Saturday, May 4, 2013

CHRISTIANS IN THE CITY OF DESTRUCTION AND FAITH

I want to talk today about faith and in particular I want to talk about some of the words that Paul had on faith, and also want to talk about John Bunyan's dream. In the 1400s John Bunyan had a dream and ended up writing it down as The Pilgrims Progress. But in his dream he saw how through many trials and tribulations, the people of the Lord those who keep the faith, they enter the kingdom of God. But he also saw in his dream how many other people were headed to the same destination but they didn't make it. They were caught up by all kinds of things and went down the wrong road and they just were never seen or heard of again. And we read about Faith who was one of the characters in his dream and this particular man nearly got taken by a lustful way in his heart after a woman, an adulteress woman. And we read that it was very difficult to finally make it to the kingdom. But when they finally made it there they had their names written in the book of life because they had given themselves to the faith in Jesus Christ. And so it is that it is same today. You know it's not an easy gospel of you are just saved and now you just stay in the city of destruction. No way it's the gospel of perseverance and walking the race running the race with perseverance and faith.

And that's why today I want to talk about this wonderful faith, this way that we need to have to be able to to get to the holy city and have our names written in the book of life because without faith you won't make it in there. There is no way and you wont be able to find it in there. So I want to read what Paul said in Hebrews where he wrote that; faith is the assurance of things hoped for in the convictions of things not seen for it is the men of old who gained approval through faith. And is by faith that we understand that the world was made by the word of God. So what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. It is by faith. And by faith Enoch was taken up so that he didn't die and he was not found because God took him. And it says that without faith it is impossible to please God. And so he who comes to God must believe that he is who he is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. So if you seek God yet you don't have faith in him and you don't really think he'll reward you for seeking him well how can you find God. And I heard in my spirit a few years ago that those who draw near to the Lord, they will find the Lord. Those who take time to draw near to God they will find him. And so Paul writes; therefore since we have such a great cloud of witnesses of faith around us, let us lay aside every encumbrance and sin which so easily entangles. And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus Christ the author and perfecter of our faith. Who with the joy set before him, endured the cross and despised its shame and sat down at the right hand of God. And so this walk to the kingdom of God is all about faith. You have to have faith in God before you can even begin to walk on the narrow way. If you don't really believe in God or you don't know about the reality of Jesus Christ and what he has really done, then it's time to have faith because without faith we cannot make it.

And there's no way you can strive to the eternal destination that we don't see if you don't have faith. Because only through faith and then having a relationship with Jesus can we be guided to this place where we don't see. Because how can you go somewhere where you cannot see? You need guidance and that is why the Lord sends us, through faith for those who abide in the Lord, the Holy Spirit. So I'll read on verse seven; it is for discipline that you endure for God deals with you as his son's and who is a father that does not discipline. But if you are without discipline of which all have become partakers and you are illegitimate children not sons, therefore how much more should our Father in heaven discipline us, for they discipline us for a short time our earthly fathers but he disciplines us for good that we may share in his holiness. So discipline may not seem joyful at the time yet it's those who have been trained by it afterwards they yield the peace and the fruits of righteousness. The Lord is calling each and every one of you to walk a righteous life in holiness through his Holy Spirit in faith. And it's a walk of faith and that's how I found the Lord through faith. I realized what was being said was true about him, and so I decided to take the Lord up on it and go and seek him, go and pray, and seek to know him, and what happens was the Lord because is there he is real, he came into my life because I had faith. And he took away my sins and he gave me power over sin to stay away from sin. Because God is a holy God and he wants all to repent. So in verse 12; therefore strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble. Make straight paths for your feet and so the limb which is lame shall not put out rather be healed. Pursue peace with all men and sanctification without which nobody will see the Lord. Including other translation say without Holiness no one shall see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God that no roots of bitterness spring up and cause trouble and defile many. Let there be no immoral godless person among you like Esau, for you know that he sold his birthright for a single meal. Therefore since we receive the kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude that we may offer ourselves to God for acceptable service with reverence and awe.

