Never-Ending Change

Posted on 05/30/2010 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:


Please pray for me. Will you thank the Lord for me? Tell him I am thankful for all that I was, all that I am, and most importantly, for all that I am to become, for it is His plan, and I surrender all to Him. For this I am thankful.
   -Rachel Drasilova

Please pray for my son Steven. He is making some bad choices right now and he needs the Lord's guidance in is life. He also needs to realize that there are consequences for his actions. God Bless, Karene
   -Karene W.

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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

*******


YOUR WORD IS A LAMP

Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path
Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path

No longer do we walk in darkness
No longer do we walk in darkness
No longer do we walk in darkness

For you have called us out of darkness
    into your marvelous light
We turn our backs on what is wrong
    and choose to do what's right

Your blood is flowing through my veins
to cleanse until all that remains
is clay that's molded through the pains of life

Your Spirit blows into these bones
to claim this temple as its home
and starts a fire that soon becomes a blaze

AH LORD GOD

Ah Lord God, Thou hast made the heavens
And the earth by Thy great power
Ah Lord God, Thou hast made the heavens
And the earth by Thine outstretched arm.

Nothing is too difficult for Thee
Nothing is too difficult for Thee
Great and mighty God
Great in counsel and mighty in deed

Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing
Nothing is too difficult for Thee

IN HIM WE LIVE

In him we live and move and have our being
In him we live and move and have our being

Make a joyful noise
Sing unto the Lord
Tell Him of your love
Dance before him
Make a joyful noise
Sing unto the Lord
Tell Him of your love
Hallelujah

HE HAS MADE ME GLAD

I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart
I will enter his courts with praise
I will say this is the day That the lord has made
I will rejoice for he has made me glad

He has made me glad
He has made me glad
I will rejoice for he has made me glad, glad, glad

He has made me glad
He has made me glad
I will rejoice for he has made me glad

WE WILL WORSHIP

We will worship the Lamb of glory
We will worship the King of kings
We will worship the Lamb of glory
We will worship the King

And with our hands lifted high,
We will worship and sing
With our hands lifted high,
We come before You rejoicing.
With our hands lifted high
To the sky
When the world wonders why

We'll just tell them we're loving our King...Oh
We'll just tell them we're loving our King

We bless the name of the Lamb of glory
We bless the name of the King of kings
We bless the name of the Lamb of glory
We bless the name of the King


*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


The title of today's message is, "Never-Ending Change."


I've been told that they have a saying in England, "Change is change for the worse." While I don't know if that's really an English saying, I do know that it tends to be a natural human tendancy to resist change.

We say we want change -- we want a better job, more money, more respect, a husband or a wife, more peace, more joy, an so on. We want the difficulties in our lives to shrink away while all the good things grow and grow and grow.

But what happens when we are confronted with an idea that tries to change what we've always believed? What happens when we are challenged to give up a bad habbit, to change our attitudes, and to make great personal sacrifice?

A few centuries ago, it was widely believed that the sun and stars orbited the earth, and that the earth was the center of the universe. It was stated by the Catholic church that, "To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin."

In court, Galileo denied teaching that the Earth moves. He was found "vehemently suspect of heresy," because he publicly held the opinion that the earth moves around the sun, which, according to the Church, was contrary to the Holy Scripture. He was ordered to "abjure, curse, and detest" his opinions. And he was put under house arrest for the rest of his life, and his offensive writing, "Dialogue," was banned. In fact, publication of any of his works was forbidden, including any he might write in the future.

It wasn't until 1758 that the Catholic Church dropped from the list of forbidden books all books promoting the idea that the earth revolves around the sun.

How long were magnetic stones thought to be evil? How about movie theaters, regardless of what movies they were playing? Even today, some people believe music that has a drum beat in it is evil, or that using instruments to worship God is wrong.

And consider all of us heathens in here using this wicked Internet to gather together in a virtual church. If we could take our computers and a few generators back a few centuries, we'd all be burned at the stake as witches and warlocks.

Every time Facebook changes something, groups pop up garnering support and signing petitions to take it back to the way it used to be.

How about when a store rearranges things? Even if, in reality, their new arrangement is better, most of us will think it's worse, because we got used to the way it had always been.

Even though we claim to want change, deep inside and hidden even to ourselves, we really do believe that "change is change for the worse."

And so the things in our lives that we think we would give anything to change, all stay pretty much the same, because change requires change. For something to change, something must change. If nothing changes, nothing changes.

Now there IS bad change. I'm not going to wax political today, but just because change is labeled as "change we can believe in," doesn't mean it's good. Doing away with mostly successful methods of doing things and changing them into policies that have failed everywhere they've been tried, is NOT change we can believe in. Well, we CAN "believe" in it, but that doesn't make it good.


