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The Cost of a Soul
We are a cost conscious people. We always want to know the cost of what we are going to buy, or even the cost of what someone else has bought. Food, clothes, car, house, or vacation; we want to know the cost.
We would never dream of buying anything without first finding out how much it cost. But how many in the Christian world consider the cost of their belief system, their salvation, or their soul?
First let me say that I am not suggesting that these things need to be considered and weighed to determine if salvation is worth the cost. No; what I want to examine is more in the realm of appreciation for those things that we many times just take for granted in regard to our salvation. This applies more to an actual realization, after the fact, that there is a cost to these things.
While it is true that salvation is a free gift from God to me, it is also true that my salvation has a cost attached to it. Even though a soul has infinite worth to both the Creator and the created, it is not something that we can put a dollar value on. The value of a soul must be measured in a spiritual sense, rather than a worldly sense.
The creation of the first soul is recorded in Gen.2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Even though man is in possession of this soul, it belongs to God by right of creation: Eze. 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Text: Mt. 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
God, in His infinite grace, has allowed man to have a say in what happens to his soul. In the world of religion we call this “free will”. We won’t get into the controversy regarding man’s free will and God’s foreknowledge and predestination; that’s a subject for another time. But it is needful to point out that while we yet draw breath, while we remain alive; we have a choice regarding what will happen to our soul once we lay down this physical life. Deut. 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
Once this body goes into the grave, the soul that God gave it goes back to Him. At that time, what He does with it will totally depend on what we have, or have not done with it in this life. I say this so that you might consider what the present condition of your soul is. Is it still dead in trespass and sin, or is it alive to God? Eph. 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Rom. 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now let’s look at the cost of a soul to a Christian.
He gives his life and trusts God to sustain him.
Luke 12:22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?
25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?
26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?
27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?
29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
He subjects himself to the ridicule of the world.
1Cor. 4:10 We are fools for Christ's sake. 1Cor. 4:13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
Turning to Jesus for the salvation of his soul costs him his former friends.
Mat. 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. Mat. 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
I have experienced this first hand. I used to be one of the ones who ridiculed and shunned Christians. But then, once I actually turned to Christ for Salvation I found that those who had been friends before now shunned me.
Next on my list of the cost of a soul to the Christian is his money.
Luke. 12:33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
It costs real money to build church buildings. If The Lord wants a church building in a specific place He will supply all that it takes to accomplish His will. The means by which he accomplishes this is through His people. It is not right for God’s people to turn to the world to build their church building. Many churches err in this kind of thinking. They set out to build a church building and immediately obligate God and their fellow church members to the world through worldly financing schemes. This does not honor God.
My God is not a beggar that He needs to turn to the world to build His house. What hypocrisy we practice in paying usury to worldly institutions.
Psm. 127:1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it.
I have a very low opinion of churches holding bake sales, raffles, and yard sales to finance the work of God. I firmly believe that the work of God should be financed wholly by His people. Some might argue, “But we don’t take in enough money to build a building.” To this I would answer with a question; Are we walking by faith or by sight?
David is an excellent example of the provision to be made for the building God’s house. Although he wanted to build God’s house, God would not allow him to do so. But that didn’t stop him from preparing for it.
1Chron. 22:5 And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death.
1Chron. 22:3 And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the joinings; and brass in abundance without weight;
1Chron. 22:14 Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the LORD an hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight; for it is in abundance: timber also and stone have I prepared; and thou mayest add thereto.
15 Moreover there are workmen with thee in abundance, hewers and workers of stone and timber, and all manner of cunning men for every manner of work.
16 Of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no number. Arise therefore, and be doing, and the LORD be with thee.
David spent his fortune to prepare for the building of God’s house.
And what of mission work? Perhaps we ourselves cannot go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature; but we can certainly financially support those who do. What a wonderful blessing it is to see God work through His people, to see Him accomplish the impossible, humanly speaking. I have seen this concept work regarding mission work in Far East Russia. Two whole missionary families surrendered to go and start a mission work in an inhospitable country. The financial aspect of such an effort was seemingly impossible. But by faith we, as a church, took on the responsibility of sponsoring this work. We were a small congregation of less than forty members. God rewarded our step of faith in a miraculous way. Word of our missionary work spread and finances began to come in from sister churches all over the nation.
And last, but not least is the cost to Christians and churches for relief of the poor, both in our midst and also those outside of the church.
Last in the cost of a soul to the Christian is his time.
Sadly, many church members today think that showing up for church services Sunday morning fulfills his obligation to serve God. It would come as a shock to some church members who believe this to see their service to God and church put in its proper perspective. God gives us 168 hours of time in every week. Out of that time, we give back to Him 1 hour.
Our time can be one of the most precious elements we can use to serve our God, as well as our fellow man. A Christian who realizes his responsibility to his God will find that there is a huge list of demands on the time God has given him. To list just few will be sufficient.
Time for personal study and worship; time for preparation in his service, whether it be in presenting God’s word, or even for being a real help to others; time to prepare to witness and testify for his Lord and Saviour. 2Tim. 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
He must not neglect time to serve his church in secular ways. For instance, the pastor of a church is called by God to preach the Gospel, teach and exhort his church members, and to be the leader that God has called him to be. Is it reasonable to expect that God’s man also perform the mundane, secular responsibilities of things such as; being the bus driver, mowing the lawn, maintaining the building; cleaning the church and cleaning toilets? Is it reasonable? My answer to my own question is NO! These are all functions that church members should take on as part of their service to God. The pastor has his ministry, but individual church members also have their ministry. Many people do not understand that a ministry is not confined to only spiritual things.
Since this sermon is progressing into more of a book than a sermon, I would like to move on to: The cost of a soul to God.
God has moved all heaven and earth to regain the fellowship that was lost when man fell in Adam. All of bible history, which includes all of this earth’s history, has as its goal the redemption of fallen man. For almost 6,000 years God has used many different methods in His plan to redeem man. Our bible is just one example. In it He gave the law and ordinances as pictures of his purpose for man.
Throughout the Old Testament he gave prophets to verbally speak to man about His purposes. They literally gave man the messages that God had for them.
He gave us kings and people of all kinds as illustrations of his great truths.
In the New Testament he shows us Grace, repentance and faith, which leads us to Him.
The cost of souls resulted in great anguish of heart and great sorrow on God’s part.
In Gen. 1:31 We have a record of God’s finished work in creation; as he created it, it was very good. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
But disobedient man changed all that was good of God’s work in creation: Listen as God pleads with those he named as His people: Mat. 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Separation from the Son was just a part of the cost of men’s souls to God. In John 17:5 we read the prayer of Jesus concerning this separation and His yearning to have it restored. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
The cost of souls to God was so great that only God could pay it. The God of all heaven and earth came down in the form of His son to pay the price that only He could pay.
Joh. 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
In the end it cost Him the life of His son. For me he had to not only forsake His only son, but to also punish Him for my sin. The words of Jesus on the cross attest to this when he cried out. “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Mat. 27:46
The cost of a soul to Jesus.
He died the horrible death of the cross for me.
His entire life on this earth was spent for the benefit of others. He had no home, no social life. His life was spent walking the length and breath of Israel, for the sole purpose of seeking and saving lost mankind.
Never once do we find him complaining or thinking of himself. He never did anything for his own benefit. His sole purpose in life was to accomplish His father’s will and reconcile man to God. In John 5:30 Jesus says, “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”
The God of heaven walked this earth clothed in flesh. How could that cost him? It cost him in that, he was God, and lowered himself to the place of man. He put aside all that he had as God for me. John. 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
So, after all that has been said we come to the inescapable conclusion that while salvation is free to me, there is a cost. There is great value placed on man’s soul and that price was so great that God had to pay for it himself. John. 3:16
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Repent Part 1: A SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON THE WORD
June 26, 2014 at 9:50am
Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
People generally don't read really long articles so we will explore and discuss what it means to repent together, in parts.
In the days after creation the number of people grew. Mankind was wicked and God was "angry" that the internal thoughts of man were constantly about doing hurt to other people. So the Bible says that "it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart."
We see that the word repent in Genesis 6:6 has a primary feeling of REGRET and God has redecided, essentially changed his mind, about creating man.
Now move the picture to Exodus. Moses and the Israelites are heading to the promised land. Moses is in the mountain in the presence of God. The people get impatient and make a golden calf and they begin to treat the golden calf as their deliverer from Egypt. God led them out of Egypt strongly and they are crediting a statue! They had a pagan style party and a celebration with the calf overlooking the festivities. In Exo 32:10 God says he is ready to "consume them." Moses intercedes and verse :14 "And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people." The "evil" was not a sin but God was ready to kill those people.Then God changed his mind. In this case there is no regret (he is ready to consume them) but he decided not to do it.
We now see in one verse repent is regret with a change in another it is strongly a change of mind. In none of these cases is it turning away from sin. Repent has a range of meanings. The semantic range will grow as you read all 109 verses the word appears in. I will link all the verses using repent at the end.
The Israelites are in the promised land. The people start doing what they think is right instead of what God says is right. The Israelites also failed to drive out all the inhabitants of the land. So God stirs up the inhabitants against the disOBedient Israelites. We will recall the Philistines were one of the peoples that gave the Israelites trouble in the book of Judges. The Israelites groaned and complained about all the inhabitants of the land giving them trouble. God's response is, in Judges 2:18, to give the people leaders called judges, to lead and help them and "delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them" In this case we see there is a temporary change of mind about allowing the oppression of the Israelites (the judges weren't permanent) and there was only some regret (the oppressors were not fully dealt with).
We now see here that repent is some change of mind and some regret. In another repent was mostly to regret. In another repent was strongly a change of mind.
Now, one day a man (Levite) and his "wife" are traveling. It is late and they arrive at a city in the tribe of Benjamin's territory. There is no place to stay but an old man is kind and helps the travelers out. Soon a loud banging is heard where the Levite is staying with his "concubine." The Benjamites forced the stranger to give his "wife" and they abused her all the night long. The nation of Israel is angered and gathers an army and asks for the wicked men that abused the woman. Benjamin refused to turn the men over and Israel goes to war with Benjamin. Nearly the entire tribe of Benjamin is wiped out in the war. When the israelites finally realize the degree of the slaughter they exclaim in Judges 21:6 "And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day." Primarily this is regret a "what did I do! I can't believe we wiped them out!." They certainly did not change their mind about the war but they regretted the degree to which they defeated the Benjamites. You can say they reconsidered wiping out the Benjamites. But again we see the degree of "change of mind" and "regret" implied by the word "repent" is different.
One more illustration. The Judges situation isn't working and the Israelites want someone more permanent. People like Samson were just a temporary solution. God gives them a king instead of judges like Samson. God chooses Saul to be king. Saul messes up and the Bible says (1 Sam 15:35) "the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel" Now, the primary meaning here is regret but includes a change of mind.
NOW, BASED ON WHAT WE READ FAST FORWARD TO A VOICE CRYING "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"
Interpreting the above words in light of what the word repent means in our study so far:
In this case "for" is a way of saying "because." Also, KINGdom indicates the system and rules and regulations coming under the just and good rule of Jesus Christ. So that verse currently interprets as "change your mind about the system and regulations of this world, possibly regret you even live under the world system, and point yourself to the kingdom under the Lord Jesus Christ". Based on what we studied so far the is no way to get repent of your sins out of that word. Stay tuned as I plan to develop the definition of the word repent with further installments of this meditation on the word repent.
Jeremiah 2:13'For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.'
God had shown His blessings to Israel unlike any other nation at that time. He had called them out of bondage from Egypt. God had parted the Red Sea, led them across dry land, and destroyed the Egyptian army behind them. God then led them through the wilderness for forty years providing their every need as they went. At the end of the forty years God once again parted the waters, this time of the Jordan River, and led them into Canaan land. God gave them the land and drove their enemies from them as they went through the land to possess it.
While God had blessed them time and time again they had not remained faithful to God. While traveling through the wilderness they had murmured against God numerous times. They had turned from God and refused to put their trust in Him at times. Because of that, an entire generation of Israelites was forced to die in the wilderness due to the judgment of God. After God gave them the land of Canaan the children of Israel time and time again would turn from serving and worshiping God to serve and worship idols and false gods. In doing so they had despised the Word of the Lord and made themselves an abomination in the sight of God. They had traded the living waters of God for the broken cisterns of the world.
This is something which is still going on with Christians today. God has blessed us beyond measure. While we, in our sins, deserve to spend an eternity in Hell; God chose, in His great love, to provide a way of salvation for us. God did not leave us to find our own way to Him but He has given us His written Word. God has blessed us in so many ways that we could not pen all the things He has done for us.
While God has blessed His people today more ways than we can count there are still those who stray from God. There are Christians out of church and some in church who refuse to trust God, who refuse to remain faithful to Him, who refuse to follow the Word of God and the will of God. Many of these started out right, they started out on fire for God; yet, something happened along the way to cause them to stumble and stray from God. They have traded the living water of God for the broken cisterns of the world and as a result they are inviting the judgment of God upon their lives.
1. Traded the living waters of the King James Bible for the broken cisterns of modern versions.
How sad it is that people within our Independent Baptist churches are turning from the King James Bible. Many of them have sat under good preaching at some time which exposed the dangers of the modern version of the Bible. At one time they themselves stood unashamedly on the King James Bible but somewhere along the way they have let their guard down and now they embrace the modern versions and the liberal theology which accompanies it. No longer do they embrace the infallible, inerrant, preserved Word of God; but, rather, they have fallen for the same lie which the devil gave Eve in Genesis 3:1, “…Yea, hath God said.” The devil has been casting doubt on the true Word of God since the Garden of Eden. All of the modern versions (RSV, ESV, NIV, The Message, and everything else in-between) are just a continuation of the attack of the devil on God’s inspired Word. All of the modern versions are translated from corrupt manuscripts and no Christian, especially those in Independent Fundamental Baptist churches, have any business reading these false bibles.
Many times those who turn from the King James Bible to follow other version of the Bible do so because they have been listening to those who teach out of these false bibles. They have let down their guard and allowed these hirelings and false teachers to corrupt their way of thinking. They have given the devil an in-road into their life and allowed him to influence their theology. No Christian is strong enough to listen to false teaching from a false bible continually and it not affect them. These so-called preachers may preach some truth and they may have some catchy quotes but we should not be going to the dumpster just to get a couple of bites to chew on. Not when there are plenty of good preachers out there who preach from the King James Bible and are straight down the line in all their theology.
Let us get back to the living waters of the King James Bible and away from the broken cisterns of the modern versions.
2. Traded living waters of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for the broken cisterns of contemporary Christian music.
