Covenantal Families 2/ Truth Will Make You Free PDF Print E-mail
Covenantal Families

The following is the second installment of the lessons which Jon and I have presented at our God and Government classes.

TRUTH WILL MAKE YOU FREE
A. In the proceeding verses (Psalm 51:3-13), David declares that he knew he was a sinner, that he was born a sinner, that all sin was against God, that God desired truth in his innermost being, that God would enlighten his mind with that truth, that God would purify him, that God would create a clean heart in him, that God would restore the joy of His salvation, that God would sustain him with a willing spirit, and then he would teach transgressors God’s ways, and sinners would be converted to Him. What a beautiful picture of sinners in the Hands of a loving God—the story of deliverance and the Redeemer’s plan for the rescue of others. Let us reiterate that God is Truth, and it is the Truth that sets each of us free from our bondage.
1.  John 8:31-47 “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, “You will become free”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.’ They answered and said to Him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father.’ They said to Him, ‘We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe me? He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason, you do not hear them, because you are not of God.’”

THE ENTIRE BIBLE IS ONE OF TRIUMPH—OVER DARKNESS, OVER BONDAGE, AND OVER PAGANISM
A. Adam’s sin brought darkness to all men’s thinking and as a result, death; thus, the world was cast in darkness and without life. But just as God hovered over the darkness in the beginning and brought His light to shine forth, so God, once again, brought light to dispel the darkness. Carefully consider the magnificence of God’s redemptive plan to bring light and life to fallen men through the power of His Word. For Christ has bound Satan and is Lord and King over all. We serve a powerful God!
1. Isaiah 60:1-4 “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes round about and see; they all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in the arms.”
2. Isaiah 49:3,5-7 “He said to Me, ‘You are My Servant, Israel, in whom I will show My glory.’ … And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, and My God is My strength), He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’ Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and its Holy One, to the despised One, to the One abhorred by the nation, to the Servant of rulers, ‘Kings will see and arise, princes will also bow down, because of the LORD who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You.’”
3. Isaiah 11:1-5 “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist.”
a. Christ does not judge by what His eyes see nor by what His ears hear, but He judges with righteousness because righteousness does not come from what is seen or heard but from God. The flesh acts upon the whims of its emotions, but the Spirit judges with righteousness. For this reason, it matters not how we feel about anything; only God’s thoughts matter and that His will is obeyed. Remember that we are to think His thoughts after Him. Therefore, we constantly reiterate this truth to our children that it makes no difference how they feel about an issue; they must concern themselves with what God thinks and what He has to say on the subject or about the matter. Therefore, when confronted with a question, they are required to answer according to scriptural truth, substantiating that truth with scripture and historical evidence if known.
1. Psalm 89:14 “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; lovingkindness and truth go before You.”
4. Isaiah 9:2,6,7 “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them…. For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”
5. John 3:19-21 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
6. Isaiah 35:5 “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.”
7. Isaiah 53:6 “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”
8. Isaiah 40:10,11 “Behold, the Lord God will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him and His recompense before Him. Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.”
9. Luke 2:8-14 “In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’”
10. Psalm 2:1-9 “Why are the nations in an uproar, and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!’ He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, ‘But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.”’”
11. Luke 2:25-32 “And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, ‘Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.’”
12. John 1:6-13 “There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
13. John 8:12 “Then Jesus again spoke to them saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
14. Psalm 27:1 “The LORD is my light and my salvation…”
15. Jeremiah 17:10 “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.”
16. 1 John 1:5 “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”
17. Habakkuk 1:13 “Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You can not look on wickedness with favor…”
18. Psalm 19:8,9 “The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.”
19. John 1:1-4 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.”
20. Matthew 4:8-11 “Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, ‘All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”’ Then the devil left Him…”
21. Matthew 12:28,29 “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.”
22. Luke 11:20-22 “But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder.”
23. Luke 10:17-19 “The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.’ And He said to them, ‘I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.’”
24. Zechariah 9:9,10 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; and the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; and His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”
25. Revelation 17:14 “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”
26. Revelation 1:5,6 “And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood, and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
27. Ephesians 1:18-23 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
28. Psalm 68:18 “You have ascended on high, You have led captive Your captives…”
29. Psalm 24:7-10 “Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates, and lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory.”
30. Jude 24,25 “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
31. Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
32. 2 Timothy 4:1-5 “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
33. Romans 10:15 “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
34. Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to prisoners.”
35. Romans 10:18 “But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; ‘Their voice has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’”
36. Revelation 18:1,2,20 “After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird’… Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.” [Babylon represents all idolatry, all religions that replace Christ with their own manmade god.]
37. Revelation 19:6 “Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.’”
38. Psalm 22:28 “For the kingdom is the LORD’s: and he is the governor among the nations.”
39. Revelation 11:15 “Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.’”
40. Revelation 19:16 “And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.’”
41. Matthew 16:18 “…upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
42. Romans 16:20 “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet…”
a. God had already crushed Satan under Christ’s feet, and now He would soon crush him under the feet of the Church.
43. Acts 17:6 “…these [the early church] that have turned the world upside down…”
a. Reflect upon this, that in such a short period of time, the followers of Christ turned the entire Roman Empire upside down!
44. Isaiah 46:10 “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.”

B. Carefully consider that all men are at enmity to God, and in truth—pagans! We do not think of this in such explicit terms when we look upon those who are unregenerated, yet we must if we are to understand the seriousness of our calling and the need for conquering paganism with the victorious power of God’s Word. Our Bibles point to this truth in the very beginning when He spoke and there was light and life. He spoke those into existence by the very power of His Word. It is His Word, not ours, which brings light and life to men.

