“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:1f
Those who do not believe in the Triune God, or order their lives after Him and His written revelation found in the Holy Scriptures, (commonly called, the Bible), often attempt to worship false gods. Generally, people like to think of their gods as being, alive. No one likes a dead god. In fact people will go to great lengths to make themselves believe that their gods actually exist and are authentic. They will force themselves to believe -- so much so, that they become narcissistic -- even punishing themselves with all sorts of restrictions or even physical beatings and self torture in hopes of pleasing their perceived god or gods. 1 Kings 18:1-40
Some hardened believers in their particular religion will even become volunteer martyrs in hopes of attaining their hereafter (perceived) rewards. One does not have to think long, to recall the tragic 9/11 twin towers massacre, where some 3,000 people lost their lives because some Islamic terrorists were, at least partially motivated by their religion to sacrifice their lives – and, in the process of those kamikaze acts, they hoped to seek for themselves a blissful hereafter with eternal sensual delights. So goes the perverted religious persuasion that knows no immoral boundaries – only if fanatical believers can achieve world domination at the expense of innocent human lives.
Even those whose focus is the Triune God, become mixed up in their beliefs and thinking
Christ’s own immediate disciples, even though they were following the true and living God, had their quirks about them. Even though they accepted the Old Testament Scriptures, of which Christ believed and often quoted, those disciples did not fully comprehend what their discipleship was all about. Luke 24:44-45
Toward the end of Christ’s short (human) ministry here on earth, He asked His disciples what the general public thought about Him. [Matthew 16:13-28] They readily answered Christ about some of the misconceptions the crowds had about their Master. Next, Jesus asked His disciples who they thought he (really) was. At this point, Simon Peter answered, correctly: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” [Matthew 16:13-28] Christ then immediately responded in positive agreement. He then went on to relate that this important confession of Peter would be that distinguishing feature that would gather the sum total of believers in Him, throughout the coming future ages. Matthew 16:13-28
The same disciple of Christ who had eloquently spoken his belief in Christ, failed to understand, Christ’s purpose
We are led to believe from the Gospel narrative that it was only moments away from the disciples hearing Christ commend one of their own, that the same Christ, then sharply rebuked that same disciple [Simon Peter]. Christ proceeded to inform his 12 disciples that he would soon be with them no longer because he would suffer and die at the hands of the Jewish religious leaders. [Matthew 16:13-28] It was at this point that Simon Peter chimed in and stated that this suffering and death of Christ need not and should not take place. Hence, human reasoning at work. By the words of one of Christ’s own disciples, we have the injection of human sentiment regarding Divine purpose. Christ's disciples, simply could not envision their leader and their God, being bloodied up and crucified on a Roman cross.
How often do you think that you know what God desires in your life? Is it difficult for you to witness a crazy world with all its suffering and death and proclaim that all this need not be? Do you question God for human suffering of others, and, specifically for your own? Do you even go further and think in your heart that God is a capricious and apathetic individual because He allows such a world that is filled with disease, sickness, suffering and untimely deaths?
Offensive (human) thinking contrary to the divine purpose
Christ’s disciple, [Peter’s] problem was that he failed to understand Christ’s divine and ultimate purpose. He, like the other 11 disciples were thinking materialistically and earthly. Somehow, they may have imagined that Jesus Christ was going to be more than any other earthy king, and that His kingdom would overshadow the Roman oppression that ruled over the Jewish state. Perhaps, they thought that Christ was only going to be the Messiah for the Jewish people. At any rate, they failed to understand that Christ’s Kingdom, was not “of this world.” John 18:36
To Christ's disciples, a suffering and dead Christ, was not what they had envisioned. People, whether worshippers of false gods or the true God, instinctively are repulsed by a religion in which their leader is subject to sin, suffering and death. It is offensive to them. And, it is the Cross that is especially offensive. In Roman times, death by crucifixion was only reserved for the worst of criminals. And that was, Jesus Christ’s fate. But, it was more than “fate.” It was the purpose of the Triune God that was already fixed in eternity. [1 Peter 1:18-20] It was the promise of God that followed the first sin. Genesis 3:15
Christ’s torturous and brutal death was that divinely designed end of the perfect man born of a virgin, who was prophesied [in detail] some 600 years before His very birth. That’s Divine Purpose. And this Divine plan and purpose is contrary to human thinking. It is offensive. But it makes no difference. It is Gods way – not our way. Isaiah 55:6-9
Human reasoning, often offensive to God
Christ clearly knew what His purpose was, even though His disciples did not fully discover it until (after) He rose from the dead. [Luke 24:44-45] The holy Christ, who during His life here on earth, perfectly fulfilled all of God's commandments, willingly allowed Himself to be the world’s perfect sacrificial lamb whose perfect blood would be poured out for humanity’s past, present and future sins, to satisfy a just and holy God who must deny imperfect sinners a perfect heaven and, instead justly damn those very same sinners in hell, because of their sins against Him.
Human reasoning which says that sincere intentions can replace the forgiveness of sins, rather than the shed blood of Christ, doesn’t qualify to satisfy God’s justice. Human reasoning which says that God could have devised another way, other than to sacrifice Himself for His creation, does not qualify in satisfying God’s justice for human sin. Human reasoning which attempts to second guess the Lord Almighty, does not qualify in satisfying the only way to deal with human sin. Only, the supreme sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son, qualifies for the forgiveness of sins. John 3:14-21 ; Hebrews 9:16-28
Friend, if you think that you can “buddy up” to God and make your own forgiveness in order to be accepted by Him – you will offend Him. Nothing is more offensive to God, than saying that all you need, is your lonesome self, without the shed blood, of and by Christ, for the forgiveness of all your sins against Him. You can’t go it alone and shove your Creator aside. You can’t save yourself from your sins against Him and your fellowman. And, to think that your sins don’t matter (and that you are better than others) [Romans 6:23] will only make your regret and suffering in a forever hell, more grievous and tormenting.
For the sake of your priceless soul, acknowledge that you are a damnable sinner, in present and eternal need of Christ’s forgiveness. Cry out for His mercy. [Luke 18:9-14] Read and hear the divine revelation of the Scriptures which can work faith into your soul [Romans 10:17] so that you may be gifted with faith to receive and accept that forgiveness. May God grant you His mercy to that end.
Above Message and Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:
Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:
The Order of Morning Service
The Order of Matins
Related Scriptures To the Above Message
Psalm 51:1f -- Humans and false gods cannot cleanse or forgive sin -- only the true God
Psalm 115:1-8 -- False gods portrayed in contrast to the true God
Matthew 22:1-14 -- Christ's Parable of the Wedding Feast and the absolute necessity of the soul to be clothed with the proper garments
Philippians 3:1-14 -- The eternal necessity of being clothed with the "righteousness of Christ"
Hebrews 9:1f -- Christ's sacrifice of blood, explained
Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.
Please note: Topical Messages, by subject
Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel
Please also note:
The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.