Sermon: Hebrews 2: God is Present

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Given 20-Feb-21; 63 minutes

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In many New Testament scriptures, God unambiguously promises His people an inheritance (Acts 20:31-32; 26:16-18, Ephesians 1:3-14; 5:3-5; Colossians 1:12; 3: 11-15). The immense motivating value of that promise lies in its power to consistently hold in the face of His people the facts that 1.) He communicates to them and that 2.) He is always and everywhere present with them. The "gathering storm" reflected in the troubling events in the American government suggests an impending terrifying time for God's people, similar in scope to that experienced by the apostolic church in the summers of AD 64 and 70, when Rome and Jerusalem burned respectively. Founding Fathers James Madison, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, realizing that government is nothing but power, acknowledged that, unless government controls itself to adhere to its compact with its people (the Constitution), it will self-destruct. Thankfully, God's called-out ones can look forward to a more permanent inheritance. The Book of Hebrews is an exhortation warning of dangerous times, assuring God's people that He is present and that He will communicate to those who give their lives to Him. With extremist organizations and thought in the ascendency in America, God's people must stick to the truth, immersing themselves daily in the Scriptures, learning to trust God. While sinning Israelites consider God to be absent, He nevertheless remains present with His Saints, promising never to abandon them (Hebrews 13:5).

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I am going to continue in the series drawn from the epistle of Hebrews that is expounding a portion of what I have titled as "A Mind-bending Inheritance."

Now, every adult within a normal family understands at least to some degree how frequently the possibility of receiving a great inheritance has been the theme in fiction stories. The inheritance might have been largely to a large landed estate, producing much income or a single lump sum of money. It might have been something like a name or a reputation or social standing. In any case, the inheritance is usually something of value gained by the inheritor. In the fictional stories, the characters will scheme and even commit murder in order to secure it for themselves.

But this mind-bending inheritance I am speaking of is a literal reality. It is the inheritance that Jesus Christ is going to share with the rest of the Family, His brothers and sisters, when He more fully inherits it Himself, makes it more visibly occupational.

As I was preparing this sermon, I became aware that I had not gone through a series of scriptures that positively identify that we can absolutely look forward to receiving an inheritance. I will provide you with that positive listing a little bit later in the sermon.

I titled my previous sermon, given about a month ago, as "Hebrews 2: God is Not Silent." The author begins his epistle declaring that the creating God is a communicating God. Now continuing a bit of this theme, I have titled this sermon, "Hebrews 2: God is Present."

I have done this because there are major points made in the epistle, especially at its beginning, and I am proceeding in this at this point, in this manner, because I perceive a parallel, somewhat similar setting of the events in the world between the times when this epistle was written in approximately 65 AD and our present times. It is my hope the times do not unfold in the exact same manner as the first century events did because it became pretty terrifying, to say the least, for Christians centered especially in Jerusalem and Rome between those years of 65 and 71.

Well, I am even more certain that there is indeed a parallel between our present times and the AD 65 period after what I heard on a news broadcast here in Charlotte last Monday afternoon. It was that the Biden administration made a grant of $50 million dollars to Planned Parenthood using a term that I had not heard before. We have all heard of what Planned Parenthood does, but I had not heard this term before. I have forgotten what that term is because I was completely unfamiliar with. I had not heard it before in my life, but I have not forgotten the effect of its meaning. It was applied to that grant. It means that that grant from the government can be spent on anything the organization wishes! It is not money that has identifiable and clearly-defined stipulated strings attached to what it can be spent upon. It can be spent on whatever the organization desires to spend it on.

Knowing how clearly God states that He hates the Israelites putting their children to the fire—remember, this was a grant to Planned Parenthood—my suspicious nature leads me to believe that it is simply a silent agreement that does have unspoken strings directly attached to others, people right in the heart of the "swamp," but not necessarily elected officials. Those in the "swamp" are not just elected officials, they are businessmen as well. Now, implying giving election campaign contributions the next time around is what I suspect the grant may be used for because Planned Parenthood does not have to account for where the money is going. And it seems to me that the money is going right back to the "swamp" in the next election period as campaign contributions. And so they are getting money from the government to run a campaign. To me, it is to my suspicions that the Democratic Party has made yet another move to help ensure they never lose another election. They are continuing to lay the groundwork.

