Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man, but he ends up with a mouth full of gravel.
O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake You will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water.
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
Yet you have a few people who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand.
The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.
Lady Wisdom Gives a Dinner Party
Lady Wisdom has built and furnished her home; it’s supported by seven hewn timbers.
The banquet meal is ready to be served: lamb roasted, wine poured out, table set with silver and flowers.
Having dismissed her serving maids, Lady Wisdom goes to town, stands in a prominent place, and invites everyone within sound of her voice:
“Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on? Come with me, oh come, have dinner with me!
I’ve prepared a wonderful spread—fresh-baked bread, roast lamb, carefully selected wines.
Leave your impoverished confusion and live! Walk up the street to a life with meaning.”
If you reason with an arrogant cynic, you’ll get slapped in the face; confront bad behavior and get a kick in the shins.
So don’t waste your time on a scoffer; all you’ll get for your pains is abuse.
But if you correct those who care about life, that’s different—they’ll love you for it!
Save your breath for the wise—they’ll be wiser for it; tell good people what you know—they’ll profit from it.
Skilled living gets its start in the Fear-of-God, insight into life from knowing a Holy God.
It’s through me, Lady Wisdom, that your life deepens, and the years of your life ripen.
Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life; mock life and life will mock you.
Madame Whore Calls Out, Too
Then there’s this other woman, Madame Whore—brazen, empty-headed, frivolous.
She sits on the front porch of her house on Main Street, And as people walk by minding their own business, calls out,
“Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on? Steal off with me, I’ll show you a good time!
No one will ever know—I’ll give you the time of your life.” But they don’t know about all the skeletons in her closet, that all her guests end up in hell.
She says to a person without sense,
“Stolen waters are sweet, and food eaten in secret is tasty.”
But he does not know that the souls of the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell.”
For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.
In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
“All prohibited unlawful lusts and pleasures are desirable to men, and sweet in the enjoyment of them; and the pleasure promised by them is what makes them so desirable, and the more so because forbidden: and particularly as adultery, which is a sort of theft and a drinking water out of another’s cistern (Proverbs 5:15) being forbidden and unlawful, and secretly committed, is sweeter to an unclean person than a lawful enjoyment of his own wife; so false worship, superstition, and idolatry, the inventions of men, and obedience to their commands, which are no other than spiritual adultery, are more grateful and pleasing to a corrupt mind than the true and pure worship of God; and bread eaten in secret is pleasant; or, that which is stolen and is another’s and is taken and hid in secret places, fetched out from thence, or eaten there: the sweet morsel of sin, rolled in the mouth, and kept under the tongue; secret lusts, private sins, particularly idolatry, to which men are secretly enticed, and which they privately commit.
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible (Proverbs 9:17)
There is a pleasure in sin for a season, but it has one hell of an aftertaste–BUT SIN ALWAYS has a price to pay–it will cost you your real life on earth and it ends in spiritual eternal death!
Hear the word of the LORD, listen to the law of our God!
“I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.
“This book is the verdict going out worldwide against thieves and liars. The first half of the book disposes of everyone who steals; the second half takes care of everyone who lies. I launched it”—Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies—“and so it will fly into the house of every thief and every liar. It will land in each house and tear it down, timbers and stones.”
The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the righteous.
Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.
Proverbs 3:33, Isaiah 24:6
Fight with All You Have in You
Dear friends, I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish. What has happened is that some people have infiltrated our ranks (our Scriptures warned us this would happen), who beneath their pious skin are shameless scoundrels. Their design is to replace the sheer grace of our God with sheer license—which means doing away with Jesus Christ, our one and only Master.
You are just as dependent upon Christ, in order to live a holy life, as is the branch upon the parent stock for growth and fruitfulness. Apart from Him you have no life. You have no power to resist temptation or to grow in grace and holiness. Abiding in Him, you may flourish. Drawing your life from Him, you will not wither nor be fruitless. You will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water.
Some people have slipped in among you unnoticed. Not long ago they were condemned in writing for the following reason: They are people to whom God means nothing. They use God’s kindness as an excuse for sexual freedom and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
I want to remind you about what you already know: The Lord once saved his people from Egypt. But on another occasion he destroyed those who didn’t believe. He held angels for judgment on the great day. They were held in darkness, bound by eternal chains. These are the angels who didn’t keep their position of authority but abandoned their assigned place. What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities near them is an example for us of the punishment of eternal fire. The people of these cities suffered the same fate that God’s people and the angels did, because they committed sexual sins and engaged in homosexual activities.
Yet, in a similar way, the people who slipped in among you are dreamers. They contaminate their bodies with sin, reject the Lord’s authority, and insult His glory.
Whatever these people don’t understand, they insult. Like animals, which are creatures of instinct, they use whatever they know to destroy themselves. How horrible it will be for them! These people are a disgrace at the special meals you share with other believers. They eat with you and don’t feel ashamed.
These people complain, find fault, follow their own desires, say arrogant things, and flatter people in order to take advantage of them.
Dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ told you to expect: “In the last times people who ridicule God will appear. They will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who cause divisions. They are concerned about physical things, not spiritual things.
Jude 1:10-12, 16-19
Dear friends, use your most holy faith to grow. Pray with the Holy Spirit’s help. Remain in God’s love as you look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you eternal life.
