Belong to the Gang
Praise God, I’ll tell you. Because this is one of those days that we talked about, I think it was on a Sunday night service. By the way, we are going to Psalm 12. We talked on a Sunday night service and I said you know, if you have to think about this if people start coming in things are going to change up. Today was a big change for a lot of people. Things are going to change up.
Praise God. Now, was this supposed to happen? Absolutely. There were several signs. One is somebody sitting on the wrong side, somebody else is sitting in the wrong position, front instead of the back, and somebody is still awake. As I was writing the sermon, God kept going make it shorter, make it shorter. No, a little shorter, and I was like gosh, God, when I get there they are going to think I’m cheating them.
Psalm Chapter 12, “Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be. For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.” This Psalm begins with a prayer for help. This Psalm begins with that prayer asking God to help them because, because the faithful are disappearing from among the sons of men. The sons of men are your average unregenerated people out there and the faithful are disappearing.
Folks, we live in a day and age that is described here perfectly. The faithful are disappearing from the sons of men. Churches are shrinking. Not this church. Churches are shrinking all across America, and I talk to people from all denominations. From Catholic friends, Methodist friends, Baptist friends, Pentecostal friends, Fundamentalist, Evangelical friends, all across the spectrum they are all saying our churches are shrinking and we don’t know why. They are going away. People are going away.
The faithful are leaving from among the sons of men and they are disappearing. Where are they going? It says in the last days that there shall be a falling away. We have been given a warning. There shall be a falling away, and if we are in the last days then we should be digging our heels in and saying I’m not going to be one of them that will fall away. When I get to heaven, at least one thing I can walk through them gates to hear God say well, at least you showed up to church bud. Way to go, because the rest of the people by majority were falling away from the church of my Son, but you remained faithful.
The church just means assembly, that’s all it means. The church is not this building. The church is you all. People are falling away from attending churches, from attending church gatherings wherever they are at and whatever they are doing, and He says this is what is happening. Oh Lord, help. The Godly man ceases to be and the faithful are falling away.
Why are the faithful falling away, and He gives us the answer. “They speak falsehoods to one another; With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.” All the way down at the end of it, it also says this, “Thou, oh lord, will keep them.” This is the faithful people. “Thou wilt preserve him from this generation forever.” That means if you are a Christian you will end up in heaven. They will not.
“The wicked strut about on every side when vileness is exalted among the sons of men,” and what is going on here is we have falsehoods being spread one to another with flattering lips and a double heart when they speak. It’s called double speak. They say one thing but really it doesn’t mean what they say. They nuance words so they can come back and say uh-uh, that’s not what I really meant to say, you misunderstood me, and sometimes they just flat out lie to you and if nothing else they try to get you in by flattery.
The falsehood is the twisting of truth. Let me read to you 1 John 4:8, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Truth, truth there. One who does not love does not know God for God is love. We have all heard this verse repeated time and time again, but then the twisting of it starts. For God is love, for God is love, and we hear this all the time. God is love, and if you don’t love you are a hater. If you love then you are of God. Here is where the twist comes in. They come along now and anything that we can categorize as love therefore is of God. If you can say it is love in some form then it must be of God because God is love, and if you don’t agree with that then you are a hater. The twist, the twist, the twisting of scriptures and the falsehoods and part of the problem is this, the people out there and a lot of people inside church buildings all across the United States do not know their scripture well enough to understand that it’s twisted.
They were given just this one little piece of verse “God is love” and it’s taken out of context with what’s going on. Remember this, we have been over it time and time again, when you are studying a particular subject, when you are studying a particular subject, you take all the information on that subject from the scriptures and you put them together and then you figure out how they work together because scripture does not contradict itself. God does not contradict Himself. All scripture is given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by verbal clinery.
So, this scripture is given by God and it is truly inspired, “God is love,” but we have got to understand all the other things that go with this and He doesn’t contradict Himself. So, we’ve got to reconcile all the things. They say God is love and anything that we can make to fit that definition of love therefore must be of God.
New Testament, 1 Corinthians chapter 6. Scriptures do not contradict themselves. Scriptures do not contradict themselves so here is a scripture and it makes this statement. 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”
I know most of us are going to jump on that effeminate and homosexual part. That particular sin is just as bad or just as good as swindlers, as drunkards, as revilers, as those people who are covetous, as those people who are thieves, as those people who have swindled people with pyramid schemes in the stock market and taken advantage of people and grabbed their money by hook or by crook. They are just as guilty and going to hell as anybody else that is on this list. I know we can all jump on the gays and that group and say ah ha. Well, do any of your sins happen to be listed in any of these other categories?