Now, I am going to read a quotation to you to somewhat set the stage for the real theme of the sermon. The quotation I am going to give you as we begin this sermon was copied from the Federalist Papers. The Federalist Papers are essays written by three men whose names I hope you might recognize. You will recognize them now because they are the same ones that Joe Baity gave you, but they are not about what they necessarily said. These essays are a roadway of direction giving guidance for conservative thought for a republic. Because that is what the United States of America is.

I said earlier, "I hope you might recognize," because I am aware that many of you, perhaps a great many of you who are younger, have never heard teaching on perhaps any of these men. But none of these men were personalities that simply stood around waiting for things to happen. They were movers and shakers. All three were part of the renowned in grouping in American history of men referred to as this nation's founding fathers.

I have listed them in alphabetical order so that you can make any judgment you wish as to who might be first among equals in this regard that this sermon is about. All three took part in the framing of the American Constitution. However, following the Constitution's ratification, John Jay (remember that name), became America's first leader of the Supreme Court under George Washington, who had been elected president

The second one, Alexander Hamilton, served in the Revolutionary War as a principal aid to then General Washington. He directly helped draft our original Constitution, which became the foundation of American law. He also became America's first Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington, and it was he who established the beginning principles of America's financial system. It is he who is regarded as the principal author of the Federalist Papers.

James Madison, who served two terms as America's fourth president. George Washington was first, John Adams second, Thomas Jefferson third, and then James Madison. His time as president is not noted as being a resounding success, but it was probably because nothing big like a Louisiana Purchase or anything like that happened during his term, but they are still generally evaluated as being good. They were prosperous and wholesome times. However, prior to Madison's terms as president, though, he is regarded as believing strongly along the same lines of thought as Thomas Jefferson and they often argued together on the same side regarding constitutional issues from and for the same positions. Together, with Thomas Jefferson, Madison cofounded the University of Virginia.

During the framing of the Constitution, it was James Madison who strongly led framing much of the first ten amendments of our Constitution—the Bill of Rights. He is the man most responsible for them being part of our Constitution, in which the very first right is the freedom of religion. He was apparently known among his peers as a great thinker, but not necessarily a great doer. Kind of interesting.

Now, I do not know for sure which one authored this quote regarding government that I will give you and I really do not care. But I am also giving you this brief quote in remembrance of what I heard Ronald Reagan say during a speech while he was still in office. I gave you that quote before. I do not remember the occasion that he said it, but it was a concluding statement to a point that he was making. He said short, brief, and to the point, "Do not be mistaken. Government is nothing but power." That is a broad statement but I believe that it fit the point that he was making. I understood President Reagan to mean this, and this is my analysis, that unless government, even in the United States of America, controls itself to remain within the American Constitution, what it allows, the government nonetheless still retains a great deal of latitude to pretty much do what it pleases necessary to accomplish what it desires to achieve its goals.

Look what I gave you at the beginning. A $50 million dollar grant to people who murder children—with no strings attached. The government is doing that.

Now, most presidents after Ronald Reagan have pretty much stayed within the generally accepted boundary lines. But I believe it is very evident that this presently just-installed government is indeed growing more liberal in their actions as time proceeds on. (I have not given you my comment yet to the kick off this sermon but it is coming.) The comment that I am going to give you was made by one of the three first named men, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, or James Madison.

The quote is given by me because we have had to endure a very disturbing election campaign and we now have a newly-installed president with a memory and a mind that, based on my evaluation of my experience with my wife's dementia, his mind is apparently in very steep decline. And all that by itself is disturbing because one wonders who in the world is really governing? When you have with a man that is sliding into dementia sitting in the seat of power of the United States of America. Is it someone or someones within the "swamp"? Because that is who backed him for the presidency. The "swamp," brethren, is a reality. And so what is said in this brief paragraph is timely, as well as containing a brief but penetrating bit of admonition. I believe that this one brief paragraph is also noteworthy considering the Democratic Party's well-earned reputation for its lack of fiscal restraint earned through times past in office.

