weren't just drinking and dancing. Will anyone listen? Will anyone say, 'We better adjust our behavior? We better stop these kind of activities.' Or do they sanction it from the pulpits? So there are choices all around.

He tells us in v 8: "Put on sackcloth for this, wail and howl; for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned back from us." So it will be coming. Then you read all the way down here. Look how bad it is.

Verse 18: "'Your way and your doings have brought these things upon you…" Not because they are preached from the pulpit, or not because a minister would say so, but because God's Word is Spirit and life and is always working.

"…this is your evil, how bitter it is! How it pierces into your heart" (v 18). Doesn't that describe people's lives all messed up with so many different things? Yes, indeed!

Verse 19: "My bowels, my bowels! I writhe in pain… [that's Jeremiah] …O walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly within me; I cannot be silent because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the ram's horn, the alarm of war."

That will come! Exactly how it will come, we don't know. How many do we already have as an unorganized army within our midst? How long would it take them to organize?

Verse 20: "Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is laid waste. Suddenly my tents are laid waste, my curtains in a moment. How long shall I see the banner of war and hear the sound of the ram's horn?….'For My people are foolish… [that's how all of this has come about, we think we're doing good] …they are stupid children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge'" (vs 20-22). Then it's going to be that everything will be turned upside down.

We were watching this morning how San Francisco has this huge underground cistern that holds hundreds of millions of gallons of water and how they built it. They built it so that in case of an earthquake up to 7.6-8.0, that certain sections can move but not disturb the whole cistern.

They think they're going to have a great amount of water in case of disaster. What if they have a 9.2 earthquake and breaks it open? You know what happens? All the water runs out! All the best laid plans of men to stave off disaster will never work against the punishment of God!

The book of Hosea has a lot to say about Ephraim, Israel and Judah. Israel was so bad, given over to so many sins that God told Hosea, 'I want you to go marry a whore and have children of her.' So, Hosea did that. That shows you how bad it was.

Here's how God looks at it; He pleads His case, Hosea 11:1: "'When Israel was a child, then I loved him and called My son out of Egypt. The more they called them, the more they went from them. They continued to sacrifice to the Baalim… [the sun-god] …and burn incense to graven images. I also taught Ephraim to walk; I took them on My arm. But they did not know that I healed them. I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love; and I was to them as those who take off the yoke on their jaws, and I gently gave food to him. He shall not return to the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king because they refused to return to Me" (vs 1-5). That's what we're looking at here today.

You look at Britain, that gives them a chance; that gives them an opportunity. How many will really, really listen? Same way in America!

Verse 6: "'And the sword shall remain on his cities, and shall destroy his branches, and devour them because of their own counsels. And My people are bent on backsliding from Me. Though they called to the Most High, none would at all exalt Him" (vs 6-7).

Then God says, because He loves them, v 8: "How shall I give you up, Ephraim?…. [God gives them another chance] …How shall I deliver you, Israel?…. [then He names some cities, and so forth] …My heart is turned within Me; My compassions are kindled together" (vs 8-9). God is perplexed: 'What do I do?' That's why God looks to repentance, honors repentance! Here's why:

Verse 12: "Ephraim circles around Me with lying, and the house of Israel with deceit. And Judah is still wayward toward God, and toward the Holy One, Who is faithful."

Hosea 12:1: "Ephraim feeds on wind and follows after the east wind. He daily multiplies lies and desolation. And they make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt. The LORD also has a quarrel with Judah and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings He will repay him" (vs 1-2).

God shows that correction is going to come and it's going to be difficult; it's going to be hard!

Here is where He lays all the blame, Hosea 5:1: "Hear this, O priests, and hearken, O house of Israel. And give ear, O house of the king, for judgment is toward you because you have been a snare for Mizpah and a net spread over Tabor. And revolters have gone deep in slaughtering, and I chasten all of them. I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from me, for now, O Ephraim, you committed whoredom; and Israel is defiled. Their doings will not allow them to turn to their God; for the spirit of whoredoms is in their midst, and they have not known the LORD" (vs 1-4).