What does the Bible say about change? Well, it actually says quite a lot. And for the next few minutes, let's take a look at just a few things the Bible says about change, as well as some things it says will change, when they will change, and which things will never change.


In Matthew 24:35, Jesus says this: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." Since Jesus is the Word of God, and all the Scriptures are the Word of God, that means all of the Holy Scriptures is the words of Jesus. Make sense?

So no matter how hard governments try to destroy the Bible, it will last forever. It's already been miraculously preserved for us, true to the original in every single doctrine, down to the last detail. And that's because, even if we could somehow destroy heaven and earth, we can't destroy the Word of God. It's impossible. It will never happen.

Athiests have worked hard to push the Bible and the practice of it out of the Schools, and are working to remove it and anything related to it out of public buildings, and even private property viewable by the public. They are working to have it removed from the court, and from all government buildings. Their ultimate goal, whether all of them realize it or not, is to remove it from the face of the earth so they never have to be reminded of it again. They really want to silence the voice inside of them that is screaming, "There is a God! And you must answer to Him some day!"

But try as they might, push and yell, and fight, they might as well be trying to push back the ocean until it gives up and goes away. It would be easier to blow up the earth and wipe out the universe than it would be to completely destroy the Word of God.

If you want to put your trust in something, put your trust in something that will last forever. Put your trust in the Word of God, found on every single page of the Holy Bible.


What's something that WILL change? Well... Everything! Do you think mankind will always look into the night sky and see the same constallations? Do you think that the earth as we know it will always be pretty much the same, with light from the sun, and both day and night?

Revelation 21:1 says this:

1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.

So the heaven and the earth as we know it will be changed. And having no more sea is certainly a major change. Scientists exploring the probable effects of Planet X passing between Earth and the Sun have suggested things such as evaporation of great bodies of water.

Even now, the Earth's magnetic poles are shifting. As Planet X gets closer and closer, they will be pulled further away from their current location, until earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters start changing the face of the earth. It's expected that at the end of this close encounter with the planet, the face of the earth will not be recognized, and since we will find ourselves in a different heavenly perspective, we will not recognize the constallations. It will be as though the heaven and the earth have been made new.

After this happens, after the horrible things written in the book of Revelation concerning the end times take place, wiping out of species, the death of billions of people; after all this, there will be a "new heaven" and a "new earth," for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away.

THEN, starting in verse two, we read this:

2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."

So the New Jerusalem is coming to earth. It's not some distant place to which we will go, but is on its way to this planet, and will touch our soil in just a few short years, after the heaven and the earth as we know it are no more.

Next, John describes the holy city, and starting with verse 22, we read this:

22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.
24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.
25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there).
26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.
27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

No night. We find that really hard to imagine, and even harder to look forward to. But there will be no night, because the glory of God will light up everything.

We generally think of the radiant glory of God lighting up heaven, but have you considered that same amazing glory on this physical earth?

And it says the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light. Isn't that a bit selective of God? Down in verse 27 it says, "But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life."

Talk about a closed border! If your name's not written in the Lamb's Book of Life, if you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then don't bother trying to get a green card or a visa, much less applying for citizenship. Jesus never was politically correct, and he never will be.

Everyone from every walk of life, every nationality, every criminal background, and every station and class, have the opportunity to have permanent and irrevocable citizenship in the holy city that will rule the earth. And those who accept that offer, whether they live through the world-wide catastrophies or not, they will have a never-ending home on this new earth.

And as sure as things will change on this earth, even more sure is the Word of God; even though heaven and earth pass away, yet not one of His words will pass away, and everything will come to pass.


So the Word of God will never change, and the heaven and earth will completely change. What else can we see in the Bible today about change? And what about change in our lives?

In the chapter we just read from, verse five, Jesus says these words: "Behold, I make all things new."

This reminds me 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV), which says this:

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

The heaven and earth will pass away, as Jesus makes all things new; and if you are in Christ, old things have passed away, and Jesus has made all things new.

Are you ever haunted by your past? Things that you've done or said, or not done or said? Your old life? Your old friends? Your old problems? Your old enemies? Your old lifestyles? Your old addictions?

If you are in Christ, if you have turned away from your own ways and have submitted yourself to His lordship over your life, then chances are you are in Christ.

When we come humbly before Him in times of prayer, worship, seeking Him, His presence, and the life of His Word, we enter a place in which time ceases to exist. Sure, the clocks here on earth keep ticking, and if you've never experienced the realm of eternity, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about; but when you are immersed in the presence of God, time itself bows its knee and fades out of existence, and you are face to face with the eternal God.

