Ecclesiastes 10:5               The End Time Church                               3/18/2012     

 

·        An Evil From the Face of the Ruler (Ecc 10:1,5-7, Gen 8:21, Eph 2:1-3)

 

 

 

 

#1.       Folly Is Set in Great Heights (Ecc 10:6, John 4:24, Col 2:16-17, Rom 10:4,10, Matt 5:13)

 

 

 

 

·        The Rich Sit in Low Place (Ecc 10:6, 2Sa 12:1, Job 27:19, Prov 18:11, 28:11, Rom 8:28)

 

 

 

 

#2.       Slaves Upon Horses (Ecc 10:7, Psalm 20:7)

 

 

 

 

·        Princes Walking as Slaves (Ecc 10:7, Isa 1:23, 3:4,14, 19:13)

 

 

 

 

#3.       How Then Shall We live? (Rom 5:5,8, 1John 4:19, John 15:12-13, Eph 1:4-7)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Ecclesiastes, Ecc 10:5 (2X). We have here a chapter of 20 verses containing 13 parables. Almost every verse is an independent parable. And these are difficult parables to interpret. Let us begin with some rules on the interpretation of these parables. First of all we need to remember that this is the Bible, which means that we do not let our imagination run loose, but that we aim to find a spiritual application of these parables. A practical application is fine, but we must ask where the parable serves to edify us with the Gospel, for it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is in view, not the practical application which just gives us a good feeling. Secondly, the interpretations we arrive at must harmonize with all the other parts of Scripture. You cannot come with a totally new idea, for you are interpreting a parable, which should find support in other parts of Scripture which are not parables. Thirdly, since God inspired Solomon to write these parables, and since Solomon was the wisest man on earth, we must focus our attention on matters of great wisdom, and not on matters of peripheral interest. For additional principles that we need to keep in mind I recommend that you look in the previous sermon on Ecc 10:1. Let us now read Ecc 10:5-7,

·        An Evil From the Face of the Ruler (Ecc 10:4,5-7, Gen 8:21, Eph 2:1-3)

Ecc 10:5-7, “5  There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler: 6  Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place. 7  I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.”

These three verses belong together. But what does it mean? Some of the key words do not show their key meaning in the KJV. The literal translation from J.P. Green is no big help either, for it is too liberal in this passage. We have to find the truth by going back to basics. The first thing we need to unravel is the meaning of the “ruler.” We have already concluded that the Ruler in Ecc 10:4 refers to God Himself. Then we notice that the word “ruler” in Ecc 10:5 is not the same word as in Ecc 10:4. The Strong’s Concordance numbers are as follows: In Ecc 10:4 the Ruler is <04910>. In Ecc 10:5 the ruler is <07989>, which is a totally different word. This alerts us to the fact that the ruler in Ecc 10:5 is most likely not God. The context also bears this out, for verse 5 tells us that there is an error which proceedeth from this ruler. This cannot refer to God, for God does not generate errors. Moreover, the word “error” has a Strong’s Concordance number <07684> which in most places has been translated “a sin committed through ignorance.” And thus we are positive that this ruler does not represent God, for God is never the author of sin. And so we arrive at the literal translation of Ecc 10:5 as, “There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error, or a sin which proceedeth from the face of the ruler.” This ruler seems to be an evil dictator, who gets his way regardless whether he is right or wrong. And since we are dealing with an aspect of the Gospel, this ruler does not refer to a human dictator, but to Satan. Is Satan a ruler? O Yes he is! Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 2:1 (2X). In the Garden of Eden Satan conquered the rulership from Adam by causing Adam to obey him instead of God. Hereby Adam squandered the authority that God had given him, with the result that he and all his posterity became wicked slaves of Satan. The result was that God’s anger escalated to the point that God destroyed almost all of mankind in the flood of Noah’s days. But mankind still remained slaves of Satan after the flood, for God says that the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth (Gen 8:21). We read in Eph 2:1-3,

Eph 2:1-3, “1  And you (hath he quickened,) who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

All mankind, including all the elect, are coming into the world as slaves of Satan, and are dead in trespasses and sins, slavishly obeying the prince of the power of the air, and are by nature the children of wrath, even as others who never become saved. Indeed, Satan is a ruler over all of mankind, except over those whom Christ has snatched away from his control, and Christ has done this at the time that He suffered and died for all their sins at the time of the cross in AD 33. And so, going back to Ecc 10:5, what is this evil which Solomon has seen in a vision, as a sin, or as an error which proceedeth from the face of Satan? What kinds of errors does Satan commit?