Some people seem to think that music is neutral or a matter of preference. However, those who study music will tell you that it is not neutral. Even in the Bible we can see that music was not considered neutral. Certain types of music and certain sounds meant and represented certain things. People knew what the music meant by the notes and sounds they heard regardless of the words being said. You can take Biblical words and ideas and put them into song all you want but if you are using the devil’s beat, rhythm, and music with those words then all it does it take something holy and make it unholy. Many of these contemporary Christian musicians are so yoked up with the world that one has to wonder whether they have truly been born again. Many of them have stated publicly that the inspiration for their music comes from wicked, ungodly rock groups (Third Day, Delirious, Casting Crowns, Jars of Clay, MercyMe, P.O.D., Sanctus Real, et. al.). The Bible teaches that you cannot take something as vile and wicked as rock music, throw some watered down Christian lyrics in with it, and expect it to be glorifying to God.
When people begin to lower the standard of God’s Word, then they will also lower the standard of their music. When they begin to lower the standard of music, then their standard of dress will also be lowered. Eventually, you will reach a point where there are no real standards and everyone is simply doing that which is right in their own eyes. We have seen it happen in the world with the introduction of rock music in the 1950’s and 60’s and we’re seeing it happen more and more in our churches today with the contemporary music that is becoming so prevalent. Music should drive us to become more holy, to become more like Christ; not more and more like the world. It should cause us to become sensitive to the Spirit and not sensualized in our flesh. Sadly, many Christians would rather fulfill the lusts of their flesh then to walk in the Spirit.
We need to get back to the living waters of Christ-honoring music and away from the broken cisterns of contemporary Christian music.
Paul warned Timothy that in the last days there would be a growing apostasy and falling away from the faith. We are seeing this happen every day before our very eyes. Christians and even entire churches are trading the living waters of God for the broken cisterns of the world. They are trading the King James Bible and good, Christian music for modern versions and contemporary music. As they turn from God to the world they are throwing standards and personal holiness out the window as well. We need a group of Christians who will stay true to God and will not forsake Him. We need some Christians who will refuse to compromise in their personal walk with God and we definitely need some preachers who will refuse to compromise in their preaching and their stand for the Word of God.
(13 references in the Bible)
Gen 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
Gen 14:19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
Gen 14:20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
I suppose, when it comes to discussing the tithe, that we must start at the beginning. In Gen 14, we see two things that should be of interest to us:
1. That Melchizedek initiated the “bread and wine” of communion in honor of Abraham.
2. That Abraham gave a tithe of all that he had taken, lest some claim to have favored Abraham, and made him rich through the tithe.
The “tithe” in Gen. 14 was given in response to the communion of victory that Melchizedek initiated. It was also in response to the blessing that Melchizedek bestowed upon him. The picture here is that the Lord blesses us, and we give to him that which we know He has given to us! It seems, to the human mind, a bit redundant to give from what He gives us, but the beauty of the whole scene is the communion that we have with Christ. The Lord shows, in many ways, that a little bit can do a lot when it is given with a pure heart. So, here one might see the establishment of the tithe, and the “why” behind it. Everything the Lord does has reason, and that includes the tithe.
Sometimes the reason is for teaching; sometimes it is for celebration (as here); and sometimes it for reasons perhaps unknown to us, but not without merit. The tithe was for Israel, God’s chosen people. It was an important part of their worship, showing that God is greater than man, and is worthy of all our attentions. This is the first reference to the tithe in the Bible. It foreshadowed things to come in the structure of the church.
The next reference is in Leviticus 27:30:
Lev 27:30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD.
Here we find that God has sanctified the tithe, and “It is holy”. Abraham seems to have impressed God greatly with the tithe, and the Lord adapted it into His law; it remains a tribute to the righteousness of God, and the subjection of man to His will. Verse 32 carries it a little further:
Lev 27:32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.
The tithe covered everything that is important to man, the fruit of the land, and the wealth of the livestock. It becomes a sacrifice.
Mans sustenance, all that he has, (Gen. 14:20) was what the Lord has allowed him, and the tithe the Lord kept for Himself. Some refute the tithe because our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and He has no need of a tithe, but in so doing, they question the veracity of the Lord, and His Word, and dishonor Him by holding back that which is holy unto Him. Though they tithed of crops and livestock, our culture today tithes of monetary gain, as well as the proper stewardship of all we have.
In Numbers 18:26 we have another reference to the tithe:
“Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.”
First, we have here an explanation of what the tithe was for. God had given it to the Levites instead of an inheritance in Israel. He demanded a tithe from the people, and passed it on to the Levites, much of what we do today in the church. Remember the Old Testament was a shadow of things to come, it was a picture of God dealing with His people, and today, if we are born from above, we are His people. In Numbers 18:23, we have the duty of the Levites, and the expression that they shall have no inheritance among the children of Israel. Several verses in that text reiterate the purpose of the tithe.
Here is a reference that deserves consideration in Deut. 12:11 :
Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD:
Doesn’t this sound as if it could also refer to the church? Is not the church a “place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there”? He is providing a place for us today also called “the church“ and is specific in what we are to bring there. Now that is not “smoking gun” proof, I realize, but let us continue our study:
“And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.”
An interesting verse indeed; here, the Lord is again very specific as to what the tithe is, and more so He offers the real and best reason behind the tithe--“That thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always” (Note the word “always”) The tithe is to glorify the Lord always.
“Always” means forever, every generation, till the end of time; it was given to the Jew, because the Gentiles were heathen and had no part in the things of God, but it was for all of God’s children everywhere, and in every age. If this were not true, we make God a liar in saying that it is “forever”, do we not? We must all ask ourselves why we don’t want to tithe, or rather why we don’t believe the tithe is God’s forever. Giving back 10% is not easy for any of us, but the investment is well worth the sacrifice. In the text of Deut. 14, we see more about the blessing of the tithe (v. 29), and verse 28 speaks of a special tithe of the land to be brought every third year. If the tithe is too much to be easily transported, the Levites were to exchange it for money, but money was only conditional concerning the tithe. Most of the “average” people were poor, and lived off the land and the livestock that the Lord had supplied them, so money was not as prominent in their societies as it is in our culture today, but a tithe is still a tithe.
In 2 Chronicles 31:5 we read as follows:
“And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.”
The command here spoken of referred to the portion of the tithe that was to be given to the priests and Levites. The abundance of the peoples first-fruits was given insomuch as they had far more than was needed. God had blessed them abundantly, and they in turn were to be a blessing to the priests and Levites so that they might be encouraged in the law of the Lord. “Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the LORD” (v. 4). So, the tithe was also given for encouraging the full time workers of the Lord.
Nehemiah dealt with the tithe also:
Neh 10:35 And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the LORD:
Neh 10:36 Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God:
Neh 10:37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
Neh 10:38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.
The Levites were not exempt from tithing, they were to tithe from the tithe they received from the people of God. The church follows this same pattern today, that the tithe would not be ignored, but remain in perpetuity as the Lord commanded Israel. The dispensationalists of today have a prOBlem with this, and separate the nation of Israel from the children of God today, but we are all spiritual Jews in the eyes of the Lord (read Galatians 3). The Levites did not tithe to themselves, but to the Lord that His work might continue without interruption.
New Testament Tithing
As already mentioned several times, the tithe was perpetual, an everlasting honor, if you will, to the Lord as well as a token of thanksgiving and an encouragement to those who live off the tithes and offerings of the congregations. They continue to supply the needs that otherwise would overwhelm the church, and the gates of hell then could prevail against it. Thirteen times in the Old Testament we have seen the tithe mentioned, and only two mentions in the Gospels, but they are not without significance until you throw out the instruction and principle of the Old Testament, which is what the dispensationalist seems to want to do.
In Matt. 23:23 we have one of two references to tithing in the New Testament.
Here and Luke 11:42 say virtually the same thing:
Mat 23:23 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
Luk 11:42 “But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
The last line says it all, “…And not left the other undone.” Our Lord is admonishing them to keep on tithing of the things mentioned, and not to leave them undone. The Pharisee’s still paid tithes, and they were not rebuked for doing so, the fact is, they were encouraged to keep doing it! I know that to some, the New Testament grace has not yet been ushered in, but again, the dispensationalist must interpret this in a way to make it fit because many do not want to tithe!
The lack of any mention other than this is not a valid argument. Since the church is different than the tabernacle, and functions differently in some areas, the lack of the word “tithe” becomes questionable to many. In 1 Cor. 8 we find some interesting evidences of giving by percentage.
2Co 8:13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
2Co 8:14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
So that one brother is not overburdened, the Lord does not ask them to give excessively, but equally. The only way they can give equally is to give a percentage. Ten percent is ten percent for everyone, and is no more of a burden for a rich man than for a poorer man. Verse 15, the next verse, shows us that the Old testament principles are applicable in the New Testament too. Here is what v. 15 says:
2Co 8:15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
You may recall that this statement was made concerning the Israelites and the gathering of manna, as the Lord provided. (Exodus 16, read entire text) Note that the last verse qualifies the matter with “an omer is the tenth part of an ephah” (That which they used to dole it out). The tenth part, this is the meaning of “tithe” it means “tenth”. They measured out a tenth of an ephah for each man, and double on the day before the Sabbath. If any of us would have applied this verse the way that Paul did, we would hear from a dozen people that we took it out of context! Again, let me say, the Old testament supports the New.
Though the eighth chapter of 2 Corinthians is speaking of charitable giving and not tithing specifically, we can glean some information from these instances. They gave out of love; love should be the reason we give also. They gave in faith; faith must apply to tithing as well. If we cannot trust God to keep His promises to us, we are of all men most miserable. We should see the need of the church, and understand that it takes money to make things happen as they should, and out of love for the work, we ought to tithe. I believe that those who do not tithe are too self-centered to exercise faith in giving, and do not fully trust their Lord as they might think they do.
Most of us know that you will not find a “chapter and verse” for New Testament tithing, but there are very strong implications, for instance:
Paul said he could take pay as a full time worker, but chose not to (1 Cor. 9:6). How could he have been paid if the church did not tithe?
1Co 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
I find it strange that Paul would apply this Old testament verse to New Testament support, don’t you?
We finish this passage with the following:
1Co 9:10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
1Co 9:11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
1Co 9:12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
1Co 9:13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
1Co 9:14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
1Co 9:15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.
If the church was not expected to tithe, Paul’s words would be meaningless. This idea of giving according to your own whim would not work because most of us do not easily part with our “hard earned” money. Most non-tithers do not give enough to support the ministry in any fashion. His heart is not on tithing:
Psa. 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
The non-tither is doing things his way, and not God’s way:
Pro 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Though the verses immediately above have little, or nothing to do with tithing, they do show human nature, which often dictates what we want, and not necessarily what we should do. I think you get my point.
Take a look at this verse:
2Co 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
Our giving is not according to whether we have the money or not, but to equal giving, which, as stated before, demands a percentage giving. Ten percent it what the Lord has commanded in the past, and it is carried over into the church age, or present. (reference given earlier)
The command and promise of Luke 6:38 still applies today:
Luk 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
What would a discourse on tithing be without quoting that time-tested verse, MalachI 3:10?
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
The promise is for tithers, and is just as valid as any promise that the Lord gives unto man. Many refute this verse, and say it does not apply to the church, but as we have seen, the church is the “storehouse” where the tithe is brought and distributed from, it is the direct image of things to come. Prove God, and see if it isn’t so. He has opened the windows of heaven, and poured out many blessings in my life, and I am convinced that He will do the same in yours.
The New Testament reference in 2 Corinthians 9, though it has more to do with charitable giving, proves the accuracy of this verse.
2Co 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
2Co 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
Some take issue with the phrase “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart. So let him give”, they allow this to be the standard for giving of tithes, and any other means of giving. Don’t we know that the “heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9) and none can really know how much? The purpose if their heart in this verse means having the right attitude for giving, as the last part of the verse clarifies. We are to give out of a good motive, a motive of love, and not necessarily out of command or any other rule or emotion. It does not mean let him give whatever he wants to give for that week or month, else he would always find excuse not to tithe. We need to quit looking for “loopholes” in the law, and in the commands of God; a loophole is merely unbelief in disguise, and affords many excuses to go contrary to the Lord’s will and the Word of God. Finally, cultures change; methods change, but Principle does not change, it stands firm, as the rock of Gibraltar, because it is founded on The Rock, Christ. Though our culture is different, and our tithe different, the principle remains the same; ten percent (at least) belongs to God, and we ought to be glad that we have it to give.
The Wonders of God’s Grace
by Ronald W Robey
Luke 5:37 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.
Luke 5:38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.
Luke 5:39 No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.
In the above passage, Jesus was demonstrating the fact that Law and Grace CANNOT mix. The Old wine representing Law, the New representing Grace. The Old man, upon trusting Christ Jesus, becomes a New man. Grace (New Wine) is bestowed to the New man (New wineskins)
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Many refuse the New Wine, saying, "The Old is better". Yet Christ came to make all things New and in His death on the cross, has done away with the Old.
Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Ephesians 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
Genesis 3:16 (KJV) Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Genesis 3:17 (KJV) And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Genesis 3:18 (KJV) Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
Genesis 3:19 (KJV) In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
In Genesis 3:16, we see the God of all creation, who is clearly angry because of man disobeying Him, pronouncing judgment upon the first married couple who ever walked upon this Earth, and He put a curse upon the Earth as well. One man’s disobedience affected not just that one man, but the entire world and all of mankind who would be born upon the face of the Earth
Romans 5:12 (KJV) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
God had promised earlier in the creation story, death as the sentence to be carried out should the man and woman partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And just as God promised, the man and woman died that day as a result of disobedience. The immediate death was not physical, but rather it was spiritual.
In 1 Timothy 2:14, we read: And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
Eve, being deceived, was in the transgression. At that moment that she partook of that fruit that God had forbidden, God could have struck her dead. He could have removed her life force from the face of the Earth and created another help meet for man. But, because of His infinite mercy, His unfailing love, and the Wonder of God's Grace, He did not.
God allowed the woman to live. He allowed her to give the fruit to her husband. Her husband ate of the fruit, and died spiritually with her. His love for his wife was so strong that he partook of the forbidden fruit, in spite of the fact that he knew he was being disobedient to God.
No doubt, there must have been a change in Eve’s countenance after partaking of that forbidden fruit… a change that caused her husband Adam to know that his wife was, though standing before him with life-giving blood flowing through her veins, now spiritually dead.
Jesus, toward the close of His speaking to the multitudes in what would later be known as “The Sermon on the Mount”, warned of false prophets, stating, “Ye shall know them by their fruits”. Adam must have witnessed something in Eve’s actions or expressions that instant that made him to know that his wife, the woman that God had told him to procreate with, had indeed spiritually died after eating of that forbidden fruit. For the Bible tells us that the man was not deceived, but the woman was deceived. Adam partook of that fruit with full understanding and full knowledge that he too, would die spiritually.
And so He ate, and subsequently hid from God. As God walked in the Garden in the cool of the day, the man and his wife hid in the flora, ashamed because their eyes had been opened to knowledge of good and evil. They realized their nakedness and were afraid of being seen by God.