AS A RESULT OF HIS LIGHT, GROW IN CHRIST
A. As a result of His light upon our souls, we are to “grow up in all aspects into Him” by studying His Word. This means serious studying—examining, investigating, searching, scrutinizing, and analyzing, while carefully considering each truth.
1. Ephesians 4:14,15 “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.”
2. Ephesians 4:22-24 “In reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
3. Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”
4. 1 John 4:1 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God…”
5. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.”
6. 1 Corinthians 10:15 “I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say.”
7. Deuteronomy 13:14 “Then you shall investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly…”
8. 1 Timothy 6:20 “… guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called knowledge.”
a. Impress the truth upon your heart, for God’s children are to avoid worldly chatter, which is empty. There are many who have a pious zeal for Christ without any real knowledge of Him. Let us not mar Christ’s name by calling ourselves Christians while engaging in empty, worldly chatter. Not only are we to think God’s thoughts after Him, but we are to speak His thoughts, whereby we glorify Him and edify the hearer. Let us reiterate the import of this truth—it makes no difference how we feel about anything; the only thing that matters is what God thinks; therefore, we must speak truth at all times to all people, substantiating that truth with scripture, and historical evidence if known.
1. Ephesians 4:29 “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
9. Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
a. A renewed mind proves what the will of God is—that which is perfect!

B. Children, remember when your baby brother or sister drooled pabulum? Can you imagine that same brother or sister still drooling pabulum when they grow up to be adults? How disgusting that would be, wouldn’t it? Yet there are many adults who have not grown up in all aspects of Christ who walk around with pabulum coming out of their mouths. One of the definitions of pabulum is “unsatisfying intellectual material whose intellectual content is trite, bland, or generally unsatisfying.” (Encarta Dictionary)
1. Hebrews 5:11-14 “Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”

C. Let us reiterate this truth: “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice, have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Parents, if you only feed your children milk, that is all they will be able to handle. To digest meat, they must practice chewing meat. They must be trained to eat meat.

BE A LIGHT TO THE WORLD
A. Just as Christ was the Light of the world, so He restored His image upon man, wrote His laws upon his heart, and thus reestablished His original intent for man to take dominion for His glory. This means taking possession of the land that Christ already owns. To do this, we must destroy all speculations raised up against Christ—the truth. As God’s children we are His image bearers and therefore are to take dominion over evil, making His presence known in all places.
1. Isaiah 49:3,5,6 “He said to Me, ‘You are My Servant, Israel, in whom I will show My glory.…’ And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, and My God is My strength), He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’”
2. Psalm 115:16 “The heavens are the heavens of the LORD, but the earth He has given to the sons of men.”
3. 2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
4. Mathew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
a. To be a light to the nations, we must first take dominion of ourselves, which is self-government—for sin shall not rule over us. If we are not living in the power of the Holy Spirit, we are living for ourselves and in ourselves. We must encourage one another to observe all that God has commanded in governing of ourselves, our families, our churches, and then our government, working with Christ in the center, governing all areas and spheres of life by the truth of God’s Word.
b. As the father in Deuteronomy was to use light to search for leaven, so Christ is our light, our plumbline. It is His Light that exposes our sins. Are we a light, or are we a part of the world? If we are light, we have to shine.
5. Acts 13:46-49 “Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, ‘It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have placed You as a light for the Gentiles, that You may bring salvation to the end of the earth.’ When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region.”
6. Psalm 8:4-9 “What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!”
a. You have been raised up from the womb. How are you doing? Are you a tare among the wheat? You can look like wheat, but are you? Like Talkative in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, are you the good ole Christian who talks the talk and walks the walk for a while, but has not the grace of God? If you do not possess the Light that exposes sin in yourself and in others, you are just part of the world.
7. 1 John 3:7,8 “Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.”

B. “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” God came to utterly destroy the works of the devil—all falsehood, all oppression, all deeds of darkness, all other religions, all paganism—He came to destroy all things raised up against the knowledge of Him, and He does it through us!
1. Deuteronomy 7:1-6 “When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, and when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”

THE WOMAN—THE CHURCH—AND HER SEED
A. Born into “trouble,” “turmoil,” “sorrow,” “grief,” “tribulations,” yet the triumphant words of our Savior: “Take courage, I have overcome the world.” Though victory has already been secured through Christ, it must be understood that the victory secured came through much trouble, turmoil, sorrow, travail, grief and tribulation—in a word, suffering. Victory, then, comes through the suffering of those who contend for Christ’s deity. God’s warriors are engaged in a tremendous battle, yet Christ is at the head of His army, leading by His counsel, admonition, encouragement, and commands, leading us onward into triumph. Through Adam’s abdication of his authority as God’s son (made in His image) and his rebellion to be like inferior gods came sin, but God brought victory through the birth of a Son who would be obedient unto death. And thus victory was secured, but not without much travail, for God promised the woman that she would bring forth a child that would crush Satan—but not without pain. Then it was left to the Bride, the Church, to bring this Christ, this King of kings and Lord of lords to the world, yet, once again, there would be no deliverance without suffering. Just reflect upon the horrific cruelty done to the early Christians under the Roman Emperors Nero, Domitian, Trajan, and Hadrian to see what it cost the early Christians to deliver this Deliverer to the pagan world and thus deliver them from paganism. Remember what the verse stated earlier in Acts that these early Christians’ faithfulness turned the world upside down, and indeed it brought an end to the pagan Roman Empire.

