Just say no to Halloween

Sermon by Rev. Julius A. Harper Senior Pastor

Just say NO to Halloween

Deuteronomy 18:9-12 (NLT) 

9 “When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there.
10 For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft,
11 or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead.
12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the LORD your God will drive them out ahead of you.

May the Lord add a blessing to the reading and the hearing of HIS holy world.

As we come into the holiday season there will be a number of sermons and messages that I call EVERGREEN subject which I will update and present to you.

Today we are discussing a topic that is near and dear to me, having to do the issue of Halloween.

Those of you who’ve been here for a few years have heard me addressing the issue of HALLOWEEN and I consider it a responsibility of mine, to teach you on this subject so that you don’t find yourself participating in something that is harmful on the worse side, or simply sends out a confusing message at the minimum to your children and those who know that you are a Christian.

Halloween is something that I participated in when I was a child; I remember clearly dressing up as the devil for example. I went to one event at church as a child dressed up in costume and we played a game called bobbing for apples.

This all happened in a very strict Apostolic Pentecostal home, where make up and jewelry was not worn. I never saw my mother wear a pair of pants, not even once; no-make up, no Jewelry no way.

In our home there were bibles in the bathrooms, sometimes we had prayer every morning in the summer, we only could listen to church music, we were not permitted to dance, to listen to jazz music; we didn’t play cards, we didn’t go to the movies, church services and attendance were frequent. Sunday morning started with SUNDAY school followed by morning service and back for evening service too, plus services during the week.

YET on the NIGHT of OCTOBER 31st, even though my mother was a HOLY woman, and my Jamaican Step Father wouldn’t let us play monopoly because there were dice in the game, we went out on Halloween dressed up as devils celebrating something that had nothing to do with Christ.

This is not something that upsets me, I’ve never felt angry about it or even mentioned it to her, because I understand that this done innocently, but thank GOD that today he has opened our eyes, to the inconsistency and the negative witness, such participation would bring upon the name of Christ.

The opening scripture that I shared with you from the book of DUETEROMNY, tells you all you need to know about HOW GOD feels regarding anything having to do with the OCCULT World.

GOD says that when it comes to matters of WIZARDY, DIVINATION; and WITCHCRAFT that all these things are an abomination….that word means that GOD utterly detests and rejects anything having to do with the OCCULT.

Many in our secular society and sadly even Christians, believe Halloween is nothing more than a harmless festival that allows children to collect candy, but I would challenge even the most liberal minded Christian today, to look at the pictures of HORROR and the heavy handed depiction of the OCCULT and death and murder…and be honest with yourself regarding what Halloween is really about.

In past years there have been major court battles in which the government ruled that the TEN commandments had to be removed from a courthouse in the south.

The ACLU is aggressively stripping away every symbol or item associated with JESUS Christ or GOD.

The time will soon come, when no person will be able to speak the name of the LORD in public, for fear of prosecution.

This is a reality in many workplaces today. Talk about anything, be any kind of freak you want, embrace all type of new age stuff, but don’t mention the name of Jesus or bring your Christianity into the work place, leave at the door before you come in here, or HR will be in your office QUICK.

Now what really powers Halloween in the natural sense is MONEY.

Halloween is the 2nd most popular “HOLIDAY” behind Christmas; it is a major selling opportunity for retailers.

Halloween generates billion of dollars in retail sales, it’s not just CANDY but it is costumes for kids and adults. Thrift stores get into the act too and an uptick in revenue is clocked around October 31, when people run in and buy 2nd hand clothing for costumes and parties.

Why wouldn’t any child LOVE it, it’s a day when you can eat all the candy you want…but it is our responsibility once we have the information as PARENTS to understand that beneath the candy and fun are horrible dangers, that we need to be aware of.

Now today in this sermon I’m going to access both scriptural and non-scriptural sources for you; so that you can understand fully that what I am sharing with you is true.

Five simple points, take notes study to see if what I am sharing is true and then be guided by what the Spirit of God says to you.

Christians should not participate in the celebration of Halloween because…

  1. HALLOWEEN is deeply rooted in the occult.

Leviticus 19:31 (NLT)
31 “Do not defile yourselves by turning to mediums or to those who consult the spirits of the dead. I am the LORD your God.
The practice of Halloween is deeply rooted in the black arts, having to do with various demonic systems which access or tie into knowledge related to the devil’s power and kingdom.

October 31st has long been known as “The Festival of the Dead.” The Celtic tribes and their priests the Druids celebrated this day as a marker for the change from life to death.

