June 18, 2017 – Carter Conlon – Times Square Church
Push Back The Darkness
This message comes with a warning: We are living in the last days and the world as we know it is going to plunge into unspeakable darkness. Biblical prophecy is unfolding before us daily, and soon we will see Jerusalem encompassed by armies. Jesus warned that in the last days, many false prophets are going to arise and many Christians are going to be deceived (see Matthew 24:11). Let me tell you why they are going to be deceived: Quite simply, because they are not in the Word of God! They are following books, fads, and fancy speakers—but they are not opening the text of the Bible.
Remember, the Bible is a living Word. “The entrance of Your words gives light” (Psalm 119:130). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 3, 14). “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God“(John 1:11–12).
The Word of God is alive with the power to create and recreate the human heart. It has the power to give sight, freedom, hope and strength. And perhaps most importantly of all in this generation, the Word provides direction. There will be a myriad of confusing voices sent by hell itself to divert the people of God and ensnare the lazy, yet God promises that His Word will be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (see Psalm 119:105).
THE BREAD OF LIFE
Jesus Himself highlighted the importance of the Word when He gave us a specific manner in which to pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread“(Matthew 6:9–11). Notice that He described it as “our daily bread.”There is a daily provision which Jesus promises to give us.
Jesus said it this way in the book of John: “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world” (John 6:48–51). Jesus was essentially saying, “I am the bread! I am your strength, your vision, your redemption, your freedom. I am your protector and your guide. Everything that you need for life and godliness can be found in Me.”
Therefore, biblically speaking, I suppose one could say that you are what you eat! If you choose to go on a diet from the Bible, you are going to become weak, and eventually you will end up very confused. Incorrect thoughts will begin to guide you. Then, in your desperation, you will start turning on the television and listening to voices that are not speaking truth. They will stand before you and essentially say, “Look at me! This is what the Christian life looks like. Come, follow me!” And because you are not reading the Word of God—you are not eating this Living Bread—you will end up being deceived at the end of your days.
Now everybody who was listening to Jesus should have understood when He referred to their fathers eating manna in the wilderness, for they were aware of their own history. Let’s take a moment to go back to the Old Testament so that we, too, can understand Jesus’ claim to be the “Bread of Life”in the context of their past.
MANNA FROM HEAVEN
In the book of Exodus, we see specific principles about this “living bread” when it came in the form of manna. “And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, ‘This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat’“(Exodus 16:14–15).
The people of God knew that miraculous bread had been given to them. It appeared on the ground every morning, and everyone would pick up some and take it home. This bread had a supernatural capability to it: All the nutrients that the human body required were found in this little wafer that, according to the Scriptures, tasted like it was “made with honey” (see Exodus 16:31).
The passage continues: “This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent’” (Exodus 16:16). I believe this serves as an exhortation to us today. Fathers, you must gather some bread from the Bible for your tent, and you must do it every day! You must read the Word when you get up in the morning because it will set a tone in your house. Remember, you are the covering for your wife and your children. Mothers, you must get up and get into the Word of God, too. It is true that “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Everyone has a part in this; everyone has to get up in the morning and gather from the Word of God according to his or her household.
NEITHER EXCESS NOR LACK
I love what the Scriptures say happened next: “Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need” (Exodus 16:17–18).
What an incredible thought! You see, there are some people, like me, who have time to get up in the morning and spend a few hours reading the Bible. However, I am aware that is not the case for everybody. Some must get up in the morning and make lunch for four kids and then get them to school. Others have to get to work early. If they are fortunate, they might be able to scrape out ten or fifteen minutes in the morning to open their Bible.
But as we see in this passage, the beauty of the Word of God is that the one who gathered much did not have anything left over, and the one who gathered little had no lack. That means that you may not be able to read a whole basketful of Scripture in the morning, but God knows what circumstances you are going to face that day and He is able to bring you right back to a verse that you read earlier. He is able to take the little bit that you gathered and multiply it to meet your needs throughout the day!
And so we are reminded of how imperative it is to establish our thoughts in the Word of God every day. Do not let the news media get your thoughts first thing in the morning, for that is what you will end up talking about for the rest of the day. Begin your day in the Bible and say, “Lord, give me a thought for the day,” and you will see how miraculous His Word is! You will encounter a situation during the course of the day, and that verse of Scripture you have been thinking about will be your strength. It will be your power to respond; it will be your guard and your guide. And at the end of the day, it will be your rejoicing because God has kept you!
