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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Chris Hodges » Chris Hodges - The Old Testament

Chris Hodges - The Old Testament

Chris Hodges - The Old Testament
TOPICS: What The Bible Is All About

Well, hello, church family. How's everybody doing today? I said how are you doing today, everybody? Oh, come on, this is the day the Lord has made, and we will rejoice. Amen, everybody? It's good to see you. A big hello to all of our campuses, who've had their own service, up to this moment, and now we are joining together for this message together, because we're one church in 26 locations across Alabama and Georgia; and, of course, there are people watching us online or streaming it on demand throughout the week. And I'm so honored that we're also in 22 auditoriums in the Alabama Department of Corrections. What a joy and an honor to be with the men and women there today.

Grants Mill, do me a favor. Put your hands together and say the biggest hello. Come on, everybody who's watching. Awesome, thank you for that. We're beginning a brand-new series today, a four-part series called, "What the Bible Is All About," and this is in response to your questions that you gave us at Easter time. I think you guys know this. We just came out of a five-part series, and the top six questions that you had for us at our Easter survey, we dealt with five of them in the previous message series, and then one of them, I think it was the second most asked question was, "I don't understand the Bible at all. I love it, I want to read it, but I don't know what I'm reading. I don't understand it".

And so instead of trying to bring a single message on what the Bible is all about, we need at least four, actually, we need a whole year's worth, explain it to you, but we want to give you a four-part overview of the Bible. We're going to start today with the Old Testament, next Sunday the Gospels, the next Sunday the book of Acts, and then finally end it with the rest of the New Testament, and we think we're gonna give you this overview. This actually came out of a class that I taught at Highlands College several years ago that was very, very popular, and I took some of the elements. Of course, I've been studying all week and beyond, honestly, to bring even new content with you. You'll see a few smatterings of some things that if you've been around years, you would've heard in series that we've done on the Bible, but we've never done one exactly like this.

But I'll just tell you up front, it's got a little preach in it here and there, everybody, okay? There's a few places I hope your heart's moved, and you're gonna say a good amen. But for the most part, this is a class, and I'm gonna teach you what I know about the Bible and help explain it to you, so that you enjoy reading it. Because listen to me. I want you to enjoy reading your Bible, and I want you to read your Bible every day, not because you have to, but because you want to. This is my Bible right here. I never bring it out of the house, ever. I mean, I made the exception today. I'll never forget, I was on a trip to San Diego to speak at a conference there in San Diego, and then I was going up to the San Francisco area to do a conference, and I had just arrived, and the person who was hosting me picked me up and brought me to a restaurant in the old city of San Diego.

And when we got back to the car, there was nothing in the car, including all of my luggage, my computer, everything. We had been robbed while we were eating lunch. And right before I left for that trip, it was the very first time I had this moment of while I was packing that I said, "I don't think I'm going to bring my Bible this time". I had this sense in my spirit, this is the honest-to-God truth, that I would hate if I ever lost this Bible. I've been carrying this Bible since 1982. I've had it rebound three times, and I just love it. I don't know where things are in the Bible, but I know where they are in this Bible. You know what I'm saying? And I know which side of the page every verse, you could name a verse, and I could tell you which side of the page it's on in this one.

I love it. It sits by my little chair. I have a chair in my basement office that sits by a window with a little hummingbird feeder up to my left, and I've got a little round coffee table with this Bible on it and a candle, and it's a manly scent, and so anyway, before you think something weird, okay? And so I go straight to the coffee pot when I wake up. I'm up early. I'm a very early riser, and so I usually get up before Tammy, but Tammy always sets the coffeepot to go off early in the morning. So, when I walk in the kitchen, it's already got that smell, that heavenly bean juice. Come on, somebody, right? And I grab a cup of coffee, go straight down to my chair, and the first thing that I do in my time with God, because I really, I don't have the energy to worship or to pray, yet, so I just love opening up the Word of God.

