Faith

Andrew Giles at Blessington Convention

November 2008

 

I don’t know if you’ve noticed during this convention that one of the themes the Lord has been repeatedly referring to, is the theme of “faith” and the need for us to hear the wisdom that comes from above—hear His word—but then, to commit our lives to it, in a step of faith.

We had two songs that the Lord gave yesterday morning and I felt the strong theme in those songs was that we should be people who believe and the second one referred to the fight, and of course, the Bible tells us the fight is the good fight of faith. There’s a verse we could turn to together in Second Peter, in chapter 1, which informs us how it is that we become partakers of the divine nature. You know that’s one of the things God wants us to have—He doesn’t want us to stay in the beast nature—I hope we agree with Him in that matter, that there is something better for us than the beast nature. He wants us to become partakers of the divine nature. If we don’t do that, we stay in what is called “the corruption that is in the world through lust”—because that’s where the beast nature lives—in the “corruption that is in the world through lust”. But God has made a provision for us to escape from that, and in the second letter of Peter, chapter 1, let’s read down from verse 2:

2 Peter 1:2 ‘Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,’

Grace and peace comes through knowing Him—they’re not dispensed to us as some little package aside of knowing Him. So, if you want peace, you need to know the Lord. If you want grace, you need to know the Lord. That’s how they come—through the knowledge of God and of Jesus, our Lord.

(Verse 3) ‘According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness,’

Notice the past tense there— hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness—again the same way…

(Verse 3 cont. & 4) ‘through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:’

That’s how we do it—look at this—‘are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.’

(there was a break in the recording here)…but there are exceeding great and precious promises that God has spoken to us. Let’s not forget—in all the warnings that we also, in the goodness of God, have come to hear as well—let’s not forget that there are some exceeding great and precious promises that He has given to His people. If we lose them, according to this scripture—if we don’t remember that, we will not be partakers of the divine nature, because it’s by these exceeding great and precious promises that we become partakers of the divine nature. We need to be people who get into the Book! There’s a comment that’s made about people at the end of the age—much is their reading, but not the word of God. This is a Book that has been inspired by God and is able to make us wise unto salvation. I commend to you all, not to let this (the Bible) gather dust. It does contain exceeding great and precious promises. I’m not suggesting that God can never give you a promise that’s not written in the Book, because we are a people who talk about a hearing relationship—I’m sure God can do that—but, there’s plenty in here (the Bible) as well.

When Brother Bobby was with us just a couple of weeks ago, he spoke from the same scripture in Obadiah that we were in with him yesterday—about possessing your possessions. According to the scripture, Jesus says, “In your patience, possess ye your soul.” It’s not particularly that God wants us to possess our body; although, our body does have to be yielded to the one to whom it belongs and we do have to present our bodies. The real purpose of God is the salvation of our soul. The end, the purpose, or the goal of our faith is the salvation of our soul. He wants our soul, not to be under the dominion of all the winds of spirits that are blowing to and fro; He wants us to have it possessed under the authority of the Spirit of God so that it can come into the place of being delivered from everything else—and being saved. He wants us to possess our possession.

Back in the Baptist Church, which I was in, as I read the Bible, I came to understand that there were various scriptures that they conveniently snipped out; because either they didn’t understand them or sometimes because they did not agree with Baptist doctrine. I remember on more than one occasion in Bible classes, as a teenager, challenging my Bible class teacher and saying, “It doesn’t say that, it says this !” To the point where on one occasion, he told me to be quiet! I wanted to understand the Bible and he wanted to teach what he believed. And yet, you know, we can be in danger of doing similar things and although, I think perhaps we have moved on from the snipping activity, yet you know, if by unbelief we exclude some of what is written in this Book, we are guilty of the same. We might read it and say in our minds, “It’s true,” but our minds aren’t going to do this. It’s our faith that needs to be activated because we need to have active faith into these exceeding great and precious promises; because, just written in the Book and given mental assent to, will not lead to the possessing of our soul—it will not lead to the partaking of the divine nature and we will not escape the corruption that is in the world. Just leaving them in the place of mental assent—there’s going to have to be something stronger than that in us, which God calls— faith .

That’s really what I want to share about this morning. I want to talk with you a little while about faith. When Brother Bill was sharing two nights ago, he mentioned more than once about the evil heart of unbelief. You remember where that phrase comes from; it comes from the book of Hebrews and it’s talking about the children of Israel. Remember, the whole of what happened to the children of Israel—through the whole of their history—was put before us as examples for us. That whole history and all that they went through and all that they experienced—the good and the bad—the pleasant and the many things that were unpleasant—the oppressions that happened to them—all of those things were set there as examples for us upon whom the ends of the world—have come; more about that verse in a minute.

If they couldn’t enter in, through unbelief, we understand very clearly—the book of Hebrews makes it very clear—that we could fall if we follow their example. We could miss that which is—we’re right on the brink of it—that which is accessible to us now—we could lose it because of the same evil heart of unbelief. God put an example in front of us of a whole people who wandered in the wilderness for 40 years and their carcasses were left in the wilderness, just simply because of unbelief. Six Hundred Thousand—I think that was the number that Brother Bill mentioned—600,000 people lost their lives so that we, sitting here today, could know that God is really serious about this matter of faith. Husbands—fathers—children—people crying and weeping and burying carcasses because God wanted us to know this matter of faith is serious. It was the example; it was the picture for us. This is no light matter—this question of faith.

Well, as I’ve been thinking about this and conscious that, as I read the scriptures, I don’t want to have this sort of selective agreement with what God says; nor just a passive mental intellectual acceptance of what He says; but this engagement with my own person of what He says—the mixing with faith that we are hearing about. You know, we can sit in these conventions and “rubber stamp” everything and say, “I don’t disagree with anything”—we “rubber stamp” it all. But to me, the mixing with faith is when I say, “That is Your voice, God, talking to me and I receive it, and I know that’s personal to me.” So long as it’s general, it doesn’t have your faith. It may be the word of God to the church, but the word of God to the church doesn’t save my life unless I recognize that it’s the word of God to me Me has to come into this for it to be mixed with faith in me and to make a difference—to make a change in my life. I don’t want to do that and I’ve told the Lord, “I don’t want to do that.” In the days past, I think we were all guilty of saying, “Well, all the nasty scriptures (you know what I mean by that—all the ones that speak of judgment)—well that’s for the unsaved.” We’ve had an adjustment about that and we realize there’s a wicked man in here - a man of sin. God in His goodness has revealed that to us and we’re learning that the heart of man is desperately wicked. But there’s also the other side where these exceeding great and precious promises are—through unbelief we can just hold back from them—and say, “Well, yes it’s true” but, we do not get excited and engaged with them. And so, we could, just on the edge of the land—because of this lack of engagement with the word of God—fail to enter in and take our possession. That would be so sad at this last hour.