This quote is not very long. But here is what this brief paragraph states written by, or from the wisdom of one of those three men.

If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed [that is us]. And in the next place oblige it, the government, to control itself.

We have a government now that seems to be on a rampage to gain more and more for itself. This new administration's first steps were verbally made on the swearing-in day, January the 20th, 2021, just a month ago, and were ominous to this man, to say the least. The very first steps were taken to virtually ensure the Democratic Party will never again lose another presidential election unless God directly intervenes. Why? Because I believe the American public has now been educated to think and act more liberally than at any other time in its existence and more liberality is clearly coming. Americans are showing by their overall conduct and the order of their voting, that they clearly love the liberality. I am sure that is what they voted for.

First, though, are a series of scriptures clearly proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that an awesome mind-bending inheritance lies before us when we are resurrected into the Kingdom of God. Brethren, God gives this to appeal to our human nature, to desire wealth and power and so forth, as long as we are able to administer and use it in the right way. I will give very little in the way of commentary at this point because it is so very clear. Turn with me first to Acts the 20th chapter. The apostle Paul is the speaker here and he is telling the elders from the Ephesian church about his brief period of time there in Ephesus, and he says in the way of advice, admonition for them,

Acts 21:31-32 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

"Among all those. . . and give you an inheritance."

Acts 26:15-18 So I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And He said [again, Paul is speaking, he was speaking to Jesus], 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.'

We are going to advance right on through the Book to Ephesians the first chapter. I want you to be absolutely sure that you are working toward that inheritance.

Ephesians 1:3-18 [This will be a fairly long reading.] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him 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 times He might gather together in one [that means one body, 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. Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, that the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

That is three already. I want you to be convinced that we are working towards something that God is going to bless us for tremendously.

Ephesians 5:3-5 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Well, if we want the inheritance, those are things we will not do.

I Corinthians 6:9-10 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God.

Let us go to Colossians 1. I want you to have a good understanding of how important this is. God mentions it over and over again.

Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Colossians 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

Now, I do not think we are going to make it past Hebrews.

Hebrews 9:11-15 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of bulls and goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to the living God? And for this reason, He is the Mediator of the new covenant by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

Even the land is an inheritance.

Let us finish things off here. This will be the final verse on this. I Peter 1. It would be good to go back through these and to study them within the context in which that inheritance is mentioned.

I Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

I filled in there now where I did not have a good foundation, but now there is a foundation. God is holding that inheritance out to us to help to motivate us. I will now proceed to the remainder of this sermon with a brief preview beginning where we last ended in my previous sermon. That previous sermon was built around three factors vital to its being meaningful to us.

First, is that we seriously consider that the original grammatical form of the epistle to the Hebrews was a sermon message alerting brethren to seriously prepare their minds for a rough period of living conditions as Christians, because the Mediterranean area of the world was alive with the threats of warfare. Now it was things like this that alerted me to the commonality between whenever the epistle was written and our times right now.

The second factor was marked right at the beginning of the epistle. It is a reminder to the brethren that God is not silent before His Family. God communicates. He communicates with His people in a number of ways. I put this thing about communication in there because God talks to us through what? Let us think about that. One of His most common ways is through other members who are guided and inspired by Him and well known through their preaching, because they were preaching, that is, speaking the Word of God, from which much help would come in this time that lies ahead of us. Even as it came to the Israelites in the time of the apostle Paul, it is coming to us. And I think that we are being warned by God through the ministry here, and not just here in the Church of the Great God. What is taking place in the United States? We are living in potentially very dangerous times. They might not be here yet, but they have set the stage for it to occur.

