Lift up Your Eyes

July 6, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Biblical Eyesight, Jeremiah | 11 Comments
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It is easy for us to get into the habit of using our eyes – even our spiritual eyes – to focus only on the things in our immediate surroundings, or things lying directly in our paths, and to forget to look at the big picture. An even worse habit, though, is to become so inwardly focused that we see ourselves as the center of the universe, and begin to think that everything and everyone with whom we come into contact is there for our use, amusement, or service.

The sovereign Lord, however, the Designer of our eyes, our surroundings, and our circumstances, wants us to be on the lookout not only for what affects us personally, but for what is going on outside our immediate sphere of influence, and especially for what HE is doing for His Own Glory and the accomplishment of His Divine purposes.

In the days of the prophet Jeremiah, God’s people had become so self-centered, and so distracted by idols and worldly (and sinful!) pursuits, that, by the time God’s judgment had come into view, it was too late – and even then they had to be shaken by God’s specific instruction to look up and see it!

Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from the north: where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?

Jeremiah 13:20

When our eyes become satisfied with mundane and frivolous things – things that pale in comparison with the great and beautiful things that God originally designed them to behold and rejoice over – then we will find ourselves depressed and downcast. For the flock of God in Jeremiah’s day, judgment came via invaders from the north. By the time they became visible it was too late. In our day, we must keep our focus on Jesus, His Word, His people, and His work, so that the lifting up of our eyes will bring visions of victory rather than defeat, destruction, and captivity.

Standing before the Throne: Man’s Responsibility

August 6, 2012 at 11:23 am | Posted in Biblical standing, The Great White Throne | 6 Comments
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The Great White Throne shows:

I. God’s righteousness. All those who appear before God for judgment will be judged fairly.
II. Sin’s repulsiveness. God hates sin, and its consequences are severe.
III. Man’s responsibility.

At the Great White Throne where God will judge those who have rejected Jesus Christ, there will be certain books. One of the books will contain the record of the sins of the unredeemed. I believe the Bible will also be one of those books. But there is a third book mentioned.

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:12 (emphasis added)

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:15 (emphasis added)

If you find yourself before this Great White Throne, you will be judged – but you will not be tried. The outcome of your trial would be a foregone conclusion. If you have not trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, your name is not in that Book of Life. If you go to the lake of fire you will have no one to blame but yourself. There was a day when the King of the Great White Throne – when the Judge – hung on a Cross before all men. You weren’t there in person, but you know – deep down – in your heart of hearts – that it’s true. He hung before all men, and one day all men will stand before Him.

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:11 (emphasis added)

Do you see that if you stand before God without Jesus Christ, you will stand before God completely alone? I’m not talking about the “God” you’ve seen in popular Christian art. I’m not talking about an effeminate male model with a trickle of blood running from his temple, pouting seductively at the artist. I’m not talking about a bumbling old grandfather who stumbles around to a laugh track while younger, cooler people get away with things that he’s too old to understand. I am talking about the God from Whose countenance heaven and earth will flee. You will be alone with HIM!

And I saw the dead, small and great

Revelation 20:12 (emphasis added)

There are men in this world who are thought to be great “movers and shakers.” They have influence and power and authority in this world, over nations, over small groups of people and over vast numbers of people. But they will not be “great” before this Throne and they will not be excused. Nor will those who thought their sins would be overlooked because of their smallness. You may not be a big sinner in a small pond. In fact, you may be a very small sinner in a very large ocean – but, apart from Christ Jesus, you are an enemy of God and your sin makes you abominable to Him.

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God…

Revelation 20:12 (emphasis added)

If you appear before the Great White Throne you will stand. There will be no excuses. We live in a day and age of excuses and rationalizations and shifting the blame. Someone commits a horrible atrocity which is unquestionably evil and one of the first things the media wants to do is start looking for someone else to blame: Was it something in his childhood? Was it a chemical imbalance? Was it society’s fault? None of that will wash before the Great White Throne. There, every man will be judged according to his works.

You do not have to stand in the place of the condemned and be judged before the King of the Great White Throne. Believe the Gospel, trust Christ the Lord, and be saved right now.

Standing before the Throne: Sin’s Repulsiveness

July 18, 2012 at 8:36 am | Posted in Biblical standing, The Great White Throne | 2 Comments
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The Great White Throne shows:

I. God’s righteousness. All those who appear before God for judgment will be judged fairly.

Furthermore, the Throne shows:

II. Sin’s repulsiveness

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Revelation 20:11-13

Has Satan or the world talked you into believing that as long as you are pretty much like everyone else, you are going to be okay? That it is okay to be just be one of the crowd? This thought is intended primarily for people who do not have a real and a personal and an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, but Christians – you listen to this too. This world does not need another pale imitation of itself. Do not “go with the flow.” Any old dead fish can float downstream. Don’t play around with sin. God made you and He made this world and He has the right to make the rules. The attitude of the world is “no rules, just rights,” but you will not be the exception to God’s rules. If you break them, they will break you. There is a wage for sin, and the wage for sin is death. You can choose your actions today, but when you stand before the Throne of God, you will not be able to choose the consequences of your actions.

