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Are We Living As Jesus Christ Desires?

A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
25 November 2012
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References:  

Psalm 132:1-18
Matthew 7:13-15
John 18:33-37
Revelation 1:1-8

This is Christ the King Sunday, or the day we celebrate the coming reign of Christ here on earth, but it should also celebrate the reign of Christ in our hearts and souls, today, which leads us to a few questions:
 
Are we living as Jesus Christ desires us to live?
 
Do we live like the Lord reigns in our heart and soul?
 
And a closely related question is…
 
Are our churches, pastors and leaders living and teaching as the Lord wants them to?
 
From what I have observed, most church leaders and pastors would say they are, if they are asked; but inwardly I don’t believe many of us are.
 
And as church pastors and leaders live and teach, so do their members follow along.
 
Note what Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:13-15 –

13. "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.
 
14. "For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it. 

Isn’t this telling us the same thing we just mentioned?
 
I believe it is, and since only a relatively few will find and enter by the narrow gate, the Lord must be including the church in this message, for many of them are living like they are on the broad way, even if they confess Jesus as Lord by their words.
 
Note what Jesus teaches us next:

15. "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
NASB

I strongly believe the most church leaders and pastors are being included among these false prophets, and the reason is given in the second part of the verse.
 
The term “ravenous wolves” refers to those who kill and eat large amounts of flesh.
 
God has created us humans in such a way that we are always attuned to the unction of the Holy Spirit, which people often refer to as their conscience; but it is really the Holy Spirit telling us the difference between right and wrong.
 
Because of this, we must harden our hearts and souls to knowingly harm or kill another living being, so that we no longer have empathy for that human or animal.
 
Instead we put our own wants and desires ahead of the other animals or human beings.
 
And this applies to us even if we have others do the task for us.
 
This is also why God created us to be vegans and eat only plant foods, and never changed our physiology to be like that of carnivorous animals.
 
Using this example as a guide, think about the way most churches and people live and act.
 
Aren’t they living more like ravenous wolves than like the way God created us to live?
 
With this in mind, let’s take a look at Psalm 132.

1. Remember, O LORD, on David's behalf,
All his affliction;

Also remember that most of David’s afflictions were brought about by his own ungodly acts, such as his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and having her husband killed to try to hide his evil deed.

2. How he swore to the LORD,
And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
 
3. "Surely I will not enter my house,
Nor lie on my bed;
 
4. I will not give sleep to my eyes,
Or slumber to my eyelids;
 
5. Until I find a place for the LORD,
A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob." 

Remember also that David did build a house for himself first, and that the Lord would not let David build the Temple, because there was too much blood on his hands.
 
It was Solomon, his son with Bathsheba, who built the Temple.

6. Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
We found it in the field of Jaar.
 
7. Let us go into His dwelling place;
Let us worship at His footstool.
 
8. Arise, O LORD, to Thy resting place;
Thou and the ark of Thy strength.
 
9. Let Thy priests be clothed with righteousness;
And let Thy godly ones sing for joy.

Think about the unrighteousness of the priests who accused and mocked Jesus and took Him to the Roman leader to be condemned to death in the most torturous manner.
 
Note what we are told took place in John 18:33-37.

33. Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?"
 
34. Jesus answered, "Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?" 
 
35. Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You up to me; what have You done?"
 
36. Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm." 
 
37. Pilate therefore said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."
NASB

Are we hearing Jesus’s voice and His teachings of living as loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God?
 
I pray we are, and even more: that we are doing everything in our power to live in such a manner so that others would see Jesus in us.
 
Let’s return to Psalm 132.

10. For the sake of David Thy servant,
Do not turn away the face of Thine anointed.
 
11. The LORD has sworn to David,
A truth from which He will not turn back;
"Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne.

And, the Lord did just that, but there is more.

12. "If your sons will keep My covenant,
And My testimony which I will teach them,
Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever."

David’s heirs didn’t keep the Lord’s covenant or His testimony, and lost the throne and cancelled out the Lord’s promise to David, that is, until Jesus came. 
 
Like this Psalm of Ascents says, unless we keep the Lord’s covenants, they mean nothing, which explains why there is so much strife in the world.

13. For the LORD has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His habitation.
 
14. "This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
 
15. "I will abundantly bless her provision;
I will satisfy her needy with bread.
 
16. "Her priests also I will clothe with salvation;
And her godly ones will sing aloud for joy.
 
17. "There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth;
I have prepared a lamp for Mine anointed.
 
18. "His enemies I will clothe with shame;
But upon himself his crown shall shine."
NASB

This is the promise for us to keep.
 
This is truly having Jesus in our heart and soul.
 
This is the advent of Jesus’ second coming.
 
With these things in mind, let’s take a look at the message that John was given in Revelation 1:1-8, and in particular take note of the advent and Kingly message.

1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,
 
2. who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.
 
3. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Isn’t this also what we have been talking about?
 
If we don’t act upon the teachings of the Lord and live them in our lives, we are not much better off than unbelievers.

4. John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne;
 
5. and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood,
 
6. and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

If we honestly look at the whole of Christendom, we see very few people living as these kinds of priests.
 
We cannot be a true priest of God if we have no empathy, and support and participate in the causes of suffering and death; for there was no death in God’s creation and there is none in heaven.
 
Unless we live as God desires us to live, we cannot have a peaceable kingdom here on earth; and we will only continue to foster the corruption of creation.

7. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen.
 
8. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." 
NASB

Are we ready for Jesus’ return?
 
Are we living the way Jesus desires us to live?
 
I pray we are.
 
Amen.

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