Posts Tagged ‘faithfulness’

That they may go forwardExodus 14:15  Or Contrasting living by sight vs. living by faith

(Exodus 14:10-15)

Introduction: The setting of this text is when the Israelite’s led by Moses have finally left Egypt and are being chased by Pharaoh. They are on the edge of the Red Sea and the Egyptians are at their back  and the Red Sea is in front of them.

“Lifted up their eyes”  – LIVING BY SIGHT – verse 10. The Israelite’s were living by site and not by faith here. II Corinthians 5:7 tells us “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”

WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF LIVING BY SIGHT & NOT BY FAITH?

  • They were sore afraid” vs. 10 – FEAR – is a result of living by sight and not by faith.
  • The Bible tells us a spirit of fear does not come from God! – II Timothy 1:17For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
  • If you have a problem with fear and worry, take it to the Lord he will help you overcome it. – Psalm 34:4 – I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
  • Children of Israel cried out” vs.10 – COMPLAINING – having a complaining spirit is a result of living by sight and not by faith.
  • Having a complaining spirit displeases the Lord. – Numbers 11:1 – And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.
  • And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?vs. 11 – DOUBTING GODLY LEADERSHIP – is a result of living by sight and not by faith.
  • People who have a doubting spirit are unstable the Bible tells us and easily led astrayJames 1:6 – But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
  • “Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” – 12 – THINKING YOUR WISDOM IS BETTER THAN GOD’S WISDOM – is a result of living by sight and not by faith.
  • We need to learn to trust in God’s wisdom and quit thinking we know better. If God is leading us in a certain direction don’t think you thought of something that He didn’t think ofProverbs 3:5-8 – Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
  • And Isaiah 55:8-9 tells usFor my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

NOW LETS LOOK AT LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT. Remember what II Corinthians 5:7 says “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”

SO WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF LIVING BY FAITH & NOT BY SIGHT?

  • “Fear ye not” vs. 13 – LACK OF FEAR – is a result of living by faith and not by sight.
  • If we are God’s children we can place our trust in Him and not fear what lies ahead of us.Psalm 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
  • Stand still” vs. 13 – CONFIDENCE IN YOUR POSITION – is a result of living by faith and not by sight.
  • If we are His children we have nothing to fear. We can have confidence in our position with Him. John 10:28-29 – And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
  • See the salvation of the Lord” vs.13 – SEEING THE HAND OF THE LORD WORKING IN YOUR LIFE – is a result of living by faith and not by sight.
  • Philippians 2:13 – For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.God’s hand is at work in your life – have faith and trust His sovereignty over you life.
  • the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” 13 – THE LORD MEETING YOUR NEEDS – is a result of living by faith and not by sight.
  • He is our Heavenly Father “Stand still” and have confidence in His ability to do anything or meet any need that might arise. Philippians 4:19 – But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
  • “The Lord shall fight for you” 14 THE LORD WILL FIGHT OUR BATTLES FOR US – is as result of living by faith and not by sight.
  • The Lord will be with you in the heat of the battle. He will fight for you in the battles of life on your behalf. Deuteronomy 20:4 – For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.
  • “Hold your peace” – 14 – PEACEFULNESS – a sense of peace that passes all understanding is a result of living by faith and not by sight.
  • Philippians 4:7 – And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – If you are living a life of faith the Lord can give you a sense of peace in the midst of your trials.

“That they go forward” – vs. 15 – The end result of living a life by faith and not by sight is MOVING FORWARD for the Lord.

  • The Lord wants us to be constantly moving forward for Him.
  • He does not want us to rest and be content where we are at in our walk with Him.
  • We should be constantly striving to conquer new challenges and take new ground for His Kingdom.
  • We should never think we have arrived or our church has arrived – the minute we do that we are no longer living a faith life.

In Conclusion: We should always keep in our thinking that the Lord is in control of our life. He sometimes brings circumstances about or trials in our life for a purpose for a reason. He controls a chain of events from start to finish with the goal in mind to help His children to be constantly doing one thing for Him, He will bring about events so “That they go forward” like it says in the last part of verse 15.

