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We Have A Refuge!

Good Morning Family,
I'm so glad all of you could join us today
Thanks be to God
Heavenly Father,

We thank you for the marvelous, life-transforming revelation of who You are: the Only True God. How wondrous it is that You choose to grant us glimpses of Your magnificent glory that is radiant in holiness, every time we worship you! We are ever grateful that You bless our efforts to worship You with the sacred seal of Your Presence despite our imperfections.
We rejoice in the privilege of being Your worshipers and are immensely humbled that You called us into this ministry of helping others to worship You.
May our worship convey that You are the undisputed supreme priority of our lives and that You will be our God and our mission forever.
May our passion for You and our pastoring of your people be firmly rooted in uncompromising authenticity, demonstrating compassion to the weak, generosity to the needy and fairness in the treatment of people.
In Jesus' name 

"The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, 
A refuge in times of trouble. 
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You;
For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You."

Psalm 9:9-10

In our world today, we often hear and read about “refugees” in the news. When a country is invaded, many of the residents are forced to flee for their lives. They run from their homes; some hide in surrounding hills, caves or forests to escape harm. Others board boats or aircraft vessels to get away from danger.
After hours or even days of torturous journeying, they may find shelter far away in another city or country.
According to the World Refugee survey, the number of refugee camps is increasing significantly, with over 12 million refugees worldwide. An additional 21 million are Internally Displaced Persons, IDP, an official designation for civilians displaced by persecution, armed conflict or widespread violence.

"When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
Then You knew my path.
In the way in which I walk
They have secretly set a snare for me.

Look on my right hand and see,
For there is no one who acknowledges me;
Refuge has failed me;
No one cares for my soul.

I cried out to You, O Lord:
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living."

Refugees are a people without a country. They seek peace and safety in a better place.
The Old Testament scriptures talk about six “Cities of Refuge” that Moses appointed.

"The Lord also spoke to Joshua, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Appoint for yourselves cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, that the slayer who kills a person accidentally or unintentionally may flee there; and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood. And when he flees to one of those cities, and stands at the entrance of the gate of the city, and declares his case in the hearing of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city as one of them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them. Then if the avenger of blood pursues him, they shall not deliver the slayer into his hand, because he struck his neighbor unintentionally, but did not hate him beforehand. And he shall dwell in that city until he stands before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the one who is high priest in those days. Then the slayer may return and come to his own city and his own house, to the city from which he fled.’ ” So they appointed Kedesh in Galilee, in the mountains of Naphtali, Shechem in the mountains of Ephraim, and Kirjath Arba which is Hebron in the mountains of Judah. And on the other side of the Jordan, by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness on the plain, from the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead, from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan, from the tribe of Manasseh. These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel and for the stranger who dwelt among them, that whoever killed a person accidentally might flee there, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood until he stood before the congregation."
Joshua 20:1-9 

The Refuge cities were inhabited by Levites, the priesthood. They were strategically located thru-out Canaan so as to be no more than one-half days away for anyone fleeing on foot. According to Jewish historians, the roads leading to the cities of refuge were maintained in the best possible repair for the sake of the fugitive. Hills were either by-passed or leveled as much as possible; every river was bridged; the roads were plainly visible and accommodating. At every crossroad, a guidepost with the word `Refuge' on it pointed the right direction to take.

If a person accidentally killed another, he or she could flee to one of those designated cities so as not to be slain by one whom the Bible account refers to as “the avenger of blood.”
If the one fleeing left a city of refuge prematurely, the blood relative of the deceased could legally take vengeance. Thus, both justice and mercy were established. The cities of refuge gave every one who had slain someone unwittingly, an opportunity to have his day in court.

When the person seeking safety approached a city of refuge, he found that the gates were always open, ready to welcome him. Once inside the city gates, he was assured of protection until a trial could be held. If the congregation found him guilty, he was delivered to the avenger to be destroyed. If it could be proved that the death he caused was accidental, the man seeking refuge was cautioned to remain in the city, where he would be safe. If he wandered away, the avenger of blood might well be lurking in the shadows to take his life.