Consider, for instance, the story of Polycarp. Around the year 155, an 86-year-old Christian pastor named Polycarp was martyred for his refusal to curse Christ. Sketches from Church History by S. M. Houghton states: “He had been a disciple of the apostle John and had become the leading Christian in the church at Smyrna, one of the ‘seven churches of Asia’ named in chapters one and two of the Book of Revelation. In the middle of the second century this church was visited with fierce persecutions. Polycarp found refuge for a short time outside the city limits, but he was betrayed by an unfaithful servant and fell into the hands of his enemies. Calm and dignified, he surrendered himself with the words, ‘God’s will be done’; then, after giving food to his hungry persecutors, he poured out his heart before the Lord, praying for himself, his friends, the church of Smyrna, and also for his enemies.”

“The usual test applied to Christians was that they must call Caesar, the emperor, ‘Lord’, as if he were a divine person. Refusal to do so meant the death sentence. Taken before the Roman consul, Polycarp was required to say, on oath, that he venerated Caesar in this way. But he was firm in his refusal. ‘I have wild beasts,’ said the consul, ‘if you refuse I will throw you to them.’ ‘Send for them,’ replied Polycarp.”

“‘If you despise the wild beasts I will send you to the fire,’ said the consul. ‘Swear and I will release you: curse the Christ.’”

“‘Eighty and six years have I served Christ,’ replied Polycarp, ‘and He has done me no wrong; how then can I blaspheme my King who has saved me? You threaten the fire that burns for an hour and then is quenched; but you know not of the fire of the judgment to come, and the fire of the eternal punishment. Bring what you will.’”

“The consul was astonished and sent a herald to announce to the people that Polycarp had confessed himself to be a Christian. When the torch was applied to the wood, and smoke and flames encircled him, again he prayed: ‘Lord God, Father of our blessed Saviour, I thank thee that I have been deemed worthy to receive the crown of martyrdom, and that I may die for thee and for thy cause.’”

“It is recorded that all the multitude ‘marvelled at the great difference between the unbelievers and the elect.’ They saw what Christian obedience meant, for Jesus had said, ‘Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life’ Revelation 2:10.” (Sketches From Church History, S. M. Houghton, p. 18)

Thus, when perceived biblically, we recognize that the greatest opposition to Christianity and to the Church has been the very tool that has served the King of kings to accelerate its triumph. The blood and travail of the Church brought forth the seed, the Christ, the victor! So just as Joseph, who typified Christ, suffered much to deliver the Israelites from death, so Christ suffered much to deliver His people, so, too, the Church suffers much to deliver Christ to the world for deliverance of His people.
1. Acts 14:22 “…Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”
2. John 16:33 “…In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
3. Genesis 3:15,16 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel. To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth…’”
a. Anyone who has experienced the pain of childbirth can readily understand the pain involved in childbirth, yet this pain is nothing compared to the glorious gift of a child.
4. Luke 2:7 “And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
5. Isaiah 53:3-12 “He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.”
6. 1 Corinthians 15:20 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”
7. 1 Corinthians 15:54,55,57 “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? … But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
8. Revelation 5:12 “…Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”
9. Revelation 12:1-11,17 “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, ‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.’ …So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”
a. This woman represents the Church clothed with the greater Light with the lesser light under her feet.

C. A battle rages between the Church and world, yet Christ has already secured its victory, He has triumphed over darkness, and “put all things in subjection to Him, and gave Him as head over all things to the church.”
1. Ephesians 1:18-23 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
2. Romans 8:31-39 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘For your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. “

D. Although we are engaged in the fiercest battle known to man, facing the most daunting challenge of our lifetime, never underestimate the efficaciousness of the Word of God, which is sharper than any two edged sword and “divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses—every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God.”
1. Ephesians 6:10-17 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
2. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
3. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
4. Jeremiah 23:29 “‘Is not My word like fire?’ declares the LORD, ‘and like a hammer which shatters a rock?’”
5. Romans 1:16,17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith.’”
6. 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the LORD.’”
7. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”
8. John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

E. God commands us to make disciples, teaching them all that He has commanded. So in all of our relationships, we should be teaching, reproving, correcting, and training in righteousness. This is especially important for us to do among ourselves, for it is the fiber that strengthens us as a family. Children, it should not be: “I won’t tell on you, for I’m not a rat,” but, “I am so concerned about your spiritual well being. God says that…. Please repent of your sin, and I will pray that the Spirit enable you to mortify this sin.” Even, you, children, should be admonishing, rebuking, and using God’s Word to teach and train your siblings. Our children were taught early on that they were their brother’s keeper and that if they did not tell us when their siblings sinned, then we would spank them, too. However, this was to be done in the right spirit, that of love for their siblings. We have also impressed upon them that they are to continue to speak truth in their siblings’ lives for as long as they live because it is their duty before God. For just as those who hate God’s law hate life, so, too, those who allow their brothers to sin hate their brother. God’s law is life!
1. Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”
2. Psalm 119:105,130 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path…. The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”
a. His Word enfolds; it gives light. The digging into the doctrine of His Word gives wisdom—it is the meat.
3. 2 Timothy 3:16,17 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
4. Titus 1:9 “Holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”
5. Psalm 37:30,31 “The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.”
6. James 3:17 “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.”
7. 2 Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
8. Acts 17:2,3 “And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.’”
9. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”
10. Ephesians 4:29 “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
11. Proverbs 8:7,8 “For my mouth will utter truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing crooked or perverted in them.”
12. Psalm 71:15-18 “My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof. I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only. O God, thou hast taught me from my youth; and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.”
13. Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”
14. Philippians 4:8,9 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

C. Remember, too, children that your parents hold you accountable to God’s law because they want you to live. God requires one thing from you—honor, revere, and obey your parents. And just as each of us are children of God all our lives, so, too, you will be your parents’ child all your life. Thus, apart from a command to violate God’s law, even when you are an adult, you are required to honor, revere, and obey your parents. And let me tell you an eternal truth, children. God never blesses children who dishonor their parents—any parents, whether Christian or not. For God does not say honor and obey your parents if they are Christian or if they are good; God says honor your parents, period! As sons of Adam we are all born into sin and remain imperfect till the day we die, yet God requires imperfect children to obey their imperfect parents till they die.