Turn with me to Hebrews Chapter 10 so we can pick up a context there. Like all good preachers, I have three points this morning. They represent three basic faith areas that I think the Lord points to in this chapter. There are more than three, but there are three that I want to look at this morning. When I get to each one, I’ll let you know that I’m there.

Hebrews 10:36 ‘For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.’

Now the promise, if I’m not mistaken, the promise in scripture, is the resurrection of the dead and eternal life. It’s the securing of the life that is deposited with us but that we do not have, yet, such a grip on, that we can say, “This is mine forever”. The promise is when that becomes ours to the point that it can never be lost, which happens in the resurrection. He says, “after you’ve done the will of God, you might receive the promise.”

(Verse 37) For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.’

You may recognize this as a verse being in the book of Habakkuk. The writer here is preaching it, rather than quoting it, because it’s not an exact quote, but he’s saying, “This is what I’m basing my teaching on.” But, as far as we’re concerned, he says, “yet a little while and he that shall come will come.” What’s he talking about? What’s the context of this? Surely we’re looking at a people who’ve come to the end of an age and who are anticipating the soon appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, so this has to be for us; because we have heard and surely we understand—we look in the church and we look outside the church and we look in our midst and we look at the word we’re hearing and the evidence in every direction points to the fact that we are at that point of transition into another age. It isn’t just in our own context that people are saying, “We’ve come to the end.” You can go to other churches and to other streams and the word is clear that God is speaking by His Spirit to the Church and He’s saying, “You haven’t got very long.”

(Verse 37 & 38) ‘Yet a little while, He that shall come, will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: But if any man

"any man" is in italics and it refers to this just man—the man just referred to-

(Verse 38 continued) ‘…if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.’

Brother Bill’s been sharing a word on “Pleasing God”; we’re going to look a little bit more about pleasing God in a moment. Remember, if at this time, we draw back, God says, “ No pleasure.” (We say) “You mean all I’ve done thus far, God? All these years I’ve served You, lo, so many years?” No pleasure —if we draw back at this time. But, “we are not of them who draw back unto perdition”—that’s a promise. Can we say that? Is that our determination this morning, God helping us, that we’re not going be those who go back and join the lost—perdition means lost? But, “we are of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” So there’s our context; this is about faith unto the saving of the soul.

Now, he’s writing to Christians; he has to be writing this book to Christians, doesn’t he? I mean nobody could know what this book’s about unless the Spirit of the Lord is on them—so he’s got to be writing to Christians and he’s talking about the possibility of drawing back, but he’s saying, “That’s surely not going to apply to us. We’re going to be a people who have faith unto the saving of the soul—which tells you, it hasn’t happened yet. That’s the context then.

Hebrews 11:1 ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’

Faith, by definition, involves the realm that you cannot see with the natural eyes. That doesn’t mean you can’t see it, but you don’t see with the natural eyes. As you read on in Chapter 11, you’ll find there are all sorts of things about “not see” and “can see”. People who are seeking for a country and looking for this and looking for that, so it’s not that there’s “no seeing”, it’s just “not seeing” with physical sight. You see, we serve a God who is in the realm of the unseen. All the real things are actually unseen. God doesn’t count as real, things that are temporal. He counts as real, things that are eternal and the unseen things are eternal. We’re a people who have to operate in truths that apply in an unseen realm. Seek those things which are above—where Christ is. You can’t see them with these eyes, but they’re true; they’re real. In our lives, there are lots of things which we accept as being true, that we can’t see. Sound; you can’t see. Heat; you can’t see. Cold; you can’t see. You know there are things that God put around us that we can’t see; love, emotion, hate—you can’t see those things, but we accept them as being real. Now there are things that God declares, which we have to say, “These are real; even though I cannot see them or sense them through my natural senses.” In fact, the wisdom that comes from beneath is sensual. So there’s a wisdom that comes from above that requires my faith, because it’s operating in a realm where my senses don’t operate.

(Verse 2) ‘For by it (faith) the elders obtained a good report.’

--I think that’s a God-given report.

(Verse 3) ‘Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.’

Point 1: We need to have faith that everything that happens is in God’s predetermined will.

I’ve heard Christians talk about God’s “permissive will” and His “directive will”; as if there’s some things He makes happen and other things, He just sits back, folds His arms, twiddles His thumbs, whatever, and says, “Just let it happen.” I don’t think God’s like that; the Bible doesn’t make that distinction. It says, actually, we’ll turn there…

Ephesians 1:9 ‘Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:’

He didn’t take counsel from you and me about it; He purposed it in Himself; He’s not going to take your advice.

(Verse 10) ‘That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him (look at this) who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:’

All things He works after the counsel of His own will. You say, “Well, what about all the catastrophes?” Well, actually, the Lord does say, “I the Lord create evil.” You can look in the Strong’s Concordance; it means evil, but it also means calamity. He says, “I take responsibility; you can blame Me if you like.” But people say, “But God wouldn’t do that, would He?” He destroyed a world! God would do that.

Let’s say that God made a car—that car that you’ve always dreamed of—if you’ve never dreamed of a car, call it a Lamborghini or something. If you take it up to the top of a hill, so you can really enjoy the speed of it coming down and you say, “I’m really going to enjoy this car.” And then you say to your mate, who is good at mechanics, “Before we set off, could you just disconnect the brakes? And one more thing, just to make things really exciting, just tie this blindfold around my eyes. Right! Let’s go!” Well, there’s a law in place. One of the things God has done is put laws in place. If you end up in the mortuary, it’s because there’s a law in place. Yet, people have cast off restraints—they have no brakes, because they have no vision—and they’re surprised because they get into trouble! God has ordained that people who have no brakes or have no vision, get into trouble—He made it that way; then they blame Him for the fact that they disconnected the brakes and put the blindfold on and submitted to the god of this world who has blinded their eyes and then they get surprised that things go wrong. But, the God of heaven has put in place, according to the counsel of His own will, certain things that are cause and effect. He doesn’t actually have to sit there and say, “Whew, look! That person has disconnected the brakes and put the blindfold on, let’s make something terrible happen.” It’s that the principles are already out there and the principles of blessing are already there as well. If we make Him our habitation, no evil will befall us; that doesn’t mean there will be nothing difficult and nothing that you have to pray hard to get through, but it’s not evil. It says, ‘He worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.’

Back to the book of Hebrews. You see, it says through faith, we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God. The word “worlds” here—when we use the word “world” we think of the planet. Really when you read the word “earth” in the Bible, you need to think of the planet. When you read the word “worlds”, it’s the Greek word “aions” and it doesn’t refer to place; it refers to time—it’s an age. So, this is talking about the ages—the periods of time—the ones that have been, the one that now is, and the next one and the ages of ages. They have all been predetermined—framed—by the word of God—every age there ever has been or ever will be and all that they contain. Vincent, who does word studies on the Greek Bible, says, “The word “aions” indicates all that the successive periods contain.” Everything in every age has been framed by the word of God.