For our God is a consuming fire. You see dear friends our God is a consuming fire and he is going to consume all things and he is holy. He is a consuming fire and that's why we have to have faith in God and live in holiness. You know it takes faith to be righteous and turn away from sin. And it takes faith to get on your knees and pray to the Lord and ask him to forgive you and that takes faith. And if you don't have faith how can you do such a thing. How can you admit that you are a sinner if you don't have faith in the Lord. And how can you admit that you got to repent and turn to Jesus Christ if you your self don't have faith. That's why friends we have to realize that what is said of the Lord is true backed by a cloud of witnesses and these witnesses go throughout history all the way from Abraham and I myself am a witness to Jesus Christ and how he's a reality so I can tell you to have faith and to lay aside all hindrances all sins all besetting sins and little things like bitterness and all kinds of things that will spring up in cause you trouble and cause you to fall away from the faith. We're here to be like the Pilgrims in pilgrims progress, John Bunyan's dream he saw in the 1400s. We are to to walk that race all the way to the end and it's not easy but it's a race of faith and if you got faith you would persevere. But if we have not faith we won't persevere. We would just go to sin and stay in the city of destruction, and do the things of destruction. That's what we would do if we don't have faith. See many people don't have faith. They start out for a while but then they take the easy road. You know at one time the Pilgrims came to a big mountain and the way to the kingdom was to go over this mountain but there was another easy road round the side. And these foolish men went to the side they didn't have any true seed in their hearts they didn't have good ground. So they went the way that ended in a bad end and ended up in the fire. You see many people called but few are chosen. Few end up having true faith. Another man came to the gates of heaven he got there by vain hope and he didn't have his name written in the book of life because he didn't know Jesus.

And Jesus said in Matthew he said that they will knock and he will say, “I don't know you nor where you are from depart from me”. That's what happens to people who don't have faith because they don't have faith they don't seek the Lord. And when you don't seek the Lord you don't find him and he doesn't know you and will tell you to go away. And so that's why if we want to have out name written in the book of life then we have to turn to the Lord by faith and we have to seek in faith. It is the only way and if we cannot repent of our sins for which we do, then we cannot have faith, for repentance and faith go hand-in-hand. So we want to leave the city of destruction today and leave the way to destruction the broad path drinking partying sinning having fun living on the broad path with worldly ways in our hearts, then we're going to inherit death. That's not the way that is staying in the city of destruction. If you want to leave behind the foolish pursuits of youth and all ways of life of ungodly, and things that are unrighteous, now not all things are righteous but many things are, but if we want to leave those things that are so clearly known in our hearts, then we have to do it by faith. And by faith we have to turn away from our paths, our own ways in the city of destruction. And by faith we have to pray to the Lord like I did and I continue to do, and when you do that you get to know him and you start walking to the Kingdom of God over the mountains. You don't go to the easy ways, you go over the mountains and through the valleys. There are lots of trouble and lots of perilous to bring you down. And you can get into many traps. And it is only by the divine help from God that you can stay abiding with Jesus Christ. And if you abide with him all the way to the end with the Holy Spirit helping you to know the way and have the wisdom, then you're going to finally enter that wonderful holy city. But until then we have not entered the city and we certainly aren't saved. So don't listened to all these foolish Christians who say I'm saved and saved now. No friends we have to finish the race. We haven't finish until we got over the mountain. Until you've walked into the door and the Lord has ticked our names off in the book of life. It is only then that you have a attained your salvation.

And until that point as John Bunyan saw in his dream as well, there's many perils that can cause you to not make it. The Lord knows that there are many perils. That is why he sends us the Holy Spirit and that's why he tells us time and again to repent and to abide in him hallelujah. And so it is through dogged persistence and perseverance that we shall have our faith perfected through God hallelujah, because Jesus is the perfecter of our faith. So let us throw away all things today that would hold us back from having faith in Jesus and instead pursued him with all we have and live for him from now on. That takes faith. It takes faith to turn away from chasing after your own life. I known so many believers these days fall into the cares of this life. They're worried about getting money for their family and so they're all worried and concerned about it now and so they put Jesus on the side while they attend to these other things because to them these things are first and Jesus is second. But Jesus said that we got to focus on him and put him first in what we do and ask him for everything. He will give us the wisdom and the know-how to do or go and do it praise the Lord. He said seek first God's righteous and he will help you with the other thing. But the world doesn't do that, the world and the city of destruction they seek first the wealth and first the cares of this life and all the things that we got a worry ourselves with when trying to preserve our lives on this earth. If you don't eat you starve after all, that's how the world works. But those who follow the Lord and they put God first he will look after their needs but you got to trust him first. There is no use looking after yourself and trusting yourself and then expecting God to help you. So many do that they say well I got to make a future, if I don't do it nothing will happen.

