Sermon: Five Easily-Neglected Doctrines
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 01-Aug-20; 72 minutes
While working recently on research for findings to use in the epistle to the Hebrews, I had a series of thoughts about a number of doctrinal positions that we may have grown careless about regarding some aspects of, in their importance, to the overall quality of our relationship with the Father and Son, and therefore salvation itself. In a major way, those thoughts had absolutely nothing to do with any particular section of the epistle of Hebrews. But in another way, these doctrines may have very much to do with actually accomplishing much toward achieving great overall growth toward the mind-bending purpose taught in Hebrews 1 and 2.
Now, perhaps my deviation regarding these doctrines was stirred by something within the epistle, but whatever the attachment was to it, it was immediately forgotten. But I did care a great deal more about what I went off on the tangent on. I tried thinking on how I could fit the thoughts into the Hebrews sermon that I was then working on, but the Hebrew issues themselves did not specifically fit. Instead, I chose to make a separate sermon on some of the thoughts that I wandered off on. And this is it. Actually after I was done, I felt it does fit into the series. Somebody, I think, was guiding me a bit and I could not see the connection, but I think that it fits and it will not be able to be really seen until a couple of more sermons go by.
I did this, that is making a sermon, because I feared to lose those thoughts and I really did not want to lose any of them. I wanted to remind the brethren in this congregation of them because thoughts of those doctrines may have deteriorated in importance in their minds enough that they were diminishing as well a vital support to God's purpose for them. They have much to do with faith.
Now, as I began, I mentioned a careless attitude in regard to them, but it did not mean that some here were to the extent of trashing them. Rather, these doctrines tend to be something that we pay little attention to after we have proved them and we simply move on, never giving serious thought perhaps, and therefore thanksgiving to God for their value. I decided that while the subject was on my mind that it would be a good time to produce a sermon on them right now, rather than to delay going on with the book of epistle of Hebrews.
None of these briefer subjects is of the overall importance as the mind-bending purpose series drawn from Hebrews 1 and 2, and Psalm 2 and Psalm 8. But falling short of understanding any of these qualities that Jesus Christ exhibited almost profusely in His ministry, might be to fall very short of being like Him. Falling short would distort how important any of them might be to our journey toward our salvation promised by God.
I have titled this insert sermon within the much larger series, "Five Easily-Neglected Doctrines." Now, each of these doctrines impacts upon the quality of our journey by varying percentages. And if we are self-centeredly careless in consideration of the use of them in our lives, we might well lose our salvation because of neglect of God's counsel. And neglect is something that we are strongly cautioned, admonished about in Hebrews 2:3. We really cannot afford to not follow the example of our Savior in our relationships with others.
My specific purpose statement here is, I am giving brief but true simplifications of each of these doctrines right from the Scriptures that may help straighten out a minor distortion you may have even inadvertently been carrying. Please turn to John the 15th chapter.
John 15:1-8 "I am the true vine [Jesus said], and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me [that is you and me] that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. [God is watching.] You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. [That is a solemn warning.] I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me [Here it comes] you can do nothing. [Is a relationship with Jesus Christ important or what, if we can do nothing without Him? He, of course, means separate from Me within what God has called you and me to.] If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them up and throw them into the [Lake of] fire. [I put that lake in there just to shake you up a little bit. Are you awake?], and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it will be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples."
I jotted down this note to remind me: that it has been a while since a single line of Scripture has impacted upon my mind to the depth of what Jesus said right here. You can do nothing without Me! Is He important or what? Is that relationship with Him important or what? If we can do nothing towards salvation without Him, boy, do we need him, brethren! We need that relationship. So that is the line in which Jesus states to the apostles that, "I am the vine and you are the branches." That thought is almost terrifying to me, that without Him we can do nothing. Jesus does not lie! He does not exaggerate one iota.
That statement then is followed by verse 8 by Jesus saying that God is glorified by His children bearing much fruit, and Jesus is clearly stating the level of His importance to us if we are to be mercifully granted salvation by God. He is saying, "Brethren, I'm not bragging. I'm important to you. There is nobody else any more important to you if you're going to have salvation, than Me." If you think about that a while, you will understand why I said what I said. No scripture has impacted on me like that has for quite a while.
We understand that even under good circumstances, salvation is given only on the basis of God's mercy. Now, Jesus is clearly stating that if we desire salvation at all we had better be maintaining a relationship with Him through prayer and submissive obedience. Otherwise we may produce little or no fruit whatever. Here then, is a doctrinal reality. I have five doctrines here that I am going to touch on.
