God’ Expectation for His people.
Central theme of the Message: God expects His children to walk in His light. As children of God we are to be like Him and live a life under the guidance and influence of His Holy Spirit.’
Mom and Dad how many have you told your children not to do something and they have gone ahead and did it anyway? How did that make you feel? God does and feels the same way. He has created rules for us to live and has a plan for our life. These rules and plans are not there if we want to do them they are what God expects from His children. But in our world those who claim to be His children often have deaf ears when it comes to what God wants for our lives. We want to do what we want. We do not want to do what God wants because they don’t fit into our plans. When things don’t seem to go right and everything falls apart that is because we are following our plan and not God’s. We are rebellious children and as with any child that rebels against the parent’s authority God is going to judge us. That day is coming. People act like God want Judge. They seem to overlook Him and think that they are the ones that are important. They are like Babe Ruth. An umpire named Babe Pinelli once called Babe Ruth out on strikes. When the crowd booed with sharp disapproval at the call, the legendary Ruth turned to the umpire with disdain and said, "There’s 40,000 people here who know that the last pitch was ball, tomato head." Suspecting that the umpire would erupt with anger, the coaches and players braced themselves for Ruth’s ejection. However, the cool headed Pinelli replied, "Maybe so, Babe, but mine is the only opinion that counts." Believers need to realize that God’s judgment is the only one that counts and resist the temptation to argue over disappointments. We need to rely on God’s sovereign choices for us regardless of whether they seem popular or not at the moment.
I. Verses 1-5 God’s judgment is coming.
a. Christians today are God’s Temple we should stand above the world today. Today we are the temple sitting on the mountain for all to see. Our presence here is for a purpose. One is that we are a witness for God among the ungodly and two we are to be a place where people can come to see and learn more about God.
i. Our lives are to be different from the rest of the world because God is in us.
We to be a are shining example among the people. How can we teach people to walk in God’s
path if we don’t walk it ourselves. We are to carry the word out of the church and into the
world. People are in need of this word and God has chosen us to carry it to the world.
ii. Our language should be different from the rest of the world because God indwells us.
We are a special people because of the indwelling of the Spirit. God is with us 24/7. At no other
Time in the history of man has this occurred.
iii. We should lead people to the Lord by our actions and words.
b. We are his mountain in the world today and we are to be attractive not because of our beauty or things that we have but because of God’s indwelling presence within us. We are the light that all are to see.
i. We are to let the people see it.
We are God’s lights. We are His lighthouse in a dark world. People are about to crash into the
deadly shores of hell. But the light that is in us is stronger than the darkness and will peirce
the darkness as a beacon for the lost if we will only let it shine.
ii. We are to let God teach us His ways and walk in his path so others can see and come too.
c. God’s judgment will be for our good
Polycarp (2nd Century) Can you imagine what it was like for the church in Smyrna as they watched their beloved and aged pastor burn at the stake? Polycarp was his name. he was a disciple of Jesus’ disciple, the Apostle John. One could tell it immediately because he possessed the same tenderness and compassion as his mentor. Polycarp was Bishop of the church at Smyrna (present day Turkey). Persecution broke out in Smyrna and many Christians were fed to the wild beasts in the arena. The godless and bloodthirsty crowd called for the carcass of the leader – Polycarp. The authorities sent a search party to find him. He had been taken into hiding for some Christians but the Romans tortured two young believers until they finally disclosed his location. When the authorities arrival was announced there was still time to whisk Polycarp away but he refused to go saying, “God’s will be done.” In one of the most touching instances of Christian grace imaginable Polycarp welcome his captors as if they were friends. He talked with them and insisted they eat a meal. Ha made only one request before being taken away – he asked for one hour to pray. The Roman soldiers listened to his prayer. Their hearts melted and they gave him 2 hours to pray. They had second thoughts as well and were overheard asking each other why they were sent to arrest him? Other authorities also experienced a warmed heart when Polycarp arrived. The Proconsul tried to find a way to release him too. “curse God and I will let you go!” he pleaded. Polycarp’s reply was: “For eighty-six years I have served him. He has never done me wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King was has saved me?” The Proconsul again looked for a way out. “The do this old man, just swear by the spirit of the emperor and that will be sufficient.’ Polycarp’s reply was: “If you imagine for a moment that I would do that, then I think you pretend that you don’t know who I am. Hear it plainly. I am a Christian.” More entreaties by the Proconsul Polycarp stood firm. The proconsul threatened with the wild beasts. Polycarp’s reply was: “Bring them forth. I would change my mind if it meant going from worst to best, but not to change from right to wrong.” The Proconsul threatened, “I will burn you alive!” Polycarp’s reply was: “You threaten with fire that burns for an hour and is over but the judgment on the ungodly is forever.” The fires engulfed him. The witnesses noticed his faith and joy. He was finished off with a dagger. He was buried for the cause of Christ on February 22, 155 A.D. It was as much a day of victory as it was a day of tragedy. Polycarp illustrated the power of knowing Jesus intimately. Intimately enough to follow Him into the flames. As Jesus said, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”
i. One day God will judge all the nations of the world.
