Monday, May 23, 2016

Choose Life


February 15, 2015

Deuteronomy chapter 30, the part that I want to focus on is beginning of verse number 10 and the title of the sermon tonight is taken directly from this passage. The words, chose life, that's what God says down in verse 19, He says, "Chose Life." Starting in verse number 10, in the Bible reads, "If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it."

"See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them."

What I want to preach about tonight is the fact that God gives us a choice. There are people who don't believe this. They think that we have no choice and God's in control and some people are the elect and they're going to be saved, no matter what, this Calvinist type doctrine. Some people are chosen to be saved and other people are chosen to be damned. It’s all foreordained. Gods real clear in this passage, "I am giving you a choice." And He's evening making oaths and swearing to them. He's even saying, "I call heaven and earth to record this day." in verse 19, he says that, "I have set before you, life and death." Now if someone teaches that we don't have a choice, then this will be a lie. If God is saying, "Look, heaven and earth are witness. I swear to you that I am setting before you, life and death." And in reality it’s foreordain, who's going to live, who's going to die, then this will be a lie. But He says over and over again, "No, I've given you a choice. You can either live or you can die. You can be blessed or you can be curse." You say, "Well, you know, this really isn't a salvation passage because this is talking about earthly blessings and earthly cursing."

But here's the thing though, in the New Testament, the apostle Paul quotes back to this scripture and he relates it unto salvation, in Romans chapter 10. That shows that this same choice of life or death, not only does it apply to our physical lives and the blessings that we have on the land where we live, but also it has to do with eternal life or eternal damnation because he says in Romans chapter 10, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness by faith to all those that believe on it." And he said this, he said, "Don't say in your heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart ... " That's all a quote from this passage, if you were paying attention when we read.

Then He says, "Even the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." When it comes to salvation, there's a choice, life or death. When it comes to our lives, there's a choice, blessing or cursing, life or death and God lists all the blessing He'll give when we obey Him and all the cursing that we'll receive if we don't and He command us to choose life. He's saying look, "I'm setting both before you, but it’s not that I don't care which one you chose." It’s not like God just says, "Well I'm setting before you, life and death do what you want I don't care." No, he says, "I'm setting before you, life and death." Then He begs us, "Chose life." He pleads with us, He implores us to choose life.

Just like Jesus Christ when he was on this earth, he was constantly pleading with people to be saved. He stood up and said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me." You know as the scriptures have said, "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." He stood up and cried out and he begged people to be saved. It’s not that God doesn't care it’s not that God doesn't have a will, He does have a will. "He's not willing that any shall parish but that all should come to repentance." but gives us the choice.

Now let me just go to some other scriptures where God gives us a choice. This isn't just an isolated scripture. Go to Joshua chapter 24, here's another famous passage where God gives man a choice. He puts before them a couple of options. It says in Joshua chapter 24 verse 14, "Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." but He said it’s up to you "Choose you this day whom ye will serve ... as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." And the people answered and said, "God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods."

You know, on and on, throughout the Bible we can see choices that God gives to man. Look at first Chronicles chapter 21, another example, first Chronicles chapter 21, while your turning there, I'll just quote you from Proverbs 3 verse 31, where the Bible says, "Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways." God is saying, “Don't choose the way of the oppressor and don't be envious of him.” Look at first Chronicles 21, here's where God gives David a choice. David has sinned, David has done wrong, a punishment is coming and God lets David chose his punishment. It says in first Chronicles 21:10, "Go and tell David, saying, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things: choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee. So Gad came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Choose thee Either three years' famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee; or else three days the sword of the Lord, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. Now therefore advise thyself what word I shall bring again to him that sent me." God is giving David a choice here and when David makes that choice God acknowledges that choice and that's the punishment that He bring.

We are given choices today. It’s not that we have no determining in our outcome and whatever is going to happen is going to happen, no. He gives us options and says, "Chose." He wants us to choose what's right, but we have the option to choose either right or wrong and we're the ones who’s going to live with the consequences. Go to Proverbs chapter 1 and while your turning there I'll read for you a scripture from Isaiah 65 verse 12, where it reads, "Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter," and this is real similar to Proverbs 1, He says, "Because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not." What's the problem here? Why are these people suffering? Why are they being punished? Why the slaughter? Because He says, "I tried to reach out to you. I called out to you and you refused because you chose that wherein I delighted not. You made the wrong choice."

