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  1. 9 points
    Alan

    Peace in the Midst of the Storm

    Matthew 14:22-33 “Peace in the Midst of the Storm.” By Alan “And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33 The account of the Lord Jesus walking on the water is a wonderful story that shows us His lordship over His creation and loving care for His saints. Before we begin this devotion, let me bring a reminder that the disciples in the ship were Jews and were familiar with the account of how the LORD God takes care of the saints; even on the dangers in the sea. “They that do down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.” Psalm 107:23 and 24 God, in either Testament, God is Lord over all of the creation. The Bible is a wonderful book. The Bible is God’s Word and it gives us an understanding of God and His will for our lives. It also gives us peace in our hearts as we go through the storms of life and the hope of eternal life in heaven. “... tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.” In this world, all of us go through storms of life. We have physical, mental, and spiritual problems. We have fears in our hearts, doubts, wants, needs, and stress, in our family and work. Everybody has storms in their lives. The Lord Jesus wants us to have peace in the midst of our storms: whether those storms are physical, mental, spiritual, societal, governmental, family, or work related. What a wonderful story! This story tells of the power and majesty of the Lord Jesus. Jesus is truly Lord. “... walking on the water.” During the time of their deepest anxiety of life, the disciples saw the Lord Jesus walking on the water. Also, there was a very big storm on the water at the same time. How was it possible for Jesus to walk on the water? Can you walk on the water? Do you know of anybody else that can walk on the water in front of other people? Did Confucius walk on the water? Did Buddha walk on the water? Job knew, as the Jews knew, and as those who know their Bible know, only God in heaven, the LORD, can walk on the water. Job 9:8 says, “Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.” Jesus could walk on the water because He is Lord. Colossians 1: 15-17 says, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Because Jesus created all things, He is Lord and has the power to walk on the water! God, who lives in heaven, is invisible to all of us. The Lord Jesus is His only son. Jesus is the image of God. The Lord Jesus created this world and all that is in it. He created all of the things that you see and all of the spiritual things that you cannot see. The Lord Jesus created: the oceans, land, mountains, islands, our body, the thrones, or the governments, of this world, the angels, the Devil, or Satan, heaven and hell. All of the creation of the Lord is used for His purposes. “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” The Lord Jesus can give us peace in our heart in the midst of the storms of life. The disciples were on the boat and the storm was raging. They thought that maybe they would die. Some of the disciples were fishermen. The disciples knew the dangers of the sea. Also, they never had seen a person walking on the water. The disciples had never seen a person walk on the water, so they thought that a ghost was coming to them. At the beginning, they did not understand what was happening. They were very scared. Then they cried out with fear. Like the disciples, so often in our lives we are fearful of the dangers in our paths and do not have a full understanding of the spiritual happenings around us. The Lord Jesus said, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” The Lord Jesus does not want the Christian to have fear in their hearts. The Lord Jesus also said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave unto you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” The Lord Jesus gives the Christian peace in our hearts. The Christian has peace in their hearts that only Jesus can give. Jesus gives the Christian peace in the midst of the storms of live. When a Christian dies, he knows that he will ascend into heaven and live with Jesus. “Come.” When Jesus spoke these words the apostle Peter realized that it was the Lord walking on the water. Peter had faith in the Lord. So, Peter asked the Lord if he could come on the water and walk to Him. Jesus said one word, “Come.” We need to come to Jesus in the storms of life! Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Peter is a good example. In verse 29 we see how Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus. How did Peter walk on the water? Because of his faith the Apostle Peter was able to walk on the water. Faith is an amazing thing. We all need to have faith. “Lord, save me.” But, now we see that Peter took his eyes, his thoughts, off of the Lord Jesus, and looked at the wind and waves. Then he became afraid. Then he started to sink .That caused Peter to cry out, “Lord, save me.” “Lord, save me.” All of us need to pay careful heed to these words of Peter. If you are not a Christian then you need to cry out to Jesus and say, “Lord, save me I do not want to go to hell. I do not want to go to hell forever. Lord save me! I am a sinner and deserve to die and go to hell. But, Lord, in your mercy save my soul.” If you are a Christian, and you have taken your eyes and thoughts off of the Lord Jesus and onto the world and all of its problems then you need to turn your eyes on Jesus and say, “Lord save me.” In the hymn book there is a song called, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.” The stanza says, “Turn your eyes on Jesus, look full into His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” Jesus is Lord and He is truly wonderful. We need to take our eyes, our thoughts, our actions, off of the things of this life and trust in the Lord Jesus for all of our needs and give Him our fears. “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” In verse 31 we read these wonderful words, “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? Faith pleases God but doubting does not. When we doubt, and criticize the Bible, and the things of God, then we displease God. The Bible, and all of the doctrines, stories, miracles, prophesies written therein, are to be believed and not doubted. With very little argument, the greatest defender of the faith in the Chinese world was Wang Ming-Dao, July 25, 1900-July 28, 1991. Wang Ming-Dao is one of the best examples of the work of the scriptures in the heart of a Chinese convert. After salvation, as he was teaching in a Presbyterian mission school, because of his biblical stand to be immersed, he was dismissed in 1920. Later on, in the beginning days of the Charismatic Movement in China, he openly taught against the Charismatic movement and denominational hierarchies. Wang Ming-Dao became known for his indigenous church work. From 1955-1980 he was imprisoned, twice, by the Communist government. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Ming-Dao Through all of his intense verbal, spiritual, cultural, family relations, religious, denominational jealousy, and governmental persecution, Wang Ming-Dao maintained a rock-solid faith in Christ, doctrinal integrity, and inward peace through his personal storms in life. Wang Ming-Dao said, 王明道「魔鬼敗壞信徒的計策很多,但最毒的莫過於使他們對神的話發生疑惑,因為這是根本的方法。」“Satan has many scheme’s to destroy the believer, but the greatest poisonous, and the original, method is nothing more than to cause them to doubt the word of God.”[1] The English translation is a free translation from the author. The Lord Jesus saw that, without divine intervention, Peter would quickly drown and lose his life. But, until Peter called out for the Lord to save him Jesus did nothing. But, when Peter called out to Him then Jesus saved him. When we call upon the Lord to save us He will do so. “I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” Psalm 18:3 Many a person, in time of extreme distress, potential loss of life, war, accidents, and other physical dangers or spiritual dangers, have called upon the Lord for not only the eternal salvation of their soul, but for physical deliverance. “Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” The Lord Jesus took Peter’s hand then both Jesus and Peter walked back to the boat walking on the water. Peter embraced Jesus! When they got back to the boat the wind ceased. When Jesus and Peter arrived back to the boat the other disciples realized the wonderful thing that Jesus did. Then the disciples worshipped Jesus. They said, “Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” As Job realized that only the Lord in heaven could walk on the waves of sea, so must we. The confession that Jesus was the Son of God was a confession that Jesus was the Lord from heaven and equal in attributes, character, power, and authority. Both the Father and the Son are eternal and worthy of worship. Psalm 2:7 and 12, “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee. ... Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” In conclusion, we need to be like Peter and the rest of the men in the boat. We need to worship the Lord Jesus. Why not be saved today? Call upon Him in prayer and say, “Lord save me.” [1] Wang Ming Tao, Treasuries of Wang Ming Tao, Volume II The Hard Road, (Touliu, Taiwan: Conservative Baptist Press, 1996), Page 256.
  2. 9 points
    Jim_Alaska

    Contrary Doctrine

    Text: Rom.16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 1Tim.4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. 2Tim.1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 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. We claim to be Christians, followers of a specific way and teaching Jn.14: 6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. We claim to be guided by the unerring Word of God, the Bible. Yet it seems we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of history and repeatedly disregard the warnings of those in the faith that have gone before us. We have a parallel in the history of the nation of Israel. We can see this parallel in the remarkable scriptures of Duet.1:2-15. An eleven day trip took them forty years! We can see a direct parallel between Israel’s relationship to God and our relationship to God…. how slowly we cover the ground! What winding and turning! How often we must go back and cover the same ground again and again. We are slow travelers because we are slow learners. We might marvel at their unbelief and slowness to OBey, but we, like them, are kept back by our own unbelief and slowness of heart. The doctrine that we are to hold and pass on is the Word that we have received: The pure, unadulterated truth of God. The Galatian Church is a negative case in point. Gal.3:1-4. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not OBey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? If it be yet in vain. Saved by grace, but then allowing themselves to be seduced by a perversion of Scripture. Deut.1:3. And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them; Here is instruction for all who labor in the Word and doctrine: Moses gave what he received from God, nothing more or less; this is the grand principal of the ministry, to bring people in direct contact with the Living Word of God. The Apostle Paul makes this argument better than I can. 1Cor.2: 1-5. And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 1Cor.15: 1-3. Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; The ‘so called’ church has wholly departed from the authority of the Word of God. In these churches, things are taught that have no foundation in the Scripture. They not only tolerate, but sanction and defend that which is in direct opposition to the mind of Christ. He spoke of them in Mat.15:8-9. This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. If you ask for the Divine Authority for their institution or practice, you are told that God has left us free to act according to our conscience. It is considered that professing Christians are left free to form churches, choose their own form of government and appoint their own officers. Can this be true? Are we to assume that the church is worse off than Israel in instruction and authority? We can see in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, the marvelous pains God took to instruct His people in even the minutest particulars concerning their worship and private life. Nothing was left to human arrangement. Man’s wisdom, judgment, reason and conscience had no part in it. There was no place for, “I can’t see this, or, I can’t go with that, or, I can’t agree that this is so.” Such language could only be regarded as self-will, for in that day all the instruction came with, “Thus saith the Lord.” They might as well say they could not agree with God. Are we left to think and arrange for ourselves in worship and service to God? I think not! 1Tim.3: 14-15. These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. He then goes on to show how things ought to be done by believers. Why are there different doctrines among professing churches? We have possession of God’s Word. We also have division, sects, creeds and denominations, Why? Because they refuse to submit their whole moral being to the authority of the Scripture. Free exercise of thought is the boast of Protestant Christianity. Such thinking will not stand at the Judgment. Mat.7: 21-23. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. The duty of the servant is to OBey, not to exercise his will. The confusion between so-called churches is due to an unwillingness to bow to Divine Authority. Mat.7:28. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. It is impossible for the Holy Scripture to teach opposing doctrines. It cannot possibly teach the doctrines of Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Assembly of God, Church of Christ and Baptist….they oppose one another! Let’s look at a direct command in the name of Jesus for unity. 1Cor. 1:10. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. The so-called “church”, has departed from the authority of Christ long ago. They gave themselves over to man’s reasoning, feelings and religious perversion. They did not heed the teaching of Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. It is every Christian’s sacred duty to test every ecclesiastical system by the Word of God. If we have no Divine authority, no perfect standard, how can we be certain that we are on the true path? All that claim to be His church cannot justify the confusion of doctrines that they hold true. 1Cor.14:33. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. If God is not the author of this confusion, then who is? Jas 3:16. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. If we cannot say that “this is the thing that the Lord has commanded”, then we are in error. If a church or religious organization is not in subjection to God as revealed in His Word, what and to whom are they in subjection to? There are only two powers in this world, the power of God and the power of Satan. Satan is the master of deception and mimicry and his masterpiece of all time deception is a false religious system. Rom.16:17-18. Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. What kind of doctrine has God won your heart with? Can you go on to perfection with an opposing doctrine having once known the truth? Rom.6: 17. But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have OBeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. The religious liberals will say that there is some good in all churches. My answer is that there is good grain in rat poison too, but it only takes a small amount of poison mixed in with the grain to kill the rat. Any Christian that thinks that he can take what good there is and leave the bad, is ignorant of the nature of evil. Make no mistake; that which is contrary to God’s Word is not of God! 1Cor.10:21,
  3. 7 points
    Jim_Alaska