Satan is an enemy of the saints, and to see the normal works of Satan is to see him trying to stamp out the saints, for he hates them with a passion. And thus, when Solomon sees in a vision that Satan is joining the church, it is as if Satan has made an error, or Satan has committed a sin which is contrary to his nature. But the fact of the matter is that Satan has tried to stamp out the church by persecuting the saints, and by torturing and killing the saints, but all his violence against the church has only resulted in making the church grow and making it stronger, to the extent that the church conquered the Roman Empire. Even in our time the persecution of the saints in Russia and in China has only resulted that the church became stronger in spite of all this persecution. And so, Satan has done his level best for many centuries, and it has not worked, and now he has changed his tactics; instead of fighting the church he has now joined the church. When in church history has this come to pass, or will come to pass? It will near the end of time. Therefore the title of this sermon is: “The End Time Church” (2X) for it is in the end time church that Satan has switched from Plan A to Plan B. This is actually how he now operates in our time, and this is the meaning of Ecc 10:5,

Ecc 10:5, (literally) “There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error, or a sin which proceedeth from the face of the ruler (which is Satan).” And what is the result of this great sin?

#1.       Folly Is Set in Great Heights (Ecc 10:6, John 4:24, Col 2:16-17, Rom 10:4,10, Matt 5:13)

  Ecc 10:6, “Folly is set in great dignity <04791>,  and the rich sit in low place.”  The word “dignity”

<04791> is in most cases translated as “high” or as “height”. You can check this Strong’s number. And so, you see that the first half of verse 6 says literally, “Folly is set in great heights.” What does this mean? Remember that verses 6 and 7 express the results of Satan’s meddling with the church. What are these great heights? These are great heights in the eyes of man, but not in the eyes of God. And thus we are drawn to understand that these great heights refer to all kinds of ceremonial hoopla. The Lord Jesus said in John 4:24, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” God prefers to be worshipped in spirit and in truth, and all ceremonial hoopla can be left out. In fact, most of the ceremonial hoopla is abomination in the sight of God. For example, all the ceremonies of the Old Testament ceremonial law have become abomination in the sight of the Lord, for Christ has already come, and the Lord said in Col 2:16-17, “16  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: 17  Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” In the Old Testament there were a set of almost 500 laws in the ceremonial law that the Old Testament saints had to keep. But it was God’s purpose that through these laws people would learn in types and figures the various aspects of Christ and of salvation through the cross of Christ. But once Christ has come we may no longer do those things that were prescribed by the ceremonial law. In fact, Christ is now the end of the law. We read in Rom 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Therefore Rom 10:10 says, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” In other words, your salvation does not depend on whether you have been baptized, or whether you have eaten the Lord’s Supper, or whether you have attended church every Sunday, or whether you have obeyed the Ten Commandments, or any other obligation you might think of. The only things that are important in the eyes of God are spiritual things, but not ceremonial things. And herein we can see the working of Satan in the church, for almost all the churches in the world have latched on to their ceremonies as something holy and something that God appreciates. Especially the Roman Catholic Church has done her level best to elevate her ceremonies as something that a good saint must believe. Remember how the priest walked through the center isle and sprinkled his “holy water” left and right. Remember how the priest put the wafer that was supposed to be transformed into the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and placed it in a golden compartment and placed it up high for all to see. Remember how every time they did this they believed that the Lord Jesus was crucified again, which is a totally unbiblical idea. We learned that the Heidelberg Catechism calls it an accursed idolatry, and that is what it really is. But the Christian churches have gravitated to calling the Roman Catholics their “brothers in Christ”, and thus they no longer want this accusation in the back of their Psalter Hymnals, and so they have dumped their Psalter Hymnals in the trash. They have thrown away the truth, and have adopted a watered down gospel that does not lead anyone to salvation. No truth is any more found in their watered down Psalter Hymnals, just so that they would no longer offend their “brothers in Christ”. What an incredible abomination. This is clearly the work of Satan who has sent his minions to join the church. This is the folly that has been lifted up to great heights. The Lord Jesus warned us for this in Matt 5:13, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Paraphrased the Lord Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth; do not be afraid to rub people with the salt of the earth; salt is representing judgment, and salt is representing God’s displeasure with your abominations; but if you leave out the salt, then your message has lost its savour; your message has lost its impact; it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” And that is the case with most messages from the pulpits these days. Pastors and teachers are afraid to offend their congregations, because they serve men rather than God. This is the folly that is set in great heights.

