This week we looked at the account of Abijah in 2 Chronicles and 1 Kings as we see how it's important to not be complacent in our walk with the Lord and how we should finish strong.
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good morning good morning welcome you're welcome if you're new here among us my name is gene i serve here at c3 church as your lead pastor and i wonder do you remember the story of the tortoise and the hare do you remember that story we've been looking at all these old stories usually from our childhood and we notice like sometimes the details are fuzzy we don't always get it quite right it doesn't help that there's a lot of versions of these stories or modern adaptations but if we look at the tortoise and the hair this is the basic premise for that story you have a turtle and a rabbit and so the rabbit is making fun of this turtle you're so slow how do you get anywhere the turtle responds by challenging the rabbit to a race okay strange already so some versions of the story have a fox in it and the fox is like this officiant he's going to be at the starting line right below the whistle whatever it is and so yeah the turtle and the rabbit go well we knew what was going to happen the rabbit leaves him in the dust he's gone but the rabbit says hmm i'm not done toying with this turtle i got this so he kind of becomes complacent and he says let me just take a nap by this tree here well meanwhile the turtle is just maintaining a pretty consistent and steady pace finally passes by the rabbit quietly turtles are kind of quiet right well sure enough the turtle makes it right near the finish line and the rabbit wakes up whoa rabbit darts off to try to catch up but it's too little too late the turtle wins the race today we'll see that sometimes we start off really well but then we don't finish so strong we're going to look at complacency today and the rest of the story last time we looked at rehoboam and jeroboam so if you're new here you don't know what's going on i'll connect a few dots you can always go back and watch the sermons to catch up but you probably know who king david is maybe you know who king solomon is well rehoboam is solomon's son so david's grandson jeroboam is the king of the north we looked at a split kingdom they have like a civil war so to speak there's a split kingdom now jeroboam is raised up against rehoboam for the sin of his family and him the kingdom is torn from solomon we saw that prophet came in there so now we're going to continue here today we'll be looking at abaja and aso we're going to focus on the kings of the south these descendants of david so rehoboam's son and rehoboam's grandson as we go down the line we're going to look at the theme of consistency and perseverance versus complacency i made another chart i'm going to hurt myself leaning over like that someday no i did not draw that someone else did it for me i told you before if i drew it he'd have bigger muscles but it's pretty realistic drawing i think but we see that there are books of the bible that run in parallel the bible is not one book it is a whole bunch of different books a collection of different books and some of them tell the same story with different details and that's what we're seeing here that's what makes it kind of confusing this week we're gonna stay in second chronicles a little more because as we can see it gives us more details but we're gonna hop back and forth when we see little differences nothing contradicts itself but just different perspectives on certain things so we see that there's war between judah and israel now after this split so we'll just continue here second chronicles 13 1. abigail began to rule over judah in the 18th year of jeroboam's reign in israel he reigned in jerusalem three years his mother was meika the daughter of uriel from gibeah then war broke out between abijah and jeroboam judah led by king abbaya fielded select warriors this is in the south while jeroboam mustered eight hundred thousand select troops from israel when the army of judah arrived in the hill country of ephraim ebijah stood on mount zemerayam and shouted to jeroboam and all israel listen to me don't you realize that the lord the god of israel made a lasting covenant with david giving him and his descendants the throne of israel forever so now abbasia will continue to taunt him he's going to remind jeroboam that he's not legit that's like the basic premise here for this entire argument he's going to remind him about the gold calves he made the doubling down of the sin of aaron in exodus 32. he's twice as bad he doesn't have legitimate worship there in fact anybody anybody in the north and israel can become a priest these days all they need to do is sacrifice a bull and seven goats they're all set they can buy the priesthood but here we have the levites that's the legit line so it's all about lineage he reminds him i'm from the royal line how can you come against me he continues he says the lord fights for us because all this the lord's not with you he's with us so he's got his full trust remember he's got double the people against him he's up there on this mountain with the confidence of the lord we're doing the right thing it's not going to be good for you so here's what it says meanwhile jeroboam had secretly sent part of his army around behind the men of judah to ambush him so he's giving the speech and while he's doing that they're trying to ambush them when judah realized that's the people with the baja realized that they're being attacked from the front and the rear they cried out to the lord for help then the priest blew the trumpets and the men of judah began to shout at the sound of their battle cry god defeated jeroboam in all israel and routed them before ebijah and the army of judah the israelite army fled from judah and god handed them over to judah in defeat ebijah and his army inflicted heavy losses on them 500 000 