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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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  • Nov8Sun

    Sermon: “Servants of the Most High”

    November 8, 2020
                Well what a week it has been. If you have been watching the election in the United States, you are probably a little tired if you had expected a decision on November 3rd. Day after day the votes were counted. It took a few extra days but the presidential decision has been made by the people who voted and Joe Biden is now President Elect, the 46th President of the United States. Democracy has prevailed once again as the people have spoken in record numbers yet the United States is not united. The pandemic rages on and the effects of Donald Trump will continue. President Elect Joe Bidden and team will have their work cut out for them. This week continued to show Donald Trump for who he is with all his unsubstantiated accusations and lies. Suddenly the democrats have become all-powerful and are able to control the outcome of an election. As someone stated; if that is the case why didn’t they just prevent Trump from being elected in the first place? There are conspiracy theories everywhere but again, as with most conspiracy theories too many people would have to be involved to make it work. The odd part is these conspiracy theories of fraud only apply to the areas where he was loosing. It was simple. Trump wanted people to vote in person and many due to the pandemic voted by mail or early voting and the system took awhile to handle the massive numbers. When the numbers came in, the results changed drastically after Trump prematurely declared victory on Tuesday night.
                As I have said before, Canada where I live and the United States are not Christian countries. The United States does not trust in God nor can we expect decisions to be made that always line up with His church. The government is not the church but as we have seen this week, most are not impressed with prolific lying. Sadly by the popular vote, we also see many who don’t seem to care. Now as far as the church goes, the church must trust in God and always be truthful. As I shared last week, the church is no longer a beacon of truth as God has turned His face from us due to our disobedience. We have turned from God’s word and truth is nowhere to be found. Because God has turned His face from us, not only have we lost power, we have lost this key element of Christianity, the Spirit of Truth. John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” Many in the United States bought into the gospel of Trump while setting aside the true gospel and put everything they had into his re-election. Trump was their savior! He was going to usher in the rapture. It was interesting to hear them talk once they realized that Trump suddenly had a slim chance to be re-elected. I also found it hard to believe how many bought into the lies and conspiracy theories Trump was spreading. I won’t even go into the nonsense coming from the pulpits of those like Jack Hibbs and many others like him were saying. It was also interesting how faithful followers suddenly turned against Fox News. Jack Hibbs did say to his church as they cheered, “I am now officially on the record condemning Fox News, they are worthless, they are garbage,” but loves Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. How quickly they change. Other also got caught up in the conspiracy theories. Franklin Graham tweeted; “I ask that you continue to pray for our nation and this election. Many fear that some are trying to steal the election, so join me in praying that the will of God would be done. Pray that the enemies of God would be quieted and that all their plans would be put to nothing.” He also tweeted “Our country and our world have fallen into confusion and upheaval. Political turmoil and the pandemic have brought hopelessness to many millions of people. There is so much at stake. Most importantly, let’s continue to pray for God’s will to be done.” I do believe he thought God’s will was that Trump would be re-elected. He just described the United States under Trumps leadership and yes God’s will would be done even though after holding a 50000 plus prayer march (pro Trump Rally) in a pandemic is now quite disappointed in the results. President Trump pretended to be for the church (for votes), but as I said last week, scripture states otherwise as “Proverbs 6:16 “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” And now Trump’s time is done. We are told in Daniel 2:21 “He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.” Yes we live in democratic countries but God is still in charge. I thought it was interesting that although very quiet lately, John MacArthur tweeted, “Today is an election that will reflect the will of God for a few years on earth…” Earlier in the election he made this statement; “any real, true believer" of Christianity will be forced to vote for him (Trump) in November, due to the conflicting ideologies between the Democratic party's platform and a belief in Jesus Christ.” So now that Joe Biden is president elect, that means God did not vote for Trump.
