MESSAGES

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A Dayshift Job

A Fit Habitation

A Fresh Start

A Kinsman Redeemer

A Life Laid Down

A Mother's Influence

A New Name

A Successful Church

A Year With God

Adding Points To The Score

Ambassadors For Christ

Angels At Work

Are You Wheat or Tares

Are You Yet Carnal?

Avoiding Future Woes

Be A Giant Slayer

Be Not Ignorant

Be Watchful

Beating Discouragement

Beware of Greed

Black Presence in the Bible

Blow the Trumpet

Call To Holiness

Case Dismissed

Casualities of Sin

Chastening of the Lord

Children - Precious

Choose Life

Christian Suffering

Consider Your Ways

Control It or Amputate It

Dead Faith

Dead To Sin

Deception of Pride

Demands of Commitment-Part I

Demands of Commitment-Part II

Demands of Commitment-Part III

Does Not Thou Fear God

Don't Be A Hypocrite

Don't Block The Line

Don't Disappoint God

Don't Get Distracted

Don't Get Shipwrecked

Don't Push God

Dress For the Occasion

Elements of Success

Evidence of Salvation

Failure To Forgive

Faith of A Mother

Finished But Not Complete

Forerunners For Christ

Freedom to New Freedom

From Anger To Forgiveness

From Egypt to the Promised Land

From Sorrow To Service

Fruit Bearing is Essential

Get Established In The Faith

Get Your House In Order

Gethsemane

Gifts For Jesus

Give God His Glory

God's Will For Man

Good is not Good Enough

Gossip: Worthy of Death

Growing in Grace

Handling Stress

He Is Coming Back

Heart of Man

Help Wanted

Hereafter

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Hope To The World

How Far Will You Follow

How Satan Attacks

How's Your Ground

Importance of Oneness

In Due Season

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In The Very Beginning

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It Does Not Take A Lot

It's Your Choice

Jesus Our Example

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Left But Never Leaving

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Living in Hope

Look and Live

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Love Questioned

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Mercy Misunderstood

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New Life For The Church

New Life In Christ

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No Excused Accepted 2

No Excused Accepted 3

No Seed No Harvest

No Sleeping on the Job

Out of Darkness

Overcoming Obstacles Part - I

Overcoming Obstacles part - II

Overcoming Obstacles Part -III

Overcoming Obstacles Part IV

People of Color

Planning For Success

Power Of The Blood

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Raise High the Standard

Reaffirming You Commitment

Reasoning With God

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Reformation: Going Beyond the Obvious

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When the Church is Gone - Part II

When the Church is Gone - Part III

When the Church is Gone - Part IV

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RAISE HIGH THE STANDARD 

ISAIAH 59:16-20 

          I want to focus on verse 19.  This particular scripture refers to a time period in the future when Satan and the people who follow him will come against the Jewish nation.  This represents the time period right before and including the Battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ.  At this battle, Satan influences the nations of the world to join him in a fight against the Jewish Nation.  As they gather to attack Israel, Jesus comes to their rescue.  This is all recorded in Revelation 19.  The enemy will come at the Jews like a flood, but God will raise up a standard, a banner of protection over them, and that standard is Jesus Christ.

          Though this scripture refers to a time in the future, Christians often use it when they are feeling overwhelmed by the constant attack from the enemy.  We sometimes feel, with all the pressures and Satan’s attempts to oppress and depress us that he is trying to swallow us up in a flood.  At those times in our live we call to remembrance this scripture and trust that God will raise up a standard, a banner of protection over us.  Though this is how we generally apply this scripture, the Lord has led me in a different way.

          As I studied this week, the Lord impressed upon me to look at Christians in our role as standard bearers.  Our enemy since the time of Adam and Eve has flooded our world with sin and God has since that time continued to raise up a standard before him. 

I want to talk today on the topic “Raise the Standard High”.

Webster defines standard as any figure or object, flag or banner used as a symbol of a leader, people or military unit.  Furthermore he says it is something used as a rule or basis for comparison for measurement or judgment.

Since sin entered the world, God has not ceased to put a standard before mankind that we might have a symbol of Him and a basis for measuring and judging of ourselves.  God chose Abraham and all the tribes of Israel that they might stand before the nations of the world and show the glory of the one true and living God.  Through them He would show His love and care, His delivering power, and His desire for relationship with man.  Through them He would also set the standard required by man to fellowship with Holy and righteous God.

John 15:22 – Jesus here tell the disciples that had he not come to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was the Messiah, then they would not have had the sin of rejecting Him.  But since He had come to show Himself as the standard of God, then there was no excuse for their sin.  God did the same thing with Israel in the Old Testament.  He used them to show Himself to the heathen nations.  The Israelites were the bearers of the standard of God.  They took God to the heathens and were the people through which God gave a written standard, the Law.

