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September 3, 2019 1:00 am
There is a classic Christian book that was written in the middle of the 1600s and it's really a children's book and is translated in many languages. I know I read it when I was 12 years old. The book is called Pilgrim's progress in the author, John Bunyan, who lived between 1628 and 1688, was thrown into prison for preaching without a license in England in prison.
He wrote this book as a Christian pilgrim progressing through life heading for heaven's ultimate destination throughout the journey he encounters all sorts of challenges just as we do. As Christian pilgrims or temptations, difficulties, and yes, thank God the sum places of rest in one place pilgrims find himself in the place called Vanity Fair.
The book makes it clear the three distinctions about the pilgrims. The first distinction is there close the closer different from the people who were living in Vanity Fair.
There were looked upon as we for the close there wearing when explained that in the minute.
Secondly, there are very few people could understand the language that the pilgrims were speaking because they were speaking the language of Canaan while the other people are speaking the local language and family.
They have value difference had difficulty understanding and comprehending their values because it's so different from the values of Vanity Fair. The people of Vanity Fair could not understand their values.
Why did not. They share their views. Why did they have to come with something so unique something different. Why can't they just get along to get along. The close, at least in the mind of the author is that robe of righteousness of Jesus Christ that he imputes upon the believers. That is something that makes the unrighteous angry and the language they speak is the language of God. What concerns God what's up near and dear to the heart of God rather than this world perspective and the thirdly the values different because the world allurement has lost its appeal to them all that this would be the pilgrims of the 21st century Christians. What is a pilgrim. I think that's an important thing because the Bible refers to Abraham as a pilgrim so you have to ask the question what is a pilgrim is not just a person who leaves home and wander around aimlessly. That's a drifter but is a person who leaves home heading for another home at pilgrim has a vision to accomplish a pilgrim has a goal in mind to reach a pilgrim has a destination that he's aiming at.
To arrive at a pilgrim has at the termination to reach his destination regardless of the difficulties, and regardless of the suffering regardless of the pain and because of this vision.
Because of this goal and because of this determination, he or she holds everything else in life with open hands now beloved in this period of history. At this moment of time. God is looking for true pilgrims in the midst of this Vanity Fair world. Regardless of your age without you, young or old, and regardless of your station in life. I believe the Lord is looking for programs and that's precisely what God wants us to learn from the life of this pilgrim man Abraham is precisely what God wants us to learn in this series of messages.
I'm calling it counting stars when you can see none look with me please a Genesis 12 five looked at the first four versus the promise of God, the covenant of God and he will look at verse five it says when Abraham (he accumulated a great deal of wealth with the Bible does not waste words literature that is not waste a single word see at this time Abraham was 75 years old that is considered middle-age for 11 375 easy to Abraham his wealth that he accumulated in her land did not stop him from being a genuine disciple of Jesus Christ.
I have been privileged and mark the 45 years in ministry of meeting people knowing people who have been blessed of God and yet they never made an idol of that blessing. They used it as a servant and a slave to serve the living God with now.
I wanted to go to the book of acts in the New Testament, chapter 7 because I'm gonna show you something very significant in relationship to this harangue destination. Stephen the very first Christian martyr. The first Christians to be killed for Jesus Christ. He was stoned to death before they killed him. He stands before the Sanhedrin, Jesus stood before the Sanhedrin. Paul stood before the Sioux Peter and John stood before this and this is the supreme Council.
This is the Supreme Court of the Jews. They decided to give a speech that is to walk these religious leaders through the history of the nation, but specifically pointing to the hand of God working despite of them and this is there something that they saw as an insult. Who is this young deacon who is telling us about our history. We know the history, but he does not deliberately and saw in chapter 7 of the book of acts verse three he said in the beginning God called Abraham. God told him to leave them your country and your people God said to the land which I'll show you. Verse four. And so he left the land of the Chaldeans, and he settled in harangue, listen to me harangue is that land of Vanity Fair where the temptations of alluring enticement has taken place. Look to the rest of the verse and when I come back to that after the death of his father. Now that saying volumes October the Bible does not waste words after the death of his father, God sent him to the land where we are now living here standing there in Jerusalem in front of the Sanhedrin speaking. Now I want to give you a Middle Eastern perspective on this.
Are you listening to me what I'm going to tell you is not in the Bible.
I don't want anybody go home and start looking for this and can't find it in this environment I can find it in the Bible. It is not in the Bible. It's a useless thing after God told Abraham wanted to leave your old life behind the leave the out of Cadiz and go to land where I'm gonna show you a good Middle Eastern guy that he was. He basically pulled a flap of the tent of his father, Tara, and he said I'm leaving you I'm going to go somewhere I don't know exactly where but God called it Canaan and he is going to show me where to go.