And so they're the ones who forge ahead and go their own way in life and they forget Jesus and Jesus can't do anything for them, they know best. So he lets them do what they do and they go and pierce themselves with many griefs, for the world is a hard place. You need the wisdom of God to show you the way. So many people have repented and turned to the Lord and have received the wisdom of God what to do and they have their needs met the place for their families and food money things like this is because they gave themselves to the Lord and he provided for what they need. But many of those that they start the race, but the thing is the cares of life come up and choke out their seed and it dies. You see they got the seed of faith and their faith dies, they die. And they no longer follow Jesus they're just on the way to hell. Now they were Christian and probably say they still are but they know they're far away from Jesus because they put the cares of life first. They put their family first. They put their children and their education first. They are not interested about putting God and his righteousness first in their life, praying and living for him. They are not interested in that and so God doesn't help them. He tries, he tries to bring them to repent, but they don't want it so the Lord has to leave them alone. But those who put Jesus first, who put God's righteousness first, he looks after them to the day they die and these people have their needs met. Is not that wonderful. It comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. It comes by having faith and that's why faith is so important.

And we must have faith. We must have faith in the Lord and we must have faith that he will deliver us from the hour of trial, from all kinds of evil that could befall us, cause us to miss out on the Kingdom of God. We could fall friends at any time if we turn away from these ways, and we don't have faith we could fall. Friends we're not here to fall. We are here to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ and be holy in all we do. We are here to have faith and if we have faith then we are going to make it into the kingdom of God. That is what Paul was talking about, he was talking about that if we have faith, we understand from the Lord and what we don't see but nevertheless is going to happen. And that's what faith is. And it takes faith to walk into the kingdom of God. You can't just go to heaven without faith because you are going to somewhere you don't even believe. But if we believe, we realize that this is true, then that's when the change comes, and that's when you start to see things with your real eyes. You start to see things. And that's what the Lord did for me he came into my life and that is where I started to see things and where the Lord started to show me things. And that it can only happen if only you have faith, if only you realize that look you don't want the city of destruction anymore, you don't want this life of partying drugs and alcohol and sin anymore. You want this wonderful clean way of Jesus Christ forgiving your sins and having his new way constantly in your heart and even though you go through many trials he will help you to overcome. That's what you want. And even though the devil may attack you many times, he will give you the power to overcome. And that's what we have to do we must have faith.

If you don't have faith you can't walk the narrow way. There is no way. If you don't have faith you would just follow the world. You will just continue to live for your family instead of living for God. Thats what the world does, they just live for their family instead. Family first they say but they don't live for God. So friends we have to put God first. We are here to seek to follow the Lord in all we do and give him the glory hallelujah. That is by faith. And then only then can we lead our families to the Lord, can we lead people to Jesus. But we got to have faith first and stop putting people first above God especially our sins and our selfish ways. A lot of people they don't even look after their families, they just are totally selfish. And if we want to enter the kingdom we got to put aside our selfish ways and we got to give ourselves to the Lord in the faith. Because if we have faith now and we strive with the Lord Jesus now, he perfects our faith and we are not going to be trying to find more oil later when the time is the run out, when we do have to face trouble or we do have to face our death, or you have to face whatever it is may come upon you. If you do it without faith, you are going to be like the unbelievers who just end up in the fire. It is going to be too late to somehow gather faith, we got to have faith now. And we got to have faith in Jesus now that we go and spend time for him, and we don't just go away and go back to our own life. That's what people do, they just go back to their life. They will say well yes this is the truth and it's all good and yeah, the Bible is true…but they go back home and then they'll just keep pursuing their sports having their party, keep following the life in the city of destruction not realizing that that is the way to destruction. They will just keep following celebrities, just keep watching the TV following all the nonsense on there, and they'll go away and just continue living life as they want to live. But in the end friends you will only reap what that is and that is destruction. That's the way of this world of destruction.

