And if you would like to take your bibles and, turn to judges chapter 2, Our reading is gonna be verse 6 of chapter 2 to chapter 3 verse 11. Judges chapter 2 verse 6. After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land. Each to their own inheritance.
The people serve the lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him. And who had seen all the great things the lord had done for Israel. Joshua's son of nun, the servant of the lord died at the age of a hundred and 10. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance at Timnath, Herrez, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gash, After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the lord, nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the lord and serve the bales.
They forsook the lord, the god of their ancestors, who had brought them up out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the lost anger because they forsook him and serve bail and the asterisks. In his anger against Israel, the lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around.
Who they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the lord was against them to defeat them. Just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress. Then the lord raised up judges who saved them out of the hands of these raiders.
Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worship them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors who had been obedient to the lord's commands. Whenever the lord raised up a judge for them, he was the judge. And saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived. For the lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them.
But when the judge died, the people returned to the ways, even more corrupt than of those ancestors. Following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil ways and stubborn ways Therefore, the lord was very angry with Israel and said, because this nation has violated the covenant, I ordained for their ancestors, and has not listened to me. I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the lord and walk in it as their ancestors did.
The lord has allowed those nations to remain. He did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua. These are the nations the lord left to test all those are israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canon He did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the israelites who had not had previous battle experience. The 5 rulers of the Philistines, all the canaanites, the Sedonians, and the hivites living in the living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Bayle Herman to Libo Hamath. They were left to test the israelites to see what they would obey the lord's commands.
Which he had given them and their ancestors through Moses. The Israelites lived among the canaanites, hittites, amorites, perisites, hivites, and jebusites, They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons and served their gods. The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the lord. They forgot the lord their god and serve the bales and the asterisks. The anger of the lord burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Khushan Rishafayim.
King of Iran, Naharohim, to whom the Israelites were subject for 8 years. But when they cried out to the lord, he raised up for them a deliverer, Otheon, son of Kienes, Caleb's younger brother, who saved them. The spirit of the lord came on him so that he became Israel's judge and went to war. The lord gave Khashan Rathaim, King of Aram into the hands of O'Neil, who overpowered him. So the land had peace for 40 years until O'Neil, son of Kenaz, died.
Well, thanks, Dean. Evening from me. My name's Rory, I'm 1 of the members of staff here. And may I add my my welcome to you all. I feel like I have to say something about media fast now because I've been rebuked from the front.
I had a great time at Media Fast. I loved just spending time with the church family, and I loved reading through this book of judges because I love this book. And now you think, well, how can you say that is the most depressing book in the world? And that's kind of why I love it, actually. It is superb.
And then the reason why it's superb is because it really shows us who god is. And in the light of who god is, it reveals to us what we're like. And I think that's really important. 1 of the, 1 of 1 commentator said this, the book of judges is about faithless people and a faithful god. The story of the israelites in the period of the judges is our story too.
So it's not just a story that if you were here last week when Pete was preaching in the morning, He says that the the headlines of judges are similar to the headlines of today. It's our world. We are god's people, if we're in the church. And we need to respond accordingly as we read judges. So that's what we need god's help with tonight.
Let's pray as we begin. Father. We thank you so much, for this book. And yes, it is dark, and it is gloomy in places, but we we thank you that we need that. To show us the glory of you and show you show us the glory of our great deliverer, the lord Jesus Christ.
So we pray father that tonight, as we consider, this chat these chapters that you will help us, help us to see your graciousness, help us to see our our wickedness and help us to see the glory of the lord Jesus Christ. We pray these things in his name, amen. Now often, the it's often the case, that when you have a really good generation or or a generation that's good at something, you question what will the next generation be like? So if you have a a great warfaring nation, you might think, well, what is their next generation gonna be like? Or if you have a great sporting nation, you know, like the South Africans are very good at rugby.
Well, the next generation of South Africans be good at rugby. Yeah. So I just saw South Africans, and I thought I'd have a pop at them. Or or or the next Brazilian football team will the next ones be great. Or the the the very good at 1 thing.
Will the next generation be good? That's often the case. And I actually think that's what we see in the beginning of the passage that we looked at today. You'll notice that Joshua is alive again. Judges is a weird book.
It's got 2 introductions seems unnecessary. It's not necessary. The first 1 is kind of from Israel's perspective. The second 1 is god's perspective, and Joshua is alive again. It's weird.