The third factor is that God communicates even more directly with each person as they give their lives over to Him through their personal study of His Book. The epistle to the Hebrews directly states in Hebrews 2:1 that we must give even more earnest heed to the words of Jesus lest we drift away. Now remember they were just heading into the time and we have this time of trouble staring us right in the face. It may not come a year or two away. It took five years for it to occur around Jerusalem, but it only took one year around Rome. One year from the time that Hebrews was written, and not more than two. What Jesus has said, though it may have been 2,000 years ago, is of primary importance to us, just as it was to them, because I believe that we have rough times before us.

Now, back in thought to our present time. I believe based on the statements of many commentators on the news that, in their evaluation, Americans have just had to endure the most disturbing presidential campaign since at least the Civil War, and perhaps even in its entire 240 years of history. It has been so alarming that Washington, DC was uselessly converted at great cost into a fortress-like walled camp, primarily at the instigation of those who won the election.

Incidentally, some Democratic lawmakers (this is mind boggling, I have already heard this on the radio), are even talking about building a wall entirely around Washington, DC just as it was done in ancient times. How idiotic can you get?! It shows you something about the way these people think. Do they not ever think of airplanes flying right over the wall?! You have to wonder about the intelligence of Democratic lawmakers. That is absolutely idiotic thinking. I believe that those kinds of thoughts raise notions that those winners of the election really actually fear the American people. Can people understand why we have a history of going to war and Americans are armed to the very bottom of their toes to the top of their head and they want to keep the American people pacified and distracted away from what they are really doing.

Now, it may be that these maneuvers that the Democratic Party made around Washington, DC have been just another psychological maneuver taken to convince those who voted for the losing side, how dangerous those among the leadership of the losing side are. Another possibility is this fortification of Washington, DC was at one and the same time that they were also psychologically attempting to convince the great bulk of American voters that the losing side cannot be trusted for anything.

Consider this: the overwhelming numbers of those voters within the last three generations have attended government schools and they seem to have no idea of what is really going on. I am talking about Antifa and Black Lives Matters and so forth. Because over the past 75 years or so, the government schools have been virtually swept clean of any influence of godly teaching. I stopped to figure it out just this week as I was doing this sermon. I graduated from high school in late May, 1950. Now allowing 25 years per generation, almost three generations have passed since the time that I graduated from high school. But allowing 25 years per generation, that is 75 years. Add that onto 1950 and what do we come up with? We come up with 2025, right around the corner from now.

Who was doing all the rioting? Mostly it was young people. I graduated from high school in May of 1950, and allowing 25 years per generation that equals 75 years. Thus the vital background of the founding of America with its reasonably solid base at its founding of religious principles gleaned primarily from the Protestant Reformation by our founding fathers, are totally ignored. It may have been that God triggered the Protestant Reformation to prepare the Israelite people in the Western world for emigration to the new world and these very times. And it was during that period of time that so many Israelitish people emigrated out of Western Europe and into the United States.

This lack of true understanding that exists in our young people, and when I say young, I am talking about people who are 75 and younger—because I am older than that. But I started school beginning in 1938, and I had, by comparison to the people who are going to elementary and high school and college now, a fairly deep schooling in the founding of the United States. These people like John Jay, Madison, Jefferson, and Washington I heard about them almost every day, it seems, because we honored those people and what they did.

So this lack of understanding exists in the United States because the overwhelming majority of America's last three generations of children attending government schools were taught less and less of American history. Each generation did not pass on the truth of the nation's founding. And all of those religious gleanings that are in our Constitution were achieved without those forming the government—the founders—requiring the ordinary citizen to belong to any one group of worshippers. It was not forced on them. And many of those last three generations have no idea, even though directly told, that they are witnessing a virtually bloodless revolution taking place right before their eyes.

But they do not care because they have no historical conception of what is taking place before their eyes, because they see no need for loyalty to God, let alone country. God has not only been kicked out of the schools, He has also been virtually kicked out of family life and the leaders of this revolution are continuing the process of kicking Him out of life altogether.