And if I'm honest with you, I could get stuck doing just that. I've oftentimes read the Bible throughout my whole devotional time, because this is the part of devotions that's not hard for me. Now, prayer is still a discipline for me, and worship. You know, I have to almost make myself do it, because I love God's Word. In my little discipline that I've been doing since I was in my 20s is to read through what's called the One Year Bible, and the One Year Bible gives you four readings: an Old Testament, a New Testament, a Psalm, and a Proverb. And I like that, because it kind of gives you a balanced diet, and then, you know, especially, like, if you're ever, when you're in the Old Testament part, where it's all the begats for like six chapters, you know, it kind of gives you a Psalm and a Proverb, something fresh, but there's always something fresh in it.

My pastor, Larry Stockstill, wrote a devotional years ago that kind of ties the four readings together in one simple paragraph, thought. All of that is on our app, and all of that is on our website, so you can read through it. I actually have the hard copy of that devotional, because I hate actually going to anything digital before I've had my time with God. I don't use the online stuff that we even provide for you, because if I see one little red dot over a message icon or email icon, I can't not look. I know. Because I empty my inbox every day. I don't have 10,000 emails unread. There are zero emails unread in my inbox. That's just, I'm a Christian. And so I can't handle it. So, if I see it, I get distracted, I end up doing work, and I don't need to do that.

So, I have a discipline that nothing goes digital, nothing goes digital until I've spent time with God. But I start with the Bible, and I read those readings, and that's just my beginning point. Many times I go off, obviously, off the One Year Bible readings, but they speak to me every single day; and you might think this is weird, but before I finish, I close this Bible, and the Bible said that "Your Word is like honey on my lips". It's not something I have to do; it's something I love to do, and I actually, before I put my Bible down, I kiss my Bible, and I just tell God how much I love his Word. And I lay it down, and then I get into the other parts of my devotional time.

And if I had one thing that I would want for you is I'd want you to love God's Word. I hate the way that much of the church and people are kind of moving away from God's Word, kind of creating their truth, and his Word is truth, John 17, and this is where it's found, and I want you to love it. Well, you can't love it if you don't understand it right? So that's my job today, and so I'm going to show you two of my favorite Bible tools that I use, and the first one is called the Halley's Bible Handbook, over six million copies. I put it on the screen so you can see it a little bit better, but the Halley's Bible Handbook. It looks like this. It's kind of short and stocky, but it's got really easy to read explanations of everything in the Bible.

So, if you're serious about that, answering that question, if you're the one to put it there, saying, "Look, I need more than a 30-minute message, I need to dig into this thing," this is your tool. So simple to read, explains everything. And then even a little bit more easier to read, it's my favorite even of the two, and it's called "What the Bible Is All About," written by a lady named Henrietta C. Mears. Henrietta Mears was a Bible teacher. She was probably one of the best Bible teachers of the 20th century, and she actually taught, she was over the Education Department of the Sunday School of the Presbyterian Church in California. She was at First Presbyterian in Hollywood, and she had under her tutelage people like Dr. Bill Bright, you know, and people that we know today that really impacted the world.

Very simple to read, very simple to read, explains where the Bible comes from, every little chapter, who wrote it, why they wrote it, what's the theme? I can't tell you how simple of a read this is, and I still go to it whenever I want to look up some fresh thoughts about God's Word. This one is red cover. If you go to Amazon, it's probably not going to look like this, because this is the King James Version of her book. The NIV version, which is the most popular that most people order is purple and gold, and I'm not making that up. But I love saying it. I just, the colors of heaven. That's all I'm gonna say, because I want to keep my church. Okay, everybody, all right.

So, go Tigers. Okay, all right, all right. Took too long to build this thing to ruin it in one statement. So, all right, here we go. But let me talk to you about the Bible. So, the word Bible just simply means book. Okay? It's biblios in the Greek. There was actually a town in Greece called Biblos, Biblos, and Biblos was the number one importer, exporter of papyrus, paper. So, the books of the day were bound and found in Biblos, and that's actually where the word comes from. Of course, our Bible doesn't just say Bible. It's the Holy Bible. It's the book that has been set apart. It is the number one most read, most translated, most distributed book in the history of mankind. Why? Because it's holy. It is holy. It is God's Word. It was written over a period of 1600 years in over a dozen countries on three continents by 40 people in three languages: Hebrew, Old Testament; and then Aramaic and Greek, New Testament.

