Walking with Jesus

I doubt if most Americans spend much time thinking about the beginning of human history or if they ever seriously meditate upon all the mind-boggling activity that occurred before it began. A constant state of sinful busyness seems to be the prevailing norm in our society. It’s a sad fact that all too many of us Christians have allowed ourselves to become caught up in pursuing the things of the world to the delight of those diabolical cosmic forces of darkness. You can be absolutely certain those demonic slime-balls don’t want anyone who calls themselves a Christian to hear this sermon preached or read it later and be left with a feeling of intense gratitude for God’s indescribable love for human beings; nor the potentially life-saving information the sermon contains towards its conclusion; information which hopefully will motivate you to listen intently to your conscience and respond appropriately as this sermon has persuaded me to do.  I would like to begin by reminding us that thousands of years ago the Creator inspired Moses to record the following mind-boggling facts about Himself.

1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day, 14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. Genesis 1:14-19 (ESV)

If a Christian were to cast his or her eyes upon the darkness of the night sky and really took the time to meditate upon everything he or she was able to observe and have learned from astronomy and science about our vast universe, and then thought about everything the Psalmist wrote concerning various aspects of God’s creation, it would become quite obvious that King David spent a fair amount of time meditating upon the mind-boggling awesomeness of God. For example, consider the following two verses in which David wrote about the first day of creation, followed by the inescapable conclusion he arrived at in the third verse.

“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth, For he spoke and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm,” Psalm 33:6;9. Earlier, David had said, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork,” Psalm 19:1 (ESV).

About 400 years ago, God inclined a man named Thomas Ken to compose the words of a magnificent hymn which has been sung by God’s children ever since. I’m sure the following words are familiar to each of you. “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Amen.”

The December 3, 2010 edition of The Burlington Free Press contained a very thought provoking article entitled, “New study finds that star count may triple. Estimate puts tally as high as 300 sextillion. The universe may glitter with far more stars than even Carl Sagan imagined when he rhapsodized about billions upon billions. A new study suggests there are a mind-blowing 300 sextillion of them, or three times as many as scientists previously calculated. That is a 3 followed 23 zeros. Or 3 trillion times 100 billion.” I cut that article out of the newspaper and saved it for this sermon because it jogged my memory and I found myself repeatedly thinking to myself, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork,” Psalm 19:1 (ESV).

C. S. Lewis pondered that statement and went on to define the glory of God as being a “good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgment, and welcome into the heart of things. “The door upon which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.” Let’s take a moment now and think about the following revelation the Lord blessed the Prophet Isaiah with. “Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing,” Isaiah 40:26 (ESV). The Creator calls each of the heavenly host by name, all 300 sextillion (and still counting) of them. Think about that breathtaking fact! Nevertheless, I believe it is eclipsed by the name of each of God’s children being recorded in the Book of Life (Rev. 3:6) before the world even existed. Jesus informed His disciples of that amazing blessing when He told them that,   “…Do not rejoice at this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are enrolled in heaven,” (Luke 10:20) and the Apostle John reminded the early Christians of this fact again in Revelation 20:15).

This morning I would like us to consider SOME of the mind-boggling activity that occurred before the beginning of time, before the creation of the world, before what the evolutionists refer to as the big-bang. We can’t travel back to eternity past but we can read about SOME of the activity which took place then and read about what was said about it in the course of time by the most knowledgeable human being the world has ever known. Of course, I’m alluding to the Person whose birth we commemorated a few weeks ago, the second Person of the Triune God-Head the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Referring to Himself and where He dwelled before speaking time into existence, Jesus told His disciples this incredible fact when He said: “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man,” John 3:13. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father,” John 16:28. A little later as the time of His crucifixion was fast approaching in what is referred to as being His high Priestly prayer to His Father on behalf of His beloved disciples who would remain behind here on earth; Jesus asked, “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began,” John 17:5. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world,” John 17:24.

Here we have the second Person of the triune God-Head asking His Father who is the first to glorify Him. Earlier in the beginning of John’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity inspired John to record the following memorable words which provide additional insight concerning various activities which took place in the beginning of human history. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He was with God in the beginning. [3] Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made,” John 1:1-3.

After His resurrection when Christ went back into Heaven and to His Father, speaking of Jesus, the Apostle Paul wrote: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. [16] For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. [17] He is before all things, and in him all things hold together,” Colossians 1:15-17. The equally divinely inspired unknown author of the Epistle to the first Hebrew Christians adds: “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands,” Hebrews 1:10. The Apostle John wrote: “The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us,” 1 John 1:2. Alongside of the triune Creator was wisdom, the first of His created works about which God inspired King Solomon to reveal: “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; [23] I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began. [24] When there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water; [25] before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, [26] before he made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world. [27] I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, [28] when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, [29] when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth. [30] Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, [31] rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind,” Proverbs 8:22-31.

Before the beginning of time there was God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and there was communication between these three members of the God-Head. A perfect plan was being conceived by infinite wisdom and indescribable sacrificial love. All three divine Persons were present before the decision was made to create and put that plan into motion, and then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness,” Genesis 1:26. “So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth. 29 And God said, See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the land and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to all the animals on the earth and to every bird of the air and to everything that creeps on the ground—to everything in which there is the breath of life—I have given every green plant for food. And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good (suitable, pleasant) and He approved it completely. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day,” Genesis 1:27-31 (AMP).

