Matt 26:39                 A Garden Called Gethsemane                            11/2/2008      ßà   

 

 

 

 

 

#1.       Gethsemane (Matt 26:30-46, Rom 11:17, 6:20-22)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       If It Be Possible (Matt 26:39, Luke 22:43, 1Pet 2:21, Psalm 138:3, Matt 26:42)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 22:1 (2X). We have come in that part of Matt 26 where the Lord Jesus with eleven disciples entered the Garden of Gethsemane. And so, the title of this sermon is, A Garden Called Gethsemane (2X). Before we turn to that event, I would like us to become familiar with the word “garden”. Jesus and His disciples went to the Mount of Olives. There, on the slopes of the Mount of Olives was a garden that was called “Gethsemane”. In the Bible a garden is most often a plot of land surrounded by a hedge of thorns, or by a brick wall, or by a mud wall. Gethsemane was such a garden. That may be interesting from the historical point of view. But when we search for the spiritual meaning of a garden in the Bible, we find that God made the first garden in Eden.

It was in the Garden of Eden where God made man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul, an immortal soul. We read in Gen 2:8, “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed”. You all know the sordid end of this story. Adam and Eve sinned, and God sent them out of the Garden of Eden. There, in the first garden sin entered into the world, and all mankind became addicted to sin, became enslaved to sin, and there is where we lost our righteousness, and became subject to the wrath of God, and subject to the penalty for sin, which is death to the body and spiritual death to the soul. The next stage of this drama was the Garden of Gethsemane where the second Adam was tempted, but did not sin. Here is where the second Adam set out to rectify the situation that was brought about by the sin of the first Adam. As the sinless One He qualified to atone for the sins of all those He intended to save. This was Thursday evening, April 2 in the year AD 33, and this was the beginning of the atonement process which lasted three days and three nights. The next stage of this drama was the Garden of the Tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea, which was a garden located next to Golgotha where the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified. Here was the tomb which Joseph of Arimathaea gave up freely to bury the body of the Lord Jesus. We read in John 19:41, “Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid”. Now, this was not the first time that people were buried in a cave located in a garden. Perhaps you remember, when Sarah died her husband Abraham bought a cave for her in the Garden of Ephron the Hittite. We read in Gen 23:17, “And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure”. From the description “and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about” we understand that this was a garden of which trees were made to be the borders thereof. And Abraham paid the full price for this Garden of Ephron the Hittite. What a beautiful picture was this, anticipating the burial of the Lord Jesus in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea, where Christ paid the full price for our sins. And so we see that sin was released in the Garden of Eden, and sin was erased for that fraction of mankind who received God’s mercy and grace in the atonement of Christ in two other gardens. It began with His sufferings on Thursday evening in the Garden of Gethsemane, and it ended on Sunday morning in the Garden of the Tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea when Christ arose from that tomb. And so, we see that God chose His words very carefully when He chose a Garden both at the beginning of sin and at the end of sin. Moreover, in the new Jerusalem, located in the new creation, God describes our future bliss symbolically as if we would be again in a Garden of Delights. We read in Rev

Re 22:1-3, “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

This will be a beautiful Garden of Delights, and no more curse, for the throne of God shall be there. Even the most beautiful garden on this earth is only a sin cursed earth. But here is the principle: Wherever God’s throne is, there is no more curse. Think of it: At the moment we became saved, God gave us a regenerated soul where the spirit of the triune God has made His dwelling place. There is His throne, and by His mercy and grace there is no more curse in that soul, for Christ has removed the curse, being made a curse for us in our place. Please turn now to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 26:30 (2X), and please put a sticker there, for we will be returning there many times.

