God's Character: What He is Really Like

Chapter 59 - God's Warning Signals

My message this morning is on God's warning signals. There are some definite warning signals in the Word. By God highlighting His plan, His acceptance, His covering for His people, He is not deleting the warnings and His call to people to walk with Him and live for Him. The warnings that He has given are just as sure as ever, but He wants them to be put in their proper perspective. He wants people who love God and who desire to live for Him to know how safe they are. But He wants people who are fooling around with Him and with the gospel and not taking Him seriously, He wants them to know that the path they're on could lead to real trouble.


The conclusion from the congregation was this: given in a little illustration that people who are not law breakers, who are law abiding citizens are not worried every day because there happens to be a jail downtown. In fact they can walk straight up to a police man look him in the eye, shake hands and say good day. They don't need to worry because, so what, they've been minding their own business. You folk that are here I wonder how many of you have thoughts about the county jail every day. Can I see your hands? Oh three or four of you, well we won't tell who you are. My wife gets a little nervous around police men. Especially when she doesn't have those tags on the license plate you know. But you know in carrying this over into the Christian life. People who have no reason to be afraid of God at all have been living in fear for years and years and years. Because there are some warnings that are given.


Those warnings do not apply to that one who desires to walk with God. That warning is for the one who wants to see just how much they can get away with. How close to the edge they can walk. That person when they see the thin ice sign, that warning that's marked out there, that warning isn't given to people who aren't careless. That warning is given to the one who takes matters into their own hands and who defies the signals that are there. God does have definite warning signals. But the gospel is a gospel of good news. This is established. The word gospel means good news. Did you know that a message of fear and of doubt and of blackness, a message pointing to other things is not a message of the gospel? It can't be, because the gospel means good news. Now God is a God who has two sides and there are messages and warning signals that He's given in the Word but they aren't part of the gospel. His gospel, His good news is, you can come now, God's wrath is turned away. God loves you, God wants you, and God has room for you. God responds to your need, God is able to help you.


When we realize what the gospel really is, He said, "Go into all the world and tell this gospel, the good news to every creature." I like Romans 8; in fact that whole chapter is a beautiful chapter. I was reading a different commentary from the Living Bible and I thought it was real good. Don't worry about parts that may give you a hang up hear or there but there is a thought here that will help you to see what the Lord is really saying. I'm going to read from verse 30. "And having chosen us God called us to come to Him, and when we came He declared us not guilty." Isn't that a good message? "When we came He declared us not guilty." And then He did something else, "He filled us with Christ' goodness. And He gave us a right standing with Himself," and said, "I'm going to beam down on you the very atmosphere of heaven. I'm giving you a little foretaste of what it's going to be like up there." Why this is the reason why believers are happy. The Lord has literally given us a foretaste of what He has for us. He gave us the promise of His glory. Then in verse 33, "Who dares to accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? Will God? No, He is the one who has forgiven us and given us that right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? Will Christ? No, for He is the One who died for us and came back to life again for us and is sitting at the highest place of honor next to God pleading there in heaven for us. Who then can ever keep Christ' love from us? When we have trouble or calamity, when we are hunted down and destroyed is it because He doesn't love us anymore? And if we are hungry or penniless or endanger or threatened with death, has God deserted us? No. Despite all of this, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us."


I wanted to share those verses with you. God has given us this right standing with Himself. God does not condemn us. Jesus' own words, John 3:16-18, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world." A lot of people think that He came to condemn them; He didn't send His Son to condemn the world. But He sent His Son so the world might have life. And then Jesus said, "For those who believe on Him are not condemned, they're not condemned but those who believe not are condemned already.


God is saying this world is lost, they've lost their way. They need a way out, there's condemnation, there's a cloud that has settled over this world. And my purpose in sending Jesus is to remove the condemnation. And that's what He did when He sent Christ. Those three big barriers that I told you about that separated you from God. That condemnation Jesus came to remove. He did not come to condemn us but to save us and to give us life. This is the truth of the gospel. There may be some here today, your life has been miserable, you've wanted to serve God, you've wanted to please Him, but there were words ringing in your ears that robbed the beauty of God's plan and purpose from you. And there were constant reminders of the fact that you may not have achieved a high enough spot, a place on God's ladder and you hadn't quite found the place of acceptance. And God had set you on a slippery place and said, "Now one little move from this line here and I'm going to disown you."


