Jesus Church
The Thread of Life – Part 17 (No secret code)
September 19, 2021

The Thread of Life – Part 17 (No secret code)

September 19, 2021

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Catch up on our series HERE

 

The Thread of Life – 31 Stories that point to Jesus

Part 17

Welcome to Jesus Church: Here and Online

We are in a series called “The thread of life”

  • B/C from the first page of the Bible to last…
    • There is a continuity that ties the whole thing together
    • And that thread that’s revealed on every page is Jesus
  • He’s spoken of in the Garden by a promise of redemption
    • He’s foreshadowed in Abraham’s first born son Isaac
    • He’s seen in the stories of the Exodus, Joshua, David
  • Jesus is on every page of the Bible
    • Which makes every word that we read life giving
    • B/C Jesus is life… and in him we find life

Last week we looked at the beginning of the Prophets

  • Prophets were people who God used to warn of coming danger
    • And main danger that God warns of is trusting in idols over God
    • To put hope in a cheap imitation of the real thing
  • Example: Saw when Gods people trusted in false god of weather
    • The weather became an issue for them
    • When we trust anything above God (money/job/relationship)
      • Trust in money: That will be issue in one way or another
      • Trust in job: That will be an issue
      • Trust in relationship: That will be an issue
  • B/C that’s now ur God… and God won’t bless His competition
    • And no false god will ever live up to your hopes/expectations
    • They will always let you down
    • They will always make you pay

Ps 115:5-8 (NIV)

They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear and noses but cannot smell. They have hands but cannot feel, feet but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.

  • Pretty obviously this is warning us… if u trust in anything but God
    • Your hands will not be effective
    • Your words will not be effective
    • Your life will not be effective

TAG: So lets just trust God – Who moves us forward and brings us life

[PRAY]

Listen carefully to see if u recognize this Secret Code

UP-UP-DOWN-DOWN-LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT-RIGHT-B-A-START

  • How many of you recognize what that code is for… (hands)
    • These are the people welcomed at my table at any time
    • This comes from the Nintendo game Contra
    • One of the greatest games of all time
  • You can sorta separate different era’s by their gaming consoles
    • I go back to the original Nintendo ear (Best of all)
    • Not a real childhood if u didn’t blow on cartridge to make work
  • And I loved the game contra… But I could never beat it
    • Then one day I got this wonderful magazine “Nintendo Power”
      • And I could not believe my eyes
      • There was a code for 30 lives… it was a game changer
    • Suddenly all the hard parts became easy to beat
      • I didn’t worry about risks because I had 30 lives to spare
      • B/C I had the secret code for victory…
    • Here I am – 25 years later… don’t remember anything of game
      • But I can tell you: Up – Up – Down – Down…
      • And over time – there were more codes
      • Then came the game genie – Go to any level/any power up

I think: Times we come 2 God hoping 4 secret code

What is the Up – Up – Down – Down – Left – Right… of the Bible

  • How do we get God to do answer my prayer/request/desire
    • How do we get God to give us the extra lives… win the game
      • And there are a lot of people/books that say…
      • Here is what you do
  • If you will pray these exact words… send in that prayer napkin
    • By this coin… name this… claim that
    • God will be your game genie… he will do what you want
    • Right order – Right sequence – Out comes exactly what u want

But unfortunately there is No secret code of scripture

  • There is however (and we need to talk about this more)
    • A life that God blesses
    • There are some things that seem to bring blessing into our lives
  • In the same way that if you ignore God and his warning signs
    • Things are not going to go well for you
    • If you actually listen to God… things will go well
    • Not to say they will be perfect – But a lot less heart ache

TAG: And in our story today we see exactly that in a man to follows God

That man’s name is King Hezekiah

Now the world that this part of the Bible is written in/to

  • Gods kingdom is still divided (Israel & Judah)
    • We are studying a 208 year history
    • 38 kings (33 evil & 5 good)

2 Chr. 36:15-16 (NLT)

The Lord, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple. But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words (one version says – called them idiots) They scoffed at the prophets until the Lord’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done.

  • And b/c of love God… sends the prophets to warn them to change
    • But they do things their own way
    • And God eventually has enough
  • You know when God says he is slow to anger in Ex. 34:7-8
    • It is true that he is slow to anger
    • But it also means that God does get angry
    • And it says God’s anger came 2 a point of action… brings justice

So first the Northern Kingdom is Destroyed

Assyria comes w/ 185k soldiers… God lets them 2 leave his protection

  • And on paper they didn’t have a chance anyways
    • But if God would have fought for them – 185k is nothing
    • But God withdrew his hand & the capital of Israel is destroyed
      • So the Israelites spread throughout Assyria
  • And the Southern Kingdom is watching all this unfold
    • They realize that God is done with the warnings
    • Like when mom stops saying “don’t do that” and just looks
    • And then God sends a warning of what’s coming to South

So then the Prophet Isaiah – He brings one last warning to the South

Is. 2:6-11 (NLT)

For the Lord has rejected his people, the descendants of Jacob, because they have filled their land with practices from the East and with sorcerers, as the Philistines do. They have made alliances with pagans. Israel is full of silver and gold; there is no end to its treasures. Their land is full of warhorses; there is no end to its chariots. Their land is full of idols; the people worship things they have made with their hands. So now they will be humbled, and all will be brought low, do not forgive them. Crawl into caves in the rocks. Hide in the dust from the terror of the Lord and the glory of his majesty. Human pride will be brought down and human arrogance will be humbled.