When we make wrong choices in our lives bad things are going to happen and it’s not Gods fault, it’s not that it was just Gods will for those bad things to happen. No, they're a result of the bad choices that we made. Look at Proverbs chapter 1 and verse number 24, "Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me." Just because I just randomly chose that these people are doomed, is that what He's saying? No, because in the next verse He says, "For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord." Why are these bad things happening? Because they made the wrong choice; not random, not foreordain but they made the wrong choice. "They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices."

Now it’s funny, I was at the a book store yesterday and I was looking through a bunch of books and I was looking for a picture and it was like a Christian book section or whatever in this book store of theology books and this book just kind of caught my eye and I was looking for something totally different, but this book caught my eye, it said, "Internal Contradictions in the Bible." It was this book, so I pulled out the book and it’s going to list off all the contradictions in the Bible. It says, "Oh man these fundamentalist, they try to say that the Bible is God’s word and it’s just so easy to prove the contradictions." I flipped through most of this entire book and every single one of these ... I mean there wasn't even one that I was like, "Oh man, that's challenging." I mean it was so dumb. It was just ridiculous.

Just to give you an example, the reason that I'm bringing up that book I was looking at, is because one of them is this passage they brought out as a contradiction in the Bible. They showed a verse that said, "They that seek me early, shall find me." Then they pointed to this verse where it says, in verse 28, "Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me." See the contradiction. But the fools are not reading this passage for what He's saying. They've already rejected Him, repeatedly and that's what they're missing the context. It’s easy just to pull a verse out of context and say, "Well this verse says, 'If they seek me early they'll find me.'" It’s talking about a totally different group of people, at a totally different stage of their lives, okay.

Then over here, it’s talking about people who He said "I called, they refused. I stretched out my hand, no man regarded it. They hated knowledge, they despised my reproof. That's why when they seek me early; they won't find me; because it’s too late for them." And so these supposed contradictions in the Bible are just people who don't understand. Think about it, if I handed you a book that you don't understand, yeah you’re probably going to find all kind of contradictions in it because you just don't understand the book. The Bible says, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." and the author of the book was clearly just an unsaved scoffer. That's what ... I which I can think of more examples that he brought out but that's the kind of stuff that was on like every page of this book as you flipped through it.

Because you hear people say, "The Bible is filled with contradictions." and you say show me one, and whenever they show you it, there's always a way to show that it’s actually not a contradict. I mean people just that have zero understanding of the Bible, "Well the Bible says, 'Thou shall not kill.' over here but then it tells them to kill an animal over here." It’s obviously, when He's says, "Thou shall not kill." He's talking about murder and it defines it as murder. Jesus quoted it as "Thou shall do no murder." Obviously He's not saying don't kill a plant. Don't cut down a tree because you've killed that plant, okay. Obviously, you've got to get the context of what he means there when He says, "Thou shall not kill." We're talking about killing an innocent human being. There are other places where He talks about executing criminals. It’s not a contradiction, it’s just they don't understand the laws of God because they are fools. To the fool, knowledge is over his head. It’s too high for him, he can't comprehend it. I just thought I'd point that out since I happen to be glancing at that book yesterday.

But if you would flip over to first Timothy chapter 2, because I want to say this, I showed you some scriptures just where Gods telling you choose, in regard to salvation and in regard to blessing and cursing on your life. Just even in regard to a punishment that David was going to receive, God tells man, choose and even swears that He's setting before us a choice. That there's life and death, there's good and evil, there's blessing and cursing. He'd be a liar if those choices didn't really exist. If He's making the choice and we have no choice, then He'd be lying. God can not lie.

Look what the Bible says in first Timothy 2 because I want to make this point, Gods will does not always happen. People have this attitude, just say, "Well if its Gods will it’s going to happen and if it’s not Gods will it’s not going to happen." Who's heard people say that before? Of course, people say it all the time. It’s not true; let me show you a perfect example, first Timothy 2:4 says this, about God, "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." Now let me ask you something, are all men save? Will all men come to the knowledge of the truth? Well then here's a perfect example of God will not happening. His will is that all men will be saved and that they will come into the knowledge of the truth. He's says, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all."

Again, the Calvinist say, "Hey, He didn't die for everybody." But here it says, "Gave himself a ransom for all." Elsewhere it says, "He tasted death for every man." Elsewhere it said, "He's the savior of all man, especially of those that believe." Elsewhere it talks about, "Even false prophets whose damnation slumbereth not." it says, "They denied the Lord that bought them." Why, because He died for all men, He's a ransom for all, but that doesn't mean that all men are going to be saved, Gods not willing that any should parish. Do men parish? Then there's another perfect example of Gods will not happening.

