Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Thrive To Survive

The following sermon was delivered by Bishop Noel Jones
at the City Of Refuge Sunday, June 5, 2016

Isaiah 54 King James Version (KJV)

1 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.

2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;

3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

4 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.

5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

There's really no success without community. All you lone wolves, there is no success without networking because somebody else has something you need because no one of us has it all.

And what that seems to indicate to me is that there has to be an appreciation of somebody else's ability. Because hating, the more sophisticated word for hating is envy, and when somebody is envious, its the worst sin of all. I say worst because the other sins might cause you to feel like you getting over.

Ah man, I told a good lie; I hated him, so I wasted him. And you know adultery and fornication, well at least I was feeling good until I got caught. But envy bites you immediately. It doesn't even fake anything it just comes right out and get you.

You went to the mall and you, you walked through the couture department and touched the Givenchy, went through the shoe department looked at the Louis Vuitton and went through the cologne and smelled the Clive Christian, saw the Vera Wang dress, and I mean just went to touching everything. The Chanel purse is at $6 to $7,000, you can just touch it and look for a knock off. And you walk into church on Sunday, and everything you touched, sister just walked in, she was wearing the cologne, she was wearing the Louis Vuitton, and the Givenchy. And immediately, you got sick, just envious.

Anytime you're in isolation, and you feel as if you have to impose your will on everybody, you miss the blessings that God has given someone else for you. Envy is generally in the discipline you're a part of that causes you to wonder how has he or she gotten there, when I haven't?

And it is disruptive because it divides, and it doesn't unite. And because Israel would not unite, they came under the judgment of God. God does not operate in anarchy. You don't set the rules, so his principles then are denied and once his principles are denied, then blessings can't follow as if his principles are followed.

See we bask in having freewill, and our freewill is so free we can choose or not choose God. I mean he's got to be some kind of secure creator that he'd make something that had a choice to receive him or not.

You raising your kids in the house, and you paying for everything they do. You limit their choices. I'm paying for what you do, you are going to clean this room; you going to cut the grass; you are going to be in this house way before Cinderella's shoes change.

The greater support you give somebody, from the human standpoint, limits choices. The more you are taking, the less choice you have. Now, here is a God who does all the supporting, and allows you all the freedom of will. So much so you can choose or not choose him. I could carry on with that one, I don't want to go too far with that one because we love the freedom to choose, but we don't like the consequences of our choices.

And then we blame God's omniscience. If you knew how I was going to be treated Lord, why would you let me get in this? But that's what you wanted. And if he would have stopped the process every time he didn't like your choice, you wouldn't have freewill.

Israel wants to do whatever they want to do, but what they do brings consequences. Consequences, and they ought to be glad that its consequences in the form of chastening, not destruction.  I've learned something and that is we are all going to make mistakes, everybody except you all. But the issue here is how do I change my mistakes into experiences that instead of castigating me, makes me more formidable? How do I become more powerful because of my weakness?

I am weak and my behavior has brought with it consequences because I wasn't principled. I didn't walk according to the principles of God. As you get older, and you understand life a little better, and I think when you're really understand it, its time to die.  But when you understand it a little better, you realize that the principles were not simply an obstacle course that God put us on to have fun watching us struggle, as I believed when I was growing up. I said, "Man, that church is mean. They don't want you to enjoy life. Church got you walking like a stiff jacket, can't join nothing." But as I grow older I understand that the biblical principles were made to give human beings the best life they could get. And if I walk according to his principles, then goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

Bill Gates got rich, he followed some principles; Oprah Winfrey got rich following principles; Steve Jobs followed some principles. There was no hocus pocus, it was not without their active involvement.  See Israel got in trouble ignoring principles. God said I'm going to make you greater, but the greater is not going to come with the same behavior. The greater is going to come when the chastisement changes the behavior, so that now principles will bring blessing instead of non-principle bringing consequence. 

David looked at it one day and said, "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I hearken to every word of God" because its in the hearkening that the blessings come. He's got to change your walk in order to change your harvest. He would deliver them out of servitude because when you walk outside of the principles, you serve satanic forces. And if you're serving satanic forces, you're serving the system that is seeking to destroy you. You're serving the enemy, you're serving the one who spoiled Eden, spoiled the pristine qualities of the garden.

In Hebrews Chapter 12:5 he says, "And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:"  It is very similar to him presenting to us, "Sing O ye barren," you've never produced. And why he is giving us encouraging statements about what he is going to do in our lives while we are in a season of chastening because it wasn't punitive, it was corrective, unlike our institutes today.