                Throughout this pandemic and even during this election, God has shone a light on the church and it isn’t pretty. The church has been exposed. I am thoroughly amazed at how far the church is from the truth. As I have said, the lies of Trump pale in comparison to the lies of a minister that is supposed to be telling the truth about Jesus Christ. Last week I talked about the city of truth and how the church is to be representative of the light. John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” No government official can offer you that. 1 John 2:7 “Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.” Yet Peter describes the darkness reserved for the false prophet and their lies. These false prophets are leading you into darkness not light. 2 Peter 2:17 “These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.” Jeremiah 23:11 “Both prophet and priest are godless; even in my temple I find their wickedness,” declares the Lord. 12 “Therefore their path will become slippery; they will be banished to darkness and there they will fall. I will bring disaster on them in the year they are punished, declares the Lord.”
                Here are two examples of false prophets. The first is John MacArthur who stated this, “This past Sunday (Aug. 30,2020) John MacArthur, the senior pastor of Los Angeles’ Grace Community Church, made a startling statement. “There is no pandemic,” Like Trump they have ignored the rules and believe this pandemic is nothing but as of November 6, 2020 one report said, “The United States set a new record on Friday when it surpassed 125,000 daily coronavirus infections, while Covid-19 hospitalizations continued to climb, prompting health experts to issue dire predictions. Friday saw at least 125,596 new coronavirus cases -- the highest single day reporting since the pandemic began. It also marked the third straight day the country has surpassed 100,000 daily coronavirus cases. Besides the new case numbers, by Friday evening there had been at least 1,137 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.”
                The second is from the International Church of Las Vegas service in Nevada that President Trump attended October 18, 2020. During the service the minister’s wife gave President Trump a prophecy that said, "At 4:30 [this morning], the Lord said to me, 'I am going to give your president a second win.' "Now, this has three meanings: A win, you will be the president again. ... When an athlete is running a marathon, there's such a thing as a second wind. Where you come to a point where you have no energy .... and you feel like you have no strength. But all of a sudden, the lungs of this athlete have been trained at high altitudes, and because of that, the athlete is able to get so much energy, wins or at least finishes the marathon. "This is what the Lord's saying. He says He has made your lungs, your body, your spirit, your strength—He has made it in such a way that you have been trained in such high-pressured places in the last four years, and even before that. And the Lord said, 'He is ready for the next four years, and I'm giving him a second win.' ...And there's also this: a second wind. If you add 'd,' it's the Holy Spirit." But look at what Jeremiah said Jeremiah 6:13 “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. 14 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. 15 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them, says the Lord.”
                Yes the charismatics are always doing things like this but John MacArthur is the furthest thing from a charismatic but still a false prophet. The church is the light and if the church would be the city of light, the world would change. The government is not the church and the government does not operate with an agenda to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, as many in the United States seem to think. Therefore if the church was the city of light, God would be dwelling among us just as He said he would. His voice would be heard not satan’s. When God dwells among us again Matthew 24:14 “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” This is the hope we have for our faithfulness to God’s word. This is how the church was meant to be. Revelation 21:2 “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” Revelation 22:3 “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.” Jesus said he was the light of the world. Ephesians 2:19 “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” John 14:23 “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” We are the temple of God but we must serve Him. Romans 13:11 “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
                Many in the country now after knowing who the next president will be, are feeling that healing is coming. You could almost here a collective sigh of relief around the world. You got a sense of this during the speech by President Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President elect Kamala Harris. One writer stated, “The rhetoric was actually fairly standard for presidents, who traditionally try to heal the country and bring everyone together in a time of crisis. But it felt completely radical after four years of Trump.” This desire for hope is awesome for the country after the last four years of chaos but the bottom line is unless the church returns to God; no country has any hope for a future. As we have looked at the condition of the church, you may be tempted to think there is no hope unless you have not looked and compared the church with scripture and think everything is just fine. I trust if you have been following along over the years that you would pick up on the word remnant. Remnant and hope go together. This is our hope because if there was no remnant, we would be completely hopeless. This hope requires eyes that see and ears that hear because this does not presently exist in the church with all our division. If you have been watching the map of the United States this week, you saw a great divide of red and blue. This will be a monumental task for Biden but that is nothing compared to the division in the church. How is the church to lead a country to God if there is division in the church? If you put a picture of the church on Steve Kornacki’s touchscreen electoral map smart-board and let him show you all the division in the church across the country, it would make your head spin. Every church will tell you they believe in Jesus but every church does not believe His words and His available power. It really is hard to believe from man’s perspective that there could be one way, one truth and one life after growing up in the church and seeing all the differing beliefs. I live in a small town with lots of churches and many differing beliefs about the bible and there is a great divide and no gospel. Again that is not how it is supposed to be. The only way this can happen is to turn from our wicked ways.
