"THE COVENANT PROMISE RENEWED"
(A Series on Evangelism)
C.R.11/8/87a.m. Obadiah 15-21
PROPOSITION: The covenant promise and power of the bride of Christ is renewed by God
as we see the day of the Lord drawing near; a day with no survivors in the world; but a day when the people of God will receive deliverence, their inheritance, and occupation and posession of the land of promise.
- I COULD not believe my eyes when I picked up the Friday Gazette and read the headline " San Diego Judge awards custody of teenage boy to homosexual father's lover....says Christian fundamentalist mother unfit."
- WHAT kind of a day are we living in?
- THE only thing that the judge had against the mother was that she had previously tried to kidnap the boy away from her homosexual husband. Wouldn't you?
- SO, with the father now deceased from Aids, this defender of law and justice weighs the lifestyle of the homosexual lover......and the Christian fundamentalist mother......and rules that the boy would be better off with the homosexual lover.
- I COULD not believe what my eyes were reading in the paper!
- THEN I reflected on the present right of public education to teach Hindu principles of Yoga along with chanting a mantra (The name of a Hindu demon) ...promoted by the NEA as a relaxation tecnique......and to teach what the California courts have called the religion of humanism. But a child cannot hear the scripture read or, in some schools, cannot even close his eyes to pray silently before a test. (Pat Robertson's organization is presently defending just such a case.)
- I ALSO read that AT&T is mandating their executives to learn and practice Yoga....and there is a court case now in the works over a Christian employee who refused and was fired.
- OF course you are all familiar with the defeat of the Bork nomination, a man who seemed to support values important to Christians......and now there is no telling who we will get on the Supreme Court of the land.
- THE believer, in today's world, just cannot win.
- NOT to mention the fact that the most visible, key spiritual leadership of the nation has either fallen in disgrace or been made to look awfully stupid in the press.
- WHAT is going on?
- WE sing, "Through our God we shall do valiantly"....but it doesn't seem to be happening.
- MANY of us, right here in Cedar Rapids, have been struggling against all sorts of odds in our private lives......and even in the life of the fellowship......and victory seems a long way off.
- SOME of you are sick and seemingly never to receive a touch of healing in your body....Others are battling fierce spiritual opposition.....Marriages are under stronger attack than in the 7 years I have been your pastor......Our children are facing drugs, open satan worship in the rock culture, sexual promiscuity, a rising teenage pregnancy rate and TV programs that glamorize it all.
- THE battle seems to be getting more intense....for those who chose to serve the Lord in these times. The opposition seems to be mounting.
- THE church is fast approaching her greatest hour.
- WHAT we are witnessing today is the soon-coming climax of a battle that has been raging since Adam and Eve listened to the serpent and chose to disobey God.
- THE final battle is just around the corner.......and all that is happening today is that the distinction between the two sides is just getting sharper.
- THE lines are being drawn. Which side are you on this morning?
- THERE are only two choices.
* There are the people of this world who, whether they like to think it or not, are under the control and banner of the prince of the air....the worker of darkness.....satan himself.
* Then there are the people of the covenant. The people of God who are under the blood of the covenant........the blood of Jesus, God's Son. (Reference the communion emblems.)
- AND the only difference between this and most other battles is that the final outcome has already been written up....in a book that is 100% accurate about everything else it has prophecied in the past 6,000 years.
- AND, as I was reading in this book last week....in an obscure one chapter Old Testament prophet....the Lord gave me a word for you this morning. I read it on Wednesday....and could not get away from it. I had to go back to it on Thursday and prepare it for you this morning.
- TURN with me to the book of Obadiah. (Between Amos and Jonah.)
- LET me give you a little background.
* Jerusalem was under attack from Babylon....the fiercest opposition inall of her history.
* Her supply lines were being choked off.
* She was starving to death.
* The enemy was camped all around her...and taunting her with the threat of total defeat. (The picture of the church today.)
* And, while she was the most vulnerable in this situation, the nation of Edom...supposedly her neighboring friend.......took the opportunity to raid her in her weakness and plunder Judah.
* So, at the time that Obadiah wrote this, there was only a small, weak, defenseless remnant left in Judah....who had all but lost hope of any deliverence or of restoration as a people of God.