#1.       Gethsemane (Matt 26:30-46, Rom 11:17, 6:20-22)

Last week we saw in this chapter how the Lord Jesus arranged that Judas left the apostolic band before Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper. Now there were only eleven going with Him into the garden. Upon entering the area Jesus spoke to them about their being scattered as sheep without a shepherd. He spoke about His resurrection and reunion with them in Galilee, and of Peter to deny Him. We read in:

Mt 26:30-46, “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples. Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

One thing stands out in this passage: It is Gethsemane, which means, “Olive Press”. Historically it was most likely that there was an olive press there. This garden was located on the Mount of Olives. But let us also look at this from the spiritual side. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 11:17 (2X). What does the olive tree symbolize? It represents the elect or the group of people for whom Christ suffered and died, and it represents them even before they are saved. Not every human being is symbolized by an olive tree, but only those who belong to the church, either the OT church or the NT church. God says in Rom 11:17, “And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree”, and so on. While we were a wild olive tree, before we were “born from above”, our fruit was sin continually. We read this in Rom 6:20-21. Please turn a few pages to your left, to Rom 6:20-21 (2X), where God speaks about our transformation from sinners to saints. There we read, “For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death”. In other words, while we were a wild olive tree we did bear fruit, but it was fruit that was under the wrath of God, for it was not fruit unto holiness like the next verse, Rom 6:22 describes. What did Christ do with our bad fruit? He cast it into the “Olive Press”, which is “Gethsemane”. And so we see that, without question, the sufferings of Christ for our sins began on Thursday evening in the Garden of Gethsemane. And there He suffered not only for our past sins, but in order to make us free from sin He had to suffer also for our present sins and for our future sins. Of course this must be the case, because when Christ suffered for our sins in AD 33, all our sins were still future sins. And since Christ’s sufferings have to do with the Olive Press, and with Him giving His life as a ransom for many, we realize that the Olive Press is intimately related to the “Wine Press”, which is spoken of in many parts of the Bible. Let us then have a brief look at the “Wine Press”.

Please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 14:19 (2X). The Wine Press is symbolically a place where all people are subjected to the wrath of God for their sins. Since we all came into the world as slaves of Satan, and enemies of God, we all were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. And thus we all must go through the Wine Press of the wrath of God, some represented by a stand in, Christ, and others by themselves, but we all must go through the Wine Press, for there is None righteous, No Not One. All are guilty of sin. That is why we read in Rev 14:19, “And the Angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God”. This is the time when all the unsaved of the world are judged for their sins. Since Christ did not pay for their sins they are on their own, as they have chosen to be, and they have to account for their own sins. Please turn a few pages to your right, to Rev 19:13 (2X), where we see the role of Christ treading the winepress both for the unsaved and for the saved people of God. We read in Rev 19:13,15,

Re 19:13, And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

Verse 15 shows the wrath of God upon all the unsaved of the world, and verse 13 shows the blood that was splashed on Christ’s garment, which is not His blood, but it is our blood; it is the blood of all those He came to save. Please turn to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 62:12 (2X). Here is a passage that ties in with Rev 19:13, which shows clearly that it was not His blood, but our blood which soiled his vesture. The Bible is very clear that God is not a smiling grandfather figure in the sky, but God is angry with sin as well as with sinners. We all were by nature children of wrath. We read in Isa 62:12-63:7,

Isa 62:12-63:7, “And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken. Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth. I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.