Joshua dies 3 times in 3 chapters. It's devastating for the man. But we get Joshua again in verse 6 to 9, and you'll notice that when Joshua is there, when Joshua is leading the people of God, he is a fantastic leader, the people serve the lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua verse 7, and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the lord had done for Israel. They were brilliant. They were they they they were maybe the golden generation of serving gods.
Under Joshua. And I and they do find it hard. They do struggle. And as we see them as they serve the lord, you could ask the question what would the next generation be like? Will they supersede them?
Will they emulate them? Or will they fail? Try it? And, if you've read read any of the judges, you'll you'll know that the answers are resounding. They will not emulate.
They will not come anywhere close. It will fall far short of the standard that we see in verse 7. And so that's what I think we see. And and we did do a little bit of this, but I'm gonna go through this again. We're gonna see firstly the cycle of sin and salvation.
That's my first point. The cycle of sin and salvation. And, I've got a little rhyme for this. I think it's a right word. It's a kind of they all sound the same these words.
I did this for our rooted guys so they would remember it, and I actually can do some as well, if you wanna teach a kid. Do you want me to do some actions? Emma's nodding. Okay. They're really good.
Alright? So the cycle of sin and salvation from verse 6 to 9 team. And the first stage of the cycle is the people strayed. So they're straying. I've made a slideshow strayed Yeah.
They strayed, or you might wanna use the word disobeyed, or you might wanna use the word betrayed, or you might wanna use 3. They strayed. I mean, here's a little little they strayed. They go away from god. Look with me at verse 10 to 12.
After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the lord and serve the bales. They forsook the lord, the god of their ancestors who had brought them out of e They followed and worshiped various gods of peoples around them. They aroused the Lord's anger because they forsook him and served bail and the astronauts. So they're straying away.
Did you notice the word forsook They forsook the lord. The 1 that had loved them, the 1 that that we know rescued the people of god from Egypt and had taking them through the wilderness and into the promised land that he had promised for them, and they know they know that's what he's done for the generations before And they say, we don't want any part in him. We're gonna go away, and we're gonna serve our other gods. But the picture gets darker. If you look at verse 17, it's not just that they walk out on gods.
But the picture, you you must understand what this does to god. Look at verse 17, yet they would not listen to their judges. But prostituted themselves to other gods and worship them. That is the picture of sin to god. 1 of prostitution.
That is why sin is so horrible. That is why sin is so offensive to god because sin is adultery to god. See see god doesn't just want a people that are his citizens who obey him. God doesn't just want some people that are loyal to him in that sense. No.
The picture in the Bible is that god is married to his people. Israel are meant to be god beloved bride. And he's gone into a covenant, a marriage covenant with them where he promises to be faithful to them, and he wants them to be faithful to him and to him alone. He is exclusively their god. And so when they decide to forsake god, it's as if they're cheating on god.
That is the picture of sin that we get in the bible. If you read Jose 1 to 3 or ezekiel 16, you might wanna do that in your own time. God paints the picture. That your sin, that my sin is a form of prostitution. I'm faithless.
I walk out on guards, and and I and I go off with another guards. And and and did you notice though? It's not just 1 god. It's gods, it's bales and asterisks, who are bale means lords. So you have many lords.
You have lots of different guards. It's not just that I'm I'm I'm cheating with 1 god. I'm actually cheating with, a whole host of guards. I'll I'll just prostitute myself out to any god and any god, and I will seek pleasure from anyone without getting any, and I will seek love anywhere else without getting any, and god is there. The faithful 1 who's always loved and has always kept his end of the bargain and has never done anything to cheat on us yet we walk out on him.
And so the people of god go for these little mini gods, a god of fertility, a god of sex, a god of agriculture, a god of a god of, and all these different little idols that they would have And you might be here thinking, well, that's weird. They have these little gods. We don't have our little gods. Except we do, don't we? We might not have a little statue that we take out and we touch and we always have to press and always have to answer and always have to check and always have to make sure that, you know, my anxiety as I did.
I need to have the approval. We don't have that. Do we? As 1 young person I heard say, I love my TV. But actually, we have all sorts of idols.
The idol of technology as we've seen. The idol of my work, I must I must worship my work. The idol of family, the idol of leisure, the idol of me first above all others. Idles everywhere, the the great reformer John Calvin said, that our hearts are factory making of that idle factories idle factories They are in the production line, idle, idle, idle, idle, idle, idle, something that I can cheat on god with, something I can cheat on god with, something I can replace the god of the Bible with, something I can replace the god of the Bible with. See, it's not just that they they leave god.