Think of this word “world” for a moment. Satan is described as the god of this world. In our thinking, we think that’s the god of this earth. Well, of course, he was cast down to the earth, but it really means he’s the god of this age, which I find very encouraging; because, he’s only the god of this age, which means that he’s not the god of another one! He knows he has but a little time, because the only time he has is this age! I was just referring to the verse in I Cor. 10, --Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples and they’re written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the—“world”, it says, but it’s the ends of the “age”. We are the people upon whom the ends of the age have come. The word “ends” doesn’t mean conclusion. The old English word “end” means goal or purpose. We are the people upon whom the purpose of the ages has fallen! The destiny of the world—the earth—is in our hands! God says the whole creation is groaning and travailing waiting for the manifestation of the people upon whom this destiny has fallen. We are the people upon whom the purpose of the age has fallen!

So, what sort of people ought we to be? Through faith , we understand that the ages were framed by the word of God. Let me talk about the word “frame.” Brother Bill did that for us, not long ago. He brought one of these with him (a picture frame), so following after his example, I brought one of these with me. Do you notice about a frame, it has a beginning, it has sides, and it has an end? That’s what the word “framed” means. It means planned, arranged, finished, and perfected. Everything from beginning to end and all it contains—all of the ages—are in the plan, and the arrangement, and the finish, and the perfection of our God. It’s all in His hand. “He’s got the whole age in His hand.” Second verse, “He’s got you and me in His hand.” I do not want to talk about out there; I want to talk about in here, because it’s going to save my soul knowing this! And if it’s just the truth that says, “Well, yes, back there He did it all or up there He’s going to do it,” it doesn’t change my condition. The exceeding great and precious promises enable me to be a partaker of the divine nature and so He wants my soul to be saved! By faith, I understand that the ages were framed by the word of God! For example, and this is just an example, the things which are seen were not made out of things that do appear; so now we can say, “Well, for example, the creation.” But the first part of that verse is not just limiting to the natural creation we see. The natural creation we see is an example of the fact that God can produce visible out of invisible and He’s got it all there by His word. Everything that happens— everything that happens—is within the framework of God’s predetermined counsel.

(Brother Bill Grier speaks now in microphone) I hate to swallow prophecy. Has anybody ever swallowed it and just sit there? (Bill now shares his prophecy) “Put your frame at the end of time. Put your face there. Walk there.” That’s the only thing God gave me. I don’t know what He would have said after that, but this is a word from God, folks.

(Brother Andrew comes back to the microphone) There are times, I notice, the Spirit of the Lord gets us to concentrate in particular books. I was in Esther for a while and everybody was preaching on Esther—your son, John, was preaching on Esther (speaking to Rus Basalyga), I was preaching on Esther, everybody was (speaking on) Esther! I’ve noticed quite a lot of Daniel lately. I don’t know if it’s because Daniel is sealed up unto the end of the time and this is the end of the time.

We were up at Ugadale and had a tremendous time there together. One morning, I got up about 7:00 and got my things together—got my towel and my wash bag—and I thought I’d go have a shower. I opened the bedroom door and got out into the landing just to see the retreating form of somebody going into the bathroom just ahead of me. So, fine, I went back into the bedroom, put my things on the bed and I thought, “I have just a few minutes, I’ll kneel down and just pray until the bathroom is empty.” And the Lord said to me, “Everything’s framed. Everything’s framed by the word of God. Everything is framed . This isn’t coincidence.” I didn’t say this, but in my unbelief I immediately think, “You really mean that person going into the bathroom ahead…” Everything. Where are you going to draw the line, if you’re going to draw a line? There’s been the election over in the USA and I heard those amongst the ministry who are more affected by it than we are, yet —and I say, yet —I heard a voicing of preference and they were saying, “You know, everything that happens is the will of God and you know that whoever gets in, it will be because that’s who God wanted to get in.” OK, you say, “That’s alright; so it’s the will of God that Barack Obama becomes the President of the United States.” Well, he appoints a cabinet, or whatever they call them over there—people for this office and that office; and he may be appointing Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. You say, “Well, I can accept that happens by the predetermined will of God.” Well, she (Clinton) appoints a secretary. “Well, I don’t know her name or his name.” But, where are you going to draw the line? OK, Hillary Clinton’s secretary is appointed by the will of God. Well, the secretary probably has somebody who has to do her housecleaning while she’s in the office being secretary. “Well, come on now.” No! Where are you going to draw the line, if you’re going to draw the line? I don’t think you can draw the line, because it says the ages were framed. There’s nothing that is outside the frame; it’s all inside the frame of what God has determined is going to happen.

Go to Daniel Chapter 3. You know this story—such a great story—of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I just love the way in which they respond to King Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel 3:16 ‘Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.’

In other words—“We’re standing here before you, king, we know you think you have the power of life and death in your hand, but we’re not worried by you.” Why would they not be worried by him? Because they have an understanding that everything’s framed by God. Just like Jesus before Pilate; Pilate is thinking he has control and Jesus said, “You can have no power over Me at all, except it were given you from above.” There had been a previous time when they wanted to throw Jesus off the edge of a cliff and they couldn’t do it, because it wasn’t in the frame. So they’re standing there before Nebuchadnezzar the king and they say, “We’re not worried by you.” Well, what are they worried about?

(Verse 17 & 18) ‘If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.’

I believe they knew that they were perfectly OK within the framework of God, because He had determined that those who follow Him fully will be under His complete protection. So, they knew that the king could not do any evil to them. He could burn their bodies in the furnace and they wouldn’t die. Now we know the end of the matter; we’ve read the end of the story. They knew that God was in charge. Because they had exercised their faith into that truth, their souls were saved. You’re looking at three men with saved souls here. They said, “We don’t have to worry about you, king.” That’s a saved soul! The soul is where your worry would come; where your fear would come; where your anxiety would come; where your reasoning would come. They don’t start arguing with him and say, “But we’re good boys, really. Let’s us tell you about…we’ll try & evangelize you…” They just say, “It’s all OK.” Because the worlds were framed by the word of God.

Who do you serve when things go wrong? The god of complaining? Has he become the idol you bow down in front of? And things do go wrong, I mean, our definition of wrong; it doesn’t go wrong, really; it seems to go wrong. The god of murmuring? The god of speaking evil of the person who made it happen? You know who made it happen? Who do you serve when things go wrong? They said, “The God whom we serve—the God whom we serve—is able.” They knew Who had set it up. They knew King Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t really in control; this was God’s set up. It was His framing.

How about over in Chapter 6—another great story here—the best storybook in the world this is. Daniel is going to be cast into the den of lions. What has happened is, there have been some enemies in the kingdom. How come those enemies were there? God framed it! How brilliantly He frames these things.

(Verse 10) ‘Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.’