    When did the church begin?

    When did the church begin? I think we would all agree that the English word “church” originates from the Greek word, “Ecclesia”. Without going into great detail I believe that we can also agree that this Greek word basically means “assembly.” Ok, if we agree so far then we can move on to what assembly we are referring to when discussing the word, “Church.” I think it logical to begin with the promise of the church. We find the promise here: Mat. 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. In this promise Jesus defines what church he is talking about; He said it would be his church and that he would build it. If we take Jesus at his word we can eliminate any other church, or assembly, if you will. We can also affirm that his church did not exist before this because the words “I will build” are in the future tense. We find the first members of his church mentioned here” 1Cor. 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. We find that he chose these apostles here: Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles. Since the office of apostle is then a “church office,” we can safely say that when he chose the twelve this is the beginning of “his church.” There are many scriptures that show that his church was in existence during his personal ministry on earth. They do not show the time of the actual beginning, but they affirm that it existed at that time. There is no scripture that comes right out and says; “The church began at this time.” There are many that think that the church began on the day of Pentecost. But a serious study will show that the church existed before Pentecost. I’ll just mention a few here. Jesus is with his disciples here as they partake of The Lord’s Supper: Mat. 26:29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. 30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. He sang this hymn with them in the midst of the church: Heb 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance. Just the fact that they partook of The Lord’s Supper presupposes that there is a church in existence at this time. The authority of disciples in church capacity was placed in the church during Christ's earthly ministry. Mat 18:15. Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. They had the church commission to preach the Gospel before Pentecost Mrk. 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Anyway, this part about the church before Pentecost is just a freebee. It doesn’t really speak to the issue of when the church was begun, but rather, when it wasn’t.
  4. 6 points
    Alan