Standing before the Throne: Purity

May 18, 2012 at 9:22 am | Posted in Biblical standing, The Great White Throne | 6 Comments
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We have examined:

I. The Throne’s Possessor
II. The Throne’s Power
III. The Throne’s Purity

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:11 (emphasis added)

This is a Throne which is both great and white. It easy to imagine the potential problem for a king who sits on a throne this powerful. We know from recorded history and from our own experience that power tends to corrupt. The famous maxim is that, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” However, here we have a King who sits on a Throne yielding power that is magnified to an extent far beyond what our finite minds can even conceive of when we think “absolute.” Yet this Throne is completely white – completely pure. This King has never sinned. He has never done iniquity. He has never committed any type of wickedness.

… Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

Genesis 18:25

Our hearts seize upon this idea that His Throne is pure and that He always does what is right! How horrible would it be to have an all-powerful judge – an all-powerful king – who is the least bit inclined toward wickedness? The thought of God’s pure goodness makes us glad… but it should also make us afraid. For the King who sits on a Throne that is both great and white can not have sinful creatures come before His Throne without judging them by a perfect standard.

Now, you begin to see the problem. The Possessor of the Throne will be your judge and the power of the Throne is great. No one will dare to challenge – or even come close to having the strength to challenge – His right to judge. Not a single soul will be pure enough to pass judgment before this completely pure and white and holy throne.

Have you met the One Who is willing and able to take your place before that Throne and meet God’s perfect standard of righteousness on your behalf? Time is running out. He wants to save you from this terrible judgement. Will you trust Him?

Next time we will see how the Great White Throne exhibits God’s righteousness.

The Most Obvious Difference between Jesus and Us

August 21, 2009 at 11:13 am | Posted in I Peter, Salvation | 17 Comments
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Most people will say that they believe in God. But many people do not really understand much about God’s nature. Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, showed us the true nature of God (Colossians 2:9). Jesus Christ was completely sinless (Hebrews 4:15). Even His earthly enemies, who would have stooped to any level to find fault in Him, had to admit that He was perfectly without fault (John 8:46). As you read this, of all the differences between you and the Lord Jesus, this is the one that should be most obvious: He never sinned; you sin all the time (Romans 3:10-12). Your sin has brought you in line for God’s judgment. God’s holiness and justice require that His judgment be carried out (Ezekiel 18:4). God’s great desire, however, is to show you the bright ray of hope that shines over this bleak scenario. For all those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior, God’s judgment was satisfied in the Cross of Calvary. You can receive God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ’s payment for your sins, because He, being perfect before God, died and rose again for those of us who are filthy with sin before God.

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

I Peter 3:18

R.S.V.P. Before You R.I.P.

May 5, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Eternity, Ezekiel, Salvation | 12 Comments
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Very often, at the end of a church service, there will be a time of what is called “invitation.” This is when people who feel that the Lord’s Spirit has spoken to them through the preaching of His Word may come to the front of the church and pray with, or receive Biblical counseling from, the pastor or another spiritual leader. The area between the first row of seats or pews, and the pulpit, is sometimes called the “altar.” During funeral services, it is often the place where the coffin is set, as well.

Sadly, for many people, the first time in their whole lives they come to the altar is when they are wheeled there in their own coffin. Possibly even more tragic, though, are those who attend funerals, and are unaffected by the graphic illustrated sermon on display. I have seen people attend the funeral of a loved one who died prematurely due to drug or alcohol abuse, or due to the effects of an immoral lifestyle. As these people pass by the coffin to pay their last respects, they seem to be grieving or seriously shaken (and no doubt they are). Then, they proceed out of the church and immediately return to the type of actions and lifestyle which caused their loved one’s death.

Surely, these people do not think that they are the exceptions to God’s rule that people do not live forever.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Hebrews 9:27

What seems more likely is that they have the attitude of the people who heard the prophet Ezekiel’s warnings.

Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off.

Ezekiel 12:27

The Israelites in this passage of Scripture thought there might be truth to the prophet’s warnings that judgment would come upon them, but, since he had been prophesying for a while, and nothing had happened yet, God’s judgment must be far off. They even had quaint little sayings and proverbs which made a mockery of the seriousness of God’s impending judgment. God’s response to this, relayed through Ezekiel, was that the consequences of our sins are always nearer than we think.

Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 12:28

It was about six years after this prophecy that the Babylonians broke through the city walls of Jerusalem and brought disaster and destruction upon God’s people.

Do not wait for some mythically future “right time” to respond to the Holy Spirit’s invitation. When you are prompted by Him, move with urgency. Generally speaking, there are two things that keep people from confessing and forsaking their sin, and from calling upon the Lord for forgiveness. One is pride. (“What will people think of me?”) The other is procrastination. (“I’ll get right with God one day…”) When David returned to the cities of Israel, gloriously victorious in his wars against the Philistines, the women of Israel sang a song, comparing him to King Saul. They sang,

Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

I Samuel 18:7

If you are putting off the invitation to respond to God’s Word in your life today, my song to you is: “Pride hath slain his thousands, and procrastination his ten thousands.” Do not presume upon God’s grace a day longer. Call upon Jesus Christ this very moment.

plenty of time

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