No Middle Ground

Through the recent world events and the Holy Spirit convicting us of the seriousness of the hour we live in, we have either developed a desire to grow closer to God or to forsake Him.
 
I believe that the times are so serious that a clear line that distinguishes those who are really God's is being drawn; Yet at the same time the deception that satan is using makes it harder to determine those who belong to God and those who are giving Him lip service.
 
We saw last week that Jesus said there are a group of people who draw near to God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him, which lets us see that the old saying, "Talk is cheap is not only true in the world, but when it comes to God but can also damn someone to hell unless they understand what God requires of them.
 
In Matthew 15:7, Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah and this is often used to focus your attention on the importance of giving God your heart and not just saying the things that we think are right. He said:
7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
8 ˜These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' 
 
Look at the context of Matthew 15 that Jesus quoted.
Isaiah 29 NKJV
9 Pause and wonder! Blind yourselves and be blind! They are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with intoxicating drink.
10 For the Lord has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets; and He has covered your heads, namely, the seers.
11 The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, "Read this, please. And he says, "I cannot, for it is sealed.
12 Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, "Read this, please. And he says, "I am not literate.
13 Therefore the Lord said: "Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
 
[29:13 Hebrew version reads Their worship is a farce {mockery, embarassment, disgrace} for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.]
 
As much as this Scripture should tug on the hearts of the people of God, I know for some, this is "just another Scripture and because of the hardness of our hearts, we feel that it is for everyone else. I never view this or any other verse in the Word of God with such hypocrisy¦ it ALWAYS applies to me FIRST.
 
This makes my voice as a preacher that much more important in the hour we live in. Yet if we are going to get and stay on the right course, I must speak the Truth of God because of the love I have for the people of God.
 
The fact is "We love you too much to only tell you one part of the Gospel without letting you know God's righteous requirements. To tell you of the great news of heaven without sharing God's instructions for attaining it not only deceives you but lets me know that I am also deceived. "What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his soul?
 
Therefore we must seek out the wisdom of God for life and living with the intent of spending our eternity with Him. Proverbs 4 says
7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.
 
In this hour of the Church, we need the wisdom of God like no other time in history. Some have confused wisdom with the accumulation of facts or gaining more information so your knowledge of things can increase; however that is a separate facet of growing in the earth.
 
This accumulation of facts referred to as knowledge and the application of those facts to our lives on a consistent basis is referred to as wisdom. Therefore a person's wisdom can be seen in the choices they make.
 
However, wisdom is not enough as we need "wisdom that comes from God if we are going to operate as God wants us to operate. This is only attainable as we consistently feed our hearts and minds with the Word of God [getting God's knowledge] and then applying what we learn in daily living.
 
So along with wisdom, having Biblical knowledge is also an important component to our living in a manner to please God, but neglecting and rejecting knowledge leads to our destruction.
 
God is going deeper today as I believe that He wants to move us to a place where we are walking in His wisdom and His power that's based on our knowledge of Him living inside us and His desire to accomplish His will through us.
 
The process of our transformation has already begun and He is preparing us to rule and reign with Him in ways that are unimaginable. But God knows that for us to fully impact the world, we must see the larger picture.
 
Hosea 4
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
7 "The more they increased, the more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame.
8 They eat up the sin of My people; they set their heart on their iniquity.
9 And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their deeds.
 
This is not only a congregational member command, but a command for those called to lead the people of God as the priests did under the Old Covenant.
 
The priests were satisfied with the fact that they had sufficient money and their needs were met and because they had these things, they saw no need to bring correction necessary to the people of God. Therefore they allowed the people to continue in their erroneous lifestyles. Verse 8 in the New Living Translation says:
"When the people bring their sin offerings, the priests get fed.  So the priests are glad when the people sin!
9 ˜And what the priests do, the people also do.' So now I will punish both priests and people for their wicked deeds.
 
The principle of tithes and offerings to support the work of God is set up so the needs of the churches can be met. The Lord has also established alms giving so individual needs could be met as His people use the blessings that He gives them as God's Hands extended through them to others in need.
 
However there are times when people think they can pay God for a lifestyle that's contrary to how God wants and leaders capitalize on these things by encouraging them to "give their way out of something and into the favor of God.
  
When it comes to God, there is "No middle ground and we have a promise that if we are lukewarm, God will spew us out of His mouth. The fact that many Believers' know this is a Truth of the Gospel message is no secret, yet this is a Truth that must be taken seriously.
 
 Revelation 3
14 "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ˜These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ˜I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'”and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
22 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. ' 
 
The amazing nature of our Lord and love and compassion that He has for us is in the fact that "He doesn't rebuke His people without giving them the remedy for their ignorance or disobedience. He tells us to develop a righteous lifestyle using examples of buying gold refined in fire and being clothed with white garments.
 