of israel select troops were killed that day judah defeated israel on that occasion because because they trusted in the lord the god of their ancestors so ebj's army chases them down and then it says that jeroboam will die at a later time the lord strikes him down it says now it seems like ebija is doing really well here putting all his trust in the lord but if we hop back to first kings we're going to see something a little different first kings 15 3 i added abijah because it says he committed the same sins as his father before him and he was not faithful to the lord his god as his ancestor david had been but for david's sake the lord his god allowed his descendants to continue ruling shining like a lamp and he gave abijah a son to rule over him in jerusalem so if we stay in first kings 15 here it's a little shorter we see that ebaji dies we get a summary of his reign it's usually called like an evaluation of the rain this will repeat itself over and over and over again then we get an evaluation and summary of asa's reign his son then two kings of israel and this is interesting nadab and basha we're gonna look a little bit more at basia later so just hang on to that so if we hop back over to second chronicles we get more information regarding asa so that was that middle section on the chart there so let's take a look when elijah died he was buried in the city of david then his son asa became the next king there was peace in the land for 10 years asa did what was pleasing and good in the sight of the lord his god so here we see that there's a period of peace there because asa is making all these religious reforms getting rid of all the pagan worship stuff instituting the good godly stuff telling him you got to follow the law et cetera et cetera he even has this really huge worship service so we'll see that later too he's going to continue this pattern we see that he's a well-trained army 300 000 men from judah and interestingly 280 000 from benjamin so i told you before it's not just the one tribe that's there sometimes it says just one try but then we see benjamin is associated with judah sometimes simeon because if you know the map you know that their territory is located inside of judah so then we see a war between asa and akushite named zarah this guy has one million men now if i'm doing the math quickly in my head here i think judah has 580 000 men so it's almost double the amount of men again this happens so here's what goes on second chronicles 14 11. then asa cried out to the lord his god o lord no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty help us o lord our god for we trust in you alone it is in your name that we have come against this vast horde oh lord you are our god do not let mere men prevail against you so the lord defeated the christians in the presence of asa and the army of judah and the enemy fled again they destroy chase them down plunder some towns and then return to jerusalem if we turn the page enter azariah the prophet second chronicles 15 1. then the spirit of god came upon azariah son of odd and he went out to meet king asa as he was returning from the battle listen to me asa he shouted listen all you people of judah and benjamin the lord will stay with you as long as you stay with him whenever you seek him you will find him but if you abandon him he will abandon you so now asa he hears this message and again he continues with these religious reforms he has a lot of zeal here massive as i said worship service to renew the covenant 700 cattle and 7 000 sheep that's a lot of animal sacrifice peta went nuts very upset he even deposes his grandmother meika this is the king mother at the time she had made an obscene astral astropole this is phallic worship he's gonna cut it up and burn it so he spares no one even his grandma he's like grandma you're wrong okay so we're getting rid of this stuff so if you turn the page ii chronicles 16 1 in the 36th year of aces reign king baisha of israel so that's the north now invades judah and fortified rama in order to prevent anyone from entering or leaving king ace's territory in judah asa responded by removing the silver and gold from the treasuries of the temple of the lord in the royal palace he sent it to king ben haydad different guy of arum who was ruling in damascus along with this message let there be a treaty between you and me like the one between your father and my father see i am sending you silver and gold break your treaty with king baesha of israel so that he will leave me alone well there's king beige as i mentioned earlier so now asa in the south does something a little different this time if you noticed he trusts in himself and his wealth and another man instead of the lord bad move but ben haydad is used to chase away bayesia it kind of seems like it works uses materials to fortify the town so like from our way of thinking a good move not so much ben hayden's line will give them a lot of trouble in the future it was a bad move second chronicles 16 7. at that time hanani the seer came to king asa like a prophet and told him because you have put your trust in the king of aram instead of in the lord your god you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of aram don't you remember what happened to the cushites and the libyans and their vast army with all their chariots and charioteers at that time you relied on the lord and he handed them over to you the eyes of the lord searched the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him what a fool you've been from now on you'll be at war asap became so angry with han and i for saying this that he threw him in prison and put him in the stocks at that time asa also began to oppress some of his people and if we keep reading we're going to notice a pattern of behavior for asa second chronicles 16 11. the rest of the events and aces reign from beginning to end are recorded in the book of the kings of judah and