Not Even Death
Not even death can keep a preacher from preaching. A godly preachers words come from fire in the bones. But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. (Jeremiah 20:9)
There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead.
Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted. (Acts 20:7-12)
Do not grumble that my sermons are long. True, long by today’ milk toast Christian standards, but not long when one considers the days are evil and ignorance floods the church. making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:16)
Preach The Word
I never preached about the Word of God. Rather I was led by the Holy Spirit to preach the Word.
What I mean by sound doctrine
Preached Year 2011
Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2)
Verse 1 says, “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?” And I think that’s an important question, why? So often men are asking God questions, “Why did You do this?” or “Why did you create the world?” or “Why do You allow evil?” And there’s this kind of raging evil of man turning to God and saying, “Why all this and why all the pain and why did You make things this way?” Whereas God turns to man and says, “Why do you plot in vain? And why do the nations conspire? What is it that God has done that’s so evil that men conspire and hate against Him?
Hold your finger on Psalm 2 and go to Matthew 14:13, and let’s ask ourselves why. Why is it that there is so much a part of our sinful nature that is hostile toward God and who God is and who He might be? Matthew 14:13 says:
Matthew 14:13-14 – When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Why? Why do we rage against Him who has compassion on us? A God who seeks to hide Himself in a solitary place away from the people and the people come and disturb that solitariness of being alone with God and yet He has compassion on them. He’s not angry, He’s not upset, He’s not irritated that His private time, that His time of being alone is interrupted. Rather, He has compassion on the people and heals them. Why do we rage against Him who would heal us? Why is it that we’re so angry against a God who has compassion on us? What about us is so rebellious toward Him that we make ourselves enemies of God? And that’s naturally who we are and that’s what dwells within us. “Why do the nations conspire? Why do the peoples plot?” are the questions.
Look at Mark 15:16, it says:
Mark 15:16 – The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers.
They conspire, they come together, they bring everybody together to do what? To conspire against God’s holy way. To the One that would have compassion on us, we hate Him so.
Mark 15:17-18 – They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!”
It seems to be what gives man pleasure is to make fun of God. To conspire seems to be what we live for. It’s not that somehow we’re neutral in our hatred toward God or that we’re indifferent to God. Man is not indifferent to God, no matter how cool a man seems to act. There is within all of us this seething hatred toward God and what He stands for. And yet it’s the very God that would have compassion and mercy on us if we would but turn to Him and humble ourselves. “They began to call out to him, ‘Hail, the king of the Jews!’”
Mark 15:19 – Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him.
This is what gives man pleasure. This is what dwells within each of our sinful natures unless God saves us. “Falling on their knees, they paid homage to Him.” They knew who He was. They bowed down, but in mockery. Why? The angels want to know why, creation wants to know why. Men want to know why. All of what God has created wants to know why we rage so much against God. It’s not so much man’s asking God all the questions of why but God turns to man in amazement and goes, “Why? What have I done? What charge? What do you hold against Me?” Verse 20 says:
Mark 15:20 – And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
What has He done? What has God done that’s so terrible that men hate Him so? Psalm 2:1 again asks why do the nations conspire? Why with zeal and with effort? With plan and with purpose? You know saints may sleep and we may be a little bit lazy in our love for God but sinners are not in their hatred toward God, they are active in it. They conspire, and the word conspire means rage. Why do the nations rage against God? It’s not again that they’re indifferent and it’s not just that our sinful nature acts cool toward God, we are active in our opposition of who He is, what He stands for, the rules He sets down, the purity, and the wholeness with which He wants to work in our life. Why do we rage against Him so?
Look at Acts 4:23. Again, there’s this conspiracy of men to collect themselves together against God. Men do it with governments. They conspire together against the things of God. Churches do it, clubs do it, societies do it. We conspire against the Holy One of God, and the quicker we see that in our sinful nature is nothing more than a conspiracy against the things of God, the more we’ll be willing for God to crucify and to put it to death. Acts 4:23 says:
Acts 4:23 – On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.
