Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

April 22, 2006

Title: Who is on the Lord’s Side?

 

Scripture: he stood at the camp entrance and shouted, “All of you who are on the Lord’s side, come over here and join me.” And all the Levites came.” Exodus 32:26—the Living Bible

 

 

Israel had rebelled against God, and set up the golden calf. 

 

Moses came down from the mountain bearing the stone tablets on which God wrote the Ten Commandments. 

 

In great anger, he broke the tablets and threw down their idol. 

 

It was his brother Aaron that he left in charge, and he rebuked him for allowing the people to so quickly turn their back on God and worship a dead idol.

 

The people who were only moments before eating, drinking and doing immoral acts were now awe-struck by the presence of the servant of the Lord.  

 

Most went to their tents, but a few continued to carry-on without any self-control. 

 

Moses felt that this great rebellion must be crushed and punished, so he called upon the faithful to come and stand with him, and the ones who answered the call were from the tribe of Levi. 

 

These men with unyielding loyalty, fulfilled their mission, and for this reason they were made priests of Israel for ever. 

 

Determination is something the Lord looks for in His servants, and when He sees it He’ll reward it. 

 

We are told of how God rewarded the Levites in Deuteronomy 33:

 

8 Moses said this about the tribe of Levi: “O Lord, you have given the sacred lots to your faithful servants the Levites. You put them to the test at Massah and contended with them at the waters of Meribah.
9 The Levites obeyed your word and guarded your covenant. They were more loyal to you than to their parents, relatives, and children.
10 Now let them teach your regulations to Jacob; let them give your instructions to Israel. They will present incense before you and offer whole burnt offerings on the altar. (Deuteronomy 33:8-10, NLT 

 

They had been faithful in the past and once again they’re faithfulness was on display as they stood with Moses against those who worshipped the golden calf. 

 

All of us, men and women, ought to decide where we stand; with God or with Satan, because there is no neutral ground at this present time. 

 

Today, those who are undecided are in a conflict and under a curse.

 

THERE ARE FOUR PARTS TO TODAY’S LESSON, AND THE FIRST PART CONCERNS THE CONFLICT WE ARE INVOLVED IN AND WHICH SIDE IS GOD’S SIDE.

 

As I was growing up, everyone believed in God, at least I didn’t know any atheists. 

 

They would not have been welcome where I lived, and I imagine it was the same for most of you. 

 

But things have changed; today Christians are the odd man in many groups. 

 

Christians are apt to be made fun of in school and on the job. 

 

It’s not too bad in the United States yet, but in some other countries the persecution is severe. 

 

For example, becoming a Christian in many Muslim countries may result in persecution that leads to death. 

 

Someone might ask, “Where does God stand in this conflict between good and evil?  Why does He allow evil people to prosper while Christians suffer?” 

 

The Bible is very clear about this, so there shouldn’t be any question about it. 

 

They may laugh at God and His children today, but there will be no laughter at the Great White Throne when Jesus says “I never knew you,” and He sends the unbelievers to the place prepared for the devil and his angels. 

 

The Bible warns against unbelief, false philosophy and “modern thought.” 

 

God is against the liberal churches that preach a feel good message that says only what people want to hear. 

 

Jesus last words to His disciples, before He returned to heaven were to “take the gospel to the whole world.”   

 

Man has not found a new way to get to heaven. 

 

It is, and always has been as Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life; no one can go to the Father except by me.” 

 

Our Lord stands firmly behind the gospel and against superstition.  

 

In our physical universe, the sun is always shining.

 

We don’t always see it, but the reason for that is that something has come between the sun and us.

 

It’s the same with the gospel.

 

The light of the gospel is always shining.

 

God is always seeking to shine into the hearts of men and women.

 

But Satan puts various barriers between unbelievers and God.

 

It may be the cloud of pride, or of rebellion, or of self-righteousness, or any one of a hundred other things.

 

But all of these serve effectively to hinder the light of the gospel from shining in.

 

Satan simply doesn’t want men to be saved.

 

The great commandment that our Lord gave was to love God totally and completely and to love others as we love ourselves; it opposes the modern attitude of pleasing ones self. 

 

Today you hear, “If it feels good, do it.” 

 

Now, the Lord Jesus plainly states what’s involved in being His disciple: three things; denial of self, cross-bearing, and following Him.

 

To deny self is not the same as self-denial; it means to yield to His control so completely that you don’t desire to do anything that’s outside of God’s will for your life.

 

 To take up the cross means the willingness to endure shame, suffering, and perhaps martyrdom for His sake; to die to sin, self, and the world.

 

To follow Him means to live as He lived with all that that involves of humility, poverty, compassion, love, grace, and every other godly virtue.  

 

That’s called holiness and that’s the side God is on. 

 

God is against all sin and oppression. 

 

Now we know where God stands regarding the dreadful conflict that is going on today. 

