Jesus is coming soon
Take hold of assurance – Repost of Pastor Todd Boxley Sermon
Good morning, everyone. Welcome to “Try Jesus!” If this is your first time joining us, it’s great to have you with us. I would like to thank all the new members for joining “Try Jesus.” Also welcome those in Texas, Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, New Hampshire, and New Jersey this week.
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6 KJV). God loves to make his people new (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ezekiel 36:26,26; Revelation 21:5).
The world is traveling according to some from the Smithsonian Institute at 1,000 miles per hour. At the Equator, the earth’s rotational motion is at its fastest. But imagine if that rotation was only halfway.
Or what if that motion suddenly stopped, the momentum would send things flying eastward. Moving rocks and oceans would trigger earthquakes and tsunamis. The still-moving atmosphere would scour landscapes.
Wow! Talk about ships passing through the night. While geologist, physicist, and scientist study things concerning the planet, life seems to whizz right by them.
Instead of me trying to figure out how fast the earth is moving, I’d rather trust and focus on how the creator has the whole earth in his hands. (Exodus 9:29; Matthew 5:34,35; Psalm 24:1,2).
I still love those great lyrics, 🎶 He’s got the whole world, in his hands. He’s got me and you brothers/sisters in his hands. He’s got the whole world in his hands. 🎶
Let’s pray, “Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us another day where we can rejoice in your presence. Lord, thank you for those hearts you have gathered to hear your living word.
Open our understanding by the Holy Spirit, so that we can serve you with all that we have. Lead and direct us in the way we should go today. Teach us to have a servant’s heart, In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Does it seem to you that things are moving so fast that when you figure out something new about your phone, they come out with another feature to enhance what you already have. It like you want to say, “Hey wait a minute, slow down!”
I don’t listen to secular music, but I do remember the secular song before I became a Christian, “Slow ride, take it easy, by Foghat.” It seems with many technological advances moving at such a fast pace, many people find it hard to keep up.
Some will say, “even though technology moves at a blistering pace, you shouldn’t approach it from a lagging far behind approach.” With school approaching its summer vacation, many parents have already started their summer plan scheduling.
How many of you have ever come up with a well-rounded, better still, well-thought-out plan, but never fully implemented that plan? Did you know the Bible has many things to say about planning?
Well thought out plans take effort and commitment to see those plans through. The Bible tells us this, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 KJV).
God encourages us to plan, but planning without his watchful eye is like letting someone drive you across the country from Pennsylvania to California with vision impairment.
There’s nothing wrong with planning. It can be exhilarating and fun to see your planning come to fruition. It can also help you to be wise in further ventures. But with God in your life, you’ll get to experience his loving mysterious outcomes.
The Bible tells us, if we be any other wise minded the Holy Spirit will bring all things back to our remembrance (Philippians 3:15-21). The Spirit of God will prompt you to think I’m still kind of interested in that.
When we commit our plans to the Lord we can rest in his unchanging hands. We used to sing a song in church, “God’s unchanging hand.”
🎶 Time is filled with swift transition, None, none on earth unmoved can stand, Build your hopes on things eternal, hold onto God’s unchanging hand.” 🎶
Rest assured that when you place your day in God’s hand, he will work everything out for the good in your life. One great example and story in the Bible to look at is the life of Joseph. His positive response transformed each setback into a step forward. He didn’t spend much time asking why. His approach was “What shall I do now?”
Joseph was a man who knew that wherever he went, God was with him. That’s why he could speak these words to his own treacherous brothers, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Genesis 50:20 KJV).
The reason Joseph did not give up or allow pride to consume him because of power given to him by Pharaoh in Egypt, was God watched over his steps. Joseph carried the reputation of being able to interpret dreams.
Pharaoh seen this first hand and was excited about Joseph’s interpretation of the dream he shared with him. “And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?” Genesis 41:38 KJV).
You see my friends; God could direct the steps of Joseph because Joseph trusted God to lead and guide him. It’s like me giving you a road map on your vacation trip 6 flags in Georgia but helping you on the phone from state to state until your arrival.
Joseph had the assurance that God would watch oversteps, even when some of those steps caused him to run from danger. This was the case when Joseph found himself in a precarious situation with Potiphar’s wife.
Notice how God never removed “choice or choosing” away from Joseph’s decision to run from Potiphar’s wife’s advances. God didn’t turn Joseph into a puppet and force him to run. Joseph had a choice and decided to speak these words.
