Travis Case, Pastor/Teacher Northgate Baptist Church F.E.A.S.T Ministries
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:" (Prov. 17:22)
"... the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Neh. 8:10)
A. In spite of the folly, the constant disloyalty and the disaffection of God's people --- the Lord Still Loved Them and Patiently Watched Over and Provided For Them.
B. This historical account is recorded for Our Benefit --- and particularly for Our Warning.
Psa. 78:4-8, "We will not hide [them] from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know [them, even] the children [which] should be born; [who] should arise and declare [them] to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation [that] set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God."
Psa. 78:11, "And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them." --- V. 17-18, "And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness. And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust." --- V. 22, "Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:" --- V. 32, "For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works." --- V. 36-37, "Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant." --- V. 40-41, "How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, [and] grieve him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel."
C. By their sins and follies God's people actually 'Limited the Holy One of Israel'.
1. But, Can Man Limit God? --- Can the church limit His purpose and intention?
2. Matt. 13:58, "And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief."
I. Consider The People Who Are Guilty of This Sin of Limiting The Power And Work of God.
A. Then it was Israel --- today it is His Church.
B. God's Problem Is Not With The World --- it is with His Own People.
1. We are Wrong in thinking that the fault and deficiency today is Outside The Church --- it is inside.
2. These are days of Spiritual Indifference --- Apathy --- and Apostasy --- but these conditions are Inside The Church.
3. Revival Always Begins From Within:
II Chron. 7:14, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
C. God's problem is Not with the Atheist --- the Agnostic --- or the Infidel.
Look at who the Lord address: "If My People, which are Called By My Name,"
II. Consider Whom It Is We Are Limiting:
A. We are limiting the Sovereign God --- the Creator --- Sustainer --- and Redeemer of mankind.
B. We are limiting the One with whom:
1. All Things Are Possible --- Matt. 19:26, "But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."
2. Nothing Is Too Hard --- Gen. 18:14, "Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son."
C. God is the same Yesterday, and Today, and Forever. --- ( Heb. 13:8)
III. How Do We Limit God?
From Psalm 78 --- there are many ways in which the Israelites sinned against God and displeased Him. --- The complete list is a long one --- but notice the following Seven Ways In Which We Also Limit God:
A. We limit God by our Disobedience.
1. The one Fundamental Condition of Blessing in the lives of God's people is Obedience --- Gladly and Unquestionably doing what God says.
Psa. 78:10, "They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law;"
2. Are you a Disobedient Christian?
John 14:15, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
John 15:7, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." --- V. 10, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." --- V. 14, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."
I John 3:22, "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
3. Disobedience Limits God's Blessings in and through us.
Joshua 1:8, "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."
Psa. 119:11, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
B. We limit God by our Forgetfulness.
1. Psa. 78:11-17, "And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them. Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, [in] the field of Zoan. He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap. In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire. He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave [them] drink as [out of] the great depths. He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers. And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness."
2. How Many Mighty Things Has God Done For You?
a. Forgives & Redeems you,
b. Guards & watches over you,
c. Leads & directs your steps,
d. Answers your prayers,
e. Provides your every need.
3. When God's goodness to us is called to our attention --- We Turn Back To Him --- then, in a few days, We Forget Again ...
4. Forgetfulness limits God's blessings In us and Through us.
C. We limit God by our Unbelief.
1. Psa. 78:19-20, "Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?" --- V. 22, "Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:" --- V. 32, "For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works."
2. How guilty have we been in committing this sin?
3. Matt. 13:58, "And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief."
4. Mark 6:5, "And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed [them]."
5. Matt. 17:19-20, "Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."
6. Mark 9:23, "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things [are] possible to him that believeth."
7. Unbelief is A Paralyzing Sin --- Unbelief limits God's blessings in us and through us.
D. We limit God by our Worldliness.
1. Psalms 78:33, "Therefore their days did he consume in vanity,"
2. Many Christians are Worldly --- not realizing that their citizenship is in heaven.
Heb. 11:13-16, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that [country] from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."
3. The Lord has called us Out of This World.
John 17:14, "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."
4. God has Forbidden us to Love The World.
I John 2:15-17, "Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
5. What is your answer to --- Psalms 4:2, "O ye sons of men, how long [will ye turn] my glory into shame? [how long] will ye love vanity, [and] seek after leasing? Selah."
6. Worldliness Limits God's Blessings in us and through us.
E. We limit God by our Insincerity.
1. Psa. 78:36-37, "Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant."
2. It is so Easy To Sing Our Favorite Hymns --- but Do We Mean What We Sing?
3. Matt. 15:7-8, "[Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me."
4. Insincerity means Inconsistency in our Life and Testimony before the world.
5. Insincerity limits God's blessings in us and through us.
F. We limit God by our Ingratitude.
1. V. 42-72 describes the love, patience and compassion of the Lord in spite of His children's sins and follies.
2. Psa. 78:42, "They remembered not his hand, [nor] the day when he delivered them from the enemy."
3. Ingratitude limits God's blessings in us and through us.
G. We limit God by our Idolatry.
1. Psa. 78:58, "For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images."
2. An idol is anything that comes between us and the Lord.
(( A habit --- friend --- possession --- hobby --- sport ... ))
3. Idolatry limits God's blessings in us and through us.
Let Us Pray David's Prayer
Psa. 139:23-24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if [there be any] wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
There Is No Second Chance After Death!
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