This is doctrinal reality number one that impacted on my mind like a ton of bricks. There are no ifs, ands, or buts. Either we make the efforts needed to have a viable relationship with Jesus Christ or we produce no fruit, and therefore there is no Kingdom of God in our future. There is no middle ground! I mean brethren, He really laid it on the line. This, of course, was given on the night before His crucifixion, His last words, and those are biggies.
Now, Jesus being actively involved in our life is clearly a necessity for us to be given salvation. Was Jesus actively involved in the lives of the apostles? You better believe it He was actively involved in their lives, and that is a clear example, but we do not have that blessing that they had. But nonetheless, He is telling us that we can have a spiritual blessing, but it is something that we can have. He is not denying that from us.
Thus I asked myself the question as to whether I have been carelessly neglectful in considering and treating His value, and I will confess to you, I came to the conclusion that I was. I tend to be a person who just accepts things, but I decided I am not going to just accept things in my relationship with Jesus Christ. I am going to push myself to do what I can. There is nothing difficult to understand about the main point of what Jesus dogmatically stated. He said what He said because He desires to assist us toward producing what is beneficial to both God and to us. And I think we understand that He is not given to bragging about His responsibilities to the Father.
But while musing on that thought, it eventually led me to yet another reality in my flawed thinking. Perhaps you might be carrying something similar, minor, a minor flaw. I remember that when I was a boy attending the Methodist church we would occasionally sing a hymn titled, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." The song was one of thanksgiving, listing a number of trials that one might have borne, and believed that, when they prayed, that Jesus relieved them of some or even all of the weight of those burdens. That was not a wrong intention on their part to give thanks for those things. But I recently had what I believe was a broader thought of belief regarding Jesus, and linked our burdens and His helps together. Now this too involves Jesus' involvement in our lives.
When you think of Jesus as being your helpful friend, in what category of His service responsibilities to the Father and to us as our High Priest do you tend to think of Him first as having? What impressed you to the greatest extent about Him regarding this characteristic?
Now, this is one question that perhaps everyone will get at least partly right. I think that there is a sound answer to this. Here is what I believe. The answer for most people is that it is right in the book of Hebrews and it is right in chapter 1. The apostle writes,
Hebrews 1:3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself [Here it comes] purged our sins . . .
I think that is the way most people think of what good Jesus has done for us. He paid for our sins. Those sins from the past as we were coming to conversion is the dominant way most primarily think of Him and that is indeed good. Nothing wrong with that at all. And we must not ever forget this because it opens the future to us. Without going past that point, there is no future. That begins, along with God's calling, the process for you and me. However, we of all people on earth, also need to think of Him as never having stopped being our Friend and Savior, because our lives and the many failures of our sins have never been completely stopped. However, He has never abandoned us.
Now, this links to the song, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" and I want you to turn with me to Proverbs the 17th chapter.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times [That is Jesus], and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 18:24 [sort of a parallel thought] A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
I looked at a number of commentaries on that and almost every one of them said they do not know exactly what it means, but I think it is talking about Jesus. He sticks closer than a brother.
The test of a friendship is during a time of adversity and faithful friendship comes to the fore at such times. Those two proverbs help give rise to doctrinal reality number two that we need to be very thankful for being part of Jesus' character.
Doctrinal reality number two: He cares continuously. He is not just our friend, He cares for us personally, continuously. It is His faithfulness that comes to the fore here. How continuous is your character? My character? His presence as our friend is constant. He cares constantly with loving concern that we absolutely need, and He is there to help us to grow fruit so that we receive salvation. His reliability, His constancy is a need we have if we are going to glorify the Father. And if He did not have it, He would drop us. But H0e does not. He is awfully hard, if I can put it that way, to shake off.
Every relationship, even with the merciful Jesus, must be actively maintained or it deteriorates. We have to reciprocate with friendship, with closeness, with a relationship back toward Him. Do not friends in a common cause, which we are in with Him, speak to each other of that cause, and thus we should make patient but persistently strong efforts to speak to Christ. Now, here is an example of a way He demonstrated His caring manner through His patient bearing of the Jews' stiff-necked attitude toward Him. Those many occasions vividly reveal His caring character.