  • Isaiah says: The Lord can’t simply ignore their sins
    • And he can’t change the results of sin and rejecting God
    • And eventually God acts and brings down proud & idolatrous

TAG: Isaiah is warning Judah by what happened to Israel

God’s warnings happen in a number of diff ways

One way: God gives His word at right time to get our attention

  • Some of you… that time is now – Didn’t plan on being here
    • Reason u are: There’s area of life God wants 2 get ur attention
    • Path you are on is leading to destruction
    • The mindset you have is leading to destruction
  • If you respond NOW – Gods grace will spare you from heartache
    • You know who you are… what it is… its no coincidence
    • Usually after service there are at least a few people
    • Seriously entertain the idea that I bugged their phone/house
      • And while I’ll never confirm or deny those claims
      • Honestly – That’s not me… I’m not that smart – Its God

Another way: Through the example of others

  • Watching others who were down the path we are on now
    • Some of us see parents go down a path God didn’t want 4 them
      • We say we will do things different
      • But we find ourselves on the same path
      • God trying to open our eyes
  • Judah in the South has opportunity to see where path led North
    • Isaiah points this all out to them
    • Assyria turns attention to Judah with 185k soldiers
    • And it appears South has absolutely no chance

But there is an “X” factor in the story – King Hezekiah

  • This is really the 1st king w/ Heart for God since David
    • And b/c of how he lived… Judah was being blessed
    • He removes all idols – trusts in God alone – leads the people
      • Assyria is knocking on the door… people are scared
      • 185,000 people wanting to destroy you
  • King Hezekiah speaks to his people… reminds them of who God is
    • Uses a ton of the same language as Joshua

2 Chr. 32:7-8 (NIV)

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.”

  • Just the arm of flesh… 185000 x 2 arms, but still just flesh and bone
    • We have God with us
    • And If God is with us, who can be against us

So on the Assyrian side… they wanna take Southern Kingdom peacefully

  • King Sennacherib sends messengers to Jerusalem to speak to Judah
    • Actually makes his people learn their language
    • So he can speak directly to the people… not thru their king

2 Chr. 32:13-15 (NIV)

Do you not know what I and my predecessors have done to all the peoples of the other lands? Were the gods of those nations ever able to deliver their land from my hand? Who of all the gods of these nations that my predecessors destroyed has been able to save his people from me? How then can your god deliver you from my hand? Now do not let Hezekiah deceive you and mislead you like this. Do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or the hand of my predecessors. How much less will your god deliver you from my hand!

  • I don’t know… but I wouldn’t want to stand too close to that guy
    • He is literally calling God out
    • Telling God’s people what God can and can’t do for them

I know for many of us… The army is camped right outside our door

  • And the messenger speaks in ur language (voice) saying the same
    • The odds are impossible – The mess is too much to clean up
    • You’re too broken to be fixed – Too bad for redemption
  • And the Enemy says “Not even God can get you out of this one”
    • Not even God… can save your marriage
    • Not even God… can rescue you from that decision
    • Not even God… can break the addiction
  • And we end up believing the lie
    • Living life where faith is stolen and fear is given
    • Where hope is lost and hopelessness is found

Now check out how King Hezekiah responds

2 Chr. 32:20 (NIV)

King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to heaven about this.

  • What do u do when the enemy attacks… Get on ur knees and pray

2 Chr. 32:21 (NIV)

And the Lord sent an angel, who annihilated all the fighting men and the commanders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king. So he withdrew to his own land in disgrace.

  • What?!?! There’s not even a fight… no war… no battle
    • If God is with you, who can be against you
    • And that makes all the difference in how you approach life
    • It changes the way you look at the battle

Tag: Here’s what I want you to see about this story and about Hezekiah

There r things established in his life that brought blessing

And that’s Important b/c its what I want for my life… for our church

  • What changed their fate… which was headed same way as Israel

2 Chron 32:26 (NIV)

… the Lord’s wrath did not come upon them during the days of Hezekiah.