Let me read an excerpt from the web which had a lot of details on this subject

“Halloween is a time when the shades of the dead whisper from forgotten places, a magical time between the worlds when the spirits walk among us. The Witches of Salem honor this time of enchantment with the annual Festival of the Dead, a carnival of merriment, mystery, medium ship, and ritual where “THEY” pay homage to “THEIR” friends on the other side. This annual two-week Halloween celebration beginning on October 19 in Salem, Massachusetts, explores death’s macabre customs, heretical histories, and strange rituals.

Thought:

Now a-days, folks especially the young are fascinated with Spirits and Mediums and PARENTS don’t be fooled for a moment that the Devil isn’t tied into all of this and that he isn’t looking for an opportunity to bring folks into bondage.

If you want to know who is celebrating Halloween and why the child of God ought not to be part of it, just consider some of the promoters of Halloween.

Séances, invitations to explore messages from the spirit world, offered from various organizations of witches and warlocks abound on line and will explode on social media this week.

Freaks of every kind take an opportunity to come out and make themselves known; there is a world wide network of covens, groups and organizations that promote themselves on the internet and crazy people just trying to have a little fun end up getting trapped and bound.

On Halloween Night, the devil and his players are out there celebrating WICTHES and WARLOCKS and CASTING Spells and we as Christians want to be with associated with that?

Halloween is deeply rooted in the occult and the child of God should have absolutely nothing to do with it.

Christians should not participate in the celebration of Halloween because…

  1. Halloween is a day when the dark world celebrates“Feast of “Sam-Hain “ THE LORD of DARKNESS……

Ephesians 5:11-12 (NLT)
11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.
12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.

Most of you have noticed a change in the daylight patterns recently, where night seems to come earlier than it did in the summer. This is a natural occurrence that comes with the changing of the seasons.

The Druids a group of pagan people believed that on their New Year’s Eve, which would be OCTOBER 31st all of the people who died in the past year would rise up from their graves and search for the passageway to the netherworld.

On that night, Sam-Hain THE LORD OF the Netherworld would roam the earth in search of these souls to capture them and take them to his world of darkness.

The people in trying to protect themselves from this dark character would put….LANTERNS…and LIGHTS in their windows to help the dead find their way and keep the DARK Lord Sam-HAIM away from their homes.

They would also try to scare away the spirits by carving a frightening face into a pumpkin. Sometimes the villagers would light a candle and place it within the pumpkin and use it as a lantern (hence the name, Jack-o-Lantern).

This is the origin of carving pumpkins at Halloween and the child of God ought to think about this, whenever you are tempted to let your child go out carrying one of these.

Make no mistake about this my friends, the bible tells us clearly and you read the scripture with me, that we are NOT to take part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness, but rather we are to expose them or reprove them, which means    “to voice or convey our disapproval” of them.

Given this realty; perhaps you as a parent for example, need to rethink your plan to attend Knotts-scary night, or to have a walking dead party at your house this Halloween or to allow your kids to dress up like a ghost or witch to attend school in the costume of some zombie.

Given this reality and the admonition of God’s word, in spite of the child’s complaining or telling you that Johnny and Joey are going to the party, should you as a parent let your child carry a Jack-O-Lantern around your neighborhood, knocking on the door saying…trick or treat.

Christians should not participate in the celebration of Halloween because…

  1. HALLOWEEN PARTIES often result in Christians unknowingly participating in or being exposed to Occultism.

Leviticus 19:26 (NLT)
26 “Do not eat meat that has not been drained of its blood. “Do not practice fortune telling or witchcraft.
Leviticus 19:26 (HCSB)
26 “You are not to eat ⌊anything⌋ with blood ⌊in it⌋. You are not to practice divination or sorcery.

Earlier in the opening of the sermon, I told you a bit about my strict Pentecostal upbringing and the kinds of things that we were restricted from doing.

I won’t ask anyone to say you’ve done it, but one of my earliest memories of childhood was being at what I remember to be a Church Halloween party…and we were bobbing for apples.

Hauntedbay.com connects bobbing for apples back to the SamHain Festival celebrated by the Celts.

Bobbing for APPLES is an act of divination in which a person would try and obtain information about the FUTURE, very much like what people do when they are playing with wee gee boards or reading the horoscope…in the case of bobbing for apples, what they were trying to do was the to DIVINE….or read what was the future regarding who a person was going to marry….

In our work places there are the Halloween parties. One year I remember the manager invited a medium to the party to provide entertainment for us.

In our neighborhoods your kids get exposed to things because you can’t watch everything they do.

Having a séance; playing with the we-ge board, it’s just fun it’s only a game…things that routinely happen on Halloween……

People are messing around with the stuff, all of the time; and GOD’s word clearly is against it.