Although my father is not a Christian, the greatest thing he ever did for me was to teach me to revere him. I was never allowed to question his authority but to cheerfully and immediately obey his every request without any speculation on my part. This trained me to obey my heavenly Father without question. You see at 51, I still obey my parents, to the extent that if my father asked me to jump, my response would be, “How high?” not, “Why?” At 59 and 51, Jon and I still revere my parents. Honor your parents, children, that it may be well with you, for obedience to the law brings life!
1. Ephesians 6:1-3 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.”

D. With that said, let me say to the parents that it is your duty to make certain that the requests you make of your children are righteous, based on sound wisdom. For it should not be, “As long as you live under my roof you will…” for if it is righteous now, it will be righteous when they live under their own roof. Jon and I expect our children to follow the training and commands we have made of our children while at home, even when they have homes of their own. However, even if your commands are not sound, God still requires your children to obey them, for you will stand before God for the way you trained your children just as your children will stand before God for the way in which they honored you. Carefully consider the import of the following verses.
1. Read Jeremiah 35.

A CITY UPON A HILL
A. When the Word of God was first placed into the hands of the people, a great Reformation occurred throughout Europe, but with the Word came much persecution that God used to drive the Christians to this country, which He had hidden from all the heathen explorers until the Reformed could come and settle this land for Him. Prepared just for them, the Pilgrims, and then the Puritans that soon followed, clearly understood their duty to destroy all the works of the devil and to bring forth His Light into the dark land.
1. Mathew 5:10-16 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
2. Psalm 105:43-45 “And He brought forth His people with joy, His chosen ones with a joyful shout. He gave them also the lands of the nations, that they might take possession of the fruit of the peoples’ labor, so that they might keep His statutes and observe His laws, praise the LORD!”
3. Psalm 105:1 “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples.”
4. Psalm 96:3 “Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.”

B. William Bradford, the beloved leader of the Plymouth Massachusetts Colony, wrote: “It is well-known unto the Godly and judicious, how ever since the first breaking out of the Light of the Gospel in our honorable nation of England…what wars and oppositions ever since, Satan hath raised, maintained and continued against the saints (i.e., the believers who were striving to yield their whole lives to Christ)…Sometimes by bloody death and cruel torments, otherwise imprisonments, banishments and other hard usages, as being loathe (that his) kingdom should go down, the truth prevail, and the churches of God revert to their ancient purity and recover their primitive order, liberty and beauty.” (The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall and David Manuel, p. 107)

The Separatists, like the early Reformers before them, experienced great suffering as they were hounded by authorities, driven from their homes and churches, and cast in prison, yet their hearts were filled with the hope that Christ had already secured the victory. His Light would shine out in darkness, and perhaps they would be allowed to take the Light of His Word into the land of darkness, but if not, that their lives would serve as stepping stones which would pave the way for the Light of Christ’s Word to be brought into the entire earth.

Bradford continues: “It was answered that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage. It was granted that the dangers were great, but not desperate, and the difficulties were many, but not invincible…and all of them, through the help of God, by fortitude and patience, might either be borne or overcome…but their condition was not ordinary. Their ends were good and honorable, their calling lawful and urgent, and therefore they might expect the blessing of God in their proceeding; yes, though they should lose their lives in their action, yet they might have comfort in the same, and their endeavors would be honorable.” (The Light and the Glory, p. 110)

John Norton, of Boston, says: “Our liberty to walk in the faith of the gospel with all good conscience, according to the order of the gospel, was the cause of our transporting ourselves, with our wives, our little ones, and our substance, from the pleasant land over the Atlantic Ocean, into this vast wilderness…We could not live without the public worship of God, nor be permitted the public worship without such a yoke of subscription and conformity as we could not consent unto without sin. That we might, therefore, enjoy divine worship free from human mixtures, without offense to God, man, and our consciences, we, with leave, but not without tears, departed from our country, kindred, and fathers’ houses, into this Patmos.” (Christianity and the American Commonwealth, Charles B. Galloway, pp. 57,58)

Colonial preacher, Cotton Mather says of them: “In coming to the new continent they were influenced by a double hope: the enlargement of Christ’s kingdom by the conversion of heathen tribes, and the founding of an empire for their own children in which His religion should gloriously prevail.” (Christianity and the American Commonwealth, Charles B. Galloway, p. 52)

Their pastor John Robinson wrote: “Now as the people of God in old time were called out of Babylon civil, the place of their bodily bondage, and were to come to Jerusalem, and there to build the Lord’s temple, or tabernacle…so are the people of God now to go out of Babylon spiritual to Jerusalem…and to build themselves as lively stones into a spiritual house, or temple, for the Lord to dwell in…for we are the sons and daughters of Abraham by faith.” (The Light and Glory, pp. 110,111)

Before the small band of families landed upon this distant shore, they covenanted together as body of equals in the sight of God to create a civil government for the glory of God and for the advancement of Christ’s glory, to be governed by the consent of the governed, which became the very cornerstone of the first Christian Republic. The Mayflower Compact reads as follows: “In the name of God, amen. We whose names are under-written, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France, Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc. Having undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and honor of our King and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid, and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony. Unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign King James of England…Anno Domini 1620.” (The Light and the Glory, p. 120)

Wet, cold, and sick, without any assistance, relief, or comfort from their homeland, ashore a savage land amongst such savages who shot upon them with their arrows, without shelter to protect them from the elements, they went about the task of building a new homeland without complaint. As a matter of fact, the captain of the ship was much impressed with the cheerfulness by which they went about their daunting task of taking possession of this land.