What's interesting is even though it happened over 1600 years and by at least 40 people, even though they didn't know each other, and time separated them by that much, they got the same story. Now, you would think, if it was one person writing one book, I mean, the Quran written by one person, Mohammad, the Analects, Confucius, one person, the writings of Buddha, one person, you'd expect that to be uniform, if one person wrote it. But this Bible was written by poets, prophets, farmers, kings, soldiers, shepherds, princes, priests, historians, fishermen, tax collectors, scholars, businessmen, and doctors, and they still got the same story without contradiction, and the reason is there really is only one author of the Bible, and his name is God.

So, men and women just held the pen, but God actually wrote the Bible. It is inspired by the Holy Spirit. In fact, what we believe, as Christians, is that all Scripture is not only written by God, but it's God breathed. Like, his power is in the pages. So, Jesus said it this way, for you extra note takers, and by the way, all of this that I'm showing you is on your app, if you want to follow along, fill in the blanks, take extra notes, but Jesus said in John 6:63, for you extra note takers, "The words I've spoken to you aren't just words. They're spirit". They have the power to fulfill themselves. In the words themselves comes power for their own fulfillment, and it's useful for teaching, notice the list, to teach you, but also to rebuke and correct you. And I say this in the face of a culture that says, "No, just tell me the parts of the Bible that affirm me, love me, and let me be who I am".

It doesn't do that. It'll show you who you're not and who you can become, and the job of the Bible is not for us to... it to change to fit our lives. It's for our lives to change to fit it. Can I hear a good amen, everybody, right? We believe that. It will train you in righteousness, so that you, the servants of God, may be thoroughly equipped for your marriage, your attitude, your business, your money. It speaks to every part of life. It is God's autobiography. It is his redemption plan to man. And today I'm going to give you the overview of the Old Testament. To do that, I need to tell you what the word "testament" means. So, the word "testament" means covenant, and that one probably didn't help you much better. So, the covenant is the pact of the type of relationship that God would have with people. It's an agreement. It's how the relationship is going to be formed, and there are actually three different types of pacts or relationships of God and man in the Bible.

And so there was the first one with Abraham before there was an Old Testament law. There was no stone tablets. Moses came much later. And you had a right relationship, you were justified by faith alone, just by believing in God. Well, man kind of goes their own way so badly, that's when we get the tower of Babel, and the flood, and all these stories that, basically, God gives us this new relationship through the law of Moses on Mount Sinai. We'll tell you more about that in just a second. And then that new pact, or covenant, or testament is basically that we have some rules, and when we get the rules wrong, we shed blood, and animals were sacrificed; of course, in the New Testament, God did away with that covenant, and that's why the New Testament or the New Covenant was done once and for all, shed by the blood of Jesus, and man is completely redeemed, forgiven, and shown mercy through the blood of Jesus to all those who would receive him, okay?

So, when you read the Old Testament or the Old Covenant, it still teaches you some things, though, about our New Covenant. In fact, there are many pictures and many examples, and then the principles are timeless and beautiful, the Psalms, the Proverbs, there's so many beautiful things that we still take over in today, but we are not living in the Old Testament covenant. We are living in the New. Let me give it to you this way. The Old Testament tells the story about a people, the children of Israel, the chosen people of Israel. The New Testament tells a story about a person, and we'll do that next week when we talk about the Gospels, and we talk about Jesus. The Old Testament centers around Abraham and Moses, so this is the faith covenant, and then the law covenant; but the New Testament centers around Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

So, Jesus takes care of it all, and now we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us to live it out. The Old Testament gathers around Mount Sinai. So the center moment, the biggest moment, I think, of the Old Testament is when the law was given; and the New Testament centers around the cross. The Old Testament shows the wrath of God against sin, with a few smatterings of mercy and grace in the Old Testament; but the New Testament shows the grace of God against sinners, with a few smatterings of the wrath of God, like Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts, okay. The Old Testament, this was the big one, it's like this is the gist of the whole thing. If you're trying to understand, help me understand this Old Testament, here you go. The Old Testament writes the law externally on tablets. It's a rule book for you to follow.