Christians should not participate in the celebration of Halloween because…

  1. HALLOWEEN has become a high holiday for alternative lifestyles that are not supported biblically.

Leviticus 18:22 (NLT)
22 “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 (KJV)
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

On OCTOBER 31st the streets of West HOLLYWOOD will be jammed with barely clothed men and women, parading themselves through the streets, cavorting strutting and engaging in abominable acts of semi-nudity; followed by extreme promiscuity and debauchery.

As parents you need to be careful and fully aware of the alternative agenda that is woven into “the new HALLOWEEN”

HALLOWEEN is a major coming out party for people in the community, in which teachers and business people will cross dress in the office and in the schools and your children will be encouraged…..by those with hidden agenda’s to do the same….

This is real and you’d better be able to stand up and take a position because your children (who have been taught tolerance which is great, but has now been perverted into a catch all, accept all kind of philosophy) will challenge you on this particular point. They will call you a bigot because you don’t want them to dress up like a member of the opposite sex…just for FUN, what’s wrong with it mom, you shouldn’t be like that…

When your SON wants to dress up and be TINA TURNER or your daughter wants to play HE–MAN, you’d better know and be able to stand on God’s word which says…

1st Thes 5:22, tells us to…

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

If it looks wrong and it is wrong

No matter HOW you cut it; there are certain things that we need to avoid simply because of HOW it reflects on our witness….and NO candy or party, or being liked by the rest of the kids or being a party of what is happening with the neighbors is more important than that…

If you are still thinking that HALLOWEEN is a HARMLESS joke, you’re kidding yourself and you are saying YES to something that goes against the word of GOD.

AMEN.

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What Trials Produce

10/16/16 What Trials Produce

 Sermon by Rev. Julius A. Harper  Senior Pastor Santa Clarita Christian Fellowship Church

Romans 5:1-5 (NLT)
1  Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
2  Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
3  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
4  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
5  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

May the Lord add a blessing to the reading and the hearing of HIS holy word.

When we were last at this point in the sermon, we shared some thoughts on the topic of what justification brings. In those notes we looked at the peace that a person has a result of having an end to the battle between man and God.

Justification bring Peace.

Just the blessing of having that reality, just the joy of being at peace with God and having him as someone who we are no longer alienated from, was just one of the major blessings we looked at.

Another topic we discussed, was the topic of Access and how special that is; you and I as born again children of God, as justified and now accepted into his family by faith, have unlimited access into the very throne room of God.

I encourage to go back and review those sermon notes and to share together as we thank God for the wonder of that…. AMEN.

Today we are taking the same scripture and expanding our reading of it, order to explore a truly wonderful blessing of being a justified man or woman.

 In the passage, we are going to look at what the scriptures says about trials and how the truly justified person can embrace trials and suffering if you please, because he understands that as he is going through these things in life, that his very life and everything having anything to do with it, is under the same watchful eyes, and under the same watchful care of the very one who has justified him.

Now this is a very important distinction, for it speaks to the reality that every single person, will go through trails, but for the justified woman or man, those trials can be embraced cheerfully, knowing that they are producing something in your life which will truly benefit the person who is going through it AND bring glory to God.

So that is what we are going to look at, we are going see how sufferings and trials are productive in the life of a believer.

Four things that we will look at today, noting Firstly that…..

TRIALS PRODUCE……

  1. Endurance

Romans 5:3 (NLT)
3  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.

2 Corinthians 4:17 (NKJV)
17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

Roman 5:3 (Weymouth New Testament)

And not only so: we also exult in our sufferings, knowing as we do, that suffering produces fortitude;

James 1:2 (NLT) 

2  Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

The scripture begins here with the notion, that a truly justified man or woman embraces trials because of what they grow in him and the first thing that is noted is endurance.

Say that word…Endurance.

Endurance is a fascinating word; it is a word that speaks of one’s ability to hang in there and to tough it out.

Here in the context of what is being shared we are looking at what trials produce in a person who is justified, noting that the person who is going though it has been the beneficiary of something that is incredible.

A person who has been justified ……watch this knows that in spite of what he may encounter in this life ,that something of the problems and challenges that you will face are going to produce something that is greater then the negative or the challenge may be and that something is called endurance.

 Thought:

We often ask God for the ability to endure life’s challenges.

We pray for the strength to go through the trials and tribulations that we will find ourselves encountering, but we don’t understand what it takes and how God answers that request.

It takes trials..

Thought:

To welcome trials in life is not humanly ordained for our flesh is wired to avoid problems.

This is how people are wired, we want to avoid what is unpleasant or hard and we embrace what is easy and what feels good.

You will find this mind-set amount carnal Christians.

You will find mind-set among a worldly type of man.

You will find this mind-set among those who have little or no experience with God.

But for the man who has the beauty of the relationship there’s an understanding that what you’re going through in life will produce something in you because God is involved in every aspect of your life.