·        The Rich Sit in Low Place (Ecc 10:6, 2Sa 12:1, Job 27:19, Prov 18:11, 28:11, Rom 8:28)

Ecc 10:6, “Folly is set in great heights, and the rich <06223> sit <03427> in low place <08216>.” What is happening to the rich in a church where Satan is reigning supreme? The word “rich” does not refer to the spiritually rich, but to the materially rich. For example, the same word “rich” <06223> has been used in the following verses. #1, We read in 2Sa 12:1 that the Lord sent Nathan to David to point out David’s sin with Bathsheba. And he came unto him, and said unto him, “There were two men in one city; the one rich <06223>, and the other poor.” And you know the rest of the story that Nathan told David. The rich man was only materially rich, but was spiritually poor. #2, We read in Job 27:19 The rich <06223> man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he is not. This rich man is only materially rich, for he is not saved; he shall not be gathered in the rapture on the last day. #3, We read in Prov 18:11 The rich man’s <06223> wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit. This rich man trusts in his wealth, but not in God. #4, We read in Prov 28:11 The rich <06223> man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out. The rich man trusts in his own conceit. And so, you get the drift, the rich in Ecc 10:6 refers to those who are materially rich, but are spiritually poor. But why do they sit in low place, which is a singular low place? What is the low place in a church where Satan is reigning supreme? And consider this: it must be a singular place where many of the rich sit together. Well, the only place that fits this description is the place of the pews. The rich sit in the pews, because they have done their part for the church; they have given of their wealth, and now they sit back and relax. What a life!

Is this what God wants from us when we aim to serve Him? No! Not at all! If we truly love the Lord Jesus Christ we want to give our all. We want to give not only our material goods, but also our time and everything else that we can offer Him. We want to serve Him with everything that we have, and we do it with joy. But when people are under the hearing of a false gospel they are being put to sleep by believing a gospel that satisfies the flesh. Why is sitting in the pew such a low place? It is a low place because those who relax and sit back are not actively working for the Lord. They are not concerned about the business of the Lord. But consider now this: In the Old Testament the Lord Jesus Christ is called “Jehovah of Hosts”, which means “The Lord of the Armies.” The Lord is in battle. The Lord Jesus Christ is always at war with the prince of darkness. We need to understand that this was God’s plan as it was set up from before the foundation of the world. It was God’s plan that this war was indeed designed and created from the beginning. Satan is not an independent force out there who can hinder God any time that he will. Like I said before, the ship of God’s providence takes off from Gen 1:1 and travels in a straight line to Rev 22:21. Nothing hinders God’s plan of salvation; there are no contrary winds, for all winds are under His control. There is only one God. Satan is not doing anything that God has not planned before. And therefore, this battle that presently exists between Christ and Satan was a battle that was designed by God to cause everything to work for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). This battle was designed for our benefit; for us who need to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. It is our obligation to join the Lord Jesus Christ in His battle against the devil. That is nothing less than our token of gratitude to Him. When the Lord saved us He made it clear to us that we are drafted into His service, into His army, and we are in battle until the end of time. And when you are in battle you may never relax, for the enemy loves to shoot you down when you relax. And is that not what we see all around us every day? People relax, because the church is not visibly persecuted, and that is why they are not on fire for the Lord. And since they are not on fire, the church is being assaulted by all kinds of false gospels; but people are not very concerned, because they do not recognize that the church is under attack from all sides. They do not watch and pray for the truth of the true Gospel, and they do not study the Bible. Therefore, when Satan has moved into a church, he will carefully remove the sovereignty of God, for he does not want to be unmasked as being just a pion who does everything only at the command from God Almighty. Therefore, when we read that in the false church “the rich sit in low place” we recognize that this is the result from everyone in that church to be under the doctrines of the false gospel. Who then is on fire for the Lord in todays churches? Let us look at the next verse, Ecc 10:7.