Weak from sickness, they soon began dying, yet those who could manage took the load of the others while tending to the sick and dying. Before it was all over, almost half of them were taken from their already small number and placed into the ground. Yet God was strengthening them through their tribulations.

Then on the heels of the Pilgrims came the Puritans, whose faithfulness to the obedience to God’s Law and to His commission to fill the earth with God’s glory became the very foundation of our Christian Republic. And although they were by far the most brilliant theologians of any time thus far, which was certainly due to their commitment to be scholars of the Word, yet they were most humble before the Lord. John Winthrop’s journal entry best describes the hearts of the Puritans, whose humble hearts evidence the Divine work of Grace upon them. At age twenty-four, he writes: “I desire to make it one of my chief petitions to have that grace to be poor in spirit. I will ever walk humbly before my God, and meekly, mildly, and gently towards all men…I do resolve first to give myself—my life, my wits, my health, my wealth—to the service of my God and Saviour, who, by giving Himself for me and to me, deserves whatsoever I am or can be, to be at His commandment and for His glory.” (The Light and the Glory, p. 149)

The Puritans had stayed behind in England to work to purify its Church, yet as always, God’s will be done, and so it was that He had determined that this country would be created on His Word through the brilliant Puritan theologians, and so He sent England’s Archbishop William Laud’s persecution to drive them to our shores. And who would be their leader, their Moses, their Governor, but that young John Winthrop. His reasons for coming to this country once again testify to the Church’s commitment to destroy the works of the devil by dispelling the darkness and bringing everything captive to the throne of grace. What Winthrop wrote before he left for America’s shores would later be published to help other Puritans in their decision to come to these shores. “(It would be) a service to the Church of great consequence to carry the Gospel into those parts of the world…All other Churches of Europe are brought to desolation…and who knows but that God hath provided this place to be a refuge for many whom He means to save out of the general calamity. [La Rochelle, the seaport bastion in which the French Huguenots had held out for two years, had just fallen to Cardinal Richelieu, and in Germany, Wallenstein was pulverizing the armies of the Protestants.] And seeing the Church hath no place left to fly into but the wilderness, what better work can there be, than to go and provide tabernacles and food for her against (that time when) she come thither. This land grows weary of her inhabitants, so as men, who is the most precious of all creatures, is here more vile and base than the earth we tread upon, and of less price among us, than a horse or a sheep…All arts and trades are carried in that deceitful and unrighteous course, (so) it is almost impossible for a good and upright man to maintain his charge and live comfortably in any of them. The fountains of learning and religion are so corrupted as most children are perverted and corrupted…The way of God’s Kingdom, which is the best way in the world, is accompanied with the most difficulties.” (The Light and the Glory, pp. 155,156)

Prior to their departure, more than a thousand Puritans were charged with this farewell sermon presented by Puritan minister John Cotton. 2 Samuel 7:10 “Moreover, I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more as before time.” He went on the exhort them to “Go forth…have a tender care…to your children, that they do not degenerate as the Israelites did…What He hath planted, He will maintain. Every plantation His right hand hath not planted shall be rooted up, but His own plantation shall prosper and flourish. When He promiseth peace and safety, what enemies shall be able to make the promise of God of none effect? Neglect not walls and bulwarks and fortifications for your defense, but ever let the name of the Lord be your strong tower, and the word of His promise, the rock of your refuge. His word that made heaven and earth will not fail till heaven and earth be no more.” (The Light and the Glory, p. 157)

“A Model of Christian Charity” was Winthrop’s explanation of why the experiment of the covenant of the Mayflower Compact would work. He writes: “This love among Christians is a real thing, not imaginary…as absolutely necessary to the (well) being of the body of Christ, as the sinews and other ligaments of a natural body are to the (well) being of that body…We are a company, professing ourselves fellow members of Christ, (and thus) we ought to account ourselves knit together by this bond of love…Thus stand the cause between God and us: we are entered into covenant with Him for this work. We have taken out a Commission; the Lord hath given us leave to draw our own article…If the Lord shall please to hear us, and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then hath He ratified this covenant and sealed our commission, (and) will expect a strict performance of the Articles contained in it. But if we shall neglect the observance of these Articles…the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us. Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck and to provide for our posterity is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. For this end, we must be knit together in this work as one man…We must hold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience, and liberality. We must delight in each other, make one another’s condition our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in this work as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the ‘spirit in the bond of peace’…We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies, when He shall make us a praise and glory, that men of succeeding plantations shall say, ‘The Lord make us like that of New England.’ For we must consider that we shall be as a City upon a hill.” (The Light and the Glory, pp. 161,162)
 
The vast majority of those who came to these shores in those early years did so for propagating the gospel and to provide a Light among the nations as others would look upon this Christian City upon a hill. The First Charter of Virginia so clearly reveals this truth: “We, greatly commending, and graciously accepting of, their desires for the furtherance of so noble a work, which may, by the providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the glory of His Divine Majesty, in propagating of the Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God, and may in time bring the infidels and savages living in those parts to human civility and to a settled and quiet government, do, by these our letters patent, graciously accept of, and agree to, their humble and well-intended desires.” (America’s Christian History, Gary DeMar, p. 52)

“The Charter of Carolina 1663 states ‘Being excited with a laudable and pious zeal for the propagation of the Christian faith… (they) have humbly besought leave of us…to transport and make an ample colony…unto a certain country…in the parts of America not yet cultivated or planted, and only inhabited by some barbarous people, who have no knowledge of Almighty God.’” (America’s God and Country, Bill Federer, p. 90)