“There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:2-10 KJV).
[Potiphar’s wife failed to seduce Joseph, who resisted this temptation by saying it would be a sin against God. Joseph didn’t say, “I’d be hurting you,” or “I’d be sinning against Potiphar,” or “I’d be sinning against myself.” Under pressure, such excuses are easily rationalized away.]
Because Joseph made the choice to run from temptation, it further secured his assurance that God would continue to guide his steps. In contrast look at the pain some went through in the story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:3,4).
The progression of this story verses the progression of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife shows both may have looked guilty, but only one had the assurance and backing of Almighty God. David was still a man after God’s own heart, but during this interlude he lacked wisdom and discretion.
David used his position of power and authority as king to exploit Bathsheba, and ultimately to manipulate Joab and take advantage of Uriah. Joseph, while in prison and accused of an act he didn’t commit.
[Prisoners were guilty until proven innocent, and there was no right to a speedy trial. Many prisoners never made it to court because trials were held at the whim of the ruler.]
This blessed assurance followed Joseph wherever he went. In this case it was prison. “But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.” (Genesis 39:21-23 KJV).
The keeper of the prison took notice of Joseph’s demeanor while incarcerated. God continued to bless Joseph with favor. How many of you have heard stories of people being falsely accused of a crime?
With DNA now available in crime scenes, many falsely accused that spent many, many, years in prison were released. I recall one man being sent to prison for 20 years. Imagine, 20 years of no freedom and missing family and friends.
But after they reopened the case through DNA evidence, they found he was not at the scene of the crime. Once released, a reporter asked him did he hold any grudge against those who blamed and ridiculed him and how would he get his life back.
He lifted his head and with kindness and respect he spoke softly and said, “I forgive those who came after the wrong person, I also know God was with me and kept my head above the quicksand of blame.”
“God was my only assurance that everything would be ok.” He also stated that his life was never lost to get anything back. He could approach his freedom knowing that Jesus never left him or forsook him.
Do you think you could handle such a predicament? Would you be kicking and screaming in jail everyday of your innocence? When you plan your summer vacation this year what assurance do you have that everything will be ok?
Whatever your plans involve, it’s never wise to exclude God from employment, work around the house, attending summer holiday events. Just remember how God was continually with Joseph.
There is a question today that all Americans live and make adjustments to everyday. That is “What assurances do I have?” People feel this way about their families, friends, and this country.
Some people don’t understand that limited or no assurance means little or no trust. It’s hard to trust in someone or something that offers little assurance. There are many test or theories to make valid points about trust and assurance.
One simple example might be, if I sit in this chair, do I have the assurance that the legs will not break. But notice, most of us don’t think this way. Unless its blatantly clear that if I try to sit in a Toddler’s wicker chair, it’s highly likely that I’ll break it.
But most of us don’t sit down at dinner time with our families around the dining room table and pause with little trust and assurance that the chair will break. We treat the power (electricity) in our home the same way.
We take hold of that switch without any doubt that our lights will turn on. That’s why it surprises us when we turn on the light and it doesn’t turn on. We have built up this natural trust about certain assurances that become part of our lifestyle.
Whether it’s your home, car, air travel, food, and Lowes or Home Depot, which ever you choose to shop at (Smile), we carry this assurance that these items of comfort will always be.
However, in recent months and a few years, we see certain assurances being eroded away. We see safety being eroded away. We see first amendment rights being eroded away. We see the rights to worship and follow God being eroded away.
When the rights go away, the assurances go with it. It’s hard to trust in something that is unstable. When instability sits under a nation that wants to eliminate Christianity, political common sense, and economic expenditures, they create a pothole of massive destruction on its citizens.
All you have to do is look at the moral compass of our nation and see that we are headed in the wrong direction. Instead running towards God, we are running away from God. The Bible tells us that righteousness is what elevates a nation. People are more at peace when love and truth permeate its society.
“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34 KJV). Let’s look at each meaningful word in this passage. Each biblical definition brings truth to why nations lack assurance of peace.
1) Righteousness: The Hebrew word (tsâdaq). To make right in a moral or forensic sense. To cleanse. To be just righteous in conduct and character.