In fact, they they they they they probably said I've got a place for god, but I've got a place for all these other gods. And so you can come week in and week out and sit in this church. And maybe that makes you feel good that you've given god of the Bible a a little bit of time, then you can go out and not give him any more thought and only care about the idols of your life. And that's what the people of god do here. And the problem now is that they have ceased to live out their purposes, Israel.
See, Israel, was meant to meant to worship the lord and the lord alone. You shall have no other gods exclusively me says god. And as you live for me, my chosen people, you are to be a missional people. What Israel meant to do. They get a whole law.
They get a whole law that is meant to show that they are completely into the nations around them, and that when they when people are meant to see them, they go, wow, their god is different. Their god is worth worshiping. Yet they're not doing that. They've gone the other way. They've said, actually, I'm not gonna stand out and be different as God wants me to be.
I'm gonna be exactly the same as all the other nations around them. And so they stray away from guards. And what is god's response? Well, second part of the cycle enslaved. I know it's it's not a rhyme as if it doesn't have a v.
I can't look. I can already see my mother-in-law, yeah, judging me because you don't like, she likes English. Grow up. Okay? Enslaved enslaved.
There you go. There's nice and easy 1 for you. Enslaved. They're enslaved. See, god is a jealous god.
God is not a uncaring god. God is not a god who can accept that his prized and precious loved 1 walks out on him. He is a jealous god, and so he burns hot with anger, did you see? In verse 14 to 15, in verse sorry, 12, they aroused the lord's anger. In verse 14 in his anger against Israel, the lord gave them into the hands of the raiders who plundered them.
He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around whom they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight the hand of the lord was against them to defeat them just as he had sworn to them. God in his anger gives them over to their idolatry. It's interesting that the very gods that they serve, the people that that that those gods belong to end up enslaving them. And god says in his anger, I will give you over to your your your idolatry.
Reminds me of Romans chapter 1, where the apostle Paul says the wrath of god has been revealed. Gets all the wickedness and ungodliness of men. And why is his wicked why is his wrath being revealed because people have exchanged god for things that are being created in 3 times in Romans chapter 1, he says with exchange. They exchange. They exchange.
And then it says, god gave them over. That's what idolatry does. It ends up enslaving people. Idolatry promises freedom and salvation, but all it results in is chains and damnation. It's like the the drug addict if that's not a great picture of of an idol, then I don't know what is.
There he is, and they they they go after the hit. They go after the hit. They go after the satisfaction. They go after the the salvation that they think it can offer them. The escapism that it can offer them, yet the more they take the more they need it, the more they take it, the more they need it, the more they take it, the more they need it.
That's what idolatry does. It enslaves you. You can't get off it. You can't stop thinking about it. I love those those pictures.
I don't know if you ever seen them. It's like a it's got a phone on it, and it it's got a chain around someone. Because everyone thinks, oh, this phone, I I'm the boss of this phone, but ends up the phone's in boss of you, all of money, and it's change you. That's what's that's what idolatry does. It enslaves us.
It puts us in chains. And so what will the people do? Well, thirdly, they're dismayed. There's a little sign for a picture for you, dismayed. Got it?
Smide. Why? Because they cry out to the lord. Verse 15, they were in great distress. Verse 18.
It says, for the lord relented, why? Because of the groaning under those who are pressed and afflicted them, and time and time again throughout the book of the judges, you will see this phrase that people cried out to the lord. They cry out. And and the question comes, is it genuine groaning? Is it genuine repentance?
Because we've already seen last week in chapter 2 of verse 6, it says, in verse 4, sorry, the people wept aloud, and they called that place Bokum, there. They offered sacrifices to the lord. And you have to ask the question, is this genuine repentance? We've all been children. We've all done that thing where we said sorry, just to Hopefully, that the punishment won't be as bad.
Is that what's going on here, or is it genuine? They cry out to the lord in their distress, and so fourth part. Judge raised, people saved. That's we're celebrating. Okay?
Judge raised people saved. Judge raised people saved, and look how god responds in his absolute grace. They don't deserve this. No. You don't earn salvation, like, by our our currency by groaning.
Do you? It's not like, oh, well, good. They're groaned. They don't deserve this. This is absolutely the grace of god.
And so in verse 16, what does it say? Then the lord raised up judges who saved them out of the hands of the razors. And then in verse 18, whenever the lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived. And so He saves his people, and the people have a choice. The people always have a choice.