Religious leaders, teachers, priests, men of God, men who represented God, men who spoke about God.
Acts 4:24 – When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.
Again, the question “Why?” “You did all those things and they were good.”
Acts 4:25 – You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?”
Why do we speak against Him who would have compassion? What is so vile and dark about our sinful nature that we rejoice in opposing God?
Acts 4:26-27 – “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.” Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel; in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.
“To conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.” What’s he quoting but Psalm 2? And what are they amazed about but how much men work with all the intellect, with all the strength they have, to conspire against God. And look at your own sinful nature and what dwells there. You know how the mind, our sinful nature conspires and how we can work around the things of God. How we can still do our own will and what we want to do and yet somehow be independent from God. It’s what the sinful nature lives for.
Look at Luke 23:8. There’s something about sinning that enjoys company. You know it’s no fun to sin by yourself, you always want to have somebody with you. A drinking buddy or a friend that does this, or there be somebody religious. Luke 23:8 says:
Luke 23:8-10 – When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him.
I want you to notice something here, it’s not just the evil government out there, it’s not the Romans out there that started the whole business, it started in the church. It started with the religious leaders. They’re the ones that brought Jesus to the government. And what does that say about our sinful nature? Our sinful nature can be religious and it can be holy and it can be separated but opposing Jesus Christ and taking Him to His death. Unless God takes hold of our sinful nature and crucifies it and puts it to death, we are still enemies of God. And we live to be enemies of God. There’s the elders and the chief priests standing there saying, “Yeah, this is true. This man deserves death.” There are people that pray that are condemning Jesus to death. There are people who pray to Jesus and sing of Jesus that vehemently oppose Him. Our sinful nature, understand this clearly, conspires against the Holy One of Israel. Unless God crucifies, it we are indeed enemies.
Luke 23:11 – Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate.
And look at this:
Luke 23:12 – That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.
Sin loves company, whether it be at a church, whether it be at a barbeque, whatever it is, sin loves company. And the more you preach Jesus Christ clearly portrayed as crucified the more enemies will become friends. The more you present Jesus to people in a clear fashion, the more people will come together to conspire against God.
Look again at Psalm 2:1. Why do the nations conspire? Why do they rage so? What do we need to see here? What God is trying to show us here is just how vile we really are in our sinful nature. If we realized that we would long for and ask for and plead for God to crucify the sinful nature. We tolerate it so much because we don’t see just how dark it is. It’s so close to being our friend and buddy that we don’t ask God to crucify it. But why do we rage and how deep is this rage?
I want to show you the depth of this hatred that dwells in us. Unless we let God deal with it and crucify it we’ll be like these people. Revelation 16:7 says:
Revelation 16:7-8 – And I heard the altar respond: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.” The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire.
These things will take place.
Revelation 16:9 – They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.
Anything but repent. The discipline can be such that men are cursing God to His face but it won’t dawn on them to repent of the sins that are there. And that is the nature of our sinful nature, that no matter how much discipline, that no matter what God brings about it will not submit to God. It refuses to do so. There is a raging, seething fire there that hates God. Though God seeks to discipline men in grace and in mercy and to have compassion on them, the sinful nature has to die, it will never submit to God. And there will come a time when God will pour out His wrath on the earth and it will be demonstrated to all mankind and to the universe and no matter what God does in terms of discipline and judgment and fire and hell and brimstone, men will not repent. They rage against the Holy One of Israel. “They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.” When I see those passages I plead before God to crucify my sinful nature. When I see just how vile I really am unless God puts a new nature in me and I hold on to that new nature and He gives me life, that’s who I am. Verse 10:
Revelation 16:10-11 – The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.