These Old Testament incidents prefigured spiritual truths for our day. The cities of refuge are an apt illustration, both of Christ Jesus and of the church. God’s plan is for anyone to have access to the throne of his mercy and find grace to help in time of need. That is why every Holy Ghost filled believer must be able to point out the way to salvation in a manner anyone can understand.
That is also why every local church must have the felt presence of the Lord in their midst every time the congregation gathers together.

That is also why it is vital that we pray that the Lord of the harvest will send laborers into the cities throughout North America, and in every nation that does not have an One-God believing, Jesus’ name baptizing, Holy Spirit filled church.

Because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, the sentence of eternal death is upon every transgressor. It is merely a matter of time before divine justice overtakes the sinner. Thanks be to God, however, a door of hope is opened wherever the gospel of Christ is preached. We rejoice that today and in this city there is a refuge for the sinner and the saint, for the godly and the ungodly.
The way of life is being clearly set forth. For all who are sick of living in sin and want to change for the better, help is available. Christ died for our sins according to many Old Testament scriptures. He was buried and rose again the third day, just as the scriptures predicted.

Regardless of ones degree of guilt or level of transgressions, the only safety is to be in Christ Jesus. Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other heaven under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. In a very real sense, everyone who has put in his faith in Jesus Christ is a refugee.
Hebrews 6:18-20 declares that
"who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek."

There is a law of liberty in Christ Jesus that sets the sinner free from the law of sin & death.
It is dangerous to delay entering this place of safety. Those who fled from their pursuers did not dare take their time in getting to a city of refuge for fear that the avenger of blood might catch & destroy them.

Your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour. The only workable plan of resistance of his wiles & deceptions is to be steadfast in the faith.
The slayer was not allowed to return home until after the death of the high priest. As the death of the high priest allowed freedom from the adversary, so also the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church. Jesus, who is our faithful and true high priest, died and rose again to deliver us from the fear of death. Because of his glorious resurrection, we have victory and everlasting life through the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

Even though there were 48 Levitical cities scattered up and down throughout Canaan, only six were designated to be cities of refuge and shelter was provided only in the one nearest the fugitive. He was not free to leave & be part of a nearby city. He was to stay under the watchful care of the elders & priests where he first found safety. Those priests were responsible to teach them the word of the Lord. The priests in the cities of refuge derived their livelihood from the tithes of those who were under their care.

The cities of refuge were an emblem of the church as well as of Christ. The church is to be as a city set upon a hill, which cannot be hid. Its walls of salvation and gates of righteousness stand open day & night. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me.” He also declared, "You are the light of the world; a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” 

Church, we have a refuge!
Say that with me;
We Have A Refuge!

Joshua 20:1-9 So they appointed Kedesh in Galilee, in the mountains of Naphtali.
The Hebrew word ‘Kedesh’ means holy, righteous, sanctified.
This particular city was situated on the far northern coast of Canaan, near the snowy peaks of Mt Hermon & Lebanon. It's ruins still stand on a rocky ridge in the midst of green hills. It must have been a great town at the time when the warrior Barak, who was born within its walls, passed through its gates with 900 chariots of iron to meet Sisera in the plain below.
Barak defeated the armies of Sisera, but his success was not because of his military might or skill. 

The 5th chapter of Judges clues us in on why the battle was successful, not only against Sisera, but Jabin, king of Canaan as well. There it is stated that the Lord avenged Israel through his righteous acts.

The apostle Paul testified that, despite his pedigree of being a Hebrew from the strict sect of Pharisees, he had no confidence in his flesh. As touching the righteousness which is in the law, he was blameless. Yet he willing suffered the loss of all things that he might win Christ. 

"And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:"
Philippians 3:9

Christ, the sinless one, dies to save us from our sins. When we feel godly sorrow for sin and sincerely repent, he justifies us freely by His grace, sanctifies use by His Word of Truth and sets us apart as peculiar people and a holy nation. 

Flee to Kadesh and there abide. 
"Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 
1 Peter 1:13-16

As a walled city of refuge, Kadesh had certain defined boundaries. It had restrictions. 

"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.” 

“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.” 

