This is a gem of a sermon!
“A Doctrine of Grace” – 10/19/97 (Ronald L. Dart 1934-2016)
This is a gem of a sermon!
“A Doctrine of Grace” – 10/19/97 (Ronald L. Dart 1934-2016)
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
In the Christian life, we know that we are never promised an easy path. Our time on this earth is analogous to a fight in many scriptures: II Timothy 2:7, Ephesians 6:11-13, Psalm 140:7. But are there times when we are given a reprieve? Are their times of peace and enjoyment for God’s people? Certainly, we must never give up the great commission, that is the duty of all Christians. But, are there times that we can heal from the battles we have engaged in? We will never cease to pray, but are we also given a time to rest and heal?
America just went through a divisive election, but remember, our country has devolved into decadence and lawlessness.We deserve to be bruised, we deserve to have our evil
underbelly exposed. We cannot pretend that we are pure or undeserving of God’s judgement. We deserve it! Also, we cannot heal if we don’t root out the evil and get to the heart of all of our own need for repentance and serious soul-searching. God also despises those who have pride and despise our brethren rather than pull them up. The first step to all of this healing is prayer. And many people invested a lot of prayer time and seeking God in this election.
And so, we have Donald Trump as our president, someone who has been a carnal man and a man of this world (like America also is), but someone who has seemed to have God helping him. Many Christians perceived Hillary Clinton to be an extremely evil woman, who has covered her sin and silenced dozens of witnesses along the way. We were spared having this woman reign over us, and from a very unlikely source. But remember, God has used “carnal” prophets along the way, including Samson, Jehu, and David. God can do more with a carnal prophet than a wicked person that wants to hurt God and his creation.
Yes, America, we are recipients of GRACE. We don’t deserve a reprieve from God’s judgment, but it appears we may have gotten one, because of God’s goodness and the Christians who humbly sought God’s mercy.
“A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.” – Ecclesiastes 3:7.
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.”-Luke 17:26
America has work to do. We might have a reprieve from our anguish over being beat down by those who hate Christianity but we are still called to fulfill the great commission. In the scheme of things this world and America are probably in the final days before Christ’s return. But does this mean that America cannot have a reprise of greatness?
Noah was a great builder of an amazing ark that met God’s specifications. But that was certainly not all that he was doing.
Arguably, Noah helped to save himself and the seven others in his family, not only by obeying God and building the ark, but even more so by preaching and modeling righteousness.
“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;” –2 Peter 2:5
The world of Noah was so evil and the world and minds polluted so much from sin, that only eight persons were able to be saved to continue civilization. Although sin will continue to take over everywhere it can, we should expect God’s end time harvest is going to be much bigger. It is Christian’s job to “build the ark” which isn’t going to be an ark, but instead will be an end time church.
What are we doing for God and His Kingdom? When we live in world like the days of Noah, we need to be like Noah. We need to preach righteousness, and we need to build.
God’s message to America?
The follow-up interview to firefighter Mark Taylor’s prophecy about Donald Trump.
I think it is naïve to think there is a cure for disease. There is no cure. You can fight disease; you can kill disease; you can recover from disease – but you can’t cure it.
How could we? We are open systems. We are systems of inputs and outputs. We are born with certain genetic traits. Each day we breath in air and drink water or other beverages. We choose every day what food to eat, and how much to eat. Can we cure obesity? Again, no. But we can fight it; we can make good choices, we can overcome it. But even if we lost weight, it could always come back. Can we cure cancer? We can beat it, but it could come back, as it often does.
It is similar to the concept of sin. There is no cure for it. We can fight against it and we can be overcomers through Christ. But we will never reach perfection in this life. Instead we press on. We press forward, not looking back.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 3:12-14
There is no cure, but there is victory. There is no cure, but there is overcoming. There is Christ, who overcame all things for us, and is our example going forward, and by continual refreshing of the Holy Spirit. As Paul did, we should run that we might win.
