It's such a beautiful thing to see the way God Himself smiles on people. God is selecting, has selected people and is pouring out His Spirit upon them. Why has God chosen in such an extraordinary way to bring messages to the world that are already in the Bible? And the answer has been found in the different messages that they have brought. One of these verses is in Jeremiah 9:23-24, where God is stating that He wants the world to know Him as He is. In those verses He said, "Let not the mighty man glory in his might, or the rich man in his riches, or the famous man with his fame but let him that glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me." Then he went on to say "that he understands and knows me as a God full of loving-kindness, a God of mercy, a God of justice." Then he went on to say, "In these things I delight says the Lord."
The world as a whole has the truth about what God is like but they've had the truth upside down. God wants the world to know that He cares for them. The world's theology has had a picture of God. They've had that orb of truth that God is God of compassion, that God is a God of wrath. Both sides. This is true. But God through an angel said they have the order reversed. They have the gospel inverted. And the message to a large extent if not presented in this way, practiced in this way, that we must see Him first of all as a God of wrath who must be appeased through various ways, various efforts. And somehow you can appease the wrath of God by what you do, what you are able to achieve, how you perform. You may drop through this area of His wrath and enter into His love. Because the message of His love has always been bound and wrapped in the package of conditions, if we do, He will do. But God says the reason for this, even though they have the Word and the Holy Spirit, because of the influence of those who have gone before they've been afraid to give the gospel the way God has it in His Word.
When he spoke to Moses, you remember how Moses cried out, "God let me see you. I want to see you as You really are." God said, "You can't see me." But Moses said, "I want to see you face to face, I want to talk with you." God said, "I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'll put you in this little cleft in the rock. I'll put my big hand over the top and then I'm going to pass by and let you get a little feel of the glory. And then I'm going to tell you personally, give you a personal picture of how I want to be seen, what I'm really like." And so you read it in Exodus 34:6-7. Where he said, "the Lord passed by and He spoke to Moses out of a glory cloud and said, "the Lord God, full of loving-kindness, gracious, full of compassion and mercy."" This is how He wants to be known first. Then so Moses would have the full picture again, then he said to those that refuse and reject, there's the wrath of God. So this message today has turned the orb of truth over. And God is saying, "Let men and women know that if they would plunge into My love and share my love and accept it. They will never experience my wrath." But if they have his wrath first, then their seldom able to really accept His love. Because there's always that fear. And there so conditioned to the wrath it's difficult to enter into the love. God has ways of cleansing and causing those memories of the past to lose their power to hurt. But he says go out and carry this message. And the world is so anxious to hear this message.
A week ago when my wife and I were out ministering, and it's the same place every place we've gone. The buildings are filled long before service time is to start, crowds of people. In Dallas alone hundreds of people there have the book but they didn't know I was going to be there. Some heard about it through the T.V. station. But that building with over 1200 chairs in it, another 1000 out in the foyer and in the rooms, and still there were throngs of people unable to get into the place. It's happening all over. The world is so longing to hear the message to know what God is like. So this would be the answer to the why. God wants the world to see that He really cares for them. And that He hasn't cut them adrift on a doom planet and said, "If you can somehow boost yourself up high enough I may be able to help you a little bit."
God says man couldn't do it, he couldn't find the ladder so God sent the ladder down to him in the form of His Son Jesus Christ for God so loved the world that He gave. These truths are exciting people all over. The message that Jesus sent out to the world was this. The gospel means good news. He said carry the good news. The good news is, man is already condemned, but the good news is there's a way out of your condemnation. Somebody took your place. So that's the good news that He has. Jesus paid it all. The believer's accepted on this basis, not of his performance but of God's performance. I like the verse over in Romans 5:17, where he tells us when we accept this full gift of grace, it's the unearned gift that God gives. When we accept it then and only then can we really learn how to reign, we can be victorious. When you accept His grace and the gift of righteousness, not what you've earned but the gift that He gives you, then you can start reigning in this life. You can then start having the victories over those things that have been troubling.
