This sermon was given in May/June 2013
Several weeks ago I was teaching the “restoration books” at our institute in New York, and I was struck afresh with the meticulous records that were kept during that era. I have taught Ezra/Nehemiah on previous occasions, and it seems that each time I teach this subject the thought of “records” captures my attention.
These books list records of people and families that were involved at the time:
There were also records where names had been deleted. For example, the genealogy of priests from Ezra, going back to Aaron; there were only seventeen names stretching about a 1000-year span. Some had been removed – no longer written among the righteous (Psa. 69:28). What a horrible thought, to be blotted out of the book of the living.
Today we have a new emergence of ministers who are ordained to the condemnation of preaching a false gospel (Jude 4). Ministers who turn grace into lasciviousness – (loose living); they attract large crowds of people who want to feel comfortable about their lifestyle. But, I am afraid that they too shall not be written in the book of the living.
There were also records that were not so good. Records that we would not want to find our names upon:
So what is the bottom line truth that we find in all of these records? The sobering truth is that some day the books will be opened (Rev. 20:12). Our book will be opened and we may find an exact record of all of our Christian service:
There may still be time to make reparations...It is all being etched on the eternal page. A minister friend of ours in Singapore once observed an angel recording the response of his congregants at the conclusion of a message. What were they thinking…maybe they were thinking of a good place to have lunch; maybe they were wondering who was winning the soccer match. Maybe they were thinking about the choice that was being presented. Maybe they were actually gripped by the message and their focus was upon the Lord.
Another of the restoration prophets put it like this, Malachi 3:16, 17, "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." These are days when we want to have a fresh appreciation for the invisible pen. In psalm 139, David brings us to the awareness that there is not a thought that goes undetected, nor a word in our tongue that is not considered by the Divine.
In closing this little dissertation may we be challenged to choose the fear of the Lord every day, and walk in the light of His countenance. May the Lord grant that we be written in the book of those who think much and speak much of our Master.