Deceit steals your personal relationship with the LORD!
Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks
Note: Due to several winter weather events, sermons in February have been reduced.
Please read I Kings 20:1-23 (please feel free to read the entire chapter). The king of Israel (Ahab) and the city of Samaria were being besieged by Benhadad (king of Syria) and thirty two other kings. Benhadad sent messengers into Samaria demanding four things: gold, silver, Ahab's wives, and his children. Astonishingly, Ahab agrees. After receiving this capitulation, Benhadad further demands that he be allowed to search his houses and take secret things of value from him and his servants. Incensed at the second demand, Ahab refuses to give him anything. He refused to give up his gold, silver, wives, and children to an enemy who was sure to annihilate him. He chose to guard and keep what was precious to him. Notice throughout this scenario, the Bible does not record Ahab seeking any spiritual direction or guidance from the LORD or a prophet of God. He did not go pray. He did not fast or go to the house of God. He simply said, "I will not give them up"! Look what happens in verse 13. After he refused to give up these four things, a prophet of God comes to Ahab and explains that the LORD would give the entire host into his hand and cause a great deliverance. When Ahab refused to give up his gold (the revelation will of God or personal revelation), silver (the redemptive will of God or personal redemption), wives (his personal relationship), and his children (seeds of the truth in his will) God CAME TO HIM with a mighty deliverance. Benhadad is a spiritual picture of deceit. Deceit demands the relinquishment of all we hold valuable in the LORD. When we refuse to hand over these valuable things, God intervenes. Deceit (Benhadad) and thirty two kings were defeated.
Going further in the story, in verse 22, the prophet (who is not named) comes to Ahab and tells him to strenghen himself because they (Syria) would soon return. The Syrians believed the LORD to be a God of the hills and not a God of the plain (valley). Within a year, they were back to besiege Samaria. In verse 25, they would return with the same strength as at the first. Victory was given to Ahab on the hill and was told not to relax because the same battle was returning. This time it would be in the valley; it would return in the same strength. In verse 29, Ahab had to go out into the valley, the battle, and engage the enemy. The Syrians were subdued in the valley. The LORD provided a great deliverance on the hill, but Ahab had to fight personally in the valley to receive another victory. On the hill, God gives the victory, in the valley we go out and fight to get the victory. Victory on the hill is given to strengthen self so victory can be achieved in the valley. Victory is easily received in the presence of God on the hill, but is more difficult in the humble, dark valley. To strengthen self (verse 22) means to restrain self and its secret delights, to conquer self. Victory in the valley is preceded by restraining the fleshly desires of the flesh, conquering its earthly appetites. Be prepared! The battle is coming back! Curtail and restrain the flesh and God will deliver because self has changed, its different. Lastly, read verse 10 again: this is what deceit says. Basically, I am going to annihilate you and your personal relationship. You will be as nothing! WOW!!! BEWARE!!!
Be healed of leprous judgments!
Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks
Please read Luke 5:12-16. A leper beseeches Jesus to heal him of his leprosy. In verse 12 notice the leper's courtesy and humility. His faith led him to a true confession that Jesus could make him clean, if He wanted to. In verse 13, He proved His dominion and superiority over the plague of leprosy "and immediately the leprosy departed from him." His fame was widespread news because of this healing; so much so, that Pharisees and doctors of the law from Judea, Galilee, and Jerusalem came to listen to Him. Notice is verse 17 "the power of the Lord was present to heal them." Heal who and from what? He wanted to heal the Pharisees and doctors of the law of their leprous judgments. The power of God was there to heal the leaders of Israel! Jesus knew if He could heal them they would begin to teach the people the truth. He had already proven He could heal natural leprosy; now He wanted to heal the spiritual leprosy of the leaders.