God called out to Adam, and Adam answered. In His calling out to Adam, God was revealing the Wonder of His Grace. God, being omniscient, already knew Adam had partaken of the tree that God had forbidden him to eat from. But God, in His infinite mercy and great love with which He loved Adam revealed His Grace by calling the man and his wife out of the bushes and unto Himself. What a perfect picture of the Wonder of God’s Grace so early in the first book of our sacred book, God’s Word.
God, in His infinite mercy, manifested the Wonders of His grace. Instead of destroying man for his act of disobedience, God extended that grace toward man and allowed him to live in a world that was once perfect, but now was cursed with thorns and thistles. Man, through his one act of disobedience had lost the authority to tend the Garden in Eden where the Tree of Life was planted. Man lost the ability to eat of that Tree of Life and live forever. Man lost his privilege to care for and dress the Garden that God had placed him in. But the Wonder of God’s Grace allowed him to continue to live outside the Garden in the now cursed world.
The woman, as our text above shows, did not go unpunished. God said that because of her rebellion she would have great sorrow in childbirth. We are not told whether the man and his wife had any children while he was filling the position of Caretaker of the Garden. However Genesis 1:28 reveals that God did tell them to “go forth and multiply”. God had given them His blessing to have children, thereby showing the Wonder of His Grace even before the fall.
The curse God gave to woman was that where there may not have been great pain in giving birth, she now would be tasked to endure much pain… “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception” Sorrow where joy may have once been. Sorrow, not just because of the stress on her body during childbirth, but also because of knowing the life every child born to her would ultimately have to face because of her being deceived and giving in to the lust of the eyes.
Oh, how it must have torn at her heart to know what she had lost and what her children could have had if she had only been wise to the serpent's words when he beguiled her. And how she must have remembered God’s Words each time she brought forth children and experienced that “great pain” that God said she would experience through childbirth.!
But Oh, the wonders of God’s grace that the woman was given the chance to live a long life, if only outside of the Garden that she once walked with her husband and the Lord God in the cool of the day.
We read in the third chapter of Genesis how that after God sentenced mankind through judgment, God clothed man with coats of skin. We are not told what skin was used to cover the man and his wife. We do know that it was a type and shadow of a future sacrifice and covering that would be offered for all mankind through the death, burial and resurrection of God’s only begotten Son Jesus Christ.
By one man’s disobedience sin entered into the world. And that man’s disobedience brought sin and death upon all men. We are told that because of that one’ man’s disobedience, the world quickly became full of wickedness. The Bible tells us that “man’s heart was only evil continuously.” God set His heart against man and against the Earth that He had created. He decided that the world was useless to Him and that He would destroy it completely.
No doubt, just as He spoke and the worlds were framed, He could have just as easily spoken and made them vanish in an instant of time. But because one man caught God’s attention, the Wonder of God’s Grace was shown to that man and his family.
The Wonder of God’s Grace allowed righteous Noah and his family to enter the ark and stay safe while the rest of the world, mankind, flora and fauna as well, perished in the great worldwide flood.
We are reminded of the Israelites, slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, who witnessed the Wonder of God’s Grace as God poured out plague upon plague upon Egypt. The plagues affected the Egyptians, but the Israelites were not affected. Prior to the last Biblical plague upon Egypt, the death of the firstborn of every Egyptian household and of every firstborn animal in the Egyptian flocks and herds, lambs were slain by Israelite households and the blood from those lambs put upon the doorway of the Israelite home, a type and shadow of the blood sacrifice that Jesus Christ the Righteous gave on Golgotha, the place of the skull, for all mankind.
It was that final plague that caused Pharaoh to release the Israelites and allow them to journey away from Egypt to go worship the LORD their God.
As they were journeying toward the Red Sea, the Wonder of God’s Grace is seen once again as God guided them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night until they reached the Red Sea.
We all know the story… Pharaoh had a change of heart once again and gathered an army to chase after the Israelites. The Wonder of God’s Grace made a way where there was no way. He parted the waters and they walked across on dry land! The Egyptians pursued them. God caused the waters to fall upon the Egyptian army and they were drowned. The Wonder of God’s Grace had protected the Israelites and destroyed their enemies.
We read of the wilderness wanderings, how that men began to murmur and complain, God provided manna from Heaven, birds brought them food as well. And twice they were given water from a rock. And yet, they did not see the Wonder of God’s Grace even though He had clearly bestowed it.
It is no surprise that Jesus later said, “No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.”
The Israelites murmured and complained, they voiced how they wished Moses had left them alone under the hands and rule of the Egyptians. The Wonder of God’s Grace had provided for them constantly, and yet, they were not focused on God. Had they focused on Him, they would not have complained as they did and would have recognized the Wonder of God's Grace.
Moses went up on the Mount to speak with God and God gave him commandments for the Israelites to observe and follow. There were 613 commandments in all that God told Moses the children of Israel were to observe.
It must be noted that God gave these commandments to Israel alone. He did not give them to Gentile nations.
God’s Word tells us in Exodus 12:49, “One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
God was very careful to construct His words as He spoke them to Moses. Notice He said “and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you,” and not “and to you who live among the strangers” This reveals to us that the Mosaic Law was restricted to those living in the Promised Land.
We find further confirmation of this decree in the writings of King David,. In Psalm 147, we read:
Psalms 147:19 He sheweth His Word unto Jacob, His statutes and His judgments unto Israel.
Psalms 147:20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for His judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.
God’s Law given to Israel, which was in effect from 1450 BC to 70 AD, all 613 statutes, torts and ordinances contained in that Law, was never given to Gentiles.
We have examined only a handful of the accounts of the Wonder of God’s Grace being shown in the Old Testament. There are many, many more. It was the wonder of God’s Grace that was bestowed upon the widow of Zarephath who shared her last meal with the Prophet and we are told that God multiplied what she had. We see the Wonder of God’s Grace in the story of the Hebrew children Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego as they declared to the king “we will not bow to your image, nor worship it”. The Wonder of God’s Grace was seen in a den of lions when the man of God, Daniel, was cast in for praying to Almighty God, disobeying the kings command.
Oh, that we will have that same boldness in the face of tribulation and persecution, that we might witness the Wonder of God’s Grace as the men of God in the Book of Daniel did!
Let us move forward to the year 4 BC. The year that an angel appeared to a young virgin named Mary. We are told how that God sent His Son into the world, made of a woman, to save His people from their sin.
Oh, the Wonder of God’s Grace extended in the giving of His only begotten Son to a sin-sick world! God’s chosen people Israel were still under the Law handed down to Moses from Heaven above. They were bound to the sacrifices, the offerings, ...all ordinances, statutes and torts written in that Law.
They could not deviate from the guidelines that God had established. In Deuteronomy 12:8, we read:
Deuteronomy 12:8 Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.
Man could not just do whatever he chose to do. God did not give those 613 Laws to man so man could simply ignore them and do his own thing. He had to follow the Law precisely in the way that God had prescribed. Where God did allow substitutions, God revealed what those substitutions were to be. Things were to be done God's way, not man's.
But after nearly 1,440 years of the the Wonder of God's Grace being displayed in the dispensation of the Law, in an even greater demonstration of the Wonder of God’s Grace, God sent His Son, whose life, death, burial and resurrection would be the catalyst for a New Covenant with Israel. And not with Israel only, but with every nation upon the face of God’s Earth.
Throughout His life on this Earth, Jesus Christ was manifesting the Wonder of God’s Grace everywhere He went. At twelve years old, the child Jesus amazed Rabbi’s in the Temple, answering questions concerning the Holy Scriptures. At twenty-nine He performed the first miracle man had ever seen Him do at a wedding feast in Cana. The wonder of God’s Grace is seen in His raising Lazarus from the dead, His healing blinded eyes, His casting out devils, in multiplying a few loaves and fishes for hungry crowds of thousands who had come to hear Him speak, and in the countless other miracles He performed while walking this Earth as the Son of man.
The Wonder of God’s Grace is seen in His restoring a servant’s ear after Peter had cut it off with a sword in the Garden of Gethsemane.
And then, we come to Golgotha, that horrible hill on which the Saviour was hung. As He was dying, He revealed once again the Wonder of God’s Grace when He said, “It is Finished!”
It is true, as He said in Matthew’s Gospel, that He did not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it. And fulfill it He did. He did what no other man was able to do, He kept every aspect of the Law that applied to Him as an Israelite, born of the lineage of David.
But, we are told in Ephesians 2:14-15 that Christ, in His death, burial and resurrection, abolished the ordinances written in the Law.
Ephesians 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
Abolished! Cancelled out. Completely! Man, who has trusted and is now married to Jesus Christ, no longer has to be governed by the Mosaic Law.
Romans 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
Romans 7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
Romans 7:3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
Romans 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
In Romans 7:1-4, the Apostle Paul likened a person who submits to the Law, while married to the One who has risen from the dead, to an adulterer married to a spouse, but living in the home of another.
My Brethren, The Wonder of God’s Grace has called us out of the bondage of the Mosaic Law. We have been freed from not only the law of sin and death, but we are told that we have been brought into a New Covenant. The old is ready to vanish away, as the author of the Book of Hebrews said nearly 2,000 years ago.
Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
Hebrews 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
Colossians 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
Where Grace abounds, there is liberty. There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus; who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The Word of God has indeed freed us from the Law, never to be entangled again with its yoke of bondage. We needn’t wear that yoke, Christ wore it for us. We needn’t submit to the ordinances, Christ took them out of the way, nailing them to His cross. As the Apostle Paul wrote in the third chapter of Galatians, it is foolish for one who has begun in the Spirit to subject himself to the Law. How are we to expect Grace and Mercy from the Father, when we turn our backs on the price his Son paid for our freedom and choose to walk in ordinances that God’s Word said belonged to national Israel alone?
So many today are being told that they are lost and in need of a Saviour. This is true. So many are told that eternal life is a gift from God to man, and that the only things man has to do to receive this wonderful gift is to believe on Jesus Christ. This also is true.
The problem arises when we get the new Convert into the Church, the Convert quickly finds that, according to the pastor, there is a price to pay. The new Convert is told to keep certain of the ordinances that were given to national Israel. That God requires these ordinances to be observed by the Church members today. My Brethren, nothing could be farther from the Truth.
My Brethren, cast out the bondwoman and her son. Break away those chains that cause you to be unfaithful to the Lord. It is only when you walk away from the Law, that you will truly know the fullness of the Wonder of God’s Grace.
What is the Wonder of God’s Grace? It is all that I have mentioned previously, and more. It is the recognition of where God found us, what God offered us, what He has given those of us who have accepted that offer, and what He has prepared for us… despite the fact that we are a fallen race, despite the fact that we fail from time to time, despite all of our shortcomings.
The Wonder of God's Grace assure us that we are accepted in the Beloved.
As we come to the close of the short message, My prayer is that it has spoken to our hearts and challenged us to be more diligent in our studies of God’s Holy Word.
For those who may be unsure of your eternal state after this short existence on Earth, do not hesitate to make that decision today. Our Lord’s return is more nigh us that it has ever been. If you should die without Christ, you will miss the Wonder of God’s Grace, If you should die without the Lord, your only hope is to face Him in His wrath. .
God bless all who work for His eternal Kingdom!
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Critical Truths About The Scriptures
Everyone Should Know
This message is entitled "Critical Truths About the Scriptures Everyone Should Know." These critical truths will be taught through an historical drama told from the Old Testament. The main characters of our historical drama are little known or not known at all. Allow me to introduce them to you.
First, there is the prophet Jeremiah. He is sometimes called “the weeping prophet” because of his tears that he shed over the city of Jerusalem and its citizens. As a prophet of God, Jeremiah experienced very little in worldly success. He had few followers. He was rarely heeded. He was certainly no Billy Graham!
Another character in this drama is Jeremiah's faithful assistant and scribe, a man named Baruch. I will have a little more to say about him in the coming pages.
A third character is King Jehoiakim. He was an evil king of Jerusalem, but a son of good and godly king Josiah. He reigned as king over Jerusalem for about 11 years. Our drama takes place over the course of 9-23 months (Jer 36:1, 9), from 605-604 BC.
Finally, there is Michaiah, the son of Gemariah. He is a good man from a good family who is well known and respected amongst the leaders of Jerusalem.
While there are also several minor characters, it is the interaction between the four main characters that provide us the great truths of the story. But alas! There is One more main character, who cannot be left out: God Himself!
As this history plays out, what comes to the forefront are Critical Truths About the Scriptures That Everyone Should Know. Our drama takes place in Jeremiah 36.
Jer 36:1-4 -- And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin. Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book.
Let’s notice first
The Critical Truth of Its Composition
The opening verses in this passage importantly illustrate the method God used to compose the Bible for us. The Bible teaches that It is inspired and that Its inspiration is verbal and plenary. Let's take a closer look at those three important words (verbal, plenary inspiration).
The word “inspiration” comes from a Greek word that means “God breathed.” While a poet like Shakespeare may claim inspiration for his works that come from an active imagination or a powerful set of experiences, the Bible teaches of Itself that Its inspiration comes from God, and not any of the earthly writers that God used to give us His word.
The classic text in the Bible about its own inspiration is found in the New Testament.
2Tim 3:16 -- All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Inspiration. God-breathed. All scripture is breathed out by God.
Notice these phrases from Jer 36:1-4: “this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD,” “I have spoken unto thee,” “I spake unto thee,” “the words of the LORD, which he had spoken.” Jeremiah is careful to point out that these words were inspired by God.
It is also important to note that the Bible teaches that the very words themselves are from God, and not just the concepts, topics, or doctrines. God did not just have Jeremiah write any old sentiment about these events: He actually told him what words to use. The very words of the Bible are God’s words. “Verbal Inspiration” refers to the very words themselves being inspired by God.
Verse two mentions “all the words.” That is important, because the Bible also teaches plenary inspiration. The word plenary means “full” or “complete.” Jeremiah held nothing back, nor did he add to any of God’s words. He said “...all the words...” and implying “only the words” that God had said.
Verbal, plenary inspiration. All three of those words are important. They describe the type of inspiration the Bible assigns to Itself.
Verbal - referring to the words, not just the topics
Plenary - all of it
Inspiration - God-breathed, and not from any imagination of man
An Illustration of Verbal, Plenary Inspiration in this Story
Notice verse 4. How did Baruch write the words of Jeremiah? Jeremiah spoke, Baruch wrote! Baruch wrote what Jeremiah said. He wrote all of what Jeremiah said. He wrote only what Jeremiah said! That is the perfect illustration of verbal, plenary inspiration! What Baruch did for Jeremiah is exactly what all of the human writers of Scripture did for God Himself!
