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Rock Report by Pastor Paul

This is a blog that comes from my personal devotions each day. It will also include sermons as I have to delete them from the audio section of the website. This blog will also keep you up to date with what is happening at the Rock in Strathroy Ontario 

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  • Aug10Mon

    Part 2: “Power From Above”

    August 10, 2020
                I would like to add a little to yesterday’s sermon. If you are looking at what is going on with some churches in California you will realize that some churches are rebelling against authority. Yesterday I talked about John MacArthur leading the church in rebellion against the governments shut down orders. I want to stress again that these order were not to stop preaching in the name of Jesus. The orders were don’t meet in large groups to help stop the spread of the Covid-19. Leaders of some churches rebelled against these orders saying they submit only to Jesus and not to the governor of California, which really isn’t true as they submit to all the other rules and perks as I talked about yesterday. They are in rebellion to the government and have sought to justify themselves with arguments such as Covid-19 statistics and the moral decline of California and I am sure something to do with Democrats. This is where they have erred and have entered into rebellion with God. As John MacArthur himself preached on Romans 13, we are to submit to the government whether good or bad. Romans 13:1 “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” I wanted to add to yesterday’s sermon after hearing a preacher in California make it clear that the rebellion against the government is not from God. That is not what he meant but that is what he made clear. Yes on the surface these look like men of God, warriors fighting for the truth yet if you listen carefully you will see they are leading a rebellion against God and everyone who follows will be held accountable.
                In California there is a church called Godspeak Calvary Chapel. Their pastor Rob McCoy speaks to his church about the restraining order and citation they might get. He then jokes about the seriousness of it. He said with the citation you could loose your concealed carry permit and effect your application for things like the military etc. He said he would go to jail, loose his house and church if necessary. The battle he is fighting he can’t win. No I’m not talking about court cases but a battle with God. He then talks about the stats as they all do. Remember those stats are after the shutdown was in effect which drastically reduced the numbers especially when you see how fast this became a pandemic and spread around the world. If they had done nothing and the numbers were small that is a different story but that is not the case. He said the one thing they want to do is lift up the name of Christ, which means His words are lifted up. After lots of ramble he brings up Romans 13 and then promptly alters it’s meaning and sets it aside for the constitution and the first amendment above scripture. That is the part you really need to hear. No matter how he twists scripture they are still in rebellion. The United States is not a Christian nation nor is the church which is why we must turn from our wicked ways so that the power of God will be poured out from on high. Rebelling against the government is not how to do it.
                Jesus did not come to lead a rebellion like all the others. He did not come to join the Zealots and make them a success. They were described (The Zealots were an aggressive political party whose concern for the national and religious life of the Jewish people led them to despise even Jews who sought peace and conciliation with the Roman authorities.) What he did do was call disciples unto Himself. Matthew 10:2 “These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.” He even called a tax collector who would have been in direct opposition with the Zealot but notice who was in the upper room at Pentecost. Acts 1:12 “Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Obviously these men were not the same after Pentecost. They were now servants of the true King.
                Jesus was never about rebellion to government. Sure the Pharisees and Sadducees hated him and had him crucified according to God’s plan. John 19:8 “When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” It is interesting how back in Samuel’s day they wanted a king. 1 Samuel 8:6 “But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.” Today many in the church are still rejecting God and waiting for Jesus to be their king just like the Jews who wanted a king but refused the King of kings and would rather submit to the Romans and curse themselves than listen to Jesus. Matthew 27:24 “I (Pilate) am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” 25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children! 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.” Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” Luke 11:47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ 50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.” Now look back at Romans 13. “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”
                While this rant by this pastor and others appear Godly and many think it is, they are calling for the release of Barabbas over Jesus. Mark 15:6 “Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. 9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. 12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them. 13 “Crucify him!” they shouted. 14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.” Insurrection is a violent uprising against an authority or government. Barabbas was the leader of the uprisings not Jesus. He did not come to remove the Romans, but he did come to be the King who would rule over all. Even king Herod was worried about this king. Matthew 2:1 “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him. 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.” These pastors keep using the word draconian to describe the California governor; REALLY! There is no comparison at least in the US to the rule Jesus was born into.
                But Jesus was not born into politics. This is the error of the US church. Their religion they think is tied in to their politics yet their politics are not based on the bible. One person said, “Sitting in certain churches on Independence Day could leave one wondering if it is a worship service honoring the Christian God or the American flag.” You see this same thing during the election. Jesus did not come to be political, that is to get rid of the Roman rule, actually the Roman rule was used by God so church is not about politics but you would never know it as the politics of government and the politics of church governance is everywhere. You see churches vote for Trump as if he is a Christian. Whoever gets in office, God placed Him there for His own purposes. The people voted for the Governor of California so he is in charge whether you like or not. That goes for all of us. The elected officials are in place even if you did not vote for them. Recently many churches especially in California now say I don’t like what you are doing so I am going to rebel but that is not Jesus talking. You can’t say you have gone to far so now we will only submit to Jesus. They haven’t even come close to seeing to far. This is just a minor inconvenience compared to having every baby 2 and under killed.