The Colony of Georgia 1732, “Our end in leaving our native country is not to gain riches and honor, but singly this: to live wholly to the glory of God…to make Georgia a religious colony.” (America’s God and Country, Bill Federer, p. 259)

“Of the…first Puritan church in America, we have a vivid contemporary account from the pen of the enthusiastic reporter Edward Johnson. ‘Although the number of the faithful people of Christ were but few, yet their longing desire to gather into a church was very great…Having fasted and prayed with humble acknowledgement of their own unworthiness to be called of Christ to so worthy a work, they joined together in a holy covenant with the Lord and with one another, promising by the Lord’s assistance to walk together in exhorting, admonishing and rebuking one another and to cleave to the Lord with a full purpose of heart…’” (The Light and the Glory, pp. 163,164)

“Cotton Mather (1663-1728), an American colonial clergyman, received his degree from Harvard at the age of 18 and joined his father, Increase Mather, in the pastorate of Second Church in Boston. Author of 450 books and a Fellow of the Royal Society, Cotton Mather was regarded as the most brilliant man in New England in his time (Mather suffered much grief over the loss of his beloved wife and 10 of his 12 children.)…In 1702, Cotton Mather wrote Magnalia Christi Americana (The Great Achievement of Christ in America), the most detailed history written of the first 50 years of New England. In it he wrote: ‘I write the wonders of the Christian religion, flying from the depravations of Europe, to the American strand: and, assisted by the Holy Author of that religion, I do, with all conscience of truth, required therein by Him, who is the Truth itself, report the wonderful displays of His infinite power, wisdom, goodness, and faithfulness, wherewith his Divine Providence hath irradiated an Indian wilderness… The sum of the matter is that from the beginning of the Reformation in the English nation, there had always been a generation of godly men, desirous to pursue the reformation of religion, according to the Word of God…(though withstood by those with) power…in their hands…not only to stop the progress of the desired reformation but also, with innumerable vexation, to persecute those that heartily wish well unto it…(The Puritans) were driven to seek a place for the exercise of the Protestant religion, according to the light of conscience, in the deserts of America.’” (America’s God and Country, Bill Federer, p. 433)

YET THERE AROSE ANOTHER GENERATION THAT KNEW NOT THE LORD, AS PROSPERITY AND SELF-RELIANCE BROUGHT INDIFFERENCE TO THEIR PROVIDER
A. Yet for all the sacrificing of this noble generation, there arose another generation that knew not the Lord, as Cotton Mather states so plainly: “Religion begat prosperity, and the daughter devoured the mother.” (America’s God and Country, Bill Federer, p. 433)

What happened? As God delineated in Deuteronomy 28, the blessings that follow obedience, Colonial America reaped, but as prosperity took hold in this land, so, too, it took hold of the hearts that once relied upon God and turned them toward themselves. Thus, their hearts began to wane from the truth so that the sobering warnings of Divine Judgment that God also delineated in Dt. 28, the curses that follow disobedience, fell on increasingly deaf ears.
1. Deuteronomy 11:26-28 “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God…and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God…”
2. Deuteronomy 8:11-14; 17-19 “Take heed lest you forget the Lord your God, by not keeping his commandments and his ordinances and his statutes…lest, when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God…Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth; that he may confirm his covenant which he swore to your fathers, as at this day. And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you this day that you shall surely perish.”
3. Judges 2:10 “…And there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which He had done for Israel.”
4. Isaiah 1:2,4,6 “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken; I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me…. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger… From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores…”

B. “And this was exactly what was beginning to happen in God’s New Israel…for faith was not something that could be passed on from generation to generation, or imparted by baptism…In order for faith to come to flower, it must be planted in the soil of gratitude. But being born into town situations instead of having to carve them out of the wilderness, the succeeding generations would not know desperate need. They would grow up never knowing what it meant to be persecuted for one’s faith; to be mocked and scorned or even imprisoned merely because they loved God enough to attempt to put Him and His will before all else. The sons of the father would never know what it was like to have no land and no work and no say in how they were governed. They would have no indelible memories etched into their minds of ten, twelve, sixteen weeks of wet misery on the open seas—of living in tents or holes in the ground, while cold and sickness took one in two—of starving times which saw them on their hands and knees, looking for ground nuts or grubbing for mussels to stay alive—and all for the sake of their combined faith in the vision of a Promised Land.”

“Therefore they would not be inclined to put all their trust in God. It was by His grace that they and their parents were being blessed. And while they might give lip service to His grace, the truth was that since they had never known anything else, they could hardly share the gratefulness of their parents.”

“And what of those parents? As their common condition of great need gradually shifted to one of decided affluence, was their commitment to the covenant as absolute as it once had been? Or was having more than enough to eat, more than adequate shelter, and more than enough land, already beginning to take its toll? How quickly fade the pangs of harder times! Would America’s affluence—the very gifts of a loving Father in response to the obedience of loving children—dim that Light of Christ which had esteemed so dazzling…”

“It is also human nature that one generation which has gone through a time of great tribulation will do all in its power to preserve and protect its offspring from the same deprivation. As the Puritan fathers and mothers became wise in the ways of living close to the land, they passed on to their sons and daughters an endless and priceless compendium of frontier knowledge…And if before each lesson, they forgot to stress the need to pray first and commit it all to God, and to know that it is His grace which was solely responsible for anything turning out well, the golden gift of resourcefulness would transmute itself to the lead of self-reliance. My land, my team of horses. ‘With the might of my hand…’ As the fathers began to think this way, they raised a generation of strong, well-adapted and supremely capable—and self-reliant Yankees.”