How did Jeremiah get his words from God? Sometimes God spoke audibly so that Jeremiah could hear. Other times, God spoke to his mind, so he knew exactly what God wanted. Yet still other times, God superintended that the vocabulary, experiences and memories of Jeremiah (and the rest of His penmen) were such that the exact words chosen by Jeremiah (and the rest of His penmen) were exactly the words that God wanted written. Whatever method God chose to use, every word and all the words of our Bible are God’s words.
The Purpose of Coming Judgment
Jeremiah was ministering in dark days indeed! The mighty army of the empire of Babylon was either on its way to lay siege to the city of Jerusalem, or perhaps the Babylonian army was already there. [Historical Note: this would be the attack on Jerusalem that eventually sent Daniel and his three Hebrew friends to Babylon.] Either way, the certainty of God’s judgment upon the nation of Judah was obvious for all who would look.
The Bible is no different today, for it has a message of certain judgment for all who would hear its words. The Bible says that
Rom 3:23 -- For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
There is no uncertainty nor ambiguity there. Or how about
John 3:18 -- He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Frightful words indeed are these: “condemned already.” Condemnation is not just a future certainty, it is a present certainty for those who do not believe “in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
In Jeremiah's day, there was a group composed of many religious leaders who did not believe that God's judgment was coming. They completely rejected His message of coming judgment, and were declaring no coming judgment for God’s people even while Nebuchadnezzar was leading his troops into the hills of Judea. Coming judgment was certain and evident, but ignored.
God’s coming judgment is just as certain today as it was in Jeremiah’s day. But how do people respond? “I don’t believe that.” “I have plenty of time.” “Not today: maybe later.”
There are a lot of ways people ignore the truth of coming judgment. But any of these reactions are simply a rejection of this truth: one of the purposes of God’s inspired words is to warn us of coming judgment.
The Purpose of Possible Forgiveness
But while God’s judgment is certain, God’s purpose of an inspired word is also to show us the possibility of forgiveness. Notice again that possibility found in verse 3, “that they may return every man from his evil way” and “forgive their iniquity and their sin.” Those who would respond in repentance and faith would find spiritual forgiveness for their sins.
John 3:16 is sometimes described as "The Gospel in a Nutshell."
John 3:16 -- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Is it the most famous verse in the Bible? Probably. Is it the most important verse in the Bible? Again, probably. No other verse so succinctly captures the glory of the gospel in so few words! The righteous Old Testament person would look forward to the coming of Jesus on the cross to pay for his sin. The righteous New Testament person is saved the same way, except that we look backward to the coming of Jesus on the cross to pay for our sin. It is faith in Christ's finished work on the cross that allows God's grace of forgiveness to go to work on our behalf. And whosoever exercises faith in Christ has everlasting life.
The method of God's inspiration of the Bible is inspiration. The purpose of God's inspiration of the Bible is salvation. It is critical for us to grasp this composition of God's word.
The Critical Truth of Its Proclamation
Jeremiah was not a coward. Throughout his book, he is portrayed as a faithful spokesman for God. He is never popular; he is never accepted; he is never heeded; he is frequently maligned; yet he is faithful to proclaim all of God's truth of the impending judgment.
So when we are told in v5 that he is unable to go to the house of the Lord to proclaim this particular message, we have to be content with not knowing the reason. We should not guess cowardice! He was simply denied by God to go.
Jeremiah sent Baruch to proclaim the new message of God. He did so faithfully and accurately. Take note that he simply read Jeremiah's (God's!) message to the people. That way he would not make any mistakes.
One Sent Again
Nearly a year passes from v8 to v9 (again, compare Jer 36:1 with Jer 36:9). It would appear Jeremiah is still unable to present this message publicly. Now an official fast has been declared (probably because of the Babylonian troops just outside the walls of Jerusalem, laying siege to the City of God), and Baruch is still Jeremiah's spokesman to deliver this message. Baruch again reads the words, accurately proclaiming God's message to these people.
The Babylonian army has surrounded Jerusalem, and cut off all of her supplies from the outside world. It would be a dark time indeed; and a time when it would have been absolutely critical for God's words to be faithfully proclaimed.
One Still Sent
In the New Testament era, God raised up a very small group of men to be His apostles. These men fulfilled a specific set of requirements (that we are unable to fulfill today), were called by God, and sent as His representatives to carry the message of the Bible to others.
I remember hearing a sermon where the preacher held up a penny and said something to the effect that "this penny represents the New Testament apostles then and us today. It is one cent. They were each one sent. And today, each of us are one sent to represent Christ."
While the specific office of New Testament apostle has closed (because we cannot meet all of the requirements to become an apostle), truly we are all "one still sent" by the Savior to proclaim these critical truths of the Bible to a lost and dying world.
The Critical Truth of Its Reception
We Are Personally Responsible to Accept God’s Word by Faith
Baruch read Jeremiah's message in the Temple (v10). He read it "in the ears of all the people." That suggests a crowd. And in this crowd, a man named Michaiah (v11) is singled out in the story. Why? He believed what Baruch read from Jeremiah.
Michaiah reminds us that even in a crowd, individual hearers are called to be responsible for the message of God. While God's message can be proclaimed universally, it must be received personally.
We Are Personally Responsible for the Truth that We Hear
I love this. Michaiah hears God's words, and he immediately acts upon them. He gathers a small group of what I have referred to as "minor characters" to hear what Baruch was reading from Jeremiah. They have gathered in "the scribe's chamber" of "the king's house." While the group is small, they are obviously influential men.
Based on other sections of Jeremiah, those in spiritual leadership of the people in Jerusalem were telling the citizenry not to fear the Babylonian army outside of its city walls. They were telling the people that God was about to grant a miraculous deliverance. They were telling the people that they were all fine. They were telling the people that God was not angry with them over their sin; that, in fact, they were not sinners!
Michaiah has heard the truth that judgment was coming unless God's people repented of their sins (v2-3, 7). He has believed the truth and recognizes it must be acted upon. He gathers a small group of "movers and shakers" that must hear this word. He has become personally responsible for the truth that he has heard. He is acting on it!
In the New Testament, James likens the Bible to a mirror.
James 1:22-25 -- But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Truth learned should be truth acted upon. Just like you wash the smudges off of your face once you see them, you act on God's truths once you hear them. Micahaiah did, and so should we.
We Are Personally Responsible to Pass On What We Know
After this group has heard from Michaiah, they call for Baruch (v14) and he comes and verifies the message (v15). And now they all decide that the king needs to hear these words.
Did you see the flow of information?
Jeremiah receives the words from God. Baruch faithfully records them, and delivers the message publicly. Micahaiah hears these words and passes them on to his small but influential group of friends. And now, after having confirmation from Baruch, this group decides that Jehoiakim the king needs to hear the message.
1 Peter 3:15 -- But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
2Tim 2:2 -- And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Christians are personally responsible to pass on what we know to be true.
The Critical Truths of Its Rejection
At this point in our drama, Michaiah's small group of influencers tell Baruch (and Jeremiah) to hide (v19). The reason becomes clear. King Jehoiakim is about to reject this word from God. Michaiah's group fears for the lives of Baruch and Jeremiah. It turns out they were right (v26).
The king is convinced to read the message from Baruch. He does so in his winterhouse (v22). What a cozy picture is presented for the reader! The king is in his easy chair, sitting by the fire, listening as one of his attendants (Jehudi - v21, ff.) reads to him from Jeremiah's writings. Jehudi would read a little bit of the message to the king, and then pass the written message itself to him for personal examination.
And then the unthinkable happened.
There in that fabulously cozy scene, Jehoiakim unsheathed his small penknife, and literally cut Jeremiah's message into itty-bitty little pieces. Those pieces were then tossed right into the fire.
Two of Michaiah's influencers (minor characters Elnathan and Delaiah - v25) try to stop the king from this sacrilegious action. But the king will have none of that. He was rejecting God's words, and wanted to make it quite evident by destroying God's words.
You and I may not go to the same extreme in rejecting God's word in our life as taking our Bible and tossing it into the fire. But do we reject it?
Four Ways we can reject the Word of God
We can reject its divine authorship, placing it simply on the level with the finest literature of history. You see, I do not have to agree with the philosophy of Shakespeare or Hawthorne! If I reject God's authorship of the Bible, it can be fine moral teachings, but not necessarily fine moral teachings for me.
We can reject the Word of God by ignoring it in our life. Just like those famous three monkeys, we can choose to "see no truth, hear no truth, speak no truth"!!
We can reject it by never using it, even if we say that we love it. How much better is a person with a brand new copy of a Bible that is 25 years old, then a man who has never owned a copy?
We can reject it by “amen”ing the preacher on Sunday but living like the devil the rest of the week!
May we never be guilty of passively cutting the Bible up and then tossing it out of our lives!
The Critical Truth of Its Preservation
Jehoiakim has cut up and burned God's Word. Now it is gone, never to return; or is it? Is it that easy to rid the world of the Word of God?
God Promised To Preserve the Book of Jeremiah
As it turns out, while Jehoiakim destroyed the original and only manuscript of Jeremiah's message, God saw to it to reproduce it. God told Jeremiah to
Jer 36:28 -- Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned.
Jer 36:32 -- Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words.
The process was exactly the same. God told Jeremiah the words. Jeremiah spoke them to Baruch. Baruch wrote them down in the scroll. All of them. Every single one of them. So that when Jeremiah and Baruch were finished, they had completed an exact replica of the original message. Except God was not yet finished with the Book of Jeremiah.
As you can tell by casually flipping through a few more pages of your Bible, Jeremiah's book does not end at chapter 36. There are still 16 more chapters to go! So not only did Jehoiakim not destroy Jeremiah's past work, he could not stop Jeremiah's future work.
God preserved the Book of Jeremiah.
God Has Promised To Preserve The Entire Bible
It is not just the Book of Jeremiah that God has preserved. He has preserved the entire Bible. I know that because He has promised to preserve the entire Bible. Note these key verses:
Psalms 12:6-7 -- The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
Isaiah 40:8 -- The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
Psalms 119:89-90 -- For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.
Matthew 5:18 -- For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Matthew 24:35 -- Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
1 Peter 1:25 -- But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
You may ask, "Does God really preserve His word miraculously?" Have I got a story to tell you!
In 1526, William Tyndale produced the first English translation of the Bible to be printed on a printing press. This new version was hated by the Roman Catholic Church and in particularly by the Bishop of London. The Bishop wanted to kill Tyndale and destroy his Bible.
A man named John Packington, who knew the Bishop and his hatred of the Tyndale translation, but who was also secretly a friend of Tyndale, went to the Bishop of London and told him he knew how to get all of Tyndale’s Bibles. The Bishop told him to get them and that he would gladly pay whatever they cost. The Bishop of London promised to buy them with the intention of burning them at Paul’s Cross Cathedral in London.
Packington then went to Tyndale and told him of the deal he had made with the Bishop. Tyndale responded by saying that he knew the Bishop would burn his Bibles. However, printing the Bibles had left Tyndale deeply indebted. He desperately needed money. Tyndale decided to sell the Bibles to the Bishop of London. He saw this as a blessing from God. Why?
First, he would have the opportunity to correct translation errors before these faulty texts were delivered to the public. In other words, it was part of the process of God preserving His words, and letting the devil pay to erase a poor translation.
Secondly, when the people of England saw the Bishop of London burning the Word of God they would become enraged. That would further ingratiate Tyndale to the people of England.
Finally, Tyndale could use the money to not only pay his way out of debt, but also fund the printing of a larger production run of Bibles. In fact, Tyndale would print three times more Bibles than he sold to the Bishop!
Some time later, when some of Tyndale’s associates were arrested and asked where they received the money to print their Bibles, they answered that the money came from the Bishop of London. Talk about the providence and preservation of God!
The Bible is God's Word. As such, it is critical that we understand these truths about it. Never forget these critical truths about the Bible:
Its Composition: It is Inspired by God; It is His words, not man's words.
Its Proclamation: It is to be proclaimed by His people.
Its Reception: It should be heard, believed, and acted upon.
Its Rejection: Some will not believe it, and seek to do away with it in their lives.
Its Preservation: God has promised to preserve His written word forever.
What will you do with these truths?
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(Actual Calvinist song as documented in The Other Side of Calvinism by Dr. Laurence Vance)
"We are the Lord's elected few, let all the rest be damned; there's room enough in hell for you, we won't have heaven crammed!"
This article is not meant to mock Calvinists. There are many God loving people who have held to Calvin’s system of soteriology, not the least of whom was Charles Haddon Spurgeon. On the flip side, there have always been very good Christians who’ve held to the opposite view, Armenianism, such as John Wesley.
Pointing out the errors in doctrine is not the same as demeaning those who believe it.
That being said, Calvinism, if taken to its logical end result can be very harmful. Those who take it there are called hyper-Calvinists, and they tend to spend their time in groups muttering about the elect, eternal decrees, and doing everything but soul winning. Thankfully, Charles Spurgeon was not a hyper-Calvinist and he actually spoke out against them.
Regardless of whether your beliefs lean towards Armenianism or Calvinism, it’s important to take a step back and examine them. I’ve seen many Calvinists accuse those who do not adhere to their doctrine as being lazy, unwilling to study the scriptures, and taking the easy way out. If you are a Calvinist, I hope you will hold yourself to the same standard of diligence that you hold others to as we take a look at the five points of T.U.L.I.P.
Rom. 3:10-12, “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.”
The idea behind this point in Calvin’s system is that man is so totally depraved that he lacks the ability to be able to come to God or seek Him out. Calvin is correct on this point, to a certain degree. On his own, man is so depraved that he will not seek after God. That’s easily ascertainable in the above passage.
The story doesn’t end there though; consider this woman who just wouldn’t give up:
Matt. 15:21-28, “Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word.”
This woman came to Jesus for help. He did not seek her out at all, she went out of her way searching for Him, and when she found Him she asked Him for help.
Jesus gave her the cold shoulder, first rejection.
“24 And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.”
Second rejection. The disciples ask Jesus to tell her to go away, right in front of her. Does this deter her?
“25 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Third rejection, right in front of the woman Jesus ignores the woman again, and tells the disciples that at that time the gospel wasn’t intended for the gentiles. At this point, the woman has experienced rejection three times and Jesus still hasn’t spoken to her directly.
“25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.”
After being rejected three times, the woman pleads with the Lord to help her. He rejects her, insults her, and insinuates that she’s not good enough to even be able to hear the gospel. The plan was not for her at the time.
In Matthew 10:6-7 Jesus clearly told his disciples to ignore everyone who was a Gentile and to only bring the gospel to the Jews. Sure, the Gentiles were going to get a “crack at it”, but not until the Jews had heard it first. The reasons behind this have to do with dispensations and the gospel of the kingdom, something that is another Bible study in of itself. Regardless, Jesus rejects this woman directly after ignoring her twice.
“27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
After being rejected four times, the woman doesn’t try to defend herself at all. She understands that she is a lost, hell bound sinner who deserves nothing. She doesn’t argue with the Lord, she agrees with Him. Jesus is moved by this woman’s persistence and faith and goes outside of His own dispensational guidelines to save her.