                This is how it is supposed to be and the hope we have. Ezekiel 37:21 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God. 24 “‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’” We are not talking about going back to Israel restoring the Promised Land but taking the whole world since Jesus came. John 12:31 “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.” Revelation 11:15 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” Here you can see the division in these main branches of the church: Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism. From there take a look at the list of denominations and independents and all the differing beliefs associated with them. You will be kidding yourself if you think the church at the present time represents one way. It is also deception to think this is how it was meant to be. Paul sums it up in 1 Corinthians 11:17 “In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.” God said in Isaiah 1:12 “When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. 14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!” From there think about the opposite. Ephesians 4:3 “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Jesus said, John 17:20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” The only way to have one king (Jesus) and on Kingdom is to carefully follow God’s word and have God turn His face to us once again.
                Thankfully due to God’s great compassion for us we are not destroyed. He has always made a way but it is always the way of truth. He promised David there would always be a remnant. That did not mean the remnant could go their own way as the remnant found out when they went to Egypt against the words of Jeremiah. Jeremiah 42:15 “If you are determined to go to Egypt and you do go to settle there, 16 then the sword you fear will overtake you there, and the famine you dread will follow you into Egypt, and there you will die.” Mercifully God said in Isaiah 54:7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.” Why did He turn His face? Solomon answers that when he said in 1 Kings 8:25 “Now Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me faithfully as you have done.’ (The church has not been careful) 26 And now, God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David my father come true.” We must follow the word of the Lord and not turn away so this promise will once again come true. This passage is not talking about being faithful to a denominational distinctive but following the word of God wholeheartedly. If we do not turn away from our own ways, our enemies prevail against us as we have seen with the desolation of the church and as we saw with Israel and Judah. The church looks nothing like the church Jesus reigns over because there is no power yet most churches teach they are following every word. Like Trumps words, it is easy to see through them.
                Today there is a remnant in waiting. No, this is not the church that tells you they are the remnant, the one true church. The remnant are those who will rise up in the last days to restore the church in the power and authority of Jesus name before His final return to take us home. These are the last minutes of the last hour. 1 John 2:18 “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” Even so we have hope if the church would turn from their wicked ways but will the church listen? Jesus said Luke 18:8 “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Yet we have hope of restoration. Acts 16:16 “After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things— 18 things known from long ago.” Micah 2:12 “I will surely gather all of you, Jacob; I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel. I will bring them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people. 13 The One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their King will pass through before them, the Lord at their head.” These days have already been discussed and the church is loosing the battle for a time just as described. Daniel 7:21 “As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people (saints) of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.” Jesus told us Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” Daniel had seen this vision. Daniel 7:3 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” Daniel 7:18 “But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.”