He forgave the sin of a man who was let down through the roof, but hesitated to heal the palsy. Read verse 21. He perceived the thoughts of the Pharisees and scribes and their leprous judgments. He wanted to heal them but because of their unbelief and blasphemy He turned to the stricken man and healed the palsy. The power of the Lord was their to heal the leaders but because of their rejection and unbelief, the power to heal was redirected to someone else in need. Many times the power of the Lord is present to heal believer's of their leprous judgments, but rejection and lack faith causes the power to move to someone else. The power of God WILL heal, faith and belief draws that power. The power of God is present to heal us of our own rebellious flesh and marry the will to the Will of God. Rejection and unbelief causes it to bypass the heart and move on to someone else.
In case of Israel fleeing the slavery of Egypt, death was behind them at the Red Sea in the form of Pharoah and his army. In front of them was the death of the waters of the Red Sea (a picture of water baptism and its Name, Death, and Life). Israel had to choose between Pharoah's death or the LORD's death. The power of God was present to heal them of their leprous judgments to return to Egypt and its slavery. The nation walked down into the death of the LORD; they had to actively engage themselves into the situation and choose the death of God. They followed the commandment of Moses, the Word of God. When the Word comes the power of God is present to heal leprous judgments. The Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, was present to heal the Pharisees but rejection of the Word caused the healing power to move on. Where the Word is, so also is the healing power of God!
Faith allows the LORD to make His Name known!
#226 (2/3/19 morning)
During the great exodus when the nation of Israel was released from Egyptian bondage, the LORD lead his people to the Red Sea. Geographically, they went in a certain direction but had to backtrack a short distance in order to make it to the shore of the sea. Pharoah was in hot pursuit. When he saw Israel turn around and come back a short distance toward him, he determined that he and his army should surround Israel and take them back to bondage. Israel ended up trapped by mountains on either side, the Red Sea in front, and Pharoah behind. Moses lifted up his rod over the Red Sea and an east wind began to blow. On the rod was the Name of the LORD. When the Name is lifted up, the Spirit (wind) began to move. The pillar of fire (the Spirit of God) moved to the rear of the Hebrew nation and provided protection. During the night a strong east wind blew. Notice that it was an EAST wind. They were traveling east. The Hebrew nation moved forward into a headwind that miraculously parted the water as they moved forward. The water wasn't parted all at one time; as they walked east, into the wind, in the night, the water would part as far as they traveled. In other words, the water parted and provided a way of escape as long as they were willing to walk, by faith, in the darkness, battling a strong headwind. When they walked, the water parted. In order for the escape route to be made clear, they had to actively engage themselves in the situation by choosing, in faith, that the LORD was capable enough to get them to safety. They could have chosen NOT to walk forward and NOT witness a great deliverance by the Name of the LORD. They could have had second thoughts about the perils of their night season and surrendered to Pharoah. By choosing to walk forward, in the night, against a strong headwind, they put God to the test. He acted mightily in their behalf because they chose to walk by faith! Against insurmountable odds, they reached safety through faith in the Name of the LORD and the Spirit of God! Sometimes, modern day Christians choose not to walk. They choose to remain in Egyptian bondage rather than experiencing a miraculous deliverance. The night is too dark, the wind is too strong, my faith is too small. . . it's easier to return to Egypt! Faith is never too small. As long as it is as large as a grain of mustard seed, believer's can walk in the night against a strong headwind and see the salvation and deliverance of the LORD. We must be engaged in our circumstances and choose the Name of the LORD and the power of His Holy Spirit! Faith excites the LORD because it is an opportunity for Him to prove Who He Is! Faith allows Him to make His Name and Nature known to the believer. Peter had faith to walk on water and he did . . . for a little while. He presented to the LORD Jesus an opportunity to prove Who He Is!
Pharoah and his army sank twice!
#227 (2/3/19 evening)
Note: Please read #226 to get a greater understanding of this lesson.
Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks
Please read Exodus 14:26-30. Take note of verse 27 how the "Egyptians fled against it". Instead of fleeing away from the waters as they began to return, they ran headlong INTO them. Turning and trying to flee back to the Egyptian side of the Red Sea would have been an act of repentance, which Pharoah and his army were not interested in. Also take note in verse 30 that "Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore". Now read Exodus 15:5 and 10. In verse 5, they "sank into the bottom as a stone". In verse 10, the Egyptians "sank as lead into the mighty waters". Interestingly, they sank twice, yet, Israel saw them dead upon the sea shore. The Hebrew word for "sank" is two different words. They fled against the water as it returned once Israel was on the wilderness side and sank (verse 5) the first time. The LORD miraculously floated the dead Egyptian army and deposited them on the wilderness side of the Sea where Israel was safely watching. This is where Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. The waters of the Red Sea are a picture of water baptism. The LORD wanted to baptize the instruments of war and wash them in His Name to sanctify them for another use. He baptized the swords, shields, spears, etc. first then moved them on to the sea shore on the wilderness side so Israel could retrieve them. These instruments of war were necessary to have to assist in upcoming battles. Weapons that were used against them, after baptism, were now weapons to defend them. The LORD brought the dead Egyptians to the shore so Israel could strip the bodies of these weapons. After Israel claimed the weapons, the LORD miraculously made them (Egyptians) sink again, this time as lead in the mighty waters. The waters of the Red Sea had the Name, Death, and Life of the LORD within them. When Pharoah and his army sank the first time, the LORD put His foursquare Name around each man which caused him to resurface on the wilderness shore. Israel was a nation of slaves, ignorant of the art of war. They soon would be needing Pharoah's weapons in the wilderness for not long after the LORD had them fight the Amalakites. Joshua fought this rebellious nation while Moses was upon a mountain lifting up the rod (the Name) with the help of Aaron and Hur. Where did a nation of slaves get weapons of warfare? The LORD provided what was necessary for them to reach the Promised Land; a land flowing with milk and honey!
Leprous judgements are unclean, unclean!
#225 (1/20 and 1/23/19 combined)
Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks
Please read Leviticus 13:40-46. In verse 45, the leper was to cover his mouth with a cloth and proclaim, "Unclean, unclean". Leprosy has the potential to make a person unclean on the outside as well as the inside. The leper was proclaiming his uncleaness inwardly and outwardly. Leprosy on the forehead is invisible to the one infected; they can't see it. It can only be revealed by another person or by looking into a mirror. Leprosy is judgement. The sinful, human race has a tendency to pronounce leprous judgements. When such a judgement is verbalized a spot of leprosy rises on the forehead. Saul is an example of someone with leprous judgements regarding the slaughter of the Midianites. Samuel to told him to execute everything and everybody, but Saul held back the best of the animals and the Midianite king. Uzziah, along with his leprous judgements, intruded into the priesthood by burning incense in the tabernacle. Eighty priests could not withstand him as he pushed and shoved his way into the Holy Place. He became a leper as a result. Lastly, the laborers in the vineyard (according to Jesus' parable) falsely accused the owner for paying the same to them as the 11th hour workers. Their leprous judgements determined they deserved more for working so long in the vineyard even though they agreed on a wage at the outset. It's not how long you work in the vineyard, it's what you accomplish while you're there. Man's sinful judgements shout, "The rules apply to everyone but me!" Leprous, blaming judgements point the proverbial finger at God and reject the truth. Please remember this: everything the believer does comes under the Headship of God or his own headship. We delight (sometimes) in pitting our leprous judgement against God's pure judgements. Please notice in verse 45, the leper was do four things: 1. rend clothes 2. bare head 3. cover upper lip and 4. cry unclean, unclean.
1. Rend clothes. This was an outward act that was an expression of sorrow and an inward rending of the heart. When Job saw his leprous judgements at the end of the book, he rent his heart for sorrow at his hasty accusations against the LORD God.
2. Bare head. This is an act of forsaking earthly headship and leaving it unprotected. This act says, "I am guilty and will not justify myself".
3. Cover upper lip. This provides protection from the spread of disease. Spewing on someone else leprous judgements causes others to be infected with doubt and anger against God. Cover the mouth!
4. Unclean, unclean. This is a proper confession (truthful) that allows healing to come when the truth is spoken.
Please read Hebrews 13:10-12. Jesus suffered "outside the gate" on a hill called Golgatha. We are to confess our uncleaness at the Cross of Calvary where healing comes to leprous judgements.
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