How does THAT line up with the idea of total depravity, or better put, total inability?
Does this mean we take the verses in Romans 3 and throw them out the door?
Of course not. Then how do we reconcile the woman in Matthew 15 with what is written in Romans 3?
John 12:32-33, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.”
Jesus Christ is the game changer. Jesus Christ is the bridge between God and man; the woman in Matthew 15 couldn’t help but be drawn to Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and anyone in the same room as Him would know it instinctively regardless of any dispensational boundaries that may exist! We read in John 12:32 that when Christ was lifted up (“lifted up” is defined as crucifixion in the very next verse) that all men would be drawn unto Him.
Before Christ, there are many instances of men choosing of their own free will to OBey God. OBviously the depravity of man does not extend to his will, when given light from God and given a choice man is able to respond to it. Without the light, man doesn’t seek out God, but with light he certainly has the ability to choose God.
So the “T” in T.U.L.I.P is a moot point. It doesn’t matter whether or not man can come to God on His own or not, Jesus promised that if He was crucified that He’d draw all men on earth to Himself one way or another.
Eph. 1:5, 11, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will… In whom also we have OBtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:”
The idea behind Unconditional Election is that those who trust Christ were meant to do it from the foundations of the earth. The idea is that not only did God know who would trust His Son Jesus before they were ever born (which no Christian would dispute), but He actually predestinated them to make that decision. Some He predestinated to get saved, others He left out. Even if such a thing were true, such election would be based upon foreknowledge so as to not violate man’s free will.
Most Calvinists hate to admit this, but if God unconditionally (that is the key word) predestinated some to go to Heaven that means that God also unconditionally predestinated some to go to Hell. In fact, it would mean it is God’s sovereign will that most people go to Hell. In order to help take the teeth out of this John Calvin taught that God predestinated all babies to go to Heaven, very convenient to say the least and doesn’t exactly fit with the idea that the election is “unconditional” to some people and not to others. Of course all babies go to Heaven (Rom. 7:9; 4:15, 5:13; II Sam. 12:23), but it’s not because they’re predestined to salvation.
What Calvinists who are hung up on God’s sovereign will consistently ignore is the fact that God’s will is VIOLATED every time we sin, every time someone rejects the gospel, and especially every time someone goes to Hell.
1. When we Sin:
I Thess. 4:3, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:”
I Thess 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
2. When the Gospel is Rejected:
Acts 17:30, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”
II Tim. 2:4-6, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
3. When a person goes to Hell:
II Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God is not some sadist that loves you enough to send His Son to die for you, but willingly chooses for you to go to Hell. You won’t find that anywhere in the Bible.
What you will find is a couple verses here and there that talk about people being predestinated. Once again, do we ignore those verses because at first glance they do not seem to fit with the rest of scripture? Of course not.
Here’s the critical statement:
Nowhere in the Bible will you ever find anyone ever being predestinated to get saved, what you find is people being predestinated who already are saved.
“Those in the bus are predestinated to arrive at the bus station in two hours.”
Being predestinated is conditional on one thing – being in the bus!
The same thing applies to being predestinated in scripture; you have to be “in Christ”. Being “in Christ” (I Cor. 12:12-13, Rom. 6:3, Gal 3:26-27, II Cor. 5:17) means being in the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23), being in universal church (Col. 1:18, 24), and being part of the bride of Christ (Rev. 21:9, Eph. 5:23-32). They’re all the same thing. The only way you get “in Christ” is by getting saved.
In both cases in Ephesians chapter one, if you look at the verses that are talking about predestination you’ll see that they’re talking about people who are in Christ. Those who are chosen are “in Him” or “in Christ”.
Eph 1:4-5, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”
Eph. 1:10-11, “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have OBtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:”
The term “predestinated” means basically that you establish to do or receive something before it actually happens. Calvinist assume that these verses mean that a person is predestinated to get “in Christ” (or get saved) before they actually receive Christ.
In both sets of verses, the people in question are predestinated to two things, the adoption of children and an inheritance. Neither verse says these people are predestinated to receive these things before they are saved, it just says that those who are in Christ are predestinated. The next logical question is what is the adoption of children and what is this inheritance that these people are predestinated to?
1. The Adoption of Children:
Rom 8:23 “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
According to this verse, we haven’t yet received the adoption, we’re still waiting for it. The adoption is the redemption of our bodies that happens to believers at the resurrection (I Cor. 15). So this verse on predestination is actually one of the strongest verses on eternal security in the Bible, because if you’re saved and in Christ you are at that point predestinated according to the will God to have your body changed into a glorified body.
2. The Inheritance Incorruptible:
I Peter 1:2-5, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto OBedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
I Peter 1:2-5 takes care of several questions. First of all, what is the inheritance that is spoken of in Ephesians? In Ephesians it says we already have it, and here it says it’s reserved in Heaven for us. The only thing I can imagine it would be is a mansion (John 14:2). We, in Christ, are predestined to receive this. Not surprisingly, in the same context, we see in verse 5 one of the strongest and clearest verses on eternal security in the Bible. Predestination falls under the doctrine of eternal security for the believer who is within the body of Christ, not an unbeliever who the Bible says is dead and “in Adam”. If you’re in Adam, you’re not predestinated to anything.
The second thing this solves is how a person becomes part of the elect. Calvin would tell you that a person is part of the elect “unconditionally”, even though you’ll never find a passage anywhere in the New Testament that says someone is saved without putting their faith in Christ. I feel like saying that once isn’t good enough, no where in scripture is anyone saved unconditionally! Salvation is conditional on you putting your faith in Jesus Christ. Do you see how if you take a verse and start building a doctrine around it you can find yourself ignoring hundreds of verses in the Bible in favor of your strange isolated interpretation?
So how does one become part of the elect then? It’s very simple; it’s through sanctification of the spirit. Look, if someone is part of the elect before they’re saved that means they have the promises of a new body and a home in heaven, something that is reserved for members of the body of Christ, while they are still “in adam” and “dead in trespasses and sins”. Do you see how ridiculous this is?
There’s one last passage on the subject of predestination in the Bible, and once again it has nothing to do with anyone being predestinated to be saved.
Rom. 8:29-30, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
The saved people in this passage are predestinated to be conformed to the image of His son, that happens at the resurrection, it goes right back to the adoption which is the redemption of the body. The subsequent event to the foreknowledge in this passage is not salvation! Does it say “For whom he did foreknow, he did predestinate to receive redemption?” No, it doesn’t say that. The event that follows the foreknowledge is a Christian getting predestinated to get a new body; it has nothing to do with salvation.
Calvinists take a couple verses in Ephesians 1 and this passage in Romans 8 and completely get the cart before the horse. The foreknowledge and predestination in this passage and I Peter 1:2 are both conditional upon “…sanctification of the Spirit, unto OBedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ…” In other words getting saved. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, because we’re told over and over again in the New Testament that salvation is conditional upon faith, and the benefits of being saved are conditional upon (amazingly enough) actually being saved.
Before we stop on this subject, there’s one last verse that should be considered:
II Tim. 2:10, “Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also OBtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
Ok, so the Calvinist will tell you that this shows that the elect aren’t saved, and that Paul’s ministry was to get the elect saved. Wait a second though, according to Calvinism, Paul wouldn’t have to endure anything for the elect to get saved, they’ll get saved regardless. What’s the point? While you’re mulling that over, let’s consider another verse to help us understand this verse.
I Tim. 2:14-15, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sOBriety.”
Does this mean that women have to have children to qualify for salvation, and that ladies who never get married, have physical difficulties, or are married to men who are sterile are bound for Hell regardless of whether or not they’ve put their faith in Jesus? Of course not, being “saved” in this passage has nothing to do with the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Consider another verse along the same lines:
I Tim. 6:11-12, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
This verse is commanding a preacher to lay hold on eternal life by living right. Wait, I John 5:11-12 tells us that eternal life is a present possession, not something we get later on! Also, eternal life is not conditional upon good works (Eph. 2:8-9), so what is it talking about in this verse when it says for us to lay hold on eternal life if we already have it? It’s talking about the same thing that Paul was suffering for in II Tim. 2:10. What would that be? Does Paul clarify what he’s talking about when he says that he’s working for the elect to receive salvation? Where would the best place to look be?
How about the very next few verses:
II Tim. 2:10-13, “Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also OBtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.”
The “salvation” in II Tim. 2:10 is the same thing as the “eternal life” in I Tim. 6:12, it’s talking about earning rewards in Heaven. Paul wanted his converts to receive a “full reward” (II John 8, Phil. 3:14). We don’t know this because it sounds nice, we know it to be true because within the immediate context of II Tim. 2:10 the scriptures talk about Christians suffering to reign with Him. As a Calvinist, if you’re going to protest this then you had better make childbirth a part of salvation for a woman (I Tim. 2:14-15) and start preaching works salvation (I Tim. 6:11-12).
So the “U” in T.U.L.I.P is ridiculous because any student of the Bible can tell that salvation is not unconditional. As far as predestination, scripture is very clear that it occurs after salvation and not before.
John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
This passage is used to demonstrate that Jesus ONLY shed His blood for the sheep.
When you adhere to the “U” in T.U.L.I.P. you’ll find yourself going down the slippery slope of having to believe in “L”, “I”, and “P”. The last three letters of T.U.L.I.P are completely ridiculous, and hardly merit much of a response. The first one, Limited Atonement, is the blasphemous teaching that Jesus only shed His blood for the elect.
When you start believing that God controls everything we do in life, most importantly acceptance and rejection of the gospel, then the sky’s the limit. If God only chose a select group to go to Heaven and created billions of others for the purpose of going to Hell, then it is only rational to conclude that Jesus only shed His blood for the elect and they are the only ones capable of making use of it for redemption. If there’s no such thing as free will, then of course this makes sense.
Let’s look at a couple of clear verses that debunk this idea:
I Tim. 2:4, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
I Tim. 2:6, “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
The Calvinist will insist that “all” means “all the elect” in these verses. Ok, fine, show me in the context of those verses where the elect are mentioned.
They’re not mentioned in the entire chapter. In fact, nowhere in the entire book are any “elect” human beings mentioned at all. The only elect in I Timothy are “elect angels” in I Tim. 5:21. All “elect” means is “chosen”, Israel is an elect nation (Is. 65:9) and Jesus was called God’s elect (Is. 42:1-4).
I Peter 2:1, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”
Jesus shed His blood for false prophets and false teachers in this passage.
I Tim. 4:10, “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.”
Jesus Christ is the Saviour of all men, and a clear distinction is made between those who believe and do not. He is especially the savior of those that choose to accept Him.
I John 2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
His blood atonement is not only available for those who accept Him, but for the whole world.
If there’s really such a thing as limited atonement, then Hell was made for the billions of people that God would put in Hell. Why was Hell made?
Matt. 25:41, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”
Hell was made for Satan; it was not originally intended for people. Hell was created after Satan fell, and it was intended for Him and the angels that rebelled against God. What the Calvinist is saying, whether he wants to admit it or not, is that God willfully creates people so that He can put them in Hell.
Meaning, it’s God’s will for most people to perish.
II Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Yes, there are plenty of verses that talk about Christ’s blood being shed to redeem men and that His blood was shed for the saved, His bride, and His sheep. That is doesn’t mean that His blood was only shed for those who would accept Him. His blood was shed for every man, woman, and child that ever lived.
II Peter 3:9 tells us that it is specifically against the will of God for anyone to go to Hell. That means, contrary to Calvinism, the atonement at Calvary is unlimited.
Acts 13:48, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”
The teaching of Irresistible Grace is that not only does God choose who’s going to get saved, but He also overpowers them and basically forces them to accept Him. Those who are predestinated to receive Christ must accept Him, and they are unable to resist the Holy Spirit in the matter of salvation.
Unable to find a verse that would even hint at such a thing, the Calvinist will yank this verse out of Acts and a couple other verses about God forcefully preparing somebody for a specific task (none of those tasks have anything to do with receiving Christ) and claim that God’s sovereign will forces people to accept Him outside of their free will. At best, this is a quantum leap based upon a couple verses in the Bible, ignoring a huge host of verses that talk about men having free will to choose Christ or not.
If man is unable to resist the Holy Spirit, then how does the Calvinist explain these verses?
Acts 7:51, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”
Matt. 23:37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”
II Tim. 3:8, “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprOBate concerning the faith.”
Duet. 8:20, “As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be OBedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.”
II Chr. 33:10, “And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.”
These verses demonstrate that man can overrule the will and commandment of God. God’s grace and His commandments are clearly resistible. Yes there are cases in the Bible where God hardens someone’s heart (Ex. 9:12), allows them to be deceived (I Kings 22, II Thess. 2:11), gives them over to a reprOBate mind (Rom. 1:28), or even turns away from an entire nation or group of people (Acts 13:46, Rom. 9:22) – but in every case it’s only after the person or group of people have continually rejected the light that God has given them.
Now back to Acts 13:48. When it says that these Gentiles were ordained to eternal life, what does it mean? We’ve already determined from several other passages that it doesn’t mean they had no choice in the matter and were predestinated to receive Christ, so then what does it mean that they were “ordained to eternal life”?
Romans 2:4-7, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:”
At first glance this passage could seem to teach that God renders eternal life according to the good deeds of people. In other words, works salvation. We know that’s not true based upon plenty of other verses in the Bible that say salvation is a free gift of grace through faith. So what is it talking about? It’s talking about repentance, look at verse 4. Lost people who respond to their conscience and seek after God (because Christ was lifted up they can do that, see the part about Total Depravity) are rewarded in this life for their good works by receiving more light. An example of this would be Cornelius.
Acts 10:1-4, 21-22, 30-31, 44-45, “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. 3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. 4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.”
This man was a lost Gentile. He sought after God, and God heard his prayers, saw that he fasted and wound up sending Peter to him so he could get saved.
“Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? 22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.”
Peter tells the man that God has heard his prayers, and that God told Peter to go to him.
“30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.”
Peter preaches a message to Cornelius and several other Gentiles who are present, and in the middle of the message they wind up accepting Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit.
“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Another example of a Gentile seeking out God of his own according and God rewarding him with more light is the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8. The Bible is very clear that God rewards those that seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
With all that being said, do you see how God takes extra care and prepares some to get saved, based upon how they respond to the light that God gives them? See, the prOBlem is the Calvinist takes this one verse and one word in it, “ordained”, and builds a doctrine around what they think that word means, without checking out the rest of the Bible first.
They assume that “ordained” means “predestinated”. If you can find a verse in the Bible that says people are predestinated before salvation to receive Christ, then you might have a point – but you can’t. All ordained means in this case is “prepared”, God takes special care and attention to those who seek after Him and he prepares them to one day receive Christ. He doesn’t make them do it, but He gives them every chance He can and helps them out as much as possible. That is what the Bible teaches, and that is the correct interpretation of being “ordained to eternal life”. That interpretation is not based upon a Greek word or a dictionary definition; it is based upon clear scripture with scripture Bible study.
