You did run well, what did hinder you
that you should not obey the truth?
I. MEN WHO STARTED WELL, BUT FAILED TO FINISH WELL.
1. His history begins before his birth.
2. Destined to be a Nazarite.
a. The Nazarite vow was a vow of total consecration to the Lord.
b. The sign was long hair, and no drinking of wine.
3. He was destined to begin to deliver Israel from the oppression of their enemies the Philistines.
4. For this purpose the power of the Spirit would come upon him.
5. He ended blind, bound, and crushed to death in the rubble of the crumpled temple of the Philistine god Dagon.
6. He started well, he did not finish well.
1. Big and good looking.
a. Head and shoulders above the others.
b. Most handsome man in all of Israel.
2. Good home.
a. After he and the servant were unable to find his father's lost donkey's he said to the servant, we had better go home, my dad is going to stop worrying about the donkey's and he is going to worry about me.
b. It is good when you know that your parents are going to be worried about you when you are not home on time.
a. When he first met the prophet Samuel and Samuel said, "You are the desire of all of Israel." Saul responded, "I am a Benjamite, the smallest tribe in all of Israel, and my father's house is the least family in all of the tribe, how can you say such a foolish thing?"
4. Anointed to be the king over Israel.
Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured [it] upon his head, and kissed him, and said, [Is it] not because the LORD hath anointed thee [to be] captain over his inheritance?
5. Filled with Holy Spirit. Samuel prophesied,
And the spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.
6. We read, "And there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched."
7. He started well, how did he finish?
a. A confession of folly. "Behold I have played the fool. And we see his headless body hanging on the wall of Beth Shean."
8. He did start well, he did not finish well.
1. Twenty-five years old when he became King over Judah the So. kingdom.
2. He immediately initiated spiritual reforms. Ridded the nation of the altars to the false gods.
a. Because of these spiritual reforms God began to prosper the nation and strengthen it.
3. Threatened by invasion of huge army of Ethiopians. One million strong with 300 chariots.
a. He prayed. Note his prayer.
b. It is nothing for you to help, with many or those who have no power.
c. Help us O Lord for in your name we are going out against this enemy.
d. Don't let man prevail against you.
e. You don't have to guess about the outcome.
4. The message of the prophet Azariah, "The Lord is with you while you will be with Him and if you seek Him, He will be found of you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you."
a. No thought of forsaking the Lord.
b. Flushed with the glory of seeing the Lord fight for them and defeat the great army, they initiated even greater spiritual reform and made a covenant that they would seek the Lord with all of their heart and soul.
5. Long and very prosperous reign.
a. Toward the end of his reign the Baasha the king of Israel decided to invade the Southern kingdom, he began to build a fortified city Ramah just north of Jerusalem to cut off supplies from coming to Jerusalem.
b. Asa now because he was very rich, took money out of the treasury and sent it to Ben Hadad the king of Syria. He hired him to send troops to attack Israel in the north borders in order to force Baasha to redeploy his troops to the north to defend them from the invasion.
c. It was a successful strategy in that it worked. It was then that the prophet Hananiah came to him and said, "Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of your hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because you relied on the LORD, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward Him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from now on you shall have wars.
d. We read,
Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house;
6. How did Asa end?
a. He became diseased in his feet and he sought the aid of physicians and did not seek the help of the Lord and he died of the disease in his feet.
b. The implication is that had he sought the help of the Lord the Lord would have healed him.
7. He did run well, what did hinder him?
1. We know little about Demas except that Paul speaks of his being a fellowlaborer with him in the gospel.
2. He was with Paul in Rome laboring for the Lord.
3. In Paul's second letter to Timothy he said these sad words, "Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world."