That, brethren, is why the times that we are living in are becoming so tenuous. God is no longer part of the dominant grouping of individual government workers and therefore the government's operations. And He, as the Bible clearly shows, works from the top down. The Bible clearly shows that when Israel had righteous kings, things went well for the common citizen. I do not think they are going well now because we do not have a righteous government in there.

I believe that the level of peace we experienced as the 2016 presidential election campaigning began (when it was still fairly calm), is not soon to return. The first major event that occurred after Donald Trump was elected is that the Democrats moved to impeach him in order to remove him from office on a charge of collusion with Russia. And I think that we did not realize it at the time but the "swamp" was collectively so angry that he won that they were beginning to strike back with the impeachment. They were not successful because they had no proof regarding the accusations against him, but they never let up hitting him with one accusation after another for four years.

I will tell you, that man went through hell because he won an election. He did not pick his enemies very good though. But it was not very long that he was in office, that he knew what they were for sure. And he is the one who coined the term "swamp." Maybe it was somebody else and maybe he picked it up from others. But brethren, know that the swamp exists. It is real. And unfortunately I think that is where our real leadership is. And the "swamp" is on an axis between Washington, DC and Boston, Massachusetts. Boston is not as bad as New York, but boy, New York is interesting.

I think that we did not realize it at the time that he was elected but the "swamp" was collectively so angry that they were beginning to strike back while the campaigning was going on because they feared that he might win. And he did, but they did not stop and they kept right on going.

Now, if the voting was indeed fairly done and accurately counted the Democrats then apparently convinced the American voting public with the arguments sufficient to keep some from not voting for him so that he lost. Remember what I am saying here. I am not saying that there were voting irregularities. Maybe there were, maybe their were not. But I am saying that if there were no voting irregularities, which I find hard to believe, then the Democrats won it on the sake of the words of greater liberality. That is what people wanted and thus the new government is standing on a razor's edge-like majority and they are fighting to keep it.

The longer that I listened to Charles Whitaker's theme in his sermon about a month ago, the more I said to myself that his theme fits right into a major theme of the epistle to the Hebrews. Now recall that Charles' theme was in regard to change agents. Boy, have things changed in the last 40 or 50 years, maybe 75 would be better. Charles talked about the personalities such as Jeroboam, who negotiated himself into Israel's governing structure, that is, into the ten-tribed northern kingdom for the very purpose of ingratiating himself and thus increasing his influence in that portion of Israel. His plan was ultimately introducing change into Israel's government, or Israel as the ten northern tribes, into its governing social and religious structure. This did awesome damage to their relationship with God until they had no relationship with Him whatever as a nation.

Now, update what Jeroboam did to Israel's relationship with God in the first century life of the church, and recall that following Jesus' resurrection, some Jews were already being converted. They were not necessarily completely converted, but being converted, and they were already working to make a significant change in the church's processes. They were working to reject Jesus from being High Priest based on their own ideas and they, as far as I know, may not even been members yet. Now very likely Acts 15 occurred in roughly 35 AD. Now how did Jesus Christ act to what was happening 30 years later through the apostle who wrote the epistle? (Probably the apostle Paul.)

Again recall that the Mediterranean area of the world was ripe for warfare. Paul must have understood this. The members were no doubt frightened by the epistle to the Hebrews because the most apparent thing about what was being formed in their Mediterranean world was, where would God be to defend them from what was progressing toward major warfare? Because once Paul wrote them they were alerted but time was moving on. Within one year the big fire took place in Rome, and the Christians were blamed for it and they had to burrow into the caves to get there, to live.

The first thing Jesus did through the apostles was inspiring Paul (or whoever the author was), beginning with the very first verse of the epistle, was to remind the members that God speaks to His people, reminding them that our God is a communicating God. Now I am beginning to lift things from the epistle to the Hebrews as to how God alerted through the writings of the apostle Paul and the speaking of him as well. That is important to us. Reminding them that our God is a communicating God and He desires that anything He has given commands regarding to stand as He gave them! He made no change regarding the Jews' appeal to change the high priests. Not at all. It is going to stay exactly where it stands.