The same GOD who choose you and justified you and knew you before the foundation of the world is involved in your life.

Trials produce a stead-fastness if you please.

A consistency that comes about, because the Spirit of a man and the mind of the man recognizes that whatever I confront, in this life, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Paul said he considered the affliction a “light thing”

Truth be told, I think that is a great quality that I haven’t quite developed yet, but I’m working on it.

You may feel the same way. You may be a work in progress but you have not come to the point of considering an affliction to be welcome.

Jesus said in this word you shall have tribulation, BUT I’ve overcome the world.

You may be like me, you may still be a work in progress too, but I am here to encourage you today.

Today I am talking to a man today, this morning I’m talking to a woman that needs to hear this word and I want to encourage you to develop and to embrace this trial in your life and know that the Spirit of God is working his purpose and his plan in you so that you might develop some toughness and the ability to endure.

You might now know it, but my friends toughness in this life is needed yes sir.

Life is going to deal with you a series of disappointments.

I know that this some folk tell you that when you get saved, life will be a box of chocolates.

But that is NOT true, tough times will come, but as a justified man or woman who has learned to endure, you’ll be different.

For when life deals you a challenge, that you can actually take joy in “knowing”that the same God who determined to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before his glorious throne is involved.

 This means that there is a PLAN that involves for you.

It’s not just bad luck or stuff happening, no everything regarding his chosen one has a purpose.

This means that you may not see what God is doing, but like every single aspect regarding your walk, through you may not see it, you can know, that you know, that we know there is a plan by faith.

God is building you into the husbandman and into the producer of fruit and through the trial he is developing in your endurance,

He is changing your attitude from reactionary to an attitude of endurance.

No longer do you face life in despair.

No longer does every defeat knock you down and rock your word.

We still go through troubles and challenges but what we are keeping our EYE on is the process and knowing God’s hand in it.

God is allowing that thing to happen so that he can each you and to prepare you for the future.

So we think of the words of James and we read them a moment ago and here is what it said, “consider it joy” reckon it, understand that in this what ever it may be, that there is something to be stirred and produced in us by God himself for our benefit.

Four things that we are looking at this morning, noting secondly that ….

 TRIALS PRODUCE……

  1. Strength of character.

 

Romans 5:3-4:a (NLT)

3  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
4  And endurance develops strength of character

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)
9  Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)
31  But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Ephesians 3:16 (YLT)
16  that He may give to you, according to the riches of His glory, with might to be strengthened through His Spirit, in regard to the inner man,

Trials produce within the justified man or woman, strength of character.

The word that used here DOKI-MEX; it has to do with the justified person who comes to learn by”reason of experience” with the God that he can rest in the reality of his forgiven and accepted status.

Don’t miss this, he can rest.

In point number 1 we talked about developing ENDURANCE.

Here what we are talking about has to do what happens in the character that has developed in the person that flows out of his or her experience.

He knows much more.

He knows about waiting, having learned the lessons from that. He understands not from the testimonies of others, what it means to rely, on Jesus for himself.

Thought:

Character is an interesting word isn’t it? It speaks to what you do when people are not watching.

When God moves upon the character and uses the trials and struggles that life will bring, he begins to make an impact on how a person thinks and a person processes realty.

He can rest based on what he has learned through experience.

It changes the way he behaves.

It changes the way that he thinks. It changes the way he reacts.

He is going through the same things, that other people are going through but he processes those things through what he was learned.

Now he is more accurate in what he sees, because he has experienced some of these things prior.

He understand and flows daily in the grace of God as applying to his salvivic relationship, but now he has seen God’s grace in operation and impacting his life, so even when he is week, he learned to be strong and to wait on the Lord because his grace is all that he needs.

What we are talking about is what builds in the Character of a person that they now possess because of experience over time.

Thought:

Now the question may arise and reasonably so for the believer…in which you ask yourself what up with me?

I’m a child of God, yet I don’t see this type of victorious progression happening.

I am nowhere even close, to seeing real character develop.

I am no where near having come to that restfulness that would characterize the life of a justified person, yet I know that I am saved and I know I am a child of God

To you my friend I want you to embrace a word of encouragement.

No one has it all together, but I want you to start with the truth of how God sees you and where HE wants to take you.

Just start rejoicing today, as an act of your faith, even though we may not feel like it.

Just start to DARE to embrace and believe God’s love as having an impact on more than your salvation, but your character as well.

He has promised, that if we wait on the same Lord, who you trusted for your salvation, that the same GOD who saved you, wants to build you into a person of Character.

So just wait.

It may take some time and it may take some re-learing, but he is on a timetable and a development plan that is bigger and more bodacious, than where you may be at right now.