“I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”

"Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

No one can remain in holiness very long who fills his mind with the uncleanness portrayed on the various forms of media, whether it be in print, on T.V., on a DVD or displayed on a cinema screen.
Neither can those abide in holiness who pollutes their bodies with tobacco, illegal drugs, alcohol, or fornication.
If you want to be sheltered within Kadesh, you must live within the gates of righteousness wherein ungodliness and worldly lusts are daily mortified by the agency of the Spirit.

Next city of refuge mentioned- SHECHEM.
It lay in the extremity of a valley among the hills of Ephraim. The famous mountains of Ebal/Gerizim rose on either side. Shechem was probably the most beautiful city in the promised land, with its orchards of olive, fig, & pomegranate. It’s many flocks of singing birds gave it the name, "Musical Valley". Earliest mention of this city is in Genesis, when Abraham slept under its oaks & built his 1st altar there.
The word signifies a shoulder, or strength. It expresses the power & readiness to bear burdens. The ancients had a fabled Atlas, who was said to carry the weight of the earth on his shoulders. Jesus is the true Atlas.

"Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted. 
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed. 

All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
Isaiah 53:4-6
The Amp Bible says, "the chastisement, needful to obtain peace and well-being for us was upon Him." 
It was while under the weight of the heavy load of our sins that Jesus bowed down in the garden of Gethsemane & prayed with such agony that his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground. No one but Jesus could have carried such a burden. Therefore, he is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him."What man of you," inquired Jesus, “having 100 sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the 99 in the wilderness, & go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layed it on his shoulder, rejoicing

He is glad to carry us and safeguard us in the shelter of Shechem.
He is the strong foundation upon which the church is built.
He is the tried and precious cornerstone that supports the church from generation to generation.
We can take all of our cares, worries and burdens to that blessed covert and roll them on the shoulder of God.

Isaiah prophesied of him in chapter 9, saying, "Unto us a child is born...& the government shall be upon his shoulder."
Again, the prophet spoke concerning Christ in this manner in the 22nd chapter, And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house. And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father's house,
None but Jesus can bear the eternal weight of glory! No mere man can, for God will not give his glory to another.

3rd - HEBRON. Most ancient of the Canaanites cities. This 1st settled home of the patriarchs was located on the peaceful slopes of the southern hills. There it nestled amid olive-groves & oaks, & looked down on one of most fertile valleys in Palestine, with its orchards & cornfields.
In Hebron, David was appointed king over Israel. John the Baptist grew up amid its vineyards & mountain slopes.
Hebron means fellowship of friends. Sin creates a wide gulf between God & man. God revealed to Jacob in a dream that the gulf could be bridged...
Jesus is the true Hebron, for God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself. We who were once afar off have been made nigh.

"and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight"
Colossians 1:20-22

Through the Son of God we become members of the family of God; our fellowship is with him and he calls us his friends. We are bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.
“Friendship with Jesus, fellowship divine, O what blessed sweet communion! Jesus is a friend of mine.”
John wrote these words concerning him: that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

The cities of refuge were inhabited by Levites, the priesthood. They are a type of ministers in the church of today.
I caution you to be on guard because the Devil tries his utmost to entice those who have put their trust in Christ to leave the protective custody of the apostles fellowship.

He may let you hear a rumor about a fellow saint as a ruse to get you to stop serving God. Evil spirits look for saints who are touchy and easily offended. He preys upon those who are not altogether committed to remain in fellowship with their pastor.

Don’t let the world, the flesh or the devil entice you into staying home from church functions without good reason. Those who forsake the assembling of themselves together with those of like precious faith may well miss something that would otherwise have strengthened their soul.
The devil lurks on the sidelines, hoping you will get so caught up with your job, hobbies, pleasures, problems or carnal activities that you neglect this great salvation.

"And on the other side of the Jordan, by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness on the plain, from the tribe of Reuben."
Joshua 20:8

This was a well fortified city that was set apart by Moses as a place of refuge for the Reubenites. Bezer was located in the "plain country" (or table-land) east of the Jordan.
The Hebrew word ‘Bezer’ means strong. It has reference to someone or something that is well fortified.

"The Lord is good,
A stronghold in the day of trouble;
And He knows those who trust in Him."

Nahum 1:7

"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!
For my soul trusts in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge,
Until these calamities have passed by."

Psalm 57:1

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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Brian Monzon Ministries

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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