I mentioned to you in a sermon that I gave at last year's Feast of Tabernacles while going through this period with Evelyn bearing the dementia, or the Alzheimer's, whatever it is that she specifically has, because we are unsure what she has now. Regardless, she has been rendered virtually helpless by this affliction because she has not only lost her memories but also lost almost all of the power of speaking. Some of this I have learned about Christ that I can no longer just toss off now, understanding somewhat more of the range of Jesus' sympathetic and caring feelings for His creation—us—through the contacts that He had with the Jews. Because when I talk to her, Evelyn, she does not really understand what I am saying, even though what I am saying is for her well being. It comes very close to the reality that I am speaking a language different from what she spoke all of her life.
Now know this: Jesus knew full well before He was born, that is, while He was still in heaven, that mankind would reject Him. He came anyway. Think of some time maybe when you have really felt insulted because somebody rejected you. That is hard to take. And He had our feelings, but He knew before He came that He was going to be rejected, and over and above that, He knew that He was going to die a horribly painful death at the hands of the very people that He loved so deeply.
And though He was God in the flesh and our Creator who had the power to meet all of man's needs, and though mankind would be appealing to Him for help, He had to meet those needs within certain constraints. What He supplied would do to our character, and therefore our development, no eternal good. What I mean is, there were an awful lot of times He could not help because it would have done us no good, even though He may have relieved us of a great deal of pressure and pain.
So the questions for Him, that is Jesus, as He was coming to earth: How will mankind react to Him being available, but not seemingly responding anywhere near close to the way that He hoped they would? You know what they wanted and you know what we want. We want quick fixes. We want the problem and everything to be over in seconds. How would mankind respond to the tests of their faith needful to their development to what God wants them to be? He might have very comforting thoughts regarding them, and He might like to do things, but He could not do it because it had to be done, as I said before, within certain constraints for the eternal well being of that person rather than the quick fix that He could easily give.
How do I know this was the way that He would react to His feelings? It is because Adam and Eve reacted right from the beginning that way because they really did not believe God, even right after they were created. Right off the bat they rejected Him. Turn with me just for a proof scripture that I want you to see out of the book of John, in the first chapter and verses 9 through 11, what Jesus knew occurred.
John 1:9-11 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
I do not know whether you have ever thought of it this way, but I am going to clarify it if you did not so that you have it. Our inclination toward carnality was a God creation. God made it to be in us. It is what we have to overcome. He put it right in us and we carry it everywhere we go. It is not something that we can just toss off and in fact it is so strong we need help overcoming it! That is why there has to be a relationship with Jesus Christ, our Creator. It has been there from the beginning and that is how I know that Adam and Eve reacted that way. God was expecting it. He did not make them sin. They chose to sin. And that is what we have done as well.
So God created it in order that it must be overcome. It did not mysteriously just come from nowhere, it came from God Himself and was part of our creation.
Now, here is an example of Jesus' feelings regarding the Jews who were rejecting Him almost overwhelmingly, every day.
Luke 13:31-35 On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him, "Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You." And He said to them, "Go tell that fox [Jesus said that], 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.' Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! See! [He said] Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'"
So this is another expression of Christ's patient and faithful forbearance of our hardheadedness. And even though Jesus was well aware that His creations would reject Him, He could not pass it off as nothing because His merciful compassion runs so deeply within Him. The Scripture says that He is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and one would think that one so greatly blessed as Jesus with powers of intelligence and health would have no problems. But that was not so. Because He had many, many problems. Do you know where His problems came from? His own inventions—us. We are His problems because He cares so deeply.
As a reminder, please to turn to Romans in chapter 1. We are going to begin in verse 19. I know you know it well, but the rejection of Jesus Christ comes in one sense at a cost here.
Romans 1:19-20 Because what may be known of God is manifest in them [or to them], for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.
There is no excuse for the rejection of our Creator. We do it despite the fact that in one sense it is so obvious there is a Creator, but man with that nature will not accept it. That is what God says. We are without excuse. And still He forgives us! That is how much He cares. Now, of course He forgives us, understanding that we are going to be changing down the road in our attitude toward Him. But it is there. God has us pegged and still He loves us! What we need to do is look at that verse in regard to us.
God lays the blame for mankind's rejection of God's existence on man because, as the verses clearly admit, God has clearly shown it to mankind, but mankind has hardheadedly nonetheless rejected what is fairly easily apparent but nonetheless must be believed and yielded to. And so the proofs in the creation are most assuredly visible to such a massive extent and yet we clearly, scoffingly, and in some cases, jeeringly reject what is right before our eyes. That is what the Jews did and that is what mankind is still doing today. Many among mankind largely toss off the reality of God. He willingly revealed as nothing simply by paying no attention to creation, the creation's reality. That is what man has done. Some do that, some God has mercy on and He opens up our minds to it to allow us to accept it.