That's quite a thing. Can they turn? Will there be a turning? God gives an opportunity.

  • What will be taught?
  • What will the ministers teach?
  • What will even the Sunday-keeping ministers teach?

Remember God said that if even the prophets of Baalim would teach the people of Israel the Word of God, He would honor it (Jer. 23). God's Word is not just restricted to certain people. It is in a sense for those who are faithful, but not in the sense that it's not available to everyone. They could read it and follow it and do what they need to do with it. That's quite a thing.

Let's see what it's going to be like with Britain; Hosea 8:11: "Because Ephraim has multiplied altars to sin, altars shall be to him for sin. I have written to him the great things of My Law, but they were counted as a strange thing" (vs 11-12). Isn't that amazing? Think of what they did with the law of God, the Bible, and everything that God gave them.

Verse 14: "For Israel has forgotten his Maker, and builds temples. And Judah has multiplied cities. But I will send a fire on his cities, and it shall burn up her palaces."

Hosea 9:11: "Ephraim is like a bird—their glory shall fly away from birth, and from the womb, and from conception. Though they bring up their children, yet, I will make them childless, without a man. Yea, woe also to them when I depart from them!" (vs 11-12). God has given warning. Think about it.

When you consider that all human beings have their existence and live and move within because of what God has done, what God has provided, when God leaves them, even God doesn't like to do that. Even His own emotions are torn in this, because of all the sufferings that go on.

Verse 13: " 'Ephraim, when I looked toward Tyre, was planted in a pleasant place. But Ephraim shall bring out his children to the murderer'… [abortion] …Give them, O LORD; what will You give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. 'All their wickedness is in Gilgal, for there I hated them. I will drive them out of My house for the wickedness of their doings. I will love them no more; all their rulers are revolters. Ephraim is stricken; their root is dried up; they shall bear no fruit. Yea, though they bear, yet, I will slay the beloved fruit of their womb.' My God shall cast them away because they did not hearken to Him. And they shall be wanderers among the nations" (vs 13-17).

That happened! Look at what it is with the Jews today—wanderers among the nations, wherever they go. It's going to happen again. Let's see some of the other things that God wants.

Hosea 7:8: "Ephraim mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake that is not turned. Strangers have eaten up his strength, and he does not know…" What are they going to do now if they cut off all the ties and what's the economic circumstances going to be? Some people think it may be better, but what is it ultimately going to do?

Ephraim is going to be completely isolated and it's going to drive America and Britain closer together. That means our fates are going to be tied together in a way that they haven't been recently.

That's why we have the book America and Britain by Philip Neal. How are these things going to come about?

Verse 9: "'Strangers have eaten up his strength… [is that not true of us too?] …and he does not know. Yea, gray hairs are here and there on him, yet, he knows it not. And the pride of Israel testifies to his face. And they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek Him in all this. Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart; they call to Egypt; they go to Assyria. When they go, I will spread My net upon them; I will bring them down like the birds of heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation has heard. Woe to them, for they have fled from Me!…." (vs 9-13). Can't get away from God, so we'll have to see what's going to happen with that.

 "…Destruction unto them—because they have sinned against Me. Though I have redeemed them, yet, they have spoken lies against Me" (v 13).

How many times have we been saved by God's hand as a nation? Look at England, they have a longer history than we do, going all the way back to the days of the time of the New Testament Church. It's quite a thing!

Jer. 15—Here is something that we don't want. We can learn lessons from this for the Church, but I tell you today there are still those with so many false teachings and doctrines within the Churches of God, it's really just quite unreal. I won't get into that here, that's for another time.

Jer. 15—This is what we never want. We don't want this for us as individuals, for the Church, or for where we live, or for our country, but it's going to happen.

Jeremiah 15:1: "Then the LORD said to me, 'Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My soul could not be toward this people. Cast them out of My sight, and let them go out.'"

