SHALL WE GATHER AT THE RIVER? YES OR NO?
INTRO: 1. Rivers in the Bible are referred to in different ways and are not always referring to a river of water.
2. A preacher was preaching against the use of alcoholic beverages and stated that: "All the whiskey in the world should be poured into the river."
A. After the sermon, the congregation stood and sang: "Shall We Gather At The River."
3. Let us look at some of these examples and see if it was wise for these people to gather at one of the rivers mentioned in # 1.
A. The reason I qualified what river or rivers I was talking about, surely no Godly Christian would want to gather at a river filled with whiskey Would they?
I. THE RIVER OF THE FLOOD OF NOAH'S DAY. Gen. 6-8
A. Very few were prepared to gather at this river.
B. Multitudes were not.
C. Even the beasts were more prepared and gathered to enter the ark. Gen. 6:20. Note Isa. 1:2-9.
D. Did you notice that there were no other ships or lifeboats mentioned in this account? It was either one or none! Noah and his family were completely prepared just as God had directed him.
E. It was'nt a matter of God choosing Noah to be saved from the river of the flood and keeping it secret from all the rest of the people of that day.
1. Noah preached about the coming of the flood and that people prepare for it for about 100 years. But, undoubtedly he got no takers.
a. Preachers of today bemoan the fact that people will not respond favorably to the preaching of the gospel. What about Noah?
II. RIVER OF THE RED SEA. Exo. 14.
A. Pharaoh should not have gathered.
B. According to their own thinking, Israel should not have gathered either.
1. They had doubts as to whether God's way would work or not.
C. But in God's sight they should have gathered.
III. RIVER JORDAN.
A. When Israel first gathered at the River, they were not prepared but murmured against God. Num. 13,14.
B. When Naaman first came to the River he was not prepared to gather at that particular river for his cleansing from his leprosy. 2 Kgs. 5.
C. Those from Jerusalem and all of Judea that gathered to John's baptism were not all prepared, but some were.
1. Some of them had not repented, they needed to go and bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. Lk. 3.
D. Christ came to the River to be baptized of John. He was prepared, His baptism was for the purpose of fulfilling all righteousness. Mt. 3
E. There were some however that gathered at the River of John's baptism after it had been replaced by the baptism of the covenant of Christ.
1. They had been taught by a good man that was undoubtedly honest and sincere in what he was teaching, but was honestly and sincerely wrong.
2. Therefore, the twelve men needed to be baptized for the right purpose under the right covenant. Acts 19.
IV. THE RIVER OF THE BAPTISM OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
A. We cannot gather upon the world's side of the rivr and expect to reach the reward that lies on the other side. Mk. 16:15,16; Acts 2: 38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-6; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21.
B. Neither can we gather upon the Lord's side of the river and expect to reach the reward that lies beyond obedience to the 21 epistles that teach us how to live a Christian life.
1. When we have crossed the river of baptism, our work as a Christian has just begun. Heb. 5:12-6:8; Phil. 3:12-16.
V. RIVER OF LIVING WATERS OF GOD'S WORD. Jer. 2:13; Jno. 4: 14; Rev. 22:17.
A. Yes, "There's a fountain free, Tis for you and me. Let us haste O haste to its brink. It's the fount of love, From the source above. Let us haste and freely drink."
VI. THE RIVER OF THE JORDAN OF DEATH.
A. Death is only a better condition for those that have obeyed the Lord. Heb. 9:27; Rev. 14:13.
VII. THE RIVER OF LIFE THAT FLOWS BY THE THRONE OF GOD.
A. Rev. 22:1-5.
B. This river can only be reached by faithful obedience until death. Rev. 2:10
C. Surely, you would not want to cross this Jordan alone. Psa. 23
Are you ready to gather at the river?
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