But the New Testament writes the law on us, and we're changed and transformed. And on this one you have to do it, and on this one you want to do it, because it's in you. It's who you've become, and this is the beauty of it. So, do we still read it? Of course, we do. Jesus himself said, "Do not think I've come to abolish the law and the prophets. I've not come to abolish them. I came to fulfill them. I came to bring real meaning to them". All right, so I want to do two things, actually, I want to do three things to help you understand it, and you're going to hear the same principles that I've already shared with you over and over, because I'm just trying to help you understand the Old Testament; and at the very end, we're going to read the last book of the Old Testament, the last chapter, and I think it's going to speak to you in a great way, and that'll kind of be the preach and ministry time that I want you to prepare your hearts for, because I believe God has a word for you, today.

But if you're going to read the Old Testament, really read the Bible at all, you need to know that when it was put together, these books, these 66 books, 39 Old Testament books, 27 New Testament, that they didn't organize these books chronologically. So, it doesn't read like a book. Okay? And that's probably one of the most helpful things to people. I'll never forget I had a guy come up to me one time. He said, "Man, I'm reading. I was reading. I started the New Testament. I was reading Matthew. And, man, he just rose from the dead, and then he was a baby again, like in the next chapter". Like, you know, because I had to tell him there were four accounts of one story. "Oh". He really honestly did not know that. Most of you knew that. Well, that's why it's important to understand how it's put together.

So, in the Old Testament, there were actually four sections of types of books, and they're not chronological. In other words, they're not put out in order of time. Let me share that to you. The first five are called the Pentateuch. The Jewish people call it the Torah, but it's the law books, Genesis through Deuteronomy, and this will take you from Garden of Eden to the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, okay? So, this gives you all the way even to their journey in the wilderness. The history books, there are 12 of them, and these, for the most part, read like a story. So, if you started in Joshua, it begins with the children of Israel wandering in the desert, which is today Saudi Arabia, and to enter into their Promised Land, and it takes them all the way through the Babylonian exile, where they were taken into modern day Iraq as slaves for 70 years and then returned.

And the last ones of the history books are gonna give you not only that time period, but also the return, how they came and rebuilt the wall and rebuilt the temple again. Then you have a whole section of five books that are poetry and wisdom, that if you read a chronological Bible, and I have a chronological Bible, so you can actually read the Bible chronologically if you have a chronological Bible, and it'll take some of the Psalms and insert them in 1 Samuel, where David actually wrote that Psalm, and I've done that several years, just read the Bible that kind of way. It's kind of interesting if you want to try that sometime. But we have five poetical books, and then finally you have 17 prophet books, and even those are in two sections. The first five are what they call major prophets, and not major because they're better, major just because they're long. They're really long.

And then 12 minor ones because they're really, really short. Okay? So, that's how that's organized. And to kind of give you the overview, I thought I'd just tell it to you in story form. Gather around, children. I'm gonna tell you a story, okay? And I really do, I just want to tell you the story of the Old Testament, so you can see. It's actually quite simple, because, you know, God created man and woman to be in relationship with him in a place called Eden. That was paradise. And I need you to see where this all begins, because this is where it all ends, too. God has always just wanted to be in relationship with you. And then in chapter 3 of Genesis, Satan and sin enter into the picture and destroy people's hearts. And what it led to is two things. Sin always does two things.

By the way, it still does it, today. And this is, by the way, how you know if you're in sin, because you'll feel a separation from God, that he never wanted. And then chaos enters into your life; and if God seems a million miles away, and if your life is in chaos, there's sin that God can reconcile today, and you can have closeness with God, and you can have peace in the middle of your chaos. That's always been his plan. But men went their own way and because there was no covenant, they decided to create a one world government. They gathered together to build a tower of Babel. They spoke the same language, and we're gonna rule the earth. And God, of course, confused their languages. That's when the languages and the nations were born, and they went their own way. And God raises up a chosen people, the Hebrew people, to be God's chosen people, and he raised up this man named Abraham. And God promised him a son and made generations, and God was real slow in keeping that promise.