If you want to read some very interesting things, how Jerusalem fell in the days of Jeremiah, you read the history of Josephus. If once was not enough, it happened again in 70A.D. Quite an interesting thing in parallel there. And when He let them go, terrible.

Verse 2: "'And it will be, if they say to you, "Where shall we go?" Then you shall tell them, "Thus says the LORD, 'Those who are for death, to death; and those for the sword, to the sword; and those for the famine, to the famine; and those for the captivity, to the captivity.'" And I will appoint over them four kinds of destroyers,' says the LORD; 'the sword to kill, and the dogs to tear, and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy. And I will make them a horror to all kingdoms of the earth because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem'" (vs 2-4). Even though he repented, look what he did to the people. What's going to happen?

Maybe we will have a reprieve if Trump gets in—maybe—we may not. We don't know what's going to happen over in United Kingdom now. Maybe things will revive. Maybe there will be a greater chance to preach the Gospel there. We don't know. We'll just have to wait and see.

Verse 5: "'For who shall have pity on you, O Jerusalem? Or who shall weep over you? Or who shall turn aside to ask about your welfare? You have forsaken Me,' says the LORD; 'you have gone backward; therefore, I will stretch out My hand against you, and destroy you; I am weary with repenting" (vs 5-6). False repentance! God wants repentance from the heart.

Jeremiah 8:4: "And you shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD; "Shall they fall and not arise? Shall one turn away and not repent? Why has this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a never-ending backsliding? They hold fast to deceit; they refuse to repent. I listened and heard, but they did not speak right; no man repented of his wickedness, saying, "What have I done?" Everyone turned in their own courses, as the horse rushes into the battle"'" (vs 4-6).

That's quite a thing! That's quite an attitude. Will we see that attitude come this hard? If we do, it's going to be a very difficult thing, indeed.

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Let's come here to Zephaniah, a very interesting short three chapters, but an awful lot about the Day of the Lord and the time of the end. Here's what God says. He holds out hope. That's what we covered last week about the hope of God.

Zephaniah 2:1: "Gather yourselves together; yea, gather together, O nation not desired; before the decree … [we're going to get the principle here] …is brought forth, and the day passes like the chaff; before the fierce anger of the LORD comes upon you, before the day of the LORD'S anger comes upon you. Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth who have executed His judgment; seek righteousness; seek meekness. It may be that you shall be hidden in the day of the LORD'S anger" (vs 1-3).That's quite a promise! Doesn't say how, but God is capable of doing that.

Let's see how we do this. I really like this section of Proverbs, because here is an 'if, then, if then.' It's very important in our relationship with God.

Proverbs 2:1: "My son… [are we going to be the sons and daughters of God? Yes!] …[#1]if you will receive my words and treasure up my commandments within you…" Interesting! Think about Heb. 10:16, written in our hearts and in our minds.

Verse 2: "So that you incline your ear to wisdom and apply your heart to understanding… [that's what we need today] …yea, [#2]if you cry after knowledge and lift up your voice for understanding; [#3]if you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you shall understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; out of His mouth comes knowledge and understanding" (vs 2-6).

He is able to do all of these things in spite of what's happening in the world around us.

Verse 7: "He lays up sound wisdom for the righteous… [and if we keep His commandments and love Him then we are counted as righteous] …He is a shield to those who walk uprightly. He keeps the paths of right judgment and preserves the way of His saints. Then you shall understand righteousness and judgment and equity, every good path" (vs 7-9). That's what we need to focus on.

This tells us how we are to do it. Proverbs 3:1: "My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commandments." Always, regardless of what is around us, regardless of what's going on.

Verse 2: "For they shall add length of days, and long life, and peace, to you. Do not let mercy and Truth forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them upon the tablet of your heart" (vs 2-3). So, you see how proper thinking and understanding, reading and studying all work together to program our minds spiritually.

"…write them upon the tablet of your heart…. [here is what will happen]: …And so you shall find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man" (vs 3-4). Here is the whole key. Everything comes in on this and trust is another word for faith or belief.

