02(Exodus 20,01-03) No Other Gods

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I.    Our First Law (Exodus 20:1-3).

“What is the hardest thing about being pastor, the greatest burden? Preaching, counseling, administering?” Could do all those and be a failure in His eyes.

Greatest challenge same for you and me: keep Him first in my life. It is to make sure nothing, no other ‘God’- person, duty, object, pleasure comes before Him.

Matt 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

Jer 2:5 Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?

Phil 3:18-19 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

II.  Our First Love. (Rev. 2:2-5)

      Rev. 2:2-7 "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 "and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. 4 "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place-- unless you repent.

A.    Losing that love.

1.     We might work hard in the church, be doctrinally sound, endure patiently,  yet be on the verge of losing our witness. Why? Because we have left our first love.

2.     Israel was like Ephesus, having been holy to the Lord at one time-

Jer. 2:2-5 "I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothal, when you went after Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. 5 "What injustice have your fathers found in Me, that they have gone far from Me, have followed idols, and have become idolaters?

3.     The Christian life is a continual pursuit of  deep, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. When he is committed to Christ, he will do nothing to dishonor Him.

B.    Finding that love again: repentance.

1.     Remember.

Rev 2:5a Remember therefore from where you have fallen;…

        Remembering our joy in Him; times of fellowship; times of tears.

2.     Repent.

Rev 2:5b repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place-- unless you repent.

        Remembering blessed times not enough. Must make true effort to change direction, or you will never deepen your relationship to Christ.

3.     Reject.

2 Cor 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

        Refuse the world’s analysis of your life and its destructive remedies. Never lose the simplicity that is in Christ.

II.  Our Father’s Love (Ezekiel 33:11).

      Ezekiel 33:11 "Say to them: `As I live,' says the Lord GOD, `I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?'

A.    Love that sees where you are headed.

1.     Illustration: Jesse and the tiger pit.

2.     Can’t you hear God’s love in His warning. “Stop! Turn back!”

B.    Love that shares your burdens.

1.     1 Peter 5:7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

2.     He really is responsible for my life. It is what you DON’T surrender that eats you alive, because you carry it & feel so responsible for what you really can’t control.

C.    Love that suffered in your place.

Story of 8 year old boy who sat in class, taking a test. Became so nervous about finishing on time he suddenly wet his pants. Saw a puddle there beneath him. Sick with worry, looked up just in time to see teacher motioning him to her desk. Noticing him frozen in place, she got up to go to him. What will I do? Everyone will laugh.

What he didn’t know was at that moment one of his classmates, a little girl, was coming down the aisle carrying a fishbowl. When she got alongside him, she lurched and spilled the bowl, sending water and fish everywhere. Thank God! There IS a God in heaven! What a wonderful gift! What a wonderful girl!

But he remembered that boys don’t like girls. “What’s wrong with you, clumsy?” as the class laughed at the girl, the teacher took the boy (now covered by dignity) to the gym class to get some dry clothes to wear.

At lunchtime, no one wanted to sit with the girl. Her friends avoided her at recess. In the unforgiving society of elementary school, she was now a plague.

When the boy was on his way home, he saw her, walking alone.  On an impulse – he went over to her. “You know, I’ve been thinking about what happened today. That wasn’t an accident, was it? You did that on purpose, didn’t you?”

“Yes. I did do it on purpose. I knew what had … had happened to you. You see, I wet my pants once, too.”

I don’t ever want to forget what my Lord has done for me. I too have embarrassed myself, shamed myself, and failed. But He took all of my shame upon Himself, and covered me with dignity. Covered me with His spilled blood, covered my sins. He has seen my hopeless situation and rescued me.

Oh, how he loves you and me. That is why we say, “put God first and he will cover your past.”  If God has forgiven me, he can forgive you.

Deut 32:11-12 As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, 12 So the LORD alone led him, and there was no foreign god with him.

Prayer: Ps 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? &there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.

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