Think about the most famous prayer in the Bible, what's commonly referred to as "The Lord's Prayer" which is Jesus, giving a pattern unto his disciples of how to pray, "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Why would we pray for Gods will to be done if it’s automatically going to be done? What's the point? Just to do a vain repetition. Just an exercise of just "Thy will be done God." well I know it’s already going to, but I just like the way it make me feel when I say that. No, the point of saying, "Thy will be done God." Is because we want Gods will to be done and the Bible says, "if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." Well but if you were going to get it, you’re going to get ... No. You have to ask for it because He said, "You have not because you ask not." That proves that prayer is not just an exercise that we go through. He said, "You have not because you ask not; and you ask and receive not because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts."

When we ask for things in prayer, we are changing something because if we don't pray, we're not going to get anything. We will have not because we ask not and if we do not pray for Gods will to take place then Gods will may not take place in any give situation or scenario. But if we pray and seek God and ask that His will be done, He hears and answers prayer. It’s not just this thing of its all foreordained. Gods will is set in stone. Look it’s false and the Bible shows it to be false over and over again.

Here’s another really good example of this, go back to Esther chapter 4. While your turning there I'll read you another scripture along these same lines, Matthew 18:14 says, "Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish." so it’s not Gods will that one of the little ones parish, but do some of the little ones parish? Yeah they do because Gods will doesn't always happen. Gods will, you say, what is Gods will? Let me just demystify God will. Will simply means what you want, just to put it in just plain English. Gods will is what God wants. That's what it means If we talked about my will, we're talking about what I want, that's all. Does what God wants to happen, always happen? Well you know what, if Gods will always happens He wants some pretty weird stuff. Because look at all the weird stuff that's going on in the world. Why would God want all this weird, perverted stuff to go on? He doesn't want it.

In fact, He gets angry at stuff that happens. He looks down, sometimes and it grieves Him of what's happening and one time it even said, "Repenteth me that I've even made man upon the earth." because He doesn't want them to do what they're doing. He doesn't want us to go out and live a wicked life. He doesn't want people to be unsafe. He doesn't want poor innocent victims to be slaughter or injured or corrupted. This idea that Gods will always happens is just a doctrine of the ignorant and it does not jive with the teaching of scripture.

Esther 4:13, is a powerful example and I have to just give you a real brief background in order to help you just understand where we at in the story. But this is when Haman, the wicked Haman, wants to slaughter all of the Jews. This is back around the time that they've been scattered into all nations. They've gone into captivity of the Babylonians, the Medo-Persian Empire, so they're in places outside of the promise land and they're in captivity and Haman, who's the second in command of this great kingdom of 127 provinces. Basically the civilized world is under the kingdom of Ahasuerus and his right hand man is Haman. Haman wants people to bow down to him and do obeisance to him. The Jews, they don't want to bow down to man, they only want to bow before the Lord. That was back when they actually worship the Lord, before they rejected Jesus. They won't bow down, so Haman wants to kill all the Jews, he wants them wiped out.

Mordecai, he tells Esther, that he wants her to go to the king and to intercede for the Jews, that they would not be killed because Esther is the queen. She can go and talk to the king and hopefully make something happen to fix this, but she's afraid to do it because of the fact that she's not supposed to go into the king’s presence uninvited. She'd hadn't been invited in a month and she's not supposed to just waltz in there and start making demands. In fact, the penalty for going into the kings presences unannounced and just bursting in without an invite is death, unless he holds out the golden scepter to pardon. She's afraid and doesn't want to do it. Mordecai is rebuking her and saying, "Look you need to do this." Look what he says in verse 13, "Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews." Because at this point the king doesn't know that she's Jewish but he says, "Don't just think that you’re going to escape."

"For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" This is a very profound portion of scripture in these two verses, but a lot of people misunderstand this portion of the scripture and I've heard people abuse this portion of scripture and twist it to basically try to say this thing of, "Hey we're all expendable." You probably heard this taught, "We're all expendable and if you don't do it somebody else will do it." and that's what they'll take from this passage. It’s going to get done, no matter what it is, it’s going to get done, if you don't do it somebody else will do it, we're all expendable, if its Gods will brother it’s going to happen. How about this, well if it’s really Gods will for a certain person to hear the Gospel; they're going to hear it. I thought it was Gods will that every creature would hear the Gospel. I thought he commanded us to go do it. But they think that they can just sit back and it’s going to happen no matter and they'll point this passage, but that's actually not what this passage is teaching.