You and I are aware of the devastating disaster that occurred on the sixth day which describes Satan’s murder of the entire human race. It’s recorded in the sixth Chapter of Genesis. But let’s return now to before the beginning. Speaking of the Savior and His relationship to His first followers, the Apostle Paul told them that, “… [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love. 5 For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent],” Ephesians 1:4-5 (AMP).

Paul went on to say, “But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, 5 Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). 6 And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One). 7 He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; 9 Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.] 10 For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live],” Ephesians 2:4-10 (AMP).

Writing about Jesus before He created the world, the Apostle Peter reminded those first Christians and all who were ordained and whom he planned beforehand to follow them in the future of this awesome fact about SOME of the activity that took place before everything began, Peter explained that, “He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake,” 1 Peter 1:20. Then, speaking about eternal life in Jesus in His brief letter to Titus, the Apostle Paul added: “a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,” Titus 1:2. There is much more biblical evidence I can offer about all the mind-boggling activity the members of the Trinity were engaged in before they spoke the world into existence, but I don’t think it’s necessary for this morning. Indescribable love for all human beings conceived a perfect plan with infinite wisdom that none of those who were ordained and predestined to become followers of Jesus would ever become eternally lost. As I mentioned earlier, those demonic slime-balls don’t want anyone who calls themselves a Christian to hear or read this inspiring sermon and to become challenged by it. They will do their utmost to prevent everyone from doing so by, among other things, keeping them in a perpetual state of sinful busyness. These are the folks I’m very concerned about because I don’t think they understand that they are flirting with sin and its eternal consequences by having allowed themselves to become snared by Satan, and held captive by him.

Concerning that kind of sin, Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that it “…means that our lives are governed by desires and not by truth.”  “. …to live a life of sin means that we are not governed by God, that thoughts of God are not at the center of our lives, that we do not ask ourselves, ‘What would God have me to do, what does God prohibit?” It means that we are governed by ‘the world’-the way of the world, the whole attitude of the world. It is that sort of life in which thoughts of God do not come in except perhaps occasionally when men and women are frightened because they have been taken ill or there is a death. It means God has not governed and controlled their lives, that they have been dictated by everything that is apart from God. That is sin, to live and to dwell in that kind of atmosphere and to be living that sort of life; as if God did not exist and as if this were the only world and as if man were the supreme being in the whole universe.” Consider the following passage the brother of Jesus wrote. “And this is how we may discern [daily, by experience] that we are coming to know Him [to perceive, recognize understand, and become better acquainted with Him]: if we keep (bear in mind, observe, practice) His teachings (precepts, commandments). 4 Whoever says, I know Him [I perceive, recognize, understand, and am acquainted with Him] but fails to keep and obey His commandments (teachings) is a liar, and the Truth [of the Gospel] is not in him. 5 But he who keeps (treasures) His Word [who bears in mind His precepts, who observes His message in its entirety], truly in him has the love of and for God been perfected (completed, reached maturity). By this we may perceive (know, recognize, and be sure) that we are in Him: 6 Whoever says he abides in Him ought [as a personal debt] to walk and conduct himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted Himself,” 1 John 2:3-6 (AMP) .

Lloyd-Jones continues, “… we ought to walk as Christ walked. His great concern was to do the will of God, to please Him and not to please men. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He mourned because of the sin of this world; it hurt; it pained Him. Do we share something of His godly sorrow because of the state of the world? Paul puts it like this in 2 Corinthians 5:4: “…For while we are still in this tent, we groan under the burden and sigh deeply (weighed down, depressed, oppressed)—not that we want to put off the body (the clothing of the spirit), but rather that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal (our dying body) may be swallowed up by life [after the resurrection],” 2 Corinthians 5:4 (AMP).

Lloyd-Jones concludes by asking, “Do we groan? Do we give the impression of being burdened because of the sin and iniquity that is rampant around and about us? That is how He walked, and that is how we ought to walk. Now John does not say, ‘If you live your life that way you are making yourself a Christian,’ but rather, ‘if you are a Christian this is how you live. If you have the life, it is bound to show itself, and if it does not, then you have not the life. That is logical: it is absolutely inevitable. These things are not matters to be argued about: we just face the facts. You cannot be receiving the life of Christ without becoming like Him. You cannot walk with God without keeping His commandments. You cannot know God without immediately, automatically loving Him. Love always manifests itself by doing what the object of its love desires.” (A)

It’s been my prayerful desire that our conscience won’t have to testify against any of us on Judgment Day. I’ve also asked God to use your conscience and cause it to plague every one of you who calls him or herself a Christian with constant agonizing feelings of guilt, until each of us become convinced of the absolute necessity of truly WALKING WITH JESUS!

(A) Walking With God, By Martyn Lloyd-Jones, © 1993 by Elizabeth Catherwood and Ann Desmond. First U. S. edition published 1993 by Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, 1300 Crescent Street, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, pgs. 15, 57.

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January 9, 2011 Posted by Categories: Uncategorized 7 comments

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