                Scripture made it clear that there was a king coming. Isaiah 32:1 “See, a king will reign in righteousness.” Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” When this king finally came they rejected him. John 1:9 “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” But his coming was not a surprise. Luke 2:25 “there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
                Yet this did not mean Jesus would come and reign on David’s throne the way they thought he should. In fact the Jews did not believe that Jesus met the criteria to be the Messiah and they still don’t. But the Messiah was there and the Romans still reigned in power. Getting rid of the Romans of whom the people did not like was not the plan. The kingdom of God can function under any rule. Jesus infuriated the Jewish leaders so they used the power and horror of the Roman power to get rid of Jesus. But God used the Romans just a he used Egypt, Assyrians and Cyrus. Isaiah 52:14 “Just as there were many who were appalled at him - his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness. Isaiah 53:4 “Surely he took up our pain yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus did not rebel against the authority at the time even though he could have. He did not have to bow to Caesar but he did. John 18:36 “Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. (Notice it was the Jews not the Romans) But now my kingdom is from another place.” 37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” John 19:10 “Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” 12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. 15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. 16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.” Before this Jesus said at His betrayal. Mark 14:43 “Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. 44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled.” Paul also made it know he was not leading a rebellion. Acts 21:37 “As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the barracks, he asked the commander, “May I say something to you?” “Do you speak Greek?” he replied. 38 “Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the wilderness some time ago?” 39 Paul answered, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people.” While Paul knew what it was like to turn a city into an uproar, it was not because he was opposing the government, he was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in power. Acts 16:20 “They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” Acts 19:11 “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. 13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. 17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.” That would open some eyes!
                After Jesus rose from the dead he appeared to His disciples and Luke 24:45 “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Even after all of His teaching, His disciples still didn’t get it just as the churches who are rebelling don’t get it. Acts 1:3 “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Right in the middle of this amazing passage of power and being sent out they ask him Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel? The church still wants Jesus in a political office but are missing out on His kingdom. Jesus told them to wait and they waited and they went to the ends of the earth to proclaim the gospel because they were changed. A gospel mixed together with politics is not the gospel. The church that promotes rebellion against their elected officials is not the gospel. This is a distraction used by satan to keep the church from turning from their wicked ways and repenting so that power Jesus told His disciples to wait for will come again.
                These churches who are in rebellion want you to believe they are taking a stand for Jesus but the elected officials have not told them to renounce the name of Jesus, they have only said do worship differently for now. They want you to believe they are Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. What they are doing is totally different than Peter and John. Acts 4:16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name. 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 5:27 “The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” 29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” 33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” 40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.” Notice Peter said to the Sanhedrin you killed Jesus, not the Romans.
                All has not come to nothing as Jesus is King and reigns forever and ever. Revelation 19:6 “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!” If the church would focus on the true gospel and follow God’s word wholeheartedly we would see what the early church saw. The world would be astounded and turned upside down. As it is the church comes across as fools and God is mocked. During this pandemic the church was exposed as powerless around the world from Charismatic to Catholic, from Baptist to Reformed and everyone in between and the church still doesn't have power yet there is a stubborn refusal to repent and turn from wicked ways. They will fight to continue charging in the wrong direction. Jeremiah 7:23 “I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their ancestors.’ 27 “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer. 28 Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.” Jeremiah 8:7 “But my people do not know the requirements of the Lord. 8 “‘How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? 9 The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have? 6 I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.”
                Churches are everywhere but the true church of Jesus Christ is not. While there are buildings that look like churches and gatherings of people that look like the body of Christ they are not as there is no power. Isaiah 3:12 "My people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path." After Pentecost the church went out in power and turned the world upside down but then turned away to go their own way. Because of this satan has had his way with the church but not for long. Isaiah 14:3 “On the day the Lord gives you relief from your suffering and turmoil and from the harsh labor forced on you, 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended!”
     
     
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