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Monday, March 30, 2015

The Truth about Truth



 
Tell me, “What is truth?”
Pilate did query
As Jesus stood before him
Judge and jury

Since then man in his quest
Have done nothing less
Than his very best
To put The Truth to the test

Still he asks, “What is truth?”
Amidst the evidence and proof
That the Bible supplies
Yet man ever denies

The Truth stood there alone
Facing Pilate on his throne
Not concealed in a shroud
Yet Pilate gave in to a crowd


Was Pilate really sincere?
Was The Truth not there?
Right in his very zone
Standing before his throne?

How honest had he been?
What really had he seen?
Did he not recognize?
Or was The Truth disguised?

Perhaps blinded by the throng
And scared of Caesar’s frown
He did not see the obvious
Standing before him was Jesus


Standing there was The Truth
Not hidden in a booth
Right out in the open court
Void of human support

Though we cry out in our need
It’s truth for which we plead
Jesus born of Godly seed
Does not fit our selfish creed
  
O that we could see the light
Of Truth so pure and bright
And claim Him as our own
And bow before His throne

It would be better for us
To catch a glimpse of Jesus
Than be swiftly swept away
By earth’s carnage and decay

For when all is said and done
What will you do with The Son?
That was The Truth incarnate
Standing that day before Pilate



Back then Pilate could not see
Now it appears neither can we
For we make The Truth the lie
As The Truth we sorely defy

“What is truth?” is my demand
On whose word am I to stand?
Is this Jesus lunatic or liar?
What about him should I desire?

He, The Truth the Bible esteems
Is still obscured by evil schemes
Of myths, legends and mystery
Of our so called science theory

“Once upon a time”, we go
About a billion years or so
The “big bang” story unfold
Believed by millions untold

The faith of many shaken
Not seeing but mistaken
Fell prey to such a ruse
The Truth they had refused
 
They discuss scientific law 
Sneak in an error or a flaw
Then add some make believe
Their theories to receive

They say their lies are true
In the attempt to deceive you
Never mind they have no proof
For what they call the truth

But you fell for the plot
Now delusion is your lot
Feeling lost is your state 
Hell looming as your fate

Image result for images of today you shall be with me in paradise

Help me Lord before I die
Jesus hears the penitent cry
How I made The Truth the lie
Help me Lord before I die

Just like Peter in the storm
Here’s your chance to be reborn
Call to him out of your heart
Now’s the time to make that start

Regard it not a shame 
To call upon his name
You’ll never be the same
By him truth is made plain

The truth has been revealed
Sinners Jesus will receive
Abundant life to them he gives
As his life in them he lives

Image result for images of what is truth


Do you still ask, “What is truth?”
Do you still require more proof?
Did Jesus bear the cross in vain?
And from it you derive no gain?

A sad, sad story you’d have told
Having not on him laid hold
Lost through all eternity
Life without Christ, what tragedy!

Truth is really the Gospel call
Jesus came to die for all
Why not come to him today?
Do not any longer delay


Stewart Russell © 2013

Friday, March 27, 2015

Look Unto Me!

Stewart Russell

Text: Isaiah 45:18-22

Verse 22Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else.

Image result for images of the cross

The first word of our key verse is “Look!”
Depending on the tone of one’s voice this word may mean different things.
For example “Look may indicate:
A warning
An attractive or appealing sight
A call to examine something being said
An expressed excitement at suddenly falling on something hoped for: a lost article or simply a solution to a problem
In the English language the word look is loaded.

Then there are the several extensions to the word look:
1.         Look up: pray; hope; stay confident
2.         Look down: scorn; look down one’s nose
3.         Look across: view beyond something
4.         Look out: expect something; warn
5.         Look in: go to
6.         Look into: examine, study; investigate; enquire
6.         Look through: scan; peer; peep
7.         Look around: search; turn; twist
8.         Look over: check; climb up, reach up
9.         Look back: review; reflect; turn; twist
11.       Look ahead: project; plan
12.       Look forward: anticipate
13.       Look after: take care of
14.       Look at: stare; gaze; study; scrutinize
15.       Look for: anticipate; search for
16.       Look to: request assistance, demand answers; call for solutions

As I studied this word I thought what other word could be as versatile as the word look?  I would like to give you a chance to guess but in the interest of time I will tell you the word I thought of.  The word is run.  I also noted that you could use back all of these prepositions with run and you would get similar expressions and feelings.

Run to: go for help
Run after: identify with; keep company with
Run into: seek refuge
Run over: trample; exploit
Run through: dismiss easily and quickly as in some sport
Run down: used up as in the life of a battery

But this morning our focus is simply “Look unto Me!” 
Isaiah 45:22  Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else.
Who is speaking?
Before you are tempted to say Isaiah, let’s go to the text again.
Verse 14.        Then saith the LORD
Verse 18.        I am the Lord and none else
Verse 19.        I the LORD speak righteousness
Verse 21.        Have not I the LORD?
Verse 22         For I am God

Isaiah 45:22  Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else.
God is saying to us today, “Look unto Me!”
You may ask, “Is this a command or is this a plea?
Whether of the twain, it would be wise to pay heed.  If you view it as a command, it is always better to obey God.  The Bible as well as our current world system is replete with evidence of the consequences of disobeying God.  It stretches from the beginning to the present.  It is well documented in the word of God as well as prominent in the worries and concerns of all humanity. 