4. He did run well, what did hinder him?
II. WHAT DID HINDER THEM FROM FINISHING WELL?
A. In the case of Sampson, it was his ungoverned lust for the girls.
1. He could conquer a thousand Philistines with the jaw bone of a donkey, but he could not conquer his own passions.
2. How many have fallen by the wayside because they did not govern their passions.
B. With Saul he was conquered by pride and jealousy, and his refusal to submit totally to God.
1. Though he started out with great humility, he soon became very proud.
2. God had given him success in his battles against the enemies of Israel, and as he would return from the battle with his troops as he would pass through the villages of Israel, the women would come out with their tambourines and dance as they would sing, "Saul has killed his thousands." Saul came to love that and would swagger through the villages.
3. This was all well until after the battle with the Philistines when David killed Goliath, as Saul came back with the conquering troops they had added an extra line, "Saul has killed his thousands, and David his tens of thousands." Saul could not take that. And foolishly sought to kill David.
4. God had a score to settle with the Amalekites.
5. It is interesting to consider in as much as they are a type of the flesh.
a. They were the descendants of Esau's concubine. Esau was a man of the flesh.
b. They attacked the children of Israel as they came out of Egypt.
e. You remember the battle in the valley of Rephidim when Moses held up his arms, Israel prevailed, and when his arms dropped Amelek prevailed. Finally Aaron and Hur stood on either side of Moses holding up his arms.
6. God said to Moses,
Remember what Amalek did to you by the way, when you were coming out of Egypt?
Therefore it shall be, when the LORD your God has given you rest from all your enemies, in the land which the LORD your God has given you as an inheritance to possess it, [that] you shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget [it].
7. Under the reign of Saul that time had come, and Samuel came to him
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember [that] which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid [wait] for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
8. Saul did not obey the command of the Lord.
But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all [that was] good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing [that was] vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed [be] thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What [meaneth] then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.
9. As a note of interest, it was an Amalekite who came to David and told him how he had found the body of Saul who had tried to commit suicide by falling on his own sword, and how Saul begged him to kill him so he thrust a sword through him. If we fail to utterly destroy the flesh it will come back and seek to destroy you. You remember the story of Esther how that the wicked man Haman sought to destroy all of the Jews in the kingdom of Persia, it is interesting to note that he as an Agagite, the king of Amalek that Saul did not kill.
C. What did hinder Asa?
1. He got caught up in the success of his own programs and his own resources and he no longer relied on the Lord fully.
D. What hindered Demas?
1. He loved this present world.
2. We were told by John, "Love not the world neither the things that are in the world for he that has the love of the world in his heart, has not the love of the Father." Matthew 24
3. "What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the world."
A. First response, "Let no man deceive you."
1. Many will come in His name, declaring that they are the Messiah, and deceive many. Vs.5
2. Many false prophets will arise and deceive many. Vs. 11
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
4. Days of spiritual deception.
5. Men claiming to be the Messiah.
a. Too bad the people in the Heaven's Gate cult did not take heed to these words of Jesus.
b. Marshall Applewhite, claimed that he was a re-incarnation of Jesus and he would lead his followers to a rendezvous with a U.F.O. in the tail of the comet Hale-Bopp that would bring them to a higher level. Thirty-nine took their own lives looking for his promised utopia.
c. It is amazing how many of these self proclaimed messiah's lead their followers to taking their own lives. Jim Jones, David Koresh, Marshall Applewhite.
6. Days of spiritual deception. We see it on all ends of the spectrum.
a. A great Holy Spirit conference is being advertised to be coming to the Anaheim Convention. Though it says admission free, if you are gullible enough to go there just watch how much emphasis will be placed on the offering.
b. There are those who are professing to be ministers in the church of Jesus Christ who are advocating all kinds of sinful behavior.
1. In England a anglican minister John Papworth told his congregation that it was all right to steal from Super Markets, because they had put so many little stores out of business.
2. There is the embracing of the homo-sexual agenda by many churches. Many of them offering marriage ceremonies for couples.
B. Vs. 12 "Because the iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."
1. We are living in the days of abounding iniquity.
a. We find this iniquity in every level of our society.
b. From abortion to laws granting homosexuals special rights, we are living in a crazy mixed up world.
c. In San Francisco a straight couple were kicked out of a bar for kissing. It was a gay bar and they had a rule against heterosexual kissing.