Our sinful nature is indeed a dark person. It hates God, it hates God with a passion. It hates God with every ounce of energy that dwells within us. And if we would see that how much we would go into the prayer closet and plead, “Oh, God, crucify the sinful man that lives.” Because God can pour down all manner of discipline. Fire so men can gnaw their tongues in pain but they’ll never repent. Never say “I’ve sinned” or “I did wrong.” That’s what the sinful nature is. Why do we rage against Him who loves us? From Him who has compassion on us? Is it that we just simply want the petty things that we want? The sinful nature just wants to do what it wants to do. And yet we conspire.
Psalm 2:1 again, “Why do the nations conspire, and the people plot in vain?” There is just a conspiracy about the sinful nature. It lives for to oppose God. Romans 8:6 says:
Romans 8:6 – The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;
“The mind of a sinful man is death.” There is no life in him at all. “The mind of a sinful man is death.” It’s what we saw in Revelation: men gnawing their tongues, men filled with sores on their bodies but refusing to repent. It is hostile to God. “The mind of a sinful man is death but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”
Romans 8:7-8 – the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
“There is nothing good that lives in our sinful nature,” Paul says, “Nothing.” And the quicker we let the Holy Spirit show that to us the quicker we’ll long for God to crucify it and put it to death. Why do we want something that is so hostile to Him who loves us? Indeed, why would we? We need to reach a place in our life where we turn to our sinful nature and say, “Why do you rage against Him who loves us? We should be amazed.” We should have been so drawn into the prayer closet and seeing who Jesus is and all of His love and compassion that we cannot figure out why we oppose God so much. And why we allow the sinful nature to remain with us and do not pick up a cross and do not allow the Spirit to do its work. We need to ask ourselves that question: “Why do I rage against Him who loves me? And why do I fight so hard?”
“The mind of a sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” He’s a God of life and peace. Why would I oppose Him? Is it not the foolishness of who we are and the darkness of which we hold on to and we call light? “The mind of a sinful man is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” And how many people I know that try to reform their sinful nature. They try to make it a little more holy, a little more righteous to keep their sin. I think that’s the greatest darkness of any darkness you can walk in. To take the sinful nature and make it look good. “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” And yet men are still religious, they still pray, they still ask things of Jesus and they still have a major some type of joy but what it comes down to is that they are enemies of God. They don’t want God to crucify the sinful nature.
Men everywhere want the blessings of God, but they don’t want to lose the sinful nature. Because we love our vileness we treasure our darkness. You know Jesus said, “Be careful that the darkness within you is not light or how great is that darkness?” And when we look at darkness, and we look at the evil things we do and we call that light and how great is the darkness.
Philippians 3:17-18 – Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
There’s the measurement of whether we love Jesus or not. Of whether we love the things of God or not. Are we an enemy of the cross or do we rejoice in the cross? Do we long for God to crucify the sin that lives within us? Do we plead? Do we look forward to being put to death a little bit more? Or are we an enemy of the cross, we oppose its work, we justify, we rationalize, our pride keeps God away? “For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears…” This is no idle doctrine with Paul. This is not just something he’s expounding on. This is not some mini series you can get on a tape. This is something that dwells in his heart. He cannot understand why? Why do men plot? Why are we so much in vain just plotting against God? The very God that would have compassion and mercy and grace on us? Why do we refuse to surrender? Why do we refuse Him who would take hold of us and take hold of our sinful nature, put it on a cross and put it to death and give us peace and life?
Philippians 3:18-19 – For, as I’ve often told you before and now say again with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
How many churches have their god as their stomach? Their bake sales, their socials? They know not what the cross is, nor do they even want to know what the cross is.
Philippians 3:20 – But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
We eagerly await. We love, we treasure, the work of the cross. It hurts, it’s painful, we know it’s there but it brings life and it brings peace. I wouldn’t trade all the discipline God has put me through. I don’t want to repeat it. At the time I certainly wasn’t walking around with a smile on my face, but I love it even when I hate it. Because it’s life. I treasure the cross. I’m not an enemy of it, I don’t run from it. If the Lord says, “You are thus,” I am that way. And if we could just see how dark and vile we are we would long for God to crucify every ounce of pride that lives there, every fleshly motive that is there. We would love for Him to do the work. But if our minds are on earthly things and we’re just interested in feeding our bellies, we are enemies of that cross, even when we might sing of Jesus.