israel in the 39th year of his reign aza developed a serious foot disease yet even with the severity of this disease he did not seek the lord's help but turned only to his physicians so he died in the 41st year of his reign he was buried in the tomb he had carved out for himself in the city of david he was laid on a bed perfumed with sweet spices and fragrant ointments and the people built a huge funeral fire in his honor asa says i got it the baiji and asia do similar things they start off really well and then they blow it they don't finish strong they got complacent and took their eyes off of the lord they did not finish strong they both made the same mistakes that their enemies did who probably thought i got it double the men what could go wrong jeroboam double the men but it didn't matter the lord was not with him same with the cushites against asa one million men almost double the men they probably thought i got this the lord was not with them see what's going on here abaja and ace i don't learn from that like the rabbit they start off really well but they become complacent and they don't finish very strong they become self-reliant and arrogant i got it through these stories we learn the dangers of this type of arrogance and complacency that's the feeling a smug feeling of self-satisfaction over one's own achievements i got this jesus also warns about complacency a couple weeks ago we looked at matthew 23 the woes hypocrites he calls the religious teachers if we turn the page we see matthew 24 be alert is the main theme be ready when the lord comes back again being alert to all these things you're going to know the signs there are going to be tribulations you're going to see false teachers and it's confusing a lot of people don't understand this this in mark 13 because it's kind of like an a b a b thing near future far future near future far future the abomination of desolation in the temple desecrating the temple it's destroyed in 70 a.d jesus predicts that but then he goes to far future times and the point that should not be missed is be ready do not be complacent so he starts to give parables one about his servant he gets drunk he's not ready the lord comes back unexpectedly and throws him out in outer darkness where there'll be weeping and gnashing of teeth and here's what happens sometimes the chapters aren't helpful good for reference but they make us stop sometimes but you interrupted jesus because he's still talking it all goes together the parables are about the same type of things being ready the oil and lamps be ready you have 10 virgins or bridesmaids they're going to the bridegroom's house for the wedding feast five of them are foolish five are wise they bring plenty of oil the wise ones they get there the bridegroom's not there yet they fall asleep bridegroom shows up around midnight hey he's coming they turn on the lamps the foolish ones run out of oil they ask the smart ones can we have oil nope there's not enough to go around go to the store and get some well the bridegroom arrives in the meantime they go to the wedding feast he locks the door the foolish virgins or bride bridesmaids come home you know are there waiting or come to the house let us in get away from me never knew you then he continues jesus is still talking three servants the master goes away on a long trip before he does he gives talents this is silver a talent is about 75 pounds of silver gives them talents or silver according to their abilities to one five talents five bags of silver a lot 75 pounds of silver it's a lot of silver to the other two and then to one one well a longer parable short one with five smart doubles his investments too smart doubles his investments one decides to bury it in the ground does nothing with it the master comes back well done good and faithful slaves he says to the first two i'm going to give you more to those who are faithful with little you'll be given more and the other ones like i was scared of you because you're a hard master so i buried it in the ground he's like you worthless and faithless slave what's wrong with you you could have put it in the bank at least i would have gotten some interest he throws him out in the outer darkness where they'll be weeping and gnashing of teeth jesus keeps talking so a little note here the parable of the talents is no more about like making money then the parable of the bridesmaids is about like saving oil just saying so whenever anyone does that out of context remind them stop interrupting jesus please too many pastors do that so we'll keep going ah so when the son of man comes ah be alert right what was all the other stuff about in 24 he's going to wrap it up here for you when the son of man comes the end be ready be ready because it's gonna be like when a shepherd separates out the sheep from the goats he's gonna put the sheep on his right hand goats on his left to the sheep he says ah come get your inheritance in the kingdom because when you saw me thirsty you gave me something to drink when you saw me hungry you gave me something to eat when you saw me sick you took care of me when i was in prison you visited me when i was homeless you gave me a place to stay and the sheep respond lord when did we ever see you they repeat the things all those different things that which you did to the least of these you did it to me and then the goats you repeat the cycle but in the negative you didn't do any of those things so now into the eternal punishment be ready that's the point we are not to be complacent like han and i said to king asa the eyes of the lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him and jesus's warnings are dire on this subject be alert be ready for his coming he's coming back also only the father knows that's what he says in matthew 24 and this is a funny one i just want to take a minute to really teach you guys something that a lot of christians have forgotten we fall for a