#193 (8/22/18)

      Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks

Please read Romans 1:16-18.  In verse 18, the author of Romans mentions the wrath of God. Wrath is defined this way:  nostril, breath, burn, stream of fire that creates the Lake of Fire, zeal, love.  The wrath of God burns away all sin between Him and us.  His fiery breath consumes all sin as He attacks the maladies of the fallen heart.  His wrath is not directed at or intended to harm the spiritual and physical beings of man.  He loves us but is compelled by sinful behavior to be harsh with it; to the point where He consumes it.  He hurts us to save us from indwelling sin that causes separation between His heart and the believer's heart.  He is committed to saving the believer from sin!  It is a dangerous place to be when He leaves us alone!

Also in verse 18, please take note where His wrath is directed.  First, against ungodliness, second, against unrighteousness.  Ungodliness is rejection of the truth.  Unrighteousness is knowing the truth but not allowing righteousness to issue forth, not taking a stand for the truth.  

Please turn to the Book of Numbers, chapter 11, and read verses 16-17 & 25.  Moses was being crushed under the weight of the burden of caring for the nation of Israel.  As a result of this, God took of the spirit that was upon Moses and gave it to seventy elders to help bear the load.  Now go to Exodus 24:9-15.  The seventy elders were taken up to the mount of God, with Moses and Aaron, and saw God as well as ate and drank in the presence of the LORD (verse 11).  They received a very special visitation from the LORD; they were allowed to SEE God!  They experienced the power and anointing of the glory of God.  Next, read Numbers 13:30-33 & 14:1.  In chapter 14, verse 1, the Bible says, "all" the people wept because the promised land (in their eyes) was unattainable.  Where were the 70 elders???  You would think, after seeing God and carrying the anointed of His glory, they would have taken a stand against the naysayers who said the Land could not be conquered.  They did not take a stand and defend the LORD; they did not allow righteousness to issue forth.  God's people underestimate what happens at church and the anointing it carries.  They have eaten and drank of the LORD, they have seen God, but many times fail to take a stand for the truth in their personal lives.  God's people are guilty of unrighteousness---knowing the truth but failing to take a stand for it.  Are believer's taking a stand for the truth against their own flesh, knowing that something is wrong but allowing the flesh to influence behavior?  We hold down the truth and be unrighteous by not letting the truth come out.  Wrath comes when unrighteousness comes out.  We know what to do!  Take a stand and let righteousness issue forth!  The seventy elders should have withstood the unbelieving congregation and tried to reason with them, persuade them, convince them that God was well able to conquer the Land.  

Please read Hebrews 3:8-11.  The nearness and presence of the LORD causes the heart to choose God easily.  His influence is given by gift.  Conversely, when He withdraws His presence, our choices are made by stature.  We MUST choose the LORD without His intoxicating influence!  Our choices must be made by stature (Him being withdrawn)!  Hebrews says that if we are not making the right choices, we are hardening our heart (verse 8).  Why do we love the Word of God?  Why do we listen to the Word?  The reason should be for the purpose of DOING!  Not doing is unrighteousness!  

The Bible is replete with instances when Israel did not want to understand for the purpose of obeying.  They were given so much revelation of God and His Son.  They thought the amount of revelation they received was indicative of their maturity.  Revelation does not make a person mature; doing does.  Maturity in God is not what we know but what we DO with what we know.  The choice is ours:  hold the truth down and be unrighteous (suffering God's wrath) or, taking a stand for the truth and letting righteousness issue forth.  

#192 (8/12/18 morning)

Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks

Please read Revelation 21:1-2.  Heaven and Hell (the dwelling place of fallen Lucifer) will pass away!  Three new abodes will be established as dwelling places for believers: The New Heaven, the New Earth, and the New City.  All three will be inhabited by believers; everyone is not making their new residence the New City.  The Bride, who is most familiar with the New City, will be ushered through the gates of pearl.  She will not enter into the New City and be ignorant of how she got there and how the City was made.  She is very acquainted with all the materials, how they were made, and how she contributed to the construction.  Knowledge is learned two ways:  theory and experience.  It is not unusual for a doctor to learn the theories of medicine and then be enrolled in a residency program where the theories are joined to the experience.  Oftentimes, during the course of higher education, there is lecture as well as lab.  The phenomenom called "time" could be compared to the "lab" of the Bride.  Time allows the Bride to experience the truths she has learned theoretically, to the point that, when she completes her earthly sojourn, her comprehension and intimacy of the New City will also be complete.  

We have learned that there are 12 tribes in Israel.  There is a gate in the wall of the New City that corresponds to each tribe resulting in 12 gates.  The purpose of the a gate is to control entry and exit.  The gatekeeper has enormous power determining who comes in and who goes out.  The New City has been revealed as a picture of the human heart.  We can deduce that the human heart has twelve gates that determine what enters and what doesn't.  An open gate has the potential to allow an enemy to enter in and cause havoc with spiritual and natural behavior.  When an enemy passes through an open gate, and causes the believer to sin, it could be said that the believer is being controlled by outside spiritual forces that have crept in.  The human heart can be controlled by things without.  Open gates allow the believer to be controlled.  There is no neutral ground; either fallen Lucifer will be worshipped or God and Heaven will be worshipped.  The more we depend on God to close the gates, the more independent we become from the world.  The more independent we become from the LORD, dependency on the world takes His place.  Dependency on God (humility) is crucial to having closed gates.  