Why didn’t he adjust his behavior? There’s a new rule that’s come in that says if you pray to any other god, you’ll be thrown into the lion’s den. Why didn’t he adjust his behavior? Because he knew that law could never have come into place except the God of heaven had ordained it—because the ages are framed by the word of God. He knew he was in no jeopardy, if he was in the will of God. He was able to carry on and continue in the will of God as he had walked before—he continued to do that and he bowed there and they looked through the open window and saw him and they threw him in the lion’s den. The king comes along and he says, “Daniel, is your God able to deliver you?”—because he didn’t know. Daniel knew. Daniel knew that everything that He framed was going to happen. And He was well able to deliver him—if that was His will and His purpose—he would be delivered.

(Verse 22-24) ‘My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.’

You think God had framed the whole thing from the beginning or did He just wake up to a good idea half way through? He had it there from the beginning. Did Daniel know how it was going to end up? He never knew, but He knew that the ages were framed by the word of God.

And then Darius tells everybody they have to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. Because, when the world sees a people who have their faith in the predetermined counsel and will of God—that He is good and He does everything right—then God has a people He can manifest in. Planned, arranged, finished, and perfected.

Back to Daniel—Chapter 4 is the chapter of the Bible written by a Gentile. Written by Nebuchadnezzar. Now Nebuchadnezzar is the head of gold in the dream that he had. He is the king of the head of gold. The statue that Nebuchadnezzar saw in that dream represents the kingdoms of this world—from start to finish—from head to foot—all of them—there’s no part out of it that isn’t pictured from head to foot. There are no other bits of you, are there?—that’s the whole man. Nebuchadnezzar in the scriptures is the king of the head of gold and all of those kingdoms are still there. The kingdoms don’t pass away until the stone comes out of the mountain, hewn without hands, and destroys them all. Nebuchadnezzar, by virtue of being the headman of that statue—the king of the gold head—he is actually representative of the whole. Leaders represent their people. The prime minister goes off or whatever—he represents the people and so, this man, Nebuchadnezzar represents the Gentile nations of the world—the unbelieving. This whole story, about how he was made a beast for seven times, is a picture of the unbelieving of the world, for the whole of the period of human history, because they didn’t acknowledge God and give glory to Him—they have been given a beast’s heart. And, of course, the whole thing is a picture of a tree and the tree of a field is a man’s life—it’s the Gentile man—the unbelieving—the unsaved man.

It says in Daniel 4:16 ‘Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him;’ That’s where mankind is. ‘And let seven times pass over him.’ Seven—the number representing all that there is—the whole history of the human race, from Adam until now—has a beast’s heart. ‘This matter is by decree of the watchers,’

(Dan. 4:14-15) ‘He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: Let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches: Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth:’

Notice that even though God has ordained that this tree should be cut down—that it should no longer be a place of refuge; a place of provision; a place of shade, or any of that—it’s destroyed from all that purpose- yet in the goodness of God, He leaves some restrictions in place on it. He puts bands around it. You know in everybody’s life, there are restrictions. In the goodness of God, there are restrictions on us—restrictions of time; restrictions of strength and capacity; restrictions of mental ability and understanding; restrictions of age; restrictions of strength because of weariness and all those sorts of things—God has put restrictions on that. Hallelujah! Because man’s a beast. We’re going to pick that thought up a little later as well,- just remember that.

(Dan. 4:25) Daniel is now interpreting the vision. He says, ‘This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king: that they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.’

The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will. He (Daniel) says, “Nebuchadnezzar, you’re going to continue in the beast realm until you acknowledge that the worlds were framed by the word of God—until you acknowledge that God, the most High, rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever He pleases. Nebuchadnezzar, you’re going to stay in your mental breakdown—in your beast nature and in your stupidity and in your foolishness, that is typical of the human race today—until you will come to the place of acknowledging that God has ordained everything and done everything right and it’s all perfect and you acknowledge Him as King of kings and Lord of lords and then you’re reason will return to you.” The human race is going to come to that place. This is prophetic; it’s picked up in the New Testament when it says, “Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” And until man comes to the place of recognizing that God is in absolute control, and we have no grounds to criticize Him on any point— any point—we’re in the beast realm.

By faith, we get our souls saved. Do you know how peaceful you can be, when you actually acknowledge God? “It’s OK. I don’t understand, but I believe You are good. You did it right.” A God of faithfulness and without injustice—good and perfect is He. Easy to sing, but what about when the pressure is on? A God of faithfulness and without injustice, good and perfect is He.

I don’t know what the days ahead are going to hold. They may be very different from the days before. We are in a particularly protected part of the world—we in the West; the world doesn’t live like we do. I say I’d like to take the young people to Africa so that they can at least get a glimpse of how some other people live—more people live like they do in Africa than live like we do here. We are the favored few—I don’t know, maybe top 10%--where people don’t normally live with the provision that we have. I don’t know what the future is going to hold. Christians don’t normally live with the freedoms we have. I’ve spoken and many of you have heard me say this; I’ve read on a website that there were more Christians who died for their faith last year than in the whole of the first 500 years of the Church. We have had it easy. We have been cushioned and protected. What have we done with our freedom? You answer that question. I don’t know how it’s going to continue from here. What I’m telling you is—keep believing. Whatever happens, it’s OK. The worse that anyone can do to you is destroy your body; that’s the very worse. They’ve no tool past that one. Nebuchadnezzar can throw you in the fiery furnace; Darius can throw you in the lion’s den; what’s the worse that could happen to you? You lose your body; the body’s destroyed. What about your soul? They have no power at all over your soul, and if you believe, even in that situation, it’s to the saving of the soul. The framing of everything by God— everything by God— everything planned, arranged, finished, and perfected—His perfect will being done. We have no grounds left for any murmuring, if we understand that God has done it right. And if you murmur, you know what you’re declaring? My soul is not saved. The wicked heart of unbelief. A whole nation, 600,000 people, failed to enter in because they did not put their trust in the God who was able to give them the land. He had promised for generations; they had rehearsed it—father to children; children to their children; “God is going to give us a land. God is going to give us a land!” And when they came to the land, they thought they had to do it themselves. They didn’t believe that God could do it. Brethren and sisters, this is a time for putting our faith in God. Maybe because of the time we are in, I just really want to make this point clear to us.

Matthew 10:28, we were just talking about this, ‘And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.’

Who’s that? It’s God, it’s not the devil. We would never be told to fear the devil; you do understand that, don’t you? We’re told to resist the devil, submitting ourselves to God. This is God it is talking about.

Now look at this, (verse 29) ‘Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?’ You may not be aware, some of you, what a farthing is—it was a quarter of an old penny. ‘And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.’

They’re worth nothing and God knows when every sparrow falls to the ground. “The very hairs of your head are all numbered!” What is Jesus trying to convey to us in this? He’s trying to tell us that God really cares and there isn’t anything that happens just by accident! Not even a sparrow that dies and drops to the ground escapes God’s notice. How could that possibly be? We have a great God. How great? Not even a sparrow falls to the ground without Him noticing and the hairs of your head are numbered. So when you think about everything being framed by God—totally within His predetermined will—remember He’s this good and this great.