Verse 5: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart…" How many things does God say we're to do with all our heart?

  • love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and being
  • whatever you set your hand to do, do it with all your might

"…and lean not to your own understanding" (v 5). That is a temptation that comes along when things are not going right and smooth. Then we end up trusting in our own understanding and get ourselves in trouble.

Verse 6: "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil. It shall be health to your navel and marrow to your bones" (vs 6-8). Then he explains even more how to do that.

We have to let reproof of instruction, v 12: "For whom the LORD loves He corrects, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights."

Go ahead and study through Proverbs concerning reproofs correction, meaning if something comes along to correct you, let it correct you. Be it a person who tells you something you need to do. Be it a situation that you discover that you're not doing right, whatever the circumstances. Let that reprove you!

Let's look at it in the world. What does someone in the world need to do? We hope and pray that with all of these circumstances and all of these difficulties that more people will turn to God. That they will repent; that they will be able to be baptized, etc. But here, as we talked about, how it affects in different levels. So here is the level for each individual.

Isaiah 55:1: "Ho, everyone who thirsts…" The individual has to come to himself or herself to want to know about God and want to know about the Truth. Hungering and thirsting. What did Jesus say? 'Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled!'

"…come to the waters… [God's Holy Spirit] …and he who has no money, come, buy and eat…" (v 1). Jesus said, 'If you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have eternal life'!

"…Yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread?.… (vs 1-2). In other words:

  • Why is your life not working out the way that it should?
  • Why do you have so many troubles and difficulties?

This is helping answer the question.

"…And your labor for what never satisfies? Hearken diligently to Me… [that goes to the three words: obey My voice] …and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Bow down your ear, and come to Me… [listen to God, His Word] …hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David" (vs 2-3). So they can come to understand about eternal life and how to succeed in that.

Verse 4: "Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people, a Prince and Commander of people." That's why we have all the Psalms by David. How do those help us? In a personal way that no other Scriptures can! They help us understand:

  • how we feel
  • how we think
  • our relationship with God
  • how to pray
  • how to worship God
  • how to study
  • how to realize the difficulties and deceitfulness of human nature

Especially Psa. 119! I got an e-mail from a man who said, 'I've tried to read all the way through Psa. 119, but I never could finish it. But I went online to afaithfulversion.org and went to Psa. 119 and pushed audio and I listened to it all the way through without interruption. I got through the whole book.'

I don't know if we went back and listened to it again or not. Psa. 119 really is a fantastic Psalm. It is something, I think, that's important. In studying it, I went through and counted all the 'I's'. What if a person talks about I-I-I all the time? Everyone of those—135 of them—was:

  • I will seek after God
  • I will seek His commandments
  • I will love the Lord
  • I am longing after Your statutes
  • I am given wisdom with Your judgments

It is a personal thing that God has given to us that we can learn directly from that Psalm, just like it says here: "Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people, a Prince and Commander of people." If we do that, that's going to help us an awful lot.

If you have a smart phone, if it's an iPhone, then you go to iApps and you can download the whole Bible, audio, everything, right on your phone. Isn't that amazing? You can have the whole Bible!

Go back and think at the time when especially during the Waldensians, they had the New Testament in old Latin. Some of them only had the book of John. Think of it, you can have it with you all the time; you can study it, read it and listen to it.

Verse 5: "Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know; a nation that did not know you shall run to you because of the LORD your God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified you." That shows the ultimate being in the Kingdom of God and teaching people during the Millennium.

Verse 6 tells the individuals what to do: "Seek the LORD while He may be found… [the more we see all these difficulties coming, the closer we're getting to the time when He says you won't find Him] …call upon Him while He is near."

Here's what has to happen. We cannot have God's approval on our sins. We have to repent of them. That applies to anybody at any level anywhere.

Verse 7: "Let the wicked forsake his way…" This gentleman that I'm in communication with, who thinks he doesn't sin, it's going to be hard for him to come to this voice and say, 'I have been wicked,' especially if you think that you can of your own self compel God to make something that comes from Satan the devil 'good.' Never happen!