So, Abraham went his own way, and took his handmaid and Hagar and had a child with her named Ishmael. And Ishmael, to this day, you can trace all of the Arab nations back to Israel, 12 Arab nations. The 12 tribes of Ishmael, if you will, back to Ishmael and then, of course, when he was 100 years old, he had another son, through his wife, Sarah, and his name was Isaac, and Isaac, I mean, I'm sorry, yeah, Isaac. And Isaac had a son named Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. And Jacob had 12 sons, and those are, to this day, you can trace the Jewish nation back to the 12 tribes of Israel, these 12 sons, the 11th of which was Daddy's favorite. That always creates a problem when that happens, right? And the other brothers couldn't stand him, so they sold him. They trafficked him into slavery, and it ended up in an Egyptian home by a guy named Potiphar, and then ends up, actually, in the palace of Pharaoh himself, second in command, and God gives old Joseph a dream that there's going to be a famine, and Pharaoh believes it and says, "Okay, what do we do about that"? He says, "We're gonna store up food for seven years, and then when the whole world falls apart, man, we're gonna have, all these seven years of famine, we're gonna have money and people, everybody's gonna come and buy from us".

And then here came Joseph's 11 old brothers to buy food. Joseph reveals himself to them, and they actually end up moving the whole family, the 12 tribes, these 12 sons to Egypt. Well, it was fine because they had a Pharaoh who was so nice, and he loved Joseph, but time passed, 400 years passed, and now Pharaoh was extremely mean and, you know, just, in fact, he was so threatened by the Jewish people, because they were multiplying, and they were so blessed that he enslaved them. And you've seen the movies, you've seen the Moses stories, and God raises up a Hebrew boy named Moses, who would be the deliverer of the people. And after 400 years of slavery, defeats Pharaoh and takes him out of Egypt to go back to the Promised Land. And on the way back, they stop at a mountain called Sinai. Some places call it Horeb, and it was there that the law was given, and that's when the covenant changed from faith to now, through animal sacrifice, if you didn't follow this rule book, this law, that you have to do, and they actually ended up going back into the Promised Land through Joshua and the rest of the Old Testament.

It's kind of sad, actually, because you see them following God and then not following God, and following God and not following God. In fact, they even have a civil war, and the 12 tribes separate into ten and two: Israel and Judah. It's kind of sad to read, honestly. And then, of course, they were warned by God, warned by God through all these prophets, kept telling them, "You'd better not do this, or God's going to hand you over," and they ignored it. And so they spent 70 years in Babylon as exiles, and come back, and that's the end of your Old Testament. In fact, at the end of all that, after they come back, there's 400 years of silence, and then God brings Jesus and the New Covenant. And even in Hebrews chapter 8, it says, "Because God found fault with his own covenant", he says, "You know what? It didn't work". And, of course, we, as believers, think God had to show that it wouldn't work, because we'd keep trying to do it on our own through our works.

So, God allows the Old Testament, just to show us that it won't work that way, and that you can have it through Jesus, and you can have a transformation of the heart. And check this out. Scattered all throughout the Old Testament, 400 times are predictions, prophecies about Jesus, that he fulfilled to the letter, that there would be this New Covenant. I want to show you one. Because this is the one that Hebrews 8 actually gives us. Are you guys getting this? I love this. This is so much fun. All right, all right, just telling you the story. Okay? Okay. So, here's Jeremiah. This is one of those major prophets, okay, 'cause it's long at 31 chapters. Okay, it's long. And he says, "The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a," here it is, "I'm going to make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah," because remember those two tribes. They had that civil war.

"And it will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand. So, it's not going to be like what I gave Moses. It's going to be different, because they broke my covenant, even though", look at the language. "I don't want to be their God. I didn't want to be their statue. I didn't want to be their church service. I wanted to be their husband. Like, I was looking for something way more intimate and more relational. I was looking for something much more endearing". Look at me. And he still is. If you think this is all about going to church, and checking your spiritual box, and kind of being a good enough person to tip the scales, so you can make it into heaven, you have missed the point of the Bible. God has always wanted a relationship with you, always has, always has, yeah.