lot of false prophets that's one of the warnings that jesus gives in matthew 24 look out for the false prophets they're going to say here's the messiah or i'm the messiah i know everything jesus says he doesn't even know when this is going to happen only the father knows he repeats this in acts 2 says false prophecy it's crazy and people following after them we're trying to figure it out it's an act of disobedience it's a lack of faith because jesus says only the father knows that's it you know better than jesus seriously and here's why like the parable the talents another thing people get very very wrong they miss the point if we knew we could game the system if we knew we could game the system the point is in not knowing faith and obedience we must be in a constant state of readiness that's the point of not knowing when we go try to figure it out or some false prophet tells us when it's going to happen no wrong state of readiness always state of faith always he could come back now or now or now so think about that that's what jesus is saying think about that when you treat other people a certain way he might come back now right after you've cursed someone now right after you've been mean to someone whatever it is goat goat be careful that's the point of these teachings that's why he ends up there be ready all of the time love implicitly love always get your stuff together now be ready don't game the system that's the point jesus is coming back we must be ready for his return at all times not this attitude that some people where oh you know while i'm young i'll just do whatever i want that's cool i'll worry about that whole jesus thing later a lot of people do that jesus is giving some extremely serious warnings be alert watch out don't game the system careful with that we should know this yet some have become complacent they're thinking i got it really okay especially now as a little side note it's been interesting through what we've been going through over the last couple of years there are a lot of people who just stopped coming to church they just stopped they're watching online at home that's it they become complacent now i want to acknowledge a few things before i rebuke a few things i get it some of you have been out of a routine if you're watching at home and i get that but you got to get back in the routine you got to come in here i want to acknowledge another thing it's very real thing i've been hearing about it so i want to acknowledge it some have become anxious you get out of a routine you're not used to being around a whole bunch of people anymore whatever the case may be and you get a little anxious about it some social anxiety i just want to encourage you i'm praying for you because that's not a good kind of fear we talked about that there's kind of like a good fear fear of the lord that's a bad one that's the enemy keeping you from being with your church family so look just encourage you just take that step you'll see a lot of friendly people here if you're watching online it's a good group so i want to acknowledge that there's some who are sick some are sick and they just can't come i get it so we're going to keep the streaming but it's been a real tug of war we didn't always have streaming we didn't have it before this whole thing happened because my thought was no i'm not going to give someone an excuse to just like stay in bed right but we're going to keep it but if that's you church is about being a part of the body of christ not being apart from it it's very important yes you can pray from home that's something you can do from home but remember the sheep and the goats this requires you actually doing a little something you're supposed to be serving and loving people and for the most part you can't serve from the couch and we know that jesus will not reward us for hiding our talents so to speak there are some who have become complacent but jesus warns about this be alert be ready some are saying i got it but i would ask how's it working for you you got it but you can't leave the house but you got it how's it working for you christ is calling us out of complacency and into community this is where he wants us the body of christ this is church ecclesia that's what it is in the greek underneath the word church and some greek people will say oh we have another word for church but it's not in the bible a no word that doesn't mean church it means assembly it's not about bricks or a building it's about a body it's about the body of christ so the word church it's tough we think of buildings so when you do your emoji on your phone right where the church it's a building it's not like a crowd of people if you could emoji that i don't know but you know as americans westerners we think church building church steeple church but it's not the greek way of thinking about this the new testament way of thinking about this is when they thought church they thought ah all these the body of christ all these people coming together they would think of people assembling paul likens it to a body so all different parts of a body that need to operate together together we're not supposed to be cut off or severed from one another and so that's really important that's church we are the body of christ that's you and so we need you to operate to serve you all have talents that we're supposed to be using in the church we have to finish the race strong it can't be like the rabbit it's a marathon not a sprint we have to stay consistently in it to win it so to speak but first you have to get in the race you got to get out of bed you have to put your shoes on you have to take the first steps but also i want to make a side note about something as we make resolutions this year as we make commitments to things we have to do so with balance i found this is kind of interesting we have to remember to pace ourselves because quite often we don't have realistic expectations and from