@ Because righteousness is to follow God’s will and God’s way, it will always exalt a person, a family, a neighborhood, a city, a state, or even a nation. @
2) Exalt: When someone or something is exalted, it is lifted in such a way that brings it into view. It comes from the Hebrew word (rûm). It brings something to a height.
To rise or raise. To heave up, lift up, hold up, set up, to mount up. To rise up, to be set on high. When a nation exalts God in the pure truth that he is, that nation will be like a light that sits on a hill for all to see.
Sin: In its simplest definition, sin is “missing the mark.” Like throwing darts at a board. When you miss the target, you inevitably hit something else. Hitting something else eventually causes others to take notice.
@ “Sin is a transgression of the law of God” (1John 3:4; Romans 4:15), in the inward state and habit of the soul, as well as in the outward conduct of the life, whether by omission or commission (Rom 6:12-17; 7:5-24). @
Reproach: The Hebrew word (chêsêd). It is to address someone in such a way as to express disapproval or disappointment. To bring disgrace or shame.
@ When people or nations reject righteousness and choose sin, it will bring reproach and insult upon them. We never gain through our rejection of God and our embrace of sin. @
No one likes to have egg on their face. No nation likes their own to hang their heads in shame because of their misconduct. Just as parents may sometimes be stigmatized by their son’s criminal behavior, so it is with this nation when our leaders bring disgrace on the people.
Is our nation still under God today? Some believe we are in great standing with God because we are a religious nation and have religious buildings on every corner. But does that make us acceptable to God?
The Bible tells us that God is holy. That is his standard. 15} “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16} Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16 KJV).
How do you see your nation today? If you feel the nation is fine, then why are there more homeless people on the streets? Why is there more lawlessness and crimes in our cities? Why are people being accused more falsely of all manner of “isms” when there is none? Why are we more divided? Why do we call good evil and evil good?
When God is removed from all societal lifestyle, Satan comes in to fill the void. And the result is always decay, destruction, and death (John 10:10). *Please read aloud to yourself (1 Samuel 15:22,23; 2 Timothy 3:1-7; Jeremiah 17:9; Psalm 1:4-6; 10:2-11).
[Religious ceremonies or rituals are empty unless they are performed with an attitude of love and obedience. “Being religious” (going to church, serving on a committee, giving to charity) is not enough if we do not act out of devotion and obedience to God.
Rebellion against God is perhaps the most serious sin of all, because as long as a nation or person rebels, he or she closes the door to forgiveness and restoration with God.]
When Covid came rambling through this country, it gave me the ability to stop and see
how much trust and assurance we had in God. Many churches seemed ok with continuing normal ministerial functions as scheduled. They added some cleansing advisory to their congregants.
Still, other churches decided to come up with various ways to lessen the spread of contact by putting space between chairs, and separating their services between morning and afternoon. Some took their services outside. Some even had their congregations sit in cars in the parking lot.
Many of course, decided to place all services on social media. After seeking God in prayer for many days, I only knew that God never abandons his church or his children. As I cried out to God during the pandemic, two examples of God’s mercy and providence came to my heart.
The first was King Hezekiah. He had come down with sickness that was deadly. The prophet Isaiah came to him during his sickness and said to him, “Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.” (2 Kings 20:1 KJV).
Some of you may have heard those words before when the doctor told you there is a cancerous tumor. Many feel just like king Hezekiah felt when Covid came to a family member.
But just like king Hezekiah, I just started to cry out to God that Covid would be held back. 2} “Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, saying, 3} I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.” (2 Kings 20:2,3 KJV).
After Hezekiah secluded himself and cried out with many tears, God turned the prophet around and sent him back to Hezekiah with these words. Please read aloud (2 Kings 20:4-7).
The second word the Lord brought to me was the people of Goshen. During this time Moses had told Pharoah to let the people go, so they could serve and worship God and be his people in their own land.
During the time of Pharaoh’s refusal to let God’s people go, the Lord sent many plagues against the people of Egypt. But God spoke to Moses and told him these words,
22} “And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. 23} And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be.” (Exodus 8:22,23; KJV).
God did show his power over all that he did against Pharaoh and his leaders. God kept the people safe when they also obeyed his instruction when the death angel came through the land of Egypt.
When God saw the blood applied on their door post, he knew they were his people and passed over their homes without harm. “And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.” (Exodus 12:7 KJV).
I continued to pray and cry out to the Lord on many occasions for the body of Christ. To me, those who survived Covid was like those people in Goshen. The Lord still does life saving miracles today.