We need to remind ourselves of some things hourly. The first thing we need to remind ourselves is that we were enemies of God. If we wake up every morning and remind ourselves, I was an enemy of God, we’d allow Him to keep that sinful man crucified.
The second thing is, we would realize that He saved us when we opposed Him like this. When we conspired and we hated and we spit and we didn’t even care anything about God, indeed, we didn’t want God to save us. There are brothers in this body that can testify that when somebody would invite them to Bible study they would go and hide. It’s like the last thing they want to do is to be saved. And yet God took hold of us at that time when we cared nothing about Him. We didn’t give him a second thought, indeed, if He did come we would oppose Him, and He sought to deliver us anyway. Romans 5:8 says:
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Now we’ve heard that passage come out of pulpits thousands of times. I’ve heard it in songs, and yet, where is that conviction in the heart with each man knowing that’s how vile I was and that’s who delivered me? And He delivered me when I didn’t care anything about Him. Where’s the gratitude? Where’s the longing to have the sinful nature crucified? I detest it when men talk about oh how God saved them, and it’s with a smile and yet they long nothing for the cross. They care not that God would take hold and discipline their pride and put it to death. For them that’s not joy. “Oh, I’ll be convicted of that later on,” or “God hasn’t convicted me of that.” There’s not a hunger and a thirst for righteousness. They haven’t been delivered from anything. If you’ve been delivered from something you know is utter death, the sinful nature, and God has loved you even when you opposed Him with a venom and a hatred, how we would long and love that God who would continue to deliver us. Verse 9:
Romans 5:9-10 – Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
When we were enemies, when we were enemies we hated Him with zeal. If God poured out His love on us when we were enemies then, how much more when we come to God and say, “God, hold me some more and crucify the sinful nature,” will He deliver us? Let us realize just how vile the sinful nature is and we will long for and plead for and look forward to God taking hold of us and crucifying sin. The question is, do we love the yoke of the Lord, or not? Do we love His yoke? Look again at Psalm 2:1. “Why do the nations conspire and the people plot in vain?” The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord, against His Anointed One. Now look at their gospel call. Look at what their saying is; look at what their good news is. “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.” In other words, let’s break all restraints.
Do you love the yoke of the Lord? To a sinner it is an intolerable yoke he cannot stand, but to the saint it is easy and it’s light. And a man who finds the yoke of the Lord to be something unbearably hard to carry loves his sin. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The man who hates his sin knows that to be true. He knows it to be true. But the sinner finds it to be something he cannot and will not carry. For him it is a burden too heavy.
But look at what they say: They gather together to say, “Let us break their chains.” In other words, “Let us be free to do what we want to do. Let us be as God. Let us be who we want to be. Let’s fulfill these desires.” “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?”
The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His Anointed One. We should not think it strange that governments oppose God. We should not think it strange that clubs oppose God. We should not think it strange that even churches oppose God. They gather together for what? For a purpose in mind. To break chains and to break restraint and to tear off the yoke of the Lord. We should not think it strange that sin loves company. Because they say, “Let us break the chains, let us be free.” But there’s some good news in all this for us. Look again at verse 1. It says, “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?” “In vain.” Both saint and sinner can take that word and there’s life there.
For the saint that means that no matter what my sinful nature conspires to do against God, it’s in vain. God will always win, God will always crucify my sinful nature, God will, as Jude says, present me perfect before Him. How much more when I was an enemy and God got me to the place to see Him, if I love Him and stay with Him, He’ll give me the place where I am acceptable before Jesus? It’s in vain. Nothing that my sinful nature can do will overcome if I stay in that love for God.
And for the sinner, he needs to take it to heart because everything he does will fail. Everything the saint does will win. It’s a vain desire for the sinful nature to try and have life because God will crucify it. He’ll give victory. But for the sinner, everything he does to try to keep his sin alive will fail, he’ll never succeed.