                Jesus came to give us this kingdom. He said Matthew 3:2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near,” but the church decided to go their own way and rejected Him. They continue to trample and crucify Jesus over again by going their own way and ignoring and changing His words. Going our own way leads to powerlessness. We have no power to defeat our enemies yet the church continues to try all the while refusing to turn away. They think that gathering week to week is all they need to do. As you can see just from the few examples I gave, false prophets and teachers are everywhere as are doctrines of demons. Congregations everywhere are cheering them on thinking just as in Las Vega that God was speaking. We were warned as Matthew 24:4 “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.” Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Daniel told us that Daniel 7:25 “He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time. 26 “But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.” Daniel 8:23 “In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.” Daniel 9:27 “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”
                When you hear prophecy or words like the example I gave you, God is not giving those words to them. satan has set up in the temple but his days are numbered and Babylon has fallen. The church will rise again. If you listen closely you will see God at work. We are seeing this happen already. Isaiah 44:24 “This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself, 25 who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, 26 who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers.” Isaiah 16:4 “The oppressor will come to an end, and destruction will cease; the aggressor will vanish from the land. 5 In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it— one from the house of David—one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness.” Even though truth has been thrown down and trampled on, truth will always prevail. The church will once again rise up and be a place where God dwells once again. This means that we will once again have the power and authority given to the disciples so that we too will go out to the ends of the earth proclaiming the kingdom of God. God said Isaiah 46:9 I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. 10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ 11 From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do. 12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are now far from my righteousness. 13 I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.” Jeremiah 31:11 “For the Lord will deliver Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they. 12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion;” Isaiah 37:32 “For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” Isaiah 35:1 “The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. 3 Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” 5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. 7 The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. 8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. 9 No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
                These saints of the Most High will be a remnant of survivors who will rise up to carry out the work of the Lord. We too will be servants of the living God. We too will do as Jesus did in the power and authority of His name. Romans 1:1 “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.” Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Titus 1:1 “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness.” James 1:1 “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Revelation 7:3 “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Can you tell who a servant of God is? The enemy even recognizes a servant of God. Luke 8:28 “When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” Joshua 2:9 “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” Acts 16:17 “She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” Of course Paul shut that down but the enemy new. When Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den even the king recognized he was a servant of God. Daniel 6:20 “When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
                Today most have no idea who the servants of the living God are. Most do not realize that the true teachers have been hidden and continue to put their lives in the hands of false teachers. Again we have hope as Isaiah 30:20 “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.” Jeremiah 3:14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.” Once we become servants of the Most High again, we can then go out and do as Jesus did. Why because Jesus said so! John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” 1 John 3:8 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” We cannot continue in that work without power. Jesus told His disciples in Luke 24:46 “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.”
                So how do we return to this directive from Jesus? First we repent and then wait. If we want to go to the ends of the earth, we must repent so that the kingdom comes near and then be sent. To repent means we must die by turning from our wicked ways. To repent means to turn around. Most people in the church are going in the wrong direction but don’t know it. Jeremiah 7:24 “But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.” Here Jesus tell us what to do. Luke 24:25 “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” You cannot put anything or anyone before Jesus. Luke 9:57 “As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” As soon as you look backward you veer off course. Look what happens here. Matthew 4:18 “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.” There is no room for ourselves in our wholehearted commitment to God but the amazing part is that Jesus promised to bless us abundantly. Mark 10:28  “Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” 29 Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” You may be able to fool others but you can’t fool God with a lukewarm commitment. Jesus said he would rather you be cold than lukewarm. Revelation 3:15 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
                If we would die to ourselves, God would dwell in us once again. We will then become servants of the Most High. That means His words would be ours, His Spirit will be in us. His power would be ours, His authority would be ours, we would have divine power to demolish strongholds, heal the sick, cast out demons and raise the dead. Nothing would stand against us. Everywhere we step would be ours. The gates of hell would not prevail against us. The fruit and gifts of the Spirit would flow among us. Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” This is the church and just as Jesus empowered His disciples he will empower us also as His disciples. The bible is not just some old, old story. The bible is the living word of God. Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Are you His disciple? Do you have that power? Just because you go to church does not mean you have it. So what has changed? God said in Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” God has not changed, so that means what has changed is the church who has rebelled and truth was thrown down. Daniel 8:12 “Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.”
                So how do we get back to the beginning? This is something only God can do for us. What we do is submit to God. After we die, we are brought back to life. Here I am not talking about our final death and resurrection into eternity but taking up our cross as a servant of the Most High. Don’t wait to do this because you do not know when your final day is. Ezekiel 37:1 “The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. 11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’” It is after this passage that God talks about one nation under one king.