Some might say, “Hey pastor Todd, what about the Christians who contracted the virus and died with many others?” My response is the same when ever a true authentic believer dies, they also received the “passover” treatment because they are with Jesus.
Here’s a scripture to always rely on when sickness or serious illness comes your way. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15 KJV).
You see my friends, true born-again believers have the assurance that even if they leave this body because of war, sickness, crime, or nature, they know that no matter how they leave this body, they are secure in the loving hands of their Savior.
7} “For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8} We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:7,8 KJV).
Also Please read the powerful words aloud of God’s assurance for those who trust in his care. (Romans 8:35-39). Jesus came to give us life, but more than life the world offers. He came to give us secure eternal life.
27} “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28} And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29} My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29 KJV).
When Covid came, I watched and listened to what responses would come from the body of Christ. Many people reacted with fear and anxiety that stopped them from functioning normally because what peace they thought they had was smothered and overtaken by fear.
Some churches reacted more out of fear than faith. Some might think, isn’t it ok to be cautious? Yes, I would agree that some churches used sound wisdom when the virus came. But some moved without consulting God at all.
Did you notice that some major businesses never closed their doors during the pandemic? Places like Lowes, Home Depot, and grocery stores never shut down. What were their assurances of safety guidelines?
God was never going to allow his church to completely be wiped out by Covid. There are assurances true believers have that the world cannot offer us. I can only testify (whether people believe me or not) that the Lord kept me in an abundance of his peace during the extreme period of Covid.
My heart breaks for people who are still running to every medical word thrown at their ears. Many people jumped after hearing, “Wear one mask, no, two mask, no five mask!” Don’t get one vaccine, get two, no, get one booster!” “Wait, get 3 and 4 boosters!” “Wait, shut the schools down!” “Wait we made a rush decision, open the schools!”
There was so much blurred information, many people didn’t know which direction to take. My heart and tears were left each day on my pillow for all the elderly who passed away in New York and other cities.
Many older people today are still suffering because fear has left their children to place them in COVID isolation places. It reminds me of how those that lived in the Bible days in leprosy camps were not allowed to interact with others in the community.
Times of adversity come in many forms. Having God’s assurance comes with peace the world simply cannot give. Peace from God’s heart to his believers that receive it, is greater than all the money in the word, all the love (flesh) in the world.
Jesus told us if we open our hearts and surrender our lives to him, he will give us this peace. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23 KJV).
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27 KJV). Many people search for peace their whole lives and never find it.
Some of you remember the old “Sure deodorant commercial.” Their slogan centered around confidence in buying their product. So confident that you can “Raise your hands, if, you’re sure!” There was this assurance that if you used this deodorant, you could raise your arm pits right under someone’s nose. (Smile).
Even that “Sure” fails way in comparison to the assurance and confidence I gain by trusting in God’s hand on my life. (Psalm 46:1-5; 121:1-8; 146:5-10). There’s a sweet-smelling savor we offer to the God who loves us unconditionally. (2 Corinthians 2:14-16; Philippians 4:17,18).The Greek word (osmē; ozō) in 2 Corinthians, means to give a fragrance.
Before we close for today, I would like to speak to you with words of encouragement. As the nation and world look very depressing to many of you, there is a way to place your trust in someone who will fill your whole being with love, significance, and security.
Just like the “All State” insurance claim, “You’re in good hands.” You can have full assurance of God’s hands on your life. Here is a list of common questions people have asked on assurance.
1) Where can I find assurance amid the uncertainties of life? Can I be sure of anything? God is the only one in whom you can trust completely without fear of disappointment. You can be assured that what he says is true and what he does is reliable. The world is filled with uncertainty, so why search for assurance in it? (Jeremiah 17:7,8; Psalm 118:8,9; 1 Peter 1:21; You can be assured that what he says is true and what he does is reliable.
2) How can I be assured of God’s love in difficult times? Some answers were already given earlier in the message. Life’s circumstances don’t come between God and his people. They don’t get in God’s way. Hard times are often when God reveals his infinite love and care for us. Jesus loves you unconditionally and supremely. Just as you embrace your children in chaotic situations, God reaches out to us in troubling times. (Isaiah 43:1,2; Romans 8:35-39).