(Verse 31) ‘Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.’

Luke writing this same passage says about the sparrows, “Not one of them is forgotten before God.” Not one sparrow is forgotten before God.

Do you want your soul saved? Believing to the saving of your soul? The first thing we know is—the ages were framed by the word of God.

Look at this passage in Acts on our way back to Hebrews.

Acts 17:22 ‘Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;’

Do you hear what that says? He’s decided who you should be; where you should live; and when you should live. God’s done that ahead of time; this was all planned by God. You were not an idea that your parents had. It was not your idea that you would be born American, Mexican, Spanish, Irish, English, (Andrew paused and you could hear Cathy Owens say, “Scots”) Scots, oh sorry…whew! That one was close, wasn’t it? (much laughter by all) (You could hear Joe McCord say, “And Canadian, God help us.”) (much laughter still) Sorry, do we have anyone else? (still laughing) Oh dear, the United Kingdom—ho, ho.

God determined it all and He determined that we should be the people who are alive at the end of the age. Paul—do you ever feel sorry for Paul? He wanted to be alive now—‘we who are alive and remain’ was what was in his heart. He said, “I was born out of due season.” I think he wanted to be alive at the time of His appearing. Well, he is alive at the time of His appearing, but he wanted to be alive here . God hath made of one blood all nations and hath determined the times before appointed when everything happens—when everything happens—He has determined and where it happens, the bounds of their habitation—He’s determined. Why? Do you remember the bands that were around the tree stump, which pictured King Nebuchadnezzar—talking about the Gentile nations? There were bands around—there were restrictions—because God determined ahead of time the bounds—where they’re going to live and when they’re going to live—everything was ordered by Him. Yes, including Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Hitler, Stalin, all of those, determined by Him ahead of time. Everything. He takes responsibility for it all. He’s not worried that you might criticize Him about it. He’s not particularly phased by the fact that men might think that He isn’t quite the God He ought to be. He thinks perhaps that men don’t know very well. Why?

(Verse 27) ‘ That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:’

That’s why He did it. Do you know why everything happened to you that ever happened to you? God ordained it to give you the best possible opportunity to find Him. Not one accident in the whole program. Not one accident anywhere along the line. You say, “It’s really been a hard life I’ve had.” You needed a really hard life. Why did that happen to me? Here’s the reason. So that you would seek the Lord and perhaps find Him. That’s why it happened. You wouldn’t have planned it that way. Oh, no, you wouldn’t!

I’ve been teaching along the way here, the story of Deborah and Barak and most of you, 75% of you have heard it, which is why I’m not sharing it this morning, but in the song at the end of the victory that Deborah and Barak won—in the song in Judges, chapter 5, there’s praise of the tribes that took part and criticism of the tribes that didn’t take part. It says that Reuben had ‘great searchings of heart’. In other others words, he just thought about it and never did anything. We know some of those (laughter). Asher, I like Asher, it says ‘Asher remained on the seashore.’ (laughter) I thought, I can just identify with that, you know, “Life’s a beach!” (laughter) Well, some people seem to get the “Asher portion”, don’t they?—everything’s just a beach! But other people—you think, “God! Another thing!” You hear about the next prayer request and you say, “God! How can they cope with yet, another thing in their family?” You know, it seems like trouble is piled upon trouble upon trouble. Why does it happen like that? God framed it that way—‘that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might find Him.’ And that’s true of everybody—Paul was preaching this in Athens to the unbelieving. God is trying to get everybody the opportunity to find Him and that’s why He has arranged it as He has. His framing was not just haphazard; it was purposeful. He did it with a reason. He wanted men and women to find Him.

I’ve never been a savage—well, I have—in the jungles of Africa; but I guess if you went there and were able to talk to them in their tribal languages and said, “Have you ever sensed this God?” They would say, “Well, yes, I was looking at the river running by the other day.” Or, “I was looking at the leaf.” Or, “I was looking at the sunset and something just touched my soul.” I know Matthew, one time, shared with us how he saw the Northern Lights when he was at Blueberry and it was a spiritual experience. I don’t know how He makes and organizes these things—that night, the Northern Lights put on their best show for Matthew. He’s done things like that, for different people at different times. It’s all in His predetermined plan that they might seek the Lord and find Him. The Gentiles even have the law written on their conscience—on their hearts. He’s not far from anyone of us. In Him, we live and move and have our being.

Back to the book of Hebrews. So, do you understand, point 1—You have been framed. You have no grounds, ever again, if you understand this, and this is a faith operation—you never have any more grounds to complain about anything. Giving thanks in all things because God has done it right and He sets it up ahead of time because He said, “This is the best way to do it.” And it’s not “ their” fault—whoever “they” might be. God says, “I did it.” And when you blame “them”, you’re really saying, “God, You got it wrong.”

Point 2:

Hebrews 11:4 ‘By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.’

Hebrews is a book of comparatives. Constantly, the writer is talking about something—and then, something better. Something—and something more. Here we have a comparative—a more excellent sacrifice.

Back in Hebrews 8:6, talking about the Lord Jesus Christ, it says, ‘But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry’

More excellent—remember that? In Hebrews 11:4, it said ‘By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice’. Jesus was a more excellent ministry. What do you suppose then was the more excellent sacrifice that Abel offered? He offered a lamb—a real, four-footed, wooly lamb. But what was he really doing? In the unseen realm, what was he doing? What was he picturing? He was picturing, The Lamb! We were hearing about Him this morning. God spoke to us about Him. Brother Joe brought us a word in which the Lamb was mentioned—it is the Lord Jesus Christ! So, that’s what we’re really seeing in this—Abel was a prophet! In his deeds, he was anticipating—he was proclaiming the death of the Lord Jesus Christ that was going to come and how he put his faith in that sacrifice as being acceptable to God.

In Genesis chapter 4, where the story of Cain and Abel comes up, there were two brothers who both brought sacrifices to the Lord. The same Hebrew word is used for the sacrifice that Abel brought and for the sacrifice that Cain brought. The outward seems as if they both made great sacrifice; in fact, I’ve thought Cain got a very rough deal. You think about how he got his sacrifice together. He was a tiller of the ground. Abel was a keeper of the sheep. So, there’s Abel, he’s sitting under a tree in the shade; he has his straw hat on; he’s chewing a piece of grass and he’s just watching the flock—day after day after day. OK, there’s a bit more to looking after sheep than that. (laughter) There’s Cain and he’s out there in the ground that has been cursed, in the heat of the day with a mattock—they haven’t invented cultivators and tractors at that time—he’s doing it all by the sweat of his brow. The thorns and the thistles are coming up; he has to prepare the ground; he has to plant the seed; he has to keep the birds away; he has to do the weeding; he has to do the watering; he has to keep the white fly, the black fly, the green fly, the red fly, the tartan fly, (laughter) whatever it might be; he has to keep them all off, (laughter) so there’s a crop at the end. He has to go out there and everyday—everyday—everyday—and at the end of it all, he says, “Whew! Now we have a harvest, I’m going to give some to God.” Don’t you feel sorry for him that God says, “No, that’s not any good.”? After all the rest of the time his brother has been there chewing grass, sitting under the tree, and just swatting the flies away. You would have to say Cain tried harder. But, Abel was directed by a word from God to the sacrifice that pleased God; and the sacrifice that pleased God was a lamb.