Remember we said a living a life by sight results in:

FEARThey were sore afraid” it says in vs. 10

 COMPLAININGChildren of Israel cried out” vs.10

 DOUBTING GODLY LEADERSHIP And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?” vs. 11

THINKING YOUR WISDOM IS BETTER THAN GOD’S WISDOM vs. 12

And we said living a life by faith on not by sight results in:

LACK OF FEARFear ye not” vs. 13

CONFIDENCE IN YOUR POSITIONStand still” vs. 13

SEEING THE HAND OF THE LORD WORKING IN YOUR LIFESee the salvation of the Lord” vs.13

THE LORD MEETING YOUR NEEDS “the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.”  Vs. 13

THE LORD WILL FIGHT OUR BATTLES FOR US“The Lord shall fight for you” vs. 14  

PEACEFULNESS“Hold your peace” – vs. 14  

Moving forward – “That they go forward” – vs. 15 – The end result of living a life by faith and not by sight is MOVING FORWARD for the Lord. – trusting the Lord with the next step not just being content where you are at.

WHERE IS YOUR HEART?

(Mark 7:6-9, 20-23)

Mark 7:6-8 – “He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.”

Philip Doddridge said this about this passage “Notwithstanding all your talk, then, of strictness in religion,  yet as this appears to be expressive of your real character, the doom of hypocrites belongs to you; and God may justly affirm of such, (as it is added there,) “In vain do they worship me, while they teach doctrines or lessons {that are} merely human inventions and injunctions, being only the precepts of men, that have no stamp of the divine authority upon them,” which yet they would insist upon as necessary parts of religion, and would impose them on the consciences of others.

We need to make sure our heart is where God wants it to be. We need to make sure our heart is focused on God and making ourselves more like Him. The outward appearances of man, the way we dress, the way we act, the things we do are all important, but the most important is to have our heart right with God. Where is your heart? Is it right with God? Being hypocritical, pretending to be right with God and considering and judging others to not be right with God just because they are not adhering to the same religious checklist you are adhering to, like the Pharisees were doing to Jesus, is wrong and spoken strongly against by our Lord in this passage. Where is your heart? Is it close to Jesus or far from Him?

INTRODUCTION: Where is your heart? Our heart can be many different places but the right place. Is your heart centered on God and His will or is it centered on yourself and your will, your thoughts, your desires? Our Lord Jesus says in this passage “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:” Is some of this what is going on in your heart today? The heart is an interesting place, it can be a most evil, wicked, and defiled place but you can put on a good front and fool people as to the true nature of your heart. What is your heart condition today? Where is your heart? (Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?)

“HEART IS FAR FROM ME” vs.6The Lord Jesus in this verse reproves them for their hypocrisy. They were pretending to honor God with their life, but internally they were living very wickedly.

“As a corrupt fountain sends forth corrupt streams, so does a corrupt heart send forth corrupt reasoning, corrupt appetites and passions, and all those wicked words and actions which are produced by them.” – Matthew Henry.

  • Where your heart is at spiritually will eventually show itself, in your choice of words, in your actions, in your attitude or other areas of your life.
  • A carnal mind and heart, a heart full of sinful thoughts and desires renders your spirit unfit for communication with God. If you continue in this state of sin and defilement in your heart it will produce hardness in your heart and a stain on your conscience. The longer you let you heart remain away from God the harder it will be to get close to God again. (Proverbs 28:14 – Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.)

A HEART THAT WANTS ITS OWN WAY vs.7The Pharisees here wanted to do things their own way. They wanted to work out their religion their own way not Gods way. One of the biggest problems man faces is a heart that wants its own way. Christians will acknowledge God’s sovereignty in all areas of life and the world except their own hearts. Who is the sovereign of your heart is it the Great I AM, (Yahweh) GOD or do you say “I am” the sovereign of my own heart. Do you humble yourself and surrender yourself to the control of the Lord or do you think you should be calling all the shots in your life.

Dr. Bob Jones Sr. said “The Devil did not tempt Adam and Eve to steal, to lie, to kill, to commit adultery; he tempted them to live independent of God.”  (Isaiah 53:6 – All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;)

  • Man’s heart wants its own way in opposition to Gods way. Let’s look at what the Bible says about mans “own way”.
  • In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 17:6
  • So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.” Psalm 81:12
  • “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:7
  • “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” Proverbs 12:15
  • “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.” Proverbs 28:26
  • “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:21
  • “Be not wise in your own conceits.” Romans 12:16
  • This “own way” tendency this “I am” sovereign of my own heart not God, this attitude, this heart condition is the culprit in our hearts not being near unto God like they are supposed to be and should be. (Acts 8:22 – Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.)

A HEART THAT PUTS “ASIDE THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD” vs.8Christ in this verse is criticizing the reinterpretation of the commands of God to fit your own thoughts or ways of living or being “religious”. Christ preached against putting more emphasis on the traditions of men to the ignoring and downright twisting of God’s word to fit them.

