Learn from the sins of others so you don’t suffer the same punishment.

The Beginning of the End

2 Kings 17:5, 6

2 Kings 17:5 The king of Assyria invaded the entire land, marched against Samaria and laid siege to it for three years. 6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes.

Thus is the end the 10 northern tribes; they disappeared never to return.

They intermarried with their captors and thus became Gentiles – no longer Jews.

Why did this happen?

2 Kings 17:7 All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

How did they sin? (2 Kings 17:7-23)

2 Kings 17: 14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who did not trust in the LORD their God. …16 They forsook all the commands of the LORD their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. 17 They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 18 So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence.

What will it take for the Lord to remove America from His presence?

We had a great beginning – founded upon Christian principles.

But know to believe the Bible and teach what it says is considered hate speech.

So called churches – many denominations – are approving of homosexuality.

The Minority Whip leader in discussing homosexuality said everyone deserve to be happy – as if happiness was a new moral standard.

(So if a person’s happiness comes from robbing banks he should morally be able to rob banks?)

The Supreme Court

On Tuesday, April 28, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for and against redefining marriage in America. The very institution of God’s design for marriage as only between one man and one woman is on trial. Nine people hold the future of America in their hands.

In 1973 the Supreme Court voted 7 to 2 in favor of killing the unborn – America legalized the sacrificing of our sons and daughters (not in the fire to a god) but out of convenience and with no regard to the right and life of the child.

Redefining marriage will impact America as much – legalizing and promoting immorality.

As Christian’s we need to repent and pray for the court, for our leaders, for our country.

After Solomon dedicated the Temple God appeared and said,

2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Let us humbly pray, asking God to forgive the sins of our nation.

(Take time to Pray together)

What we have read this week we know that the nation of Israel (Northern Kingdom) did not repent and that is why God removed them from His presence.

We must learn from their sin.

As Christians we know Paul tells us to take the warning from the Old Testament.

1 Corinthians 10:1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. …6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.

The Israelites didn’t follow the commands of God – they worshipped idols – they bowed to the stars – they sacrificed their kids – and they practiced sorcery. They were a stiff-necked people.

Kind of like stiff baby –

Try to put your child in a car seat and they stiffen up – straight back so you can’t buckle them in.

Stiff-necked is the same – refuse to listen to God and let His word buckle you into safety.

How are you doing in your life?

Are you listening and following the word of God or are you in a state of rebellion?

Are you living by the Spirit or are you living by the flesh and its desires?

1 Corinthians 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

We can stand firm in Him but we do have to be careful.

We have to watch out for temptations and when we are tempted we need to escape.

One way to stand strong is to put on the Lord’s armor.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. … 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

So we need God’s truth so we can live a righteous life.

We need to understand the Good News of the gospel so we will have peace.

Be strengthened in faith so we can resist the devil.

As we wear the Lord’s armor we will not be like the Israelites and become stiff necked and refuse to follow God’s Word. (In order to follow His word you have to know what it says. Read it and Study it)

You may think you are standing firm because you are not reading the truth of God’s word.

So many American’s think they know God and the Bible. It is a shame.

The Barna Group released a new survey April 1st.

 

(https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/714-what-do-americans-believe-about-jesus-5-popular-beliefs#.VTvwp6pFCpq)

 

Was Jesus a real person? Was Jesus God? Was Jesus Sinless?

Have you made a personal commitment to Jesus? When you die, I believe I will…

92% of people believe Jesus was a real person – that is good

But only 56% of people believe Jesus was God – The rest (44%) believe he was a religious leader or not sure

Only 46% believe Jesus was sinless

This doesn’t even make sense – How can you believe Jesus is God and not believe He was sinless?

62% of the people they surveyed had made some kind of a personal commitment to Jesus.

Of that 62%

63% believe they will go to heaven because of their confession

The other 37% is confused and don’t know or think they will go to heaven because they are good and tried to obey the 10 commandments.

We have a lot of work to help people understand who Jesus was and is; and help them know how to get to Heaven.

One Presidential candidate says that the biggest influence in her life was and is the Bible. Yet that candidate supports abortion, homosexual marriage, and many other activities that are against God’s word.

Satan knew the Bible and quoted it – that doesn’t mean he quoted it in context or for the right purpose.

Jesus corrected him. (Matthew 4:5-10)

We must stand firm on the Word of God so we will not become a stiff-necked people. If we follow the example of Israel we will end of up Israel – personally and nationally.

I don’t know if the Beginning of the End has already began for us – but I do know there is always time to repent.

We have looked at the negative side, the negative example of Israel – let’s take a glance at the positive side from King Hezekiah in Judah.

2 Kings 18:3 He [Hezekiah] did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. 4 He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. …5 Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. …6 He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses.

Hezekiah being faithful did not mean enemies did not threaten and attack. God being with us and we being faithful does not mean bad things won’t happen. It means we can cry out to Him and He will be with us – sometimes to deliver and sometimes to support us in the trail.

Sennacherib had attacked cities in Judah and had come up against Jerusalem. He made threats to get the people to turn from God and submit to him.

2 Kings 19:15 And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: “O LORD, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God. …19 Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.”

God answered Hezekiah’s prayer by putting to death 185,000 men of Sennacherib’s army in the middle of the night (2 Kings 19:35). It was Isaiah the prophet who had sent word to Hezekiah that God heard his prayer.

We need to trust in the Lord like Hezekiah and pray that others will know that God is the only God.

It was this time in history when God spoke through His prophet Isaiah many prophecies about the coming Messiah. The Messiah who would come in the line of David from the tribe of Judah.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

We see the fulfillment in Matthew 1:22, 23.

God is with us – as Christians we have God within us.

When we were baptized we received the indwelling gift of God the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah also prophecies about Jesus’ death – chapter 53 describing the suffering servant.

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah is telling us about Jesus

He was hung on the cross for our sins, not His

His death brought us peace

His death brought us healing

God had a plan to save us before the Creation of the world – He has been working the plan since the Garden of Eden and He tells us some specifics through the prophet Isaiah more than 700 years before Jesus came.

God is a God we can trust – A God we can put our faith in.

God is a God who loves us and sent His promised Son to die for us.

Colossians 1:21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation– 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.

Jesus came and died on the cross so that He could present us as holy and perfect before the Father.

This happens when you repent of your sins and are baptized.

But we also have to continue in faith, as Paul said, “if you continue in your faith”

Will you accept the promised Messiah today?

Will you come today so you can be presented holy and perfect before God on the day of your death?

Come as we sing – I Have Decided to Follow Jesus