It's like seeing a person walk along a slippery pole with a great shoot on each side, both shoots lead to damnation and God sets us on that slippery shoot there and He says if you can walk down this pole on this spot and if your sense of balance is good enough and if your lucky enough maybe you'll get across. And so believers are walking in fear that they're going to fall. That's the picture they have when God says take another look on what you're standing on. In the Word we see a firm solid highway and we see around us great angels from heaven for He said to his angels, "take charge of those people." And they'll bear you up lest you slip a little bit. For God did not save us to condemn us but to give us life. And His plan was not to see how good of a balance we had. But his plan was to take us because He has plans for us after this life is over that we should be with Him. His plan is to restore us to a place of fellowship and then reunite us with Himself in heaven. This is God's plan. Hallelujah.


So those of you who desire to live for God stop being afraid. God has you covered with the atonement. The word atonement literally means God's cover. The atonement literally covers you so you can be at peace with God. I mentioned to several different groups this week that the word atonement, the definition that is often given is not really the definition. And that is at peace with God. That is the result of atonement. The atonement means to cover anything that could keep you from having peace with God. That's what He did in the atonement. The reason I emphasize this, God's word is so positive, and so real and so rich.


In this day the final message before the call of the trumpet that we might come higher, that final message is the message of atonement. This follows the pattern that God gave in His plan of salvation before He made the earth. He wants people today to know that they're covered. It's the plan. The next message will be the sound of the trumpet which says you can come now. Praise God. And this is why the Lord wants this message to get out for the world. The world needs to know what God intended for them, what He had in mind for them, that they might come and be at peace with Him. Praise the name of the Lord. This is God's pattern, it is God plan.


So those of you who desire to live for God need not to fear. I have a letter in my office that I haven't answered yet, I'm going to be answering this week. A lady wrote, she was very fearful, she heard my message in Spokane, this message of how safe the believer is. And I mentioned that there were two ways and all the other things would fit into these would fit into these two things that lead them out from under God's cover, rebellion and idolatry. And her heart was filled with fear. And she said, "I just feel that though I want to live for God I've rebelled in some ways, and so I'm afraid that I would be out from under His covering because I've rebelled." And she told me in the letter what she had rebelled against. She had rebelled against some tradition, she had rebelled against some of the teaching that had brought bondage and hurt and weight. And I mentioned to my group on Friday, why here's another guy that would rebel against that. God isn't talking about you rebelling against the bondage and the weights and hurts that would be heaped on you. He's talking about rebelling against what He's doing for you. And even then He gives you those warning signals and says, "Hey that trail leads out from under the covering. It leads to death, it leads to destruction. And here's a way to return."


So I'm going to be writing her a letter that's going to make her happy because that woman really loves God. Here's the picture really. Without this message of covering, everybody, people who are living for God, people who are fooling around, people who could care less are all in the same bracket. All of them feel they are exposed under the eye of Almighty God. This message of the covering tells people who desire to serve God, honestly have surrendered their life to Him, and He says, "Hey quit worrying." And He says you folk are under this covering. So it isn't a matter that a person living away from God suddenly can continue living in his sin and say hey now everything is alright. You're not included in that. Oh, no. In order to be included you have to move where He is and follow Him.


Now real quickly, we know that God's covering allows Him to see us and I want to emphasize this again since it's His message for today. That you are sinless with your faith in Him, you are blameless, and you are unreprovable. Colossians 1:22, Ephesians 1:4. These verses get them in your heart and mind. There are many others that would follow that. God is not only a good God, a God of love. He is also a God of wrath for those who refuse and reject. Nothing can separate you from his love. He loves even the most ungodly. But he does tell us in Exodus 34:8-9 He tells you that though His loving-kindness reaches out from generation to generation that it will not clear the guilty. He loves those people that are guilty, clear away from Him though His love is reaching out over the whole world and people clear away from God are feeling His love.


God said it will not clear the guilty. Because He loves you does not mean you have a ticket to heaven. It means that you have a good call and the opportunity to choose Him. The only thing in the world that will clear the guilty is for a person to accept what Jesus has done for them. That's the only thing that will clear the guilty. Now I would like to go just briefly to give you some of these warning signs. If you'd like to write them down. Warning signals, just putting in modern terms the things that are referred to in the Bible and then I'm going to give you the references.


The first one, I feel this is so prevalent today. It's a loss of sense of importance of spiritual things. There are many, many old time believers on the road of lethargy. It's easier to stay home; it's hard to generate excitement and zeal for the things of God. Well I got a few other things I really should do today. God will get along all right without me there in church and fellowship with His people. You read in Hebrews 10:20 where He tells us to forsake not the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is. So much the more as you see the Day of His coming approaching. Remember if you feel numb and cold inside and it's kind of a weight and a burden to you to think, "well here I am, another weekend, I just have to go to church, I don't want to fail God, but it's a duty," there's no excitement in your spiritual life. You better watch out. That road could lead from under that covering because of putting something else in the place of God. God no longer is your God, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Often times this is the case.