That's what happens in the end you will just reap destruction. But if we want to turn away from our sins and want to lay faith in Jesus today, then we got to do that in repentance and faith so that we can come out of the way to destruction and we can be filled with the real knowledge that comes from above from God. That's what Jesus will then do he'll fill you with his Holy Spirit. You see many Christians just don't have the Holy Spirit, why? Because they don't obey Jesus because Jesus said that if you obey me, I will send you the Holy Spirit. People don't obey Jesus so he wont send them the Holy Spirit. They don't ask. And what happens is friends that is why they get all deceived by the Bible. They start twisting everything to their own way and whatever satan has put in their mind. That they say all sorts of stuff. They will claim all kinds of revelations from the scriptures and say this and that according to the Bible. But the truth is friends without faith and without repentance, there is no way you can be filled with the Holy Spirit by obeying Jesus. There is no way and you'll just get deceived by all kinds of things. So that is why I warn that we've got to turn away from our ways and the way to destruction and we got to do it daily. We got to put out the flesh by faith and by faith we have to be dedicated to the Lord and focused on him so that by faith we are going inherit the crown of life by faith. It doesn't come any other way. If you don't have faith, no way you can find this way. You can't even get on your knees and repent if you have been struck by the reality of Jesus Christ. Have you been struck by his reality today? I have. It was such a reality that I got on my knees to seek the Lord and found him. But Jesus is just not a reality to many people. He doesn't exist. To them he is just a figure in the Bible a long time ago.

But thing is friends Jesus is more than that. He is someone that when you cry out to him he hears. And then he gives you a new way the Holy Spirit when you decide to obey him. And this is the way to life. And not only that he will become your reality in one way or the other one-day. And so we have to prepare now and we got to have faith now friends. Because without faith nobody will please God. And Jesus said when I return how much faith will I find. That is true how much faith will he find. Will he find seeds that landed on stony ground and they had little faith and Satan snatched away the gospel in their hearts they die go to hell? Or will he find people who the cares of life and the weeds of the cares of life and pride of the eyes, and lusts of the flesh come up and choke out their faith and they die. Will he find these people that the sun rises and scorches their faith out because it has got no roots. Or will he find a few people with good hearts who do the word obey Jesus, pray, live for him, repent of sin, keep doing it daily till the end, walk that way to the holy city like in John Bunyans dream the Pilgrim's progress. Will he find that kind of thing? Because that is what he is looking for. He is looking across the earth to find faith. To find faith in men. Anyone who praises his name.

You can't sit there and praise Jesus and praise his name all day if you don't have faith. Otherwise you are just praising the wall you don't even have any heart in what you doing. But if you got faith, then you can actually go away and you can praise the Lord Jesus Christ. And you can spend time singing to his name and being glad in his presence. You now is that what you do with your day? It is what I want to do. But that only comes by having faith. How can you praise the Lord without faith? It is impossible. How can you spent all day praising him with your mouth without faith? I don't think very many people do that anyway is because they don't have faith to begin with. So the reason so few people praise Jesus Christ and spent time praising his name, I am sure most people don't including very few, then they don't have faith. And if we don't have faith, we cant praise his name. He is not a reality to us. But I'm here to tell you he is a reality. That's why I want to encourage everyone to have faith, because he is who he said he was. My witness. If I did not come to know the Lord myself how could I be here and talk about him. I would just be out there with all the other luke-warm Christians just quoting the Bible. All I could do is quote the Bible but not talk about the reality of Jesus. I could only quote to myself John 3:16 and just have vain hope that I enter the kingdom of God even I don't really believe and I don't follow the Lord, my seed is dead. But if I was really serious and I really found out about the Lord was true, would I not then start talking about him and keep doing it! Would not I do that! Because it is through faith. And you got to have faith and that's what I've found is faith. You know you don't find wonders and signs and all these things that people want to see to have faith, no. you don't have to see or hear anything to have faith. You just have to hear about Jesus Christ and his reality to realize that you too can have faith. And who needs signs and wonders when you can look around you and see all the wonderful things that God made? And it is through faith. We don't need signs and wonders friends. That's why we have to pursue the way of holiness and make it to the end of the race. Through faith through faith in Jesus Christ.

Through faith in his name through dedication to him hallelujah. Through giving your life to him, turning away from going out to that party tonight with your friends even though they pled with you to go. That is faith. That is faith of entering the kingdom because you know you want to have their part in the lake of fire. Through faith friends. Through faith you turn away from that lie that you want to say to protect yourself, because you know that you got something better than lies and hell. You know that you got the kingdom to go to and so you step away from the trap of lies that will hold you, and take you down like in this Pilgrims progress that John Bunyan saw in his dream. So many traps that could take the Pilgrims and it did take many. There were bones of them all around. Lies will take many to hell. Go read the last verse in the Bible. It says that in the holy city there shall be no wise enter into anybody who practices or lives a lie. So go tell your white lies but know that you wont enter into the holy city. No no one who practices abomination and lies will enter into the holy city. That's what's written on the gates of the holy city so don't think you can bypass it with vain hope saying that Jesus covers me. No he only covered us when we repent and that takes faith. So we have true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, what happens is we will repent of our sins and he will be faithful and will wash away your sins. He will give you a new way but then you have to follow him by faith. Don't be like any of these foolish hearts that the seed landed on and either one way or the other the seed died.