His development plan is that you will get to the point of knowing that strength of Character that comes from the inner man, that Paul talked about in Ephesians chapter 3

Don’t allow the failures of your FLESH today, to define you but rather be defined by God’s love and his word.

You are on the cusp of becoming something greater, so rest in the reality of what God can do to develop you and let him do his thing.

Now that means doing something that most people find difficult.

That means surrendering to him.

That means being willing to say LORD what ever you want to accomplish, since it is your will and your purpose, let me gain the experience of becoming stronger, so that I can walk in the character and strength and honor, as you’ve already seen me and called be to be. 

Trails produce endurance; they develop character, thirdly we see that..

TRIALS PRODUCE……

  1. Confidence in our salvation and God’s work in us.

Romans 5:4d (NLT) 

4  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

2 Corinthians 12:10 (YLT)
10  wherefore I am well pleased in infirmities, in damages, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses–for Christ; for whenever I am infirm, then I am powerful;

2 Corinthians 4:17 (NKJV)
17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

Philippians 1:6 (NLT) 

6  And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

For the 3rd point I was a little creative in terms of how I outlined the phrasing, even stretching a bit for the purpose of communicating clearly.

Again we are talking about the JUSTIFIED man or woman. The man who has experienced and is constantly experiencing the wonder of what God has done in his life and done for him, as sort of a mind blowing life transforming, life impacting reality, that continues to manifest itself as on going daily process.

As he encounters TRIALS, a pattern of purposefulness begins to emerge, that has the impact of growing that person’s confidence in God’s ability to bring that person to salvation.

Now don’t get me wrong.

Five years ago he or she believed and had confidence in God’s ability and his love and his faithfulness, but what they had was only a reflection of the experiences and wisdom and understanding and yes EVEN faith that they were capable of having in that MOMENT.

But now he has gone through 10 years just to use time as emblematic, though not necessarily tied to time, but more so to experience….what he has seen God do through trails in his life has increased his confidence.

Now as Paul noted in 2nd Corinthians 12:10, he is pleased in his trails, he is pleased in his infirmities, because he knows that they working in him a far and exceeding weight of glory.

His level of certainty is impacted to the positive and his confidence as to the certainty of God’s plan and God’s power and God’s purpose has grown exponentially.

He can see it, he can place his HOPE more and more, anticipating that “he who has begun a good work in you, will continue until it’s finally finished on the day that Christ Jesus returns

This is what happens in trials, we draw close to him, we become more certain, we know even more so, that we can trust him.

The more experience we have with God and how he works with us through various trails in life, the more certain, the more sure and the more we find REALNESS in our expectation in God.

4th and finally, trials produce…..

  1. Fulfillment in knowing that the justified person will never be ashamed.

Romans 5: 5a (NLT)

5  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Isaiah 50:7 (NKJV)
7  “For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.

I’ve chosen for this final point, the passage from Isaiah and the King James translation, which used the term “I’ve set my face like flint,” because there is something beautiful in the poetry and passion of that phrase.

In point number one I spoke about the need for toughness, here we see the evidence of that being produced, but it is a toughness, that has developed because of the knowledge of God’s love as evidenced through trials.

Now as one who has learned confidence he has seen, his hope fulfilled.

Now he has clarity.

Now he has come to know that the Spirit of God, the very HOLY Spirit, that has been given by God himself, leads and guides him, comfort and keeps him, speaks to him and directs him and brings him truth.

No longer will peace elude, but he or she has the PEACE that passes all understanding.

He’s is not confused when the sickness comes.

He is not confused or dismayed when persecution comes, as though some strange thing was happening.

She understands that suffering is nothing to be ashamed of, but instead she going to glorify God in it.

He’s not going to be disappointed that life turn doesn’t turn out be a box of chocolates like someone promised him,

No but rather he’s set is face like FLINT

Because he KNOWS as God justified, Sanctified, Cleansed and declared righteous child of God, that we have not been given the Spirit of FEAR but of a SOUND mind.

So he welcomes God’s development.

She welcomes God getting her ready for the next challenge

And so can you as one who has been justified.

AMEN.

COME ON AND GIVE GOD SOME HOLY GHOST PRIASE TODAY !!!!!

Invitation.

Do you know Jesus as your personal LORD ?

We’ve talked about how God develops and works within the life of a justified man or woman, but unless you’ve received Jesus Christ into your life as Lord, you stand outside his family naked and guilty before him in your un-forgiven sins.

That means that if you died tonight and every person here is a candidate for death, that you’d be lost to a devil’s hell without hope.

John 3:16 said that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.

Why did he give him. He gave him to die for the sins of a world full of people who could not save themselves.

He gave him to suffer in their place

He gave HIM so that he might give us something we did not deserve and that is a right standing with him.

And we embrace that gift and receive that gift by placing our faith in Jesus Christ his Son and giving our lives to him.