2. On November 8th the president of the U.S. spoke at a human rights fund raising dinner attended mostly by Lesbians and Homosexuals. He praised the Homosexuals as great American citizens and bragged about how many he had hired in his administration. (About 2,000) During his speech two men were standing on his left holding hands and kissing. The president lamented the treatment the lesbians and homosexuals were receiving by the red-necked hetero- sexuals.
3. How iniquity abounds in the media. Ellen came out of the closet and was hailed and feted in Hollywood, for her great contribution. Sex and violence is the common fare on T.V. and the radio.
4. The internet has brought pornography into the American home, in a way unprecedented in history.
Vs.15C. When you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place flee to the mountains.
1. The bible speaks of a coming world leader, coming out of Europe.
2. Satan will turn the world over to him giving him his throne and power.
3. He will cause all to take a mark, and there can be no buying or selling without that mark.
a. Already in the European Community they have established an emblem that is necessary to be on all goods sold in the E.C.
b. Basically the Bible predicts a cashless checkless society.
c. We see that being implemented more and more.
4. He will make a covenant with the nation of Israel, but after 3 1/2 years will break that covenant and will profane the rebuilt temple, standing in the Holy Place and declaring that he is God and demanding to be worshipped as God.
5. The Christ rejecting world will accept him and worship as god.
a. This year we have again observed how man needs to worship.
b. In the law God said, "When you look up into the heavens and see the sun and moon and stars and are driven to worship them."
c. In the death of Princess Diana, we saw how that man who has rejected the worship of God poured out their sentiments and worship for Diana. It reminded me of the cry of the Ephesians in the great arena, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians." We also observe this in the continued worship of Elvis Presley. Children today worship the rock stars. Man has to worship, it is innate in him, if we do not have the love for the truth, God will give us over to a strong delusion that we will believe a lie rather than the truth. You will worship something, if not God than some substitute for God.
d. Paul spoke of those who worshipped and served the creature rather than the creator. There are so many of those today. Our present vice president being one. The worship of mother earth. An Eagles egg is valued higher by our present government, than a live baby.
e. This rational that a woman has a right to do what she pleases with her own body as far as abortion is concerned has been taken to the next logical step by Dr. Kavorkian who assumes that a person has a right to do with their own body as they please, even if it is to take their own life by assisted suicide.
6. The Bible teaches that the Lord will give to the nation of Israel the wings of an eagle to bear them to safety from the wrath of the anti-christ. In Isaiah 16
God commanded Jordan to open her doors to the outcasts and hide them from the spoiler. Petra is mentioned in that passage.
a. In the April 3rd edition of the newspaper U.S.A. Today, it was announced that they were beginning an ambitious plan to rescue the ancient city of Petra. They are going to resurrect the water system used by the ancient Nabiteans. The article said that they are planning to spend 100's of millions to restore the ancient city to it's former glory. God seems to be preparing this ancient city for a place of refuge for His people, when they have to flee from the anti-christ.
2. The abomination of desolation standing in the holy place pre-supposes the rebuilding of the temple, and the reinstituting of the temple worship. The fact that the anti-christ causes the daily prayers and sacrifices to cease.
a. There is a strong feeling by many in Israel that the time has come to build the Temple.
b. The Temple Institute has already begun to make the vessels necessary for the temple worship.
c. This past year in April in news casts carried by every major network it was announced that a red heifer was being raised in Israel that seemed to fulfill the requirements for the sacrifice of the red heifer and the ashes and blood used to cleanse the vessels and the temple for the beginning of sacrifices. Right now in Israel that red heifer is being raised protected by armed guards. Many of the orthodox see this as a divine sign that the time has come to rebuild the temple.
D. Vs. 22 "Except those days be shortened, no flesh would remain on the earth."
1. Never before in history has man had the weapons with the capacity of wiping out humanity.
2. The danger is the proliferation of these weapons and the fact that they are falling into the hands of such people as Sadaam Hussein, and Kadaffy, and the Iranians.
E. As it was in the days of Noah.
And God saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.