Come on, clap, if you really believe it. All right. "But this is the covenant I'm going to make, and it's going to be different, because I'm going to put the laws in their mouths. It will not be external. It's going to be internal, and I'm going to write it not on a tablet. I'm going to write it on their hearts". That literally means you're going to become it. You're going to want it. And if there's a single message of Church of the Highlands, you just heard it, and that is, is that we'll never hear, "You gotta, you gotta, you gotta". And I know there's places where we have to be obedient. We do things that we don't feel. I understand that. I have to do that, too. But God always intended for you to want to read your Bible, want to pray, want to spend time with God. Can't wait for Sundays. Can't wait to share your faith, cannot wait, can't wait, can't wait, can't wait. And even Jesus says, "If you love me, you will keep my commands".

And if you read that with Old Testament eyes, here's how it reads: "If you love me, prove it by keeping my commandments. Don't tell me you love me if you're not doing what I told you to do". But that's not what it says. In the New Testament it says, "If you fall in love with me, you'll do my commands," because they're in you. They become who you are. 1 John even says that they are no longer burdensome, because you want to do them. And that's why we tell you that you don't have to just keep his commands; you can fall in love with God, and his commands become your delight, not your duty. Come on, somebody, that'll preach right there. That's good stuff right there. And he goes on to say, "I will be their God, and they're going to be my people, and no longer will someone have to teach you, 'Hey, it's Sunday, go to church. Hey, it's morning time, read your Bible.'" No, no, no, you'll say, "I'll do it because I know him, I know the Lord". "They will all know me, and I'll forgive their wickedness".

That was in the first covenant, by the way. If you killed an animal, your sins were paid for; but in the New Covenant, "I'll remember them no more". In the Old Covenant, here's your sins, blood covers it; in the New Testament, God washes them away. He doesn't even remember them. And that's why I can't wait next week for you to hear the New Covenant, and the church history, and how God has changed our life, but still having an appreciation and an understanding of the Old Covenant. You got it, everybody? Okay, there's one more thing that I love to show, and then I'm going to end with the last verse of the Old Testament. And I call it the mirror image. I found this years ago. I did not create this. I cannot find the author of this, or I would give them credit. I've been teaching it for 20 years now. I've given up, okay? But it's not mine, but it's pretty cool. It's called the mirror image, and it begins with God and righteous people in paradise.

That's the Garden of Eden. And notice again, it started in paradise, and then Satan and sin enter into the world. That's Genesis chapter 3. And then the world is judged and destroyed. That's Noah, the flood, okay, and then there's a one-world government. That's the tower of Babel, where they said, "Hey, we'll be our own God. We'll reach to the stars". Okay? God says, "Nah, you're not doing that. So, I'm going to raise up some order, a government through the 12 tribes of Israel". They are the chosen nation, and that's why, by the way, we still honor the Jewish people, and that's why we give to the gospel in Israel. And by the way, we're also giving to... we had one of the churches that we support. It's an Arab church in Nazareth, who was raising up supplies to serve Jewish displaced people. We give to people in need. Amen, everybody? Y'all with me?

All right. But then you enter Jesus Christ. And notice I have him at the top and at the center, and that's where you need to have him, who came up with a new order through the 12 disciples, called it local church, God's holy people, and then eventually it's gonna go back to a one world system. We're in that process right now. The world is no longer, it'd take too much time to talk about it, but the world, through China, Russia, Iran, America is losing its strength. I think it's, personally, it's losing its strength and influence because of our own immorality. It's happening in our nation, right now, and others are rising up, and it's setting itself up for what God already predicted. And I don't say that to scare you. I say that to prepare you. But this, the dynamics that are happening in the news, right now, line up with biblical prophecy, where the world once more will be judged and destroyed.

This is the tribulation. This is going to happen, Revelation 6 through 19. But then Satan and sin exit. This is Revelation chapter 20. The devil is defeated once and for all, and then we return to God, and not righteous, but God and redeemed, forgiven people in paradise. And notice with me that it begins in paradise, and it ends in paradise, because that's where God's always wanted you. And for those of you guys that are trying to capture this on your screen... I see the phones up, I'm going to put this whole thing on the app today, so you can have it, all right, so you can get it. But you know what the closest word in the Hebrew and Greek to paradise is? It's resort. It's not fat baby on a cloud playing a harp. That's not paradise. That's hell. Okay, everybody?