a pastoral standpoint i've seen a lot of people do this they set unrealistic expectations they set the bar way too high and if we're being honest sometimes we do that so that we have an excuse to quit people do that i've seen it all the time i see i told you so i can't do that so a little piece of advice don't do pastor gene's bible reading plan it's going to be hard start slow start a little bit at a time half hour a day something like that you can do it with balance we have to get in the race stay in it one step at a time so i encourage you guys this year church church-wise really cut out a sitcom or something you've already seen that episode of friends or gilmore girls or whatever spend that half hour reading your bible you can read all the philippians in about a half hour even if you read it slowly colossians that too read a little bit half hour listen to god stop listening to the world listen to the word try that if you're not coming to church come back we miss you it's okay but one step at a time just fine get to church on sundays if you're here and i hope you're here if you're here try bible study well some people sleep so got to say that wake up what was your favorite part of the sermon that's the question i'm going to ask you if you're here try bible study dig in a little deeper it's always kind of just an expansion on the sermon we talk about it bible study questions they're going to tell you how to do all this during the announcements portion how you can get plugged in if you're already doing that serve we have plenty of things for you to do you can serve in the cafe you're gonna be told about that it's awesome we need help everywhere you can clean you can greet people whatever you're good at it doesn't matter serve there's plenty of stuff to be done around here you can do it the old-fashioned way you can come up to me and actually like talk to me but we have an app if you don't want to talk to me you can use the app you can write a little note there and the cards outside the doors connect with us all right just take a next step and get that right one step at a time if you do too many steps you're going to trip and fall you got to crawl first then you can walk and once you learn how to walk you can run then you can run the race one step at a time if we look at first thessalonians the church in thessaloniki thessalonica greek thessaloniki thessalonians we see a church now if you're looking for excuses to quit they got plenty of them they're being persecuted we see in acts 17 they're one of the first churches to suffer persecution paul gets chased out of there by their own people by jewish people suffering a lot and paul's just trying to give them a lot of encouragement some are suffering so bad they're dying so paul's going to get to that he's going to talk about look look things are bad but just just focus on jesus returning that's it just focus on jesus it's okay we don't have to grieve like those who don't have any hope but in this dialogue this is what he says here first thessalonians 5 1 now concerning how and when all this will happen dear brothers and sisters we don't really need to write you for you know quite well that the day of the lord's return will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night when people are saying everything is peaceful and secure then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman's labor pains begin and there will be no escape but you who aren't in the dark about these things dear brothers and sisters and you won't be surprised when the day of the lord comes like a thief for you are all children of the light and of the day we don't belong to darkness and night so be on your guard not asleep like the others stay alert and be clear-headed night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk but let us who live in the light be clear-headed protected by the armor of faith and love wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation sounds like ephesians 6. we have to stay awake we have to be alert sounds kind of like jesus right it's just echoing the teachings be alert stay awake no distractions we need to keep our eyes on jesus run the race the marathon not like a sprint and then quit steady consistent pace with no complacency we need to keep our eyes on him hebrews 12 1 therefore since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith let us strip off every weight that slows us down especially the sin that so easily trips us up and let us run with endurance the race god has set before us we do this by keeping our eyes on jesus the champion who initiates and perfects our faith because of the joy awaiting him he endured the cross disregarding its shame now he is seated in the place of honor beside god's throne think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people then you won't become weary and give up focus on jesus as we resolve this year to improve let's not just start strong let's finish strong so that we too like paul can say this second timothy 4 5. as for me my life has already been poured out as an offering to god the time of my death is near i have fought the good fight i have finished the race and i've remained faithful and now the prize awaits me the crown of righteousness which the lord the righteous judge will give me on the day of his return and the prize is not just for me not just for paul but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing amen let me pray for you lord i thank you for the church that is your body that is all your holy saints here today who came in to worship you to give you glory to give you praise we love you lord we vow this year to be more faithful to be more joyous more filled with the fruit of your spirit as we lovingly and joyfully await your return we thank you lord bless these people bless this church mold us into your image into wonderful vehicles for your love so that we can deliver your gospel in jesus name amen you