God’s will for Israel to be reborn is a sign of the last days, and Derek has witnessed this firsthand. He offers words of counsel from the Bible that you should align your life with God’s priorities. The first priority is for the coming of His kingdom on the earth in the person of His chosen King, Jesus.
Let me read just a passage from Jeremiah to substantiate what I’ve said. In Jeremiah chapter 30:3 God says:
“For behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that I will bring back from captivity [or from exile] my people Israel and Judah, says the Lord. And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.”
Now anybody that has any knowledge of the Bible whatever knows without question there’s only one land that God gave to the forefathers of the Jewish people, that is the land which today is called Israel. And let me say the mere restoration of the name Israel is one of the most significant features of our age.
My first wife and I, Lydia, were living in Jerusalem when the state of Israel was born. Right up to almost the last moment they were debating what name to give it. They were very much in favor of the name of Judea. But you see, that was contrary to Scripture, because God says when they come back they will no longer be two kingdoms, the southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel, they will be one kingdom. And at the last moment the name Israel was chosen. God was in all of that.
Now in connection with that, at the end of Jeremiah chapter 30 the Lord says:
“In the latter days you will consider it.”
So the restoration of the Jewish people to their own land is something that indicates we’re in the latter days.
Now I’m going to come to the practical question, and this is addressed to everybody here, even those who are older than I am. Primarily I have in mind the younger people, age 15 and upwards. I have a tremendous concern for you because you’re moving out into a world that’s in a state of chaos and there’s really nothing permanent or totally reliable that you can look to. I grew up in this country between World War I and World War II and there were many problems; there was poverty, there was oppression of the poor by the rich, there was a whole lot of snobbery, there were political crises. But basically Britain was a very secure country. You knew where you belonged, you knew what to expect, you knew you could rely on the police. And basically there was not very much political corruption. All that has totally changed, changed in a very short while. So those of you that are age 15 and upwards, you’re stepping out into uncharted territory.
There isn’t any real human map that can tell you which way to go or what to expect. I believe there is counsel in the Bible that will enable you to make a success of your life. In the truest sense of the world I believe God intends every believer to be successful. I’m not talking about being conspicuously wealthy or even highly educated but I believe every child of God is born to overcome, born to meet the challenge of life and overcome it, born to lead a life that ultimately will leave behind consequences of eternal importance. That’s my estimate of what it is to be a child of God.
But, you’re going to have to follow the counsel of the Word of God. You know, one of the most important things is where you get your counsel from. The first verse of the first Psalm, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly.” And that really sets the whole tone for the book of Psalms. I’m asking you tonight, where do you get your counsel from? Where do you get your advice? Who directs your thinking? What is the source of your counsel? Is it some form of secular thinking, some form of higher education? I was in higher education. I’d have to say that. I had achieved a place in the world of higher education in Britain. I’ll tell you something about universities, they’re very closed places. They’re little islands of their own and in many ways they’re cut off from the realities of life. Also, there are a whole lot of fashions in intellectual thinking. When I was studying philosophy in the 1930s the great philosophy fashion was linguistic philosophy. I was a pupil of the great leader of that, Ludwig Lichenstein. Since then the fashion has changed completely. Nowadays people are not interested in that, there are other fads and fancies. But believe me, if you rely on human wisdom to guide you, you’ll end up in a muddle. There is only one reliable source of guidance and that is the Bible.
I want to offer you tonight some words of counsel out of the Bible. First of all, as I studied this message I realized that I didn’t have anything new to say, that the Bible has already said it all. All I have to do is underline what the Bible has already said. The Bible is a timeless book, it applies in any age, in any culture, to any group of people. I’ve had the privilege of teaching the Bible amongst many different types of nationality and culture and language. It’s the only book I know that reaches every human being wherever he is from whatever background he is.
Let’s look at first of all Matthew chapter 6:10. My first counsel is align your life with God’s priorities. Make God’s priorities your priorities. Then you’ll be in line for the blessing, and the protection and the provision of God. God has stated His priorities very clearly in a passage of the New Testament which is perhaps the most familiar of all passages, that which we call the Lord’s Prayer. And after the introduction to our Father, the first petition of the Lord’s prayer, the one that takes precedence over all others is:
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
And that is priority number one for God. It is the coming of His kingdom on earth in the person of His chosen King, Jesus. So, if you’re not lined up with that as your priority, you’ll find yourself out of harmony with God. You’ll find yourself in situations where you don’t have the answer, where you don’t know how to respond. The first thing you have to make your mind up is the thing that’s most important in my life is that the kingdom of God should come on earth through Jesus Christ.
Listen, if you don’t believe that, don’t pray the Lord’s Prayer because you’re a hypocrite. That’s the first specific petition of the Lord’s Prayer. How many millions of people pray it and never realize what they’re praying for. But that’s it, that’s His priority number one. Everything that’s happening in human history is being directed by God to that one conclusion, the coming of God’s kingdom on earth.
I would have to say to you earth has no other hope. If we had to depend on what the politicians could do, God help us. They’ve had a long while and I think the world is in a worse mess today than it’s ever been. And yet there are people foolish enough to believe that somehow politicians will get us out of the mess. I don’t believe that. I believe we have an obligation to pray for our political leaders but I don’t expect salvation from the Conservatives, from the Labor Party, from the Democrats, from the Republicans. None of them has the answer. Maybe some of them are a little less far away from the answer than others but it’s hard to know.
All right so that’s priority number one.
Now let’s look at another passage about the last days which I see being fulfilled before our eyes. Again, you may have a different understanding. Hebrews chapter 12, the end of the chapter, beginning at verse 25, which is comparing us as New Testament believers with Israel when they received the Law of Moses. It says:
“See that you do not refuse Him who speaks [that’s God], for if they did not escape who refused him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven [that’s God speaking from heaven through His Son Jesus Christ]; whose voice then shook the earth. But now He has promised, saying, yet once more I shake not only the earth but also heaven.”
Do you believe that? I do. I believe that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Now, the writer goes on:
“Now this yet once more indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.”