I'm gonna leave this hometown I'm going away from my past and I'm going to a new land just like I told you is the life of every believer in Jesus Christ. God calls us from the life of sin with which we were born calls us from the old life before Christ free Christ into life with Christ. I don't know the slanders but I'm going up on hearing this news.
All Tara freaks out what you gonna leave your parole father here you deserting your old man as being good dear was going to take care of me a mild range I'm in your brother Nahor is such a scatterbrained he can't even take care of his son locked and you going where what does God say to you, the account stars. You don't even have any children, Robert in your going nowhere fast without me.
Parents of other children just have a word with you very simple word cut the apron strings is possessiveness of the life of your other children is not healthy for them to be sure. You should never stop loving them should never stop serving them should never stop helping them.
You should set the never never never stop praying for them, but they are called by God to leave and cleave and remember ones here see one of the reasons God called his future friend Abraham to leave the over-leave her and get out, get away from home.
He wants to get him out of idol worship was to get them from that environment you want to get him away from bad companions. He want to take him away from the old life to the new one. Now I have a word to believing children who have nonbelieving parents. You must always love your parents always respect your parents always honor your parents. Above all, you must never, never, never, never stop praying for your parents that they are not believers of the believers respect them, but always do what God calls you to and silent comes back from work and he sees his dad had all the bags packed. Father what you knowing where you going with you course you go without me. Did you think I'm better let you leave me here. I'm going with you now. I want to show you something here in the Scripture go up one chapter 11 Genesis 11 just a few verses up, verse 31, just a reminder, probably diverse. One reminder, God called whom to go. Good, now you can look at the verse 31 Tara took his son, Abraham will wait a minute, God called a miracle. Tara going to go without it. He takes his son, Abraham, listen, if you can see the funny side of this. You don't have a sense of humor.
I'm telling God because I remember the father says he took Abraham and then he think about grandsons, Abraham's nephew Lot and Abraham's wife Sarah.
Together they said from the earth Chaldeans to go to Canaan domestics… But when they got the harangue. They settled their one). When God said that the pilgrims destination is Canaan Y. However, I'm glad you asked was I really been anxious to tell me chomping at the bit's until you have ran is the city where the great Temple of the moon God is placed and pagan Tara saw the temple of the moon in harangue and he says thought that he died and went to heaven actually loved the moon God so much and he named one of his three sons harangue.
I mean look this is like 10 Las Vegas is put together harangue to the moon worshiper would be like Mecca to the Muslims over Salt Lake City to the Mormons and it is the place of all places. Again, let me give you a Middle Eastern perspective. Abraham's father. Tara got to this Las Vegas kind of thing in his never have my boy, I am glad I can with you. Forget about Canaan.
Let's stay here and take some night shows summit bets have experienced some nightlife on the horizon is a place of fun for the pagans only know this is great, but God sent all one place as good as the other is better than Canaan. Canaan probably is going to be boring. This is where the findings but God called me to leave their coherence and go to Canaan. I told him the last message. There are so many Christian believers who start their Christian life.
Well they get saved and become joyful and have the board. The Bible called the joy of salvation and they're excited about their faith and then their walk for a little while and then they come to what I called the land of compromise, will they begin to marry materialism to the Christian faith will they begin to put the old life with the new life and then they start rationalizing it well you know the grace of God will take care of it. Basically giving themselves a license to compromise and there they sit love it if you are in harangue right now. Get out while the getting out is possible turned to the grace of God. While it's can be found Christian believers. Please listen to me.
All of us.
Your pastor is included all of us tried to settle something that falls way way way short of God's perfect plan for us.
I know the experience at least to her friends in my life. Why do you think I get emotional when I talk about the grace of God because he took me out of my horizons before was too late.
Wonder how many of us have come to a certain point in your Christian life's journey, and on this with God and you said that's enough. I have come so far, but no more.
I have given so much, but no more. I have done so much, but no more. I've served so much but no more today.
I implore you in the name of Jesus get out of harangue while you can say to the Lord Balaam's hurry. I wonder to what I'm sorry I got the harangue and stayed there.
Lord I know you wanted to take me to a greater height of serving you. You wanted to take me to a greater height of loving you want to take me to a greater height of sacrificing for you.
You want to take me to a greater height of glorifying your name you want the technical greater height for my prayer life and I'm sorry I got stuck in harangue. I know without a shadow of doubt from the word of God that this is a prayer that God will rejoice over and he will empower you to do. I know God loves when his people begin to move out of their comfort zone.
God loves it when his people begin to implicitly trust him with all of the heart.
God loves it when we get off our blessed assurance and do something great for car God loves it when you would begin to invest your all in his kingdom. God loves it when you begin to invest your life and the lives of others on his behalf, and I believe with all my heart. If there's a lesson that God wants to teach us. It is this counting the stars when you can see none is going to get you back in the right track. Get back to be restored in your vision for God. God wants you to learn not to settle in harangue get out while the getting out as possible. The me ask you, you stuck in harangue whatever you have and may be in this different from one to the other.