And so as Paul put it, "Forsake not, forget not despise not the chastening"because in many instances we have rebelled because of instruction. We have rebelled particularly and especially because we believe in many instances we were cowering down and somebody was trying to control us. How many times do your sons, mothers flex to see how far they can go? And when you give them the instruction fathers, sometimes they blatantly ignore you. I ain't gone do it, I ain't gone do it. And sometimes that "I'm not gone do it," stirs something in you until you have to say, "I ain't gone do it." I ain't gone do that 'cause what you thinking about doing on his not doing.

He says don't despise it, and then he said don't faint. And the reason God is projecting on the other side of this season of chastening that you should enlarge your tents because this season of chastening is designed to change you to walk in the principles that's going to bring you bountiful blessings. So while you're in this season of chastening he says "Enlarge your tents because I'm effective enough to chasten you in a way that'll get you straight enough to get the blessings I have already had for you. So in other words, don't waste your chastening time.

Use your chastening time in anticipation of your blessings It goes like this, "I brought this on myself but God is going to use what I brought on myself to make me a better person." And he's saying to me if I can get through what I brought on myself. Don't faint, in other words don't faint because of your mistakes. God leads me back to being able to forgive yourself.

Because part of fainting is not forgiving yourself. Because the guilt can be so intense. Not only do you hide yourself away, but you start drinking more. You hide yourself in drugs. Some men hide themselves in another woman, only to find out that becomes a chastening. Some commit suicide, can't handle your own mistakes. And yet God has a plan to turn the mistake into an experience to take it to a place of immunization, to take you to a place where you're not going down that road before, again. So you step over to the road of principle that brings with it blessings, and God is saying, I wanna encourage you while you're going through the darkest time of your life, widen your tents. He said put the stakes up and make the stakes strong, and don't put no limited cord, get the widest cord you can get it because I'm going to make you bigger than you'll ever be, and not only will you be blessed on the outside, but you start liking yourself on the inside.

Ultimately, isn't that the real thing? Ultimately, isn't that the bottom line, liking yourself? Can I talk to you a little about that? You know, liking yourself and liking who you are can weather any storm. Liking yourself can keep you afloat, when you're broke 'cause I ain't got no money don't mean I don't like myself. Because I don't have any money don't mean you can treat me anyway you want to. You don't have to have a lot of things to enjoy yourself. Because liking yourself can weather any storm. It'll weather your insults, it'll weather your Facebook page, it'll weather what you do on Instagram, it'll weather what you say about me. It'll weather any storm 'cause I might hurt, but I ain't gone hurt myself.

Faint not 'cause you're being chastened. Don't faint, don't get so down that everything that's going on around you has now come on the inside. Its alright for the water to be out the boat, but we can't have no whole lot of water in the boat 'cause or we are going to sink. Let the storm be on the outside, and have the calm on the inside  because I know where this chastening is taking me. Paul put it another way, "We glory in tribulation also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience, patience, experience; experience, hope and hope that maketh not ashamed 'cause the love of God is shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Spirit."

In Hebrews 12:6 he says, "For whom the Lord loveth," he must be really love me, "he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." Every son who he receive, and son is generic. Everyone of his children who he receive he had to chasten. Anybody in here who can walk outside of his principles, and life continues in the same blessed way as if you were walking according to his principles, you're not loved. Put it another way. If the Lord allows you to get away with everything you do negatively,he don't love you. If he lets you treat people bad: rob, steal, hurt, kick, fight, cuss. If he lets you do all that and nothing happens to you in terms of chastening, he don't love you. But every time you step out of line, and something happens to you, he loves you. 'Cause he wants to keep you in line to keep blessing you, and keep you lifting up and glorifying his name. Whip me Lord! Whip me til I walk right, whip me til I talk right, whip me til I live right, whip me right into my blessings, just whip me right into my tent 'cause I got it enlarged.

Now that's some kind of prayer, isn't it? When you can get on your knees and say, "Lord remember to whip me." Don't forget me while on others thou art calling do not pass me by. You don't have to pray it, its just the natural progression that's quite normative. Walk outside the whipping, the chastening the anticipation of the correction for the blessing. Really you could say to me, "Noel if you would just change your behavior, you would change your destiny." If you change your behavior you could change your financial picture. If you just change your behavior, you wouldn't have to take so much medicine. Change your behavior, you'd change your psychological disposition, and all of the debilitated things, and the sleepless nights of worry about the outcome of a behavior that you could have avoided, if you could just change your behavior, you'd have a more excellent life. But he scourges every son because faith is not the only way that he gets us to glory.