OK, you say, “I know the blood of an animal has to be shed, but surely God will be more pleased with a camel.” It’s more valuable; it’s bigger—or the prize bull; rather than just a lamb—that’s easy. In comparison to everything else, a helpless little lamb—it goes like a lamb to the slaughter, as a sheep before the shearers is dumb so it opens not its mouth—it’s the easiest animal to kill of all those four-footed creatures. You compare killing a lamb with killing a pig—I’ve seen them both done—you’ll choose the lamb any day. But you see this is the one that pleased God, and that was the essence of it. You see, Abel pleased God.

Look how hard we can work to please God. We were singing this morning; did you hear it? “By Your blood, I will come boldly, I will come into Your presence.” That’s in the Bible.

Hebrews 10:19 ‘Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,’

Are you doing that? ‘By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.’ There’s two things going on here—You’re either not doing it because you don’t care; or you’re trying to do it by another method which is what Cain used; or else you’re doing it because you’re putting faith where faith belongs.

“The holiest,” you say. But hold on, that means the Holy of Holies. Yes, that means the Holy of Holies. The outer court—that’s Passover—we all know that’s happened—that was the death of Jesus on the cross. Then the Holy Place—that’s the Baptism in the Holy Spirit—we know that’s happened—surely the Holiest isn’t opened, yet. Historically, in terms of a corporate church experience, the Holiest of All is not open—because there’s going to come a time, which we call the first resurrection, where there’s going to be an entering in; and that picture is valid. But as far as you are concerned, you have the right to fellowship with the Father. In the outer court, you have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ through His blood; in the Holy Place, you have your dealings with the Holy Spirit; but you, because of what They have done for you, have the right of access—so we’re told we can come boldly into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus. How does this work? You put your faith in the fact that He has done the sacrifice that you need. I’m not going to leave it there; we’re going to talk about another thing in the next verse shortly, because I’m well aware of the need for a walk , but our right to go in is put in place because of the blood of Jesus.

Let’s read it again:

Hebrews 10:19 ‘Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,’

So I have a question this morning. This whole chapter (Heb. 11) begins with the last phrase of the preceding chapter (Heb. 10) that says,

(Heb. 10:39b) ‘…(we are) of them that believe to the saving of the soul.’

I want us to know this morning whether our soul is being saved by putting faith in the work of Jesus. Because, as our brother said this morning, there is none other name under heaven given amongst men whereby we must be saved. We don’t want to lose that. The blood got taken from the outer court, all the way in. It got sprinkled on the ground, so that the place where we fall, we open our eyes and we see the blood of Jesus; it’s there for us. This is part of the exceeding great and precious promises by which we become partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that’s in the world through lust.

I just went to the computer briefly—I typed all sorts of things that are the things that are ours because of the work of Jesus. You know that it says in Ephesians, chapter 1—we sing it—“We have redemption through His blood”. If I was writing that scripture, I probably would have written, “We have been redeemed through His blood.” But, it doesn’t say that; it says, ‘We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.’ If it had said, “We are redeemed”, I would have in my mind been authorized to go back to a moment in time when I gave my heart to the Lord and I recognized that I had been purchased out of a life of slavery to sin; but what it says is, ‘We have redemption’; that’s different. Redemption speaks of a release from slavery and bondage. If there is any area in your life or mine where we are in slavery or bondage—a habitual falling into sin; a thing that we’re addicted to that we can’t get free of; maybe a thought process that we go round and round and round and we get convicted every time we think of it; it may be deeds; it may be actions; it may be thoughts; it may be reactions; it may be words; it may be anger; it could be this, that, or the other; but we’re aware we keep going there and we have to say, “This thing has got me.” We have redemption through His blood! We have the right of release; we do not have to stay there! When we were born again, we were brought back to the beginning and the sheet was made clean and there was an impartation given to us, which is called redemption through His blood. That’s the breaking of every slavery and every bondage that has hold over our lives through the blood of Jesus. They are not there in Christ. In Christ, you were made a new creation. There is no bondage and slavery in Christ. We’re told to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ Jesus has set us free.

Do you hear what I’m saying? These are things where we have to exercise our faith to the saving of our soul! Or else, we’ll just live in a sort of half measure of mental agreement without faith being exercised that makes any difference to me. Maybe you identify with that this morning and there’s a bondage and you recognize (and say), “Lord, I keep falling and the Bible says that You are able to keep me from falling.” It’s time to go to the Lord and say, “Lord, this ought not to be. This isn’t the provision that you gave to me. I have redemption through Your blood.” And start to speak it and start to declare it and say, “It applies to me! It isn’t just words in a book. You didn’t write it there just to make the book a bit thicker.”

Father God, thank You, for the exceeding great promises. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.”

Where are you today? What does your faith tell you? You know the right answers, but what does your faith tell you about where you are today? You have been delivered, the scripture says, but does your faith tell you—‘I’ve been delivered from the power of darkness and now my dwelling place is in the kingdom of His dear Son’?

We’ve heard a lot about kingdom, government, and authority, both at this time and those here in Humphrystown House—we’ve had extra time with Brother Bobby and Sister Cathy and that’s been the theme and really that wasn’t the start of it—we know that God has called us to a place where we’re to be under His kingship and His authority and you know, that’s a place of freedom from the power of darkness.

Don’t be afraid to look in your heart and say, “Lord, I haven’t let this apply to me, because I haven’t mixed it with faith. I have an evil heart of unbelief and I’m not entering into the Promised Land and Lord, you have made this provision for me. There is a more excellent sacrifice! Here I am, I get up in the morning, I do my duties, I go to the meetings—but really, it’s like Cain hacking away at dry ground, trying to bring something forth and You’ve chosen a sacrifice for me—it’s one that pleases You. And let the power of the blood work in my life.”

A more excellent sacrifice. David describes the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputes righteousness without works saying, “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man who the Lord will not impute sin.”

It was wonderful for me—after I understood the definition of iniquities as being ‘me going my own way’—to find that God made a provision in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus for my iniquities. I had understood for years that there was forgiveness of sins, but it actually hit me in a new way when I read, “blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven”. My willful disobedience, my choice of my way over His—how does it get forgiven? There’s a more excellent sacrifice—the one that God has chosen.