  • The emphasis of our life should be on our heart and living out God’s word because out of the wicked imaginations of the heart is a man’s life defiled. (Mark 7:20 – And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.)
  • The emphasis of our life should not be on what men say if that is against God’s word, but it should be on what God commands us and instructs us to do in His word. (Mark 7:9 – And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition)
  • Jesus made it clear to us in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) that real holiness is a matter of our inward affections and attitudes and not just our outward appearances, actions, associations, religious checklists or traditions we keep.

The pious Pharisees thought they were holy because they obeyed the Law and avoided external defilement. Jesus taught that a person who obeys the Law externally can still break the Law in his heart, and that external “defilement” has little connection with the condition of the inner person” – Warren W. Wiersbe

  • An example of looking externally pure but being internally sinful is what Jesus had to say on the subject of adultery – “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” Matthew 5:28
  • Where is your heart? Is it thinking pure thoughts? Or is it thinking wicked sinful thoughts?
  • You need to be internally what you pretend to be externally. We all need to be genuine Christians.

“Many of us who profess to be Christians are so busy with the mechanics of our religion that we have no time left for the spiritual part of it.” –Martin Luther

A HEART THAT WORSHIPS GODTrue worship must come from the heart and not from mans ideas or traditions. True heartfelt worship is directed by God’s word. God’s word working in our hearts leads to right worship and right living for our Lord. Our worship must always be heartfelt and heart genuine or we will be “Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition,” Mark 7:13a.

People who revere man-made traditions above the Word of God eventually lose the power of God’s Word in their lives. No matter how devout they may appear, their hearts are far from God.” Warren W. Wiersbe

  • True holiness is a matter of the heart. It centers on a right relationship with God through our faith in Him. We need to trust Him by faith for our salvation, our worship of Him and for our everyday lives. (Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen)

“An excellent description of faith is by the effects, because it represents things which are but yet in hope, and sets as it were before our eyes things that are invisible.” Geneva Bible Notes 1599

  • There is scarcely any verse of the New Testament that is more important than this, because it states what the nature of all true faith is. Eternal life depends on the existence and exercise of faith, (Ephesians 2:8 –For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:) and therefore it is vitally important for an accurate understanding or what true faith is.
  • God wants our love, obedience and worship to come from the heart. He does not want it if is not genuine. It order to please God with our service for Him and to make it count for an eternal reward it needs to come from our heart. (Deuteronomy 6:5 – And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.)

THE HEART OF MEN (Mark 7:21-23 – For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.)

  • The heart of man is not pure and holy and righteous by nature. We are born sinners. Our hearts are sinful by nature. (Genesis 6:5 – And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually) We have to be diligent regarding the whereabouts of our heart. We need to make sure we are keeping our hearts pure. We need to make sure we are keeping our hearts immersed in the study of the Word of God daily. We need to fill our hearts with the teachings and preaching’s of the Word of God. Do not be filling your hearts with the filth of the world. Don’t let your hearts become like the world. We should be striving to be more like Christ every day.
  • The Bible says man’s heart is deceitful and wicked and not to be trusted. Some people will say “I have to follow my heart” you need to be following the Lord and not your heart. Your heart cannot be trusted. (Ecclesiastes 9:3 – This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.)

MANS HEART EXAMINED BY GOD (I Samuel 16:7 – But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.)

  • What does the Lord see when he examines your heart? Does he see a heart that is right with Him, does he see a Christian on fire for Him, does he see a heart with all known sin confessed, does he see a heart that works hard at avoiding sin? Or does he see a heart that is full of pride, rebellion, anger, lust, sinful thoughts a heart that is filthy and full of dirty rotten sin? (Proverbs 5:21 – For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.)
  • We need to surrender our hearts over to the Lord. Confess our sins to Him. All the things we need to get right; get them right with the Lord. Don’t let anything be between you and the Savior. Get your hearts right, keep them right, guard them with all your might. Where is your heart today? Is it in the will of God? Is it in the hand of God?

WHAT CAN A HEART THAT IS TOO FOCUSED ON THE OUTWARD MAN AND NOT THE INWARD MAN LEAD TO? – THE ANSWER IS WHAT IS CALLED LEGALISM.

“What does the Bible say about legalism? How can a Christian avoid falling into the trap of legalism?”

