Make It Plain
1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. 2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. 4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. (Hab 2:1-4)
Two weeks ago we concluded the Standing Strong Youth Camp. A wonderful blessing to everyone who attended and especially to those 18 souls who gave their lives to the Lord and were saved.
What stood out to me more than anything at that camp was the clarity and the urgency of the Gospel and how incredibly it was received.
People were literally transformed at the camp and it was evident even to some of the children.
I had a letter from one mother who wrote in part;
As further evidence of the power of the camps, in achieving its ministry vision, my son also commented on the stark contrast of attitudes exhibited by some of the boys he had connected with. I am grateful that he had the opportunity to bear witness to these changes and to be able to gain an insight into the contrast exhibited between the “before” and “after” giving one’s heart to Jesus.
Make It Plain For Warning
Make It Plain For Safety
Make it Plain For It’s Certainty
Make It Plain For Justice
Make It Plain For Warning
2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
Make it plain for warning.
The passage in Habakkuk sees its historical setting just prior to the captivity of the Jews to the nation of Babylon, where King Nebuchadnezzar had come to take away their place and nation.
We see in the introduction of the book in Habakkuk 1:5–6
5 …. for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. 6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs.
So, we see that the warning of chapter 2 is for them.
Manassa the evil son of Hezekiah was said to be the king of the southern kingdom of Judah at the time, and the waring was apt, for his reign was one of the most evil in the history of the nation where it was said that “he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the Lord would not pardon” (2 Kings 24:4)
The warning therefore was for the people of the nation for the evil that was to come upon them, a warning that was to be made clear, a warning of danger of the most terrible kind that the nation had never yet experienced but was warned about as far back as Moses in Deuteronomy;
See Deuteronomy 28:48–50
Even then God made it plain, even some 800 years earlier God had made it plain for warning.
… Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
The temporal warning is clear, but what of the eternal?
God warns of a clear and present danger that is to come upon the people that will affect their temporary lives, yet what are we to say with respect to his warning for the eternal?
God warned that the people might fear the danger. God warned that the people might take heed, “that he may run that readeth it”, yet what about the warning of the eternal soul of all mankind?
And how are WE to pass on that warning?
27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
There is no man alive that could ever think of anything more dangerous than hell.
None alive that could even conceive of a warning greater, a CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER that needs to be warned against for all people on earth, all people should hear, all people should be made aware of such a danger as this,
SHOULD THIS NOT THEREFORE BE MADE PLAIN???
We place labels on containers warning of the dangers of the contents within, SHOULD THAT NOT BE PLAIN?
We place signs on roads warning of the danger ahead, SHOULD THAT NOT BE PLAIN???
Warnings are found on cigarette packets,
warnings in workplaces,
warnings of overhead power lines,
every time you fill up your tank at a petrol station there is a warning to safeguard your bodies,
ARE THEY NOT PLAIN?
The vast majority of these warnings are a “just in case” warnings.
- “Just in case” you open and spill the hazardess chemical,
- “Just in case” your phone interferes with the operation of Boeing 747 aircraft electronic system,
- “Just in case” a virus is passed on to you by a “Close Contact” etc.
But what about the warning of inevitability?
Death is not a “just in case” proposition, it is inevitable.
What about the warning of the greatest danger of all after ones death, ETERNITY JUDGEMENT AND CONDEMNATION IN HELL?
- There are parents that warn their children on how to cross the street.
- They warn them not to talk to strangers,
- they warn them to be sure to wear a helmet and they warn them PLAINLY and CLEARLY just in case….
But how many CHRISTIAN Parents warn their OWN children about eternity?
I have seen FAR FAR too many Christian parents NEGLIGENT in the most important care of all for their kids. Think that somehow OZMOSIS will interact with the child and they will somehow “catch on”.
All this while the very school system they submit their children to are ACTIVELY HANDING THEIR KIDS DIRECTLY INTO SATANS HANDS!
“What can the theistic Sunday-school, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?”(Charles Francis Potter, Humanism: A New Religion
There is a reason so many responded to the gospel at the Standing Strong Camp last week, there is a reason why many had returned home with much to think about, it was because the Gospel in the Bible is clear and was presented clearly and then clarified further in the cabin devotions.