We’ve been thinking a lot about the mind and our thoughts—and if these wonderful things that God has put in place are going to be ours, I want to commend meditating to you. It’s something that Psalm 1 speaks about. The Bible uses the word “meditating” in different aspects. It’s translated in other places in the Bible as “to roar like a lion”, for example. So there are some things in here (the Bible)—when I see what the enemy has done, I have to roar like a lion! I look at a verse and I say, “Why have you robbed me of that?” Inside you say, “I’m not going to let this continue anymore.” There’s another time it’s (the word “meditating”) translated and it means, “the cooing of a dove”. Whew! Can you believe it? There are things that happen when you meditate on God’s word. There’s a response inside you, so that His word gets mixed with faith inside you. It is no benefit to us—let me say that again—there’s no benefit to us if it’s in the Book and not mixed with faith in our hearts.

Remember back in the Old Testament when David became king that one of the first things he did was set his eyes on the city of Jerusalem. In fact, I’d like you to turn there.

I Chronicles 11:4-6 ‘And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Jebus; where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land. And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither. Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David. And David said, Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites first, shall be chief and captain. So Joab the son of Zerulah went first up, and was chief.’

The name Jebusite comes from the Hebrew word that means “threshold”. You know the threshold is the place that you tread on when you are going into somewhere. We have wooden boards between the rooms of this house—the thresholds. These are stemming back to the times of threshing in a pit where the grain was to fall back into the pit. The pit had a little wall around it, but probably the wall was a bit lower at one point so you walked into the threshing area that way—it has the idea of a threshold; therefore, from that that comes to mean “trodden under”—“downtrodden”. You have the people of God who could never get over this particular problem, because this city was never taken until King David took it. It had been a problem; it was a thorn in their sides. The time of Saul had gone by, the time of the judges had gone by—the Jebusites had lived there all the time and their name means “downtrodden”. King David comes along and he says, “We’re going to take this city!” He has an eye on it. This became the City of David. He wanted this particular city and so he says, “Who’s going to be the first to do it? Because whoever is the first to do it, is going to be chief and captain.

Let me read to you what Strong’s Concordance says about these words, “chief” and “captain” and see if it speaks anything to you.

Here’s the word, “chief”; it means “the head”. Here are different translations of it: beginning, captain, chief, excellent, first, forefront, head, height, highest part, high priest, principal, ruler, sum, top.

The second word, “captain”: captain, chief, general, governor, keeper, lord, prince, ruler, steward.

Do you think there’s a company of people anywhere that God might like to be first? Forefront? Principal? Rulers? Princes? You ever heard of such a people? Could it perhaps be a firstfruits? A people who say, “We’re not going to accept the thoughts that tread us down and put us under any longer.” Because he said, ‘Whoever smiteth the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain.’ There is going to be a people who say, “The devil tells me this, but the Spirit of God tells me this. My thoughts tell me this, His thoughts tell me this. I am not going to believe the depressing “I can not” thoughts that come to me.”

I’m sure, at times when we get out of the Spirit, that everyone gets beset with feelings of inadequacy—they manifest in embarrassment. A poll in America asked people what their biggest fear was and their biggest fear—in this day and age of 9/11 and all that—was the fear of public speaking. It’s the enemy putting on us something that holds us down and keeps us from the freedom and the liberty that is ours in Christ Jesus. God is going to have a people first who rise up above it. Now, I’m only talking about doing it in the Spirit. I’m not talking about some human exercise or something that makes us all carnally controlling—that’s horrible. I’m talking about in the Spirit of God there really is liberty and we are not meant to be a people who are put under this cloud.

I have noticed in the Bible it talks about the word of the Lord. The word of the Lord is never “yucky”. Do you know what I mean by “yucky”? Satan tries to put a cloud of despondency over us and let us believe that we’re a people who are just living in this “falling short” area in a feeling of inadequacy and can’t do it! The Holy Spirit says that you will receive “power”—the word is “dunamis” and it gets its root (meaning) from “I can do”! So the Holy Spirit came along, to you and to me, to change us from a group of failures into a group of people who, through the power of the Spirit and through no other way, become people who can do it! So Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” That is not what you hear when you’re listening to the Jebusite spirit.

Listen to this (reading from Ps. 19:7-9) ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’

And you do not find those characteristics in the things the Jebusite spirit speaks to you! He speaks to you—clouds—yucky stuff—makes you feel like your not quite breaking through—you’re less than what you really are—and just tries to hold you down without being specific about anything.

When the Holy Spirit comes along and convicts a person of sin, the person knows what they’ve done wrong. It’s clean—it’s clear—it’s straightforward—it’s a sword and comes into you and you say, well, you should say, “Yes, Lord, that conviction is right.” And when that happens, you know what to do. You repent; you confess your sin and He is faithful and just to forgive it. But the enemy wants to come and just hold you down and just keep you down into something lesser than we are in Christ and so we do not recognize our seating in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

But God’s going to have a people first and the people who are first, by faith, are going to be chief and captain.

OK, that was Number 2. So we had (#1) The world is being framed—everything’s in His sovereign will. The second one (#2) We need to have faith in the more excellent sacrifice and all that it has bought and purchased for us. I am not worthy, but I’ve been set free.

Point 3:

Hebrews 11:5 ‘By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.’

First of all, a couple of definitions—the word “translation” means to change sides, to transfer to another place. “To please” is to be fully agreeable, to gratify entirely. Enoch pleased God, he gratified Him entirely .

Now I’d like you to turn to Genesis, chapter 5. This is a genealogy that we have here and it follows a pattern. For example in verse 6, it says, ‘Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos: And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters: and all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.’

That’s the pattern of the genealogy—somebody lived so many years; they had children; they lived so many more years; and then they died. There are six people named in succession and that’s the pattern that’s followed and every time it ends with this phrase, ‘and he died’. Six times this happened and then we come to verse 21 and it starts according to the pattern—‘And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:’ and then we get something—different.

(Heb. 11:22-24 cont.) ‘And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.’

There had never been a life that finished like that before. The seventh from Adam brought something new in, that hadn’t been experienced before. ‘Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.’

There is an alternative end. Your life—it’s been framed—and it has an end. Not really thinking so much of physical death, but there is a conclusion—there is a place—an eternal destiny where you’re going to spend eternity. We talk about the resurrection with some excitement but you know everybody is going to be resurrected. There’s nobody who is not going to be resurrected. We get excited about it because our promise and our hope and our calling is to the first resurrection—which is one to get excited about—but, everybody is going to get resurrected and everybody is going to stand before God and then, at the judgment seat of God, they’re going to have their eternity determined by God’s judgment. There is a promise in the life of Enoch that not everybody’s end has to be death. God took him.