Look at 1 John 5:1, because as saints we’re not going to lose the fight. But for the sinner, he’s going to lose every battle.
1 John 5:1 – Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God”—it has to be a true belief. “nd everyone who loves the Father loves his child as well.
1 John 5:2 – This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.
You see, where the one gospel call is to throw off all fetters and throw off all chains and throw off all restraints, there’s a gospel call that says, “Worship Jesus without any obedience,” whereas those who love will obey God’s commands. That’s the measure of who loves God or not. That’s a measure of who loves me. Verse 2 again, “This is how we know that we love the children of God”—well, how do we know? By saying I love you? By just saying that someone is my brother or sister in the Lord? No, by obeying the commands of God. That’s how somebody demonstrates to me that they’re my brother or sister, that they really love me. Verse 3:
1 John 5:3 – This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,
And so when you start to talk about the things to obey and men rail against it all saying, “Oh, you’re making salvation by works,” or “It’s legalism over here.” They know not what they talk about because every commandment that’s in there for me to obey is not a burden, it is an easy yoke, it is life. But the sinful nature doesn’t want it. It is hostile to the things of God and a man who loves his sinful nature will find all manner of reasons not to obey. “And his commands are not burdensome.”
1 John 5:4-5 – for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
All the railings of a sinful man are in vain. I’ll tell you when passions and temptations get strong in my life I can take hope because they’re in vain. God will deliver me. I don’t want to be stubborn about it, and He will deliver. I want to go through as little disappointment as possible. But He will indeed deliver.
It says in Psalm 2:2 that the kings of the earth take their stand against God. They take their stand. I testify that we are indeed—this is our position—we are opposed to God. Look at Revelation 16:12. Finally, this will be demonstrated to everybody to see for sure. Revelation 16:12 says:
Revelation 16:12-14 – The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.
Men take their stand against God. We shouldn’t think it strange that men conspire against God, that they work together for it. And you know men rejoice in that. If there’s a church out there that has a bad doctrine what do they always say? “Well, you know, we’ve got this many people, they all can’t be that wrong.” We conspire together as if numbers signify rightness. On that day there will be more people opposing God than looking toward God and loving God. Jesus asked the question when He returned will He find faith on the earth? He tells us the love of most will grow cold. There will be very few saints left. Because men are enemies of the cross and they conspire to take their stand against God. Verse 16:
Revelation 16:16-21 – Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found.
Everything man has established, every conspiracy, every working to oppose God is in vain. Why do the nations rage in vain?
Revelation 16:21 – Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.
They certainly don’t repent but rather cursed of God. How deep is the hatred in our sinful nature toward God! Let God crucify it and let Him put it to death. Again, Psalm 2:3 says that their call is let us throw off every fetter, let us throw off every chain, and that’s what we need to watch out for. Men who will come along to us and preach a gospel that says you don’t need this restraint over here, or that’s legalism over here, or that’s just death over here. The gospel call in the last days will be one of lawlessness in the name of law. Even the governments do that. The courts have just recently ruled that a Catholic school has to support a homosexual club on campus because the rights of the homosexual club out-rule the rights of the Catholic Church. They conspire to throw off all restraints, we shouldn’t think it strange. Nor should we think it strange that we find within the Church this gospel and this preaching that in the name of lawfulness or freedom in the Lord or freedom in Jesus Christ that all properness and obedience to God is just done away with.
Look at 2 Peter 3:17.
2 Peter 3:17 – Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.
You already know this—to a lot of people this is a strange message. We don’t have time to look at it today but Thessalonians says that the coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with signs and wonders and miracles. And the more you see a resurgence in the Church of signs and miracles without obedience, you can be sure those are signs of the end days. The more the cross is not there and the more you see miracles watch out.
2 Peter 3:17-18 – Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
Watch out for the error of lawless men who care nothing about the cross and obedience and self-discipline and a purity that comes from the heart. Because we can fall from our secure position.