It’s a sad thing when someone resists the calling of the Holy Spirit to salvation, but it happens all the time. God’s grace is resistible, and man does have a free will.
Perseverance of the Saints
Matt. 10:22, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”
Depending upon how it’s taught, this can actually be the one point in Calvinism that is correct. If taught that the believer has eternal security, then it’s correct. We understand that eternal security is a Bible doctrine based upon several verses in the Bible (Eph. 1:3, Heb 13:5, I Peter 1:5, Rom. 8:38-39).
Many Calvinists take a skewed view of Matt. 10:22 and teach that if you’re part of the elect you will endure to the end. In this case, “the end” would be the end of your life. What results in that kind of thinking is actually very ironic.
Here you have a group of people that swear on three verses in the Bible (not to be confused with swearing on a stack of Bibles) that God unconditionally predestinated certain people to be saved. He then overpowers them and forces them to choose Him. These folks really have no choice in the matter, and they’re pretty much eternally secure before they’re even born.
Then the same people teach that the elect will serve the Lord and endure for Him up until the end, and that they are predestined to do just that. The prOBlem is, when you take this teaching and bring it back into the real world, you wind up with a bunch of Hyper-Calvinists wondering if they’re really part of the elect. In other words, these good folks who believe in eternal security on a doctrinal level have no assurance of their salvation on a practical level. It’s actually very sad.
Matt. 10:22 has nothing to do with people who are saved enduring to the end of their lives. The context is the Tribulation, and all it means is that saved folks who manage to survive the horrors of the Tribulation will be delivered out of it at the very end by Jesus Christ Himself when He comes back.
In conclusion, let me say that John Calvin was a shining light for his day and was used to God to rebel against the oppressive and tyrannical Roman Catholic Church. He had, however, a huge list of practical and doctrinal shortcomings, and those who refuse to go further than him in Bible study are bound to be fouled up.
Calvinism is just like any other cult. It is built on a few verses, taken out of context and interpreted without supporting scripture.
What is clear in the Bible is that God loved the entire world enough to send His Son to die and pay the penalty for everyone, that He wants all men to come to Him, and anyone who does come to Him He will not cast out.
Rom. 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Rev. 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
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The Foolishness of Preaching
In todays society, all understanding, education, knowledge, and mankinds advancement is based on science, with the omission of God. The idea of God is seen as foolishness, and as an outdated close-minded mindset. Let alone the idea that there is something wrong with society, that their lives are filled with sin and they are in danger of perishing and going to Hell. These in societies eyes are the rantings of a lunatic, not understanding the seriousness of its fact. But Christ suffered first, He started the work and showed us the path that we must walk, and the cross of scoffing, mockery, ridicule, persecution, and in the end the wonderful words "Well done my good and faithful servant".
The Bible says -
1Co 1:18-21 - For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
The Lord teaches that the understanding of the Word of God is more important and more powerful than any knowledge that the world could offer. The understanding of the Cross of Christ is more critical to a persons soul than anything you could attain in this life. The world offers all kinds of pleasures, in entertainment, wealth, and luxuries. But how they pale in comparison to the mighty power of a loving God who offers eternal life through the repentance of sin, and belief and acceptance of the Gospel of Christ.
The world would rather pursue and preach the pursuit of happiness. In their mind and in their understanding that is nothing more than physical gain. But try and tell them that their understanding is wrong, that it is more than that, then they will hate you.
John 15:18-19 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
The Bible is seen as foolish and outdated, but that is only because they do not have the Spirit of the Lord to give them the understanding (1Cor 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.). The Lord said many times throughout the Bible that one must only ask and He will hear. Because If you believe the Word of God, then you have nothing to fear - 2Tim 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Christ said Mat 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to OBserve all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
This is not only just a commandment, but a promise. Christ promised that He would be with us, but we also have the Holy Spirit indwelling us. What have we to fear. If Christ commanded that we preach the Word of God, then He will make sure to give you the words with which to speak - Eze 3:27 But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house.
The Lord promised to give you the wisdom and knowledge you need if you but ask. The fear of man is nothing, the persecution you may have is nothing, if you fully trust in the Lord He promised that He would help, He promised that He would give you the words, and He promised that he would never leave us nor forsake us.
It comes down to faith, do you have faith in the Lord? Do you actually believe that He will help you? You trusted the Lord to save you, and you believe that you will spend eternity in Heaven. So why would a Christian doubt or fear that they would be on their own in preaching to the lost?
Trust in the Lord and the power of His might, the world cannot touch you if the Lord is protecting you. The Lord said countless times throughout the Bible, that He will give you utterance. The Word of God is just that, the Words of God, not ours. We do not speak, the Lord speaks through us.
The message of the Gospel is hated by this world, it is seen as nonsense, but that does not negate its importance. The greatest reason that the Gospel is not preached to the lost is because of the fear of man. Fear can be crippling, it can freeze your thoughts and your body. The fear of man and the wild imagination that follows can be the worst, but God said that He would help you if you only ask Him. Paul the Apostle faced many an opposition, whippings, being stoned to death, beaten, and in the end he was killed for the faith. The trust that one has in God in that no matter what the outcome, no matter how foolish the world may see you, God will always give you the ability to stand.
God said that if any man lack wisdom, let Him ask of God. He also taught that it is not of us that the Gospel is given, but that the Holy Spirit is speaking through us, that is convicting of sin. We are a voice for the Holy Spirit, an instrument of His grace, to provide a message of hope to the lost. When you understand that it is nothing of ourselves, that it is in OBedience to His word when we witness, we have nothing to fear.
Like Peter before the Jews, he trusted in God and opened his mouth, and God spoke through him and many were saved. These were the men that not to long before had sentenced and killed Christ. And now Peter is and the other disciples are standing in front of over 5000 of them and is preaching Christ.
Fear of not knowing what to say, of how someone might react, of _____ you fill in the blanks. Fear is the manifestation of an imagined undesirable outcome, it is your imagination, not a reality. But it is not up to us to make people like us, that's just our own ego and pride taking over. God cannot use you if you are always trying to change the outcome to better suit yourself and your own fears. Besides, in this world you would have to not preach Christ and avoid any Biblical topics to ensure that you would not be disliked. You must give yourself wholly and completely, with no thought to your own desires. (the servant of the Lord must not strive) you must not fight the will of God with your own wants and desires. You must not worry or care for anything, the Lord said to take no thought of tomorrow. That He would supply your every need, this includes safety and the words with which to speak. You must not fear or doubt what the people think.
This is what the world calls foolishness, the absolute trust in the living God. A God that came to this earth and died for our sins, and rose to life again. A God that loves us and promises that He would never leave us. A God that promises that if we would just take the time to spread this Word, that He would do the speaking, He just needs us to be willing.
Doing or saying anything that would make us appear foolish to others, or have others look at us with disgust, contempt, or even pity, goes against everything we strive for. We don't want to appear different naturally, but to appear like everyone else we would have to put Christ on the shelf and avoid Him. To do that would be knowingly sentencing them to Hell, you have the key to salvation in your own hand and are refusing to show them because some may see you as acting and speaking foolishness.
Preach the word, and nevermind what people think, spread the Gospel whether they want to hear it or not. The word of the Lord is unto them which perish foolishness.
But as Romans 1:6 says – For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
We have received salvation of God, we have been washed in the blood of Christ. Our eternity is secured, we have nothing to loose. Sticks and stones may brake my bones, but the Gospel of Christ compels me.
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Acts 27:3 "And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself."
As I was studying a few weeks ago, I ran across this in Paul's journey. As we all know the story, Paul was on his way to Rome and was being carried about by ship. I found this verse to be very enlightening about Paul's testimony in that he was a prisoner, much like the story of Joseph after being put in prison from Potiphar's house in Genesis 39. This verse just seemed to jump off the pages at me about what other people see in us as Christians.
I've been in law enforcement most all of my adult life--former USMC military police, former correctional officer in a jail, retired state police--I've seen a few jails in my day. I was involved one time in the moving of a couple of death row inmates that won new trials during appeals. They had been sitting in jail for a couple of years at that time and they needed some pretty high security. I've also arrested folks out on the highway and let them ride up front and run through a drive through on the way to the jail. I could tell stories all night about every kind of situation in between where I've had to wrestle, or beg and plead, or pull my pistol, all just to get people to go along with the program. The way people were treated varied some but depended wholly on the way they treated me. However, the one constant was they always stayed within my sight and control and I didn't trust them out of my sight. What does this tell us about Paul's testimony?
I see first that Paul had "character". Paul said he'd do something and he did it. Paul was told to do something and he did it. Paul set out to do something and he did it. He meant what he said and said what he meant. Look at the Phillipian jailer who would have killed himself but for Paul in Acts 16:27, 28. Paul and Silas didn't go anywhere when the bonds were loosed and the doors sprang open. They weren't going anywhere, Paul had a date with Caesar. This jailer passed the word along that Paul wasn't just a man of God, but he was a man of character. Paul's testimony proceeded him via the social network of the jailers and centurions and guards.
The next thing I see from Paul is his "conviction". Paul (Saul at the time) already believed in God as a Pharisee and scholar. In fact, before he was struck down and called by Jesus on the road to Damascus, Acts 26:10, 11 shows that Paul put many Christians in prison and even made some of them blaspheme Christ. This shows that Paul was once himself a form of police officer by chasing and persecuting Christians and testifying against them. Look at what it says, he "having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them." (Acts 26:11) Then, when he got saved, he changed his tune. He witnessed to his friends, not just the gentiles, but his police friends. He let his testimony speak for himself and he got liberty. They trusted him because he wasn't fighting against being in prison. He knew his mission was to speak in front of Caesar. He was headed to Rome--with conviction! What this tells me is that Paul not only had a reputation among the Christians, but again, among this network of jailers, centurions, and guards as mentioned before.
The other thing I see from Paul is his "commitment". Again, Paul has a date with Caesar. He knows the end, but he doesn't know the in between. Paul is committed to the cause. He is fighting the good fight. He also has commitment to those he is subject to within the justice system of the time. These are guys he prOBably knew at one time or another during his Christian hunting days. Now he's on the other side. Have you ever thought about bad cops? What about police officers that get caught in drug stings or beating people? These folks are the worst of the fall-from-grace-types. Can you imagine the first time Paul got arrested that he ran into one of his old pals? Hey Paul, you're one of them?? But his testimony shined through.
As I was studying on our text verse, it hit me all of a sudden, something here sounds strangely familiar with something Jesus said: "And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?" (Mark 8:27) Jesus was sent here to do a jOB--"to seek and to save". He had character and He had conviction and He had commitment! He was beaten! He was "buffeted" (punched) with the palms of their hands! Beard pulled out! Crown of thorns! Nails in his hands and feet! Hung on the cross for three days! Finally, pierced in the side!
Whom do men say that you are? Do the people in who's charge you are in see your testimony? Can they turn you loose and let you go and know that it's going to get done?
Hey preacher boy--can your preacher give you a jOB to do and know that he can walk away and not have to look over your shoulder?
Hey soulwinner--are you there every time to meet with the others in your church to go out?
Hey Christian--are you sitting there like a bump on a log not doing anything waiting for the Spirit to move you? (or the mood to hit you)
Hey sinner--you're a good person, but it won't get you to Heaven. Have you trusted Christ?
Peace be with you and may God bless.
I want us to study the whole prophecy of Habakkuk to understand his message to the people of his time, AND to see how his message speaks to us in our day.
We will also look at how Paul took up Hab's message of living by faith in his letter to the Galatians.
In order to understand the prophetic books we must first consider the context – the time when they were written, & the condition of the people of Israel & Judah that the prophet is addressing.
H prophesied around 620-600 BC, in the years before the destruction of Jerusalem & the temple by the Babylonians. He prophesied at about the same time that Jeremiah began his ministry. Josiah had been a godly king who tried to bring the people back to God. It was too little, too late. The priests & people continued in their wicked ways.
H doesn’t seem to have been given a message to the people of Israel, instead we read of his private prayer arguments with God about the state of the land of Judah.
Zephaniah prophesied at the same time as Hab – it's the next book after Hab. He warned the people of Judah:
1:4 "I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem... to v.14
That is very similar to Stephen's defence in Acts 7, when he was accused by the elders of Israel.
Now we will stay in Habakkuk.
1:2-4 is his prayer that God will look at the wickedness of the people and do something about it – to correct & save them.
2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save? 3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.
God’s reply is that he has had enough of the people who have constantly rejected him & his laws. He has protected & blessed them for 700 years. Now the nation has become utterly corrupt. Judgement has to come.
It will come through an invasion by the Babylonians (or Chaldeans). Jerusalem will be captured & the temple destroyed, & many of its treasures were taken to Babylon.
That reply horrifies Habakkuk. He argues with God. The Jews were Abraham’s descendants. They had the promises of God. The temple was the evidence of God’s blessing. How could God act against his own people? How could God break his own faithful promises & organise the destruction of the people he has promised to bless?
It is as if we prayed: “Britain has been blessed as a Christian country for hundreds of years. We have sent the Bible & the Gospel around the world. Now wickedness is increasing & churches are closing. Our Parliament is passing laws that violate the commandments of God. Please take action & bless us again, Lord.”
And God replied: “Britain has rejected the Gospel, so I am bringing in people of other religions to take over. They will take over your empty churches; they will influence the laws your Parliament enacts; they will get rich from the taxes you pay. You believers will suffer with the ungodly when I bring judgment on the whole land.
50 years ago, the Christian West Indians were shocked that England was not the Christian country they expected.
In Southall, 40 years ago, we hoped & prayed that the non-Christians coming into England would hear the Gospel, & take the Christian faith back to their own lands. But no – when we look around, we see they bring their pagan religions & gods, & build their own temples & mosques.
We live in a country that has rejected it's Christian heritage. We see the rise of godlessness all around us – TV, newspapers, magazines & the internet show the wickedness of our nation. We read the newspapers, & the angry reports about people breaking the law, but do they, do we actually honour & OBey God’s holy laws?
As a nation we are OBsessed with sport. The London Olympics were a great success for the nation. We wear the clothing; we wave the flags; but we do not play the sport. We sit back & watch on TV while others run about. Our national Christianity is like that. We claim to be Christians, but we do not live as Christians.
Hab prays about the national situation. He hears God’s answer & prays again. He knows he is living in a dangerous situation, where he now expects God’s judgement on the nation, not a revival & blessings. He still argues that God should be more concerned with the wickedness of the Babylonians than of Israel.
2:1 I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.
He watches & waits for God’s answer. As a prophet, he is God’s watchman for the nation of Israel. We as believers should pray for our nation. We are our nation's watchmen. If we want peace, we should pray for our national leaders.