    The Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus

    1 John 4:10, “The Propitiation for Our sins.” “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 The word propitiation means, “an atoning sacrifice.” An atoning sacrifice is a sacrifice that atones for sins. To atone for ones sins is to reconcile a person to God. The sacrifices of the Old Testament animals, or any animal of any culture, cannot take away sins; they were temporary until the Lord Jesus shed His blood to pay the penalty for our sins. The Lord Jesus became the Lamb of God that takes away our sins. John 1: 29 says, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Only the blood of Jesus can take away our sins. Revelation 1:5, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” The Lord Jesus shed His precious blood on the Cross of Calvary to save us from our sins. Jesus Christ is the propitiation, or atoning sacrifice, for our sins. Leviticus Chapter 1 The book of Leviticus was given in order for mankind to know that we needed an atoning sacrifice, as a propitiation for sins, for the payment of sins. In these ordinances, God told the nation of Israel how to conduct these sacrifices. In Leviticus 1:1-9, God gives us some very important aspects of the sacrifices. God was very specific about the offering. The sacrifice must be according to what God said. Leviticus 1:3 “If the offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.” Leviticus 1:3 The sacrifices of the Old Testament Law, specifically the book of Leviticus, were to be brought on the voluntary will of the individual. Every man has a will and God wants our sacrifice to come from the voluntary will of the individual. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 The Lord Jesus Voluntarily Gave His Life to Became Our Sacrifice “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:51 The Lord Jesus willingly gave His life for our life. God Sent the Lord Jesus to Become the Atoning Sacrifice God sent Jesus to become the propitiation for our sins. The plan of God, before the foundation of the world, was for the Lord Jesus to leave heaven and become the propitiation, or atoning sacrifice, for the sins of all mankind. Why? Because God Loves Us Verse 10 says, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” We also need to notice that before we loved Jesus: Jesus first loved us. In verse 10, the scripture says, that, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us. In the sight of God, man is not righteous and not seeking Him. Romans 3:10 and 11, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” But, God is seeking man. God does not want anybody to spend eternity in hell. Hell is the place for the punishment of our sins. Luke 19:10, “For the son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” The love of God, and the love of the Lord Jesus, was manifested on the Cross of Calvary. John 3:16 says, “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.” On the cross, the Lord Jesus, of His own free will, became the propitiation for our sins. Jesus loves us! Concluding thoughts We have seen some tremendous truths in this passage of scripture that can help us understand the love of God. And we found out that, God is seeking us and that Jesus Christ willingly allowed Himself to be crucified on the Cross of Calvary that we might be saved. The Lord Jesus became the propitiation, the atoning sacrifice, for our sins in order for to have eternal life in heaven. We need to accept this sacrifice in our hearts for our salvation and have a heart of thanks.
  5. 6 points
    Salvation in the OT – Paul’s explanation. To begin with, Hebrews is the perfect place to find out about salvation in the Old Testament, for this letter is all about how the New is better than the Old. In fact, it is widely recognised that the key word of this letter is the word “Better”. This word is found 13 times – only Ecclesiastes and Proverbs have more instances of this word. Ecclesiastes is a comparison between the ways of the world and the ways of the Lord – so we would expect to see “better” in any list of comparisons. Proverbs is about living for the Lord, and the wisdom of God’s ways compared to the worlds ways – so again comparison would expect to see the word “Better”. So likewise, Hebrews also is a comparison – of the Old worship compared to the New worship, so the word “better” should be expected. There is much in Hebrews to examine in this matter. Heb 3:15-19 15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. The Promised land is a picture of salvation, and they could not enter into the land because of unbelief – but it is actually more than that – it speaks of them not entering into His rest. Now, in case you would think that I am overstepping this point, see the next chapter. Heb 4:1-3 1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. Paul says that the Gospel was preached unto “us”, as well as unto them:” It doesn’t say that it was “a Gospel” but “the gospel” – this indicates it was the same thing preached unto them as unto us – and their problem was not that they didn’t sacrifice, but they didn’t believe in faith. And there is more along these lines: Heb 4:5 5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Entering into His rest comes after the preaching, but some entered not into His rest because of unbelief. This could all be applied to simply entering into the Land, if it were not for the fact that Paul equates the gospel preached to them with the gospel preached “to us” (that is Paul and those of his time.) Heb 4:7-10 7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. The key point in this section is that it is Jesus that would have given THEM rest – and that “rest” remains – the implication is that it is the same rest that is being spoken of. And an important note to this is vs 10 – “he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works”. Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; It appears as though Paul is equating the “rest” of the OT saints with the “rest” of salvation. The statement is made in: Heb 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? If perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, then there was no need of the Saviour – It is stated quite plainly here that perfection was NOT POSSIBLE by the Law. With this statement, we must come to one of two conclusions – either there was no way for them to be saved, or they were saved by a way other than the Law. Further on in this chapter we have a comparison made: Heb 7:13-25 13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, 16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. 17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. 20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: 21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) 22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. 23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Jesus was not from the priestly tribe and is therefore not qualified in that way to be a priest. But He is after the order of Melchisidech – and the important part of that is “a priest for ever”. His priesthood did not start at the cross – He was already and always a Priest. In vs 19 Paul uses the past tense to show that “the Law MADE nothing perfect” – it never did, even when they were under the Law – “…but the bringing in of a better hope did;….” And in vs 24,25 Paul makes the point that this man has an unchangeable priesthood, and He is able to save “…seeing He ever liveth…” If it is unchanging, then it is unchanging from the start, and He is a priest after the order of Melchisedeck for ever. His priesthood is for ever and is unchanging. This indicates that His ministry has always been effective, and always will be. Next chapter: Heb 8:-7 4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: 5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. 6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. Paul uses the word “Pattern” here, to show that the things of the priests were a pattern, or example, or illustration, of the true sacrifice. They were not the effective sacrifice, but a picture of it. If the picture were faultless (or effective) there would be no reason for the fact. In other words, if the yearly sacrifice was enough, there would be no need for the perfect sacrifice. The Picture showed the truth that was still to come. Chapter 9 discusses that picture. Heb 9:1-8 1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. 2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. 3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. 6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. 7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: 8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Paul makes the point that the “way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest” – this is a significant statement because the word manifest means “shown or displayed” – “to be made apparent”. This word is used of something that is in existence, but is not seen. It is not used of something that does not exist yet – the way was there, it was just not clearly seen. Heb 9:9-13 9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. 11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: “Purifying of the flesh” indicates the outside – the works. “Conscience” indicates the inside – the spirit. Heb 9:14-15 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. Paul talks of the “first Testament” transgressions being dealt with by the death of the Christ. This is those under the Law were purged by the death of Christ, not by keeping the Law – which we know its true today without argument. This is not specifically dealing with Pre-Christ issues though, but generally. Heb 9:16-22 16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. 18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, 20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. 21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. After discussing the things that Moses did – blood purges sin etc – in the following verses Paul again talks about them being a “pattern”, and how the perfect sacrifice was needed. Heb 9:23-28 23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Vs 25, 26 is interesting in that it says that Christ was offered once, and that was enough. If He had to be offered every year, as with the “pattern sacrifices”, then it would have had to have been “from the foundation of the world” – but now once in the end is enough. This is an indicator of a concept of “backward salvation” if you will – Paul is indicating that this once was enough for all time, even before the event – if it had to be an annual thing then it would have to be from the beginning of time for there were those who would have “missed out” if it was only effective from the day of the sacrifice. If the perfect sacrifice was only effective for 12 months at a time, then it would have to have been done at the very beginning and every year since. But this one time sacrifice is enough and is effective for ever. Heb 10:1-4 1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. A restating of these things – picture, example, if it were perfect, then once would be enough, the picture didn’t have the power to save anyone. Heb 10:9-12 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; Take away the first – the picture of sacrifice, and replace it with the second – the perfect sacrifice. “….we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” – this “once for all” is an all encompassing phrase – it means “one time for every one”, and there is no limitation stated or implied that it is “once for everyone from now”. Add to this the statement in vs 12 “…one sacrifice for sins for ever…” – the words “for ever” again don’t imply from now until for ever, but just forever. His Sacrifice was for sins for ever, not just sins from “now on”. Heb 10:20 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; Even in this, the “new and living way” is not a brand new invention, but because it is consecrated to us “through the veil” it indicates that it is now seen by all – the veil of the Temple kept people out of direct contact, but when Christ died as the perfect Sacrifice, the veil was torn in two and people could see directly to God. The way was always there, but now it was “seen”, which ties in with ch9:8 where the way into the Holiest was now made manifest – the Holiest is the portion of the Temple concealed by the veil. The “Hall of Faith”. Heb 11:1-4 11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. 4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. The very first example of faith mentioned is that of Abel – his sacrifice was acceptable, and offered “by Faith”. His sacrifice was of a lamb – this pictured the coming Sacrifice of Christ, whilst the sacrifice of Cain did not. Cain’s sacrifice pictured man’s own work, whilst Abel’s sacrifice had the blood. How did Abel know to make such a sacrifice? We are not told, but we are told that to cover Adam and Eve’s sin, the Lord made them coats of skins: Gen 3:21 21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. We have the example straight up of a death required to cover sin, and the assumption is that Adam and Eve taught their children this example. They also had the promise of: Gen 3:14-15 14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. This is a promise of Messiah, and event that He would die on the cross and be raised again – a bruised heel is rarely fatal – it is an inconvenience; it is painful; but it is rarely fatal. A “bruised head” however is a different matter. Even today a “bruised head” can be fatal, and before modern medicine it almost always was. This is a prophecy that a man would be injured but would then have ultimate victory over Satan – this is what we see in Christ – He was wounded, but not to finality – He rose from the dead. And when He did, he put an end to the efforts of Satan – Satan will never be like the Most High. And this was known by Adam and Eve, and associated with the covering for their sin which required the death of animals – you don’t get skins off of an animal without killing the animal. And Able offered a better sacrifice by Faith – by faith in God, evidenced by Able following the example given to Adam and Eve, in knowledge of the promise of victory through a son. It is somewhat flimsy to the argument of faith in Christ, but there can be no doubt that Adam and Eve were waiting for one to have victory over Satan, and the sacrifice of an animal was associated with it. Enoch pleased God and it is impossible to please God without faith – so Enoch had Faith in God – but it is not explained precisely what that faith was about. In each of these faith is evident in the works they performed -they trusted God when God told them to do something. Heb 11:17-19 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. Abraham had faith which was displayed in many ways, but in this particular one there is an indicator of something – that death and resurrection was possible. And it says that Abraham “also received him in a figure”. Received who “in a figure”? It is unclear, but it can not be talking of Isaac, because it did not in fact happen. The indication is that Abraham received God “in a figure” – He looked at the picture of Isaac dying on the altar, and was convinced that God could raise Isaac from the dead, and then realised that it was a picture – that God would die and be raised up again. (But this is not 100% clear in this). Heb 11:24-27 24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. It is interesting here that Paul says that Moses was “Esteeming the reproach of Christ” – not of God, but specifically “of Christ” – Now we know that Moses did not know the name of Jesus, but he knew about Christ, and that Christ was God. The Jews all knew about Messiah, and they all knew about the sacrifices – but not many put two and two together I guess – just as not many understand the truth of Christ today. Heb 11:39-40 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. These all “received not the promise” – that means they were expecting a promise – but which promise? They had faith, but “received not the promise”. It does not state it plainly. But there are indicators – and one of them is in the next section: Heb 12:1-2 1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses? Which witnesses – these men and women just mentioned in chapter 11 – and what was common about them – they all had faith. The implication of this verse is that we should run the race in the same way that those gathered at the finish line did – they have already run their race,. And we should keep going till we finish as well. And what race are we to run? Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith. What is implied here is that their faith (chapter 11) is the same faith as our faith, and our faith is looking to Jesus, therefore their faith was looking to Jesus. They didn’t know His name, but they knew about Him. He was promised, and it was the fulfilment of this promise that they were trusting in. There is no doubt that men have always been sinners – at least since Adam sinned – and there can be no doubt that there is none righteous, no not one. What is less often acknowledged is that a man can only be righteous if God makes Him so. And God did that in the OT as well as in the NT. Rom 4:6 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, God imputed righteousness to men WITHOUT works, even in the OT. There are some references in Hebrews that we have looked at that show that the OT sacrifices themselves didn’t save anyone – they have not the power to take away sins – it was faith in what the sacrifices pictured that counted. But what exactly did the OT saints have faith in? This is less obvious, in that it was not “made manifest” or shown clearly in OT times. Yet some understood it – that is clear from the words of Hebrews 11 amongst other passages. But look at: Joh 20:26-29 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. This last phrase is an interesting phrase in light of what we read about those who “received not the promise” in Hebrews 11. It says “they that have not seen” – and it uses not the future tense, but a tense that allows both past and current. “Have not” actually sits in the past tense but also applies to those who “have not yet” seen – so it could include those alive then who have not, as well as those of the past who “have not” seen – although it would be more definite if it said “did not”. But it indicates that there were some who “have not seen, and yet have believed”. There were those in the past who believed in Christ, even though they did not see Christ themselves – this brings my mind to those who were waiting for the promised Messiah, but did not “receive the promise”. They were trusting in Him, but did not see the realisation of that promise – yet they are counted as having faith. Further, Joh 1:29-34 29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. This is that manifesting of the way into the holiest – the showing of Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah. And it is significant the way John refers to Him: “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” The people of the nation would have understood the reference. It was apparently approaching the time of the yearly sacrifice, and the people knew that a spotless lamb was to be sacrificed for the sin of the nation. We know that those sacrifices were pictures, illustration, shadows, of the truth. When John called out “behold the lamb of God”, the people would have known what John meant – that this guy – whoever He was – was the sacrifice for sin. They may not have understood it immediately, but people began to follow Him – they knew that He was the promised Messiah. People were looking for the Messiah to come. They knew about Him. They knew about the sacrifices as well. Over time and through poor teaching they had lost the meaning of these things, but it was known. They knew about Messiah, and they knew about the sacrifices, and the OT does link Messiah to the sacrifices – so the knowledge was available. They did not know His name, but they knew for instance that he would be called Emmanuel. They did not call upon the name of Jesus, but they did call upon the Messiah, the promised Lamb of God. And there is this: 1 Cor 15:3-4 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: These things were all done “According to the Scriptures”, therefore the knowledge of what had to happen was there. If it was all according to the Scriptures, then it is entirely possible that an OT person could be saved by trusting in the Messiah to come. After all, it was all written there. And of course, Paul confirmed that fact when he wrote to Timothy: 2 Tim 3:15 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Note that When Timothy was a child the only Scriptures would have been the OT, yet Paul says that was sufficient. (I went to correct a typo and all my references disappeared - I have replaced them, so I hope they show up now!)
  6. 6 points
    Proverbs 1:5 Analyzing the Chinese word, ‘Hear.’ 「聽」 Introduction Proverbs 1:5 says, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” A wise man will listen to the scriptures and OBtain counsel. The Chinese language is unique, interesting, and very complex. Also, within their own culture, the Chinese language has a written testimony of the mind of God. The Chinese language is an ideographic language. It uses lines, called, ‘strokes,’ and, every individual word, is called a, ‘character.’ And, within every ‘character’ are other ‘characters.’ Finally, every line within the word has to written in proper sequence. I did not make up the sequence of this message; a Chinese dictionary made the sequence. The ‘character,’ or word, listen in the Chinese is comprised of six different Chinese words put together to form one word: the word listen or to hear. Let us breakdown the word, ‘Listen’ in Chinese and see what the Bible says. Also, we will list these words in the standard sequence that the Chinese use in writing their language. First Chinese Word - Ear 耳 Proverbs 20:12, “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.” God created our ears for us to have the ability to hear words. To God words are important as they reveal what a person has in its heart. We need to be careful what we say and what we hear. God gave us two ears and one mouth so we will listen more than we speak. Proverbs 28:9, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” God gave us the Law in order for us to understand His holiness, His righteousness, His will, and our need for a Saviour. The Law is contained within the Old Testament. When a person, whether saved or lost, does not want to hear the Law than even his prayer is an abomination. As one studies the Old Testament Law he realizes that he comes far short of the righteousness of God and realizes that the Lord Jesus truly fulfilled the Law of God. The more we learn the Law the more we appreciate the grace of the Lord Jesus. Second Chinese Word - King 王 “For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.” Psalm 47:2 God rules the affairs of this earth from His throne in heaven. God is in full control and He knows exactly what He is doing and why He allows all events to happen. Revelation 19:16, "And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” One day, hopefully soon, the Lord Jesus is coming back to this earth to rule and reign for 1000 years in His Millennial Kingdom. The first time that the Lord Jesus came was to suffer the penalty of our sins as a sacrificial Lamb. The next time that He comes to the earth, not in the clouds, will be as King over the earth. Third Chinese Word - Cross 十 The Lord Jesus was crucified on the cross of Calvary for us. He took our sins and died in our place. God will not allow sin into heaven. Nor can a sinner atone for his own sins using any form of works or religious ceremony, God will only accept a perfect, or sinless, sacrifice for our sin. The Lord Jesus is sinless. Therefore, He was able to be qualified as our sacrifice for sin. Apart from the Lord Jesus, no other man is sinless. The Lord Jesus became sin for us that we might be saved. 2 Corinthians 5:21 declares, “For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” The gospel is the death, burial and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we believe the gospel, in our heart, then we can be saved. Fourth Chinese word - Blood. 血 God plainly said in Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh and atonement for the soul.” God requires a blood sacrifice in order to save the souls of mankind from an eternity in hell. The blood sacrifices in the Old Testament were never intended to justify the sinner. The sacrificial Law was instituted by God to show mankind the need for a sacrifice for sins and the coming suffering Messiah that could atone for their sins as a sacrificial Lamb. Isaiah chapter 53. “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 The Lord Jesus was the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. When the Lord Jesus died on the cross He shed His blood for our sins. The Lord Jesus became our blood sacrifice for the salvation of our souls. The scriptures are very clear that only the blood of Christ shed on the cross can make an atonement, or redeem, our souls. Hebrews 9:11 and 12 state, “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once unto the Holy place, having OBtained eternal redemption for us.” The blood of animals, and any other man made sacrifice, cannot OBtain our salvation. Only the blood of Christ, shed on the cross of Calvary, can save our souls. We need to hear what God says about the blood of Christ. It is very important. Fifth Chinese Word - One. 一 In Acts 4:10 - 12 Peter lets us know that, “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Belief in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way any person can be saved. Belief in the name of Muhammad, the Pope, Joseph Smith, Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, or some other man, cannot save the soul. The Lord Jesus said Himself in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” All religious attempts to OBtain salvation through good works, earning merit, ceremonies, striving to keep the Law, or some other religious belief, will fail to save a soul from an eternity in hell. Except through the Lord Jesus, there is no other way into heaven. The Sixth Chinese Word - Heart 心 The things that we believe in our hearts are those things that are dear unto us. We love with our hearts. What we believe in our hearts will guide our actions and create our character. The same thing is true with salvation. A heart belief is necessary in order to have salvation. A lot of people know about the Lord Jesus with their head, but they do not know Him with their heart. Salvation is a heart belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul said this to the Romans, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9 and 10 When a person truly believes with their hearts that Christ died for their sins, and that He was buried and rose again the third day, then that person can be saved. Paul said further, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans10:13. If you are not saved through the Lord Jesus, than why not right now ask Him in sincere prayer to save your soul and give you eternal life in heaven. Conclusion In Luke 9:37 God, speaking audibly from heaven, said, “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” The Lord Jesus is the beloved Son of God and we should hear, and follow, Him. The Lord Jesus spoke of those things that God told Him to say. The Lord Jesus said in John 12:49 and 50, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” A wise man will listen to the Lord Jesus speak in order to learn the will of God.
  7. 6 points
    Alan

