Living Well and Dying Well by Faith (Hebrews Sermon 54 of 74)

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Living Well and Dying Well by Faith (Hebrews Sermon 54 of 74)

January 29, 2012 | Andrew Davis
Hebrews 11:21-22
Faith, Running the Race, Prophecy, Blessing of Abraham

Seeing a Life Through the Deathbed Experience

Two weeks ago we we're talking about that mysterious time of the blessing of Isaac, of his two sons, Jacob and Esau. And, we probed the depths, some of the depths of that passage. But you know that after Jacob swindled his brother Esau, and fooled their father, lied to him to get the patriarchal blessing, Esau was angry enough with Jacob to kill him and so Isaac and Rebecca sent Jacob on his way back to where Abraham had come from so that he could find a wife for himself and get away from his angry brother Esau and so he left. And as he was traveling, he came to a certain place called Los and because the sun had set, he lay down in that place, and he took a rock and used it as a pillow which I always thought was just amazing about this man.

What kind of a hard-headed individual is it, that can sleep with a rock as his pillow? But that's the way it was with Jacob. In many ways a stubborn, hard-hearted individual, but still a man of faith. And God filled his mind, with light and glory that night, as he lay on that stone, as he slept in that place. He had a vision of a staircase or a ladder reaching from Earth, all the way to Heaven, or really from Heaven to Earth and angels ascending and descending on it, and the Lord above it and the Lord spoke Abraham's promise to him again. "I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. O am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." An awesome dream of Almighty God, speaking directly to him.

When he awakened, he said something I want you to consider, Genesis 28:16, he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place. And I was not aware of it." And that one verse, Genesis 28:16 has been pressing on my mind ever since I thought about it recently, actually, two or more weeks ago.

"Surely the Lord is in this place. And I was not aware of it." Faith is the eyesight of the soul by which we are aware of it, aware that God is in this place, and we have a superior understanding even to what Jacob had at that moment. Jacob became afraid and said "How awesome is this place! This is non other than the house of God this is the gate of heaven." and he set up a pillar and he poured out oil on the pillar and he called the place Bethel, the house of God.

But we have learned through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that God is everywhere as He said to the Samaritan woman, "Believe Me, woman, a tune us coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…God is Spirit. And those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth." Every place is holy ground. When we see God at work by faith, He is everywhere, God is in this place.

And you may not have been aware of it but He is here. "Where can I go from His spirit and where can I flee from His presence? If I ascend up to the Heavens, you are there. If I go down to the depths, you are there." God is here.

What an awesome experience that was for Jacob to have a vision of God and by faith, he believed it but it's amazing how our author in Hebrews 11, when coming to Jacob doesn't choose that experience. By faith, Jacob saw the significance of his dream and realized that God was making the same promise to him as He had made to Abraham and Isaac. He doesn't talk about that. He doesn't say “by faith, Jacob wrestled with the angel, and overcome the angel and receive the blessings of life and protection." He doesn't talk about that. He doesn't talk about any of the triumphs of Jacob's faith. How by faith, he left the Promised Land under direct command from God saying, "I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes." It was by faith he believed that and left the Promised Land and went to Egypt, he did all of those things and many others by faith. But instead, the author takes us right to the end of Jacob's life, to his death bed, to the blessing of Joseph's sons, by faith into his worship of Almighty God by faith to the very end.

And then in the next verse, when he brings us to the case of Joseph, there are so many things that the author could have chosen concerning Joseph's life of faith is faith-filled prosperity as manager of Potiphar's house after his brothers had sold him as a slave.

He responded by trusting God and God blessed him in everything he did as manager of Potiphar's house, and his faith-filled commitment to sexual purity. When Potiphar's wife assaulted him day after day and said, "Come to bed with me," and he refused saying, "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" It was by faith he refused her, and by faith, he maintained a positive demeanor when he was unjustly imprisoned for that, and by faith he interpreted the butler and the baker's dreams accurately and by faith he maintained again, a positive disposition when the butler forgot him, for two more years, and left him in that prison. His faith-filled patience rewarded when finally the butler remembered, and when Pharaoh had the twin dreams of seven and seven foretelling the coming prosperity: Seven years of prosperity and seven years of famine that would come on Egypt and God called on Joseph to come and stand before Pharaoh and interpret the dreams and by faith, he did so giving all the glory and credit to God, interpretations belong to God.