Let us add one more scriptural thought to upgrade our level of awareness of Jesus' distinctive caring for us. The scripture that I am about to use is being used by Him near the end of a fairly long and important question and answer session between Jesus and a collection of Jews. It is a section of Scripture that we are pretty familiar with.
John 8:42-43 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. [Here comes the key scripture.] Why do you not understand My speech? [Then He answers it.] Because you are not able to listen to My word."
A little background in this dialog. Here in chapter 8 we have reached this point in verse 43 between Jesus and the Jews, and the Jews made a couple of ridiculous historically error-filled declarations. At the very time the Jews were under rigid Roman rule and had been for almost 100 years and had been under strong Greek influence for a couple of hundred years before the Romans were there. And thus Jesus asked them, "Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are unable to hear what I am saying." Now, if you have an Amplified Bible, you will find that it also translates it in the same manner.
However, according to Barnes' Notes Commentary, the terms of the Greek language in verse 43 reveals a sense of deliberateness with the Jews choosing to reject what Jesus was saying—thus revealing to Jesus that their spiritual father was clearly Satan, and thus the misunderstanding of Jesus could have come about through continual practice. That is, the Jews rejecting Scripture, not just Jesus, but Scripture, while totally unconverted and therefore not thinking apart from what they grew up in. They were unwilling to change their minds. It was that simple. He gave them what was devastatingly true and they still rejected it and He interpreted it as them not being able to understand what He was saying. That was pretty merciful. They were unwilling to change from their customary thinking patterns about Jesus being God and the Creator.
Now the gifts from God needed to break from those thinking patterns apparently simply had not been given and they would not change their minds. Therefore, their time for a calling from God had not yet been given. They were to continue to operate under normal unconverted conditions. But here, especially coming from what we just saw in Luke 13, Jesus never stopped loving them despite there are recalcitrant attitudes.
I said earlier as I began this section, I had another thought regarding Jesus' caring and that I applied it to myself in having to deal with Evelyn in the situation that she is in. The cause of the language barrier (as I told you, she has lost her ability to speak), it has a different source than what the Jews had in this section. But there is a barrier between she and I now. To Evelyn, because of conditions in her brain that is the cause of it, English has become virtually a foreign language. It is a frustrating and saddening experience because even though she listens really intently to what I am saying, but because of God choosing to not heal her at this time, there is nothing she can do about her hearing deficiency. Therefore the weight of responsibility for bearing up under this condition of lovingly caring for her falls upon me, even though there is no indication of any change in God's purpose.
This is what put me on to what Jesus had to put up with His whole life with people not understanding, and yet He still cared. He never stopped loving them and died a horrible death in their behalf because He loves them. Now I have my part to do here. But with the Jews, Jesus did follow through with His death. Many have already done so as examples for me and so they are available for me to follow. And God has allowed this condition for my spiritual well being and I believe He has done similar things for you. So perhaps it is the right time for a revaluation of your relationship with Jesus.
To repeat: Doctrinal reality number two is Jesus cares constantly.
For this next section, I want to set the table for you to a small degree that reveals some of where we may stand in our calling and conversion so that we are now between God and the world in terms of time, attention, and how we use them. I want you to turn with me to the book of Ephesians, chapter 1.
Ephesians 1:7-14 In Him [meaning Jesus] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one [meaning one body, one group, one family] all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Now, if we encapsulate that seven or eight verses, according to this statement, we now stand between God and carnal man and this world because we have willingly accepted God's calling with His truth and the challenges of submitting to them as we live our lives in this workaday world.
The unconverted may not be aware of area of the seriousness of our position before God as Jesus was also challenged. But the Father and Son are well aware and vitally concerned because in a major way our lives are on the line in terms of our future. Brethren, we have much to lose. If we do not do something, we have much to lose. Think about how concerned Jesus must have been because of the Jews' lacks in the area of attitude toward Him when He made his "I AM" declaration following what He said in John 8:43. They wanted to stone Him!