    Following Christ.

    Luke 9:51, "And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem." The Lord Jesus was determined to proceed to Jerusalem to be the sacrifice for the sins of the world. Jesus did not let the affairs of this life, the Pharisees of the religious world, the issues of His day, and the clamour of the world deter Him from the will of God in His life. Proverbs 4:25-27, "Let thine eyes look straight on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil." The way of salvation is narrow and straight and the way of proper service to God is also straight and narrow. We should not let the religious hypocrites of this world, the babbling of the Charismatics, the corruption of the new versions of the Bible, the defection of the Calvinists from the truth, and the emerging church dictate how we serve the Lord. We need to reject, ignore them and follow Christ. The will of God as revealed in the scriptures, the methods of soul-winning and church government, and the doctrines of the scriptures, as revealed in the AV 1611, is our guide. Let us not falter in these last days from following Christ on the narrow path of service.
  8. 5 points
    Alan

    The Kindness of God

    “The Kindness of God” 2 Samuel 9:1-13 David & Mephibosheth The theme of this story is the kindness of God. In David’s life, we can see the kindness of God. Because David and God had an intimate relationship, David developed a kind heart. Background Before David became the King of Israel King Saul tried to kill David and prevent David from becoming King over Israel. King Saul was David’s enemy. For seven years, David fled from King Saul. Except during times of religious expediency, King Saul did not obey God. He rebelled against God, listened to the people, and had a stubborn heart. God rejected King Saul and anointed David to be king over Israel. 1 Samuel 15:10 & 11 and 23 says, “Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried all night.” and, Samuel told King Saul, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king." King Saul is like many people. Most people, yea, even a lot of religious people, reject the will of God because they are rebellion against the Bible, stubborn, and will only listen to the world. David, before he became King, had a close relationship with King Saul’s son, Jonathan. Jonathan was an individual who had a love for God, for the will of God, and for the man of God. Verse 1-3, “And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.” King David loved God and God gave David peace and love in his heart. King David did not have hate nor have bitterness in his heart towards the house of Saul. King David put into practice the love and kindness of God. “Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy loving kindnesses; for they have been ever of old.” Psalm 25:6 King David is a good example for us how we should love our enemies and exhibit the love and kindness of God. In this passage twice, King David said that he wanted to show the kindness of God towards the house of Saul. Jonathan was King Saul’s son and a friend of David. Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son and King Saul’s grandson. Mephibosheth was lame. He could not walk nor could he earn money. He was very poor. Mephibosheth was the grandson of Saul. Mephibosheth represents the Christian. Before we are saved, we are a child of the Devil and unworthy to enter into the presence of God and into heaven. And, only the love and mercy of God makes us worthy enough to enter heaven. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved.) Ephesians 2:4 and 5 Love Produces Kindness Verse 5 & 6, “Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!” Please note that even though David was the King he sought Mephibosheth. King David is a type of God. God loves us and He is seeking us. 1 John 4:9 & 10 says, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” God loves us! The Lord Jesus, the Son of God, said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 God is seeking the salvation of man in order for man to escape the torment of hell and enter the joy of heaven. Jesus loves us! Verse 7 & 8, “And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. And he bowed himself, and said, What is they servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” The first words out of the mouth of King David was “Fear not.” King David relieved the heart of Mephibosheth. Is that not like the kindness of God? “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee: yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10 Mephibosheth realized that he was not worthy to receive this honor and was humble. In this passage, Mephibosheth twice said that he is David’s servant and did not deserve his mercy. Before we are saved, we are unworthy to enter into the presence of the King of Heaven. We deserve to go to hell. Like Mephibosheth, we need to have a grateful heart to the king of heaven and be God’s servant and follow Jesus. Verse 13, “So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.” King David gave commandments that his servants were to provide the physical necessities for Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth could not take care of himself so David took care of his needs. The Lord Jesus is our king and one day we will sit at His table in heaven and eat. The Lord Jesus, as an added blessing to the salvation of our soul, will give us a new, glorified body, and will take care of the needs of our new body for eternity. Revelation 19:9, “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” Conclusion The story of King David and Mephibosheth is a wonderful story of the loving kindness and mercy of God. It shows us how God gave David love for his enemies’ grandchild. It shows us the humility of Mephibosheth and love and kindness of God in a practical manner. It shows us how God will take care of our spiritual, physical, and eternal needs. Like King David, when we have a close relationship with God we can have the love and kindness of God in our hearts. God loves us! He is Merciful and Gracious! Before we loved God He loved us! Because God loves us He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, to die on the cross and become the propitiation for our sins. This story shows us how God is seeking man for the eternal salvation of our soul so we can escape the torment of hell and enter into the joy of heaven. “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.” John 3:16
  9. 5 points
    irishman

    Hell

    Hell “Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.” Isa. 5:14 In our text verse, we see one of the saddest verses in the Bible. Hell always makes room for more; she is never full. In his book, “End Times” J. Dwight Pentecost says that scientist speculate that hell may be a planet. They say that the hottest fire there is, is a black fire that burns so hot that it makes its own fuel! Sounds impossible but they say that it will never burn out, it is a liquid-like fire, as a lake! Similarly the Bible speaks of a lake of fire where the devil is ultimately cast into, and shall remain there forever. In fact, the Bible has much to say about hell, and none of it is good. First, it says that hell is a place of unquenchable fire: “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:” (Mark 9:43) It is better to go through life maimed than to end up in hell. To be honest, some argue that this refers merely to the grave, but if so, it is representative of hell since there is no fire in the grave. Another reference to hell, is seen in Luke 16: “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16:23,24) There definitely is a hell, and it is HOT! It is a place of torment; a place of darkness, and a place of suffering; it is a nice place to stay away from! The torment of hell is all through the one that goes there: “For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.” (Mk. 9:49). Years ago men used to salt their meet to preserve it. They rubbed the salt all over the meat in order to allow it to penetrate the hide, and it became salted through and through. They would hang the animal up, and skin it, and rub the meet for hours to be sure it would not spoil quickly, the reference here is that in hell men are rubbed with fire until it permeates their entire being! They do not merely burn on the outside, but on the inside too! There are “flames” in hell; the only way we can Have flames is if there is fire! Imagine with me a place where (close your eyes and “see it”) flames are dancing up in total darkness; now picture the distorted face of a loved one--only the face can be seen--hovering in the darkness, writhing in pain, and crying out in agony. The flames never cease; the pain never quits, and the soul is left in despair. See with me, many faces, all twisting in agony, all calling out …weeping and wailing, and gnashing their teeth because of the intense pain. This is hell, my friends; this is the hope of many lost men. There is little pain more excruciating than burning pain. Secondly, hell is a place of darkness: Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. (Jude 13) This darkness is a total darkness where no light is--ever. Then there is Jude 1:6: “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” It is a darkness that may be felt: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.” This too speaks of the judgment of hell. Imagine a darkness that is so dark that it can be felt! Our family took a trip one time to West Virginia. Went through an old coal mine which was a tourist attraction. About midway through, the guide turned off all the lights, and it was so dark that you could not see the hand in front of your face, even from a fraction of an inch away! It was an eerie feeling. That, my friends, is the darkness that the Bible speaks of that one can “feel”. Finally, Hell is a bottomless pit. “And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.” Have you ever had a sensation of falling? That is what its like in hell--a constant falling--falling in total darkness! Can you imagine? Some have had dreams of falling, and said that it was a scary feeling, a sensation of helplessness and instability. And smoke? Who likes smoke? Hell is definitely a place of torment and anguish. It’s a place “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:48) Hell is filled with smoke, and a constant feeling of falling, but never finding a foothold. “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:15) Where they “shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mt. 8:12) And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Mt. 13:42) 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. (Rev. 14:11) “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Rev. 20:10) Hell is reserved for the devil and his angels, but those that reject Christ and his sacrifice on Calvary will be cast there with him, and I promise you it will not be sweet. The Bible says that now is the time, today is the day of salvation; won’t you take Christ as your savior? You do not have to go there, my friend, you have a choice. Give the Gospel, and invitation.
  10. 5 points
    irishman