He didn't take any credit for himself and he got it right, he understood that the two dreams were the same thing and that the doubling of the dream meant that this thing was certain and fixed and eminent and there would be seven years of prosperity and there would be seven years of famine.

And by faith, he made the recommendation of pharaoh, of a wise and a discerning man, who could manage the harvest during the seven years of prosperity and I think it was by faith he was then made second-in-charge, and needs of just under Pharaoh. By faith these awesome things happen in Joseph's life, faith-filled wisdom and dealing with the years of plenty. And faith-filled, and dealing with the years of famine, and then when his brothers came dealing with them and in a very astute and wise way, and to me the pinnacle of all of it is, after Jacob had died and Joseph's brothers came to him, trembling with fear and sure that now that their father was dead, he was going to get his revenge on them for selling him into slavery, really wanting to kill him.

And making one of the greatest utterances in the Old Testament. Genesis 50:20, "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good," and seeing the providence of God, in the midst of tremendous suffering and rejection and hurt, pain on his part to see God's hand in all of it, and say, "God is at work in this, and I praise Him for it." The sweetness of his demeanor, the author passed over all of that, he didn't choose any of those things. You might say, "You shouldn't have chosen them either," let's trust the author to Hebrews, but I just think it's a great life, an incredible life of faith-filled achievements that Joseph lived. But now, instead we go in verse 22, "By faith, Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. And gave instructions about his bones."

And in this way we have repeated this theme that I've already highlighted for you that the author to Hebrews, in Hebrews 11 is bringing us to the end of our own lives. He's bringing you there. He's taking you in your own mind's eye, in your own imagination to go ahead to the time when He will take you out of this world. So that you are ready.

Living as Aliens and Strangers

Abraham faced his son Isaac's death on Mount Moriah, and figuratively speaking, he received Isaac back from the dead. Isaac thinking his end was near, blessed his two sons, spoke about their future. We are brought to the end of Jacob's life, to his death bed, we're brought to the end of Joseph's life, to his death bed. We are being made to face death and we've already been told why in verse 13 and following, the author told us all of these people were still living by faith when they died, they did not receive the things promised, they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, and they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on Earth. And so are we. So are we.

And the things of this life are temporary both the successes and the failures, the pains and the pleasures are temporary, our life is a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. All flesh is like grass and all of our glory is like the flower of the field, the grass withers, and the flowers fall when the breath of the Lord blows on it. Surely the people are like grass, the grass withers, and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God stands forever and this is the Word that was preached to us. These are the promises that we have and we have the same promises in front of us. That through faith in Jesus, our sins will be forgiven, through faith in Jesus, our bodies will be resurrected up out of the grave, by faith in Jesus, we will inherit the new Heavens and the new Earth, it's the same promise and we will be brought to the end of our lives not having received those promises in full.

We will see them and welcome them from a distance. We have the foretaste now, through the Spirit, but we will get the inheritance when we are taken from this life and the author wants us to live accordingly. He wants us to live as aliens and strangers in this world and be willing to surrender our possessions and goods if they're confiscated, joyfully knowing we have treasure in Heaven. To be willing to live that kind of a life, for His glory, to be ready to die well, so that we can live well for His glory. That's what the author is doing.

I. The Faith of Isaac at Death: Overcoming Fleshly Dimness

And so, we are brought to Jacob's death bed in verse 21, "By faith, Jacob when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons and worshipped as he leaned on the top of his staff." Jacob is a fascinating study very much like Peter, interesting individuals that God wrestled with and worked with through years and years, shaping them and training them. When God brought Jacob into Egypt, to be reunited with his supposedly dead son Joseph, who wasn't dead at all. But on the plans of God. He then was reunited and then Joseph brought Jacob into Pharaoh's presence.

