Sermon: Patient in Tribulation
- ► 2014 (8)
- ▼ 2013 (44)
- ► 2012 (67)
Friday, November 1, 2013
Dear Beloved, consider a time in the Scriptures when God’s people were told not to mourn: towards the end of their exile in Babylon, the people of Israel gathered together and contributed to the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. After the wall was rebuilt, the people gathered together with their families, and Nehemiah and Ezra, the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, “This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law”. Then Nehemiah said unto me, “Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is sacred unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength”. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, “Hold your peace, for this day is holy; neither be ye grieved”. And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them. (Neh 8:9-12) The people had heard the Word of God, understood It, that is, It was unsealed to them, and were filled with a kind of Godly repentant sorrow. But the joy of the LORD was their strength in their repentance, and thus the LORD commanded them not to mourn, but to rejoice before the LORD. For in returning and rest they were saved; in quietness and in confidence was their strength (Is 30:15)! The heart change that they underwent was prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel:
“37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in Mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: 38 And they shall be My people, and I will be their God:39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear Me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me.41 Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with My whole heart and with My whole soul.” (Jer 32:37-41)
“24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.27 And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.” (Ez 36:24-27)
The fulfillment of true repentance, of the genuine washing of regeneration and ongoing renewal of the Spirit, manifested specifically in the aforementioned account of the Israelites during the time of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, was essentially a fulfillment of God’s New Covenant promises to His people. God’s Covenant had come to pass, the people had been revived, enlightened, Spiritually awakened, and thus, they could rejoice. They ought to rejoice.
But, dear saints, we have yet to see this type of Spiritual revival among the majority of the true church of Christ, who now remain in faulty states of slumber, carnality, deception, and blindness to much of the Spiritual reality of Scripture. You say this is not possible? But we are truly comparable to those states of the churches mentioned in Revelations, to which the Spirit said, “I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent”.
We have committed adultery against the LORD our God, and thus become a friend of the world, at least temporarily, in so doing (James 4:4). And thus the LORD tells us, “draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and He shall lift you up”. (James 4:8-10)
When the New Covenant promises are fulfilled before our eyes, the Lord tells us, “Do not grieve or mourn, for the joy of the LORD is your strength”, and yet, when we have committed adultery with the world, the LORD tells us, “Let your laughter and joy be turned to mourning and heaviness”.
When Nehemiah heard that the remnant that were left of the captivity there in the province were in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also was broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire, he sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven. (Neh 1:3-4) May the joy of our heart cease; may our dance be turned into mourning. For the crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned! For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim. Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it. Thou, O LORD, remainest forever; Thy throne from generation to generation. Wherefore dost Thou forget us for ever, and forsake us so long time? Turn Thou us unto Thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old. But (or lest) Thou hast utterly rejected us; Thou art very wrought against us. (Lam 5:15-22)
May our heart cry unto the LORD, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: may we give ourselves no rest, nor let the apple of our eye cease. May we arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out our heart like water before the face of the LORD: lift up our hands towards Him for the life of our young children that faint for hunger in the top of every street. (Lam 2:18-19).
Saints, do you believe that the state described in the book of Amos has befallen us?: The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, surely I will never forget any of their works. Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? And it shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day: and I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the Words of the LORD: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the Word of the LORD, and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst. (Amos 8:7-13) Surely this state will overtake us lest we repent!
We, as the people of God in this generation have drifted from our first love. The Lord is calling us to mourn and repent. For it is better to go the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. (Ecc 7:2-5) Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted (Matt 5:4)!
Consider the blessed Spirit of grace and of supplications that will be poured out upon the house of David. And they shall look upon Him Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, and as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart. (Zech 12:10-14) This is blessed familial mourning without which there would be certain damnation!
What is the essence of this Spiritual mourning? The LORD shall utter His voice before His army: for His camp is very great: for He is strong that executeth His Word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil. Who knoweth is He will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind Him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, “Spare Thy people, O LORD, and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, where is their God?” Then will the LORD be jealous for His land, and pity His people. Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto His people. “Behold I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen.” (Joel 2:14-19)
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you.” (Hos 10:12)
The Spiritual mourning we endure is unto Godly sorrow characterized by our earnest desire, our mourning, our fervency of mind, and is to repentance. For Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Cor 7: 7-10) There is surely hope dear saints! Even in the midst of our mourning may we expect from the LORD to carry us unto the day when the sun shall no more go down; neither shall our moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be our everlasting light, and the days of our mourning shall be ended (Is 60:20). Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away (Is 51:11)!
“9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.10 Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:11 That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.12 For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.14 And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies.15 For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire.16 For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many.” (Is 66:9-16)
Dear saints, we must mourn with God until His Spirit revives His church, until His New Covenant is fulfilled in us and among us in our time!
Sermon: Patient in Tribulation
Sermon: Patient in Tribulation