Romans 5:13 – The Law set forth the standard for sin.  It gave the people a measuring stick by which they could judge themselves.  It let them know what God considered to be acceptable behavior and what was not acceptable.  Though people sinned before the Law was written down, they had no rules against sinning and thus they felt no responsibility for having sinned.

Galatians 3:23-24 – The Law was the standard for mankind until Christ the true standard came.

As Christian, we are the bearers of that standard for this dispensation.  It is a privilege to raise and carry the standard of God.  Not everyone could do it.  Of the 12 tribes of Israel, the tribe of Levi was selected to be priest and minister unto the Lord.  When the Children of Israel were preparing to enter the promise land, one standard used to signify that God was in the midst was the Ark of the Covenant.  This was a golden box, especially designed by God and described in Ex. 25:10-22.  God’s presence was found at the Ark and thus it stood as a symbol of the abiding presence of God.  It was a standard of God for the Children of Israel.  But though the Levites were selected as priest, not all Levites could carry the Ark.  God appointed the family of Kohath, one of the three sons of Levi, to take care of the Ark. 

          My point here is this.  Not everyone who calls himself or herself a Christian is carrying or can carry the standard of God.  Because America is consider a “Christian Society”, many who have no relationship at all with Christ call themselves Christians.  Many times there is nothing in the actions or character of those who call themselves Christians to identify them with Christ.  Many call themselves Christians but they uphold none of the standards set by Christ.  This is confusing to those who are unsaved and recognize that being a Christian means following the ways of Christ.  The unsaved are expecting to see a difference between themselves and those who are saved.  God has appointed each Born Again Believer to be a bearer of His standards.  The Bible teaches that as believers we are to be in the world but not of the world.  We live, work and serve God here, but are not to take on the character and actions of the world.  God has set forth a standard that we as believers must lift high.  That standard is the life and character of Christ.

          When we are carrying the standard of God, we can’t do it any kind of way that we want to.  In 2 Sam. 6, there is a story of David transporting the Ark.  They sat it on a cart.  When the ox stumbled, Uzziah reached for the Ark to sturdy it and he died on the spot.  Now we might think that harsh of God.  But He gave Israel instruction for how the Ark was to be transported and who was allowed to touch it.  When there is a God ordained method for doing something and we chose to go about it in our own way, we may find destruction knocking at our door.  God is not pleased when we do not follow His instructions. 

          What would have happened if Israel had gone into the promise land and acted just like the Canaanites?  Suppose they had gone in with lots of idol gods and sacrificed their children to them.  What if Israel had participated in the heathen orgies and drinking parties.  Would the inhabitants of Canaan have seen a difference between the people of God and the worshipers of Baal?  Would they have seen the God of Israel as any different from their gods?

          This city is our Canaan and we who are believers in the almighty God have been called to raise His standard in it.  I know that there are many issues we are confronted with here that are not specifically spoken of in the Bible.  But there is one all-purpose scripture that speaks to every situation we face.

I Cor 10:31 – What are you doing?  (Working, student, homemaker, etc) Whatever you are doing keep in mind that you are to do it to God’s glory. 

The Israelites were told to carry the ARK with two poles through the 4 attached rings.  It was carried on the shoulders of 4 men, high up so that the people could see.   Why was it important for the people to see the Ark? 

Joshua 3:2-6 – The Ark went before the people to show the direction in which they should go.  They had not traveled through Canaan before and there were many dangers to confront.  They needed God’s direction.

          As the bearers of God’s standards we also need God’s directions.  This world is forever changing.  In fact each of us as individuals is changing constantly.  We need God’s direction on how to reach the masses here who know not Christ as Lord.  How do we best demonstrate the standard of God?  How do we present the Gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way that it is best understood by all?  This is our Canaan.  How can we best raise high the standard of God?

John 12:30-32  -  Jesus answered and said, this voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

The final point I would like to make is that you don’t have to, nor can you carry the standard alone.  The Ark had pole inserted so that it could rest on the shoulders of 4 men. They could share the load.   In Exodus 17, Joshua led men out to fight against Amalek while Moses stood on top of a hill with the rod of God in raised hands.  Moses standing there with that rod in his hand was a symbol to the people of the presence and power of God.  He stood as the standard of God before the people and the men prevailed in the fight.  But when Moses got tired and let his arms drop, Israel began to lose the fight.  Aaron and Hur, sat Moses on a stone and they held his arms up.  God provided support for Moses and Israel won the battle. 

As Christians God continues to provide support for us.  It is up to us to use the God provided support.

As Christians we are all called to be ambassadors for Christ.  We are ambassadors on our jobs, in our neighborhoods, in our schools and even in our churches.  As ambassadors, we must represent our King well, and lift Him high as the standard of God.  As God’s ambassadors we must live by God’s standards so that the unsaved of the world can see our God and turn to Him.  We are God’s appointed people, to carry God’s ordained standard, with God provided support.  We must raise the standard high.

 

   

9/30/01