In Genesis 47:9, Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The years of my pilgrimage are 130. My years have been few and difficult and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers." Years are few. 130 years are few. Think about that. What is your life? It's a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Ecclesiastes said, "He has set eternity in the hearts of men," we were made for eternity, we were made to live with God forever, and through Jesus, we shall but he says, "My years have been few and difficult." I've had a difficult pilgrimage.

Jacob’s Faith: A Firm Rock, or a Smoldering Wick?

Well, what is the nature of Jacob's faith? It was like a smoldering wick. Richard Sibbes had a great sermon on the bruised reed and the smoldering wax. And saying, "God has the power to deal with frail, weak sinful people, and not snuff out their spark of faith," because he gave that spark to Jacob, and He nourished it as it sputtered and as it flickered and it never went out."

AW Pink said, "A life of faith is not like the shining of the sun on a calm, clear day, it's rays meeting with no resistance from the atmosphere, rather it is more like the sun rising on a foggy morning. It's rays struggling to peer through and dispel the opposing mists." Well, what caused those mists in Jacob's life, and mine it's primarily caused by the flesh, so you have always this rhythm by faith by flesh, by faith by flesh, it's over and over. This is the rhythm of my life and yours.

So look at Jacob, by faith, valuing the birthright and by flesh swindling it from Esau for the bowl of stew. By faith, valuing the patriarchal promise of his father Isaac, and by flesh lying to Isaac, and swindling Esau again. By faith, valuing that awesome dream at Bethel and then, remarkably, the next day, getting up and making a camel trader like bargain with God. You just need to read about it in Genesis 28, "Alright God, this is how it's going to be, if you'll do this and if you'll do that, and if you'll do the other then you can be My God."

We're going over this in staff meeting. I said if you look at the promises that God made him at the top of that stairway with the angels ascending and descending, they're pretty much comprehensive. Cover everything. It's all there. And still in the flesh, Jacob thought he had to bargain with God, that's what he was like. That's the kind of man he was, a manipulator, a con artist, a trader, and so he's trading with God. "If, God, You'll do this, then You can be My God." How could he forget who he was talking with? God doesn't make those kinds of bargains.

By faith, trusting in God to return to the Promised Land, from Padan-Aram, after he had been enriched with wives, children, camels and sheep and goats and all kinds of things and the time came to go back, and by flesh escaping from Laban like he was stealing from him, going in the middle of the night. Now, Laban was another guy, a whole other story, he was a con artist, and a swindler too. By faith and by flesh you see that rhythm. By his flesh terrified of his brother Esau coming with 400 of his closest friends to welcome him back. I think I would have been afraid too. Why do you need 400 men to welcome me back? I think it was pretty obvious, but then by faith wrestling with the angel, and overcoming and receiving from him a blessing.

He who struggled with God, Israel. By faith, living in a tent in the Promised Land, but, by flesh always seeking to improve his earthly lot and to manipulate and to swindle, and to try to make things better for him on Earth.

Jacob’s Faith Triumphed Most at the End

But at the end of his life, do you not see how Jacob's faith triumphed. His best displays of faith happened at the end of his life, in that meeting with Pharaoh, if you just read it and just look at it. His faith and his stance as a patriarch of God, filled with the years of his pilgrimage and all that makes Pharaoh the most powerful man on earth seem to shrink into insignificance. Jacob a great man of God, filled with faith and blessing Pharaoh.

And without a doubt, the lesser is blessed by the greater. And so just what an incredible man he was at that point. And then this account, that the author brings us to, the account of the blessing of Joseph's sons. Now, biblically, in that time, the position of the first-born son was a position of pre-eminence. We have in Colossians, Jesus is the first-born from the dead and so he has in everything, the pre-eminence. So the idea of being a first-born son was the pre-eminent role in the family. Now, if you look at it to some degree I think Jacob believed that belonged to Joseph. He believed that the rights of the first-born should have been Joseph's because Laban swindled him on his wedding night.