Will I listen to the judge that god raised up? Will I obey the judge god's judge, who brings me the word of god, who brings me salvation, or will I trust and follow and serve and listen to the idols of the nations around them? And so what will happen next? Will they now? Now they've been saved, will they now live for for god?
Well, the fifth part, which is the first part, is the cycle starts over again. Look at verse 19. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their testers following their gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways. So pretty pretty dark picture, isn't it?
Not only do they repeat they get worse. And if if you read judges this week, you'll know it doesn't get better. By the end of judges, no 1 was laughing them, were they? So it's not just a cycle. It's actually a downward spiral.
We should call it the spiral of sin and salvation. That is the that is the world that the people of god face then, and that is the world that we face today. And so how will god respond now? Well, here's my second point. It's a very short 1.
The judgment of Jehovah. The judgment of Jehovah testing and teaching. Look with me at verse 20 to 3 6. Therefore, the lord was very angry with Israel and said, because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them, any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the lord and walk in it As their ancestors did, the lord had allowed those nations to remain.
He did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua. These are the nations the lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Caitlin. He did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience. The fibrillers of the Philistines or the canaanites Sydonians and the Habites living in the Lebanon and mountains from Mount Bailey Herman to Libbo, Hayath, they would were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the law's commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses. You'll see verse 20, they violated the covenant violated it.
And so god in his judgment says, fine. I won't drive the nations out. Fine. There they are for you. But amazingly, in god's sovereignty, he will use them to test them and to teach them.
You'll see that word test came up 3 times and the word teach them. What is he testing them? He's testing whether they're gonna be faithful. He's testing whether their repentance is genuine or not He's testing them and teaching them warfare. And the question is, will they pass the exam?
When we're getting tested, it's an exam. Will they pass the exam? Will they actually have genuine faithfulness? Will you when the test comes to you when you get confronted with the idol, will you pass the exam of faithfulness? Will you show genuine repentance?
Will you go to war with your sin? Will they go to war with the nations around them? Will they? Nam, look at verse 5 to 6. The Israelites lived among the canaanites Hitites, Amorites, Perazites, HIVites, and Jebusites.
They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons and served their gods. They disobey in every way and at every chance that they can. They're found wanting in the test. It's a pretty damning indictment, isn't it? They serve their gods.
They they don't care about god's words. And so the the overview, the summary here of the whole of the book of judges shows us a very bleak picture, doesn't it? It's a bleak picture. It's a dark picture. And so now we need to go from the the overview, the summary, the timeline as it was of of judges, and we zoom in into our first judge.
And here's my third point. The force of the faithful. Do you think that's weird? It's because I wanted it all to be same letters. So the force of the faithful.
Read with me verse 7 to 11. The Israelites are evil in the eyes of the lord, They forgot the lord their god and served the bales and the asheras. The anger of the lord burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan, Rishathaim, King of Arab, Narayan, to whom the Israelites were subject for 8 years. But when they cried out to the lord, he raised up them a deliverer off kneel, son of Kenaz, Kaleb's younger brother who saved them. The spirit of the lord came on him so that he became Israel's judge and went to war.
The Lord gave Cushan, Rishathdayam, king of Aram into the hands of Othniel who overpowered him, so the land had peace for 40 years until Othniel sort of Ken has died. Do you see the cycle playing out? First part, strayed verse 7. The israelites did evil in the eyes of the lord. They forgot the lord their god and served the bales and asheras.
There they go again. As always, going to the little gods, serving their little gods, prostituting themselves out to their gods. And they're wicked in the eyes of the lord. They stray. But secondly, their enslaved verse 8, the anger of the lord burned against Israel.
So he sold them into the hands of cushion, Richard Thiam. Now I don't think you wanna name your kid, Cushion, Richard Thiam. Not just the fact that it's quite a mouthful to say, but because of what it means. Unless you hate your kids, then maybe go for it. Cushion Rishathaya means dark or double wickedness.
Might not be his real name, but that's certainly what they're calling him. Dark double wickedness. Can you imagine that? Come here dark, double wickedness. Wash your hands with tea.
But it's showing us something that they do evil. They they're wicked in the eyes of the lord, and so he gives over to darkness. He gives them over to double wickedness. And how long are they in this oppression for? Well, it's 8 years of this oppression.