The children had a clear and plain message for which they were able to make a clear and plain determination. The gospel made sense, the danger was clear and present, and the hope of eternal life, the safety of their soul was presented with a clear choice to be made, and so many believed and were wonderfully saved.
God makes the danger PLAIN that the warning might be CLEAR!
Most people still think that they can be good enough to enter into heaven.
They trust that their own good works will save them. The vast majority of the planet vainly trust that as long as their good outweighs their bad then they are safe from ANY condemnation.
But not only does that not work for matters eternal, it does not work in real life.
Your freedom is not predicated on you being more good than bad, it is given as a privilege for as long as you DON’T BREAK THE LAW. Once the law is broken, your freedom can be taken from you.
You are privileged to drive on the roads ONLY for as long as you OBEY the road laws, when you disobey you are punished.
So it is NEVER A CASE OF Good outweighing bad!
But not only is this true, neither do they know HOW good is GOOD?
Is the pass mark 51%, 60%, 70%?
Many years ago my subject in Bible college was Church History. The exam component was %80 of the mark and the essay was 20%.
I was too busy running my own business as well as everything else and so I left off doing the essay and just did the exam.
Well I got almost 100% for the exam and I was satisfied that I finished the subject.
When the result for the class came in I had a total of 79% and was happy I passed. Only the teacher told me a passing grade was 80% and so I had to do the subject again to pass.
What is the requirement for HEAVEN? What is the “passing grade”? 50%, 80%…?
God made plain how good we are;
2 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. 3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
That is the OLD Testament, lets see if the New Testament agrees.
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
God has given to man TEN commandments that man might understand what “Good” is,
Now he speaks to the law and its purpose
19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
God has made it plain for warning
Make It Plain For Safety
2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it
None of the warnings given to man are without the purpose of safeguarding him IF he takes heed to them.
EVERY SINGLE Warning in the world has the PRESERVATION OF HIS temporal SAFETY in mind IF man takes heed to the warning and safeguards himself.
So too it is with the ETERNAL.
God has made it PLAIN UPON TABLES for one specific purpose, “that he may run that readeth it”, that he might take shelter, that he might turn and run.
We have spent time speaking about the Bible, specifically why we believe that for the English speaking people, the King James Version of the Bible is the PERFECT PRESERVED WORD OF GOD.
We have spoken of the multitude of corruptions in modern translation.
We spoke of Satan’s original ploy and how it was through creating doubt in Gods words in the very beginning that led to the fall of mankind.
We spoke of his ingenious tactic;
- Create doubt in Gods words “Yea hath God said….” (Gen 3:1)
- Denial of Gods words “Ye shall NOT surely die” (Gen 3:4)
- Finally to set up a replacement of Gods words “…in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods” (Gen 3:5)
Should we be surprised that if there is ONE BOOK Satan wants to obscure, to create doubt in, to corrupt so the warning is NOT plain upon tables, for he desires that no man might “run that readeth it” it would be the Bible itself?
BUT GOD had promised to preserve his words and he has done so all through history. God is NOT hindered by language, he CREATED language from the beginning.
Anyone who has gone overseas, or even travelled a little here in Australia, has seen warning signs in multiple languages.
Why are we so willing to accept the care man has for his fellow man, but not even consider it as possible that God so loved the world enough to “make it plain upon tables that he may run that readeth it”?
Imagine the confusion of warning signs that cant make things clear;
Imagine some danger signs, usually bright and with few words
“Cliff ahead” etc
What person would take warning of….
“Within this container is a certain substance that may or may not injure you depending upon whether or not you expose it to an open flame, puncture the container, damage the valve used to enable access to the contents, or in anywise abuse the substance within close proximity to your person” (AKA Hazardous Chemicals)
“Should your travel be undertaken at a day and hour when there is likelihood of prior disturbance to the grounds or rocks at elevation higher than where you are now traveling, and should said condition of those grounds have been previously disturbed by weather, or fire, or earthquake, movements of animals or any other such effort heretofore not described in detail, death or serious injury may occur through the gravitational force enacted upon the disturbance of said debris” (AKA Falling Rocks)
Sadly, we see far too many people and even pastors confusing the simplicity of the Gospel the hope of all mankind to take refuge.