Let’s go back to Psalm 2:4. So how does God view all this raging? How is He going to respond to this conspiracy against Him? Psalm 2:4 says:
Psalm 2:4 – The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
The first thing it says is that the Lord laughs. Let me tell you, nowhere in Scripture do you ever, ever find it recorded that Jesus laughed. Not one time. He wept, He had compassion, He hurt, He was angry, He was indignant, He was impatient in a holy way, but He never, ever laughed. That is how serious the sin is that Jesus is dealing with. That when Jesus looks at mankind and when He walks on this earth there’s nothing to laugh about. And how churches laugh and Christians laugh, but Jesus found very little to laugh at. It’s not even recorded that He did. That’s why Ecclesiastes says it’s better to enter a house of mourning than a house of laughter. Things are just too serious and the sooner we wake up to who we are and what’s going on around us the more we’ll have the heart of God. The only time we find God laughing in Scripture is when He laughs at all the vain effort of sinful man to keep his sin. Now think about it for a moment, God just laughs at all this activity that’s going on. It’s nothing to Him. It says, “The Lord scoffs at them.” What does it mean to scoff? It means to mock, to mimic, as to have fun. It’s like God mocks what they’re saying, “Oh. You’re saying this.” Mocking also means, or to scoff, means that you lead somebody on in a mocking way in order to bring them to a surprise ending. They think they’re going to win, they think they’re going to succeed. Or you’re pulling a joke on somebody and they think you’re doing this but all along you have something else completely and totally in mind. And they get to that point to find out things are not at all what it seemed.
Look at Ezekiel 14:7. There’s a lot of prophecy going on in the Church today. And it’s nothing more than God mocking men. It’s just an area of prophecy that people don’t even look at or examine. That’s why Scripture says weigh carefully what is said in the Church. Ezekiel 14:7 says:
Ezekiel 14:7 – When any Israelite or any alien living in Israel separates himself from me and sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet to inquire of me, I the Lord will answer him myself.
“When any Israelite or alien living in Israel separates himself from me and sets up idols in his heart”—let’s just get out of the picture that you have to have a little wooden Buddha in your house before you’re considered an idolater. Look to the heart. “And puts a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet to inquire of me, I the Lord will answer him myself.” Ah, so there’s prophecy in the Church. There is, but how is God answering people who are putting up idols in their hearts? Not necessarily that you can see something outside but in their hearts. “I the Lord will indeed answer.” You cannot deny that it is prophecy. Verse 8:
Ezekiel 14:8-10 – I will set my face against that man and make him an example and a byword. I will cut him off from my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord. And if the prophet is enticed to utter a prophecy, I the Lord have enticed that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from among my people Israel. They will bear their guilt—the prophet will be as guilty as the one who consults him.
Oh, there’s prophecy in the Church, but is it the mockery of God? Is it God giving men surprise endings to their life? Is it, “Oh, I heard the Lord say this. Yeah the Lord said I should do this”? The Lord said, Yeah, that was His will for me to do this. To marry this person, move here, take this job, all the things that you hear out there and you keep looking and you go, “It can’t be.” Cause the cross isn’t there. There’s no surrender there, there’s nothing of the crucifixion of the sinful nature. You can’t deny necessarily that it was God, it might be demons, but it could be God. Enticing the prophet to speak the prophecy in order to lead both to a surprise ending.
Look at 1 Kings 22:19. I’ll weigh carefully what is said and the one measurement of everything you hear, is it a lover of the cross? Does it lead to a surrender to God? How many are enemies of the cross of Jesus Christ? They prophecy, they sing of God, yet the truth is the prophecy comes from God but it’s the mockery of God. 1 Kings 22:19 says:
1 Kings 22:19-23 – Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’ One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, “I will entice him.” “By what means?” The Lord asked. “I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,” he said. “You will succeed in enticing him,” said the Lord. “Go and do it.” So now the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.