That is how you get right with God. That is how you get born again. That is how you come into relationship with God, through his SON.

Have you done that. Do you want that.

While all eyes are closed and heads are bowed…

What Justification Brings

10/2/16 Sermon by Pastor Julius A. Harper

Santa Clarita Christian Fellowship Church

What Justification Brings

Part 

Romans 5:1-3a (NKJV)
1  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2  through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations;

 

May the Lord add a blessing to the reading and the hearing of HIS holy word.

 

In our last sermon from the epistle to the church at Rome we looked at the person of Abraham as an example of one who lived a life of faith and we examined the various lessons and blessings for us, which flowed out of his example.

The things that were recorded in the scriptures according to Romans 4:23-24 were written for us, that we might understand that faith in Jesus Christ and his completed work on the cross is the mechanism through which a man is counted righteous in God’s sight and therefore justified or made acceptable to God, in spite of the reality that we are in no way, just.

The way to salvation, the way to heaven versus hell, is not by works of righteousness, or religion, or human effort, which always falls short of God’s standard and thus fails to secure the righteous needed to be acceptable to God, but rather the way to be accepted, to be counted, to be reckoned right with God, is through faith in Jesus Christ.

When we place our faith in the Lord of heaven, when we believe that Jesus died for our sins and that he suffered on the cross as a payment for us, in order to propitiate the wrath of God and to absorb the punishment we deserved, for having sinned against God, when God sees a repentant heart that now places it’s faith in Jesus Christ as his or her savior, he counts that person, he looks upon that person, he credits or makes a deposit to the account of such a one; a righteousness that reflects not the reality of who the person is, but rather the reality of God having put that person in a place of right standing with him.

This of course is what Justification is all about. Justification is a legal term, that is best understood within the context of the understanding we have regarding the modern day court rooms and legal system we operate in today.

When you think about justification, you should picture the reality of man being on trial in the courtroom of heaven. I’ve used this language quite a bit in earlier sermons when we looked at the evidence that Paul laid out against mankind, sighting the sinfulness and brokenness of every single human being on the face of the earth, declaring as the Psalmist said, “ there is none righteous no not one”

Man in terms of his relationship with God is and continues to be guilty of the most egregious and despicable crimes and offenses against the creator; and because of that man and God stand parted and separated by a wall of sin and offense that is built higher and more conspicuous each and every single day that man walks upon the face of the earth. When man stands, when we stand in the reality of our human brokenness and rebellion, there is no question of our guilt; but God, because of the believers FAITH in Jesus Christ….watch this” Treats him as JUST”.

God is not saying the person is innocent, but instead of sentencing the person to eternal death and rejection, God treats the person, he justifies the ungodly, as an act of his great mercy and grace, because of the person’s FAITH in Jesus Christ, God’s own Son.

This is the JOY of Justification; the work of God, done all on his own, with his own plan, laid out before the foundation of the world which we have the blessing of having by, as we read in the opening….faith.

Today in this teaching sermon, as we continue our studies through ROMANS, I’m going to share with you four powerful truths as noted in the scripture regarding what Justification brings and the blessings for which we can thank, praise and celebrate our great God.

If you are ready say AMEN.

Justification brings….

  1. Peace

Romans 5:1 (NKJV)
1  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 5:1 (NLT) 

1  Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

Colossians 1:20-21 (NLT) 

20  and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
21  This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.

In the opening introduction I gave you a mini-teaching and a basic refresher on the concept of justification and the reality of God, counting someone, or treating someone or crediting a person with a standing, that does not reflect human reality, as it regards the sinfulness, rebellion and guilt of man before an holy and righteous God.

Thought:

Some of us may have difficulty understanding WHY justification was necessary and is necessary, so let me dive a little deeper here so that you can understand this first point clearly.

You see, man has been at war with God and alienated from God, since the day that Adam rebelled against God and turned his back on the relationship of peace and partnership that God purposed for man.

Man and God are in many ways, at war. There is a gulf, there is a schism, there is a wall of enmity that exist between YOU and God and if you don’t know about that, I am here today to open your eyes to that horrible reality.

  • Man has turned his back on God and has pushed God and the worship of God and the love of God out of his heart.
  • Man has turned his back on God and instead become a worshipper of self and flesh and pleasure and money and pride and sex.
  • Man has said in no uncertain terms, God I don’t want to have anything to do with you, this is MY life, I don’t need you or want you and I certainly will not respect and or obey you.

And here is the thing that you need to understand in light of this reality; God didn’t just take this sitting down, he was offended, he was moved with indignation; he is angered, he is wrathful, he is offended with the wickedness of man.