What we see in this passage, is that on the grand scheme of things Mordecai knows that the Jews are not going to be wiped out. How does he know that; because of the fact, that God made certain promises about the Lord, Jesus Christ, the Messiah coming from the tribe of Juda and coming from the Jews. They couldn't be wiped out back then because that hadn't happened yet. He also made that promise where he said that, "The scepter would not depart from Juda, until Shiloh come." Which is talking about the Messiah coming, okay? He said, "It’s not going to depart until Shiloh come." He talked about the fact that of the seed of David is going to come the Messiah, his name will be called the Might God, the Everlasting Father, the Government Shall be upon his shoulder. There are all these prophecies of what God is going to use the nation on Juda to bring forth, which will be Jesus Christ and be Christianity and that hadn't happened yet.

Obviously, God knows, I'm sorry Mordecai even knows that they're not going to be totally wiped out. That's why he says to her, if you look down at verse 14, "For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place." Right? Now, this shows us that there are certain aspects of Gods will that are set in stone and will happen no matter what, right? Like for example, God says, "Hey, Juda is going to continue being a nation." Look he even prophesied that after 70 years they're going to come home. When they come home they're going to be rebuild, they're going to be a nation again and the sons of David are going to sit on that thrown until Shiloh come, right? That's all predicted, that's all prophesied, no matter what happens, Gods will is going to take place in that sense, right? Because these big events that God has ordained have to happen, they will happen. God is not a liar and He will not break any promises and all of His prophesies will come true; none of His words will fall to the ground.

But look at what else He says though, He says, "But thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed." You see here, He's not saying, "Oh Gods will is going to happen no matter what and your actions won't change it one way or the other." because they will change it for her and the people around her; you see how that works. The big picture is going to happen no matter what, the Jews are going to survive because God was not through with them yet. Okay. By the way, He's through with them now, but anyway ... That's another sermon.

But anyway, back then He wasn't. He said it’s going to happen. This is where people get confused because they look at a verse like this and say, "Hey Gods will is going to happen no matter what." No, on a grand global level, yeah there are certain things that are Gods will that are going to happen no matter what. But the difference is how it’s going to affect you and the people around you. That's what's up for grabs and that's what you can change. Because you wonder, what can I change? What influence do I have? What are the choices I make matter? A lot of people will for example, look at end times prophesy, of the book of Revelation and when we look at it we pretty much see that certain things are going to happen. Look is there any way to stop there from being a one world government? Is there any way to stop the Antichrist from taking power and all nations worshiping him? Is there any way to stop all of these persecution that are going to take place? No, there's nothing you can do to change it. It’s set in stone, it’s been prophesied, but does that mean we're just helpless, we just sit back, we do nothing because "Whatever happens is going to happen." Sit back and enjoy the ride, even so, "Come Lord, Jesus." No, because it affects you and the people around you, how you live your life.

You see, "Broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." There's nothing you or I can do to change that is there? We can't go out and win so many souls that 51% of the people are saved. We're like, "It’s no longer the narrow way, it’s the broad way because we did so much soul winning that we actually tip the scale, now 51% of people in the world are saved." You and I know that's never going to happen. But does that mean, what's the use? No, because the point is this whole world by in large is going to hell in a hand basket, our area doesn't have to be that way. In our area we can make a difference, in our city we can get people saved, we can pull people out of the fire and we can make a difference for us and our loved ones. He said to Ether, "If you miss Gods calling, if you don't do Gods will for your life." he's saying, "On a grand scheme of things the Jews are still going to be saved, God will bring deliverance from another place, but" he says "Wait a minute, you and your father’s house will be destroyed."

Our actions affect us and they affect the people around us. They affect our spouse, our children, maybe even our parents and siblings, our friends our church members, they affect the people around us. It’s not just all foreordained, "Well you know some people are going to be saved and some people are going to be damned." No, the soul winning that you did today or earlier this week or that you’re going to do this week, that soul winning is changing people’s destination, it’s changing their eternal destination, from Hell to Heaven. It’s not just well those people would have got saved; God would have found another way. You know I wish it were that easy for God to just find a way to people to hear the Gospel clearly presented to them. Oh He'll just find another way, really? Because there aren't a lot of people going around doing it anymore; we need to do it and we need to encourage other churches to do it and we need to be on the front lines and we need to be right there in the battle because of the fact, that it’s not this thing of Gods will is going to happen, just this fatalistic, whatever will be, will be. No; on a grand scale, yes, but so what.