A prophecy from the Lord, from the hand of God, but it is the mockery of God. Is
God giving man what he wants? If that what you want to hear, it’s yours to hear. “You kept asking Me and asking Me and you refused to let Me put you to death. You refused to have the new life that comes from Me and you keep asking your prophets, you keep enquiring of Me. All right then, this is what you want to hear, then hear it. You ask for meat, you’re going to have meat until it comes out your nostrils,” He told the Israelites. It’s nothing to have a prophecy. Whether it comes from God to bless and bring life is the question. Does it have the cross in it? Is Jesus in it? Or is it the very hand of God bringing mockery in my life? The Lord laughs and He scoffs and men are going to come to a surprise ending in their life whether it be now or on their deathbed.
It says in Psalm 2, He laughs and He scoffs, and then—and then what? “He rebukes them in his anger.” They don’t sense His anger at first. Understand that clearly. If God is mocking a man or a church or the world or someone that comes inquiring of Him but they have an idol in their heart—they don’t sense the anger of the Lord. That comes later. First the laughing is done, then the mocking works its work, and then He rebukes in anger. “And terrifies them in his wrath saying, ‘I have instilled my King on Zion, My holy hill.’” “I’ve done it.” And no matter how much you hate that cross and no matter how much you run from it and preach against it and justify all you do with all your religious talk, “I have installed My King and it will not be removed.” Will the cross be life to us? Or do we plot in vain? Look at verse 7: “I will proclaim the decree of the Lord.” Now I want you to know something, this is a Sunday morning hymn. This is Psalm 2, this is what you sing when you worship. This is the third song on your bulletin when you come in, all four stanzas. And what’s he singing about and what’s he talking about? It is the wrath, the laughter, the scoffing, the anger of God. That’s what he’s singing about. And we should sing a little more about that. And if it terrifies you then you need to repent. But for the saint who knows his God, he says, “I will sing of this fact, that my God will indeed deliver, that He is established, I will proclaim the decree of the Lord. I will sing the Sunday morning hymn.”
Psalm 2:7-9 – He said to me, “You are my Son, today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule over them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
We should sing such, we should. We should talk more about it. Talk about the judgment to come and terrify the sinner and encourage the saint. And you’ll divide who is who as you talk about it. It’s grand news to know that Jesus is returning to take care of this world. Oh, there’s no vengeance. I don’t long for anybody to go to hell but I want for this world to be completed and done. I want to be with Jesus. And I want sin and I want wickedness dealt with, not only in my own life but in the world as a whole. I long for the New Jerusalem. And I long for everyone who is going to love God to be there. Let’s bring this matter to a close that we might get on with loving Jesus. But we should sing, we should sing and talk about the judgment to come.
“I will declare the decree of the Lord.” What is the decree of the Lord? What is it He has established? He said to Jesus, “He said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter and you will dash them to pieces like pottery.’” Oh how the Christian can take rest in that. No matter how dark things become, no matter what sin you wrestle with in your own life one thing is for sure—Jesus is victory.
In John 16:33 Jesus said:
John 16:33 – I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
You will indeed have trouble. More so if you’re a Christian than if you’re not. And not only does a Christian wrestle with his own sinful nature, he must also wrestle with the world. “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I will sing of the decree of the Lord.
John 17:1-2 – After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.”
He has established Jesus’ throne, and He will deliver His people and He will mock this world.
John 17:3 – Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
That is eternal life that we might know God. Through all the troubles and all the trials that will indeed come, there is victory, because Jesus is established. Let’s sing of it, let’s talk about it. Let the sinner tremble but let the saint rejoice.
Look at Revelation 19:11. Let us know for sure that every deceitful tongue, every deceitful heart, every heart that has set up an idol there will be overthrown. Verse 11:
Revelation 19:11 – I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.
It is faithful and it is true.
Revelation 19:12-13 – His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.
Do men know that? Do churches know that? Do we know that? This is the Word of the Lord. Do we really think we’re playing some religious game with God? Oh our church is Scriptural. Or Scripture says that. When we talk about the Word of God we’re talking about something that is powerful and it is active on a daily basis to deal with men. “He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.”