In that place, your past ceases to exist, and what might happen in the future ceases to matter. All things are new.

And then you come back to your every-day life. Your boss still rides you. You still don't have enough money to pay all your bills. You still have that illness that weighs you down. Has everything really changed? Are all things really new?

But in times like this, just remember what we talked about a few minutes ago: we think we want things in our lives to change, but when we're challenged to change our attitudes about our life, we come up with excuses -- reasons why we are justified in feeling the way we do about things.

But we simply have no idea whatsoever just how much our lives will change if we take that timeless, heavenly perspective with us from the presence of God into our day. Many things might, to the outside observer, seem to stay the same. But when you see things from a new perspective, it's as though absolutely nothing is the same.

Ephesians 2:4-7 (NKJV)

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Verse six is past tense -- something that has already happened: "and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." The future tense doesn't start until verse seven: "that in the ages to come He might show us."

Do you want to see exceeding riches in your life? All around you? In every area of your life? This passage doesn't say "that in the ages to come He might give us exceeding riches," but that He might "SHOW us" the exceeding riches of His grace.

This implies perspective -- HEAVENLY perspective -- the same perspective we have in those deep, intimate times with God. Most Christians don't ever experience those times.

Last week, Mariposa talked about taking worship up an octive. She shared some of her experiences in the presence of God. But for most of us, while they sound wonderful and nice, we've never experienced anything like that, and aren't going to any trouble to do so.

But if you're not starting off each day in the presence of the Lord, getting lost in intimacy with Him, and submitting your day and your attitudes in and toward your day to His will, then you really don't have any right to complain about anything at all.

Your perspective is earthly, so you don't see the riches of God's grace all around you and in everything that happens.

Every circumstance in your life didn't change when you came to Jesus, but every one of them DID become NEW, because YOU became new. God set you on a new path leading to a new destination, whether or not you choose to keep walking on it or to go back to your old one.

But if you choose to begin starting your day off with a heavenly perspective by spending time seeking after God, and worshiping and surrendering to Him, then things will start to look quite a bit different. You will see that, while to the fleshly mind things look the same, to the eye of the spirit, all things really have been made new.

And that brings us to the last thing I'd like for us to consider today, and then we'll close with a time of prayer and ministry.

And that last thing is this: will you change? And will you change today?

If we allow ourselves to fall back into the same path we've worn in the ground, we can't expect anything to change for the better. If it's been getting worse, it will probably continue to get worse. Even if you won the lottery and were crowned the king or queen of the world, your life would quickly return to the same misery you see all around you right now.

Let's go a step further into the natural realm for just a moment. Your job won't change, your income won't change, your relationships won't change, not in the big picture of your life, until YOU change, and by changing yourself, you begin to change the things around you.

What are you doing today to change your life and to change your perspective? Perhaps you could challenge yourself to not let one single day go by without change. Trust me, we're all a long way from being perfect. We should be learning and growing every day.

And we should be changing the world around us every day -- not waiting for the world to change to make our lives better, or blaming something or someone else for all our problems, but making an impact on our surroundings and the people around us, agents of never-ending change.


I'd like any members of the ministry team to come stand at the front.


Are you ready to accept this challenge today? Think about the Dead Sea for just a moment. Nothing can live in it. Why? Because, while water flows in, nothing flows out. It's stagnant. It never changes.

Don't be a dead sea. Let every day be brand new. MAKE every day brand new. Let go of the old things, the old ways, the old habbits; learn to see things from a heavenly perspective, from a soul recently lost in the presence of God; and become an agent of change, making an impact on the world, your life, and the people within your reach.

If you'd like to accept this challenge, and you're ready to start today, right now, then I invite you to get out of your seat and make your way to the front.

Lord, we dedicate our lives to you. Be glorified in us and through us -- our attitudes, our actions, and the meditations of our hearts, may they be pleasing to you. Give us strength. Make us agents of change.

Draw us into your presence every day, and teach us how to get closer and closer to you, to find that place in which time stands still, and there is only You, and us.


If anyone would like someone to talk or pray with you, I'd like to invite you to instant message me or someone else on the ministry team. Whenever you need to go, you're dismissed, and as usual we'll have a time of fellowship in the room to your left after this time at the altar, and I hope to see you there.

If you want to spend some time in prayer and worship, you're all invited to come to the front, as we gather at the altar together, living sacrifices, our whole lives surrendered to the presence and the will of God, as he molds us, changes us, from glory to glory into His image; always the same, and yet always new, the ultimate agent of perfect, never-ending change.

Come.