1 John 5:12
12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
Nineteen single syllable words that both warn and have those who are willing to hear, take refuge.
make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it
Please speak the gospel clearly that all people might have the opportunity to safeguard their souls.
Don’t speak in circles, don’t try to manipulate the conversation in the hope that they might get it. Speak plainly of the danger that they might see and understand the gospel, the good news and hope available.
Mums and dads, are you leaving the reality of the state of the souls of your children to chance?
When it comes to the state of the soul the Bible is plain.
- All of mankind are sinners.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
- All of mankind will die.
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, …:
- All risk judgement
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
That is making the warning plain upon tables
But how is a man to run that readeth it?
There is ONLY one thing that is needful;
- “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31)
The gospel is as plain in the New Testament as it was in the Old testament, there is NO CONTRADICTION between these two books.
Jesus spoke to the Pharisees about the old Testament saying;
39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Turn to Isaiah 53
We will read the first six verses, and you can read the last six to indentify who it is that Isaiah is writing of 700 years before he came.
1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Make it Plain For It’s Certainty
Plain for Warning
Plain for Safety
Plain for its certainty
2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
And I would wonder why it is that so many stand still and wont run when the reality of it all is so certain?
ALL men know they are in danger.
They see their sin that lays hard against them, they know that God is and yet have convinced themselves that they are in no danger whatsoever.
Satan has deceived multitudes in having them think the city they dwell in is safety and there is no sign of danger.
In 1980 a man by the name of Harry R Truman was the owner and caretaker of Mount St Helens Lodge at Spirit Lake near the base of the mountain. He was warned again and again that the volcano was not far from erupting and needed to safeguard himself.
As the mountains very shape was changing before his eyes, he still stubbornly would not take any warning, convincing himself that he was safe. He and his lodge were buried under 46m of volcanic debris.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie:though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
That is the picture of wilfully ignorant men who are aware of danger but convinced they are safe. There is no rush, no urgency.
There was a story of Satan and his devils around a table like the Knights Templar, discussing the best way to deceive man. One said to convince them hell doesn’t exist, but they realised that man would work out that all evil must be judged.
Then they said, to convince them that they are all good. But the argument went back saying that everyone has a conscience that condemns them and they’ll figure it out as they get older.
The last one raised his arm and with a laugh he just said, “tell them there is no hurry” and they all laughed together trusting that that is the perfect deception.
That is the picture of the majority of the people of the world whom Satan has deceived to have them trust in their own vanity they know they will one day die, but just not today.
How many who die today have made plans for tomorrow?
But there is another story. It was the story of Volcanologist David Johnson, who is studying the Mount St Helens Volcano. He was situated in a US Geological Survey base on the side of the volcano about six miles from the mouth itself.
He is heard on a radio broadcast almost predicting that he would be hit, he said, ““The eruption could be within hours, it could be within days, or even up to a couple of months.” He then begins to chuckle, saying: “This is not a good spot to be standing in”.
On the 25th of March 1980 there were no less that 22 significant earthquakes in a single 8 hour period making plain that people ought to run, to leave the area immediately. Evacuations began around him. Forestry personal began setting up closure zones and warning the people living in the area to flee.
David Johnson remained. If anyone should have known better, it was him.
On the 18th of May 1980 an earthquake measuring 5.2 on the rictor scale destroys one side of the mountain and a few minutes later a 24 megaton blast, 1800 times greater than the atomic bomb that fell on Hiroshima Japan at the end of world war two, shattered the north face of the mountain.
The last words of David Johnson on the radio was “Vancouver, Vancouver, This is it, This is it”.
His body was never found.
The information was made plain for the sake of safety.
The volcanologist was a professional who understood the unpredictable nature of live volcanoes. He studied the signs of a near eruption.
Like the professional theologian who should know better, Johnson knew with absolute certainty that his life was in danger, yet he thought he made his plans well.Even though the very ground under his feet shook a fortnight earlier, he still thought he would make a “death bed confession” if you will.