    Clothing

    Genesis 3 “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” (2:25) “And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (3:10) In this chapter, and in the last verse of the previous chapter, we see the main reason for clothing. Did you ever wonder why you wear what you wear? Clothing is basically to cover our shame (nakedness). In verse 7 of chapter 3, we see that they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves, because they were naked. They did not know what it meant to be naked before this, and had no shame because of their innocence. Even after the Lord confronted them, they needed to cover their shame, and He provided the skin of the animal, the innocent one, to cover their shame. We see in this a picture of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. He too died to cover our shame, and in Him we are made whole again, and OBtain eternal life. The point I would like to make is that our clothing need not be ostentatious, but simple, as long as it covers us. Anything more than covering our nakedness is pride. Do we need to be adorned with the nicest apparel? Do we need diamond-studded outfits to cover our shame? Of course not. Something much more simple will do. Of course women need to dress modestly, as in Titus 2:9, but even this seems to be speaking of avoiding the showy, attention drawing, and pride building clothing that we often like to wear. It is linked to “gold or pearls, or costly array”, and speaks of dressing “humbly” as much as decently. To “feel good about ourselves” is the worlds’ desire, and ought not to be our desire when it comes to dressing. This thinking is based on pride, which is the bane of all good men and women in every generation. Back to our verses: the shame did not come until the knowledge came. They were not ashamed until after “their eyes were opened” and they became “as gods, knowing good and evil” (3:5). It is the knowledge then that brought the fear. The knowledge of what? Of good and evil: of the ability to discern between the two. This remains the crux of the matter. When we seek out the flashy, sexy, or showy type apparel, we are merely feeding our ego. This may be hard to swallow, but it is true, nonetheless. We like to offer excuses at to why we dress the way we do, we even try to make it “spiritual”, but the bottom line is pride. For our own satisfaction we want to “look nice”, when we ought to be concerned with covering ourselves. I must be fair, and say that we dress for warmth too, but that is not all the time, and even that should fit the guidelines of “modesty” and humility. Did not our Savior dress “humbly” He deserved spectacular a rOBe of purple, but wore a simple rOBe of white. Folks, be sure your pride shows in the way you dress, and in your appearance in this world; yes, others can see it, even if you will not. It’s for men and women alike. (Note: The word “modest” in Titus 2:9 means both in a moral aspect, and in a humble aspect. Here is the Dictionary definition of “modest: “ 1. Properly, restrained by a sense of propriety; hence, not forward or bold; not presumptuous or arrogant; not boastful; as a modest youth; a modest man. 2. Not bold or forward; as a modest maid. The word may be thus used without reference to chastity. 3. Not loose; not lewd.
  11. 5 points
    Alan

    Four Principles for Building a Church

    “Four Principles concerning the New Testament Church.” King Solomon, and the nation of Israel, was seven years in building the Temple. Wow! Seven years is a long time. It takes a long time to get a large job accomplished. Sometimes when a person starts a work, and it takes a long time, they get discouraged and give up. King Solomon did not get discouraged and he did not give up. He finished the task that God told him to do. The task of building the Temple was a very important task. King Solomon is a good example to persevere in a task. It is hard for a person to persevere in a large task. The Apostle Paul stated that the stories in the Old Testament were examples to the saint in the New Testament. “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.”1 Corinthians 10:6 Furthermore, Paul stated, “For whatsoever things were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 As we ponder on the faith, and principles, that guided the Old Testament saints, as our examples, we can learn, obtain patience, comfort, and have hope. Our pondering of the saints of old will also help us as we work for the Lord, see souls saved, enjoy working for the Lord in Church, and enjoy the fellowship of the saints in church. How did King Solomon persevere for seven years building the Temple? and, how may we learn from his experience? I would suggest that the reader, in connection with this devotion, read 1 Chronicles 29 Four Principles for building the Temple that King Solomon learned from his father. The Temple was the Lord’s house to do the work of the Lord. King Solomon learned four principles from King David his father concerning building the Temple. The fathers should teach the sons the things of God. Fathers should teach these principles not only by words, but also by heart-felt action. First Principle in Building a Church Building a Church is a Great Work Concerning the building of the Temple, King David said that the work of the Lord was great. “Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God.” 1 Chronicles 29:1 King David said that the Temple was the Temple of God and not for man. And, King David said that building the Temple of God was a great work. The attitude of David is an example for the saints in the New Testament Church Age. The building of the local, New Testament, church is a great work and it is the Lords House. Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The Lord Jesus started to build His church through soul winning efforts. “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” Mark 1:17 In order to become a part of the church of the Lord Jesus, a New Testament church, you need to become saved. The primary reason why we have churches that do not believe sound doctrine, full of hypocrisy, full of charismatic foolishness, full of evil practices, is due to the lost nature of the “members.” 1 Timothy 3:15, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” In a true New Testament, independent, Bible believing, Baptist church, you will find the truth of the scriptures. A true saint seeking to learn correct behavior, righteousness, holiness, and doctrinal truth, will leave an unsound church and find a sound one. The untoward behavior as found in a lot of churches in age of Laodicea is not of the Lord. A Polite Reminder Before I continue this devotion, may I remind the reader that in the New Testament Church Age there are no denominations, no bishops controlling local churches as we see in the Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church and other denominations. A saint in seeking to learn correct behavior, sound doctrine, will not learn these matters in a man-made religious denomination, backslidden saints with a heart problem, nor by an, “internet theologian.” Man-made denominations, internet theologians, out of church saints, Theological Seminaries, will not teach the saint sound doctrine and correct behavior in the New Testament Church. The New Testament churches, local assemblies, followed the baptism of John the Baptist, (Baptist is a title not John’s last name), the authority of the Apostles, and after the Apostles died, the absolute authority of the written scriptures. The Lord Jesus did not organize any denomination, Seminary, nor internet ministry. Second Principle in building a church The Church is for the Lord Jesus We need to be like King David. Building a church is for the cause of the Lord Jesus and His work. It is not a social work. It is not an entertainment center. It is a place for the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a place where the Bible is taught. Because it was a great work King David prepared the materials with all of his might. 1 Chronicles 29:2 says, “Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance.” We need to serve the Lord with all of our might. Furthermore, we are we need to start today. John 9:4, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” Third Principle in Building a Church We Need to Love the Work King David said, “Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house.” 1 Chronicles 29:3 King David loved the Temple and he loved the Lord. King David loved the house of God and gave his own financial resources (carnal things), for the Temple of God. Psalm 26:8 , “LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.” Psalm 18:1, “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.” When Solomon was a child, he saw that his father, King David truly loved God with his heart and loved the Temple of the Lord and gave of his gold (carnal goods), for the building of the Temple of God. In our hearts, we need to love the Lord Jesus and the church. Ephesians 5:23-25 , “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Colossians 3:2, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” As with King David, those saints who love the church, who love the salvation of souls, who love the preaching of the scriptures will give of their carnal goods, willingly and lovingly, for the furtherance of the local church. “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.” 2 Corinthians 8:12 The Old Testament saints are an example in the area of giving to the house of God in the New Testament. “Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? 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? Or saith he it together 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 this hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we reap your carnal things? 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. 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 alter? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar.” 1 Corinthians 9:8-14 The Lord Jesus ordained that in the New Testament local (physical), church, that the ministers of the gospel, and the church itself, to be taken care of the saints of the assembly through their offerings as the Old Testament saints took care of the Temple; as the law “saith.” The obedience of this ordinance by the Lord Jesus does not put the New Testament saint under the law, but, the Lord Jesus, through the Apostle Paul, commands us to follow the example of the law. As Paul states, the law of Moses concerning giving was given for “for our sakes.” King Solomon made the decision to love the Lord. 1 Kings 3:3a, “And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father.” Song of Solomon 8:7, “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.” Sometimes we let the problems of this life quench our service for the Lord Jesus. King Solomon was able to persevere because he loved the Lord and loved the work of the Lord. Our children notice whether we love the Lord and the church. To love the Lord Jesus and to love the church is a good principle in our lives. Can we not say that to love the Lord and to love the church is the greatest principle? Fourth Principle in Building a Church We need to be willing to build the church. In 1 Chronicles 29:5 King David asked who was willing to consecrate his service to prepare to build the Temple. “The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hand of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?” 1 Chronicles 29:5 I have already quoted 2 Corinthians 8:12 in connection with the giving of our carnal goods (or finances), to the church, but, it bears repeating as a willing heart and mind is essential in all of the work involving the Lord Jesus. “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.” 2 Corinthians 8:12 In verse 6, the people willingly offered to consecrate themselves to prepare the materials for the Temple. “Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly.” 1 Chronicles 29:6 Application When Solomon was growing up he saw the willingness of the his father, King David, and the willingness of the people, to serve build the Temple. Our children look at us and see if we willingly serve the Lord. We are an example to our children. And the Old Testament saints are an example to the saints in the New Testament. King Solomon was willing to build the Temple. In fact, King Solomon was determined to build the Temple. 2 Chronicles 2:1, “And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.” King Solomon willingly made this decision because of his love to God and to the Temple of God. King David and the people rejoiced in preparing to build the Temple. In and 17 King David and the people with great joy prepare to build the Temple. When King Solomon was a child, he rejoiced that he could help prepare to build the Temple. In fact, King Solomon, the wisest man in the world, when the Temple was built, said, all the saints ought to rejoice. 2 Chronicles 6:41, “Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.” We need to consecrate, to love the Lord Jesus, and willingly serve the Lord Jesus in building His church. As we build the church, through soul winning efforts and the teaching and preaching of the scriptures, we need to have a joyful heart.
  12. 5 points
    Jim_Alaska