What was Jesus’ command to his disciples about watching?
Luke 21:36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.
Habakkuk gets his answer:2:2 Then the LORD replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. 3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will notprove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will notdelay. 4 "See, he is puffed up; his desires are notupright-- but the righteous will live by his faith--
God is working to a plan – he knows the end & how he will achieve his purposes. The trouble coming on the nation through the Babylonian invasion is discipline for a few years, & that discipline will pass. God has a greater plan in view. Hebrews quotes v. 4 in a way that shows Christ is the one who is coming!Heb. 10:37 For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will notdelay.38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will notbe pleased with him.
Heb. 11 gives a great list of OT believers who lived by faith.
God in Hab. 2 declares a great promise that will be realised by the coming of Jesus Christ & his saving work; his cross & resurrection: 2:14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
He goes on to ridicule the worship of idols, & declare his sovereign greatness:
2:20 But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.
The OT has many prophecies of the coming Messiah.
H sees trouble – the Jews he lives with, & the coming destruction.
God tells him, “your hope must be in the coming Messiah – I will keep my promises to Abraham. You can trust me.”
I want to look closely at 2:4 — but the righteous will live by his faith—
The last part of this verse is of tremendous importance. Paul builds his teaching on “justification by faith” on that Scripture in Romans & Galatians.
How do we live by faith? What does it mean?
There are two aspects to living by faith:
(i) Justification by faith, wherby we come as sinners to Jesus, & seek forgiveness because of his saving work on the cross. That faith saves.(ii) A life of faith, trusting God day by day.
Through the 70 years of exile, God's care & protection of his people would continue. His saving purposes could not be frustrated. That message of living by faith was believed by Daniel & his friends in Babylonia, and by Esther & Mordecai & others in exile.
God further revealed to Daniel that Messiah would complete his saving work in in 70x7 years. After the exile those who returned rebuilt the temple & re-established worship. We read their stories in Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah & Haggai,
Nehemiah serving the king in the palace, prayed for the city, pleading in prayer for many months, and was given the privilege of rebuilding the city walls & establishing law & order again.
These men of God lived by faith in very troubled times.
We have better promises – we know the Lord Jesus Christ as our Messiah, and we have promises of a glorious new heaven & new earth, not of an earthly heritage.
We too, in our troubled times, need to learn the same lessons.
In the course of Hab's prophecy, there is the assurance that God is working to his plan for blessing mankind. Note 2:14
14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
That is a wonderful Gospel promise for all nations in all the world, fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ by the Gospel.
What was the first promise to Abraham? Gen. 12:3 “... all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
What is the “great commission?” Mat. 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to OBey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
We are living in the Gospel age and we have the message for all nations.
H has been complaining to God & arguing with him. God's last verse of Hab 2 ends his complaints & inspires a song of confident prayer.
20 But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him. Our opening hymn took up that great statement.
Habakkuk shows us how to pray & how to live in that situation. God is still God. We must trust him. We must live in our troubled land by faith in our Saviour God.
Ch 3 The prophecy concludes with a song of praise & faith.
3:2 H remembers past blessings, & prays that God will renew them is his day. He prays that God will revive his work.
The prayer continues with the remembrance of the great works of God in the past. It is very poetic, but alludes to God bringing his people into the promised land.
16-19 H concludes with an expression of praise – he knows his God, & he will rejoice in him, even though he faces a time of suffering.
We will sing a version of that song when we conclude the service.
We need to look closely at that tremendous statement of faith in 2:4, which Paul develops in Galatians 3:1-14.
Paul builds a tremendous building on those 6 words of Habakkuk: The righteous will live by faith.
He shows that Christ must be the OBject of our faith, and that faith is by the Holy Spirit of God living & working within us. This is no vague belief that gives salvation without changing our life.
The Jews of Hab's time believed they were God's people, & that the temple protected them against the enemy. Within 20 years, the temple was destroyed, & the people taken captive to Babylon. 600 years later, the Jewish leaders of Jesus' time believed the same & rejected their Messiah. Within 40 years, the Romans destroyed the temple & Jerusalem. If you go to Jerusalem today, the stones still cry out in witness of that destruction.
I believe that if we are truly saved, we cannot lose our salvation. After all, Jesus saves completely those who come to God through him. But, I believe also that if we are saved, we will not continue in sin. We will live by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews gives very solemn warnings against those who turn away from Jesus – they live under the condemnation & wrath of a holy God.
Only in Christ are we righteous. His righteousness is imputed - credited to us when we trust in Jesus for salvation. I preached on that in my last sermon.
The prOBlem with the Galatians was that teachers had come among them who taught that they had to become Jews & keep all aspects of the Law, including circumcision to be saved.
That was no Gospel at all. If we have to keep all the Law, we are hopelessly lost. We are under the curse of God if we fail to keep the Law in every detail.
Under the Law we have the hopeless task of perfect OBedience. The Jewish teachers were still in the Old Cov, still clinging to Moses & his Laws, & all the rituals that no longer had any value now Jesus had finished his saving work.
Come to Jesus as repentant sinners; your Christian life begins as you put your faith in him; then live faithfully as his servants & followers whatever trouble we may face in this life. We live with the promise of glory.
I’ve written a hymn based on Hab. 3.
Blessing - 3:2 LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. -
The Furnace Of Affliction - Part Two
Come Forth As Gold
Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
1) Man's Outward Trials.
A) Mankind In General:
It is obvious, from the overall testimony of Scripture, from beginning to ending, man’s lot on this earth is full of trials, troubles, afflictions, sufferings. Every since Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden, the curse of sin has affected all of our lives. The furnace of affliction has affected all of us.
Psalms 90:3, 5-10 Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth. For we are consumed by Thine anger, and by Thy wrath are we troubled. Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance. For all our days are passed away in Thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Job 5:7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.
Job 14:1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.
B) The Christian’s Trials:
Another principle comes through loud and clear from the pages of the God’s Word: the Christian is not exempt from trials. Even those that have been born again through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will face this furnace of affliction at various times throughout their lives. The way of the Cross is not a rose-strewn pathway, despite what some modern religious philosophers and teachers like to teach. Our problems in life do not end the moment we come to Christ – though it is true that those who are saved have their Heavenly Father working out all things according to His perfect will and plan for their lives, which includes conforming them to the image of His Son. (See Romans 8:28-29)
2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Isaiah 43:2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
John Bunyan stated,
“A Christian man is seldom long at ease,
When one trouble’s gone another doth him seize.”
2) The Christian's Trials Outweigh Those Of The Lost.
I believe this is a principle that is often overlooked and is one reason we are told to count the cost. Like Daniel’s three friends in the midst of the burning fiery furnace, the Christian’s furnace of affliction has often been heated seven times hotter than the furnace of the world.
1 Corinthians 15:16-19 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
I have actually had a Christian associate declare that I was presenting false teaching when I discussed with him the above passage of Scripture (and after he had read my first study in this series, As Silver Is Tried). Even after explaining what Paul meant here, he still would not believe me. Later I found out he had bought into the Prosperity Gospel hook, line, and sinker. While I do not believe it is wrong to be optimistic, I do think that we should remove our rose-coloured glasses and accept what the Bible teaches, instead of what we would like it to say!
If all the faithful child of God had to look forward in this life was the afflictions and trials they daily faced, they would be most miserable indeed! If there was no forgiveness of sins offered through the death, burial, and physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, there would be no hope indeed, no hope of entering Heaven (all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and God cannot look upon iniquity – see Isaiah 64:6 and Habakkuk 1:13), and no real purpose for our being set apart from the rest of the ungodly world! Please read this whole section so you do not misunderstand where I am going with this line of thinking.
1 Corinthians 15:29-32 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
As Paul stated above, if this life was all we had then the Christian’s life would be most miserable in comparison with that of the lost. What trials does the Christian bear that the lost do not?
Facing death to proclaim their faith and be baptized (identified) with Christ
Dying to our self daily, crucifying the flesh and resisting the pleasures of sin
Bearing the reproach of Christ, suffering for the sake of righteousness
Endless, wearisome battles with false teachers, apostates; spiritual warfare
Being chastised by the Lord when we walk in sin
Being pruned and purged so we are useful to the Master and bear more fruit
There is a saying that there is a scarlet thread that runs all throughout Scripture – referring to the redemption provided through the blood of Christ. In a similar vein, there is another thread, albeit a dark one, running throughout the Bible: the thread of sufferings and trials for true believers. We see one end of this thread in the book of Genesis, from the death of Abel, to the sufferings of Joseph; it continues on through time to the testing of Job, and the Exodus from Egypt; down further through the corridors of time to the exiles in Assyria and Babylon, and the desecrating of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes; further still to the New Testament church struggling through dire persecutions, on to the tribulation believers facing the Antichrist; and finally, the end of the thread is in sight in the book of Revelation, when we see Jesus returning to conquer the nations of the world and begin His Millenial reign.
Just think how much easier the Apostles’ lives would have been if they were living for themselves, rather than for the Lord. Take Paul’s life, for example:
2 Corinthians 11:23-28 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
But this life is not all there is! There is Heaven awaiting those who are saved, and rewards for those who are faithful in serving Jesus Christ! If you are a child of God, then you have eternal life and the love of Christ which nothing can separate you from.
Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Though the furnace of affliction that the Christian faces has been heated seven times hotter, the Lord Jesus Christ still walks with us in the midst of the flames. After all has been said and done, in the light of eternity, I believe the child of God will be able to share the testimony of these three Hebrew men that the fire did no lasting harm to them. Truly, our Heavenly Father only allows into our lives what is in accordance with His perfect will. Like the hymn writer stated, “Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well with my soul.”
Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
3) The Outcome Of The Christian's Trials.
Malachi 3:2-3 But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
Job 23:8-10 Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: On the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him: He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him: But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
"… all precious things have to be tried. You never saw a precious thing yet which did not have a trial. The diamond must be cut; and hard cutting that poor jewel has; were it capable of feeling pain, nothing would be more fretted and worried about, than that diamond. Gold, too, must be tried; it cannot be used as it is dug up from the mine, or in grains as it is found in the rivers; it must pass through the crucible and have the dross taken away. Silver must be tried. In fact all things that are of any value must endure the fire. It is the law of nature. Solomon tells us so in the 17th chapter of Proverbs, the 3rd verse. He says, 'The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold.' If you were nothing but tin, there would be no need of the 'fining-pot' for you; but it is simply because you are valuable that you must be tried." (Charles Spurgeon, The New Park Street Pulpit, Volume 1, page 484.)
4) The Christian’s Outlook In Their Trials.
A) Your Refining:
1 Peter 1:6-7 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
B) Your Reminder:
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
C) Your Rejoicing:
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
D) Your Reward:
Revelation 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.
E) Your Redeemer's Return:
Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
F) Your Response:
Revelation 3:15-18 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
5) Will You Be Outcast?
The Lord rejects those who reject Him and His Word, who reject the salvation and forgiveness of sins that He offers. Reprobate means rejected. Dross is the worthless part of the metal, the impurities that are cast aside.
Jeremiah 6:30 Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them.
2 Timothy 3:8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
Ezekiel 22:17-22 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, the house of Israel is to Me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. As they gather silver, and brass, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so I will gather you in Mine anger and in My fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you. Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of My wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof. As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the LORD have poured out My fury upon you.
Don't be an outcast. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God! (Hebrews 10:31) The hands of judgement are all that those who die without Jesus Christ as their Saviour have to look forward to. It is better to reach now for the hands of mercy! If you have never turned to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, turn to Him today, trusting in His finished work on the cross of Calvary, believing in His death for your sins, His burial, and His literal, physical resurrection three days later. Turn to Him and let Him purge away the dross of sin in your life and make you a vessel worthy of honour.
Proverbs 25:4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.
2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
Zechariah 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on My name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is My people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
I Shall Come Forth As Gold
No longer on the mountaintop, The tempests wax fierce and hot;
Though the way ahead may seem rough, His grace will always be enough -
For when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
As gold, as gold, I shall come forth as gold;
As gold, as gold, I shall come forth as gold.
As I walk through the shadow of death, This valley seems to steal my breath;
Though I cannot yet see my way, I will trust in Jesus come what may -
For when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
When storm clouds carry doubt and fear, I will not fret for God is near.
Though I walk through the darkest day, Through faith, my Lord will light my way -
For when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Someday my skies will clear again, The clouds will part - I shall see Him!
Now by faith, but then by sight, I'll behold my King in all His might -
For when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Poem written June 22nd, 2003
Study written August 6th, 2004
By Jerry Bouey
Eagle's Wings Ministries
(Note: my friend Kat Aulin had actually put this song to beautiful music in 2003. Unfortunately, she did not know how to write music so it was never recorded. But it sure was a blessing to hear her play it on the Trenholm’s piano in the summer of 2003. She had such talent - I am sure she is playing music for the Lord in Heaven now.)
Taught a few weeks ago at a Wednesday night prayer meeting of church.
Psalm 55:22: Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
When we meet for prayer, we bring all our needs and burdens and cast them upon the Lord. 1 Peter 5:8 promises a load of burdens on us all, for the devil is, as a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour. Burdens came into the world because of sin. Yet one verse before, we learn that we can cast all our care upon God, for he cares for us. This is the answer to satan's attacks, and to our burdens.
We see a few things in Psalm 55:22:
1. Cast thy burden... The Hebrew word means "throw out, down, or away; hurl, pluck, throw." It's a call to action! Don't ignore your burden, and don't try to hold it by your own strength. Get rid of it, and throw it to the Lord! When you cast it away, it's not your prOBlem any more, and it's not up to you to find the solution. Let the Lord figure it out--if anything happens, the Lord will have to be the one to do it.
2. ...thy burden... David had a great burden, if you read earlier in this Psalm:
To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David. Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me. My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.
For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. (Psalm 55:12-13)
PrOBably this was Absalom's rebellion, with David's equal Ahithophel also against him. David's family and friends were against him, and David was at the place in his life where he wanted to just curl up in a ball and die. His burden was so great that he couldn't deal with it--it was crushing him, and he would have loved to escape and hide somewhere where no one would ever see him again. Do we ever feel like that?
This burden was caused by David's sin. 2 Samuel 12:9-12 promises David's family would turn against him. David's burden was a punishment from God, yet David knew to run to God for help--what faith! Are their burdens in your life caused by sin? Even if they are, you need to cast them upon the Lord for help.
Burden: "That which is borne with labor or difficulty; that which is grievous, wearisome or oppressive; a birth."
Everyone has spiritual burdens--for self, and for others. People have physical burdens--cancer, disease, pain, etc. No matter the burden, the Lord can take it--see Matthew 11:28-30.