God’s judgment will be just and righteous. Because the word has been in the world and
everyone has had the opportunity to respond. His people have been His witness to the
world. Have you been telling people about Him? Have you been shining your light?
Will God look at you and say well done my good and faithful servant? There is more to
life than chasing after the world. The purpose that God has for us must become our
focus in life not what the world holds up as success. We must get our eyes off the world
and place them firmly on God.
ii. He shall rebuke or condemn many people because of their unbelief.
For you see one day God will judge and rebuke those who did not believe. They will be
condemned to hell because of their unbelief. Our job is to spread the word so that all will
hear. If they believe or not is their choice our job is to spread the word.
iii. And He will bring peace where man cannot.
When Christ comes He will bring peace. Man can never create a lasting peace because we
will want something that someone else has or we will get mad at another nation and go to war.
II. Verses 6-11 The Judgment will be just.
a. Why? Because man has turned from God.
i. They have created gods to worship. They are worshipping the creation instead of the creator.
ii. They worship material things such as wealth, possessions, and the work of their own hands instead of God.
iii. No matter how powerful you are man will be humbled by this judgment and fear the judge.
III. Verses 12-22 The Judgment of God Is for today too.
a. People today have created Idols just like ancient Israel.
i. Rock stars, movie stars, millionaires
b. People today have exalted themselves above God by denying His existence, by not making him first in their life, and simply removing Him from the center of the universe and placing themselves there.
c. People will see the exalted God on the Day of the Lord of hosts. On that day people will see God as He really is. They will realize that He is not a God in some far off place that does not care about what is going on. They will see that He is a God that means what He says. A God of truth and Justice and one that will administer that justice. They will see that He is not some genie in a bottle that they can command to do what they want to do. They will See the King of kings, Lord of lords the Ruler of the universe and they will tremble.
What will be your response that day? Will you tremble in fear or will you rejoice? What will you see today will you see the attractions of the world or will you see the beauty of God? On the southern border of the empire of Cyrus, there lived a great chieftain named Cagular who tore to shreds and completely defeated the various detachments of Cyrus’ army sent to subdue him. Finally the emperor, amassing his whole army, marched down, surrounded Cagular, captured him, and brought him to the capital for execution. On the day of the trial, he and his family were brought to the judgment chamber - Cagular, a fine looking man of more than 6 feet, with a noble manner about him - a magnificent specimen of a man. So impressed was Cyrus with his appearance, that he said to Cagular: "What would you do should I spare your life?"
"Your Majesty, if you spared my life, I would return to my home and remain your obedient servant as long as I lived."
"What would you do if I spared the life of your wife?"
"Your Majesty, if you spared the life of my wife, I would die for you."
So moved was the emperor that he freed them both and returned Cagular to his province to act as governor thereof. Upon arriving at home, Cagular reminisced about the trip with his wife. "Did you notice," he said to his wife, "the marble at the entrance of the palace? Did you notice the tapestry on the wall as we went down the corridor into the throne room? And did you see the chair on which the emperor sat? It must have been carved from one lump of pure gold."
His wife could appreciate his excitement and how impressed he was with it all, but she only replied: "I really didn’t notice any of that."
"Well," said Cagular in amazement, "What did you see?"
His wife looked seriously into his eyes and said, "I beheld only the face of the man who said he would die for me." Jesus not said He would die for us but He did die for us. He became the sacrificial lamb that we might have eternal life. When He looks at you what will He say? Will it be good and faithful servant our be-gone for I never knew you? God is calling you today. He is calling you to salvation. He is calling you to service. Will you answer Him today? Will you come and surrender you life to Him today?