#2.       Slaves Upon Horses (Ecc 10:7, Psalm 20:7)

Ecc 10:7, “I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.”

What is so bad about servants <05650> upon horses <05483>? What is a horse for? We read in the Bible about horses for Pharaoh, and horses for the chariots of Pharaoh, and horses for the chariots of the heathen who have come against Israel, and horses that are used for all kinds of battles against the nation of Israel. There are hundreds of verses in the Bible containing horses, and they all are horses used in battle. We read for example in Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses <05483>: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” And so, what is a horse for? A horse is used for battle. In Ecc 10:7 the word servant <05650> is in actuality a slave. And so, the beginning of Ecc 10:7 reads, “I have seen slaves upon horses.” How does Solomon know that these were slaves? Well, at the time before the Exodus out of Egypt, and sometime thereafter, slaves were recognized by their attire. Slaves walked naked; that is how they were recognized as slaves. And so, can you see the ridiculous picture of naked slaves sitting on horses and going to battle? This is what Solomon saw. Now, what does this mean? Remember, we are considering Satan having moved into the churches near the end of time, but everyone knows that the church must be engaged in battle. Who is doing the battles in the end time church? Not the sons of God, but the slaves. Slaves are those who are not sons of God. They represent those who have not been Born Again, but are attending the church services, and are still unsaved, because they are in a church where the true Gospel is not preached, they are doing the battles. They are the ones who are on the war-path trying to make some converts. They are the slaves on horses. God gave Solomon this vision so that he could tell it to us. Solomon saw this picture and Solomon realized what a ridiculous situation this was. But did Solomon realize all the spiritual implications of this vision for the end of time? We do not know whatever Solomon understood, although we must admit that he was the wisest man living at that time. Solomon understood that this ridiculous picture was not for his time. Then God showed him:

·        Princes Walking as Slaves (Ecc 10:7, Isa 1:23, 3:4,14, 19:13)

Ecc 10:7, “I have seen slaves <05650> upon horses <05483>, and princes <08269> walking <01980> as slaves <05650> upon the earth.” Who do the princes represent? The princes <08269> in the Bible represent those who are most likely not saved, but who have been placed in authority over the people. For example, #1, we read in Isa 1:23, “Thy princes <08269> are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.” #2, We read in Isa 3:4, “And I will give children to be their princes <08269>, and babes shall rule over them.” #3, We read in Isa 3:14, “The LORD will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes <08269> thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.” #4, We read in Isa 19:13, “The princes <08269> of Zoan are become fools, the princes <08269> of Noph are deceived; they have also seduced Egypt, even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof.” Just like today, the princes are most likely not saved, because those who are promoted to princes, or today’s managers, are those who have dedicated their life to serve the company rather than God. What did Solomon see in a vision? He saw the naked slaves upon horses, ready to go to battle, and he saw the princes who should go to battle, but were not on horses but were walking, since the princes had no plans to do battle. How did Solomon know that these were princes? He knew them personally. He knew them because his father David had appointed them, and he had appointed them to be rulers in his kingdom. But that was the vision. Now, what does the vision mean? We have already discovered that the vision refers to the church near the end of time. The slaves who are doing the battles represent the unsaved in the false churches who are ill-equipped to bring the Gospel to the unsaved outside, but yet they are very busy evangelizing the heathen with their false gospels. On the other hand, the princes in the false churches, referring to the pastors, and the elders, and the deacons, are not evangelizing, because they are extremely busy with meetings, and meetings, and more meetings, and are writing the minutes of those meetings. Instead of evangelizing they have sent out the slaves to evangelize the heathen, and in this way they are acting as if they do not need to evangelize, because their servants the slaves are already doing it for them. That is why Solomon saw them walking as slaves. The word walking <01980> should be understood figuratively as “a walk of life,” or “a lifestyle,” or “a manner of life.” The princes, or the rulers, are acting as if they are not saved, and indeed they are not. This is the meaning of the parable in Ecc 10:7.