Who do you care the most about? Your family. Who do you care the most about? People that you actually know and see with your eyes, your friends, your loved ones. Let me tell you something, I care a lot more about this area than some area on the other side of the world that I've never even set foot in. I mean does anybody really here, I mean is anybody here actually think like "Well, you know what, people in this area being saved or damned is less important to me than people on the other side of the world." People on the other side of the world, is just kind of like I don't have any effect on that, can't really do anything about that. I'm the type of person, where something is out of my hands and out of my control and there's nothing I can do about, I don't sit around, "Oh man what are we going to do?" it’s our of my hands. But you know what; there are certain things that are in our hands. That's what we ought to get busy fixing and changing, okay.

Certain things we don't have the power to change. Honestly, I don't have the power to fix the White House. I can't do it. If I just woke up tomorrow morning and said, "You know what, I'm dedicating my life to getting a Godly man in the White House, every day, every hour, every minute, every second." I would fail, I cannot achieve success. I'm serious. But you know what I can't ... Therefore it’s a dumb thing to just "That's what I’m going to do." But certain things are just out of our hands. If I made a goal, I'm going to make sure that everybody in China hears the Gospel. That's not really realistic for me, living in Phoenix, Arizona. But you know what is realistic for me, saying, "You know what, I'm going to knock every door in my subdivision and make sure that they all hear the Gospel." In fact, I care more about the people in my subdivision because my mind affects my heart. I can say, "Hey, let knock every door in 10B. Let’s knock every door in the valley, in the Phoenix area." Hey maybe we can't knock doors in a small town in Nebraska, but you know what, we can do the small town zoning in Arizona and hit up all ... We can in the life time of our church knock every small town in Arizona, every door. At least we did our vineyard here.

Gods not going to hold us accountable for stuff we had no control over. "As every man purposeth in his heart, so give he." The Bible says, "If at first there be a willing heart, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not." Gods not going to judge us for not doing stuff that was completely out of our power and out of our control but there is so much that is within our control and within our power. It’s funny because we're training a lot of guys to someday pastor churches, God willing. We want to train more because "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few." and there are so many people that are scattered as sheep having no shepherd. Want to send out men of God to start churches in cities across American, today. But when people ask me, “Hey, where should I start a church? What do you think about this place? What do you think about that place?" Maybe I'm biased, but I'm always leaning towards places that are close, Texas, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Washington.

The East Coast, other side of the world, just isn't as near and dear to my heart and that's just a human feeling for me of just "Hey this is my area. That was my home town in Sacramento. Oh hey, California, that's right in our back yard as it were, in 2015." What I'm saying is, yeah, we're not going to get the whole world saved, folks. We're not going to get the Gospel to the whole world, but you know what we can do, we can get the Gospel to every person in the Phoenix area. That is possible in our life. That is humanly possible and you know it’s up to us, whether we do it or not.

What he's saying to Esther is "Your decision matters. You’re not expendable. Yes the great big thing is going to happen no matter what, but on a smaller scale you are holding in your hand, the fate of you and all of your relatives and the people around you. Other people are going to suffer if you don't do Gods will." Look at it again, with that in mind, verse 13 "Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

Go to second Kings, chapter 23, let me show you another example. Second Kings 23, is the story of King Josiah. King Josiah was a man who did a lot of great things for God. He did the right things and he inherited a country that was messed up and sinful and he fixed it. He did a lot to fix it. But here's the thing, there were somethings that were just out of his hands, he couldn't fix. Part of that was the fact that Manasseh, one of the previous kings, had shed a lot of innocent blood that God couldn't pardon, because all of these innocent people had been killed and there had to be a retribution upon the land. Because of that the destruction of Jerusalem and the carrying away captive of the Jews into Babylon, foreordain. It had to happen. No one could stop it. There was nothing that could be done, evert that catastrophe. But does that mean that Josiah should just sit back and not even try? No, let me show you what Josiah did accomplish.

Look down at you Bible in verse 1, "And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the Lord. And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant. And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel."

"And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven. And he brought out the grove from the house of the Lord, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people. And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the grove. And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beer–sheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man's left hand at the gate of the city."