“Thus began one of the strongest and most revered of American traits: independence. The lone pioneer, carving out his homestead with his own family—that image occupies a most favored place in our cultural heritage…with the glorification of the loner….The media extol him, the older generation relives youthful illusions through him, and their children believe in him and leave home to try to be King of the Road themselves—finding out too late that the dream is a nightmare.”

“It is a nightmare because God did not intend man to live alone. He intended man and especially His children who are called by the name of His Son, to live as a body, to help and support one another…Sunday after Sunday, (the Puritan ministers) inveighed from their pulpits, and all across New England…with the likes of Jeremiah 8:5,6 ‘Why then has this people turned away in perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit, they refuse to return, I have given heed and listened, but they have not spoken aright; no man repents of his wickedness, saying, “What have I done?”’”

“But a man can become hardened to so strong a word as this. After all, the preachers had been saying the same thing for years, yet the land was still fertile, the climate favorable and the Indians peaceable, and God helped those who helped themselves, didn’t He?”

“And so grandsons helped themselves to more land and moved still further away, to establish their own life on their own land….A man was free to go and do as he pleased, or as the book of Judges puts it, ‘Whatever was right in his own eyes.’”

“Bradford would write: ‘…And thus was this poor church left, like an ancient mother, grown old and forsaken of her children…Thus she that had made many rich became herself poor.’” (The Light and the Glory, pp. 213-215)

“…As John Danforth preached, ‘…to turn blessings into idols is the way to have them clapped under a blast. If the Lord loves His people, He will deliver the weapons out to their hands, that they are obstinately resolved to fight Him with…Better is it that Israel be saved and prosperity lost, than that prosperity be saved and Israel lost!’ …Those men who knew the heart of God tried to alert their countrymen of the dire peril which they were surely bringing upon themselves. For God was now warning them directly, with droughts, with plagues of locusts and caterpillars, with smallpox epidemics…” (The Light and the Glory, p. 217)

“In truth…if they had been willing to live once again according to the terms of the covenant which they had originally accepted, God would hear their prayers, and heal their land. But once we lay down His Cross, our fallen nature is such that it strongly resists taking it up again.”

 “Thus did the Puritans lay down their cross. They stopped their ears and refused to listen to their ministers, and they ceased to correct and admonish one another and their children, choosing instead, greed, privacy, independence, and idolatry.” (The Light and the Glory, p. 220)

Indeed God greatly afflicted His people with sickness, crop failures, shipping losses, yet their self-reliant greedy hearts continued in their selfish ways until God unleashed His fury through the hideous slaughter and mutilation of their members—”Atrocities beyond the human mind’s capacity to assimilate.”

“Increase Mather and his son Cotton…preached the most powerful sermons of their lives based on… ‘Behold, I am bringing upon you…a nation whose language you do not know…Their quiver is like an open tomb, they are all mighty men. They shall eat up your harvest and your food; they shall eat up your sons and your daughters…they shall eat up your vines and your fig trees; your fortified cities in which you trust they shall destroy with the sword…They lay hold on the bow and spear, they are cruel and have no mercy, the sound of them is like the roaring sea…they are set in array as a man for battle, against you, O daughter of Zion.’ Jeremiah 5:15-17; 6:23”

“...practically every Indian tribe in New England had donned war paint and was collecting scalps….As Samuel Cooke would preach a century later, ‘Satan whom the Indians worshipped…raised armies of fierce, devouring beasts…’” (The Light and the Glory, pp. 227,228)

“In the face of the repeated successes of the Indians, the much-vaunted Yankee self-reliance and self-confidence melted away like a candle on a hot stove. A great many farmers and backwoodsmen knew the taste of fear for the first time in their lives, and got down on their knees, some also for the first time. By April of 1676, there was scarcely a man or woman in all of New England who was not diligently searching his or her own soul for unconfessed or unrepented sin.”

“It was a time for poets to marshal their talents for the cause, as did Peter Folger, one of whose grandsons would be Ben Franklin:
If we then truly turn to God,
He will remove His ire.
And will forthwith take this His rod
And cast it in the fire.
Let us then search what is the sin
That God doth punish for
And when found out, cast it away
And ever it abhor.”

“At last God’s wrath began to abate.” (The Light and the Glory, p. 231)
C. The story of the miraculous deliverance of the Israelites from their bondage to Egypt—representing the world and sin, and their subsequent unbelief due to the inhabitants in the land whom they feared, followed by forty years in the desert is well known, but do you remember Rahab’s remarkable disclosure to the two spies in Jericho?
1. Joshua 2:8-11 “Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men, ‘I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.’”

D. What a revelation! Here, God’s children wandered for 40 years in the desert because of their unbelief, while God’s enemies, on the other hand, feared the Lord because they believed that the God who had dried up the water of the Red Sea was the God in heaven and on earth. Absolutely amazing, yet dreadfully sad! God’s own children, who had been promised the land by their Almighty Lord who had already proved to them over and over of His powerful might, were afraid of taking dominion because of the inhabitants of the land who were sorely afraid of these same people because of their God. For 40 years they wandered when they could have been taking dominion for God’s glory. Where are we today in this country? Aren’t we wandering because of our unbelief? Whom do we serve? Do we truly know? Do not we serve the mighty God of heaven who has legions of angels to assist His earthly sons? Let us be very careful, for the very first men to be thrown into the lake of fire are cowards and unbelievers.
1. Revelation 21:7,8 “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Cowards and unbelievers! Oh, let us encourage one another to press on toward the mark, regardless of the apparent giants who seemingly stand in our way, for we serve a powerful God who blesses His children with victory.