Answer: The word “legalism” does not occur in the Bible. It is a term Christians use to describe a doctrinal position emphasizing a system of rules and regulations for achieving both salvation and spiritual growth. Legalists believe in and demand a strict literal adherence to rules and regulations. Doctrinally, it is a position essentially opposed to grace. Those who hold a legalistic position often fail to see the real purpose for law, especially the purpose of the Old Testament law of Moses, which is to be our “schoolmaster” or “tutor” to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24 – Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.).

True believers can be legalistic. But we are instead instructed to be gracious to one another: “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” Romans 14:1. Sadly, there are those who feel so strongly about non-essential doctrines, traditions and rules that they will run others out of their fellowship, criticize them for not fulfilling a religious checklist test, and not even allowing the expression of another viewpoint. That, too, is legalism.

Demands of legalism. Many legalistic believers today make the error of demanding unqualified adherence to their own biblical interpretations and even to their own traditions. For example, there are those who feel that to be spiritual one must simply check off all the boxes on some sort of fundamental Christian check list. The truth is fulfilling these checklists are no guarantee of spirituality, and remember we learned that God looks on the inward man, in our hearts, not on the outward man to see our true spiritual condition. (Mark 7:8-9 – For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.)

The apostle Paul warns us of legalism. (Colossians 2:20-23 – Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.) Legalists may appear to be righteous and spiritual, but legalism ultimately fails to accomplish God’s purposes because it is an outward performance instead of an inward change.

Avoiding the trap of legalism. To avoid falling into the trap of legalism, we can start by holding fast to the words of the apostle John, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17 and remembering to be gracious, especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ. “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4. “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” Romans 14:10.

A word of caution is necessary. While we need to be gracious to one another and tolerant of disagreement over disputable matters, we cannot accept heresy. We are exhorted to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3). If we remember these guidelines and apply them in love and mercy, we will be safe from both legalism and heresy. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1.

IN CONCLUSION: Where is your heart? Our heart can be many different places but the right place. Where your heart is at spiritually will eventually show itself, in your choice of words, in your actions, in your attitude or other areas of your life. One of the biggest problems man faces is a heart that wants its own way. Christians will acknowledge God’s sovereignty in all areas of life and the world except their own hearts. Who is the sovereign of your heart is it the Great I AM, (Yahweh) GOD or do you say “I am” the sovereign of my own heart.

You need to be internally what you pretend to be externally. We all need to be genuine Christians. True holiness is a matter of the heart. It centers on a right relationship with God through our faith in Him. It does not center on the outward appearance or actions but on the inward condition of the heart. Though with a heart that is right with God our outward appearance and actions will be changed and we will have visibly good testimony to those around us.

Don’t be guilty of legalism. Don’t be guilty of imposing your opinion on others or judging others based on your opinion on a matter. That is what the Pharisees did in the New Testament and we examined what Jesus had to say about them in our text, it was not a flattering account, but rather a stern condemnation. (Mark 7:6 & 9 – He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.)

We have to be diligent regarding the whereabouts of our heart. We need to make sure we are keeping our hearts pure. Make the decision to dedicate your heart to the Lord, to surrender your heart to the service of the Lord. Confess your faults and sins to the Lord and set your heart on a new right path in the light of the Lord.

BALAAM AND TODAY’S CHURCHThe account of Balaam in the Old Testament serves as a warning to today’s church to not disobey God; to build up our faith and to build up our hope. (Romans 15:4 – For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.)

the way of Balaam (II Peter 2:15-16) – In this passage Peter is warning the church of the dangers of false teachers secretly entering the church and leading people astray into apostasy. Peter promises that God will judge these people; but he also warns believers to exercise spiritual discernment to make sure they are not led astray by these false teachers. (II Peter 2:15-16 – Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.)·

the way of Balaam – is the way of false prophets and hirelings seeking opportunities to increase wealth and reputation, willing to sell out anything for filthy lucre’s sake (for monetary gain). These false prophets and teachers are interested in satisfying their own worldly cravings of money and using the guise of religion to do so and to entice people into sin. (John 10:11-13 –  I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.)

A hireling does not really care about being a “good shepherd” watching out for his flock, but instead is more concerned with protecting his reputation, position and income stream. A true under shepherd and not a hireling will work at guarding the flock against wolves from within (Acts 20:30 – Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.) and wolves from without (Acts 20:29 – For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.) no matter the cost to his reputation, position or income.