You remember how he loved Rachel, served seven years for Rachel? The time of the seven years was done, they seemed like nothing to him, because it was love for Rachel. The time came he wanted to get married, consummate his marriage and all that, and the next morning, behold it was Leah, and in his mind I don't think he ever really recovered in that regard. The first-born son of Rachel was Joseph and it's pretty clear that he favored Joseph and gave him the coat of many colors and all that because he was intending that he would be first-born of his family and give him the rights of first-born, and then one of Joseph's own sons would take the next role, first-born. So the time came for him to deal with his sons, Joseph's sons and so, in Genesis 48:5, Jacob said this to Joseph, "Now then your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine, Ephraim and Manasseh will be reckoned as mine just as Reuben and Simeon are mine."

So now the time has come for the patriarchal blessing, and he wants to give the blessing to Manasseh and Ephraim. And so Joseph brings his sons Manasseh and Ephraim to Jacob's bed and brings them close and Jacob looks at them and crosses his hands so that he can put his right hand on Ephraim's head and his left hand on Manasseh's head reversing the birth order because Manasseh was the older, the first-born son biologically.

And Ephraim second, but he put his right hand, the position of privilege, on the head of Ephraim. At that moment Jacob's faith was keen and strong. There's nothing feeble about him, he knew what he was doing, he wasn't deceived in any way. He speaks with words of gratitude, and Faith concerning God and the way he had been dealing with him all his life. The God who has been my shepherd, all my life to this day, the angel who has delivered me from all harm, he's speaking of God, His faith is strong. And so he reverses the order and Joseph becomes very displeased with his father at this moment, and he grabs hold of Jacob's hands and tries to reverse the position, so he puts his right hand on Manasseh's head and his left hand on Ephraim's head. He says, "No my father, this one, this one is the firstborn." This is a moment of test for Jacob's faith.

I find it fascinating how both Isaac and Jacob had to overcome the objections of their dearly beloved sons in order to give the patriarchal, blessing, the way God intended. Isaac loved Esau. And Esau pleaded and begged with him to reverse and give him the patriarchal blessing, but he would not. And so, he frustrated and angered his firstborn son, the son that he loved. And so also, Jacob does the same thing with Joseph, and that took a lot of guts when you think about who Joseph was, Joseph was the second most powerful man on the face of the earth, A man I think by that time, accustomed to getting his way. Without His word, not a hand was lifted in Egypt, he couldn't lift those hands. And those hands, the hands of his fathers were placed exactly where Jacob wanted them, and so he became angry. "When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim's head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head. Joseph said to him, 'No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.' 19 But his father refused and said, 'I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.' 20 He blessed them that day and said, 'In your name will Israel pronounce this blessing: 'May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.'' So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh."

This is the blessing that He gave to them. May the God of Abraham, the God who has been my shepherd, the angel who has guided me all the days of my life. May He bless these boys, but may He bless Ephraim first. It was by faith that all of this happened. What are the odds that these two princes of Egypt were going to be fulfilling the prophecies concerning the promised land and all of the spiritual blessings that God intended for them? What are the odds that they would each become a separate tribe? What are the odds that the younger would far outstrip the older in blessings? But all of it happened just as Jacob had foretold.

Jacob Spoke of the Promised Land

And at that point also Joseph, Jacob spoke plainly about the promised land, then Israel said to Joseph. "I'm about to die, but God will be with you and will take you back to the land of your fathers, and to you as one who is over your brothers, I give the ridge of land I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow, my bow." And so he is giving to Joseph as the firstborn a part of the promised land as a symbol of his faith in the promises of God. All of these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised, but they saw them and welcomed them from a distance, and they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.

The Final Acts of Jacob’s Faith: Demand About Burial and Worship

Now the final acts of Jacob's faith demand about burial and worship in Genesis 49:29 and following, he says, I'm about to be gathered to my people bury me with my father's in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite along with the field. There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried. There Isaac and his wife Rebecca were buried and there I buried Leah, the field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites.

So he's thinking ahead, he's thinking about his own burial he's thinking about the Promised Land to connect himself with the promises as yet, unfilled that were made to Abraham and to Isaac to show off that Canaan was a type and a symbol of the better country the heavenly one that's yet to come. And so, he gave instructions and at that point, he summoned up his strength one more time and got into a physical position of worship and he worshipped it says as he leaned on top of his staff, and so there he is one last time worshipping. Now, I find this beautiful. Hebrews 11:21 is the final mention of Jacob in the Bible, he's never mentioned again after this, he's mentioned 363 times in the Bible. The final one is this Jacob worshipped. Isn't that awesome. Through all of the twists and turns by flesh by faith, by flesh by faith, in the end, God made him an eternal worshipper, and that's where he is now in the presence of almighty God, worshipping Him.