"Nevertheless the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren. And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech." He closed down the abortion click there, where they were murdering their children. He said in verse number, what verse am I in? 11, "And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the Lord, by the chamber of Nathan–melech the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire. And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord, did the king beat down, and brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron."

"And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile. And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men. Moreover the altar that was at Beth–el, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove. And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the Lord which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words. Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Bethel."

"And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria. And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the Lord to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Bethel. And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars, and burned men's bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem. And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the Lord your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant. Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah; But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the Lord in Jerusalem."

"Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord. And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him." Now look has this guy done a lot? I mean this guy is destroying idolatry, destroying false religion, destroying ... Not even satisfied to do it in Juda. He crosses the border and goes into Israel and goes into Samaria and destroys altars that have been worshiped there for centuries, worshiping false gods and devils. He's getting rid of the queers; he's getting rid of the wizards and sorcerers.

I mean he's cleaning house and not only that, he gets Gods people to keep the Passover, follow the Bible, follow the law, make a covenant, let’s be Gods people! I love the Lord with all my soul, with all my heart, with all my might and he says "Hey, there is none like unto him before him or after him." I mean, did this guy nail it or what? I mean, this guy just takes over and he just does it right. This guy is an amazing king, King Josiah!

But look what the Bible says in verse 26, there's just certain things that we just can't fix. Certain things you can't change, doesn't matter how good you are and Josiah is one of the greatest men. "Notwithstanding ... " "Notwithstanding, what?" The last 25 verses that we just read, all of that; "Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath," did any of this fixed things, no. He said, "Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal. And the Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there. Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?"

What do we see here? Did he evert God’s wrath? Did he stop Juda from going captive? No because that's just out of his control. But he did the best he could. In fact he did an amazing job. In fact he did a better job and then any of the other kings. What did he accomplish? You know what he accomplished, none of those bad things happened in his life time. Think about that. Look God was going to destroy Jerusalem, no matter what; Gods going to take them captive in Babylon no matter what. He said, "I will not turn away the fierceness of my wrath." What about the prophesies? He said, "Look, if Daniel, Elijah and Job, stood before me and prayed for these people, I’m not turning away the fierceness of my wrath." Wait a minute, what did he accomplish? You know what he did, he turned the nation back to God in his lifetime, in his area and many people were saved, many people are in heaven because of the great works that Josiah did. Many people were saved, many people are in heaven and the nation was spared judgement temporarily. Because what you'll see a lot time when God is just dead set on destroying a group, if people will turn unto the Lord and seek Him and do right. A lot times He'll postpone.

Go to the last place we'll turn tonight, Daniel 4, He'll postpone that. What He did was, He let them thrive and succeed and prosper and for the Lord to be worshiped and people to be saved and Gods word to be proclaimed even in the northern kingdom and all these great things happened but there's still an aspect of it that can't be changed. But the mistake we make is when we think, "Oh nothing can be changed. It’s all foreordained." No, there are certain big events that are set in stone that won't change, but then there are others things that can ... For example, wasn't it already known by God; God already knew and God already stated and God already predicted. He said, "The son of man must be rejected by this generation." I mean, wasn't it ordained that Jesus would be rejected by the Jews and crucified by them.

Now a lot of people with really weird doctrines, such as John Hagee, who believes that Jews who reject Christ, are still saved, because they're Jews; even though the Bible says, "And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. Now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down." I don't care if that tree says it’s of Abraham, it’s going to be "Hewn down and cast into the fire." Speaking of stones, being children of Abraham ... By the way, some rabbi or something, is just a much a child of Abraham as a rock. You can point to a rock and say, "This is a child of Abraham." Because I mean, God is able just as much as there ... He can make that stone a child of Abraham, as much as that guy is a child of Abraham. But here’s the thing about the stones, remember this there was a prophesy where Jesus would have that triumphal entry into Jerusalem and He said that, "If these people would hold their peace the stone would cry out."

There are certain things that have to happen. Sort of like, "Hey if you don't speak up Esther, God will bring deliverance from another place. Hey, if you don't praise Jesus, the stones will cry out." because its foreordain, it has to happen. But then there are other things that we can control. See yeah, the Jews are going to reject Christ and crucify him but wait a minute, what about on an individual level? Are you as a Jew living at the time of Christ, just say, "We're going to reject him. I guess, you know, I'm just going to not be saved." That wouldn't make any sense because the Bible says, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." Look all the Jews didn't reject Christ, did they? In fact there were a lot of Jews who got saved when Jesus came and preached. Now the majority rejected him, but all of them got saved.