Now to look in the mirror, when are we walking in “the way of Balaam” in our life? – When we deliberately rebel against the revealed will of God and try to change it to our liking. When we have selfish motives in doing “religious things”. When we cause others to sin so we can profit from it. When we do “religious work” for the money and not because God called us to it. When we volunteer to help out in a ministry so we will look good to others. When are only motivation for doing something “for God” is a feeling of we have to, so we can look like a “good Christian” to others; instead of doing things for God out of a desire to please Him, serve Him and worship Him.

So the challenge is to search out our hearts and our core motives for everything we do that is supposed to be for God; and then making sure we are actually doing it for God. This will require us to be honest with ourselves. Challenge yourself to do this self examination. Make sure what you are doing for the Lord will be gold, silver and precious stones tried in a fiery furnace and not just wood hay and stubble that will be burned up and consumed as worthless because of our wrong motivations. (I Corinthians 3:12-15 – Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.)

RELATED POSTS:

The Doctrine of Balaam & Wordly Christians

Balaam and God’s Will

 

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN

Leviticus 9:23-10:2  “And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces. And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.”

THE TRAGEDY OF THEIR LIVES – One of the most tragic statements can ever be made about someone’s life is “What could have been” – This is what can be said about Nadab and Abihu.  They could have done so much for the Lord, they could have set a great example, they could have been remembered in their family and history as great men and great men of God; but they are not. They became part of the long line of the “What could have been’s” – They had it all at one point, and then died an early death because of sinful mistakes. What remained of their lives was wasted. Let’s look at what they had going for them.·

  • They were the two oldest sons of Aaron, nephews of Moses, they were among the privileged to see God and live to tell about it. (Exodus 24:9-11 – Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.)
  • God called them out for appointment to the priesthood and ministry to Him. (Exodus 28:1 – And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.
  • After this calling out by God, God Himself participated in their ordination service to the priesthood and His ministry. (Leviticus 9:23-24 – And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.)

ONE SEEMINGLY SMALL ACT (OR SIN) RUINED EVERYTHING – Don’t make the same mistakes that Nadab and Abihu did in throwing away a promising future for one moment, for one act, for one lapse of judgment. Always, always, always do things God’s way. Always put God first in your life and in your decision making. Establish convictions on what you will and will not do in certain situations based on God’s word and stick with those convictions. There is a famous song that states “I did it my way”; what a horrible statement this is that can lead to a life of ruin. We should hopefully never be able to say that about our lives. We should always strive to always do things God’s way and never our own way. (Galatians 6:7-8 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.)

No sooner had they enjoyed the great blessing of God consecrating them for His service in a glorious moment in front of the whole nation of Israel, that then Nadab and Abihu ruin everything. Just as Adam and Eve had it all in the Garden of Eden, and chose to disobey God in their pride, so too Nadab and Abihu ruin their lives and bring great grief upon countless other lives by their sin.

THE EFFECT OF YOUR SIN – Your sin does not just effect you, it also effect’s everyone else in your life too. Psalm 119:136 was spoken in reference to the sins of others “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.”Doing things your way, your mistakes, your sins don’t just effect you, they affect everyone that loves and cares about you; they also affect all those who in the future you could have ministered too if it were not for those mistakes. Just as fire from God had consumed the animal sacrifice, it now fell upon Nadab and Abihu and consumed them because of their tragic sin and mistake.

We need to remember we are Christians and are commanded to live out our life as such. We are comflagmanded to be like Christ, to be reaching out to the sinner in need of a Savior instead of acting Pharisaical to them and judging them about their sin. We are told not to judge! We need to always remember to speak the truth of God’s Word in love. This does not mean we cannot speak strongly against sin, but it does mean we need to always remember to love the sinner as Christ does. We need to be seeking ways and opportunities to minister to them and demonstrate God’s love to them.

J
ohn 3:16-17 “ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

As Christians, we need to live in a way that others will know we are a Christian, but also, we should live in a way that supports the Gospel; and we need to arm ourselves with the knowledge of the Gospel. (Ephesians 6:11 – Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.) We should strive to live and teach as Christ would. We need to remember that we, no matter how persuasive, can’t force anyone to believe what they claim not to believe. Conviction is the Holy Spirit’s job not ours.

We need to live and walk true to our talk. If you are a Christian act like one, minister like one, work like one, witness like one and pray and fellowship with the Lord like one. We need to not be hypocritical in our Christian walk, we need to be true, loving and ministry minded Christians. We need to live life trying our best to be like our Savior.

I John 2:6 “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”