III. The Faith of Joseph at Death: Seeing into the Distant Future

And so from the example of Jacob in Hebrews 11:21, we learned that faith can overcome a lifetime of struggles and shine most radiantly at the end. And so it is also with Joseph. "By faith, Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones." Now, here we see in Joseph's heart shining the blessings of the promise. He had everything a man could want. He was the most powerful man in the world, other than Pharaoh himself He had unlimited power, he had unlimited wealth, he probably had a life of ease and luxury and comfort and yet these things meant almost nothing to him. He wanted to bring Manasseh and Ephraim to Jacob so that he would be blessed, they would be blessed and receive the spiritual blessings and promises. He cared about spiritual wealth, spiritual prosperity, spiritual protection.

Now, material wealth becomes as God wills. It's consistently spoken of as both a blessing and a danger. In the parable of the seed in the soils, it says, concerning one of the seeds, the seed fell on... In thorny soil. It's those that hear the word but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things, come in and choke the Word making it unfruitful. And so there is a definite danger to wealth and power as Joseph experienced and as Joseph received in Egypt. Again, 1 Timothy 6: 9-10 says, "People who want to get rich fall into a temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. And some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith, and pierced themselves with many griefs." and so, there's definite warning about power and possessions in scripture.

There's also advice given to Rich believers. Psalm 62:10, says, "Though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them." And then again in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth which is so uncertain but to put their hope in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds. To be generous and willing to share, and in this way, they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." So the life of material prosperity and power is not really life, the life that is truly life is a life of spiritual blessings.

So Joseph's mind, I think, at this point is on the future, the distant future, based on a promise given, in the distant past, What am I referring to? It's an astonishing promise given to Abraham in Genesis 15. In Genesis 15, God tells Abraham. I will give you this land, and he said, "How can I know that I will inherit it?" And so he then goes through this, an awesome covenant cutting ceremony, when there are these animals that are cut and a path made in a smoking fire pot appears and Abraham has a deep sleep put upon Him and then God speaks out of the darkness And says, "Know for certain your descendants will be strangers in a country, not their own where they will be enslaved and mistreated for 400 years, but I will punish the nation they serve as slaves and afterward they'll come out with great possessions. You, however, [speaking to Abraham] will go to your father's in peace, and you will be buried in a good old age. In the fourth generation, your descendants will come back here for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure."

Now, Joseph is on his death bed. You move ahead, about 200 years in redemptive history, from when those words were spoken. Abraham was Joseph great-grandfather. And yet, those words, I believe had been passed on by word of mouth, from generation to generation, to generation, Abraham to Isaac, Isaac to Jacob, Jacob to Joseph. Mysterious words, will be strangers in a country not our own, could that country be Egypt. Enslaved and mistreated for 400 years. Could it be after I die, that that will begin? And God will come to your aid he said, and he saw by faith, the truth of what God was doing and He looked ahead by faith. Not just to the enslavement but to the Exodus and the fact that God would bring them out of Egypt. And he said... And when God comes to your aid, and when he brings you out of Egypt, take my bones with you and bury me in the Promised Land.

Joseph’s faith encompassed an unlikely future and he believed it. Again, look at the odds against fulfillment. At that point, the Jews were well liked, well thought of. Joseph, well esteemed. The future looked bright in Egypt. Let's just stay in Egypt. Things are going well. Joseph, saw through all that, as the facade it was. And he spoke very, very powerfully about the future to his brothers. Joseph said to his brothers, I'm about to die, But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land, to the land He promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph, made the sons of Israel swear an oath, and say, "God will surely come to your aid, and you must carry my bones up from this place." Note the confidence, God will surely come to your aid. He will keep his promise and He will bring you out of this place.