Here’s the thing, it’s still up to the individual to decide, which side of this equation they're going to be on. Are the Jews going to reject Jesus Christ, yes. But there's a remnant that's going to be saved. There's a remnant that was going to believe on Jesus. It’s still up to the individual to choose life or death. If you’re living at the time of Christ and you’re in Juda, you have the choice to believe on Jesus and be part of that believing remnant or to reject Christ and be part of the majority of Jews that are going to be cast off by God. But it’s up to the individual, there's a choice that you can make. But I was talking about the fact that God will sometimes delay judgement. Even if it’s for sure it’s going to happen, He'll sometimes postpone it because of righteous acts.

Look at Daniel 4:24, "This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king: That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule."

We see an ordain judgement that God says is going to happen. But look at verse 27, "Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility." He's saying judgment is coming but you can hold off that judgement by doing right. Think about this, we live in America today, America is doomed. I've no doubt about that. I can stand up here and tell you, you say, "Oh you’re un-American." Look, you’re doomed. America you are doomed! There's nothing you can do to fix it! But let me tell you something, that doesn't mean that we're wasting our time winning souls and preaching the Bible and trying to turn Gods people back to Him in this country, you know why? Because we can be like a Josiah that basically promotes righteous and we can basically delay the judgement and delay God’s wrath until after we're gone.

I mean, look, just because America is doomed, I don't want it to happen when I'm here. You know what I mean. But not only that and you say, "Well I don't even know if we're going to postpone it." Think about this though, what about the fact that even if the country is doomed, we can be spared because not everybody in America is doomed. America in general is doomed, you say, "Why do you say that pastor?" and I just say, "Why do you just think America is doomed and there's nothing we do? Because of abortion." Abortion is enough. We don't need to talk about anything else, just abortion, end of story. Because the fact the Bible says, "That innocent blood cannot be cleansed, except by shedding the blood of those who shed it." That's never going to happen, therefore Gods going to pour out his wrath. Why was Manasseh under God’s wrath and why did after all those wonderful years with Josiah, God still pour out his wrath because the innocent blood that Manasseh shed. What we see today in America is just a mass ... We can bring up lots of other examples of why American is doomed, but just that one is enough for tonight. Just abortion is enough.

You can't just slaughter 3,000 babies every day and God just not going to judge; God just not going to punish. It’s just not going to happen friend. I can be Joel Osteen up here and just tell you, "Oh God just loves you anyway go and kid your kid and you know what, your still going to be blessed. God is not mad at you." As Joyce Meyer's book is called, "God Is Not Mad at You. No matter who you are, no matter what you done." One of the rabbi's that we talk to, he said, "A lot of people say 'That if you don't obey the commandments you’re going to live a bad life.' I don't believe that." He said not only does he believe God won't punish people in hell he said that God won't even punish people on this earth. Gods just up there, he's just ... Whether you've been naughty or nice, you get your presents on Christmas morning with God. They just want you to think, you know what, God is just up there and He's just like "Oh you know, whatever; just bless them; whatever, so what if they murder their children; so what." That's ridiculous. That's not the God of the Bible. You haven't read the Bible ... If you think God is like that you've never read this book.

In this book, God is getting angry, He's burning people up and He's just ranting and raving about them killing innocent people and innocent blood. He specifically brings up the children. Infants, He talks about their babies being offered to these false gods. He over and over again brings up Molech and the valley of the son of Hinnom and Topheth and these places, even in the passage that we read. That right there is enough to say, "Our country is doomed and damned and there's nothing that we can do about it." But look, I’m not just up here to give you a hopeless message because it’s not a hopeless message. Look even in Sodom, God brought Lot out. My prayer is not for America to be spared because I would be wasting my time and my breath. Because if we ask anything according to his will, He hears us.