The very bottom of the scripture in Isaiah 54:17 it says and, "No weapon formed against you shall prosper." You will not be ashamed, you will not be put to shame. He took the shame off you. Somebody gone look over your past and say, "With all she been how she end up with a man like that?  Because God took the shame. How can a woman like that love him? God took the shame away.

Somebody in here the Lord is calling you today, and he's saying I know your season, I know what you're going through right now, and the chastening and the choices you made, but I want to turn you around.

To view the entire sermon visit my YouTube Channel or you may order the message from the Bookstore at NoelJones.org or call nationwide (800) 526-6635 or the Breadbox Bookstore at (310) 516-1433. You may also download the City Of Refuge/Noel Jones Ministries Church app.

May you grow in the nature of Christ in Jesus name, amen.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

David & Bathsheba: A Story of Reconciliation

The true story of David and Bathsheba is one for both the perpetrator and the victim.  You can see the mercy of God working on behalf of both of them, the perpetrator and the victim.  Indeed, his mercy is new every morning for each of us.  We do not know the evil that lies within each of us that may one day surface.  His strength is made perfect in our weakness. It also provides an illustration of reconciliation, and how it is very relevant for our day and time. 

I have no doubt that Bathsheba used her pain as a stepping stone to secure a better future for her son, Solomon, as demonstrated by Nathan when he confronts David with the offense.

Rape is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as the unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent.
This is the reason Bathsheba is referred to as Uriah’s wife because it’s the description of her heart when David seized her from her home.

The issue of the bath that Bathsheba was taking on the rooftop. This was not a routine bath for she was undergoing a purifying ritual after her menstrual cycle as noted in II Samuel 11:4 which reads as follows:

And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.

The word washing in Strong’s Concordance is Hebrew 7364 rachats: to wash, wash off or away, bathe as noted in II Samuel 11:2.

The Lineage of Bathsheba

And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

Bathsheba’s lineage tells a lot about the relationship her family had with Saul, and why David both loved and hated her. Not only is Uriah listed as one of David’s mighty men (II Samuel 23:39), but her father is Eliam also spelled Ammiel. Using the cyclopedic index in my bible leads me to II Samuel 9:5 which reads:

Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar.

It was Bathsheba’s brother who gave refuge to Saul’s family after his death, and David’s subsequent ascension to the throne. Eliam is also listed as the son of Ahithophel in II Samuel 23:34, who was one of David’s counselors, and Bathsheba’s grandfather.
Ahithophel counseled Absalom in II Samuel 16:21 to take his father’s concubines, which he did in the sight of all Israel.  Could it be that Ahithophel sought revenge for the way Bathsheba was treated by David?

Looking at II Samuel 11:26-27 Bathsheba was given time to grieve for Uriah, and was immediately taken to David’s house where he married her, and bore the child. In II Samuel 12:14 Nathan tells David that because of his behavior, he has given the great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, and the child will die. It was after the death of the child that David goes into comfort Bathsheba. The only comfort a victim wants from a perpetrator is “I apologize, please forgive me.” In II Samuel 12:24 she is now David’s wife.

To view the entire sermon visit my YouTube Channel or you may order the message from the  Breadbox Bookstore at (310) 516-1433.  Also please subscribe to me here on Blogger, and leave a comment.

May you grow in the nature of Christ in Jesus name, amen.

The Lord Hath Need of Thee

The Lord Hath Need of Thee
By Bishop Noel Jones delivered Sunday, March 20, 2016
at the City Of Refuge in Gardena, California

In St. Matthew's Gospel Chapter 21 and one of the difficult thing is to speak on an occasion such as Easter and Palm Sunday and, deal with the issues of the occasion and still be relevant for the contemporary circumstance and situation that surrounds each one of our lives.

The difficulty is how do I honor the occasion, but at the same time stay relevant for the benefit of those who might not even understand what the occasion is about because everybody who is within the parameters of the walls isn't necessarily churched to the extent where they understand the ramifications of the occasion. So it is significant then that somehow in the presentation God has to help you to cover the tradition, and at the same time affect the circumstances that exist in the lives of each one of of us on a day-to-day basis. So with that in mind we're going to attempt by the grace of God to do both. I would like for you to go to Matthew 21.