A lot of people say well, you know, God is going to judge them, but it says right there and as such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. It doesn’t matter what people have done or their 8:15 of the sins, but when they come to Jesus Christ their sins are washed away because Jesus Christ died for them. They are saved, they are sanctified, set apart for God’s use. They are delivered, they are promised a place in heaven. They are loved by God.
That is God’s love. The definition of love is not that we love Him but that He loved us, and you can look it up. That is the definition of God, not that we love Him but that He loved us when we were committing these kinds of sins, and this is just the short list people. If you were committing some other failure in your life those sins were completely washed away whatever they were, theft, whatever, it was washed away when you trusted in Christ.
You are now held guiltless. You are held guiltless for what you have done, but God is love and that’s what it means, that He loves us while we were yet perfect. It is not to be twisted and say anything that we define as love is acceptable to God. This scripture proves it is not. That is the falsehood. That is the twisting of scripture, but we also have the flattering tongue that it talks about where you are going in and you are talking to people and you say things like yeah buddy, come on over here. It’s cool to be on our side. We’re the cool people. We accept you just as you are. We will accept you. It’s cool to be a rebel. It’s cool. Everyone loves a rebel. Come on over here and join our side. Go ahead, don’t be afraid. Smoke a little, drink a little, get a little wasted, and get a little crazy once in a while. It’s good for you. You need to release that and you are part of us.
They flatter you, and people want to belong to groups, they want to be part of the cool inside crowd, and then they say you come over here because those people judge you. Those people don’t care about you. Those people, those people, and then they do things to try to prove their disdain for those people. They may destroy property, they may hurt other people. Those people because they have pushed them away because those people or as these people say, they have not accepted me, but I want you to know if you want to be loved and accepted, and you want a place in heaven, and you want a place and have your sins and your failures washed away, try God.
One more flip over to Psalm 17:8. David says, “Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” Can you think of anybody better to belong to than God Himself? David says keep me as the apple of your eye and you say but David is the beloved of God. David was chosen by God. David is great, David was a King, David was awesome, David was a sinner, David was an adulterer, David was a murderer, and yet he’s the apple of God’s eye.
He was praying, “God, let me be the apple of your eye.” Most of us don’t understand what the apple of the eye kind of means, but you’ve got this idea. The eye is a very tender place and God takes care of the eye. When He created man He put the eyelids to protect them. If something is coming their way they close. He put bone around the eye to protect the eye. He put eyelashes to help knock the stuff away from the eye. He gave tears to the eye so it’s continually washed. David is saying let me be the apple of your eye. Let me be like the eye, protected, continually washed by your tears, continually in a place surrounded where you’re supporting me.
But, the word apple in Hebrew is ishon. Ishon, apple, and if you look for the root to that its ish, and ish is man. The root word for the word apple has to do with a man, and according to the Hebrew sages, if you get real close and you look into somebody’s eye you will see a man. You will see yourself because you’re standing there looking in their eye and the eye will start reflecting, and if the light is right you will see yourself, and David is praying in this way, ”God I want to be the man of your eye. I want to be in that protected place. I want You to be continually washing me”.
This sinner, this man who was a murderer, who was an adulterer, this man who tried to cover with lies and deception, he called out to God and even though he lived under the Old Testament which is law and judgment, he understood this, God is a God of love. God is love, and while we were yet sinners He loved us, and David even though he knew that God had cut him better than a fair deal and He took him from the shepherds and the pastures out there in the country and elevated him to the position of king, he knew that he had failed and yet he knew that God is love.
While we were yet sinners, while he was yet a sinner God loved him and he turned to Him in repentance in seeking God for mercy, seeking God for His grace, seeking God for His favor, and he said God… by the way, this Psalm was written they believe after he had committed the sin with Bathsheba, after he had committed that murder, after he had lied and cheated and deceived and yet he sought God for grace. He sought God for grace, and we all understand the whole picture of being gathered under the wings of God, under the shadow and under the protection of God. This man who was not perfect.