Now, we have not been exposed to this intensity of opposition committed to bearing our calling, some of which we now understand and we are accountable for glorifying Him by submitting to His Word. And thus because of the way circumstances in the world are building, it seems to indicate that our cultures, which have overall been very friendly and accepting, are evolving toward stiffer persecution. Do not think of this lightly! Make sure your relationship with the Father and Son comes first in your life so that you can meet the challenges of witnessing for God by demonstrating a high quality of loyal submission.
The need for demonstrating them more forcefully may be just around the corner because the culture demanding them is building toward more open and intense persecution. The days of not being noticed are moving to an end and the quality of our witness is being moved front and center. I am not going to go any further on this. You can figure that one out yourself.
Doctrinal reality number three is that I see the screws tightening so that our witness is gradually becoming more demanding of our efforts. The evangelicals are bearing the brunt right now of what may come upon us not too far in the future because we are so small. I do not mean just the Church of the Great God. I am talking about the whole church of God. The whole church of God is so small by comparison to these others we can hide. And it is not necessarily that we want to hide. Even if we say something, nobody hears us. I am not kidding. Because if they hear something from the Church of the Great God, "So what? They're nothing." But the time is coming when God is going to focus the attention on us, it is building toward that end.
Now there is another reality we may think as being unimportant, but I believe it is far more important now than when we first believed years ago, and perhaps we need to be reminded. Then again, we may have never thought of this aspect of our life in Christ in these terms. In fact, one may think of what I am about to say is in reality an easily accepted reality, just a technicality, and therefore unimportant in regard to our involvement. Perhaps merely a secondary issue. However, what we think unimportant in regard to our involvement may have far-reaching effects in our life in Christ. It is one that we must look out for that it does not happen. It must not be overlooked and forgotten. Thus, here is another reality to seriously consider, because we may not grasp how tenaciously we hold on to our "liberties."
Doctrinal reality number four is that God is absolutely in charge of the operations and timing of His purposes being worked out. All events within His purpose unfold and occur as He directs. Everything that He does is done by the book, and the book is in the Father's mind. Even things that we might consider as small, as unimportant to God's purpose, are in all probability not unimportant at all. And that includes our calling. Do not doubt your calling because the Bible absolutely confirms it.
Now follow this brief and simple spiritual sequence because it reveals a pattern that God established. This, in a way, begins to move toward what Richard was speaking of last week. Turn with me to Genesis 12 and verses 1 through 3. What I am trying to get to you is this: everything that God does is purposeful. There was a reason why He did it in the way that He did and at the timing of when He did it. Everything is under God's control. And so I mentioned something to you first, so that you get the point. He called you. Do not ever doubt that! He homed in on you. He does not play around. He does things purposely, seriously, and right on time. And He called you and He did it at the right time. Now we will see just the way He does everything.
Genesis 12:1-3 Now the Lord had said to Abram, "Get out of your country, and from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
That is very clear. You understand it. God called Abraham. He did it purposefully. As far as we know, Abram was nothing more super, you might say, than in terms of being at least a moderately successful man of this world, and most assuredly he was in no way a dunce either. He was not a ruler of men other than having a normal workforce under him, nor was he an eminently successful businessman or educator. Who knows how many men God may have included in a process of elimination before He finally chose the one named Abram. We do not know. We just know that that is what He did. He settled on him.
Regardless of those features regarding Abram's life turn to Genesis 17.
Genesis 17:1-2 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly."
Genesis 17:7 "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you."
Regardless of the fact that He called Abram, Genesis 17 clearly states these facts having to do with the covenant. He proposed to make them with Abram. It was very clear that God sought him out to make His covenant with him and the covenant went on to include Abram's progeny as well, even though he had none at the time of chapter 17. His progeny included the Israelitish families.
Now, like Abram, you too have been called. God made no mistake in calling you and giving you a revelation of His existence. That was much better than any of the people of the earth are generally getting. Now almost 1,000 years later, this is after Abram and God made the covenant, we find God was continuing to honor His covenant with Abram.
Here is the question I want to ask you to answer for yourself. Are you any less important than Abram? In one sense, the answer to that is no. Abram is a child of God and you are a child of God. In that regard it is all evened up. And God called you in a way very similar to the way that He called Abram. But He spoke in our mind so that we are able to see these things clearly.
Now we are going to go all the way back to Amos 3 and verse 2. Richard used it last week. But I want to show you again that this verse reveals the special recognition of blessing given to those people that God calls, and in this case it was the Israelitish people that He kept adding to His Family.
Amos 3:2 "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."