3) What does this assurance do for me when I confront everyday problems? God will quiet your anxiety when you cry out to him. He will comfort you and give you, his peace. He also gives you boldness and strength in your heart to stand when the tremors of life shake under your feet. (Hebrews 4:14-16; Ephesians 3:12).
4) How can I feel more sure of God’s assurances? What can I do to increase my confidence in him? Feelings can sometimes be misleading. But faith is something that says, I will trust God for his good outcome no matter how it looks right now. Keep a faithful schedule of prayer time everyday. This will deepen your assurance. Your conversations with God remind you that he is truly there. (Psalm 34:4; 40:1,5; 108:1).
5) What difference will it make for me today if I place my full assurance in God? Doing anything halfway in life gets you half or unstable results. You never want your trust in God to be half-full or half-empty. When it finally dawns on us that God is who he says he is and will never fail us, it’s time to burst into praise and thanksgiving. (Psalm 3:5; 56:9; Isaiah 43:1,2; Romans 15:12,13; Philippians 4:7; Daniel 3:16,17).
6) How can I be sure of God’s love for me? When we place our trust in God, he then sheds his love in us by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5-8). The Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit to fill our lives with love and to enable us to live by his power (Acts 1:8). With all this loving care, how can we do less than serve him completely? (Lamentations 3:22,23; John 3:16; 1 John 4:7-12; 16-21).
[You can have full assurance in God’s love because God is love. His love is woven into his character. Love is not merely something God does; love is who he is. You can be sure of this love because of what he has done for you. He sent his son, Jesus to save you.]
7) How can I be sure of God’s promises to me? You can have assurance in God’s promises because God is truth. He cannot and does not lie. The Bible says, let God be true, and let every man be a liar (Romans 3:4). All God’s promises are yes and amen (2 Corinthians 1:20). God’s power gives us assurance in his ability to keep his promises. He who made the universe and founded it on truth will certainly keep his promises to you (Psalm 146:6; Hebrews 6:18; John 10:28-30; Romans 4:20,21; Acts 13:32-35).
[Fulfilled prophecies and historical examples are evidence of God’s ability to keep his promises. God has an impeccable spotless track record from the beginning of time. Fulfilled prophecies affirm God’s promises.]
8) What are some ways to be certain I know Jesus as my Savior and Lord? God gives everyone a measure of faith. Simply read the scripture Romans (10:8-10, 13). You can also find a simple prayer to pray on the TJForlife drop-down page and read the page “How to know Jesus.”
You can know without doubt you are a born-again believer of God (Acts 2:21; Colossians 1:23; Ephesians 1:13; 1 John 3:24; 4:13; Hebrews 10:22; Romans 8:15, 16; Matthew 7:16-20). When Jesus saves you, he changes all of you, not just your testimony.
🗣📢 Last words: If you are lacking in trusting God these days, I want to encourage to not give up. Some of you have the words, “This too shall pass.” God will be the anchor of your soul whenever turmoil comes your way.
If you believe that Jesus saves you from sin, you confess your sins to him, and you acknowledge that he is Lord of all, then you are a new person inside. Sin will no longer control you and you are guaranteed eternal life in heaven.
[Is your life different than it was when you were saved? If so, you can see that God has been at work in you. Our lives should reflect Jesus’ character. Love for others is evidence of your relationship with Jesus as your Savior and Lord. Christlikeness is bringing our character into sync with the character of Christ.]
Just as Jacob wrestled with the angel and prevailed, you can take hold of God’s assurance and be victorious. “Assurance is the fruit that grows out of the root of faith.”
🛐 Here’s a prayer you can pray to fill your heart with assurance. “Heavenly Father, thank you for your living words. I desperately need to trust you today. I see so much pain in my community.
Build in me and my family the assurance that you are at work and in control. Forgive me for my impatience. Please forgive me for putting my faith in man’s blind direction.
Help my uneasiness, and my wandering desires when I do not feel that I have what I need. Help me to see and to rejoice in the fruit that you are bearing in my life and in the lives of those around me.
Lord, I prayed that prayer and now surrender my life completely to you. Thank you, for new assurances, in Jesus name, amen.”
*Answers to question from last week: The phrase “kingdom of God” occurs 68 times in 10 different New Testament books, while “kingdom of heaven” occurs only 32 times, and only in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus makes no distinction between the two. (Matthew 19:23,24).
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”
Pastor Todd Boxley
Worship Center Ministry