It's 8 years before the the next stage. 8 years of this. They can last 8 years of this absolute oppressive double wickedness over them. And finally, 8 years later, our third part dismay, they cry out to the lord. After 8 years, finally, they go, this is rubbish.
Cry out to the lord. What are we thinking? Let's cry out to the 1 who can actually save us. From this wickedness, from this idolatry that has enslaved us. And so what does God do because he is a merciful and a gracious and a loving god?
What does he do? Every time, verse 9. When they cry out to the lord, he raised up for them a deliverer off Nielsen of Kenas. Caleb's younger brother who saved them. Now who is this deliverer?
Well, it's off Neil. Now it's funny because when you say when you talk to people and you go, well, I'm actually looking at off Neil today, they're usually like who's he? Isn't it's funny that they'd know. They could tell me about Samsung. They could tell me about Givian They like the bad boys, but Othniel's not a bad boy.
Othniel is 1 of the good Actually, I think Othnole is as good as it gets, which is quite as we said, depressing is this if this is the best thing that we get, what is coming? What does it mean? Often or the name means the force of god what a name that is. If you want to call your kids up, then, off kneel, not Cushion, Rishathayam, off kneel, the force of god. And we can see straight away that this man is of good stock.
We've seen them already actually. Number 1, he's related to Caleb. Now Caleb is 1 of the legends of the Bible. Caleb's the 1 who says, we should go into the promised land and take it because we've got God. He's always faithful to the lord.
You can read Caleb's story. When he when he's 85, Caleb's still, like, I'm stronger as, as ever. I'm gonna go in and fight again. He's there driving out nations like, come on, lads, we're gonna take this promised land. He's a good lad, Caleb.
And so offneal is related to him. In fact, offneal is his nephew, I think, and married to his daughter. And the reason why he's married to his daughter is if you flick back to chapter 1 and verse 12 to 15, we get off and you're there. And Caleb said, I will give my daughter aksa in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Keri Afcefa, off the old son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother took it. So Caleb gave his daughter access to a marriage, and then they they asked for a a bit of land there.
So he's a proven season warrior. He's 1 of the old god. He's 1 of the faithfuls that live during Caleb's time. He's 1 that has got experiencing going to battle, and he's probably now retired, a retired colonel older in age. But remember Caleb's his uncle, Kayley went to battle at 85.
Oh, no. He was going to battle at 85. And so he goes to war. It's interesting as well. You'll notice that unlike so many of the other judges, Arsenal has no character Nothing bad said about Ophneal.
And so in verse 10, the spirit of the lord comes upon Ophneal And firstly, he becomes Israel's judge, and I was reading, a commentator called Matthew Henry, and he suggested that, actually, he starts to lead a re reformation. He starts to lead people back to living for god. And after he does that, what does he do with the spirit of the lord upon him, he goes to war. That's what the Israelites are meant to do. Trem with that.
God leaves all those nations there to teach them warfare, which hardly any of them do, but Arthuriel does. Arthuriel's gonna go to war with the enemies of god. After he was gonna go to war with Cush and Risha Thane. He's gonna go to war with the dark dark 1. He's gonna go to war with double wickedness himself.
And so he does. And we get in verse, end of verse 10. The lord gave Cushan Richard Thame, king of Aram, into the hands of Ottnole who overpowered him. Now it's a bit of an ambiguous sentence that because who's overpowered him? Is it the lord or is it off kneel?
And I think the point of this is it's meant to be ambiguous because it's by his deliverer that god saves his people. And so often he goes in and he smashes double wickedness. He prevails over him. He overpowers him, and the results verse 11, so the land had peace for 40 years. Until often Nelson of Kenaz died.
Peace for 40 years. And then an ominous until until until off kneel died. And so the question may come, well, now will they carry on living? As often you'll talk them, But the very next verse, verse 12, again, the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the lord. And they're right back at it.
Do you know what they're like? Well, us, but the teachers walked out the room Finally, let's get to the evil. Sorry. It feels a bit harsh. The parent walks out off finally.
Get that console on. I know we're not meant to be playing it, but she's gone now. The boss walks out. Finally, we can just slack off a little bit here. The judge walks out, he dies, and they go right back to their evil ways.
And so as good as O'Neil is, we're still longing for another, aren't we? I mean, he's great. I love O'Neil. It's the best. But he's not good enough.