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. –I Corinthians 9:24-27
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. –Revelation 12:11
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
Do we get all our information from traditional, respectable sources? We should ask ourselves, would we have heard the voice of someone such as John the Baptist? How would John the Baptist have come across to us? Here are a few point of interest.
1. He had been miraculously conceived and was blessed with the Holy Spirit even before he was born. –Luke 1
2. Other than his righteous parents, he had no human teachers that we know of. –Luke 1:6
3. His early life was one of solitude in the desert where he grew spiritually. –Luke 1:80
4. He wore coarse camel hair, and ate locusts and honey. –Mark 1:6; Matthew 3:4
5. He didn’t consume alcohol. –Luke 1:15
6. He was likely a Nazirite who had never had a haircut. Godly men in the Bible were normally expected to have short hair as they were the “head” of their family and the express image of God (I Corinthians 11). The exception to that would have been men who had taken a Nazirite vow. The vow did not prohibit marriage, but it prohibited fermented products like alcohol and ritual defilement, and it involved not cutting the hair. We know he didn’t consume alcohol from Luke 1:15.
7. He knew scripture and he came on to the scene quoting it. — John 1:23
8. John’s ministry was one of repentance, and strong warning. — Acts 13:24; Matthew 3:1-3; Matthew 3:11-12; Mark 1:1-5; Luke 3:1-20
9. While John gave glory to Jesus as Lord and Savior, Jesus testified of John’s greatness as a prophet of God. –John 3:25-30; Matthew 3:3; John 1:6-8; John 1:24-28 Acts 13:25; Mark 1:7-8; Luke 7:28; Matthew 11:11-15
10. John’s ministry served as a complement, comparison and contrast to Christ’s ministry. –Matthew 21:23-32; Mark 2:18-20; Matthew 11:18-19; Luke 7:33-35
There is a dangerous trap that Christians can susceptible to, that can destroy both our relationship to Christ and our witness to others. When we hold on to pride, we do not have a teachable and loving attitude. In one of his parables, Jesus described that it was not outside things that defiled a person, but what came out of one’s heart. He said:
“There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
“All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
—Mark 7:15, 21-23 (emphasis added)
So Jesus identifies pride as evil or at least leading to evil, and in the same category that we see things we regard as much more serious.
The beloved apostle John admonishes us:
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever”
—I John 2:15-17 (emphasis added)
So, what does this mean? Can we not do well in this world? I don’t believe it means that so much as it means we should not put stock in those things. It is a matter of priorities. We should be constantly reminded of this. In the Sermon on the Mount, there are many applicable verses that go along with having a humble, teachable attitude.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Matt. 5:3
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Matt 5:5
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” Matt. 6:33
“Judge not, that ye be not judged” Matt.7:1
So Christians are to be different from the world. We are not to pursue our goals apart from God. If we were to describe the world, we could describe it as superficial, materialistic and prideful (I John 2:16). The opposite of these would to be deep in a genuine way, content and humble.
Scriptures on superficiality:
“For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, but not in heart” II Corinthians 5:12
“For there is no respect of persons with God.” Romans 2:11 (KJV) or — “For God does not show favoritism.” Romans 2:11 (NIV)
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” John 7:24
The promised Savior was not to be at all superficial, and he would emphasize both justice and mercy. He was teachable (Hebrews 5:8) and compassionate; and still in perfect submission to the Heavenly Father.
“The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
“And He will delight in the fear of the LORD,
And He will not judge by what His eyes see,
Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;
“But with righteousness He will judge the poor,
And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth;”
There are so many great scriptures on topics about meekness and humility and how it relates to judgment and mercy. We can judge right and wrong from our knowledge of scripture, but it is not our job to condemn someone else. The most effective witness we can have is to be humble and demonstrate a loving, humble attitude.
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” – II Timothy 42
“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1
“With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.” – Proverbs 25:15 ESV
In closing, I would share a favorite scripture of many:
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” —Micah 6:8