And that reality stands looking at him in the face everyday and it calls out for God to rain down judgment, punishment and death as the wages for and the response of God to those who sin against him.

And because of this realty, that being the alienation and the state of war if you please between God and man; restoration had to take place, justification had to take place, otherwise there could never be peace between the two warring parties.

Man couldn’t make peace happen, man could not pay the price of settling the debt that was owed because of our sinful rebellion against God, so God himself sent Jesus to secure for man, what man could not do on his own; he sent Jesus to secure peace by means of Christ blood on the cross.

 Without the work of God through Jesus Christ his SON, to justify us in his sight through Christ’s blood there could never be any peace.

The relationship could never be restored, the enmity that began with the disobedience in the garden would still be there; yet you and I because of God’s wondrous GRACE and love towards us, instead of us having the guilty stain is now covered, by the blood.

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth. This includes you. You who were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.

Justification and the work of God through Jesus Christ on our behalf brings PEACE with

God secondly we see that….

Justification brings….

  1. Access

Romans 5:2a-b (NKJV) 

2  through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand,

Romans 5:2a (NLT)
2  Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand,

Ephesians 2:18 (NLT) 

18  Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

Hebrews 10:19-20 (NKJV) 

19  Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20  by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,

 Here this second point and principle may sound familiar to you, if you been a part of the series from Romans so far, but it seems to be a theme and reality that is so important that Paul visits and revisits this not only throughout this letter but in other letters to the churches as well.

Justification which is a work of God on behalf of man, by faith in Jesus Christ, brings you and I access. SAY THAT WORD.

Here in the passage, the image we want to embrace in our minds is that of a royal court or the residence of an important and powerful figure. We don’t have much experience with royalty, but we could understand the picture better if we thought about the White House.

Thought:

If you were to drive some 3000 miles or so heading east, or to jump on Delta headed towards 1600 Pennsylvania avenue, you find at the presidential residence a series of restrictions that would keep you from being able to just walk into the front door and see the president and his family.

If you wanted to get into the White House, you would need to have some credentials and you would need to have the proper introduction and or right to enter.

You couldn’t just walk up into the oval office and say, Yo what’s up Podus.

You would have to have permission, you would have to be qualified, the secret service would have to know you and understand that you were permitted to be there, or a bullet might you with a no so friendly greeting.

When God, justified filthy man, who was guilty, he justified him because of the faith that man or woman placed in Jesus Christ, that man just didn’t get peace, but he got a standing invitation to come into the presence of the God of the universe and to enter into the holy place as an underserved privilege, extended to his former enemies, to whom he declares not just a succession of hostilities, but a place of favor and privilege and honor, that is reserved for HIS sons and daughters.

  • You and I who were OUTSIDE of the family of God.
  • You and I, who were enemies, have received not just peace, but an invitation to enter into the holy of holies, with boldness.

This my friends is mind-blowing blessedness, because we who should have been stopped at the front gate and rejected as dangerous terrorists, have instead been presented to and introduced to the father through the person of Jesus Christ our savior.

Now all of us, says the scripture. Now black men, Now white Men, Now brown men, Now Jews, Now Greeks, Now ALL men, who place there faith in Jesus Christ, can come to the Father because of what Christ has done for us.

This is HUGE reality. This is what justification does; it’s salvation yes, but it is even more. It is the honor of being in his presence, it is the blessing of standing before God, not in fear, not in terror, not dreading the condemning words of an angry God who sentences us to eternal hell fire, but rather the grace of an undeserved one where we now stand.

Justification and the work of God through Jesus Christ on our behalf brings PEACE with God, it brings ACCESS and….

 Justification brings….

  1. Hope

Romans 5:2c (NKJV) 

2  through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:2c (NLT)
2  Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

1 Peter 1:3-5 (NKJV)
3  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 Christ from the dead,
4  to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5  who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this third point we speak of and look on the subject of HOPE.

This word HOPE is a word that seems to be incongruent with the concept of faith, particularly as it regards faith in Jesus Christ and saving faith.

When we think of HOPE or we hear the term HOPE, we often process that word through the worldly meaning or the worldly understanding of the word HOPE.

When the world speaks of HOPE, when we use the word HOPE in the human sense of the word, what we are talking about is a kind or wish or desire; you hope you’ll get the job, you HOPE that you might win the lottery, you HOPE that he will accept your proposition.

But when we speak of HOPE in the sense of the believer and within the context of what we are trying to understand here in this point, HOPE is not a wish or a want, but HOPE is a perfect assurance. HOPE for the believer isn’t something that we are thinking MIGHT be the case, but rather HOPE is KNOWLEDGE.