If God wanted to call everybody on earth He would do it. He could do it. But He has not done it that way. He is calling selected people and He makes Himself known to them in a way that He does not make Himself known to others even though they believe that God exists. So, no other people on earth had received such a valued blessing.
Amos was written about 600 years before Christ was born. Israel, however, gave God little or no honor in return for extended periods of time and the knowledge He gave to them, and it resulted that they had to endure much pain because they did not give Him that time. But Amos 9:9 contains a blessing from God yet to be fulfilled in the future thus showing God is still honoring His commitment that He gave in Genesis the 17th chapter when the covenant was made.
Now I am doing this only so that you have this simply stated process on your mind because it helps stamp God's pattern of how He does things. God is in control, He does things according to patterns so that we will recognize them as His hand involved in our lives. Brethren, this is a major reality. He leads and He follows through on His purposes.
This is actually going to come in the next section in greater detail, but I want you to get it thoroughly in mind.
Doctrinal reality number five is it is God who creates the character in us. That seems like such a simple statement. It is God who creates. Maybe this will shake you a little bit. It is God who creates the character in us. We do not create. All we do is follow what He says to do. He creates the character. That is something we have to get straight. We think we are putting out so much. But compared to what He is putting out in order to bring us to the place where He can actually endue the character within us so that it is a part of our life, He has to put us through the paces in order to get us because He only, along with the Son, knows what They are creating in us. That becomes very important.
God is the Manufacturer of all manufacturers. People in the United States and other nations, they build assembly lines and on the assembly line everything has to be put in order. Have you ever done that? I have gone to an automobile assembly plant and everything had to be put in the correct order on the assembly line because the automobile was moving by and people were putting things on that thing left and right. Boy, I was in my wheelhouse there. That is the kind of stuff I understood. It was a Chevy plant in Los Angeles. But that is the way God is. Everything has to be done in order! And when He called you and you became interested in Him and His way, that was the time for you to receive your calling, and He is going to work on you to fit you in to the assembly line that He has going on. That is universe-wide because it is not going to let up. Even when Jesus Christ returns, it is just going to move into another gear and we are going to be helpers of Him them.
So it is God who creates. If I give another sermon on this subject, that is probably the part that I will go into, to prove that to you. The Bible shows He is the one who creates. We follow orders and if we follow the orders, it will be working in us to make us what we are.
I can go through this a little bit more. I want to show you that He follows the same pattern with other things. I want you to go to the book of Ezekiel and in chapter 20.
Ezekiel 20:2-5 Then the word of the Lord came to me [that is Ezekiel], saying, "Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Have you come to inquire of Me? As I live, says the Lord God," I will not be inquired by you."' Will you judge them, son of man, will you judge them? Then make known to them the abominations of their fathers. "Say to them [now listen to this next sentence], 'Thus says the Lord God: "On the day when I chose Israel. . ."
He does not just choose Abraham, He did not just choose Isaac and Jacob, God chose the entire nation in a formal way. That is what He is pointing out. He separated Israel away from the others and that was the nation that He was going to concentrate on.
I am doing this so that you will understand that God follows a pattern and He does not make mistakes. He analyzes everything beforehand and when He moves, He is ready to do that, and He is absolutely certain of Himself and what is going to be produced in this person's life—if they will just allow God to do this. Even the nation of Israel, because this is the way He has always done things regarding His purposes involving mankind. Time continues moving inexorably on.
Ezekiel was written about 250 years after Amos. And God made it very clear to Ezekiel, and to Israel, there is no such thing as what I call the "whomsoever will may come" doctrine. And just as surely as God specifically chose Abram and countless other individuals, God chose to continue to reveal Himself to the Israelites as a whole, as the decades zip by. Now the false teaching that many have exists because this "whomsoever wills may come" because people's unfamiliarity with the Bible, combined with not really believing what God says, causes that kind of a thing to come up in their minds.
God is in absolute control of whom He chooses to reveal Himself to. And people sincerely believe God is, almost desperately it seems, vainly attempting to save people. Well, He is not, because events never get beyond His control.
I want you to notice a scripture that we will finish with here in the book of Romans. This just confirms what I believe and what I am teaching to you and what I know that you believe too. That everything is under control.
Romans 11:26-27 [Now listen to this first sentence.] And so all Israel will be saved [God allowed that to be put in His Word. God chose Israel, God is going to save Israel.], as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins."
How positive is God in the manner in which He is doing things? He does not have to experiment. He already knows what He can bring about. Israel will be saved. You are part of Israel and you can be saved as well.