- AND in this setting, God speaks to His covenant people.
- AND His Word is directed to two audiences between verses 15 and 21.
- HE writes to Edom....the world.......a word of warning.
- AND He writes to Judah....the covenant people of God.....a word of encouragment.
- AND, in verse 15 God says, "The day of the Lord is near for all nations."
- THIS is the day when God will settle all accounts....and no nation that has ever been will be left out.
- IF that day was "near" in Obadiah's day....how much nearer is it today?
- LOOK at what HE says to the world......
II.THE DAY OF THE LORD....FOR THE WORLD
- IN verse 15b, concerning this approaching day of the Lord, God says;
"As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head."
* This is a warning of personal responsibility.
* It is contrary to a great deal of what is being taught today....and the way that children are being raised without strong discipline.
* But God says that if you are in the world when HE calls the end of the game (Either yours or the end for the whole world, you will be held completely responsible for your deeds.
* And the sin you have committed will return to your head.
- THERE will be a final reckoning! Justice will be served....even in this case I mentioned in San Diego. That judge may have well served his liberal views and his constituents......but a day of reckoning for his ruling will come, and it will not be the Supreme Court he will have to face.
- VERSE 16 says;
"Just as you drank on my holy hill, so all the nations will drink continually; they will drink and drink and be as if they had never been."
* This verse has to do with the cup of God's judgment.
* He says that Judah had tasted some of His wrath for their disobedience...but that it had been just for a season to correct them and restore them.
* However, the world will drink the same cup of His wrath....but they will drink it into oblivion and total destruction.
* The worst of the suffering and disease and tragedy and torture that this world knows is nothing in comparison with the full blast of God's wrath to be poured out on this world in the day of the Lord.
- THEN, in verse 18b God says about the world;
"......the house of Esau will be stubble, and they will set it on fire and consume it. There will be no survivors from the house of Esau." The Lord has spoken."
* This is concerning the fire of God's judgment.
* Scripture is full of references to fire as an instrument of God's wrath.
* Here He says that Edom will be consumed and there will be no survivors.
* The Lord has spoken.
- THIS is the final account for those in the world who refuse God.....and who are presently attacking the cause of the kingdom and the people of God.
- GOD is keeping a perfect record. And a final reckoning will be made.
III.THE DAY OF THE LORD....FOR HIS PEOPLE
- BUT there is another side to the story.
- AS the day approaches....and the battle gets fiercer....there are some things that the people of God can start to look forward to.
- MNT. ZION is used in scripture as the place where God meets His people. It is the place of shelter and worship. The place of God's presence.
- IN verse 17 God says;
"But on Mount Zion will be deliverance....."
* The enemy will never have his way in Mnt. Zion. God's way and His will reign there.
- VERSE 17 goes on to give another quality in Zion;
"........it will be holy....."
* The place where God is......the people who are His will be holy.
* Not by their own power but by the Spirit within them.
- THEN verse 17 goes on with;
"....and the house of Jacob will possess its inheritance."
* Your complete inheritance will be yours....there is no one, no power that can take it away.
- IN fact, verse 18 says that the people of God will be used of God to pour out the fire of His final judgment;
"The house of Jacob will be a fire and the house of Joseph a flame; the house of Esau will be stubble, and they will set it on fire and consume it."
- THEN, in verses 19-21, God says that His people WILL occupy of the territory that HE has given them;
" People from the Negev will occupy the mountains of Esau, and people from the foothills will possess the land of the Philistines. They will occupy the fields of Ephraim and Samaria, and Benjamin will possess Gilead. This company of Israelite exiles who are in Canaan will possess the land as far as Zarephath; the exiles from Jerusalem who are in Sepharad will possess the towns of the Negev. Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau."
* In other words, the territory that the enemy snuck in and took, while Judah was under attack....will be given back.
* The provisions of the covenant will be regained.
- THERE are three conclusions that I draw from this passage;
* Those in the world must escape this judgment while there is time.
* Those of us who know this prophecy...must warn the world that it is coming and there is a way of escape. (Ezekiel 3:18)
* Those of us, under attack, can take courage. There is deliverence, holiness, occupation in Zion.
A PERFECT HEART