THE WORD NEGLECTED
“And Moses said, ‘Let no one leave any of it till morning.’Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank” (Exodus 16:19–20). Here we learn yet another lesson through their experience with the manna: God’s promises are there to enable you to face your day, but if you do not consume them, by the end of the day, what you should have had stinks!
You should have had a word for the situation you found yourself in; you should have had strength to get through. But you said, “Ah, well, I’ll read the Bible when I get home.” And so you left the promises of God that could have established your day. As a result, you ran into circumstances for which you did not have adequate resources. Instead of responding with God’s kindness, you gave back word for word, insult for insult, lie for lie, anger for anger. By the time you get home, you realize that your day stinks.
The passage continues: “So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted“(Exodus 16:21). You cannot live on yesterday’s bread! You need your daily bread because the sun gets hot. You will face trials—perhaps ridicule, criticism, disappointment. All you have to do is go to work and say, “I am a conservative” and watch how hot it gets! And when the sun gets hot, yesterday’s bread is not going to keep you! We need a daily thought from God.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
After Jesus says, “Give us this day our daily bread,” in verse 11, He continues the prayer by saying, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” (Matthew 6:12–13). In light of what we have been considering, here is my paraphrase of these verses of Scripture:
“And forgive us our debts.” “Forgive me for being lazy and not spending time reading and studying the Word. As Paul said to Timothy, I want to be a workman who is not ashamed (see 2 Timothy 2:15). In other words, not triumphed over in my day. Forgive me for each time I did not seek my daily bread, and as a result, ended up with insufficient strength to represent You as I ought to. Forgive me for finding myself without the strength to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit—for the times when You told me to speak and I didn’t; when You called me to stand and I wouldn’t; when You told me to love and I couldn’t.”
“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.“”However, do not let me be so discouraged by my failure that I start to agree with the devil’s condemnation of me.”
“For Yours is the kingdom.” “Yours is the only kingdom that will last. One day, all of men’s opinions, boastings, and curses will be gone! Your words are the only words that are eternal.”
“And the power.” “Your Word has the power to cancel the authority of death and give me abundant and everlasting life. Your Word has power to recreate me and to take me where You want me to go.”
“And the glory.” “The glory of the heart that knows You and knows Your Word; the glory of knowing that the Word abides in us; the glory of having a transformed mind—that glory that belongs to God alone!”
WHERE TO BEGIN
Perhaps you find it difficult to get into the Word daily. However, God can give you grace. It all begins with a simple prayer: “Lord, will You help me to read the Bible? Would you establish my thoughts in Your ways? Would you take me farther than I have ever gone before?”
I suggest that you start by reading Matthew to Revelation, the Psalms, and Proverbs. Read them until they become a part of you. And read a translation that you can understand. If you find it difficult to understand the King James Version, then get yourself another Bible. There are some great modern translations out there that are easy to understand. You can even buy Bibles that have four or five translations across the page so you can get the full sense of a verse of Scripture.
And don’t forget, you not only have to read your Bible, but you have to believe what you read! So let it be quality time that you spend with God, even if it is only fifteen minutes you can get in the morning. Go before the Lord with your open Bible and say, “Father, speak to me today. Speak to my mind; speak to my heart. Guide me and guard me. Let me see throughout the day how your Word will keep me.” And then watch what God will begin to do! He will open His Word to you. He will begin to lead you to places you never thought you could go, empowering you with a strength that you know is not your own. Suddenly you will find yourself with a greater thirst to get in the Word of God. You will realize that God spoke to you in advance about what you were about to face. And day after day, you will see that His Word is truly alive!
May 21, 2017 – Pastor Carter Conlon – Times Square Church
A Last Day Return To Power
April 30, 2017 – Carter Conlon – Times Square Church
In the Day Of God’s Power
Have you deviated from the path of God in pursuit of self? If we don’t get the self-focus out of our heart, we will begin to create another Christ that will accommodate our selfish pursuit and we will end up in a dry place. Today, if you have this cry in your heart, “God come and speak to us, we are dry and we have lost our confidence and our joy is almost gone.”
God’s answer to you is, “Hear the Word of the Lord.” God desires to give you a power source that is not your own. He will bring you up out of every place where death has reigned.
Have you deviated from the path of God in pursuit of self? If we don’t get the self-focus out of our heart, we will begin to create another
Christ that will accommodate our selfish pursuit and we will end up in a dry place. Today, if you have this cry in your heart, “God come and
speak to us, we are dry and we have lost our confidence and our joy is almost gone.” God’s answer to you is, “Hear the Word of the Lord.”
God desires to give you a power source that is not your own. He will bring you up out of every place where death has reigned.