E. Now let us go back and see exactly what God had His children to do.
1. Deuteronomy 1:7-8,21,26-46 “Turn and set your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites, and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland and in the Negev and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. See, I have placed the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to them and their descendants after them…. See, the LORD your God has placed the land before you; go up, take possession, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear or be dismayed…. Yet you were not willing to go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God; and you grumbled in your tents and said, ‘Because the LORD hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us. Where can we go up? Our brethren have made our hearts melt, saying, “The people are bigger and taller than we; the cities are large and fortified to heaven. And besides, we saw the sons of the Anakim there.”’ Then I said to you, ‘Do not be shocked nor fear them. The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place.’ But for all this, you did not trust the LORD your God, who goes before you on your way, to seek out a place for you to encamp, in fire by night and cloud by day, to show you the way in which you should go. Then the LORD heard the sound of your words, and He was angry and took an oath, saying, ‘Not one of these men, this evil generation, shall see the good land which I swore to give your fathers, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and to his sons I will give the land on which he has set foot, because he has followed the LORD fully.’ The LORD was angry with me also on your account, saying, ‘Not even you shall enter there. Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall enter there; encourage him, for he will cause Israel to inherit it. Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them, and they shall possess it. But as for you, turn around and set out for the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea.’ Then you said to me, ‘We have sinned against the LORD; we will indeed go up and fight, just as the LORD our God commanded us.’ And every man of you girded on his weapons of war, and regarded it as easy to go up into the hill country. And the LORD said to me, ‘Say to them, “Do not go up nor fight, for I am not among you; otherwise you will be defeated before your enemies.”’ So I spoke to you, but you would not listen. Instead you rebelled against the command of the LORD, and acted presumptuously and went up into the hill country. The Amorites who lived in that hill country came out against you and chased you as bees do, and crushed you from Seir to Hormah. Then you returned and wept before the LORD; but the LORD did not listen to your voice nor give ear to you. So you remained in Kadesh many days, the days that you spent there.”
2. Numbers 14:1,11,12,20,21 “Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night…. The LORD said to Moses, ‘How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they.’ … [After Moses pleaded for the people] So the LORD said, ‘I have pardoned them according to your word; but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD.’”
a. God’s purpose will be accomplished with us or in spite of us, for He will fill all the earth with the glory of Himself. Do we take possession of every conversation for God’s glory? Do we take possession of every area of life for His glory? Just how faithful are we?

F. To those who have eyes to see, there is no doubt of God’s chastening upon America’s apostasy. Remember Woody Guthrie’s song, “This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land”? Does this great land belong to everyone? I think not. This land was established on a firm foundation of God’s Word. Therefore, we should not only be offended at the sin that prevails, but also outraged over the erosion of our godly heritage. It is time for us as Christians to take seriously our responsibility to take back dominion of the land for God’s glory, or our children will not have a semblance of the Christian nation that God had established for His purpose of righteousness. We have a responsibility to rebuild America’s Christian foundation, which begins with educating our children.

As we have demonstrated, the Puritans came to take possession of this land for the glory of God as they explicitly determined to govern themselves, their families, their churches, and their civil government according to His Word. This noble body committed to God’s calling and stands as a glorious witness to the blessings that God promises if we remain faithful to Him. Are we willing to bow our heads and bend our knees in submission to our Lord? Are we willing to repent of our gross sins and commit ourselves to a lifelong endeavor of studying God’s Word and His History through the works of others who have gone before us to train us up in His ways? Are we willing to leave the comfort and safety of our present endeavors, roll up our sleeves, and get to work in teaching transgressors their ways to bring this country back to its righteous beginnings?

IF MY PEOPLE WILL FALL UPON THEIR FACES
A. Let each of us come together and commit ourselves to knowing the depth of our sinful nature, daily confessing known sins and seeking His light to shine on those yet unknown to our prejudiced good opinion of ourselves. Let us put aside our independence and join in one accord, to claim our total dependence on God, for which we can do nothing but for the grace He gives to us. Let us particularly beg forgiveness for our indulgence in our pleasure seeking and negligence of sacrificial living for advancing His Kingdom, for our failure to speak His Word to all people in all places, and pledge ourselves to live according to His precepts in all areas of our lives. And finally, let us resolve to commit ourselves, our lives, our possessions, our labor to serving the Lord in making disciples and teaching them all Christ commanded, knowing full well that “righteousness exalts a nation.” Proverbs 14:34

LET US COVENANT WITH GOD AND ONE ANOTHER TO RAISE THE MUDDY STANDARD
 Our time has come! For the past 23 years, God has provided our families with a wealth of godly speakers who have instructed and nurtured us. Now is the time to rise up and take our candles that others have kindled and each light a thousand other candles so that the light of God’s Word and His Story may penetrate into the abject darkness that has fallen upon our nation.
 Let us be those living stones in 1 Peter 2:5,9: “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ…. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
 Read Deuteronomy 28 to your children so they may know the Lord whom they serve and how to serve Him. Christ came to kill self so that He might possess His children. Lead your family in repentance. Give them assurance that nothing in our Christian heritage has ever been gained without great hardship, but when God imparts affliction, commitment to Him and to His service and to His Body increases anew.
 Fear and despair are powerful weapons in the hand of the enemy, yet God turns His warriors’ fear into courage and despair into active duty when they turn back to Him. Habakkuk 3:17-19: “Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places.”

VICTORY IS OURS
 In Matthew 16:18, Christ promises that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His church—that is us. The blood of Christ has defeated our enemy, so when we, His body, attack the gates of hell, the gates shall not prevail because “all authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). “You therefore, beloved…be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:17,18).
 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:18-23).
 “…Walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:17-24).
 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). We are urgently calling all of you to singleness of purpose—that of laboring to know God and making Him known by instructing your children, your families, your neighbors, and your local church in God’s Word, God’s Providential History, and God’s economics.