Because as soon as he dies, the people go right back to it. We're longing for 1 who can bring peace. We're we're longing for the 1 who in Isaiah chapter 9 says there is a son who is to come and he will be called the prince of peace and of the greatness of his government and peace There will be no end. We're longing for that 1 who can bring everlasting peace, and and with that promise of 1 who will be the prince of peace the lord Jesus Christ walks onto the stage, and in, and, and, and, and, and, and, and is baptized in the spirit of god, rests upon him and says, this is my son whom I am well pleased with. This is the 1 who comes and he goes to his hometown Nazareth, and he goes into the temple gets a scroll.
And what did he say? Verse 18 to 4, the spirit of the lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news support. What was he coming to do? He came, he was sent to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free to proclaim the year of the lord's favor. This is the 1 who can set us properly free from our our sin and our addictions and our idolatry.
This is the 1 who the spirit leads into battle in this world. He goes into the wilderness and succeeds where all others have failed before him. This is the 1 who goes into battle time and time again with sin. Who has no character flaws. There was no deceit found in his mouth.
This is the 1 who marches to the cross and goes to war. With darkness. Dark is defeated on that cross. He goes to war with double wicked as he goes to war with the king of double wickedness. Satan is defeated on that cross.
That is our king. He's the warrior. He's the warrior king. Have you heard him? Have you seen him?
Revelation. What? Have picture. This is Team. Revelation 19 verse 11 to 16.
I saw heaven standing open, and there before me was a white horse whose rider is called faithful and true. Here he is a warrior king with justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no 1 knows, but he himself, he is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the word of god. The armies of heaven were following him riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen white and clean coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.
He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads, the wine press of the fury of the wrath of god almighty on his robe and on his thigh. He has this name written. King of kings and lord of lords. That's our king.
That's our warrior king. That's our warrior who goes to a cross. And puts to death, darkness, and double wickedness. But he will never die. It's a peace eternal.
In Revelation 1 for 17 to 19, he says this, Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last. I am the living 1. I was dead, and now look I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of Death and Hades. See, not only does he put to death, sin, and idolatry He does not only does he defeat Satan, but he does that for an eternity.
He brings rest and he brings peace. For all who will trust in him. That's our king. That's the warrior king that we long for when we see the oatmeal dies. And so, where are you in all of this?
Maybe you're here tonight, and you recognize that this downward spiral is 1 that is true of your life. Maybe you're someone here who longs for peace and for rest. Maybe you're 1 here who recognizes the idolatry that so clearly enslaves them. Well, can I show you again that Christ can defeat all of those things? And Christ has defeated all of those things.
And if only you will come and you will trust and you will listen, and you will serve, and you will follow this king. You will no rest for your souls. That's what he says. He says, come to me, all you who are burdened and and heavy laden. And I will give you rest for your souls.
And maybe you're here, and you're you consider yourself a Christian And you wonder why do I why do I constantly go back to to idols? Why do I constantly go back to the things of this world? And if anything, we we have more reason to to repent this side of the cross than they did, and we we can look at these judges and go, what a load of the biggest idiots in the world, aren't they? They've just been saved. Do they not remember God did for them in the accident.
He rescued them. And then you consider in your own life, and you think, but but god's done more now. The lord Jesus Christ has died for me now. He rose again now so that I don't have this in. And yet I find myself so easily going back to the things that I I know are so enslaving.
And so maybe we need to repent tonight and ask for forgiveness of our loving heavenly gracious father. And so who will we listen to? Who will we serve? Will we listen to the world and the gods at have to offer, or will we humbly come recognize the great warrior king, the lord Jesus himself? Trust in him, and follow him.
That's the choice. If you do the latter, everlasting piece. Well, why don't you take a moment to think through some of these things? And then Dean will bring this to a close. What will you do?
Will you keep returning to your idols Will you keep going back to your sin, or will you turn to cry or you return to god or you look and long after The old ways will you stray, have you strayed? Or will you look to the cross? Father help us, we pray. Help us to survey the wondrous cross, help us to remember it, recall it, often Finally, we thank you that we we have your spirit sealed, sealed in us. We thank you that the law is written on our hearts.
We thank you that Christ is our savior, and he has conquered sin and death and taken the punishment we deserve, and we can freely come to you. We don't have to pay. We don't have to Do any good works. We can simply hold out our hands, our empty hands, and say lord help me. I want to return to you.
We pray, lord, we would do that and lord, we would do that every day. Follow, we we pray you would help us, and, may all of our days be marked by this wonderful gladness that you have saved us through your warrior king. Who died and rose again. We pray in his name, army.