3. ...upon the LORD... NOBody else can better take your burden--not a husband, a wife, a friend, or a pastor. We are called to bear one another's burdens, but ultimately, all our trust should be on God. Our hearts' comfort should not be because our friend is doing something about our prOBlem, or because a doctor is looking after us, but primarily, because the God of heaven is on our side, working continually for our good. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. (Psalm 118:8-9)
4. ...and he shall sustain thee. With anyone else, it would say "might." With God, it's "shall" or "will." David had no doubt that God would take care of him. Sustain: "to hold from underneath; endure without failing; maintain; keep alive." The Hebrew word also means "receive." This word is in the Bible 3 other times, including 1 Kings 17:9 and Nehemiah 9:21. If God could rain down manna from heaven, and sustain Elijah many days with a widow woman's last few scraps, He can surely sustain us and meet our needs--and if you cast your burden upon Him, He will. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
5. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Give God your burdens. Every day, cast your care upon Him. Pray to Him. Have the boldness of David, that God will never allow you to be moved. This is only true for the righteous. You must follow God each day, and live being filled with the Spirit. Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psalm 119:165)
Furthermore, you must first have the imputed righteousness of God:
And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jeremiah 23:4-6)
David's righteousness came not from himself--he was a murderer, liar, and adulterer. He coveted another man's wife, and the New Testament tells us covetousness is idolatry. His righteousness came from his Son--the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Called Jehovah Tzidkenu--God Himself--Jesus Christ is our righteousness. Cast your burden of sin on Jesus, and He will be your righteousness before God, for only He was truly righteous in all His life. In Pilgrim's Progress, Christian lost his burden of sin at the cross: "...as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more." And so the Lord receives us to himself, and sustains us, most of all when he takes our great burden of sin. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)
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Introduction to the Book of Revelation
Podcasts and other media formats here
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. Rev. 1:3
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I Peter 3:18-22
18 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20 Which sometime were disOBedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”
There has been a sizeable amount of false teaching concerning this passage of Scripture. With God’s help, I plan to put the false teaching to rest, and to fill your hearts and minds with sound doctrinal truth.
3 Goings On while the Ark was being built
I. CHRIST PREACHED TO THE PEOPLE, IN NOAH, BY THE HOLY SPIRIT (Intro text vss. 18-20)
A.) Noah was a preacherII Peter 2:5 “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly…”
B.) Comparison with Jonah and the Ninevites (in comparison the Ninevites believed Jonah)
Jonah 2:1 “And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.
4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his rOBe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nOBles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”
II. THE LONGSUFFERING OF GOD WAITED (Intro text vs. 20)
A.) God is longsufferingI Timothy 1:12 “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I OBtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
Howbeit for this cause I OBtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”
Psalm 86:15 “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”
Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
III. A VISUAL AID WAS CREATED (Intro text vss. 19-21)
A.) The Ark pictured Christ
1.) The word “baptism” means “to place into.”
Romans 6:1 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
I Peter 3:20 “Which sometime were disOBedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by [Gk. “dia” = through, by, among, at] water."
B.) We are saved by being placed into Christ (not the water; those who were in the water outside the ark were destroyed - drowned!)
Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:13 “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1:1 “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons…”
A New Creature
Galatians 6:15 “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.”
II Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Galatians 3:26 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
I Corinthians 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
By faith Noah and his family got into the ark.
By faith we enter into Jesus Christ.
Water baptism is a symbolic act which refers back to our being placed in Christ. It is a testimony to that fact.
Acts 8;36 “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”
Romans 10:10a “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness…”
Note: You may listen to this sermon in audio by going to the Harvest Baptist Church Website listed here on Online Baptist.
Using Acts 11:25-26 as a springboard, we have five alliterated points, on the kind of Christian we ought to be.
1 Walking Christian Jeremiah 6:16
2 Working Christian Ephesians 2:10
3 Witnessing Christian Mark 16:15
4 Waiting Christian Isaiah 40:31
5 Watching Christian Ephesians 5:15-16
Ecclesiastes 1:4 One generation passeth away,and another generation cometh:but the earth abideth for ever.
The righteous liveth to tell of the good news about Jesus. Eternal life is their portion.
By divine the righteous are the living creature in Gen124-30 that doeth the will of our Lord Jesus christ.
Naked every creature at different time came into existence to acknowledge the glory of a born child whose generation abideth forever.
Bound to depart no matter his lifespan.without his passing away the acknowledgement of unlimited generation above remain futile.
He cannot create another of the sun, moon, stars, ocean, and the air he breath that acknowledge
"One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever"
The blind who cannot see can now see in the crowd and the truth
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I thought it might be fun, and spiritually profitable, to round up and discuss a collection of commandments that are particular to Christianity; beginning with the book of Acts and systematically working on through to Revelation. I'll also have occasion to refer to the Gospel narratives from time to time too.
Anyone with the wherewithal is at liberty to comment, contribute, point out errors, and/or ask questions; I mean, after all, this might be a devotion; but it's not a filibuster, so I encourage interaction.
Some people regard any and all commandments as legalism. But let me assure you the commandments on my list are not the commandments of a legalist, but rather the commandments of the Bible's Christ.
†. 1Cor 2:12-13 . .We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
†. 1Cor 14:37 . . If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of The Lord.
†. 1Ths 2:13 . .When you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God.
†. 1Ths 4:1-2 . . We beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
Teachings don't have to be couched in "Thou Shalt" and/or "Thou Shalt Not" to qualify as commandments. Any directive qualifies as a commandment, as does any imperative which Webster's defines as: of, relating to, or constituting, the grammatical mood that expresses the will to influence the behavior of another.
Some of my commandments will be accompanied with notes, and some will be solo; and I should warn everyone that this is a huge task and requires several weeks of daily-bread style posts to accomplish as I have well over 400 commandments on my list. But if you stay with me to the end, I can easily promise you will be much the better Christian for it.
†. Rom 12:1-2 . . Be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
†. 2 Cor 3:17-18 . . Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is that Spirit.
NOTE: Lest someone should take this compilation of commandments lightly, as if it were nothing more than a locker-room bull session, I should point out that OBedience to Christianity's commandments is the acid test of one's loyalty to the Bible's Christ.
†. John 14:15 . . If you love me, you will comply with what I command.
†. John 14:21 . .Whoever has my commands and OBeys them, he is the one who loves me.
†. John 14:23-24 . . If anyone loves me, he will OBey my teaching . . He who does not love me will not OBey my teaching.
†. John 15:14 . .You are my friends if you do as I wish.
ps. I never really know how other people's computers display fonts so if my choice is grossly too big or too small, let me know.
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by Dr. Paul Chappell
"Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free."
Rather than listening to what a critic says about your life, listen to what God says about your life.
An old fable that has been passed down for generations tells about an elderly man who was traveling with a boy and a donkey. As they walked through a village, the man was leading the donkey and the boy was walking behind. The townspeople said the old man was a fool for not riding, so to please them he climbed up on the animal's back. When they came to the next village, the people said the old man was cruel to let the child walk while he enjoyed the ride. So, to please them, he got off and set the boy on the animal's back and continued on his way. In the third village, people accused the child of being lazy for making the old man walk, and the suggestion was made that they both ride. So the man climbed on and they set off again. In the fourth village, the townspeople were indignant at the cruelty to the donkey because he was made to carry two people. The frustrated man was last seen carrying the donkey down the road. The moral of the story? We can't please everybody, and if we try we end up carrying a heavy burden.
Too many people in our world are living to please other people. They feel pressure to please parents, siblings, friends, critics, fans, fellow church members, and others; yet many of them are failing at keeping everyone happy. Ask anyone-from the richest man to the poorest man on earth-if they live without criticism and the answer is no.
So why do many people try so hard to please others? The answer may be found in the answer of a circus actor. This man's act (being shot out of a canon) had been performed twelve hundred times when a reporter asked him why he signed up for the dangerous jOB. His reply: "Do you know what it's like to feel the applause of 60,000 people? That's why I did it!"
People live for the pat on the back, the applause, the "jOB well done" from their peers. Their actions are often guided by what others want. Yet God tells us that our service should be done not to please others, but to please Him, "Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord...."
You will face critics in your life. We all have people who are displeased with what we do, say, or how we behave. Too many people take criticism to heart and allow it to determine their actions. Rather than listening to what a critic says about your life, listen to what God says about your life.
When someone criticizes your actions, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I OBeying God's Word?
- Am I honoring God with my life?
- Am I faithfully living the life He has for me?
- Is God pleased with my actions?
If you can answer yes to each question, then ignore the critics and continue faithfully serving God. The opinion of critics will be of little importance when you reach Heaven. All that will matter is the opinion of your Heavenly Father.
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I had the chance to preach this a few months ago. Keep in mind I am no preacher. I have made the verses bold and posted most of them at the bottom of the sermon.
The Two Births
I heard a qoute once and when you hear it I want you to really thing about it. If you are born twice you die once. If you are born once to die twice. (X2) Listen again to the words of Jesus in John 3:3 (Except)and John 3:7 (Ye Must) Notice Jesus didn't say that It would be a good idea if you were born again but you MUST! Compare this with Rev 20:11-15 and Rev 21:8 Now before we go any further I just want to point out that John 3:5 is not talking about baptism. If you read it in context the passage is clearly referring to the Physical and Spiritual birth
So let's see what the Bible has to say on this subject. First we will look at the first birth (Physical) and the second birth (Spiritual) Then we will look at the first death (Physical) and the second death (Spiritual)
John 3:6 The first birth is the physical or the flesh birth. Father and Mother get together and produce flesh. This birth produces a sinful nature. A child does not need to be taught how to sin. It just knows how. PS 51:5 Rom 3:10 Rom 3:23 We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners. The second birth is the Spiritual birth. This birth produces a Spiritual nature. II Cor 5:17 God's Spirit joins with our spirit and produces a new birth (Spiritual) Rom 8:14,15 (Explain Adoption)The spiritual birth is like this. God is in heaven and wants to adopt everyone. He through his Son Jesus sent everyone an open invitation to be adopted or born again. But God will not force himself upon anyone. We must accept his invitation willingly.
Next the physical birth produces a corruptible nature I Ptr 1:23 The corruptible nature brings forth a corruptible or contaminated seed. The seed of man was corrupted when Adam sinned Romans 5:12 Corruptible man can only bring forth corruptible seed. For example if a man has Aids his blood and seed are contaminated. Any child he brings forth will also be infected with AIDS. The Spiritual birth produces an incorruptable nature. Rom 5:19 An incorrtible nature produces an incorrtible or uncontaminated seed. I Cor 15:50-55 This is why it was so important for Jesus to be born of a Virgin. Because He was concieved by the Holy Ghost he did not have the sin nature passed on from Sinful man.
The physical birth produces an old nature and a death sentence Rom 6:23a Have you ever heard the phrase " Born to DIe" From the moment we are born the clock is ticking. Every second every minute takes us closer to death. What is age anyway? Think about it. There are those we consider young and those we consider old but young and old should really be defined by when you will die. If a 16 year old lives until they are 80 they are basically young. But if that 16 year old only lives to be 17 they are basically old. Their life is almost over. No one is gauranteed tomorrow. The Spiritual produce a new nature (II Cor 5:17) a gift of life. Rom6:23b Jhn 10:28 If you are here today and you have been born again how thankful are you? Are we trully grateful for the life God has given us? From what he has saved us from?
Lastly the physical birth produces a hellish nature and children of the devil. John 8:44 I Jn 3:10 Despite what the world says we are not all God's children. The Spiritual birth produces a divine nature and children of God II Ptr 1:4 Romans 8:16 Gal 3:26 again John 1:12
Now let's look at the first and second death. We will look at the physical (first death) for the believer and the Spiritual (second) death for the unbeliever. Remember the first death is the phyical death. The second death is the Spiritual death. Only those that have experienced the second birth will escape the second death.
The first death for the believer results in everlasting reparation or rewards. John 14:1,2 2 Jn 1:8, Rev 22:12 After a person is saved then his works count for something but only after. Salvation is a gift Tit 3:5 Ephesian 2:8,9 No amount of works will grant eternal life. In fact if you are trusting in works it is just piling on to your sin debt. The second death results in everlasting loss or destruction. Ma 25:46 2 Th 1:7-9 Those who die in their sins are judged according to their works. Rev 20:13,14
The first death results in eternal rest. Rev 14:13 The second death results in a restless eternity. Rev 14:11
Finally the first death results in everlasting life. John 3:15,16 Tit 1:2 3:7 IJn 5 11,13 The second death results in eternal death. Man was created with an immortal spirit. He was made to live for ever. So when a person dies unsaved his indestructible spirit suffers eternally. Hell was not made for man Ma 25:41 but God made only one way, one sacrifice to pay for your sin Acts 4:12 John 14:6
Reguardless of all the groups, sects, religions, and denominations they can all be boiled down to 2 groups The do's and the DONE All the religions of the world including many in the "Chrisitan" realm and I use the term loosely teach that you must do something to work your way to heaven. True Bible Christianity teaches that Jesus paid it all. All that was necessary Jesus accomplished when he died on the cross. He said "It is finished." John 19:30
Hebrews 9:27 Everyone here will die on day and be judged. The question is how will you be judged? As a child of God or as a child of the devil? Have you been born again? It is not by works and it not some fancy words. It is by simple faith. I'll share this example and be done. A few weeks ago I took the boys fishing. Well they decided it would be more fun to swin. So they swam and I attempted to fish off the dock. I was turned away from them baiting a hook when Miciah step off the drop off. Immediately he cried out to me I reached down and saved him from drowing. Now how foolish would it have been for him to think I know I am drowing but I am going to save myself. His only escape was for someone to pull him out.
Jesus is on the dock in Heaven and the world is drowning in sin. Many know that they are sinners but do know or will not admit that they are drowing or wicked enough to go to hell. Others know but refuse help. They are out there with their arms flay ling but instead of calling out to Christ they are trying to grab onto themselves or good works to keep from drowing. That would be like Miciah trying to grab onto some lead weights to keep from drowing.
Others can hear a message like this or perhaps have heard a message in the past and know they are drowing but think I am just going to wait for awhile before I call out to be saved? Thinking that they can tread water for ever. No one here is guaranteed one more day. Don't be foolish and wait. So the question is what will you do?
Jhn 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
Jhn 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
Jhn 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Jhn 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
Jhn 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Jhn 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Jhn 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
Rom 5:19 For as by one man's disOBedience many were made sinners, so by the OBedience of one shall many be made righteous.
1Cr 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
1Cr 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1Cr 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1Cr 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality.
1Cr 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
1Cr 15:55 O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory?
Jhn 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.
Jhn 8:44 Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
1Jo 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Jhn 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Jhn 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
2Jo 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
Rev 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward [is] with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Mat 24:51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint [him] his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
2Th 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
2Th 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that OBey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
2Th 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Rev 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed [are] the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Jhn 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Jhn 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Jhn 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Tts 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Tts 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
1Jo 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
1Jo 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
1Jo 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.