He calls us into a deeper relationship with Him and says, I'm standing at the door of your heart and knocking. I just want to come in and spend time with you.
 
With Jesus asking to come in and make His home with and in us, some people have said, I'm not worthy that you should come under my roof so just speak the Word from a distance.
 
In Luke chapter 7 the centurion had the same dilemma not knowing the manner of Man that the Christ was. When his servant was sick and Jesus was on his way to heal him, before Jesus entered his house the servant discouraged him knowing the kind of live he lived. But this did not deter Jesus¦ Jesus kept focused.
 
Luke 7
6 Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.
 
Many of us have heard His subtle tap of the Lord on our hearts and we responded by praying and asking Christ to be our Lord and Savior. We had great joy and delight during those initial days of salvation however through the course of time, the things of the world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lust for other things have come in and crowded out what was meant to be the most important thing in the earth¦ our relationship with the Lord.
 
Our lifestyle caused us to put the things of God on hold without considering the eternal implications this decision would have on us. So we tell God that we will serve Him from a distance and He doesn't have to come in and live through us because we don't measure up to the standard He requires. We often say this without even knowing what the standard is.
 
However because of His love for us, He doesn't leave us in a place of despair or hopelessness; He sends people, prophetic sermons and sometimes He allows circumstances to get us to focus our attention on what really matters.
 
Many of you responded last week and said "I need to realign my life with the purposes of the Lord. The question becomes, "What do you do next?  
 
A determination of our hearts is only the beginning of change; this resolution to do something for and in obedience to God must be followed by actions that say you are serious in your relationship with Him. No longer allowing the gratification of our flesh to be the factor that determines what we are going to do, we now make it our priority to find out what He wants and we line our lives up with Him.
 
A few weeks ago there was a major break in the spiritual atmosphere of the church as at the end of Pastor Brenda's sermon there was power and authority released towards us as your pastors that strengthened us and reset the course of the House of God here at New Horizons.
 
In the Book of Acts it's clear that God established the New Testament Church in a specific manner and on the Day of Pentecost, God moved in unprecedented ways unknown by the people of their day.
 
We are crying out for a move of God in this Last Day that will turn the nations of the world on edge. A renewed call to holiness and righteousness resounds around the world and God is stirring the hearts of His people to extend faith for what appear are impossibilities in the earth.
 
God is looking for people who will pray to this end and through Ezekiel 22 God lets us know that things in the earth today are really no different than they were in times past. They are being accelerated and because of the times we live in are being seen around the world in a moment of time.
 
Social media has given us the power of perception and observation to see things all over our nation and because of this injustices and moral decay can be seen in a moment of time. God has decreed that a time would come on the earth when righteousness would prevail and if this is going to happen, there will have to be people that know what it means to live right and pray in a manner that gets the attention of God.
 
These people are called intercessors or those who are used of God to stand in the Gap for the nation so God's will, plan and purpose could prevail. These intercessors don't see prayer as a job, a burden or inconvenience but as a privilege to see things changed because God will share His heart with them and they will in turn speak the answers of hope and faith into the atmosphere.
 
An intercessor sees the injustices and demise of God's holy standards in the world, and uses these things to decree what God has already spoken so a wayward nation and people can be made right.
 
They speak from the perspective of God's will, plan and purpose for the hour they live in and will move past praying for their own lives and praying because of religious indoctrination and pray as they are inspired by the Holy Spirit and in agreement with the Word of God.
 
They don't see prayer as a place of honor and a form, but see prayer as a lifestyle that is preceded by humility and obedience to God's Word.
 
These things strengthen their position in intercession and gives greater resistance to the forces of darkness that seek to destroy their effectiveness in the earth. Ezekiel went through this as he saw the demise of morality in the world and God gave His remedy.
 
Ezekiel 22
23 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 24 "Son of man, say to her: ˜You are a land that is not cleansed or rained on in the day of indignation.' 25 The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured people; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. 26 Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27 Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. 28 Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ˜Thus says the Lord God,' when the Lord had not spoken. 29 The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger. 30 So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. 31 Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads, says the Lord God.
 
This is the mandate that is on us as we press our lives forward. Because of the things we are seeing and unrighteousness in the earth it is not our time to run and hide; it's not time to give up hope and it is not time to keep silent. We must lift up our voices like a trumpet in this hour and continue to proclaim the Word of the Lord in salvation, deliverance, healing and righteousness so many can be saved in the end.
 
Acts 4
42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
 
You do what you can and let God do what you can't¦
Joshua 24
14 "Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
 
Let this be the cry of our hearts going forward from this day and forever