“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,`These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; “and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place– unless you repent. — (Rev. 2:1-5)
“In times of the greatest degeneracy and apostasy God has always had, and will have, a remnant faithful to him, some that keep their integrity and do not go down the stream.” – Matthew Henry
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand,`Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: `for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; `I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they also will answer Him, saying,`Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ “Then He will answer them, saying,`Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matt. 25:41-46)
Meanwhile let the sinner continue sinning, and the unclean continue to be unclean; let the upright continue in his uprightness, and those who are holy continue to be holy. Look, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me, to repay everyone as their deeds deserve. (Rev. 22:11-12)
There’s something invaluable imbedded in these simple lines, uttered by Jesus to John as the Book of Revelation comes to a close. It’s a simple, remarkable, unfaltering, eternal truth: the leopard doesn’t change its spots and people don’t really change. People who love sinning will keep sinning regardless of what they say. People who are unholy will continue to be unholy no matter what they claim or how they say they’ve changed. Upright people will continue to be upright people and holy people will continue to be holy people no matter how much times change.
True, God can change hearts and lives. And does. But people, unaided, on their own, never change because they simply can’t. True change requires a new beginning; a new birth. And though they might try with all their might, the addict will remain an addict, the abuser will remain an abuser, the liar will remain a liar, the thief will remain a thief until the moment that they are born again. And then they will be changed.
Our society is being destroyed by drug addiction. And people are sent off to rehab and undergo a series of treatments and as soon as they return to their former haunts they return to their former behaviors. Programs don’t change people. Pleading families don’t change people. Crying mothers and weeping children don’t change people. God must do it, at the invitation of the person who wants to be changed. Redemption must be experienced. Not just desired, but actually experienced.
Jesus told Nicodemus- You MUST be born again. That’s still true, for addicts, alcoholics, abusers, liars, thieves and all the rest. You MUST be born again. That’s the message we must share. Everything else is a dead end and ends in death.
“It was just about this time that some people arrived and told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. At this he said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than any others, that this should have happened to them? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell, killing them all? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.'” (Lk. 13:1-5)
Join us for Sunday School and Worship tomorrow. Sunday School because we are all urged to ‘study to show ourselves approved workers, able to rightly interpret the Word of Truth’ and for worship because we are commanded not to ‘Forsake the assembly, as has become the habit of some’. And if you don’t attend here, attend somewhere. Deepen your Christian walk and set an example that your friends and family can emulate.
The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying, ‘Stand at the gate of the Temple of Yahweh and there proclaim this message. Say, “Listen to the word of Yahweh, all you of Judah who come in by these gates to worship Yahweh. Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: Amend your behaviour and your actions and I will let you stay in this place. Do not put your faith in delusive words, such as: This is Yahweh’s sanctuary, Yahweh’s sanctuary, Yahweh’s sanctuary!
But if you really amend your behaviour and your actions, if you really treat one another fairly, if you do not exploit the stranger, the orphan and the widow, if you do not shed innocent blood in this place and if you do not follow other gods, to your own ruin, then I shall let you stay in this place, in the country I gave for ever to your ancestors of old.
Look, you are putting your faith in delusive, worthless words! Steal, would you, murder, commit adultery, perjure yourselves, burn incense to Baal, follow other gods of whom you know nothing? – and then come and stand before me in this Temple that bears my name, saying: Now we are safe to go on doing all these loathsome things! Do you look on this Temple that bears my name as a den of bandits? I, at any rate, can see straight, Yahweh declares. “Now go to the place which used to be mine at Shiloh, where I once gave my name a home; see what I have done to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel!
And now, since you have done all these things, Yahweh declares, and refused to listen when I spoke so urgently, so persistently, or to answer when I called you, I shall treat this Temple that bears my name, and in which you put your heart, the place that I gave you and your ancestors, just as I treated Shiloh, and I shall drive you out of my sight, as I did all your kinsfolk, the whole race of Ephraim.”
‘You, for your part, must not intercede for this people, nor raise either plea or prayer on their behalf; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. (Jer. 7:1-16)
“There was also a man called Ananias. He and his wife, Sapphira, agreed to sell a property; but with his wife’s connivance he kept back part of the price and brought the rest and presented it to the apostles. Peter said, ‘Ananias, how can Satan have so possessed you that you should lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land? While you still owned the land, wasn’t it yours to keep, and after you had sold it wasn’t the money yours to do with as you liked? What put this scheme into your mind? You have been lying not to men, but to God.’ When he heard this Ananias fell down dead. And a great fear came upon everyone present. The younger men got up, wrapped up the body, carried it out and buried it. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had taken place. Peter challenged her, ‘Tell me, was this the price you sold the land for?’ ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘that was the price.’ Peter then said, ‘Why did you and your husband agree to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Listen! At the door are the footsteps of those who have buried your husband; they will carry you out, too.’ Instantly she dropped dead at his feet. When the young men came in they found she was dead, and they carried her out and buried her by the side of her husband. And a great fear came upon the whole church and on all who heard it.” (Acts 5:1-11)
This will surely he known as the Age of Credulity. Television advertisements can safely assume in viewers a fathomless credulity, compared with which the most outrageous superstitions and supernatural manifestations seem credible. Believing nothing results in believing anything. – Malcolm Muggeridge
“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (Ps. 116:15)
Where knowledge is wanting, zeal is not good; whoever goes too quickly stumbles. (Prov. 19:2)
The family and friends will meet at 1 at Fraker Funeral Home in Kingston on Tuesday and then proceed to the cemetery at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Ten Mile. The graveside service will be at 2.
Please remember the family of Kenny Rains. He passed away today. Remember his Church as well.
And as well as this, the Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness, for, when we do not know how to pray properly, then the Spirit personally makes our petitions for us in groans that cannot be put into words; and he who can see into all hearts knows what the Spirit means because the prayers that the Spirit makes for God’s holy people are always in accordance with the mind of God. (Rom. 8:26-27)
“In my estimation, all that we suffer in the present time is nothing in comparison with the glory which is destined to be disclosed for us, for the whole creation is waiting with eagerness for the children of God to be revealed.” (Rom. 8:18-19)
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