    Closed Communion

    Closed Communion James Foley I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come." INTRODUCTION Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom. We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles. Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error. Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3. The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts: IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles. B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way. Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done." When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse. "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism". C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers. D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church. E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26). I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton, "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command". “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.” IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. 20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church. I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ." Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies? IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound. II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us." Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them." To commune together means to have the same doctrine. II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle." II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural. The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Mt. 28:20 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. Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church. 1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
  13. 5 points
    Ukulelemike

    Believers and the Law

    Just something going through my head this morning: CHRISTIANS AND THE LAW In this electronic age of communication, with the internet, hence the world at our fingertips, it gives one a view into the minds and lives, often more than we might prefer, of many others who, before this, we might now little to nothing about. One thing that always amazes me, is the great lack of biblical understanding of so many who claim the name of Christ-and today, again in this age of information, there is no lack of information about Him, though there is also a lot of garbage to wade through, as well, which is why a good, Bible-believing church is still such a requirement. But as I look at the many ideas out there, the one that never ceases to amaze, is how many believers so desperately cling to the laws of Sinai, ostensibly born-again believers in Jesus Christ, who believe that it is the duty of all believers to maintain the Mosaic laws and commandments given upon Sinai to the children of Israel, and what it tells me, is that there is little actual training and studying going on by these people, and their teachers of the entire word of God, or they would know that this just isn’t so. Understand of course, this is not me, not my opinion-the Bible is the word of God, and our ONLY authority in all areas of life, worship and obedience, but one must KNOW the Bible, one must STUDY the Bible, to know HOW to follow it. So, in this vein, I wish to broach this subject on Christians and the Law. To go over the law as a whole would be treading ground most of us already know well, but in brief, after Moses had led the children of Israel out of the land of Goshen in Egypt, the Lord having punished Egypt with ten plagues and passed judgement upon all the gods of Egypt, they found themselves at Mt. Sinai, and here the Lord gave them His laws, consisting of ten commandments, graven upon stones, and many other ordinances, concerning all aspects of life, to include the treatment of such illnesses as leprosy, punishments for sin, sacrifices, offerings, relationships between spouses, neighbors and the nations, care of the poor and the priests and Levites, and so on. All aspects of life were covered under the law. In Exodus 24, we read of the official covenant being made between God and Israel, concerning the keeping of the law: “And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.” (Ex 24:3-8) Now, here is where we begin to understand what, if any, relationship the believer has with the Law of Moses: 1-The Blood Covenant. A blood covenant is an agreement made between two parties, rather like a contract, except instead of the parties involved signing on the dotted line, there is blood shed to seal the agreement. In the case of Israel, the blood of clean animals was used, rather than the participants cutting themselves, or drinking any blood. In such a covenant, the parties who will be involved are agreed upon by both parties, and often a blood covenant would remain in effect as long as one party was still alive, and would apply to the family of the both parties, as long as at least one participant lived. For instance, when David and Jonathan, the son of King Saul, made a covenant between them, after Jonathan died and David was king, David sought for any children of Jonathan, to show him kindness for the sake of the covenant they made, and when he found Mephibosheth, he brought him to his house and fed him from his own food from that time on. This is the strength of the covenant. So, the covenant made at Sinai, the parties involved were YHWH God, as seen when the blood was sprinkled on the altar, and the children of Israel, as seen when they agreed to obey all the Lord told them, and they were sprinkled by the blood of the covenant. This means the parties that were responsible to keep the covenant, as long as one party remained, were Israel and their PHYSICAL descendants, and God, and of course, since God is eternal, from everlasting to everlasting, it would be in force forever. OR, until one part broke the covenant, and then the other would be free. So from the beginning, the only parties who were ever under the law were Israel and their descendants, and the Lord God. The only exceptions to this were servants of those of Israel, and those strangers (Gentiles) who sojourned within their walls-they were expected to keep the law as well, while they were in the borders of Israel. (Ex 20:10, which actually only applies to the Sabbath). So clearly, only those who were a part of the initial covenant are answerable to that covenant. Gentiles, believers or otherwise, are not, and never were. 2-The Covenant Broken When the covenant was made in Ex 24, as we read above, both parties made certain promises as part of the covenant: Israel promised to be in obedience to all the Lord commanded them, and the Lord promised something as well: “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off. Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil. I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee. And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land. And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.” (Ex 23: 20-31) Here is the Lord’s part of the covenant: IF the children of Israel keep their covenant in obedience, then the Lord will do all these things-they will be established in the land, all their enemies run out before them, they will have peace and safety and health and good flocks and crops. But here’s the rub-Israel has to obey the covenant as well, lest the covenant be broken and the Lord is not held to keep His part, and of course it isn’t all that long after they arrive in Canaan that they continually break the covenant and fall into gross disobedience: they refuse to fight against all the inhabitants of the land, as they are commanded, so the Lord allows some to remain as a snare to them. After they settle into the land, they quickly fall away and begin to serve the gods of those other people in Canaan, and to intermarry with them. So Israel quickly breaks the covenant, meaning the Lord is not held to fulfil all He has promised, and as a result the history of Israel is rarely a happy and comfortable one. The Lord allows them to be in bondage to their enemies time and again, though He rescues them when they cry out to Him, and he gives the judges to rescue them-but once that judge is dead, they fall away again. Lather, rinse, repeat. So the covenant has been broken and it only holds at all because the Lord, in His mercy, maintains it, though by choice, not compulsion. 3-The Broken Covenant Replaced When Jesus came to earth as a man, and lived the law perfectly, and taught the Jews the true law, of the Spirit, not the letter, He was accused of trying to destroy the law. He responded, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 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.” Some have looked at this and said, ‘See, the law will remain as long as heaven and earth remain.’ But is this what Jesus said? Read it again-“I am not come to destroy, but to FULFIL. Jesus’ job was to fulfil the law-to destroy it would mean to end the law before its time and in an improper manner; but to FULFIL it would mean to end it in the manner it was meant to be ended, the proper, planned end. In reality, the Jews had all but destroyed the law in their disobedience, hundreds of years earlier, and it only remained because the Lord kept it intact-however, because it was a broken law, it needed to be replaced with a new covenant-the only proper manner to replace this covenant was through a new covenant. And this was why Jesus had come-to fulfil the old covenant by replacing it with a new one, thus fulfilling the old. And what He said in the above statement was, even if it took til the end of all things for a new covenant to be made and to fulfil the old, the old would remain in force until the new took its place. The old HAD to be fulfilled, not destroyed, though both effectively would end it-one properly, one improperly. So Jesus DID come to end the law, but through fulfillment, not through destruction. When Jesus hung upon the cross on Golgotha, as He died, He cried out, “It is finished!”, and gave up the ghost. When this happened, a telling event took place: the veil of the temple, which separated the holy place from the holiest place, the Holy of Holies, where dwelt the Ark of the Covenant, (though missing at that time) was rent in two, from top to bottom. The veil symbolized the separation between God and His creation because of sin-when Jesus died, He paid the ultimate price for the sin of the world, and this ended that separation. The law was in place because of the separation between God and man, because man could not attain to the righteousness of God, and had to keep the laws and sacrifices, but could never cross that veil, even through the law, save for the High Priest only, one time each year to make atonement for Israel. Once Jesus Christ paid the price for sin, the way was opened, and His blood became the blood of the new covenant. The old had passed, a covenant made with the blood of bulls and goats, and the new began, made by the perfect blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Rom 10:4). 4-We Can’t Keep the Law If We Tried A funny thing about the law: there are certain requirements to keeping it-like, ALL the law must be kept, or else one is guilty of the WHOLE law, IF one wishes to try to keep it. (Gal 3:10). So, keeping only a part of the law is actually breaking the entire law. And an aspect of the law, a necessary part of the law, was the Temple, or before that, the tabernacle. Sacrifices and offerings were made, by command, at the temple, which was built where the Lord commanded it to be. Sacrifices and offerings were not acceptable anywhere else. (Deut 12:13, 14) Each first-born male was redeemed at the temple for money, and the firstborn of each clean animal was taken to the temple as an offering of the Lord, as were the firstfruits of one’s crops. This was law. Whenever a woman gave birth, she was to go to the temple or tabernacle and give an offering (Lev 12:6). The priesthood of Aaron and the Levites was a part of the law. Simply-without a temple, without the priests and Levites, the law cannot be kept. In 70AD, Titus and the army of Rome came to Jerusalem and razed it and destroyed the temple-since that time, the Law actually has not been able to be kept by anyone, neither Jew nor Christian, because the temple is integral to the keeping of the law! This is why, at Sinai, the Lord God made sure they had the Tabernacle, and it was always the center of the tribes when they camped, and at the head of the tribes as they travelled in the wilderness-so for almost 2,000 years no one can keep the laws of Sinai if they tried. In vain, Christians today try to keep the law. They declare that we must maintain the dietary laws, keep the Sabbath, and various other aspects, thinking it is a right thing to do, but they are deluded because, even as it was written in Gal 3:10, so it is now-if we want to keep the law, we MUST keep the WHOLE law, every bit, or else we are guilty of the whole law, even if we offend in but one part-and without the temple, we are automatically guilty of the law. And there is a reason for that: because Christ as fulfilled the law and has made a new covenant that superseded the old, which had been broken many times by Israel. It was a yoke the Jews could not bear! THIS is the whole reason Jesus came! To release us from the law which only brought death, because no man, until Jesus, could keep it perfectly. The law was made as a covenant relationship between YHWH and Israel, His nation. It was not made with the Gentiles, believers or otherwise, and to try to keep it is futile in many ways. Today, Christians seek to keep aspects of the law, yet they seem to forget aspects of it. Let’s look at the dietary laws: Clean: Cattle, goats, sheep, deer, antelope, elk, those which are cloven-hooved AND chew cud. No rabbit, no pork. Fish: only those with scales. No shark, ray, eel, squid, octopus, shellfish, crabs, shrimp, lobster, clams, mussels, oysters, catfish. Birds: No eagles, ossifrage, osprey, vulture, kite, raven, owl, night hawk, cuckow, hawk, cormorant, swan, pelican, gier eagle, stork, heron, lapwing, and bat. (Would you know an ossifrage or a lapwing if it was served to you?) And fowl that creep, going on all four. Which are those? Creeping things: locust, beetle, grasshopper, weasel, mouse, tortoise, ferret, chameleon, lizard, snail and mole. Snakes? No problem! They’re clean! So be sure to keep all these. And don’t forget, it is wrong to sow a field with diverse seeds, or to wear anything with mixed fabrics, (Lev 19:19). Men are not to cut the corners of their beards. Your garments must have a fringe with a ribband of blue, as a continual reminder of the law, (Num 15:38). Building a new house? Better build a battlement on the roof so no one falls off! (Deu 22:8). I could go on, but these are ALL parts of the LAW and to disdain to keep any of these is to break the law, and thus, to be guilty of the whole law. Christians, study the Word-see the covenants, discern the truth and let Jesus Christ set you free from the bondage of the law-this is why Jesus came to earth! This is why He died on the cross and resurrected! There is no salvation in the law, only death, only bondage. Leave it behind and follow the commandments of the New Covenant, which are plenty.
  14. 5 points
    Bibleman30