You can see that verses 1-6, which speak of the wrath of God, are wedged between verses dealing with God’s love for His people, the people for whom Christ suffered and died on the cross. You see, before God’s love can be bestowed on His people, their sins must be dealt with by Christ on the cross. This is why we read in Isa 63:1, “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?” It is clear that this person is the Lord Jesus Christ, who is coming from Edom, referring to “Esau”. But there in Edom is the city of Bozrah, which means “Sheepfold”. Esau was never saved. And so, in this verse Edom represents the nations of the world that are under the wrath of God. There, in the midst of all those under the wrath of God, is a sheepfold containing those whom Christ will redeem from their predicament of being on a slippery slide into Hell. And how is Christ going to save them? Christ has treaded the winepress of the wrath of God for them, like we read in Isa 63:2. But Christ, in His human nature, had to endure the wrath of God for our sins alone. There was none to help Him. Only the grace of God the Father and the presence of God the Son were there to strengthen Him. That is why He could endure the wrath of God successfully, and the Spirit of God present in Him said in Isa 63:3, “I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments”. You see, it is our blood that was sprinkled on His garments. It was not the blood of people who remain unsaved, for their blood still has to be shed on the last day. And so, the Spirit of God that was in Him said in Isa 63:4, “the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come”. When Christ went to the Garden of Gethsemane, and then to the cross, it was a day of vengeance on a certain fraction of mankind; on those whose sins Christ came to pay. It was the vengeance of God on our sins, but which fell on the Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered the penalty in our place. That is why He says, “the year of my redeemed is come”, which refers to AD 33. But again, in Isa 63:5, in His humanity Christ lamented that there was none to help Him, for He had to bear our sins and bear the penalty for our sins alone. That is why God prevented the disciples to give Him aid, and that is why the disciples were heavy with sleep, and that is why they all fled when Christ was bound. Their leader, the chief shepherd was taken from them, and according to what was written “The sheep were scattered”, according to the will of God. Everything in the atonement of Christ took place according to whatever God’s hand and His counsel determined before to be done. And likewise, since we are also God’s children, everything in our lives takes place according to what God’s hand and His counsel determined before to be done. And so, let us summarize what we have learned of the Wine Press, and this may also apply to the Olive Press.

What is a winepress for? #1. It is used to make wine. In most places in the Bible, wine represents the blood of Christ, which is pointing to the wrath of God on Christ for our sins, which is pointing to the pure Gospel of salvation by grace alone, through the blood of Christ alone. There is no forgiveness of sins, no salvation, without the cross of Christ. #2. At the end of time the winepress serves to bring the wrath of God upon all people who remain unsaved, for they have chosen another route to their happiness, another route than the sacrifice of God, and thus their own blood will be shed, for Christ’s blood does not apply to them. For the truly saved Christian, wine comes out of the fruit hanging on the branches of the vine. Christ says He is the vine and we are the branches. When we bear good fruit, it represents that we carry faithful teachings of the Gospel of grace, through the death of Christ on the cross in AD 33, and that no other year can substitute for the year AD 33. But if we bear rotten fruit, it means that we are not in the vine which is Christ, and it means that we carry a false gospel, which is a gospel of works, and it means that other years of redemption than AD 33 apply, for all works gospels are based on our works.

·        In Agony (Matt 26:38, Isa 53:3, Luk 22:44, Psalm 18:3-5, 55:4-5, Heb 5:7)

Please turn again to the Gospel of Matthew, Matt 26:38 (2X). The Lord Jesus indicated that He was exceeding sorrowful in His soul. His sufferings began in His soul, for nobody laid any hands on Him yet. Matt 26:38, “Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me”. It proves that the Lord Jesus had a true human soul. He was exceedingly sorrowful, where the Greek word means “compassed about with sorrow on all hands”. He was ready to die from grief. He now began to be sorrowful, and He never ceased to be so until He said on the cross, “It Is Finished”. In the Prophecy of Isaiah, in Isa 53:3, God calls Him “A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”. We read more about His sorrows in the Gospel of Luke. Please turn a few pages to your right, to the Gospel According to Luke, Luke 22:44 (2X). The disciples were of no help to Him, for God has decreed that Christ must atone for our sins alone. And so, His soul could not be comforted, for His sufferings were of another nature than they were familiar with. We read in Luke 22:44, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground”. We do not understand this level of sorrows. It certainly does not mean that the Lord Jesus was afraid of the coming crucifixion. It was just the opposite. During the past 3½ years He repeatedly stated that He was looking forward to the coming crucifixion. But the weight of our sins and the horror of having to endure the equivalent of an eternity in Hell in His soul were adding a new dimension to the sufferings that He now faced. And yet, these were required to satisfy the justness of God, or the righteousness of God. Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of the Psalms, Psalm 18:3 (2X). You find the Psalms about in the middle of your Bibles. And who were those for whom He was going to pay their sins? They were the ungrateful and unlovable ones; those who were presently still His enemies; those who needed a total transformation of their soul to make them believe that He died for them, and those who were responsible for nailing Him to the cross. God has a great deal more to say about the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. We read in Psalm 18:3-5,

Ps 18:3  I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

Ps 18:4  The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.