  • After Hezekiah dies… the south falls the same as Israel
    • But while Hezekiah was leading them they experienced
      • Protection… Provision… Joy… Victory
      • It says they prospered – WHY?
  • And its not some secret code or magic formula
    • But these are some things that brought God’s hand on Hezekiah
    • Kept him safe where others were not

1. Commitment to purity

  • This marked his reign as king… a commitment 2 living/leading pure
    • He established his kingdom by purifying the temple
    • He removed any remnant of idolatry

2 Chr. 29:3-6 (very first days of his reign)

In the very first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah reopened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them. (So church had been closed) He summoned the priests and Levites to meet him at the courtyard east of the temple. He said to them “Listen to me, you Levites! Purify ourselves, and purify the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all the defiled things from the sanctuary. Our ancestors were unfaithful and did what was evil in the sight of the Lord our God. They abandoned the Lord and his dwelling place; they turned their backs on him

  • So they repent from the ways of those who went before them
    • Commit to doing things God’s way
    • He gets rid of all the things that defiled them towards God
  • Purity isn’t a word we like to talk about
    • Yet this word “Purify your heart” is a way to blessing
    • And many want to be blessed by God
      • Don’t want to live in vulnerability needed for purification
  • Part of challenge: Don’t understand what in the temple is defiled
    • When something has always been there – Don’t see it as bad
    • And we base our standard of purity on the culture around us
      • Instead of basing it on God and his word
      • So there is a standard of purity problem

Saw list of FDA purity standard 4 food we eat (disturbing so gotta share)

  • Apple Butter is not to be sold to you if…
    • Mold count of 12% or more
    • Averages 4 rodent hair or more per 100 grams
    • Averages 5 or more whole insects per 500 grams
  • Coffee beans will be thrown out if…
    • More than 10% are insect infested
    • Or 1 or more live insects are in 2 or more immediate containers
  • Mushrooms can’t be sold if
    • Average of 20+ maggots per 15 grams of dried mushrooms
  • Hotdogs… maybe you’d rather not know

We would like to think standard of purity is pretty high in our food

  • But we kinda just accept it – even reading that… still drink coffee
    • Maybe standard of purity in spiritual life should be looked at
    • Like Eph. 5 talks about being “Washed in the Word”

1 Jn 1:8-9 (NIV)

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the trust is not in us. But if we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

  • If we confess… take what’s in the dark and bring it to the light
    • Open the doors of the temp of our hearts
    • Drag out the defiled things… bring them to the light
    • God promises to cleanse (purify) us
  • We don’t purify ourselves… God does all of that
    • But only when WE confess those sins
    • Only when we repent and throw it out of the temple
    • And in doing that… you will see the blessings that are released

Is 59:1-2 (NIV)

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God, your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

2. Prayer and worship

Their enemies are right at the doorstep and Hezekiah prays

2 Chron 29:30 (NIV)

…They Sang praises with gladness & they bowed their heads & worshiped

  • When things were the hardest… they prayed & the worshiped
    • The first move wasn’t to “figure it out” but to “bring it to God”
    • Notice there is a distinction between praise and worship
      • Both are important and necessary
      • Its not just about the introspective slow songs
      • Its singing with joy and gladness as well

2 Chr. 32:20 (NIV)

Now because of this King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz prayed and cried out to heaven… then the Lord

  • 185,000 against you… cry out to heaven
    • Will never be the praying or worshiping church we want to be
      • Until we realize our desperation for him
      • Prayer changes things
    • Many of us might see it as just a ritual
      • I’ve seen storms literally stop and leave because of prayer
      • Hezekiah give the prayer of desperation and deliverance

TAG: Living in an acknowledgment that we need his strength to save us

Thru 3 things: Purity… Prayer… Worship

Hezekiah & God’s people find blessing b/c they reclaimed their identity

2 Sam. 7:23 (NIV)

And who is like your people Israel—the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself…

  • God set apart.. but they look no more set apart than anyone else
    • Assyria thinks idols & poles to foreign gods are “God of Israel”
    • Israel had forgot they were Gods people and His promises
  • 1st thing Hezekiah does is bring back Israel’s identity
    • They set themselves apart again as Gods people
    • They purify themselves/pray/worship

The diff b/w Israel’s destruction & Judah’s deliverance was identity

  • Israel is warned time and time again
    • Be set apart… turn back to God
    • Yet they mocked God and lived no different from the world
  • Judah was different
    • They reclaimed their position with God and were saved
    • B/C when ur identity is in the true God…
      • His is name is glorified through your deliverance

I wonder how many Xians have forgotten who their identity is found in

  • And to claim victory we must know where our identity is
    • We must know whose we are
    • Not a secret formula – It’s all over the Bible

Gal. 3:20 (NIV)

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Col. 3:3-4 (NIV)

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

  • We must understand that God’s promises are for us
    • That if He is for us… nothing can stand against us
    • And His victory is my victory

[PRAY]

 

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