Verse 7: "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts… [there has to be a complete change of thinking] …and let him return…" Notice what has to happen:

  • you have to seek
  • you have to forsake
  • you have to return

"…and let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon" (v 7).

How many times have I said to read 2-Chr. 33 and the sins of Manasseh and he repented. God forgave him and put him back on the throne. How about Ahab? Elijah was told to go to Ahab and tell him he was going to die and his wife is going to die. So, Elijah did, told him how bad and awful and evil he was. Ahab repented, put on sackcloth and ashes. Before Elijah got home, God came to him again and said, 'You go around and tell Ahab, My servant…'

  • Can God change your life? Yes!
  • Can He forgive your sins? Yes!

What does abundantly pardon mean? It means to blot out and remove, as far as the east is from the west (Psa. 103)! Psa. 103 is a good one to remember. We're doing exactly like we just read here in Isa. 55. Psalm 103 is a Psalm of David. Notice how he approached God.

Psalm 103:1: "Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His Holy name"—with all your heart. See how that ties in? God's Word always ties in!

Verse 2: "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits."

What is the first step in backsliding? Backsliding does not start out to be deliberate, but backsliding begins with negligence, forgetting, not thanking God, not realizing that everything comes from God. Then discounting the importance of Sabbath, the importance of prayer, the importance of study. Then gradually you slip away.

Verse 3: "Who forgives all your iniquities…"—each and every one. In our minds we may still remember them. Why does God not take it out of our minds, but He doesn't remember them? So that we can learn the lesson and not forget!

"…Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your desires with good things; your youth is renewed like the eagle's" (vs 3-5).

Verse 12: "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion upon his children, so the LORD has compassion upon those who fear Him, for He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes, for the wind passes over it, and it is gone; and its place shall know it no more. But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting …" (vs 12-17).

Remember that even in spite of trouble and difficulties, as long as you are seeking God, as long as you are letting the reproof correct you and you come to God and you turn to Him, His love is everlasting—"…from everlasting to everlasting." How infinite is that? That's like saying forever, and then put it on a repeating thing to say forever and ever and ever…

"…from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him, and His righteousness is unto children's children" (v 17).

When He says that we are to forsake our thoughts, what Proverb comes to mind? 'There is a way that seems right to a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death.' and 'Let him return to the Lord.' To return to the Lord means:

  • you come to Him on His terms
  • you obey His laws and commandments
  • you accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His shed blood for the remission of your sins (Rom.3)
  • He puts you in right standing with Him

In this world, with all of these things going on, that can still happen in our individual lives. That's what is important to remember. Don't let the events out here overwhelm you within here.

Isaiah 55:8: "For My thoughts are not your thoughts…" How do we get the thoughts of God?

  • from the Word of God
  • from the Spirit of God

The whole Bible is the Word of God given to us so we know what we need to do.

"'…nor your ways My ways,' says the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (vs 8-9).

Here's a good example of that. What will it be like to be a spirit being and live forever? I know all mothers and fathers have done this with their own children, you look at your little infant boy or girl and you say, 'When you grow up…' They have no knowledge of what you are saying.

Is eternal life that way to us now? What is it going to be like? Especially when every day you look in the mirror, and every few days you say, 'Oops, a new wrinkle. Or a new gray hair. Or a little less hair. Or, Oops, I can't see myself the way I used to. And you can't wash your face with your glasses on.

  • What is it going to be like to never get old?
  • What is it going to be like to have a spirit body?
  • How are we going to take care of a spirit body?

There's something we need to do, surely. If taking care of a physical body requires so much, what is it going to be to take care of a spiritual body? What does it mean to eat from the Tree of Life forever? All of those things are included in this.

"…My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (v 9).

Notice the comparison, takes an example of something that we just take for granted, v 10: "For as the rain comes down, and the snow from the heavens, and does not return there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, and gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater."