This is the state of everyone who denies the reality of God and the inevitability of death.
They think they are safe, the trust they have made their escape well.
Some have even heard the truth of the Gospel, studied the Bible in detail, even become theologians trusting they will make their escape at the appointed time.
They saw the salvation of the thief on the cross who believed in Jesus just before he died, and they expect they will get the same opportunity.
The Bible speaks of the man that has his trust in his riches;
Man has no guarantee of another hour let alone another decade.
9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? 10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
Make It Plain For Justice
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. 4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
There are two that are justified by this fourth verse. One is he who believes the truth of that which he reads by faith. Like Abraham, he believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. (Gal 3:6).
The other is God himself;
Imagine for a moment being charged for breaking a law that you had no reasonable possibility of ever knowing was a law! Can that be just?
Imagine a system of laws that are so vague no person alive could have any reasonable knowledge was a law!
We remember the Roe v Wade ruling of 1973 that justified the murder of any child not yet born.
That law came about by a re-imagining of the constitution of the United States by Justice Blackman who wrote the majority opinion in that case.
He reimagined the Constitution of the United States by stating the inside the Constitution are Penumbral Rights, these are obscure rights that may or may not be articulated in the constitution as “reasoning by interpolation” according to the dictionary. In other words, they are shadowy ideas that might be seen by someone as true.
So Justice Blackman saw in the Constitution of the United States some ‘Penumbral Rights’, and in those Penumbral Rights he saw a shadowy unarticulated “Right to Privacy”, and inside this unwritten Right to Privacy he saw that women had the right to an abortion in the first two trimesters without interference from the state and in the third trimester if the mothers health is in danger.
Now beloved, you will read that constitution for a hundred years and never anything about ‘The Right to Privacy’, Penumbral rights or anything about abortion. However, now in an unjust society 400 million children have been killed around the world in the last 50 years.
We agree that ignorance of the law is no excuse, but what we are referring to are laws that are not only unnatural and unusual, but unreasonable and unknowable.
A JUST Society has a system of law that are both few and clear, an unjust society writes laws that are many and vague.
God however is JUST and the Justifier of him that him that believes the gospel.
19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
That passage should be read again and again for there truly is so much in it.
All mankind has sinned and stand condemned before a holy God.
For God to be JUST, he must both condemn and punish ALL that sin, which is all mankind.
God has given to man his law, he has made it plain upon tables, and in reading the Law “every mouth is stopped”, all of us are condemned by what the law says of us. The world has become already guilty before God.
Now, naturally, if all are ALREADY guilty having broken the law, verse 20 makes perfect sense that by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
In a driving analogy, knowing what the speed limit is does not save you if you have already broken it. The law ONLY reveals to you that you have broken it. Like when you get the fine in the mail.
No amount of OBEDIENCE to the law is going to make up for when it was broken, the fine must be paid.
Now all the prophets of the Old Testament testify of the coming of Christ through the righteousness of God.
21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which isby faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe
Verse 24 tells us that Christ had come to do what man could never do, Christ came to pay the fine that man could never pay;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood,
Look at verse 26;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
God warns man of his danger.
Man in his own ability, CANNOT SAVE HIMSELF.
God must punish sin.
God sets forth Christ to be a propitiation, a just and full satisfaction of God’s divine law and character paid for in full through his shed blood, that through faith in his blood, man may be saved.
There is NO POINT warning man of the danger IF MAN HAS NO ABILITY TO ESCAPE THE DANGER.
Without Christ paying for the sin of mankind, NONE WOULD BE SAVED!
But man must also be free to choose to escape.
But must have the opportunity to DENY Gods grace.
In this not only can man be justified through the blood of Christ, but GOD is seen as JUST in both warning man AND giving to man a way of escape!
that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus!
- God has made both the warning plain,
- The way of safety plain
- The certainty of that which is to come, PLAIN.
- The justice of his nature, plain.
Jesus died for the sin of mankind; it is written plainly that he may run that readeth it.
Where does he run?
Straight into the arms of Jesus!