                If we are to be a vast army once again, we must have the Sprit of God upon us once again. If we are to be the servants / saints of the Most High and be empowered from on High, we must be his servants who are totally committed to the word of God. To do as Jesus did we must turn from our rebellion and truth will reign once again. Jeremiah 5, 23; Ezekiel 13; 2 Peter 2 all talk about what will happen to the false prophet. You do not want to be included with them. They will not get away with it. As I was preparing this sermon I could not help but think about the ministers who have President Trump’s ear. Just as Trump was looking out for himself, these ministers were also looking out for themselves. Not only did they lead Trump astray by letting him believe he was second to Jesus (his words) meaning the only person greater than him was Jesus, they have led anyone who listened to them astray. They have done such damage to Him. They allowed Trump to continue in his delusion. He may have an idea of what he thinks a Christian is yet they praise him when he should have been admonished. Lamentations 2:14 “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading.” Who knows maybe he will yet humble himself before God. These ministers themselves are part of the delusion God has brought on the church for their disobedience. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”
                Many American pastors have taken a stand against the wrong thing and it is not just American. In Aylmer Ontario there was an anti-mask rally led by a pastor from a controversial church there. He said, “Give us our God-given freedom so we can live again as we want to live,” said Church of God pastor Henry Hildebrandt.” “Since the start of the pandemic, Hildebrandt has been very vocal about the gathering limits put in place and spoke out at his most recent Sunday service about mask-wearing and the rise in cases.” He also said “As a Canadian citizen, I have a right to say, ‘My option is I don’t wear a mask,’ and I have the freedom to express it.” “Shut off the television, and there are no more cases,” he preached to a group of people both in and out of their cars in the Church of God parking lot on Saturday.” Even in Canada eh! (Definition - Pronounced “ay”. This word is the classic term used in everyday Canadian vernacular. Used to indicate that you don't understand something, can't believe something is true or if you want the person to respond.” Can you believe that leading epidemiologists didn’t know that if you simply shut the TV off, the pandemic would disappear? I believe his church (Church of God – Restoration) believe they are the only way and bearers of the truth and blowers of the trumpet. Not true by the way. Jeremiah 5:13 “The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them.” Many are standing against the health orders while praising President Trump or at least they were praising. As you saw sadly in this election there was a great divide; those who believe the pandemic and those who don’t. Those who don’t unfortunately are winning as the number of cases skyrocket. Many have made this pandemic about themselves but health orders are for the benefit of the people as lives are trying to be saved. As we have seen this virus doesn’t care who you are and if you go to church.
                At no time has the church been asked to stop preaching the gospel. They have simply been asked to stop gathering in large groups to control the spread of this virus. Yes I had to grapple with the church being called non-essential but at this point in time it is non-essential because there is no power. If the church actually had power and could say Acts 3:6 “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk,” it would be very easy to see that the church is essential but not just to gather. Acts 4:18 “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.” Remember they healed the man who could not walk. If the churches were being called to not preach the gospel; that is a different story. Here we see another example. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow and because they refused to bow, they were thrown into the furnace. Daniel 3:26 “Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.” Please note that there have been many servants of the Most High who have died and will die in Jesus name. Hebrews 11:35 “There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”
                God wants to use us as His servants. Servant means we do as God commands. Ecclesiastes 8:4 “Since a king’s word is supreme, who can say to him, “What are you doing?” 5 Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. 6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a person may be weighed down by misery.” If we are to be servants of the Most High, we cannot follow the ways of man but only the truth of God’s word by total submission. The demonic know who the Most High is yet most of the church does not know. Mary was told Luke 1:31 “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” John was sent out Luke 1:76 “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him.” We desperately need God to empower His church once again and send His servants into the harvest. 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.” 1 Kings 8:23 “Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.   Will you be a servant of the Most High? 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” Notice it is the fully committed God wants to strengthen. Are you willing to live and die for Jesus? Paul tells us in Romans 14:8 “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Because of God’s promise to David there is great hope still for the church. As we saw in Daniel the “holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.” “Until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people (saints) of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.” “The court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High.” The promise to David still continues. 2 Samuel 3:18 “For the Lord promised David, ‘By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.” Daniel 9:17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.” 2 Samuel 7:29 “Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.” 1 Kings 8:56 “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. 57 May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us nor forsake us. 58 May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands, decrees and laws he gave our ancestors. 59 And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day’s need, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. 61 And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.” Revelation 19:5 “Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both great and small!”
                I conclude with this prayer from Nehemiah. Nehemiah 1:3 “They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” 4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. 8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ 10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” Nehemiah 2:17 “Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work. 20 I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding.” Ezra 5:11 “This is the answer they gave us: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, one that a great king of Israel built and finished.”  Isaiah 58:12 “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”