Those of you who have read the book, you know the message of the atonement, what God has done, that beautiful covering. Here's another question that has come. Will we know each other up there? There's a lot of teaching today that heaven is going to be just God's family and no human family. But do you know that our human physical life is not going to be present there because God has a better life for us, the immortal life. But our humanity, that part of you that makes you you is still going to be there. And those things that have been important to that part of you that will never die, the soul, your humanity that will never, ever, ever die is still going to be alive and active. Your sense of humor is going to be sharper than ever. Your personality, the brightness is going to be there minus the things that could hurt or destroy. And God has a job cut out for Him that nobody in the whole world could ever figure out. But Jesus said enough about it when they asked him a hypothetical question. But Jesus told them you don't have to worry about it, its God's business not yours. And He has ways of taking care of things that we struggle and worry about.
You see up there we're not going to take those traits that have caused hurts and problems and jealousies and all of the other things that have plagued this life. There, the Spirit of the Lord that God has given us here is still going to be active in His fullness and we are not only going to know each other but we're going to love each other. There's going to be joy and peace and happiness. Heaven is a very real place and it's a wonderful place and it's a place where your loved ones are abiding. I had a number of people ask me about loved ones not having the opportunity to participate in some of the practices of the church because they've died so suddenly or they were taken before they had a chance to. I can see a purpose for every experience that He's given to me because it's providing answers that have plagued people's minds and hearts. When the Lord allowed me to see and witness loved ones, people that I have had funerals for right here in the church, and one of the things that surprised me was I saw some that I was in doubt about making it. And God gave me a truth that I have been using since that time. He let me know that when an individual from their heart cries out even if it doesn't pass their lips, His ears are tuned not to the sounds that beat on the human ear that we can hear but His divine ear picks up cries that we can never hear. There are times that you have longed to express yourself but you didn't know how but the Spirit of the Lord carried that prayer to God and these people had cried from their spirit, "Jesus!" And He tells us it shall come to pass that those who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. He let me know that that is what happened to some of these people.
God has so much invested in you that He lives to protect that investment. Another question that has been asked is, "will the family of a believer automatically be saved?" The angels of the Lord are moving and are bringing them to a point of choice. But the answer to that question is they will not automatically be saved. They have a reservation. But if you were going to take a trip and you had a reservation on a plane, unless you confirmed your reservation and got on that plane you wouldn't get there. The reservation has been made but you're not on that plane. And you haven't done the little thing that's necessary until you have said, "Lord I come to you now, thank you for your care, I confirm my reservation by accepting Jesus, calling on His name."
There was a pastor in town that stopped to see me. And he said, "I believe you're honest but you've been deceived, these are evil angels." I said, "What do you mean they're evil angels?" He said, "Every one of those messages I can accept, they come right from the Word of God there substantiated. But Satan couldn't have deceived you if he didn't bring messages that were right on with the Word, you wouldn't have accepted them." I said, "Is that right?" I would rather give God the credit for bringing true messages then to give Satan credit for it wouldn't you?
There is not one instance in the entire Bible of a satanic angel appearing in bodily form, in substance. But there is ample evidence of God's angels appearing. Now the reason for that is, God can speak the Word, give the order and any of his angels can appear to do a job. He has a reason for it. Even Gabriel cannot appear at his own volition. God has to say "Okay, you have a mission to do, you can appear and he can do it." But God isn't asking satan and his angels to do this. There's no way in the world any of satan's forces could ever appear in a solid body. This is the reason why evil forces are constantly searching for bodies to inhabit, they cannot appear, it's totally impossible. I feel that many, many believers have become so demon conscious that they have given more freedom to the enemy in their own thinking then they have to God.
One other question that has come up, "Did Joshua worship an angel?" Because the Bible says that the angel said, "Put off your shoes for the place you're standing is holy ground. And Joshua fell down. Did he worship an angel? No. You see an angel isn't standing there of his own volition. God is there, God's holy presence. And if a person told me that they had seen one of these holy angels and didn't find themselves bathed in that holy atmosphere I would say you had a little fantasy that's all. The holiness emanates from them because they come right from God's presence. Don't get after some Bible character if he fell down in front of an angel. I believe every individual here in this building would fall down. You wouldn't be worshiping an angel but you would know somebody else was awful close by and the ground was holy. God cared enough.