    The Foolishness Of Preaching

    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.
  15. 4 points
    Jim_Alaska

    Righteousness and Justification

    WHAT DID JESUS SAY ABOUT: Righteousness and Justification Mat.5:1-6-10-12. Introduction: Jesus had some very specific things to say about righteousness and justification. His teaching has, for the most part, been perverted and twisted until it means something quite different from what the early church understood it to mean. The nature of this perversion is so degenerate that it has changed the meaning of these words so that they mean exactly the opposite of what Jesus taught. The result is that most of the religious world believes a lie and perpetuates this lie simply because it has been repeated as truth for so many years. These same people castigate those who would hold to the purity of God’s word; relegating them to the ranks of some obscure sect or calling them religious fanatics. We can be thankful that God’s word does not change, the religious world has had to invent new versions of the Bible to prove their blasphemous lies, because the Bible does not support their teaching, in fact, it condemns it. In order to have a proper study on this subject, it must be determined what the word “righteousness” means with regard to the righteousness that Jesus spoke of for the remission of sin. Three references will serve to define the word: Rom.5:21. Phil.3:9. Tit.3:5. Jesus pointed to John the Baptist as he that came in the way of righteousness, some accepted that way and others did not, thus representing the two different sides of this argument. Mat.21:28-32. Now if John came in the way of righteousness, then we must ask, what was John’s message? Mat.3:1-2. Salvation presupposes the idea that I am unable to help myself, this is called depravity. Jer.17:9. If I think that because my sin is gone, then I am righteous, what about tomorrow? If I sin tomorrow do I lose my righteousness? This is where the idea comes from that you can lose your salvation. Rom.10:3. Where then does this righteousness come from? Does it come about because of the good things that I do? This is the adult version of--- “If you be a good little boy you will go to heaven.” It is also the mistake of the Pharisees who looked within themselves for their righteousness and despised those who did not act righteous as they did. Rom.5:21 Puts righteousness in the proper perspective. Rom.4:21-25. Shows that the righteousness that the Christian has is not his own, it is the righteousness of Christ, and I, by repentance and faith become adopted into the family of God with all of the benefits of being a son. 1Cor.1:30. There will come a day when the Christian will not have sin to deal with, but until that day I have the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is this that makes me acceptable to God the Father, the scripture calls being acceptable, “justification”. Let’s look at what Jesus said about those who trust in their own righteousness, as compared with those who realize that they have no righteousness. Lk.18:9-14. Why is it so important to have the proper righteousness and justification? The answer is simplicity itself: If, in the judgment day, I have only the righteousness that I have got by my good deeds it will not be accepted by God! Why? Because I have not accepted the righteousness that he provided, this is the same as saying that Christ’s death is not the only way to get to heaven. I have no need of Christ’s blood, I can do it myself. Gal.2:16. Heb.10:29. In that day there will come a separation, the angels will sever the just from the wicked and man will have no say in the matter. Mat.13:47-49. This is why it is so important to get it right the first time, now you have a choice, there are no second chances in the grave, and we are not reincarnated until we get it right as some teach. Ecc.9:10 Psa.31:17 Psa.6:5. In short Jesus said that only the just or righteous will enter the kingdom of heaven. See how Jesus puts it in Mat.25:31-34. Mat.5:6. shows that becoming righteous by the grace of God is no accident. The words, “hungering and thirsting”, as it pertains to righteousness, comes only as one desires it. There must be an active choice on your part, salvation is no accident, and those who receive God’s salvation have made the choice to do so. It is also not just a determination on your part to become religious, the Pharisees were religious and Jesus condemned their religion. Salvation comes about as you determine that you are a sinner and it is not physically possible for you change this situation. It is seeing the need of having your sin forgiven and blotted out. The scripture says that the wages of sin is death, Jesus came and died to pay the price of my sin, and his blood is the cleansing agent that will make me look as white as snow when I stand before God in the judgment day. In that day I will stand, having his righteousness to wear as a robe, and his justification which makes my sin as if it never was in the eyes of God.
  16. 4 points
    Bibleman30

    Be Ye Followers Of Christ

    What does it mean to be a follower of Christ? We are saved by the Blood of Christ, forgiven of our sin, and eternally secured with Him. But what does it mean to be a Follower of Christ? 1Co_4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. 1Co_11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Eph_5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; Php_3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 1Th_1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 1Th_2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Heb_6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 1Pe_3:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? To follow Christ is to keep all, and to practice all those things which Christ taught. The first time the phrase “Follow Me” is used in the New Testament, is when Jesus saw Peter and Andrew caster their nets, and Christ said follow me and I will make you fishers of men. The first time Christ called, it was to ask that those that would follow, that they would learn to spread the Gospel of Christ. The first mention was witnessing, Christ’s 1st point in being a follower is learning how to preach the Word of God. The second point is in Matthew 8:19-23 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. The Lord is instructing his followers to leave those things that would distract you from walking with Christ. The Lord was not being insensitive to this man, but was trying to help him understand that the things and cares of this world are not as important as keeping yourself on the path of the service of the Lord. As He said “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”. The Lord wants us to learn to not care for ourselves, He promised that He would take care of us, that He would provide our every need. So why would we need to take it upon ourselves? Taking the load from the Lords shoulders and placing it on our own. The third point is in Mat 16:24-27 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 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? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. What does it mean to deny ourselves? It is again, to not care for any of the pleasures and luxuries of this life. Like He said to Peter and Andrew, to follow Him and leave behind their cares. They were fishermen, and Christ asked them to leave their livelihood and take up a new vocation as a fisher of men, a preacher of the word. Here the Lord is asking now to deny even the finer things of this life. To fully trust in God is to completely let go of everything that would take your mind off of what Christ would be trying to teach you. “or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” what in this world could possibly be more important than the salvation of someones soul? What could you possibly have in your life that would take the place of the Gospel of Christ? To leave the cares of this world the Lord doesn’t want us to be as Monks in Monasteries, for we would have to leave this world all together to escape the sin and temptations. The Lord only asks that we would be mindful, and keep ourselves in subjection to His Word. 1 Corin 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. Always abounding, that’s being always mindful, praying without ceasing. Inviting the Lord into every aspect of your life, asking Him to bless and guide you in your daily work. Being a follower is more than just accepting a belief, but living it. Zealousness, fervency, and devotion in living out its principles is a must. Knowing to do what is necessary and neglecting it, not only harms your own spiritual life, but will rOB you of a chance for Christ to work with and help you in the physical life. God won’t force you to serve Him, He isn’t going to grab your hand and pull you along the path. But He will wait, He will stand by offering assistance and wait until we have had enough in trying to figure things out on our own, and finally acknowledge Him and ask for His hand. Denying yourself can be, and may just be the hardest of the instructions that Christ has given us. But God did say in 1 Corin 10:13 – There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. The Lord promised that anything that you would be tested by would not be anything more than you could handle. It may seem an impossible task to leave behind your life, but Christ promised that all you must do is ask of Him and He will give you the ability to overcome. Phil 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. There are many other instructions and teachings that Christ gave. But if these main points are followed, the others will naturally come. You have to want to follow, to want to overcome this life for the Lord to give you the victory. He is no going to make you change, but He is going to prick your conscience and try to get your attention. Serving the Lord must be with the whole self. Just going through the motions and “tipping your hat to God”, or in any way treating Christianity as just a religion and not a faith, is not being a follower of Christ. Eph 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; God does not want religious rOBots, He wants true disciples, those who WANT to follow and OBey His instructions. Those who would be willing to give up everything to serve Him, if He so called. Being a follower of Christ is more than appearance, it is a sincere full bodied and full life decision. You would be willing to accept any calling, any challenge that the Lord presented you with. Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. The first mention in Psalms is the Lord asking that we leave off the way of the world and follow Him. To not think of the way you want to do things, but to constantly think of, to meditate on the teachings of God. But not only to think on, but that it would be something that we would be delighted in OBeying. It is a heart issue, the Lord wants excited followers, He wants, and would like his children to be joyful in the instructions He lays out for us. The Word of God would be something that would fill you with joy. That it would be something that you just could not get enough of. The Way of the Lord is not a hard or laborious path as it says in Mat 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. To follow the path of Christ is to denounce your own self and desires, and to have absolute trust in Him. To follow the fruits of Christ Gal 5:22-25 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. The Lord is not ordering us here, but is asking that we would follow these things, that we would be willing to put aside ourselves. These are the things that the Lord asks us to meditate on and strive to become. The Lord laid out some instructions for us in Eph 5:1-20 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disOBedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Meditate on these things, strive to follow His teachings. Ask for His help and He will give it.
  17. 4 points
    There is a balance to life. Everything we do is, or should be, by balance. However, balance does not necessarily mean in even proportion. For instance, if I want a good balance of flour and yeast in my bread, I will surely not use the same amount of yeast as I do of flour! Life is the same. Different situations call for different proportions, and sometimes the balance is somewhat hard to find. This morning, I was looking in the back of my Bible and I saw a thought that I had written down a few years ago. "The difficulty I find in my Christian life is that, when I should be a man, I am a child, and yet when I should be a child, I am a man." Let us consider what the Scriptures say. I Corinthians 13:11 says, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man , I put away childish things." And yet, when you look at Mark 10:15, we see Jesus say, "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." So where is the balance? When do we be "as a little child" and when do we "put away childish things"? The difference, I believe, is the difference between childish and childlike. The word childish is defined as, "Belonging to a child; trifling; puerile (boyish, immature). However, the word childlike is defined as, "Resembling a child or that which belongs to children; becoming a child; meek; submissive; dutiful; as childlike obedience."* Notice the difference in the following: one is to belong to a child and one is to resemble a child. Let me give you an example. I am, and always have been, a bit of a cut-up. Now I have often been accused of being immature because of this; however, if I was childish, I would have no sense of when to cut up and when not to. Hence, we see that the difference between being childlike and childish is that being childish applies to all the aspects of children, whereas being childlike applies to the excellency of children. Spurgeon put this way, "It would be a good thing for us all if we had never stopped being boys and girls, but had added to all the excellencies of a child the virtues of a man. Surely, it is not necessary to kill the child to make the saint?"** So, in my Christian life, there comes a time when I should be more like a child. Children tend to be more forgiving. How often have we seen two children squabble one minute, and be best of friends the next, as if the incident had never happened. How blessed it would be if we could find this in our own life. Unfortunately, adults tend to be much too full of pride to do this. Children tend to be trusting. We as Christians do not trust God. Whatever our reason is, we lack trust. Children are quick to love. However, adults tend to look for a reason not to love people. Why? Simply because we like to feel sorry for ourselves. And yet, in my Christian life, there comes a time for me to be a man. A child, by nature, is fearful. A man (or adult) should not be. Isn't it funny that a child's fear is far less damaging than an adult's, simply because a child knows how to trust. Adults when they fear, also refuse to trust. A child tends to be dramatic. Unfortunately most people do not grow out of this. A child is mostly selfish; they have to be taught to think otherwise. The problem is, many of the adults instructing them to not be selfish are often selfish themselves. I finish with a very sobering thought from Spurgeon. "Do not others expect from children more perfect conduct than they themselves exhibit? If a gracious child should lose his temper, or act wrongly in some trifling thing through forgetfulness, straight way he is condemned as little hypocrite by those who are a long way from being perfect themselves."*** Let's stop being so childish, and start being childlike. *All definitions are taken from the Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary. **Spiritual Parenting pg. 17 ***Spiritual Parenting pg. 18
  18. 4 points
    Alan