Please read verse 21 of the same chapter.  Each gate is an indivdual pearl.  A pearl is made when debris (a grain of sand) gets into the soft tissue of an oyster.  The oyster weeps and covers the sharp edges of the sand particle until a precious pearl is made.  Each gate of the New City is produced through weeping.  By weeping, the believer forms pearls in the heart that are transformed into gates.  Tears come by way of three forces:  suffering, wounds, and love.  A pearly gate is manufactured through suffering and wounds.  When the human heart is wrenched with agony and pain, weeping before God and His Marvelous Headship creates a gate that controls entry and exit.  As the gatekeeper, the believer holds the power to close the gates and keep the world at arms distance.  This power is received at the expense of many tears.  When the Bride enters the New City, she will be well acquainted with how each gate was produced.  She made them herself through her weeping in her own heart by taking her suffering and pain to the LORD.  No doubt about it, God wants us to weep so we can control the gates of our heart and deny entry to the world.  Can't weep?  You have not because you ask not!  Ask the LORD, by His Spirit, to sweep over your heart and rain on the hard ground.  Tears are miraculous!  

#191 (8/5/18 morning)

(Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks)

(Sermon given for a baby dedication)

Please read Proverbs 22:6.  The Hebrew word for "train" is defined as dedicate, set apart, sacred use, commit to a course of action, begin instruction in a certain way, filling the hand as to give an offering.  The word "way" is also the same "way" that Jesus used to describe Himself in the gospels as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  So we see, that to dedicate a child to the LORD is to introduce it to Jesus and the Word of God.  Jesus has a plan, a way, that a child should go.  It is the responsibility of the parent (primarily) to help him/her find their "way" in God.  As children, the way is shown through the ministry of the parent with no option of choice.  The choice is made for the child to show them the proper path they should take.  At 18, using the example of the parent throughout childhood, the young person chooses the way or the world (depending on how the parent has taught the child).  There are 3 ways a child learns:  through words, tone, and body language.  Mixed signals can easily be transferred to a young mind if a parent is not faithful and committed to Jesus Christ.  The tone, words and body language of an adult must be convincing and powerful in order to present Christ in a positive way and some day lead him/her to make a choice for Jesus and His Way.  Future choices for Christ depend on the current way Christ is being presented to the child.  Behavior is learned from the parent.  Parental behavior determines the future choices of the child; the absorbent mind is learning and watching.  

Many times in the Old Testament, when a new altar was dedicated, the offering of sacrifices accompanied it.  Dedication involves bringing a sacrifice.  Parents, at a baby dedication, should bring an offering.  This offering should involve a commitment to be a positive example by not being "religious" but displaying a "relationship".  A parent can be religious and have no relationship.  A deep, faithful relationship with Jesus Christ is the best teacher!  Many lessons are learned, silently, as the child observes. 

Please read Genesis 37:1-4.  Notice in verse 2, the Bible refers to "Jacob" and in verse 3, it refers to "Israel".  Jacob is the natural man and Israel is the spiritual man.  Jacob's spiritual man, Israel, loved Joseph because he was the "son of his old age".  Old is the Hebrew word "zaw-kane" which means spiritually mature.  Israel loved Joseph because, at the age of 17, he was spiritually mature.  Jacob loved all his sons, but Israel loved Joseph; a special connection existed between the two because of Joseph's maturity.  The first time Jacob was called Israel can be found in Genesis 32:27-28.  When the nation of Israel exited Egypt, their relationship with God was that of a Son.  After crossing the Red Sea (water baptism), their relationship changed to a Church or an Espoused Bride.  In between Egypt and the Wilderness was a spiritual experience that raised them higher in God; the nation became engaged to the LORD.  It was the experience that moved them to a closer relationship with God.  With Israel and Joseph, it was Joseph's experiences that brought him closer to his father.  He found the LORD in his spiritual experiences which endeared him to Israel.  Jacob did not interfere in the painful circumstances of Joseph, he helped him by showing how to find and see God in his pain.  It is not wise to shelter a child from their pain.  It is better to let them experience the pain and show them how God is the Head of it.  Lead them to find the LORD in the pain! 

The child is an empty canvas upon which the parents and the grandparents paint by example.  Moses was trained by his mother so, later in life, he rejected the Egyptian way and chose the way of God.  Samuel was trained by Hannah for only 5 years before giving him to the sanctuary.  Those 5 years produced a mightly and powerful prophet in Israel.  Parents, grandparents, and the whole church teach the child by relinquishing their own headship and humbly pointing the way to Christ.  