 

But that brings us to the second part of the lesson:

 

WHO ARE THE LORD’S FRIENDS AND WHAT THEY MUST DO.

 

Moses reacted with rage when he saw the golden calf being worshipped and the people committing acts of sexual immorality. 

 

He ground the golden calf into powder, and scattered it on the water and made the people drink it. 

 

When Moses asked Aaron what happened that led to them making the golden idol, Aaron gave an answer that to me is very funny. 

 

Actually, he lied about it by implying that the golden calf had come out of the fire rather mysteriously- he said, “We threw the gold in the fire and the golden calf walked out.  

 

Some of the people were still celebrating and out of control.

 

When Moses called for loyal followers, the tribe of Levi responded and at Moses’ command they proceeded to slay with the sword those who were “out of control.”

 

Even close relatives were not spared.

 

There is a comparison that can be made between this incident and Pentecost.

 

Here, sin brought death to three thousand people.

 

At Pentecost the gospel of grace brought salvation to 3,000 people.

 

Sin can only lead to death, but grace brings new life.

 

The heroic loyalty of the Levites may be why they were chosen to be the priestly tribe. 

 

When the killing was over “… Moses told the Levites, ‘Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of the Lord, for you obeyed him even though it meant killing your own sons and brothers; now he will give you a great blessing.”’ (Exodus 32:29, The Living Bible). 

We know that they made their allegiance to God known to everyone, because Moses said, ‘Today you have ordained yourselves.”   

 

The Lord’s friends should come out and boldly declare their faith. 

 

Today, Jesus is saying the same thing Moses did; “Who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come unto me.” 

 

Today we rally to the Lord’s side when we openly join with a church, by boldly confessing our sins and asking for forgiveness, by openly declaring our faith, by not conforming to the world, and by conforming to Christ, our Lord.

 

When Paul took up a collection for the believers in Jerusalem he talked about the generosity of the Christians in Corinth. 

 

He said, “Best of all, they went beyond our highest hopes, for their first action was to dedicate themselves to the Lord and to us, for whatever directions God might give to them through us” (2 Cor. 8:5, The Living Bible). 

 

Did you notice what they did first; they dedicated themselves to the Lord. 

 

The Lord’s friends must do the same thing before undertaking any task for Him.   

 

They must be willing to be in a minority: one tribe against eleven, if need be. 

 

We can be victorious no matter what the odds, because God is for us, and Jesus is for us, and the Holy Spirit is for us.   

 

Jesus promised us that we would never be alone.

 

When we must defend ourselves, He will tell us what to do and what to say. 

 

Jesus’ friends must become aggressive.

 

We need to be more like the faithful Levites and "Put every man his sword by his side.”

 

The Christian’s sword is not steel; it’s the Word of God. 

 

The Word is sharper than any two edge sword, and it cuts into the very soul to reveal sin and doubt. 

 

It’s so very important that we memorize scripture, and that we‘re ready to use it to boldly witness to those outside the kingdom of God. 

 

Those who sided with Moses were on God’s side and against the worshipers of the golden calf.   

 

They killed the ring-leaders and they did it impartially. 

 

They cut-down the best friends they had in the world, who were as dear to them as family; they did not spare anyone if they were idolaters.

 

I pray that God will never ask any of us to do anything like that, but if He does we ought to obey. 

 

Our love for God should always overcome the regard we have for any other person. 

 

The Levites did what they were commanded to do for it says, "And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses" (Exod. 32:28).   

 

God rewarded them for their faithfulness and I believe that when they appear before Christ on the day when all men will be judged they will hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. 

 

Those are the words I want to hear.

 

NOW, I WANT TO TALK FOR A FEW MINUTES ABOUT THE LORD’S FRIENDS AND HOW THEY ARE ENCOURAGED.

 

Their cause is the Lord’ cause; therefore we can say that it is the right cause.

 

A good cause is a firm foundation and a powerful stimulus to take action. 

 

You could say this about the Lord’s friends, "They have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant" (Deut. 30:9). 

 

Christ himself is our Captain.

 

Who can hesitate with such a Commander?   

 

Isaiah said that He was "A leader and commander for the people" (Isa. 55:4). 

 

When you trust Him, you share in His life and His victories. 

 

We want to be on His side, and there are several reasons for it. 

 

First, when we are on His side the Angels are with us. “Horses of fire and chariots of fire are round about the Lord's servants” (2 Kings 6:17). 

 

The Syrian king, Ben-Haden was determined to capture Elisha, so he sent out a large company of soldiers to take him. 

 

When Elisha’s servant saw the soldiers, their situation looked hopeless, but there was something he couldn’t see until Elisha opened his eyes. 

 

Now, he knew the truth; “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them” (Ps 34:7). 

 

When the eyes of the servant were opened, he could see that the mountains were alive with fiery horses and chariots. 

 

It’s possible for anyone to see the invisible through the eye of faith. 