And so, therefore, his faith is in the future dwelling place of God, and in the bodily resurrection. You may ask why the bones, why do we care about where the bones are? It was a symbol, I believe, of his faith in the resurrection of the body, that God would raise him from the dead, and that he would live forever in the Promised Land. All you have to do is just look at the words, I will give this land to you and to your descendants forever. He said it to Abraham, he said it to Isaac. The only way it could be fulfilled is if God raises them from the dead. So please bring my bones there, just so it's not so long a walk. I don't know.

It's not some strange taboo thing or some kind of mystical superstitious thing, it's just a testimony, a symbolic testimony to belief in the resurrection from the dead, that's all it was. And they obeyed Exodus 13:19. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear an oath and God had said God will surely come to your aid, and then, you must carry my bones up with you from this place and they did. And so from Joseph's faith while dying is recorded in Hebrews 11:22, we can see how far into the future the eyes of faith, can see and how triumphant faith can be over the imminent circumstances, the immediate circumstances to what God is actually doing in the world.

IV. Applications

What applications first and foremost, come to Christ trust in Him, that is the promise. All other promises are lesser promises. You have no hope in death, if you haven't trusted in Christ, you should fear death, infinitely more than you do if you're not in Christ today.

Do you know how to be saved? Do you know what you need to do? God sent his son, his only son, born of a virgin. He lived a sinless life, He died in our place, on the cross. We have sung multiple songs about it today. All you have to do is look to Jesus by faith and your sins will be forgiven and you will receive the promise of eternal life and of resurrection from the dead. Set your hope fully on that promise, in the glory to be given you when Jesus returns. If you are a believer. Can I urge you to look ahead and think often about your own death? Think about it, be ready for it. Sometimes it just comes right in the middle of life; it won't be a death bed. Just death. Live with no regrets. Whatever God's leading you to do, do it now.

And if I can just say with Joseph Look ahead to what's yet to come in redemptive history and act accordingly. We are not Jews living in Egypt looking ahead to the Exodus and to the entrance to the promised land, we're not there. We're further ahead now. So, what is yet to come on the time table from here to the end of the world? Well, this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come. That's still yet to come. That's going on now. Are you involved in that? Are you and your children involved in that? Are you getting yourself ready for that? That's what God's doing from here to, on. That's the work he's doing And what's coming beyond that, I believe a time of terrible tribulation and testing under the reign of the Antichrist. I preached three sermons on the abomination of desolation. I think that the man of sin is going to come and set himself up in God's temple proclaiming himself to be god, and we the elect know it's coming, and we will not worship Him and we will not bow the knee or receive the mark on the forehead or on the hand we will not do it, we will resist even if it costs us our lives. Are you preparing your children and grandchildren for that? It might be their lives, that it comes. Read them 2nd Thessalonians, read them. Daniel Chapter 11... Daniel Chapter 9, read them Matthew 24, get them ready for what's really coming.

Terrible times in the last days, people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, get them ready for those days. Second coming of Christ, when He comes with the armies of heaven, and we are caught up and meet the Lord in the air. And the Lord returns and reigns forever, and ever, and judgment day is coming when the secrets of every heart will be exposed and laid bare. And the outcome will be heaven and hell, that's what's yet to come. Get them ready. Get yourself ready. Be like Joseph trust in God for what He's promised is going to happen and prepare yourself and train yourself based on that.

We come now to time and the celebration of the Lord's supper. I want to go back to the very beginning of my sermon. Genesis 28:16, "Surely God is in this place, and I was not aware of it." If God is in the center of the Lord's Supper, by your faith in the Word of God, it will be powerfully meaningful For you. If you're not aware of it, it will be like a dry ritual. So as we prepare for the Lord's supper, I urge you to pray, let the Lord search your heart. If you're not in Christ, if you have never testified to faith in Christ, by water baptism, if you know that you're not a Christian, don't partake. Instead hear the Gospel that was preached you and repent and believe it now.

If you are a believer, but the Holy Spirit is convicting you concerning sin in your life, then examine yourself and repent and confess? And partake. This is for sinners, the symbol of Jesus' blood shed for sinners like you and me, partake. Please join with me in prayer.

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