It’s not Gods will to spare America because America must be punished. But you know what I constantly pray and you know what I wish you would pray to as Gods people, we should pray, here's what I pray, "God, don't destroy the righteous with the wicked." That's what I pray. I pray that all ... I say, "You know what God, spare your people, Lord; when you punish our nation Lord, spare me, spare my family, spare the members of Faithful Baptist Church and spare your faithful servants all across America that we don't even know Lord. Don't destroy the righteous with the wicked." That's what Abraham prayed, he said, "Don't destroy that righteous with the wicked." What did God do? Even though Abraham's prayer was a little misguided, the Holy Spirit will translate our prayer often into something that makes sense. What did God do? Instead of sparing the city, He pulled out Lot. He delivered Lot. You think of Jeremiah, "Judah is doomed." He preached "Judah is doomed. There is nothing that we can do. We're going to be destroyed." But what did God do for Jeremiah? Spared him, protected him, he made it out alive, he made it out just fine.

God spared a lot of people, that were in a lot of danger in the Bible and He can spare you too and He can spare us. He can keep us safe. The Bible talks about that we should pray that He would spare us and pray that He will keep us safe and deliver us. Look at all the prayers and Psalms, praying for deliverance and safety and being spared. This idea that what we do doesn't matter of Calvinism, is a foolish doctrine that says, "Oh it’s foreordained and what will be, will be, and blah, blah, blah." It doesn't even make sense and its calling God a liar when He said, "I'm setting before you two choices, choose life."

Can we change the whole course of the world and the whole course of Bible prophecy and Gods going to be like, "Oh man, I'm going to have to rethink the whole book of Revelation." No, it’s not going to change, it’s going to happen. But you know what, we can make a huge difference and we can make a big change in our own life and in our family and in our area. That enough for me, I'm satisfied with that. I’m satisfied to go through my life, win a bunch of people to Christ, teach as many people as I can the Bible ... Look I'm not saying I’m against foreign missions, I want to reach foreigners too. That's why I try to preach stuff and translate stuff into other languages and put it on the internet and kind of use that tool to at least try to reach some people. Or if we can find a complex where there's a bunch of African's, we went there with Swahili Bibles and talk to them about the Gospel. Look we want to reach everybody we can, but I’m just happy if I can just go through my life and just win souls, the people that I can win.

I can't learn every language in the world. It’s not humanly possible, right? But I can learn Spanish. I can learn German. I can learn Hungarian. I can learn a few languages, right? That I can use to at least do some missions and reach some people. I can't make sure that every door in America gets knocked, but you know what I can do though, I can make sure that every door in Phoenix gets knocked. That's realistic for our church. We're not going to be able to start a church in every city in the world, but we can start a church in most major cities of America, in our life time, if we work at it, right? Don't worry about what you can't do. Don't sit around worrying about what you can't change and what you can't fix, worry about what you can. That will keep you busy for the rest of your life because there's plenty that we can do and our lives are not in vain.

When you wake up tomorrow morning, the decisions you make, tomorrow morning will affect you and the people around you. They might not affect the price of tea in China; they might not affect the White House, what you do tomorrow. But you know what it will affect, you. You know what else it will affect, our church. You know what else it will affect, your friends and family and your neighborhood. Don't those people matter to you? It’s kind of hard for me to worry about 8 billion people, just kind of too much for me to handle. That's why I’m just going to worry about the people that God brings across my path in the city where God has placed me and that's enough.

What you do matters. First of all if you’re not saved, choose life. It’s up to you. Don't just say well ... How many times have been soul winning? Raise your had if you've been out soul winning and had somebody tell you, when you ask them "Do you know for sure if you die today you'll go up to heaven?" "It’s up to God. Oh that's up to God. That's up to Him." You know what it’s a lie, it’s up to you. Its not up to Him, He already made the decision, when He sent Jesus to die for you. He already made the decision, when He loved you and sent His only begotten son into the world that you might live through Him. Now the balls in your court and you need to choose life. Okay you’re already saved; you have a choice, blessing or curse. You want to like under God’s blessing or you want to be cursed. Choose the blessing, okay. Then also when it comes to your neighbors, your friends, your loved ones and our city, choose life for them, by going and warning them and "Pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." There's a lot that we can change. Let’s bow our heads and have a word of prayer.

Father, thank you so much Lord for giving us a choice. Thank you for not making us robots. Lord I think these Calvinist have just reduced you to the level of a human being because we as human beings all we can make are robots and their not even that good as robots. But Lord you’re such an amazing creator because you can actually create a being that has free will, which we can't create a computer that has free will. But you've created us Lord in your image with the ability to choose. Adam and Eve you told them to choose and Lord please help us to realize that we have the power to choose and that the choices that we make matter. They may not affect the entire world, but they definitely affect us and the people around us. Lord help us to make the right decisions and in Jesus name we pray, Amen.



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