 

Many times we are afraid of the enemy because we walk by sight and not by faith.

 

If God and His hosts are for us, who can be against us? 

 

But the angels aren’t the only ones with us: Thousands of the best of men and women that have ever lived have been on the Lord’s side. 

 

In the Bible they are called “a great cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1). 

 

They’re great men and women who have given their testimony by the life they led. 

 

They were faithful servants and some even died rather that to leave the Lord’s side. 

 

He rewards faithfulness in this life as well as the next, for those who live daily on God’s side can have a clear conscience, and a clean heart.

 

Revelation 19:14 is talking about the final battle against Satan and his forces when it says, “And the armies which are in the heaven followed him upon white horses, clad in white, pure, fine linen.”. 

 

Those who are on God’s side will celebrate victory in heaven and live in a world without end.

 

His kingdom is coming!

Oh, tell me the story!

God’s banner exalted shall be;

The earth shall be filled with His wonder and glory,

As waters that cover the sea.

Now we have come to the last part of the lesson: THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO ENLIST ON GOD’S SIDE.

 

If you want to stand on the Lord’s side you must take the thing that our Lord offers: by faith receive the promise. 

 

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. 

 

He promised that if we will confess our sins and ask Him for forgiveness that He will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

 

That’s the formula for salvation and it hasn’t changed in over 2100 years. 

 

Jesus’ friends will put on the insignia of a Christian by confessing Christ openly in baptism. 

 

Baptism is called an ordinance of the church, and an act of obedience, and it is certainly both. 

 

But it is also a public statement of faith in Jesus Christ and a visible sign of commitment to follow Him. 

 

Friends, submit to instruction: be willing to learn, and yield to discipline. 

 

Learn all you can about Him. 

 

It will give you more faith and the more you learn about Him, the more you will love Him. 

 

Put on the uniform, and wear the garments of holiness, the attire of love, the whole armor of God as the apostle said.

 

In Ephesians 6 we are told, “Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm.  Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared.  In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere” (Eph. 6:13-18, NLT).

 

 Spirit-filled Christians will exhibit Christlikeness in the home, on the job, and on the battlefield.

 

If we do not learn to obey at home, we are not likely to be obedient on the job or in the army of the Lord.

 

Likewise, if we have not learned to take orders, we will not be too successful at giving orders, either as parents or as employers. 

 

The danger in the home is parents who are strict but don’t exercise loving spiritual authority.

 

The danger on the job is the employee who is a clock-watcher and doesn’t obey from the heart, and the “boss” who forgets that he is second in command and will one day give an account to the Lord. 

 

The danger on the battlefield is that we don’t take the enemy seriously and therefore fail to put on all of the armor.

 

By faith, you put on the armor through prayer, which must be done at the beginning of every day.

 

Never underestimate the strategy and strength of the devil. 

 

If you are a friend of Jesus, gird on your sword: "The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

 

The classic illustration of this is our Lord’s use of this sword in His encounter with Satan.

 

Three times He quoted the Word of God—not just random verses but the appropriate verses which the Holy Spirit gave Him for that occasion.

 

Enter into civil war first.

 

Wage war within your own soul.

 

Slay sin; conquer self, and cast down pride.

 

 The old nature is strong and it never leaves. 

 

It constantly does battle against the new nature that God placed within you. 

 

Use the weapons you have at your disposal; the word of God, prayer, and the Holy Spirit.   

 

Victory is certain for the faithful friend of Jesus.

 

Friends of Jesus, march to the field ripe for harvest and fight against falsehood, superstition, cruelty, oppression, drunkenness, uncleanness, and sin of every sort, anywhere and every­where. 

 

And don’t fear, for “greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world.” 

 

I heard a true story about Abraham Lincoln that’s a good illustration to end with.

 

It goes like this.

 

"We trust the Lord is on our side, Mr. Lincoln," said the speaker of a dele­gation of Christian people to the president, during one of the darkest days of the American Civil War.

 

"I don’t regard that as essential as something else," replied Mr. Lincoln.

 

The worthy visitors looked horror-struck, until the President added: "I am more concerned to know that we are on the Lord's side." 

 

Mr. Lincoln was right.

 

The right side is not my side or your side.

 

The Lord's side is the place to which every one of us should rally.

 

His banner has right, truth, love, and holiness written on it.

 

Be sure you stand up for God's banner, even if you must stand alone. 

 

I heard about a man who was the head of a family of grown-up sons and daugh­ters that passed away very suddenly.

 

The day before he died, all the members of the household were with him, including one son who had recently been saved; now all the children were saved.

 

The father's joy was great, as he put his hand upon one after another of his offspring, saying with an overflowing heart, "And this one is on the Lord's side! — and this one is on the Lord's side!"

 

Let’s continue to work for Jesus until we can also say about our family and friends--"And this one is on the Lord's side!”

Amen!!!

 

 

 

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