It is a reality that is possessed within the heart of the child of God, who because he has been justified and received this incredible underserved grace, now KNOWS that the same GOD how justified him, has prepared for HIM a FUTURE, which is sure and firm, having been KEPT as a possession that does not fade away, reserved in heaven by the very one, who counted him as righteous and brought him into the reality of this blessedness by faith in Jesus Christ.

In other words the reality of our Justification as an underserved act of love and grace of God, apart from works, ushers us into a state of Joy and confidence because we know that in the ages to come, we who have been justified are going to be main players at the center of a story of God glory which will be revealed at the last time.

You see my beloved you and I as justified children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, have the blessing of looking forward to and knowing, that we will experience the most incredible experience possible.

Jesus said in Matthew chapter 13:43 that the righteous will shine forth as the Sun in the Kingdom of there father.

Revelations 7:9 paints a picture and I want you to get a clear vision of this in your minds eye, for the word says that the revelator saw a great multitude, which no man could number, off all nations, with kindreds and people, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the lamb, clothed in white and palms in their hands.

Paul would later say in Roman chapter 8:18, for I recon, that the sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

4th and finally… Justification brings….

  1. Glorious joy in trials and suffering.

 

Romans 5:3a (NKJV)
3  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations;

Romans 5:3 (NLT)
3  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.

James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
2  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
3  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
4  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Coming to a close today, I am aware that points one through three were very encouraging and uplifting and rightly so.

Finding ourselves here at the 4th point and touching upon the subject of trials and suffering, at first glace may appear to be a sour note and a downer type subject at which to end, but I want to encourage you to open your eyes and ears and to embrace this 4th point and the blessing that is contained therein for the child of God through faith.

John 16:33 records the words of Jesus when he said, in this world you will have tribulation.

Tough times and trials and disappointments and let downs in life are going to happen, but for a man or woman or boy or girl who has been JUSTIFIED, there is GLORY and JOY rather than defeat and dismay, as one navigates the realties of life.

You see, when you know that you’ve got that peace relationship with the Father and that reality becomes logged within your heart and mind, such truth effects the way you process your human reality.

When you as a born again child of God, embrace and flow in your position as one who has access to the throne room of heaven day or night and who is told to be bold in your coming to God.

When you process the realties of human life through the lenses of a heart that isn’t just hoping as the world does, but rather KNOWS that we have been begotten to a living HOPE that is reserved in heaven.

When you process the challenges of Life, through the reality of our confidence and joy in God as we look forward to being at center stage in his glory.

When you have trials, rather than being over-whelmed you can take JOY, knowing that the God who justified you and the God who credited you with righteousness and the God, who accepted you in the beloved because of your faith in his precious SON, is working things out; even the trials and tribulations, TOGETHER FOR YOUR GOOD, because for you, trails are there to develop you.

Every battle, every situation, every oppression is to help us to develop endurance.

So while the un-regenerated man or woman, who will go through tough times in life; wrings their hands and faces life with a hopeless discouragement; you are able to count it all JOY.

AMEN.

Give the Lord a hand of praise.

CLOSE:

Today we drilled down a bit and celebrated the wonder and blessing of justification; this is a spiritual concept and reality that speaks to the GRACE of God and his incredible love for a people who don’t deserve such a gift on any level.

In the opening of the sermon, I talked about the war that exist between God and man and the separation of man from God by reason of SIN and rebellion.

If you were listening clearly, you will remember that I laid out the details of just how this situation came to be

Man in terms of his relationship with God is and continues to be guilty of the most egregious and despicable crimes and offenses against the creator and because of that man and God stand parted and separated by a wall of sin and offense that is built higher and more conspicuous each and every single day that man walks upon the face of the earth. When man stands, when we stand in the reality of our human brokenness and rebellion, there is no question of our guilt and the wages associated therewith.

Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of Sin is death. This is where every may and every women and every boy and every girl sits today, without the saving power of Jesus Christ in their lives.

The sin earns us eternal damnation. We can’t save ourselves and we need to be saved, so God took matters into his own hands; he sent his Son Jesus to pay the price for our sins, by suffering a cruel death on the cross.

Jesus died for us and God accepted his death as a payment for the sins of all who would be believe on Jesus and give their hearts in faith to him.

That is how a person gets saved, that is how an unjust person, who is guilty gets justified and accepted by God.

My question to you is very simply this: DO YOU KNOW THE REALITY of THIS SALVATION through faith in Jesus Christ.

Have you come to the point of making a personal decision; to embrace the undeserved gift of God through Jesus Christ, by repenting of your sinful life and asking Jesus Christ to save you and be Lord of your life.

If you haven’t done that, my friend, you are still an enemy of God and still in danger of eternal damnation and separation from God forever.

Nothing of your own works, nothing of your own merit can change the situation that you are in. The only way to salvation is faith in Jesus Christ.

While all eyes are closed and heads are bowed.