No we are going to be good man's hearts. Hear the word, realize it is truth go and repent and spend our time living for the Lord from now on. That is called doing the word. It is not a gospel works, but if you don't work you don't go anywhere you wont enter the kingdom. It is a gospel of FAITH. Faith and grace. If you got faith you would do the works that lead to God's kingdom. And that's what we're here to do. We are here to have faith. We are not here to do be faithless servant. He shrank back and God wasn't pleased with him. You see Jesus talked about this faithless servant in the parable of the talents. He didn't have faith he hid his talent in the ground because he was scared. But the other 2 servants, they worked what the Lord gave them. They worked their gifts, they worked for the Kingdom, they did well and the Lord rewarded them according to what they had done. That is all works. Faith works of faith. Any works that is not faith is dead. But all works through faith is the proof of our way the kingdom. So it is works of faith friends. These people were given a wonderful reward into the holy city. They entered the holy city. But what happens to the Christian who didn't have faith? He was like the lazy servant who just hid his money in the ground. The Lord didn't say very nice things to this Christian, he didn't say you're going to go to heaven but you are going to lose all your rewards like liars say. That's not even in the Bible. Liars say you are (saved) and you will still enter the kingdom of heaven but you just lose your rewards. It doesn't say that. It says that the lazy worthless servant who is the faithless servant, he was cast out in the outer darkness. He didn't enter heaven. There is no way he went into the holy city either. No he was bound and cast out where there is a weeping and gnashing of teeth. No that's what happens to the faithless people. And that's what happened to us who don't want to turn away from our sins and we don't want to give ourselves to the Lord and leave the city of destruction. We end in destruction. There are lots of churches in that city of destruction. There are heaps of Christians in the city of destruction they think they are saved. They don't even go out the little wicket gate. They have not even gone the way of the cross yet.

They think they are saved. They got Bibles in there, but they don't actually go out and follow Jesus. They don't walk the narrow way of faith but that's not what we are here to do. We are here to walk the narrow way of faith. We are here to dedicate ourselves hallelujah to walking the narrow way of faith. You know we are not here to join the Christians in the dead world of wickedness. You know what do Christians do in the city of destruction? They do what the unbelievers do, what's that? They chase after rock music, and they chase after Hollywood, rap, hippo you know all this culture and Society of America and in Europe and especially the West. That's what the ungodly Christians who don't have faith do. They are not interested in walking the narrow way. They're part of those Christians that are in those traps that Apollyon set. Their part of the Devils deception. They think they're going to heaven, they got lost of vain hope sure. But in the end they are going to realize that the way to the kingdom actually isn't the broad path. Now when did the broad road ever enter the holy city? When? Friends it never did, never will and never was. The broad path ends in destruction. Let me spell that out to you very clearly. The easy broad path ends in destruction. You will not enter the kingdom of heaven being a Christian on the broad path. No matter how much you think that you are saved, no. the broad path has one destination, the fire. But it is those who walk the narrow way of faith, it takes faith to walk the narrow way, they are the ones who walk the narrow way the difficult way Jesus talked about. Jesus said narrow is the way difficult is the way that leads to life and few are they who find it. He even said many try but few are able. He said that because so many people don't have faith. Now Christian say; well I believe in Jesus but I think that I can still party it is okay. Well that's fine for you if you want to stay in the city of destruction.

But friends if you want to enter the kingdom let us do it by the rules, by the only way having our names in the book of life, faith in Jesus following him in obedience. And I tell you one thing, you'll never find a single person whom Jesus leads on the broad path. It does not happened and never will. There will never be a person in this world that Jesus is leading on the broad path, because Jesus is not on the broad path. Anybody who is on the broad path and Christian is actually somebody who is not led by Jesus. They are alone. Jesus is calling out to them to repent, yeah, but they are alone. They're no longer with Jesus. They are always from him. But if you're walking the narrow way of faith and abiding in Jesus in holiness, turning away from the ways of sin and you know what sin is, not everything is sin but you know what it is, then you will enter the kingdom because you got true faith that saves. That's what Jesus is looking for; he is looking for FAITH.......