Pastor Ray Barnett

Pastor Ray Barnett Pastor Ray Barnett has served in the Amsterdam, NY area for over 30 years. As the founding pastor of the Time For Truth Ministries, his desire is to see a true Biblical New Testament church in our modern days, founded on the love of the brethren, and has labored to that end through times of blessing and adversity.

 

Recent Sermon
Encouraging Words for Discouraging Days part 4 - The Christian's Call to Uncommon Valor
August 09, 2020 | by Pastor Ray Barnett | Scripture : 2 Corinthians 11:23

 

Recent Devotion

Monday August 10, 2020

INTERESTING FACTS : "The doctrine of the Second Coming is deeply uncongenial to the whole evolutionary or developmental character of modern thought. We have been taught to think of the world as something that grows slowly towards perfection, something that 'progresses' or 'evolves'. Christian Apocalyptic offers us no such hope." -C.S. Lewis

DAILY READING : Isaiah 59-6

TEXT : Isaiah 61:1-3 "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."

THEME : The Second Coming of Christ

In Isaiah 61 we have another prophecy about the Messiah. A prophecy that Jesus personally claimed to be about Himself.

"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. [Luke 4:16-21]"

This was a deliberate act by Jesus. In the temple, He was given the book of Isaiah to read from and He did not just randomly open the book and begin reading. The Scriptures plainly tell us that he looked for, and found, this passage in Isaiah 61 to read, and that after reading it, He proclaimed that the very prophecy He had read had been fulfilled in their midst. This did not go over well with the people. In fact, the Scriptures go on to say that those in the synagogue that day led him out the city to the edge of a hill with the intent of throwing Him over the edge. I find it a little ironical that these people who were in the synagogue to worship God and to listen to God's Word were also trying to kill God incarnate. But they didn't know, and couldn't see, who Jesus was.

In fact, Jesus would say to the Pharisees and Sadducees, "...When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? [Matthew 16:2-3]"

They could understand the signs of nature that would tell them how the weather would be, but they couldn't understand the signs of the times and of the prophecies concerning the Messiah, which Jesus in saying Isaiah 61 was being fulfilled in their hearing, was claiming to be.

But when reading the verse notice what Jesus does. It says "And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down." That all seems normal enough until you realize when He stopped reading. When comparing Isaiah 61 with what Jesus read you'll notice he stopped right in the middle of a sentence. It wasn't at the end of a sentence or the end of a paragraph. It wasn't even at the end of a thought, but right in the middle of a sentence. Why? Because that was the portion that was fulfilled in their hearing ... "the acceptable year of the Lord", or the "year of acceptance" of the Lord. A time when all those who repent and call on the name of the Lord, through the blood of Christ, will be accepted. That is what He came to proclaim and that's what He came to fulfill.

But there's a part of the prophecy left yet unfulfilled, reserved for the Second Coming of Christ..."the day of vengeance of our God".

TRUTH FOR TODAY : As It Was In The Days of Noah

"But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. [Luke 17:25-30]"

We see in Jesus' reading of Isaiah 61 that the people He was speaking to were blind to the fact of who He was. When He, in saying the the prophecy was fulfilled in their hearing, laid claim to be the Messiah, they took Him out of the city and tried to kill Him. But in that same portion of Isaiah, in the same sentence He read from, remains a prophecy that's left for us. A promise of His second coming and of a day of vengeance. But let's not forget to notice the mercy of God in that He gives us a year of acceptance, but only a day of vengeance.

I can't help but wonder though if we haven't become like those people in the synagogue with Jesus. Obviously they knew the prophecies about the Messiah, including Isaiah 61. It is reasonable to think that under the rule of Rome the Scriptures referring to the Messiah would be read often as the nation of Israel longed for their Messiah to come and to deliver them. We know from the multitudes that followed John the Baptist that there were those asking if he was the Messiah, showing that it was on the minds of the people. And yet, for many, they missed Him. They didn't understand the signs of the times, and they missed Him.

Will we "miss Him"? Will we read over Isaiah 61, Matthew 24, 2 Thessalonians 1 and all the other verses regarding His return to earth and yet still miss Him?

In the verses above Christ tells us that in the last days it will be just like the days of Noah and the days of Lot. In both instances there was great evil. The earth in Noah's day, and Sodom and Gomorrah in Lot's, where both destroyed because of their wickedness. And in the midst of all that wickedness - life went on. People were marrying, planning their businesses, preparing for the future and living life. There was no indication that anyone was grieved by the state of wickedness around them. Nothing is said of anyone calling for repentance except for those who God had sent. Life just simply carried on until sudden destruction came upon them. The signs were there, but they never saw it coming.

I think that's a real danger for us - that we become so consumed in our lives and our routine that we lose sight of what's important and are not able to discern the signs of the times. We can get so wrapped up in our careers and entertainment and our schedules that the old song we mentioned a few days ago begins to reverse itself and "the things of eternity become strangley dim" and we become so earthly minded that we're no heavenly good.

Let's take the time today to ask God to refocus our lives onto what is truly important and valuable. Let's ask Him to break the hardness of our heart and to not allow us to become comfortable in the wickedness that surrounds us. And let's ask Him to make us like the wise virgins who kept watch for their Master, or like Simeon in Jerusalem (Luke 2) who, in contradiction to the Pharisees, was able to discern the times.
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