Let us now summarize what we have found so far. We have here a parable which points us to the phenomena in the end time church. The ruler of verse 5 is a wicked ruler, pointing to Satan, who is acting as if he has made an error, and now he has switched from Plan A to Plan B. Satan is no longer fighting the church, but he has joined the church, and now he is destroying the church from the inside. We then see four symptoms of a sick church. #1, In verse 6, ceremonial hoopla is elevated to great heights, and people are made to believe that this is the way God is pleased with their worship of Him. But it is all abomination in the sight of the Lord. God is a Spirit, and He wants to be worshipped in the Spirit. And remarkably, today’s debates about true worship as found in the literature are actually storms in a teapot, and amount to nothing important. Things such as “The Federal Vision” are nothing else than elevating ceremonial hoopla to a respectable status before God. #2, The materially rich sit in the pews as if they are done. They have bought themselves a comfortable seat from where they can watch what is going on in the congregation. They do not realize that the church is always in battle, and that everyone needs to be involved. But since they are in a false church anyway, they have been indoctrinated with a false gospel that favors the interests of Satan rather than of Christ. #3, In verse 7, those who are lowest at the totem pole of the church are called upon to perform the highest form of service, namely, function as ambassadors of Christ outside the church where the heathen are congregating. But since they who are fulfilling this function are not saved, the gospel message to the world is very immature and does not draw anyone to real salvation. #4, Those who are highest at the totem pole of the church are not evangelizing, since they are too busy with administrative paperwork. They who are supposed to be saved are acting as if they are not saved. The slaves are functioning as if they are saved, and the chiefs are functioning as if they are not saved. Such will be the signs of the end time church. All these signs indicate that the wrath of God on the church will be very great. And when we see these signs we must ask ourselves:

#3.       How Then Shall We live? (Rom 5:5,8, 1John 4:19, John 15:12-13, Eph 1:4-7)

When we see this devastation in the church indicated by these four signs of the end time church, and when we see that this world edges closer and closer to Judgment Day, and we see that the church occupies a smaller and smaller portion of life in the world today, and we see homosexuality increase more and more, even creeping into the church, and when we see that women occupy a more and more dominant role in the church and are occupying church offices, how then shall we live, since we cannot rely any more on the church to keep us straight? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 5:5 (2X). Now you need to pay close attention, and do not be a selective hearer. God speaks here about the love of God, and that this love of God is a free gift from God, for God says in Rom 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And thus, God gave us His love, because He decided to do that before the foundation of the world, “While we were yet sinners.” We read in Rom 5:5,

Rom 5:5, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” God also says: “In due time Christ died for the ungodly.” In addition, we can say with 1John 4:19, “We love him, because he first loved us.” And so, our response of gratitude is that “we love Him because He first loved us.” And so, we should ask the first question: “How then shall we live?” the answer is, “We should live by loving Christ for who He is, and what He has done for me.” No one can be saved without the love of Christ and our love for Christ, because the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. But suppose that this love for Christ was not a gift from God, but it was generated in our hearts by our fear of hell, and we simply wanted to buy fire insurance. Can we then also be saved? Then we are talking about a work on our part. Remember, no one can be saved by a work on our part, for this is a “do it yourself salvation.”  

Then we must ask the second question: “Is it real? Is our love for Christ real, and has the love of God indeed been shed abroad in our hearts?” And so, this question has to do with our uncertainty of our salvation. The answer is also in the form of a question, “How great is our gratitude?” Can we look at our life and actually see how great our gratitude is? Yes indeed we can! Look at our commitment! Has our enthusiasm that was so great at the beginning been waning? Has our joy and commitment over the years increased or decreased? For example, our attendance to these worship services on Sunday morning is not a ceremonial obligation; it is an expression of our love for Christ. Do you hear what I am saying? Is this expression of our love for Christ a constant commitment, or has it been waning? Are we here every Sunday, or has it decreased to once every two weeks, or less than that? If such would be the commitment we have for our spouse, our marriage would not last 50 years. And is it not true that we must love Christ more than our spouse, and more than our father or mother, and more than our son or daughter? Do we still rejoice over the spiritual food that we receive on Sundays like we did in the beginning? Do we still experience it as a banquet of spiritual food that we soak in? Are we still here to be a blessing to those around us? And do we consider this a commitment for life? If not, then where is our love for Christ? Can it be seen anywhere? Are there other commitments whereby we can show our love for Christ and our love for the brethren? We must consider these questions seriously, for the Lord Jesus Christ said in John 15:12-13,