Then the second thing, the second warning sign is when a person stands aloof by unbelief. You might have a real interest in church, in working for God. But you're one of those kinds of people who feel that God has given you the gift of skepticism. And if you see something that God is doing, instead of looking for reasons why it's so, in your mind you're running over this thing is wrong, this thing could be different and so on. If you tell me that you believe in the supernatural and give me one reason why you believe it and nine reasons why you don't believe it, why your words are just hollow echoes. I would have to say by your words you don't believe in the supernatural.


God wants us to have an awareness and a warmth and know what He's doing and believe the supernatural giving God the benefit of the doubt. So if in your heart your standing aloof, and Hebrews 3:12 gives us a verse, I like the amplified where it says, "beware or take heed lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God." In the amplified it says in causing you to stand aloof from God. And there are too many people that are standing back, observers standing aloof saying, "well I just can't get to involved I just kind of have to see first of all, I'm just more or less neutral." There's no neutral ground. You're either pulling one way or the other. If you are neutral you're as much as telling the world you don't believe in God. It's not important enough to you. There is no neutral ground. And you know this.


You've had plenty of people say well I'll just wait and see. You know they don't believe what you're telling them. It's just another polite way of saying I don't believe you. But God doesn't hear that sort of thing. He says they're standing aloof in their acceptance and their belief of what He's doing. There looking for reasons to doubt the supernatural instead of defending. Willing to defend what God is doing. We need to be like Peter and Paul and the rest of these men who were willing to stick their neck out on the block for God. And I believe there are plenty of people today that are willing to do this. I don't believe there has ever been a time where people were more dedicated to what God is doing then they are today. But for those who feel like they can stand aloof these are warning signs that God wants us to notice.


Another one, Proverbs 14:14, "the backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways." When you start drifting back, long before you get clear away from God you're interested only in those things that pertain to you, not the things of God. Paul refers to another one, Romans 6:1. The grace of God is this beautiful cover. It's God's grace that covers us. It's something we didn't earn; it's something we couldn't buy. It's there. It's something God gave to us, His grace. And a study that the Lord has led me in, in grace; it's such a beautiful truth throughout the word of God. Paul referring to it in Romans 6:1 said to use not the grace of God as a license to sin. Don't use this liberty as an occasion to sin. There are some that say, "Well God doesn't really care so much after all He's got me covered, I think I'll go out and in doing that you're rebelling in spirit away from Him in wanting to presume on the grace of God."


2 Corinthians 6:1 says, "See that you receive not this grace in vain." Don't receive it in vain. It's something God did for you. But you make it ineffective when you receive it in vain. I'm going to read here from 2 Corinthians 5 and 6. This was in connection with His covering that He was giving this warning. And the last verse of chapter 5 he said, "God took the sinless Christ and poured into Him our sins. Then in exchange He poured God's goodness into us." Now he said, "As God's partners we beg you not to toss aside this marvelous message of God's great kindness. God did this for you." And oh, what a beautiful word of assurance He's giving. But he said don't toss it aside. This marvelous message of God's great kindness for God said, listen to it here, "your cry came to me at a favorable time when the doors of welcome were wide open." That's what has happened today. God has really thrown those doors open and He's heard your cry. Now that He's shown you don't toss it aside for these other things. "I helped you on a day when salvation was being offered."


Right now God is ready to welcome you, today He is ready to save you. Here's how you can keep from tossing it aside. Listen to it. "We try to live in such a way that no one will ever be offended or kept from finding the Lord by the way we act. So that no one can find fault with us and blame it on the Lord. In fact everything we do we try to show that we are true servants of God." Hebrews 10:15 speaks of another warning signal, doing despite to the Spirit of grace. That word despite actually means to scorn or to degrade or belittle the power of God's grace, to consider it an invaluable cheap sort of a thing. But he said that those who do despite to the Spirit of Grace also find themselves on that path that leads away from God. When you rob it of its value.


Now in one little spot the apostle Paul puts it altogether in 1 Corinthians 10. These are police men walking around among God's people, they have badges but you don't have to worry about them when you desire to live for God. You don't even have to have a law book at home to show you whether you're going to be safe from the police or not because in your heart you're living above the things that would cause the police to be on you for. Occasionally we'll have some trouble and we'll get a ticket and once in awhile the Lord has to remind us if we do like my wife did and forget to put the tags on. But that isn't a sign that you do not want to keep the law you see. There are times when the Lord has to even discipline us and jolt us along the way.