#190 (7/29/18 morning)

(Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks)

Please read 2Peter 3:18.  The author instructs the reader to grow in both grace and knowledge.  Knowledge is something not known previously.  What the Christian does with knowledge after receiving it is important.  The tendency is to discard knowledge when it is not understood.  In this lesson, two characters in the Bible will be contrasted.  The first, Jacob, protected knowledge he didn't understand.  The second, Jeroboam, cast knowledge behind his back and forgot it.  

Let's start with Jacob.  Please read Genesis 37:5-10.  This passage of scripture involves Joseph telling his parents and his brothers about two dreams.  God had a plan for Joseph's life but to fulfill it Joseph could not stay where he was at.  It ended with his brothers and his parents bowing down to him but it started with a dark, stinky pit.  Then the plan took him as a slave to a foreign land.  Additionally, the plan led him to be falsely accused and cast into prison.  Joseph was willing to endure all hardship that the plan executed in his life.  Because of the dreams, he was able to walk through whatever the plan gave him, knowing someday that he would be a ruler that people bowed down to.  Like Joseph, the believer has been given a vision of a plan, a New City that awaits at the end of the journey.  Whatever pit, slavery, false accusation or prison the believer must endure is part of the plan.  Notice is verse 11, despite showing Joseph strong disapproval, Jacob "observed" the saying.  This means to guard, heed, protect, hedge with thorns. He didn't cast this new knowledge away.  He hid it in his heart and reverenced it.  

Jeroboam is another story.  Please read I Kings 14:1-9.  Ahijah told Jeroboam earlier that the LORD had given him 10 tribes of Israel.  The remaining two would be given to Rehoboam, Solomon's son, which would begin the kingdom of Judah (also including Benjamin).  Notice at the end of verse 9, Jeroboam is excoriated by Ahijah for casting the LORD behind his back, or, throwing away knowledge.  This is the same "casting behind his back" that is referred to in Isaiah 39:17.  God casts our sin behind his back and remembers it no more.  Jeroboam cast knowledge behind his back and forgot about it.  In reality, he did to God what God does with sin.  

Knowledge comes, as in the case of Joseph, to change the enviroment.  His dreams (knowledge) produced a change, a new set of circumstances, a new enviroment.  Joseph did not cast away this knowledge so he could maintain his comfort zone.  He protected and guarded it; hedged it about with thorns.  From the pit to the throne of Pharoah he "observed" his dreams, his knowledge.  He never threw away his dreams; he never forgot them.  Knowledge comes in two forms:  theory and experience.  Joseph not only clung to the theory, but also his experiences all along the journey to the throne of Pharoah.  Christians are admonished to "observe" the theory as well as the experiences all the way to the New City!

#189 (7/25/18)

Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks)

Please read Matthew 28:1-15 and 27:64-66.  Pilate authorized the use of Roman soldiers to seal the stone behind which Jesus lay, and to set a watch.  The Jews wanted to make sure the diciples didn't come by night and steal the body of the LORD and say He had risen.  The soldiers set a watch for three days.  On the morning of the resurrection, they were the first ones to witness Jesus being raised from the dead.  The Roman soldiers were the first ones to witness the LORD Jesus Christ bursting forth from the sealed tomb in His glorious, shining garments and radiating raiment.  They were so stunned they "became as dead men".  The soldiers had toiled sealing the stone with the intent of keeping Him inside the tomb.  They set a watch to scare off any intruders into the area.  Yet, after planning and executing their earthly inventions, Jesus came and messed up the plan.  These trained, elite soldiers were put on the floor as dead men when Jesus exited His burial tomb.  They were paralyzed with fear and terror.  Jesus proved that HE WILL RULE despite man's plots and plans.  The LORD is unimpressed with man and will not let him interfere with His Master Plan.  Notice in verse 5 that the women were not paralyzed!  They witnessed Roman soldiers paralyzed with fear and terror on the ground as dead men!  GOD WILL RULE!  The stone will roll away when the time comes.  They were told by the angel to testify about what they had seen and they ran away in awe and respect (fear).  They felt great joy, excited that Jesus had risen just like He said.  In verse 9, Jesus gives them a chance to demonstrate their inward reverence by allowing the women to hold His feet.  They renounced all human sense; they surrendered by giving over all their authority.  Verse 10 says that Jesus told them not to be afraid.  Afraid of what?  The Roman soldiers. 

Notice in verse 11 that "some" of the soldiers returned to the priests to show them all that had happened.  Those that didn't return knew they would likely face death.  To keep their silence about the truth, they were given a large sum of money.  Look at verse 13.  If they slept how did they know the diciples came and stole His Body?  The Romans had a different story about what really happened.  Their version said the resurrection never happened---even though it did.  The flesh will talk us out of an experience.  After having an experience with God, feeling the power and the glory, witnessing the Son of God bursting forth in glorious light, seeing His resurrection, the flesh will try to convince the believer that none was true and it never happened!  The Christian must beware of the denial and lies of the fleshly nature.  It can steal away an awesome experience with God!  The believer walks by faith, not the eyesight of the natural man!