Ps 18:5  The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.

The death that God in this passage speaks about is not physical death, for physical death is only a shadow, or is only a token of spiritual death, which is the second death in the lake of fire. In verse 5 “Hell” is the correct translation of the Hebrew word “Sheol”. Whenever we see this word “Sheol”, when it refers to the physical body it is translated “the grave”, but when it refers to the soul it must be translated “Hell”, for the grave is meaningless to a man’s soul. A similar rule applies to the translation of the Greek word “Hades”. Psalm 18 is a messianic psalm, for the prayers of Christ in Gethsemane are recorded in this psalm. Please turn a few pages to your right, to Psalm 55:4 (2X) where we also can recognize the prayers of the Lord Jesus in Gethsemane. We read here in Psalm 55:4-5,

Ps 55:4  My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.

Ps 55:5  Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.

The horror that has overwhelmed Him was the horror of having to pay the full price that had to be paid, the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. Please turn now to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 5:7 (2X). The Lord Jesus was in agony, for this was the first time that He was facing the torments of eternal damnation. The Lord warned us for this, that Hell will be a place where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched forever. And although Hell will be in a totally different universe, where the laws of nature are totally different, and where fire is not like the fire that we know of here in this universe, nevertheless the Lord warned us that Hell will be super terrible. We read in Heb 5:7,

Heb 5:7  Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

In the Garden of Gethsemane Christ prayed to the Father that He would save Him from death. Did Christ pray that the Father would save Him from physical death? Absolutely not, for that would be inconsistent with the many times that the Lord Jesus prophesied of His physical death on the cross. No! He prayed that the Father would save Him from being consumed in Hell, and that He would never be able to finish the task that God required for the substitutionary payment that Christ was going to make for our sins. This was His plea. And in this He was heard, for we read that the Father would not leave His soul in Hell. And so, we realize that the Lord was in agony, for His sufferings in His soul had begun.

#2.       If It Be Possible (Matt 26:39, Luke 22:43, 1Pet 2:21, Psalm 138:3, Matt 26:42)

Please turn again to the Gospel of Matthew, Matt 26:39 (2X). We see here clearly that the Lord Jesus suffered in His human nature. This could not be a prayer in His Divine nature, for as God the Son He knew everything that was decided in the counsel of God, and everything that would follow. We read

Matt 26:39, “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt”.

He asked “If it be possible”, Father. If it is possible that the world of the elect can be redeemed, if it is consistent with the justice of God, and if it is possible that men can be saved without the extremity of this sorrow, let it be done. And yet, He rather sought the will of God. He chose rather that the high purpose of God should be done, than that the purpose of God should be abandoned because of the fears of His human nature. And what was the answer from God? There was no answer. It was not possible to change course midstream. It was not possible to come up with another plan of salvation, for this was the most perfect plan of God. If this would not be the best plan God could provide, then He would not be God. And this we always need to keep in mind, that God’s plan is the best plan. We do not see it now, but in the life hereafter it will be clear why we suffer at the present time in this vale of tears. In the Gospel of Luke, after this verse where Christ pleads “If it be possible”, we also read in Luke 22:43,

Lu 22:43  And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

God sent a messenger from heaven, not to tell Jesus that it is possible to remove this cup from Him, but to strengthen Him to go forward, for the grace of God will be sufficient for Him. And when God tells us that His grace is sufficient for us, we should remember that the Lord Jesus has given us an example. The Lord tells us in 1Pet 2:21, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps”. And herein we also are reminded of God’s Word in Psalm 138:3, “In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul”. Thou has answered me and has strengthened me in my soul. Has this answer taken hold of the Lord Jesus? Look at His prayers the second time and the third time after this request. We read in Matt 26:42, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done”. And the same He said the third time. Did you notice that the Lord Jesus did not repeat His request to the Father to take this cup from Him? He had resigned to the fact that He had to drink the cup of the wrath of God on behalf of our sins, and that He had to drink it all. Instead He prayed with thanksgiving that the Father’s will be done. Let us now look at the contents of the cup that the Lord Jesus had to drink.

Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 6:23 (2X). God tells us here in His Epistle to the Romans the entire story of sin, of salvation, and of subsequent service to God. The Epistle to the Romans is to the church what the Constitution is to the United States of America. Every Christian should be reading and studying the Epistle to the Romans, and as a result denominational confusion would be wiped out, and we would all achieve a greater understanding of who God is. We read in Rom 6

Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

There are two parts in this verse. The first part deals with the destiny of the unsaved. For them the wages of sin is death, and the death that God has in view is not physical death, but the second death, which is an eternity in the lake of fire with body and soul. The second part deals with the destiny of those who are saved. To them the free gift of God is eternal life, and this life does not refer to eternal existence but to a glorious eternal life with Christ in His throne (singular) in the NH&NE. But before God can bestow this grace of eternal life upon us, He first has to deal with our sins. We need to be cleaned up before we can enter into God’s holy heaven. Please turn one page back to Rom 5:8 (2X). There we read

Ro 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Christ died for us”, refers to Christ making atonement for our sins in AD 33, so that our sins can be erased in this 21st century, at the time that God the Holy Spirit makes us born from above and gives us faith. And Christ’s atonement includes His suffering beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane, His death on the cross of Golgotha, and His resurrection in the Garden of the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea. Why is it that Christ had to die for us? For this please turn two pages back to Rom 3:10 (2X). There we read:

Ro 3:10-12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become

unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one”.

Then the capstone of this somber statement of the heart of man is found in verse 18 where we read:

Ro 3:18  There is no fear of God before their eyes.

This is the condition of all mankind, in body and in soul, before the Lord interferes in our life and causes us to be born from above, “There is no fear of God before their eyes”. We can see it with our own eyes everywhere in this world, but God stated this principle thousands of years ago in Psalm 36:1. And why is it that God can punish man for having this condition in his soul? If man is born with this condition of having no fear of  God, why does God find fault with us? For this we need to turn again one page back to Rom 1:18-19 (2X), for there God declares that if man sins, he sins voluntarily.

Ro 1:18-19, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them”.

Let us start at the end of this passage and work our way back. God says, “That which may be known of God is manifest in them”. God refers here to the Ten Commandments, which God has planted in the soul of every human being, and which gives every human being a conscience. This is what God has showed to all mankind. But man has seared his conscience with the excuse that “everyone is doing it, so why can I not do it?” Everyone in the movies is fornicating and committing adultery, and people who are watching those movies are enamored with their performance and are praising them with golden Oscar trophies, and so on. And this is just one of the Ten Commandments. But every single one of the Ten Commandments have been violated in our days, and we have our consciences seared so that we do not even know any more how to distinguish good from evil. This is why the evils of homosexuality and fornication and abortion are going to stay with us, in this country, no matter who gets elected, for these blatant sins are not recognized as sins any more. But God is not mocked. When God declares in Rom 6:23 that the wages of sin is death, He really means it, and God will implement it in the judgment on the last day. But even in this wilderness of sin God has elected His favorite ones, and Christ has come in AD 33 for these favorite ones to be rescued in this day and age from their slippery slide into Hell, to give them the free gift of God: eternal life with Christ in the NH&NE. For them as well as for us Christ had to drink the cup of the wrath of God, which He began to drink in the Garden of Gethsemane. That is why we studied Gethsemane today. But let us remember what God said in Ezek 36:22,32, where God addressed the house of Israel, which refers to the house of Christ, for Christ is also called Israel. We rd.

Eze 36:22,32Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel”.

Let us remember the Lord’s mercies. AMEN.            Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.