"1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethpage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,

2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.

Now, the audacity of Jesus to send two disciples, didn't send them straight to the house to inquire of the owner, and then ask of the owner could they have his donkey, and the donkey's baby. But he sends them to get the donkey, and then he says:

"3 And if any man say ought unto you,"

That's interesting when I think about this. I think about them breaking the roof off the man's house to lower the man sick with the palsy, and its interesting that Jesus didn't say anything about them tearing the man's roof down. It would seem like, why are you tearing the man's roof down? You shouldn't be tearing the man's roof down. Who is going to pay for this roof? Nobody said anything. The audacity and the boldness of Jesus again suggests, who he is. You have to assess who he is. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. So if I want a donkey, go over there and get that donkey because the donkey does not belong to the man, it belongs to me.

"3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway" That's the common word in Mark, and Matthew is using it here. "and straightway he will send them.

4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,

5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,

7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.

8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.

9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest."

Look at that person beside you with all the ebullience you can muster, with all the energy you can find, look them dead in the face and tell 'em, "The Lord hath need of thee” Congregational Response: The Lord hath need of thee. That didn't sound too ebullient, with much energy. That sounded real anemic. Amen, you scared of that person beside you? Look 'em in the face and tell 'em, "The Lord hath need of thee." Congregational Response: The Lord hath need of thee." Yes, sounds better now.

There are certain things, and I had run across the most wonderful Old Testament scripture that struck me right in the face because I had been reading in that scripture for a long time and never did see that, and it was Jehoshaphat of course, and Jehoram who, the son of Ahab, who didn't follow the idolatrous attitude of his father, but he followed the sin of Jeroboam. And Elijah was called upon to prophesy. Jehoshaphat said, "Is there a prophet here?" They were going against the Moabites. And he said, "Is there a prophet in this place that can prophesy to us?" And someone said, "Yes, there's Elijah" But Elijah did not like the king of Israel, and he said to him, "If it wasn't for Jehoshaphat being here I wouldn't even look at you" And then he prophesied, they sent for the minstrel. This is II Kings 3:15, they sent for the minstrel, the minstrel played and he prophesied and when he prophesied, he told them that there was water, some ditches be some water 'cause there's stuff needed. And then he said, and this is where I liked, this is just a little thing for the Lord.

So that's what I intended to come in here with today, but as I was traveling, I got a text from a young man who is preaching in the city, and he asked me about this text, and I spent an hour and a half, trying to convince him of the text, and so the machinations of my mind was so completely taken by this text that I could not switch it to go back to what I had, so you're stuck with this.

There are certain things to consider in the text that is interesting because we're trying to figure out the relationship or the significance of a contemporary view of the donkey or the ass, and the fact that Jesus could have come in on a stallion, an Arabian horse, but he chose to come in, in a very meek and lowly, in a very modest way by choosing an ass.

And it would seem to me that that dynamic becomes significant because he knew who he is, and he didn't need to have come in any more glamorously because he was very conscience of who he is. And it becomes significant for us in a contemporary environment to realize that it is not our surroundings or what we have, what we wear, what we drive that gives us any significance about who we are. Many times we are enamored by the outward circumstance, and the floss, and the flaunt to give us a sense of importance. But Jesus did not need to come in on a stallion because he knew who he is. I think sooner or later we have got to come to the place where we stop feeling like we have got to impress everybody or impress anybody. Because oftentimes it bites into our self-esteem when we're put in a place where we feel like we have got to overcome everybody's conceptualization of who we are, and fail to understand that there's peace and comfort when you see yourself in the proper light, and understand that nothing around you embellishes or gives significance to who you are. Because who you are does not come from the outside, but rather from the inside. So ultimately you can move everything from around me, and I'll still be me because my strength is not in cars, in houses, in clothes, in shoes, but my strength is in the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

I think it is important to understand secondly, just in opening that it is a grace for him to even choose the donkeyAnd when I say the Lord has need of theeyou don't have to be a stallion for him to use youyou can just be an ass.

To hear the rest of the message, please view my YouTube Channel or you may purchase the entire message from the Bookstore at NoelJones.org or call nationwide (800) 526-6635 or the Breadbox Bookstore at (310) 516-1433. You may also download the City Of Refuge/Noel Jones Ministries church app.

May you grow in the nature of Christ in Jesus name, amen.