When Joshua said, "Are you with us or are you with our enemies?" And the angel said, "not yours, not your enemies, I'm captain of another host." This angel went on to say Jesus would never have told Joshua, I'm not with you. He would be forsaking, He was the one who led them this far. And He said, "I'll lead you all the way. I'll go before you." Jesus would never have said, "I'm not with you" because Jesus is the supreme commander. He commands Joshua's army and this angel said He commands my army too. He's the commander, calling the signals for both armies. If you'd like to jot this down, these are some words that are from God's heart. "Those who believe need no sign. Those who do not believe would challenge any sign that was given."
Another question is, "is there really going to be a rapture? God in His great plans before He ever made the earth has planned for a great rescue operation. He allowed me to see this and showed it to me in the festivals given in Leviticus 23. There are seven of them. And each of them were so important to God. There was the death of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, fellowship with his people, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, going into all the world and preaching the gospel. There was the great message of the covering. Then the seventh one was the gathering together to Him. And in the festival God had the children of Israel rehearse each of these festivals every year. They had to rehearse the Passover which had to do with the death of Jesus. The last one was every year they were going to leave their homes and go out into the wilderness for seven days and there they would live in temporary shelters. And it was a time of great joy. And they would cut down the palm branches and they would shout and sing and that first day as they went out was the greatest jubilee of all as they went out into the wilderness. Why would they shout about that? God told them to get out there and make a joyful noise because they were rehearsing something that is going to be a great happening. And so every year they had to do this. God was taking them out of the world but they had to leave their homes for seven days and then come back to their homes. And this He called the feast of tabernacles.
The time when He's looking ahead to taking us, the word tabernacle means a home, taking us to His home to live with Him. He said it's going to be a beautiful time. There's going to be what He terms the greatest feast of all as He feasts with His people. Then He said, "After seven years, you're going to come back down and the time of the great millennial reign where you'll rule and you'll reign with Him for a thousand years will begin." So it's a matter of going out and away from your homes for this period and then coming back. There is no other possible explanation for this priority that God gave. It had to be rehearsed every year because it was important to God. So listen, God has something planned for you. The sickle has been thrust in. I don't know how God's time compares with our time but I do know this, on His calendar things are heading up. That word taken in Matthew was a word that God invented, and it means called to one side in an affectionate manner. And the Lord is going to call us as He's likened it as His bride to His side. And the word is probably a very poor Greek pronunciation. And its spelled paralambano.
If God doesn't record a believer's sin or fault or failure, how can we reconcile that with the places in scripture where it says that we have a believer's judgment that we're going to face and there be rewarded or suffer lost for deeds done in the body and so on? When the Lord is speaking about this he said that the foundation is Jesus. He's the foundation. Then He said what we build on this foundation of the nature of Jesus, the likeness of Jesus is going to be preserved. What isn't the likeness of Jesus is going to be stripped away. This judgment is as you have often seen at a fair or a race track, is a judgment for awards, a court of honor, those who have something that will remain through that time. And he tells us to strengthen those things that will remain. Now the removal of the wood, the hay, the stubble, the chaff is not a painful operation to a believer. There are things in your life that you have struggled to be free from, things that are not built out of the same stuff that Jesus is built out of. And those things you're going to find the freedom that you've looked for all of this time as He reaches down and pushes all of that chaff off to one side. He says, "I don't have any reason for all this junk here so I didn't build some warehouses to store that in." So He said, "I'm going to push that over here and burn that up." But the individual even though it might be just a couple of kernels of grain, whatever it is in your life that you have done that is like Jesus is going to be saved for all of eternity. So the foundation stands that Jesus made, but the things that wouldn't fit in heaven have to be stripped off.