I titled Monday night’s post “God Probably Wants You to Finish What You Started” and repeated the word “probably” three more times because it’s possible you’re dating someone that God doesn’t want you to be dating, as I did two years after I became a Christian even though God showed me who I’m supposed to marry way back in 2012. To prevent you from going through the hell I went through because I disregarded God’s plan for my life and chose to have sex for several months rather than attend church, pay my tithes, and use the gifts and talents God gave me to write this blog, he’s been providing sermon after sermon about commitment — to his will for your life. The following aired Tuesday morning on TBN.
“Let’s begin with the basics: that God demands to be first,” Pastor John Hagee said. “The Bible says, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all of his righteousness, and all of these things shall be added unto you.’ … Why do we worship him on Sunday? We worship on Sunday because Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday [and because] Sunday is the first day of the week. … Putting God first in your life establishes his lordship. If Jesus is not first, he is not lord. And if he is not lord, there is no blessing, there is no favor, there is no prosperity, and you live, according to Malachi, under a curse.
“What does it mean to be first? First is preceding all others in time [and] in order of importance. …
[Take the story of Adam and Eve, for example.]
“Why did God create that tree? The answer is to see if Adam and Eve would put him first whenever Satan came to tempt them, because he knew that temptation was coming. God wanted to see if they would put their will above his will. …
“When your desires, your plans, [and] your ideas become more important to you than God’s plan, you have adopted the attitude of Lucifer. Lucifer challenged God. …
“I will, I will, I will. Those five ‘I will’s are in the book of Isaiah. The fact is, you can have the attitude of Lucifer and confess to be a Christian. When your will becomes greater than God’s will, you have an idolatry problem.
“When Jesus and the 12 disciples were rejected by the Samaritans, James and John came to Jesus and asked permission from Jesus to [rain] fire down on those people that wouldn’t accept them. ‘Burn them up!’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘You don’t know what you’re asking. You don’t know what manner of spirit you’re of.’
“Saint Peter [also] had Lucifer’s attitude. Peter said to Jesus, ‘You don’t need to go to the cross.’ When the Roman soldiers in the Garden of Gethsemane threatened to take him, Peter said, we’ll take up swords, and we’ll defend you. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan.’ Why? Because the whole purpose for Christ coming into the Earth was to die on the cross. … And when Peter was saying, ‘You don’t need to go to the cross,’ that was exactly what Satan did not want to happen. [So] Jesus looked at his follower and said, ‘You are speaking the message of Satan in my ear. Get behind me.’ Translation: Shut up.
“How do you know if your attitude is controlled by Satan? The answer is when you refuse to put God first. When your will is not God’s will. That’s when you are in a dangerous territory. Satan did not put God first. And even though he was an archangel — one of the top three in heaven — God kicked him out of heaven, and he became the devil. Why? Because he worshiped his will.
“Adam and Eve had one thing to do, and they blew that. And God kicked them out of the garden for not putting his will first. Eve was cursed. Adam was cursed. The ground was cursed.
“And that curse lives until this day. …
“Now let’s look at Abraham. Why did God choose Abraham to be the father of all who believe? Why is it that thousands of years after his death, people still know him better than most any person on the Earth? Because he understood the law of first fruits. When Abraham tied [up his son] Isaac and placed him on the altar to sacrifice him to God, he lifted his dagger, and the angel of God stopped him. And the lord said, ‘I know [now] that you fear God –‘ Genesis 22:12.
“The living Bible [translates] this verse this way: he says, ‘I know that God is first in your life.’
“Only when you put God first is God able to provide what he promises. Think about it. Only in total obedience is there total reward. Consider God’s law of first things. … We go to church on the first day of the week. It determines the quality of the of the rest of the six days. You give to God your tithe first, and he blesses what is left. Isaac was the first fruit. He had two sons — Jacob and Esau. Jacob had 12 sons, and their descendants became the 12 tribes of Israel. God sent Joseph into Egypt, where he became the prime minister. Joseph sent for his family, the Jewish people who were 70 in number, and they stayed in Egypt for 430 years. They became a mighty nation of almost 2 million people. Even though they were persecuted, they prospered and they grew. Why? Because the first fruit — Isaac on Mount Moriah — had been given to God, and what you do with the first fruit determines the guarantee of everything that comes after it. That’s why they are blessed and always will be blessed — because God is keeping his covenant with Abraham. …
“Now let me show you how that works in reverse. If you refuse to put God first, it doesn’t stop God from being first. It only releases the judgment of God upon you. It releases the curse upon everything you put your hands to for the rest of your life until you get your act together. The only way out is redemption, which means to buy back from destruction by obeying the law of first fruits.
“Consider the law of first fruits and the fall of Jericho. Four hundred and 30 years of slavery in Egypt was followed by 40 years of heat and grit in the desert. With Joshua as their leader, God released a plan that would begin the conquest of the holy land. Think of Jericho as first fruits. Jericho’s the city. It was the first city that stood between Israel and and the promised land. God made it clear that he was giving Jericho to the Jewish people as a gift, because the lord said, ‘I’m going to fight for you.’ There was only one thing that was forbidden:
“God says, ‘The gold and the silver of Jericho belong to me. And you, by all means, abstain from the accursed thing lest you become accursed when you take the accursed thing and make the camp of Israel a curse and a place of trouble. But all the gold and all the silver and all the vessels of iron are consecrated to the lord. They shall come into the treasury of the lord,’ end quote. Think about it. Because Israel fully understood the law of first fruits, they understood that everything in Jericho belonged to the lord. Keep your hands off of it, because God was going to give you everything else that would come after it.
“Everybody got the message but one guy — Achan, because he was the smart aleck who knew better. How many of you have relatives that always know better? They always have the better idea, and it always turns out to be a disaster.
“[In] the battle of Ai, Israel’s army was destroyed. Joshua [asked why] and God said, ‘Get up. There’s sin in the camp.’ And they went tent by tent searching. They searched 11 tribes [until] they reached Achan’s tribe. …
“‘Give God the glory.’ That means the things you’ve stolen, give them back. Achan had stolen the glory of God because he took the things that belonged to God. The result was that Achan, his wife, his sons, his daughters, his livestock were stoned to death by all of Israel. And they stacked their bodies in a pile and burned them with fire to purge Israel of the sin of taking what belonged to God. Think about this story. Because of one man’s disobedience, the entire nation suffered the consequences. … If the church is one body fitly joined together, then your disobedience affects the whole body. If one man affected two million people in Israel, certainly one man can affect 22,000 here [in Texas].”