Are you reluctant to take the first step and move out of your harangue right now.
Have you allowed your life to be so cool about with all kinds of junk that you do not want to leave behind in your cleaning into it.
Remember this, whether personal or corporate survival will not come to us, just because we wanted revival not come just because we waiting for it. Revival will come when each individual can't talk about each individual believer move out of the horizon and build an altar in Bethel is building an altar back then as a symbol of renewing of your vision. The vision of God for your life and that's exactly what Abraham did when he got out he started by building an altar there and start counting the stars even when you see none and renew your vision and God's vision that he has for you. The late David Wilkerson of New York is to say something that really right on the money. He's he said there are too many people today who are having emotional experiences on the call at the revival revival will not come as truly people run away from sin build an altar for God and Beth Abraham learned the hard way that personal revival will not be found in part time obedience personal revival will not come when there is partial obedience. The secret is not in the place, but in the place of obedience when recovered. God calls us to go the place of holiness. Are you haven't heard that word very much all in this heard tolerance. I know this, and yet the Bible said without no one sees God the place of holiness begins by separate self-examination, pointing finger at somebody else and forget me examination to find out all of the things in us that are displeasing the Lord and get rid of it. There are so many people. They just love to quote second Chronicles 7 if my people, humble themselves and pray and repent and seek my friend, is why I cringe. First of all, this is not for the New Testament.
It is not for the blood brought children of the living God in the New Testament.
This was a promise to the land of Israel. It's a promise to people who are worshiping the temple offering animal sacrifices, but is more than that most people in their practice. Rather pointing the finger at the sins of others. Instead of repenting of their own sin, said parties of the bad people may think God cares about his children, not the devil's children. He can take care of them and he will make no mistake about what he called us to repent individually until we come clean with God as individual believers our own disobedience.
Her own stubbornness are on wanting to stay in the place of our own choosing and wanting our comfort and watering our reason and wanting our conveniences and what we like and what we don't like.
Until we complete with God until we do that we still in harangue with all of its mark and we will never make an impact on our culture. I pray to God that this will be a day over and you will of turning from our individual harangue into the Canaan of God. I want to tell you this, as I conclude my dear friend Dr. J. Edward nor the late Jerry Edwin or if you find any book by Jaden or just get it read it you will be blessed. I sure you. I'm so grateful to God that in the 70s. I had the joy of sitting at his feet.
He was considered to be the mother foremost authority on the history of Christianity in America particular the history of awakening in revivals and in the condition of the church is the source of any book you find by Jerry Edwin Norton in 1990. He wrote an article and he was talking about true revival. He said that before the war of independence. The morals and the spiritual condition of the nation was in a tailspin alcoholism become rampant crime was faster than the increase. Churches went on the decline. So much so that John Marshall, the Chief Justice of the United States at that time, wrote the following. He said the church was too far gone to be revived, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but God raised up a man by the name of Jonathan Edwards. He was without a doubt, probably the poorest communicator of his day. He had such poor eyesight that he read his sermons Word for Word and he had to put his notes are closed his eyes, we can see but you see God specializes in that he doesn't specialize in using slick Willie. There he uses unlikely people.
Jonathan Edward was influenced by godless Scottish minister who wrote the book wanted to fasten your seatbelt just for the title of the book by Jennifer what the book in his title and humble attempt to promote explicit agreement and visible union of God's people and extraordinary prayer for the revival of religion and the advancement of Christ's kingdom on earth. That's just the title with that book ignited what is known back then as a concert of prayer. This was a network of prayer meetings across the country and as they say, the rest is history and God send awakening luck is never done since the dense couple of times but not like that. I continue categorically the change will happen will happen when God's people, not the outside world. When God's people, not the government. God's people, not society, but when God's people repent of their skin and turned to him and become fervent in prayer. Then you can watch out my beloved friend. Get out of your harangue.
Whatever your harangue may be out of harangue and start counting the stars even when you see none for counting the stars. It will most certainly lead you back on the right track.
Even if you wandered off.
God is waiting with open arms. Father did not leave yourself without a witness. We thank you for your word.
We thank you that it is speaks for us today thousands of years after you spoken to your servant Abraham your friend. We thank you that in Jesus all of the promises to Abraham are being fulfilled and that we as the followers and the children of the living God. Follow-up big brother Jesus we know father that you long to bless us and bless work of our mind.
None of us are hearing the sound of my voice remain in harangue. After this message, for I pray this in Jesus name, amen.
Thanks for listening to this message from Dr. Michael. You sat recently featured on leading the way. If you'd like to know more about us, please visit LTW.org that LTW.Ward