Show mercy to those who have doubts. Save others by snatching them from the fire of hell. Show mercy to others, even though you are afraid that you might be stained by their sinful lives.
God can guard you so that you don’t fall and so that you can be full of joy as you stand in His glorious presence without fault. Before time began, now, and for eternity glory, majesty, power, and authority belong to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith.
1 Thessalonians 3:10
And Isaiah said the same thing in another place: “If the LORD of Heaven’s Armies had not spared a few of our children, we would have been wiped out like Sodom, destroyed like Gomorrah.“ Unless the LORD Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.
Romans 9:29, Isaiah 1:9
Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD that He may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for He will forgive generously.
Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?‘
Your Body, His Temple
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
However, if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, pray, search for Me, and turn from their evil ways,
then I will hear their prayer from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their country.
My eyes will be open, and My ears will pay attention to those prayers at this place.
I have chosen and declared this temple holy so that My name may be placed there forever.
My eyes and My heart will always be there.
2 Chronicles 7:14-16
Repentance to Bring Blessing
Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the Lord.
Say to Him:
“Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.”
Babylon Has Fallen!
Warning to Escape Babylon’s Judgment
Then I heard another voice from heaven say:
“‘Come out of her, My people, so that you will not share in her sins,so that you will not receive any of her plagues;
for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her:
death, mourning and famine.
She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.”
Revelation 18:4-5, 8
“The kings of the earth who had sex with her and lived in luxury with her will cry and mourn over her when they see the smoke rise from her raging fire. Frightened by her torture, they will stand far away and say,
‘How horrible, how horrible it is for that important city, the powerful city Babylon!
In one moment judgment has come to it!’
“The merchants of the earth cry and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargo anymore.
‘The fruit you craved is gone. All your luxuries and your splendor have disappeared. No one will ever find them again.’
“Frightened by her torture, the merchants who had become rich by selling these things will stand far away. They will cry and mourn, saying,
‘How horrible, how horrible for that important city which was wearing fine linen, purple clothes, bright red clothes, gold jewelry, gems, and pearls. In one moment all this wealth has been destroyed!’
Every ship’s captain, everyone who traveled by ship, sailors, and everyone who made their living from the sea stood far away. When they saw the smoke rise from her raging fire, they repeatedly cried out, ‘Was there ever a city as important as this?’ Then they threw dust on their heads and shouted while crying and mourning,
‘How horrible, how horrible for that important city. Everyone who had a ship at sea grew rich because of that city’s high prices.
In one moment it has been destroyed!’
“Gloat over it, heaven, God’s people, apostles, and prophets. God has condemned it for you.”
Then a powerful angel picked up a stone that was like a large millstone. He threw it into the sea and said,
“The important city Babylon will be thrown down with the same force.
It will never be found again.
“The blood of prophets, God’s people, and everyone who had been murdered on earth was found in it.”
Revelation 18:14-21, 24
But the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD’s glory like the water covers the sea. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
Habakkuk 2:14, Jeremiah 31:34, Psalm 22:27, Isaiah 40:5
The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and His name the only name.
And now the Sovereign Lord has sent me, endowed with His Spirit.
This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.
If only you had paid attention to My commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.
Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be blotted out
nor destroyed from before Me.”
Leave Babylon, flee from the Babylonians! Announce this with shouts of joy and proclaim it.
Send it out to the ends of the earth; say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob.”
They did not thirst when He led them through the deserts; He made water flow for them from the rock;
He split the rock and water gushed out.
“There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”
Isaiah 48:17 -22
‘How horrible it will be for the one who makes his neighbor drink from the bowl of God’s rage, making him drunk in order to stare at his nakedness. You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and be exposed! The cup from the LORD’s right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory.
God Is In The Details
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
If Jesus knew He must be about His Father’s business and that His Father’s house is to be a house of prayer for the nations—not the den of thieves that man had turned it into–how much more should we be up and about our Father’s business?
It is important that we remember that Jesus said that as we partake of His blood and His body–our spiritual drink and food—
we do this and remember Him as the Father’s Passover of sin–bringing us out of the bondage of sin’s oppression that we might live forever with Him in holiness. Who the Son sets free is free indeed!
We must further consider that whatever we do to the very least of these–His brethren–it is as if we are doing it unto Him.
The Same Jesus who said, “suffer the little children to come unto Me and forbid them not for of such is the kingdom of heaven“,
is the Same Jesus who though He were God’s Son yet He learned obedience by what He suffered—even the cross because
God so loved the world that He desired that none perish but come to Everlasting Life. This is the work of God–that we believe.
This is the Same Jesus who prayed that we may be One in Him as He is One in the Father and is alive right now interceding for us.
Therefore, it is important as His family members that we pray for one another—so that the lost and wayward will turn from
their wicked ways in confession that Jesus is Lord and that we receive them with the unfailing love of God the Father so that
we grow up together in Him.
You can see now how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day, and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all nations—
We are the witnesses.
Salvation and power are established! Kingdom of our God, authority of His Messiah!
The Accuser of our brothers and sisters thrown out, who accused them day and night before God.
They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb and the bold word of their witness.
They weren’t in love with themselves; they were willing to die for Christ.
Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13