I know what your heaven pictures are. They're usually wrong. It's resort, because he wants to be a husband to his bride, the church, and he wants that relationship with us, and he doesn't want religion. He doesn't want duty. He wants your heart changed, where you want to do it. I don't stay in love with Tammy because I have to. I said better or worse, and I'm still here. Nah, I don't even have to work at it. I don't not commit adultery because there's a verse that says don't. I don't want to, because I'm in love, and that's what God wants. And that's why the whole Old Testament ends this way: "The Lord of the Heaven's Armies says, 'The day of judgment is coming.'"

And again, I'm not trying to scare you. I'm trying to prepare you. That day is coming, and it's coming faster than even I thought. And this is just not a time not to have your house in order. "It's coming like a burning furnace. On that day the arrogant, the wicked will be burned up like straw, and they will be consumed, the roots, the branches, and all. But for you who fear my name, you are not going to be affected by the end times, church. You're going to rise with healings in your wings, and you will go free, leaping with joy". In the middle of all the chaos, we're gonna have peace, joy, love, and then we're gonna do everything we can to help the people around the world show them that love, in Jesus's name.

"And on the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet," says the Lord of the Heaven's Armies. "But you, what you need to do is love the Word of God, obey the Word of God and all the decrees and regulations that I gave Moses on Mount Sinai". Which when he says this, he's going, "And I know you can't do it, because they're on tablets. So, look, I'm going to send you a prophet Elijah," and he's speaking of John the Baptist, "who's going to prepare the way for a new way of doing this thing before I destroy the world".

And that's what we're going to study next Sunday. God said, "I've got a plan before all this judgment comes. I've got another Elijah coming to prepare the way for the Messiah, Jesus, before that, and his preaching," and there it is, the last verses of the Old Testament, "aren't going to be on tablets. I'm going to write them on your hearts and on the hearts of your children. And, in fact, if I didn't do that, the whole earth is doomed".

And it is. And that's why there's no politician who could solve what's going on. There's no agreement between nations that's going to solve it, nothing. The only thing that can change the world is the love of Jesus and transform hearts, and only God can do that. Only God can do that. Which brings me back to something I felt like the Holy Spirit wanted me to say to you, and that is if your heart's troubled, and your life's chaotic, you need Jesus. I'm not saying anything around you is going to change, but I'm saying something could be written on your heart.

And what would it be like if all the things you've ever done, thought, felt, all the shame, guilt, mistakes, hurts, were not just forgiven, but removed, removed, washed away, and you had a relationship with God, who began to write principles, and life, that become the delight of your life to do. I'm gonna tell you, it's gonna be peace. Everybody's crying out for peace right now. We need peace. No, we need peace here, right here, and that can happen in one moment. And I felt like the Lord asked me to pray peace over you today. If your life is full of chaos and trouble, the peace of God is available for you right now. Would you close your eyes and open your hands right there where you are?

And, Father, I pray for the people of God, today. As we've just taken a deep dive into the Old Testament. God, I know that the whole purpose of it, you just want to be close to us, and you want to take all the chaos and disorder out of our lives to bring us peace in paradise. And so, Father, I pray that over everyone under the sound of my voice at every campus, every correctional facility, every computer, that your peace, your presence touch their lives today. And, God, let it draw them to a relationship with Jesus.

Keep your heads bowed, but you can put your hands down. And today, if you need that relationship with Jesus, it's a pact, it's a relationship, it's a covenant, and it's just like a wedding. So, I'm the preacher at the altar, and here you are; and if you want to be wed with Jesus, if you want to be in a relationship with Jesus, okay, you recite vows. You make a commitment, a covenant, a testament. If today you want to make a testament, a covenant, it's not with Church of the Highlands. It's with God, through his Son, Jesus. You ready? Here you go. Say:

Jesus, today I choose you to be in covenant. I make a testament of my faith, that I am now in relationship with you. Forgive me for living my life without you. Come live inside of me and begin writing on my heart all of who you are, because I believe you're the Son of God, who died and rose again, and today I enter into this covenant to love you, serve you, and be with you forever. Thank you for setting me free. In your name I pray, amen.

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