You see, the people who were flattering and lying to you are saying you’ve already failed, why don’t you just go whole hog and take the plunge. Live hard and die young. Live fast and die quick. They’re lying to you. They say God has already rejected you and God judged you. God judged your sin on Jesus Christ. He judged your failures on Jesus Christ. You, He said I love you, come here and I will take care of you and you can be the apple of my eye. When you come up and look you’ll see that you’re in my eye, you’re in my line of vision, and I love you.
Do not let people lie to you using scriptures and twisting them. Any time they do that, any time people talk to you in a way that has you going well, uh, and just hinky about it going uh, uh, uh, look up in the scriptures and start studying on that subject. Are they stuck, are they twisting. Take scripture and say, “All these things have to be reconciled”.
The people in these last days they don’t know the scripture, they don’t know the truth of God. Vileness is being exalted and vileness, just the root word for vileness. I like root words, I like Hebrew words, Greek words, but the root word there means flow downward, morally loose. It’s got that idea, but I want to emphasize that flow downward. Why flow downward? Come on. The flowing downward is what’s going on around. It’s easier to flow downward. Everything can flow down. They say that’s all you need to know if you’re a plumber is everything flows down. So, you know, there you are. Hmm, it says volumes right there, doesn’t it?
The idea of vileness is everything settles, it all flows down, but Christ doesn’t say go down. He’s always saying in the Book of Revelation to His children and to the people, He’s saying, “Come up here, come up here.” He’s calling people to come up here. “I rose from the dead. I didn’t go downward, I rose from the dead. Come up here and I will raise you up on the last day. I will call you up. I will set you up in heavenly places. I will let you sit on the throne that God has given me. You will sit with me on that throne.” He’s calling us always higher and higher and higher and we get there by trusting. Trust in the Lord. Trust in the Lord is the only way to do it. Trust in Him. Trust in His love and understand what real love is about. Understand that if we’re walking in this vile generation where everything is sliding downward we don’t have to get involved in the muck and the mire. If we trust in God and in His grace we can belong to a group, to a gang. Let the church of Jesus Christ be your group. Let the church of Jesus Christ be your gang.
Trust in God to protect you from the wickedness that is going on outside. We’re in this world, but we’re not of this world and we’re not to condemn those people and look down our noses. We’re to be like Christ and say, “Come up here, come up here. Don’t flow down there with the rest of that group. You can do better than that. You are better than that, and I don’t care what socioeconomic group you belong to or what educational level you have in your life, you can do better and that’s not a condemnation, that is a call to a higher learning”.
People say, “Oh no, God just beats on us. That’s all He’s there for, He’s the judge. “God was a judge in the Old Testament. We need to understand that in the New Testament God the Father is more like a coach. In the Old Testament He judged, He punished. In the New Testament, He disciplines, and there’s a difference. A good coach just doesn’t punish. That’s not his job to punish. A good coach says alright, I was watching you play and here is where you’re weak and I’m going to have you run laps. Oh yeah. Run laps, and you go, “No, he’s punishing me”. No, he is improving you. He is causing you to be disciplined. He’s doing things here for your benefit. Okay, you were a little weak, and I mean weak. You’re going to the weight room and lift these weights and eat this food so that you will become strong. Our God is not our judge in the New Testament. Our God is our coach who is going to improve us all along the way.
Those people are already in condemnation. That’s why I said Jesus said I didn’t come into this world to judge this world. The world is already judged because they fell and they’re living that way, but they don’t have to stay under that judgment if they’ll accept the blood sacrifice of Christ and then go to the new covenant where He says, “Come up here, come up here.” He is no longer judging or condemning, He is coaching, coaching. God is our life coach. Belong to a gang, church. A good church. Trust in the grace of God and you will always be what every person wants in this day and age, upwardly mobile.
Shall we pray? Father, in the name of Jesus, we know there’s so much to Your blessings to us and we know it’s more than just material. I ask that you call us as individuals and as Glenwood Church which is a place of grace, a place in Your visitation. I ask that You would speak to us as a church and call us up higher. Call us. Teach us how to get there. Coach us into a better position. Father, we are really looking forward to that day when we see You. We’re looking forward to that day when faith will be made sight and hope will become reality. Jesus, we are looking forward to that day when we hear Your voice say “Come up here thou good and faithful servants”. Father, lead, guide, and protect us as we travel from this place and encourage us all week and bring us back to our gang, to our church, to your church. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.