You think about that. I'm sitting right here and I'm thinking about a commercial. You've all seen it. Starts out these beautiful mountains. You're already captivated because you're intrigued with mountains. Then it shows this man with this little pack train with him, and they're coming up into the mountains and they're testing the water. Finally they come to the place where they get the water that they want. The snow came down, the rain came down and here's the water. But they wanted a special water to make Coors beer. This reminds me of it.

Look at everything that has to take place in order for them to make the beer. You've got to have the ground, the wheat, the barley, the hops, the water, all the containers and everything that is there to make it so you have beer.

In the same way, here is what God's Word is to do for us spiritually. This is called growing in grace and knowledge.

Verse 11: "So shall My Word be which goes out of My mouth… [we have it all right here] …it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall certainly do what I sent it to do."  What is it going to do? It's going to bring us eternal life!

Verse 12: "For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break out before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."

I don't know how that's going to be, but we'll be able to see—this is figuratively speaking—but can you look at a tree and tell it's happy? Have you ever seen a sad tree? No water, the leaves are drooping! So, this is talking about what it's going to be.

Verse 13: "Instead of the thorn, the fir tree shall come up; and instead of the brier, the myrtle tree shall come up; and it shall be to the LORD for a memorial, for an everlasting sign which shall not be cut off."

Then notice the next chapter gives us the first step in doing it.

Isaiah 56:1: "Thus says the LORD, 'Keep justice and do righteousness; for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it; who keeps the Sabbath from profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil'" (vs 1-2).

That's what it means to return to the Lord. If you just take those first two verses from Isa. 56 and put it right at the end of Isa. 55, you have the first step in being able to accomplish all of this.

Let's see some things here in the New Testament. Jesus gives a warning! Lest we get all lifted up in vanity and self-righteousness, which God doesn't want us to do, chapter thirteen. Luke 13 is a very interesting chapter the way it's laid out.

Luke 13:1: "Now, at the same time, there were present some who were telling Him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices." Took them, killed them, took their blood and mixed it in with the sacrifices, threw it on the altar.

Verse 2: "And Jesus answered and said to them, 'Do you suppose that these Galileans were sinners above all Galileans …'" We're not to look down our nose on other people. We do not know their lives or their circumstances. Yes, we can see the things that not right. Yes, we can see the things that are not good, but does that make us better? No!

"…because they suffered such things? No, I tell you; but if you do not repent, you shall all likewise perish" (vs 2-3). So we need to repent. Returning to the Lord is a continuous thing.

Roger Kendall gave a very interesting sermon about life is like a trip—Signs to the Kingdom of God. One part of it was that when you're on a trip you have certain things you need to do. If it's a long trip, you stop at a rest stop. What do you do at a rest stop? You get refreshed, but you also get rid of the wastes! This is why every day when we pray we repent, because that's like getting rid of the spiritual waste. So, it's the same way here.

Verse 4: "Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them, do you suppose that these were debtors above all men who dwelt in Jerusalem?" No! Time and chance happen to all.

I remember about the recent floods down there in Texas, it showed this one family. The road was kind of a little valley and the water filled up and their SUV was swept up right alongside. The water was coming fiercely. The father said to get out, get out, because the side of the van was up alongside. He said to get out now. Just as they all got out, the SUV went down the torrent. They were able to get out. What if they didn't listen? Would have been a mess!

Do you think they were sinners above all Galileans? When you talk about innocent people who were killed, they are still sinners, because 'all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.' You can't use these Scriptures to say, 'These people were innocent victims.' How about those who were killed down there in Orlando? The world says they are 'innocent' victims. How does God look at it? We don't know!

For us to stand back and say, 'They deserved it and God's judgment came upon them and we are better than they are.' Be careful, because then you are putting yourself in a situation where then you are despising people that God is going to give a chance in the second resurrection! You can't be despising people because you know the way of God and they don't know the way of God.

How righteous would they be if they knew? We don't know! Look at the Apostle Paul—Saul, how evil could you say he was? Really evil! He was going out and arresting Christians, putting them in prison, having some of them killed.