So, how are we going to access this different ending to the story? You know—lived happily ever after. How are we going to get there? Well, the answer is so clear: Enoch—walked—with—God. Now, you can understand why it was necessary, previously, to have faith in the more excellent sacrifice, because the more excellent sacrifice took us into the Holiest of All. You have to be able to get into the Holiest of All where the Father is if you’re going to walk with Him. Really, what it’s talking about is relationship—it’s not talking about some physical place in some physical temple—it’s talking about relationship—it’s talking about knowing Him. By the blood of Jesus, we’re given access, but now having been given access, there is something that we are now able to do and that is important that we do —and that is walk with Him. So, this is progressive. And, by faith, we now need daily to walk with the God who Jesus Christ has given us access with. What’s the point of having boldness to access His presence and then not living there?

Pleasing God. It seems to me that pleasing God was the total purpose of Enoch’s life. I think he had picked up ‘and for His pleasure, we were created’. We say to our young people, “What are you going to do when you leave school?” It really isn’t your plans that are that important…The question really is, “Are you going to live as pleases Him?” Now we have access—are we going to stay? He had this testimony that he pleased God.

Enoch’s name derives from Hebrew words that mean to disciple, to train, to discipline. I get the impression that this was not a walk without some of the adjusting pressures of God upon his life. It sounds so easy—‘Enoch walked with God’—(Andrew walks along whistling here) but I don’t think he was like that. He was a man of like passions as we are. He was a man who could feel the sort of things that we feel. He had pulls on his life, too. He was made with a body like you have. So, he knew what it was to be tempted but he was a man who walked with God . Not in some different way than you are called to. He had to go to sleep at night; he had to get up in the morning; he had to prepare his food; he had to go out to work; and he did it for three hundred years! And he did it after he begat Methuselah. Why after he begat Methuselah did he start to walk with God? (laughter) Brother Buddy said, “Most children will put you on your knees.” That’s true.

You know what Methuselah’s name means? There is some debate about this, but it means: when he dies, judgment—or, when he dies, it (judgment) will fall. When Methuselah died, the flood happened. He died just before the flood. What do you know about Methuselah? He was the oldest man who ever lived. When he dies—judgment. Why do you think he lived so long? Judgment was being held off. Why does God hold off judgment? He’s longsuffering not wishing that any should perish. The reason why Methuselah had to live so long was because God had said when he dies that judgment must come and God wanted to get the maximum opportunity for the people to repent! It wasn’t because of his genes; it was because of the framing of God and the mercy of God that He held back the judgment! He held it back of course, particularly, not wanting Noah and his family to perish; they had to finish building the ark! During that 300 years where Enoch walked with God, he was in exactly the same place as you are—with the same difficulties and pressures, the same disciplining and training needing to happen on his life, but he chose to walk God’s way and you can too— by faith by faith —the faith that we have to the saving of our soul.

Sometimes, I know that we preach these things from the pulpit and the words seem to be so “up there” and that sort of thing; I want you to go from this meeting knowing that God has made a provision for you to walk with Him! That is your calling. We have a calling to be a firstfruits people; we have a calling to the first resurrection; we have a calling to set creation free; but the way from here to there—well, I don’t know exactly what it is, but I tell you, you have to walk it with Somebody. Enoch walked with God—by faith, Enoch walked with God.

What a sense of well being there is, when you’re walking with God! I’m not talking about everything going the way you want it to but the inner sense of well-being—Shalom peace—that comes to those who walk with God. Do you know it? Godliness with contentment…what’s the next word? IS . What tense is that? Present—now. It doesn’t say, “will be”. Godliness with contentment is great gain. That’s now. Have you tried it? Do you know it? Have you tried the other? How was that? Some say the old is better. That’s the choice—that’s where we are! Enoch chose to walk with God. He said, “This is the way I’m going to map my life out; I am choosing to walk under the government of God, holding His hand, availing of His strength.” The abundance of grace that enables us to reign in life by Christ Jesus—the Enoch’s say, “That’s how I’m going to live!” And brethren and sisters, that wasn’t written in Hebrews 11 just to tell us that Enoch did it. By faith— by faith we have access to the saving of our souls. Brethren and sisters, our lives have been determined by a good God! Our good God has given access through a more excellent sacrifice into His presence! And now that we’re in His presence, let’s stay in His presence!

This is the map for our life. I don’t know whether tomorrow some catastrophe will befall you. I don’t know what’s in the framing of God—but walk with God in it. You might be thrown into the fire tomorrow—you’ll find the fourth man there. You might be put in the lion’s den—you’ll find the angel of the Lord there. I don’t know what it is, but God—hath He not said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you”? Praise the Lord.

Enoch’s son was Methuselah and Enoch knew judgment was coming. He knew it 969 years before it came. He knew judgment was coming; in fact, you can read one of Enoch’s prophecies in the book of Jude and do you know what it’s about? (Quoting from Jude 14) ‘The Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all…’ Enoch knew that, too. That’s another encouragement to walk with God, isn’t it!

God has the carrot and stick approach. He says, “In My presence is fullness of joy.” And He says, “I’m going to exercise judgment upon all.” And they’re both true.

Enoch walked with God. Enoch saw the testimony of God’s longsuffering in his son. But 300 years after Methuselah was born, God took him and he was not. He was translated to another place. The number 300 speaks particularly of the sons of God. He was a son of God.

Now, some of you may not understand this, but many of you do. God doesn’t deal with everybody the same. He never has and He doesn’t feel any obligation to be fair in the way that we consider to be fair. Amongst the people that He has redeemed by the blood of Jesus, there are those who have a calling to what we call “firstfruits”. Not every part of the harvest is being taken at the same time. Part of the harvest has already been taken—the first of the firstfruits—the Lord Jesus Christ lifted up into resurrection and seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High. The next plan in God’s program is to enter once again into the field, which is the world, and to come and take a harvest and it isn’t the general harvest—it’s another first harvest—it’s the firstfruits. The Bible talks about a people who are the firstfruits unto God and the Lamb and they’re represented by this number, 300. Enoch was one of them. I think, when we see who they are, Enoch will be there.

Brethren and sisters, if you know that to be your calling, walk with God. By faith—walk with God. Don’t let days go by of indifference. This has to be a passion of ours. There’s going to have to be some intensity in this. Faith without works is dead. Faith isn’t just a thing where you say, “Well, I have faith.” It’s expressed in your life.

Enoch walked with God and he was not for God took him. He had this testimony: he pleased God. He was translated—he was in another place. How about being in another place today? Remember? There are two realms: there’s the “seen realm” and the “unseen realm”. We’re told to set our affections on things above where Christ is—that’s the unseen realm. Where is your affection today? There’s a place—you can’t do very much about your feet being on terra firma, but you can decide where your heart’s going to be. That’s where you really are—where your heart is.

We’re not of them who draw back unto perdition; we are of them who believe to the saving of the soul.

Don’t trust any preacher that says this, but let me take you to one last scripture. (laughter) This is the last one, so far.

I want to bless you with this benediction this morning. Maybe, by faith, you’ll receive it as not from me, but the Spirit of the Lord.

Romans 15: 13 ‘Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.’

(Brother Andrew repeats the scripture once again and slowly stresses each word) ‘Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.’

God bless you.

   
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