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The Word of God

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The Word of God
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
28 July 2013
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References:

Hosea 1:1-11
Luke 11:1-13
Colossians 2:1-23

In the Old Testament days, God would call upon specially selected people to deliver a message to the leaders of the land, and to proclaim the word of God to the people.
 
After the time of Jesus’ incarnation upon this earth, God has called upon the true believers who love the Lord their God with every part of their being, and who desire to free and protect His corrupted creation, to proclaim the heavenly will and word of God to the people.
 
This should include the whole church, but as a society we have failed miserably, for rather than promoting the creation and heavenly will of God, the vast majority of people and churches have actually promoted further corruption of the earth and the work of the devil.
 
God offers love and life, but the devil relishes lies, deceit, bloodshed, pain, suffering, and death.
 
Just think about what happens to animals in factory farms and laboratories. Is their suffering and death what God desires?
 
No! These are the things that please the devil.
 
So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at Hosea 1:1-11, and see how God viewed the evil ways of the leadership and people of Israel, which we believe is very similar to the ways of the church today.

1. The word of the LORD which came to Hosea the son of Beeri, during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
 
2. When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry, and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the LORD."

The harlotry of Israel was going after other gods, demonic gods, and appointing their own religious leaders, who sacrificed animals and occasionally humans to their false gods.
 
Today the church may not be going after other gods in this same way, but the suffering and bloodshed of animals they promote, or are indifferent to, is still serving the devil and not God.

3. So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
 
4. And the LORD said to him, "Name him Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will punish the house of Jehu for the bloodshed of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.
 
5. "And it will come about on that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel."
 
6. Then she conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. And the LORD said to him, "Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I should ever forgive them.

We see signs that these things will happen to the churches that continue their hard of heart ways that support our society’s warring madness and the horrible suffering and death inflicted upon millions of our fellow human beings, and billions of animals around the world every year.

7. "But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the LORD their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses, or horsemen."
 
8. When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and gave birth to a son.
 
9. And the LORD said, "Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not your God."

However, even in His anger, God did not give up on Israel, and sought their repentance, that He would one day bless them again, just as will hopefully happen with the church.

10. Yet the number of the sons of Israel
Will be like the sand of the sea,
Which cannot be measured or numbered;
And it will come about that, in the place
Where it is said to them,
"You are not My people,"
It will be said to them,
"You are the sons of the living God."
 
11. And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together,
And they will appoint for themselves one leader,
And they will go up from the land,
For great will be the day of Jezreel.
NASB

The Lord wants us to be the loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God that He called us to be, so that we would be witnesses of the word of God, and encourage others to help us free creation from its present corruption.
 
Let’s keep these things in mind as we move up to the time of Jesus and look at what we are told in Luke 11:1-13.

1. And it came about that while He [Jesus] was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John [the Baptist] also taught his disciples."
 
2. And He said to them, "When you pray, say:
'Father, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.

If we are really praying for our Father’s heavenly kingdom to come to earth, then it comes complete with the heavenly word of God, where there is no longer any pain, or mourning, or death (Revelation 21:4).
 
This also means that if we are sincere in following Jesus, which is the meaning of being a Christian, then we should be doing everything in our power to eliminate all the suffering and death in our lives, beginning with what we put on our plates and wear upon our bodies.
 
And this is just the beginning.

3. 'Give us each day our daily bread.

We need to remember that the Lord gave the people in the wilderness manna, the bread from heaven that was free of any death or suffering, but the people grumbled against the Lord and demanded flesh food with all its suffering and death, which made the Lord very angry.
 
God tried to move the people away from the corrupted ways of the world with all its bloodshed to a second Eden-like or heavenly way of living, but the people wanted to live in the corrupted and evil ways of the world.

4. 'And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.' "

This requires us to have a truly repentant spirit, one that is sorry for our contribution to the corruption in the world and our indifference to all the suffering and death it caused.

5. And He said to them, "Suppose one of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves;
 
6. for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him';
 
7. and from inside he shall answer and say, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.'
 
8. "I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
 
9. "And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.
 
10. "For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened.

This is a parable of the way God will be with us, if we live a life reflecting the heavenly will and word of God.
 
And God will respond in the same way with all repentant sinners who seek to live as He desires us to live.

11. "Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?
 
12. "Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?
 
13. "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" 
NASB

Jesus used these examples because that’s the way the people were.
 
They followed the evil ways of the world.
 
But when we wholeheartedly turn away from the ways of the world, and seek the Lord our God with every part of our being, we will be blessed beyond our wildest dreams.
 
As we look at Colossians 2:1-23, we’ll continue our discussion of living in the heavenly will and word of God.

1. For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf, and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face,
 
2. that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself,
 
3. in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Note specifically that Paul is telling us that it is God’s love that knits us together in Jesus Christ.
 
It is not the so-called fellowship of hunting, fishing, or feasting upon the tortured remains of an innocent animal who wanted to live just as much as we do.
 
All over the world today, there are loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God who are struggling, just the way Paul was, to help people see the truth about living in the heavenly will of God and helping to free creation from its present corruption.

4. I say this in order that no one may delude you with persuasive argument.

There are also others in and out of the church who argue that it’s God’s will that people continue to live in the evil ways of the world with all its suffering and death, and they have very persuasive arguments.
 
However, because their arguments are not filled with love and life, and contribute to suffering and death, we are to reject them.

5. For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.
 
6. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
 
7. having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

We are to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, who commanded us to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48), and we are to be rooted in the word of God, and filled to overflowing with His love and life.

8. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

The simple way to discern the difference is that the ways of God always bring love and life, while the ways of the world are filled with bloodshed, suffering, and death, which we are to reject.

9. For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form,
 
10. and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;
 
11. and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;
 
12. having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

The circumcision Paul is talking about is the kind that spiritually cuts out the sin of the world from our hearts, minds, and souls, when we truly desire the Lord to do it.

13. And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,
 
14. having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
 
15. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

When we change into children of God, the Lord will remove the evil of the earth. We never have to resort to violence.

16. Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day — 
 
17. things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

Remember that the things to come are heavenly, and are free of pain, suffering and death; therefore, we can easily discern the differences between the things of God and the ways of the world.

18. Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,
 
19. and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.

God never desires us to debase ourselves in any way. He desires us to be filled with the heavenly will and word of God with joy in our hearts and souls.

20. If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as,
 
21. "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!"
 
22. (which all refer to things destined to perish with the using) —  in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?

Again, these are the ways of our corrupted world.

23. These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.
NASB

Think about these fleshly indulgences. Do not most of them involve the eating of animal flesh and by-products, and wearing their skins?
 
We can and should do better than this.
 
We should all be the loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God for whom the whole of creation eagerly awaits to free it from its present corruption.
 
We are to be the living examples of the word of God, overflowing with His love and life for all to share.
 
Amen.