Paul knew that in times of trouble they were likely to turn tail and flee, at least some of them would. So he reminded them, this is in the first verse of the epistle to the Hebrews, that God speaks. He then clearly reminded them, or perhaps for the first time, that the one the Jews were attempting to remove earlier would have ranked Jesus Christ below a mere angel! While in reality He was also their Creator. You do not want to turn your back on this One who is your High Priest. Paul is affirming these things.

Now remember, the epistle was not written until about 65 AD and these change agents were coming around somewhere before 35 AD. How many he had changed, I do not know. So he then reminded them that their High Priest was actually their Creator. He gave them all life and breath. Then a bit further, still in chapter 1 in its last ten verses or so, he then gave further strength to His commands to keep things as He established them by giving seven qualifications Jesus had already accomplished.

This is the apostle warning people that bad times are coming, and Jesus, through the apostle, was letting the people know this is what they have to do. Stand by their guns. That is, the Word of God. That is the first thing he clears the board with. Now I am going to apply what I am talking about us having hard times because of the very poor election campaign that we were witness of, the very first direction from God is "Don't change a thing!" Do you get that? We stand where we have been given the truth of God and we stick by it. Brethren, we have not even gotten through chapter 1 yet. And this whole epistle is dedicated to alerting the group in the Mediterranean area of the world so that they will have good ammunition, words to say, inspiration, guidance, blessing, hope, faith, and so forth to endure the problems that are coming.

So the first thing Paul writes is, God is not silent. Here is His Word. The instructions are right within it. And so God is talking to us. We may not hear any sound, but He is talking to us. God is not silent. The instructions are in His Word and that is the source that we are to turn to regarding what we are able to do as political figures continue to manipulate the times we are moving into.

The next question is, what are we to do? Chapter 1 says, you have got to listen to God. Chapter 2 continues that. But in chapter 2, instruction on how we are to proceed during these tense times is in His Word, and we are to continue moving forward following Jesus Christ regardless of what the world around us is doing, because we have entirely different goals as to what we are to accomplish. And those living by faith hear Him and they keep their eyes glued to His Book. This practice is of great importance to our salvation, and I believe that there are going to be ebbs and flows within the public attitudes by which we may be influenced. And there will be heightened fears from time to time surging through the great mass of citizens, and there will also be times of calming influence as well that will come.

But we must not allow our existence within the midst of this major grouping of people, that is, this nation, to be controlled or conditioned by God's seeming absence because God is always where one of His Family is located.

The first advice to come to the apostle from Jesus Christ is, we need to be studying God's Word. The second thing we need to be confirmed in is that God is not only speaking, He is also present.

Now to those of us who have eyes to see, God's absence may be a major challenge for us to meet and overcome because we depend upon our eyes a great deal to inform us as to what our situation really is. But now we are going to have to learn to shift things from our eyes to our ears. We hear God's Word and hearing becomes exceedingly important.

Now God's seeming absence may be a major challenge for us to meet and overcome, but hang on to this reality. We will finish with this reality. God allows us to clearly understand that He has hundreds of millions of angels ready to serve us. That is what the last verse of Hebrews 1 (verse 14) tells us and we have revelation to lean on too. And just as God allows us to clearly understand that He has hundreds of millions of angels ready to serve us, just as surely God was with some of His people, one at a time. Ever hear of Daniel? All by himself in the lion's den. God is just as much with one as He is with a hundred million. He will be present with a crowd of His children, whether in a catacomb situation, in a prison, or on a prairie, on an ocean, or in outer space, for that matter.

Let us just finish up on a verse in the book of Hebrews, all the way back in Hebrews 13. This is a goodie. Now remember, Hebrews was a sermon and it was written to people who are coming toward deep, deep trouble. So Paul finishes his letter off pretty much with this. He said,

Hebrews 13:3 Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also. Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said," I will never leave you nor forsake you." So that we may boldly say: "The Lord is my helper [regardless of the circumstances]; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"

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