So God, to show His righteousness and mercy and forgiveness, called Saul and made him the Apostle Paul. That's the whole lesson here that we get in Luke 13.

Verse 5: "No, I tell you; but if you do not repent, you shall all likewise perish."

Then Jesus spoke a parable. Listen to this; you have those people who died because of circumstances. Now you have someone here with a fig tree.

Verse 6: "'And He spoke this parable: 'A certain man had planted a fig tree in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it, but he did not find any. Then he said to the vinedresser, "Look here! For three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and have not found any. Cut it down. Why should it continue to waste space in the ground?" But he answered and said to him, "Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig about it and put in manure, and see if in fact it will bear fruit; but if not, after that you shall cut it down"'" (vs 6-9)—very interesting parallel.

If we can divide from the time of Jesus' ministry down to the destruction of Jerusalem, what do we have? We have four periods of time, ten years apiece. How long did God give the Jews? Over thirty years! And nearly all of them for the first twelve years were Jews. But the fig tree is like Judaism. What tree did Jesus curse? A fig tree because it brought forth no fruit! Here we have something very similar.

Luke 12:16: "Then He spoke a parable to them, saying, 'The ground of a certain rich man brought forth abundantly.'" This is a very good example that you have to be faithful to the end and not assume anything!

Verse 17: "'And he was reasoning within himself, saying, "What shall I do, for I have nowhere to lay up my fruit?" And he said, "I will do this: I will tear down my granaries and build greater ones, and there will I lay up all my produce and my good things. Then I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have many good things laid up for many years; take your rest, eat, drink, and be merry.'"'" (vs 17-19).

God doesn't want us to rest on our laurels and think that because certain things and blessings have come along that now we can stop, now we don't have to worry about it, now we can just lean back and rest. No, indeed!

Verse 20: "But God said to him, 'Fool, this night your soul shall be required of you; and to whom will you leave what you have prepared for yourself?' So shall it be to the one who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (vs 20-21).

All of these parables show us how living in this evil world that we're living in that we still have opportunities to grow, change and overcome.

If this thing in the world with Brexit and with Trump and all of this, give us a little more time to preach the Gospel and do things, then we need to take full advantage of it.

Not to say, 'Hooray, it's not going to happen right now.' We don't know what's going to take place. This is the lesson that we can learn, plus all the lessons that we have covered.

We hope that Brexit works and that here in America we can have a change of government so we can have some of the oppression lifted off of us so we can continue doing what we need to do.

If not, then we continue however God wants us to and go forward!

Scriptural References:

  • Jeremiah 2:19-23
  • Jeremiah 3:22-25
  • Jeremiah 4:1-4, 8, 18-22
  • Hosea 11:1-8, 12
  • Hosea 12:1-2
  • Hosea 5:1-4
  • Hosea 8:11-12, 14
  • Hosea 9:11-17
  • Hosea 7:8-13
  • Jeremiah 15:1-6
  • Jeremiah 8:4-6
  • Zephaniah 2:1-3
  • Proverbs 2:1-9
  • Proverbs 3:1-8, 12
  • Isaiah 55:1-7
  • Psalm 103:1-5, 12-17
  • Isaiah 55:8-13
  • Isaiah 56:1-2
  • Luke 13:1-9
  • Luke 12: 16-21

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Jeremiah 23
  • Hebrews 10:16
  • 2-Chronicles 33
  • Romans 3

Also referenced:

Books:

  • Occult Holidays or God's Holy Days—Which? by Fred R. Coulter
  • America and Britain by Philip Neal
  • Josephus

Sermon: Signs to the Kingdom of God (Roger Kendall)

FRC:lp
Transcribed: 7-12-16
Formatted: bo—7/13/16

Copyright 2016—All rights reserved. Except for brief excerpts for review purposes, no part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means without the written permission of the copyright owner. This includes electronic and mechanical photocopying or recording, as well as the use of information storage and retrieval systems.

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