If on the other hand it is a plea it is probably because God, in His infinite mercy and grace seeks to save us from an impending fate that is worse than death.  I speak of an eternity in hell.  However you view it, it would be better to follow the directive.  I want to treat to it this morning as both a command and a plea.  Look unto Me!

Introduction:
Why?
Overview of the World’s condition:
The world today is under siege.  It is an interesting kind of siege.  It appears to be a deliberate and designed siege.  It is a siege designed by wicked persons who are obsessed with avarice (greed).  Their aim is to control everyone and everything.  They want to be God over the earth and over space.  One gets the impression that many of the crises this world has confronted and faces today are created by powerful people who are of the thinking that if you want to take control of the world and grab the so called confidence of people then create a crisis of world proportions.  Hence World Wars 1 and 2, Pearl Harbour, Trade Towers and the like…

For example what better way to create demand than to create a shortage!  Announce today that there will be a gas shortage next week and see if the lines at the petrol pump won’t be so long that they would stretch into next week.

Another way to get control is to create panic and frustration.  The world has been in a panic ever since 911.  As a result the universal politicians and power brokers of world politics have been having a field day.  The world is ripe for a one-world government and consequently a world leader; one who would fill the eyes of the people and meet their every expectation.  The object is to take control. 

There are three basic ways in which they are carrying out their objective:
1.         Through gentle persuasion (we have the answers)
2.         Through subtle deceit (we can protect you)
3.         Through blatant coercion (you do or you die)

The above comprise all the strategies, methodologies and techniques that you see at play in our world today.  They range from small scale to large scale, from the home to the community to the country to the region to the world.  The tentacles reach out to touch every individual, every organization, every institution and even the church.

The tools they use consist of education, wealth, politics and religion.  Do we still wonder why this world is in in its present state?  We do not have to look far to see its deprivation, depravity and deplorableness.   By our pronouncements and practice we deny the existence of God but prove daily the existence of the very devil God himself created.   Aren’t we brilliant?  The animals from which we came are certainly not proud of what they have morphed into, Mr. Darwin. 

A. Look unto Me…Who?

1.         The all-knowing God

Job 21:22 Job asked the question: Shall anyone teach God knowledge seeing He judges those that are high?

Proverbs 3:19 The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath He established the heavens.

Isaiah 46:10 He declares the end from the beginning and from ancient times the things that are not yet done.

2.         The all-sufficient God

2 Corinthians 3:5   Not that we are sufficient in ourselves but our sufficiency is in God.

3.         The all-powerful God

Psalms 62:11 God has spoken once; twice have I heard this that power belongs to God.

Psalm 66:7 He rules by His power forever; His eyes behold the nations.

John 19:11 Jesus makes the point to Pilate that he could have no power over him except it was given from him form above.

I ask the question again:

Who is this God that commands all to look unto Him?

He is: the all-knowing, all-sufficient, all-powerful God


B. And be ye saved…For What?

1.         A great salvation

Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

2.         A guaranteed salvation

Romans 4:24 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins he is faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God’s faithfulness guarantees our salvation.

3.         A gracious salvation

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared unto all men.

For what does this God command us to look unto Him?

For salvation that is great, that is guaranteed and that is gracious


C. All the ends of the earth…To Whom?

1.             An open invitation

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me all (universal) that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever (general) believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 5:24 Verily, verily I say unto you that he (individual) that hears my word and believes on Him that sent me has everlasting life.

2.         An opportune invitation

Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent.
3 Because he has appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained; wherefore he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead.

Hebrews 3:15 Today if you hear his voice, harden not your hearts as in the day of the provocation.

3.         An obvious invitation

By the way because a friend tells you that he or she is getting married does not indicate an obvious invitation to the wedding reception.  You can go to the church but the reception is for those who have official invitations.  Official invitations are written invitations.  They are private and personal.

But hear this obvious invitation from Jesus Christ himself.

Isaiah 55:1 Ho, everyone that thirsts, come ye to the waters, and he that has no money; come ye, buy, and eat; come buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Revelation 22:18 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.  And let him that hears say, Come.  And let him that is athirst come.  And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.

How is the offer packaged?

God himself, the creator of all things, the God only wise, the all-knowing, all sufficient, all powerful God has offered to underserving, unmerited, deprived, depraved, deplorable mankind a great, guaranteed, gracious salvation wrapped in an invitation which is open, opportune and obvious.


Conclusion:

I conclude by asking one final question of you.

Why look unto God?
The answer is expressed in the last nine words of the key verse.

For I am God and there is none else

God is:

1.         The only God

1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things, and we by him.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

God is:

2.         The only Hope

Romans 5:8 But God commends his love towards us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

1 Peter 1:24-25 For all flesh is as grass, and the glory of man as the flower of grass.  The grass withers and the flower thereof,
25. But the word of the Lord endures forever.  And this is the word which by the Gospel is preached unto you.

Finally:

God is:

3.         The only reasonable response

Look unto me He invites, and be ye saved, He instructs, all the ends of the earth, He includes, for I am God and there is none else he reasons.

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason says the Lord.  Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Why is this the only reasonable response?

Isaiah 1:8 & 9 gives a clear answer.

Verse 8. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat of the fat of the land.

Verse 9. But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.