John 15:12-13  12  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

What did the Lord command us here? In the church we must love one another as much as Christ loved us. That is a tall order, considering how unlovable we all are. And this is how we must apply this command: You must lay down your life for your friends. You already know that you must lay down your life for your spouse. Now you also must lay down your life for everyone in the church. It does not mean that you must be killed, but it means that you must lay down your life in service for your friends. Serve them wherever they hurt, and wherever they would be helped by your service. You would do that for your spouse if he or she gets seriously ill, but do that also for your friends in the church. God does not ask us to love those who are loveable, but God asks us to love the unlovables. We do that because we want to please Christ. And how can we love our brethren in the church when we stay away from them? How can we love them if we do not even know them? And so, you see that if we truly love the Lord Jesus Christ, our Sunday morning attendance is really the minimum we should do. Is it real? Is our love for Christ real? We can look at our own life and see the evidence if our love for Christ is real. We can look at our own life and see the evidence if the love of God has really been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. It must be a gift from God, or else it is worth nothing.

Now let me address the children. The children think that I am addressing primarily their parents. Wake up! I am talking also to you children. Each person is individually held accountable before God. Children are not carried to heaven on the coattails of their parents. The children have souls, and they have their own brains, and they have their own feelings, and they are held accountable independent of their parents. Children are individuals, and God saves individuals. And so, if you children decide that your love for Christ draws you to do something else than your parents have decided, tell them what you plan to do. Your behavior may be a good example to your parents.

And then we must ask ourselves the third question: “Which God am I praying to?” Or am I praying at all? Now this message is especially for the children. No one can be saved without loving Christ, and no one can love Christ without having received the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts, and no one can be saved who does not pray in gratitude for this wonderful act of God. How can anyone of you look at the cross of Christ, and it does not touch you in your soul? You see Him suffer there in the flesh in your place, and you know that He suffered a great deal more in His soul for your sins, for your sins are very great, and yet you remain indifferent to all this suffering. Does this not mean that you do not believe that this is real? You would be like the mockers standing around the cross, and mocking Christ, for they are doing exactly the same thing. Can you see the wicked hearts of those who stand around the cross, mocking the Lord of glory. Would you want to be among them?

And so, when you pray, ask yourself, “Which God am I praying to?” Is it the God who took my place and suffered there for me, or is it another god who is only a human being and who was crucified because he was a victim of the scribes and Pharisees? Let us be careful to identify the God whom we are serving. Let us be careful to know and study the Bible so that we indeed may know Jesus Christ and Him who sent Him. About 2000 years ago God the Son adopted the man Christ Jesus, the Son of Mary, and made Himself ready to atone for all the sins of all those whom the Father had placed in Him before the foundation of the world, according to Eph 1:4-7. When were our sins imputed to His account? In other words, when was the Lord Jesus Christ aware of all the sins that He had to atone for? Was it just before He went to the cross? Or was it at His birth? Or was it earlier than that? It was earlier than that. It was before the foundation of the world that God the Father placed all our names in the mind of God the Son, and it was at that time that God knew all the sins we were going to commit. Remember, when the Lord Jesus paid for the guilt of all our sins, all our sins were still future sins, and they were already known in the mind of God the Son before the foundation of the world. God loved the unlovables. This is the God I am praying to. This is the God who is full of grace and truth, whom I trust because He loved me in spite of all the evil that I have done. This is the God who is full of mercy and who does not ask me to atone for my past sins, but He asks me what I am doing with my life from this day forward. Do I love Him? Forget the past; look forward, and look for the evidence that He loves you and that you love Him, because you want to be grateful for His unspeakable gift.

How then shall we live? We live with a gratitude that is overflowing. We live because He washed us clean and intercedes daily for us before the throne of God so that we may remain faithful to Him. We need this daily intercession because in most places in the world Christians have lost the support groups that they have had in the churches, and now they must turn to the Word of God more than ever. But God has not abandoned His flock. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, (referring to all the elect,) how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.” And that is a promise that shall dominate the life that we must now live.

AMEN.                  Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.