The plan that God has for us is a plan that we can relax in Him because we're covered, we're walking with Him. But for that person who is not recognizing or does not appreciate what God has done and lets that grace of God come to them in vain. There are these warning signals. That's where the message of rebellion and the message of idolatry come in. And all of these fit right here. 1 Corinthians 10:1, "moreover brethren I would not that you be ignorant how that all of our fathers were under the cloud and all passed through the sea." There was a cloud, a beautiful covering that God had over them there. They were all passed through the sea, they were protected and spared. They were separated from Egypt which was a type of the world. They had everything going for them.


Then he said, "They were all baptized unto Moses and the cloud and the sea and did all eat of that same spiritual meat. And did all drink of that same spiritual drink for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them. And that rock was Jesus Christ." The rock that followed them. He was there in type in the Old Testament and following them. And they were refreshed. But even then though they had this beautiful experience, though they had the cloud cover, though they had the supernatural experiences, with many of them God was not well pleased. Why? They were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. So lust is a part of the example that he gives us right here, that you lust not after evil things.


What is an evil thing? It's a thing that God says leave alone. People that are hungering after those things that God says leave out of your life. And there are plenty of them that will drag us down. Don't do it, it brings displeasure. Then he went on to say, "Neither be idolaters as were some of them. As it is written the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play." Idolatry. What kind of idolatry? Oh, it was idolatry of putting something else in the place of God. Calling Him Lord but not doing the things He says. He said neither let us commit fornication as some of them did and fell in one day 23,000. There is a kind of a false report; teaching going around in the world today that the very idea that fornication is wrong is just some old phogie's idea of another generation that's trying to keep the generation today from having any fun. God gave this to Israel over 3000 years ago. And it didn't start with a generation back or a couple generations before that. God put it there because God hates it. And He said if you're going to rebel against Him you're getting yourself on a path that leads out from under the cover.


I had a couple in my office just recently. They said they were so glad to hear about this covering. That they had realized they had only recently given their lives to the Lord. And they were a little bit worried because they had never been married and they had been living as man and wife for about 3 years. And they said we're so glad to know that the Lord has covered us and we're not going to have to worry about this. They were just smiling and grinning and oh we could keep on sinning. I told them you've got another thing coming. I'm not even going to talk to you anymore until I get your assurance that you're going to split when you leave this office. And they split and I was able to marry them right. Praise God.


Now these people were ensnared by a trend today. By hearing what people have said, even churches, even many of the directives that are coming are saying, "well we'll have to find ways and means of accepting this and working this into the doctrines of the churches." And so it's not always the peoples fault. But when God leads us out and He lets us know, "I hate that thing, it stinks." And the thing about it is that people usually do not have to wait for somebody to tell them. The voice of the Spirit says, "Ok, this is wrong." Some of you young guys that are telling these girls that you're living for God and when you get them out in a car by themselves you tell them that it's God's will for you to mess around. I want you to know you can't look to God and say hey God you've got me covered. God says hey you're on thin ice. There's a warning sign. God has entrusted into your care for that evening a very, very choice precious jewel. And He said, "You don't think any more of Me then to destroy and hurt someone so precious to me?" I'll tell you, it's time to start watching for those warning signs. And quit defying God. This is His Word, these are warning signs.


"Neither commit fornication," God said that I hate it. And 23,000 people were killed because of it. Then there are some others that show their lack of respect for what God has said. Neither let us tempt Christ as some of them also tempted and were destroyed of serpents. You read over in Numbers the story of the serpents that came among them. God spoke to these people; they cried out to Moses, they murmured against God and against Moses. They said, "You've led us out into the wilderness to die. God you're cruel. And then they said, "God you're weak." You can't do anything about it. Then they added another charge. They said, "God you're ignorant, You didn't know that there wasn't any food or water out here." You're ignorant. And God said, "I've had enough of this, I've had enough of it." And so He provided a way out but He did tell us here, and this comes right direct from God's heart to Paul and I know it was something that God Himself put there because it's the way God is looking at things today. "Neither let us tempt Christ as they tempted. Neither murmur ye as some of them murmured and were destroyed of the destroyer."


Now he said, "All of these things happened unto them for examples and they were written for our admonition upon the ends of the world had come. Therefore let him who thinks that he can do these things and still stand, this is what he's saying here, take heed he's on a path that's pretty shaky. Now those of you that have written it down somewhere that pastor Buck is light on sin. I want you to write something else down over the top of it here. I want you to know that God is not light on sin. And that I do not condone sin but I feel that God wants people to hear that message of good news and to reach out and find the leverage and the power to be lifted out of these things first and only those who defy Him and walk in their own way are those who find themselves on thin ice because they're defying God. But God's desire is not to condemn you. He's not looking for reasons to condemn you. He said that's the reason why He's posted the signs. I want to save you. He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Praise God.