Revelation 19:14-16 – The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.
This is a Jesus we’ll meet.
Revelation 19:17-18 – And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.”
Whether you know God or not is the most serious question you can ask. When somebody tells me they’re my brother and sister in the Lord it’s the most serious statement they can say to me. And when somebody says to me, “This is the Word of the Lord,” that is an awesome statement. And if somebody preaches and says, “We preach the cross and we talk about it too,” that’s a magnificent statement.
Revelation 19:20-21 – But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
Well, men rage against God. Verse 19 says:
Revelation 19:19 – Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army.
I will sing the decree of the Lord and that is His throne is established.
Let’s finish up and go back to Psalms and look at verse 10. How much do we sing about the judgment of God to come? And what do we mean when we say the Word of the Lord? Psalm 2:10 says:
Psalm 2:10 – Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Indeed be warned. Those aren’t idle words and that isn’t just a psalm to read over and that isn’t just ink on page—that’s fire. That’s a man on a horse preparing the supper of the Lord. It’s the very mockery and anger of God. Be warned. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with what? Oh, if that were there in the churches with trembling; where the churches could show the world that when it rejoices before God and lifts its hand up to God it’s with trembling. That’s why Philippians says to work out your salvation with fear and with trembling. Look who we worship. Look who is established on His throne. Look who we call upon. When we say “Christian” look at what label we carry. Look at the awesomeness of who it is that is enthroned.
Psalm 2:11 – Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.
To the man who knows God he loves that fear. And to a man who treasures Jesus he loves to tremble while he rejoices to rich life. “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way.” There is no way by looking at God or looking at Jesus you can outguess Him. You don’t know when He’s going to get angry. You don’t! There’s that fear of not knowing that at any moment His anger can flare. I mean think about it for a moment. In Scripture it talks about when David went into the temple of the Lord and he ate bread that was only permitted under law for the priests to eat—and he lived. And Jesus commends him for it. Scripture says, “Did you not read what David did?” And yet there’s a man, carrying the Ark on an ox cart and the Ark of the Lord is getting ready to fall over and he reaches out, not thinking of filling his belly or doing anything else, but to steady the Ark, the things of God, and God kills him. Kiss that Son, you don’t know when His anger is going to flare. You don’t know what one sin is going to lead you to your death—you don’t know. You might think it has to be this large sin over here. We don’t know. We worship a God who is awesome and we don’t know what sets Him off. We can’t outguess Him. There’s no need to even try to. Run into the arms of an angry Jesus and kiss Him. The anger melts and love is poured out. The grace is there. Kiss Him, not with the kiss of Judas, but the kiss of a sinful woman who anoints Him and loves Him.
“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment.” Saints consider it well that His wrath can come at any second. Sometimes my children don’t know what makes me mad or why I get mad. They can’t outguess it. It’s the very nature of God and who He is. “Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.” Do you understand what God is saying? This is who you worship, this is how awesome God is, this is who is established on His throne. “This is how I mock men. This is how I work to bring about judgment on this earth. This is who I am, this is the vileness of your sinful nature but I’ll have mercy. If you kiss Me with love, I’ll give you life and I’ll give you peace, if you let me crucify the sinful nature.” Blessed is everyone who takes refuge in the Lord. He’s awesome and He is mighty and He’s powerful and He’s full of wrath and anger and purity and holiness, but He loves. Why plot in vain? Let’s just give ourselves fully each hour to God and give up the plots.
Let’s go ahead and pray:
Father, we just ask that You write these things in our hearts with Your Spirit. Father, who can even begin to see or understand how awesome You are and who You are. Especially today, Father, write in our hearts what it means to read Your Word. And what it means, Father, to call upon Your name. And we praise You for the grace you’ve poured in our lives, Father. And we give ourselves more freely to You that You might deal with the sinful nature that so rages against You. Give us life, Father, let us know You. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional. T