    Glory in Heaven

    “Glory in Heaven.” Daniel 12:3, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; And they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” According to the scriptures, what is wisdom? And who is a wise person? “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28 A person who fears the Lord, and is trusting in the Lord for the salvation of their soul, has wisdom. God looks at the heart. Our motives, our character, our personal righteousness (or sanctification), and our walk with the Lord will determine the glory, or rewards, we will have in eternity. In the scriptures, we see a contrast between various people who were wise in salvation and wise in sanctification. Contrast in Salvation The fool trusts in his own heart, merits, works, religious ceremonies, wealth, influence, and other foolish things for the eternal salvation of his soul. The rich man in hell was a fool and Lazarus was the wise person in Contrast after Salvation After salvation, a wise person is one who decides to forsake the pleasures, comforts, ideology, philosophy, and the striving for wealth, fame or other worldly pursuits, in order to please the Lord in heaven. Lot was wise in salvation but not in his personal walk with with the Lord. Abraham was wise in salvation and in his walk with the Lord. Lot was righteous in the heart but not in his character. Abraham was righteous in his heart, character, and beliefs. “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament” Winning souls is wise and will be rewarded in eternity. Proverbs 11:30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” When an individual tells another person, whether by word of mouth, testimony, preaching, a tract, or the manner of his life, and the person witnessed to turns to the Lord in salvation, then that person who witnessed is wise and in eternity will 'shine as the brightness of the firmament.' As the glory of one star is different from the glory of another star, so are our rewards in eternity. Sanctification – Holiness – Right Living Righteousness in our life, or Sanctification, or Holiness, is wise and will be rewarded in eternity. 1 Thessalonians 4:4 and 7, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; … For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” In a direct reference to the shameful living of the Corinthian believers (who were righteous in soul but not in daily living), Paul the apostle wrote, “I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?” 1 Corinthians 6:5. Please take careful note. The lives of the Corinthian saints were 'shameful' even though they were wise in salvation, Paul clearly said they were not wise in judging; i. e., they could not discern spiritual things. Lot is an example of this type of saint. They are unrighteous, unholy, and not sanctified, in their life. 1 Corinthians 6: 8 & 9. They allow the world, the pleasures of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, to destroy their testimony. Therefore, they do not win souls by either word of mouth nor testimony and their glory in eternity will not be so bright. In eternity, those saints who lived in the flesh and taught false doctrine will be ashamed. A wise Christian is one who is righteous in his daily walk with Christ. Abraham was a man righteous in his heart for salvation and righteous in his heart in his walk with the Lord. Abraham was holy and sanctified in his life. Since the scriptures have been written down the personal testimony of Abraham has caused the salvation of many throughout the ages and in many lands. Therefore, in eternity, the glory of the rewards given to Abraham will cause him to shine as the stars for eternity. Righteous in Belief A heart belief, before salvation, in an incorrect, or unrighteous, doctrine cannot save the soul. 1 Timothy 4:16, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” The saint who walks with the Lord will take heed about every doctrine he believes. A heart belief in Buddhism, Taoism, baptismal regeneration, salvation by works, and other erroneous methods of salvation will cause a person to spend eternity in hell. As Timothy preached salvation by grace, through a sincere, and repentant, heart belief in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour; Timothy could win those people to Christ. Timothy could lead many to righteousness through correct doctrinal salvation preaching. In eternity, Timothy, and many other sound gospel preachers, will shine as the stars in heaven. A heart belief in an incorrect, or unrighteous, doctrine, after salvation, will cause the believer to be deceived. The false teachers (some are saved, but teach erroneous beliefs), that are teaching in the churches (or an Internet theologian), is causing confusion among the saints by using deceptive doctrines and bibles. After salvation, a belief in incorrect, or unsound, or corrupted doctrines, will cause many saints to lose their rewards in eternity. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, they will be ashamed of their erroneous doctrinal beliefs. “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” 2 Timothy 2:5 If a man that is in the ministry, or a teacher of the scriptures in any capacity, teaches unsound doctrine, then he is not striving lawfully (according to the scriptures), and is not leading people to sound doctrine, or, a belief in right doctrine. Unsound doctrine would include, but not limited to, corrupted bibles (any modern version starting from the RV of 1881 is a corrupted bible), heresies like the Charismatic Tongue Movement, The Gap Theory, any form of a non-belief in the creation of the world in six days, Calvinism, CCM music, Ecumenicalism, and any perversion of the Second Coming of Christ (Preterist, A-millennialism or Post-millennialism). “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. ” 2 Timothy 3:8 & 9 Saints, who resist the truth of the scriptures, are in error. Paul the Apostle will be rewarded, and shine as the firmament in heaven, for eternity. But, the saved teachers of false doctrines in the churches will be openly shamed at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Concluding thoughts If a person is not a Christian, the wisest decision they will ever make it to trust in the Lord Jesus as their Saviour. If a Christian is to be wise in their relationship with the Lord Jesus, our lives, and the lips of our mouths, should be a testimony of the saving grace of the Lord Jesus and His work in our lives. If a Christian is wise, sanctified, and is striving lawfully, according to the correct doctrines in the scriptures, he will be able to lead other saints to a sanctified life. In eternity, the wise saint will shine as the stars in the heavens. “The Galactic Bulge – A field of White Dwarf Stars” Note: A White Dwarf is actually bluish white. Courtesy of NASA – the Hubble Space Telescope “Sagittarius Window Eclipsing Extrasolar Planet Search (SWEEPS) “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament: and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Daniel 12:3 “… for one star differ from another star in glory.” 1 Corinthians 15:41
  19. 4 points
    Alan

    Trust in the Lord

    Psalms 37:1-5, “Trust in the Lord.” Verse 1 – 5, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” David was King over the nation of Israel. He was not a pastor, a religious leader, or a priest. He was a man who trusted in God and God anointed him become King. David trusted in God and in the promises in the Bible. So, God lifted him up in his life. A lot of people commit evil. We see, or hear; people do evil, commit crimes, war, deceit or other bad things. Sometimes we see evil people become famous or rich. Sometimes this causes us to worry or to envy them. God says not to worry or fret. Why? They will perish like the grass one day and spend eternity in hell. Instead of worrying, or being jealous, we need to trust in God and do good. Verse 9 says, “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.” The Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 All of us have desires in our lives. We have plans and hopes for our lives, our jobs and our families. God can help us overcome obstacles so we can have these desires. God wants to bless us. We need to know and enjoy the things of God as written in the Bible. 1 John 4:4 says, “Ye are of God, little children and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” In order for God to bless us, we need to decide to commit our lives to Him. God knows our situation and when we trust in Him, He can give us our needs and desires. Jesus is Lord. When we trust in Christ as our Saviour, He promised to give us eternal life in heaven. Titus 1:2 says, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” God knows the situation of this world. He knows that it is full of evil. So often, because we see the wicked prosper, we forget God. God knows that the wicked will be punished in God’s proper time. By studying the Bible, we can know God. We can know how He will punish the evildoer in the future. And, because we have Christ in our hearts we can overcome the Devil and the world. So, we need to trust in God and not worry. He will bless us when we trust in Him. May God bless all of you. Alan
  20. 4 points
    Alan

    Right in the Sight of the Lord

    1 Kings 15:11-15, “Right in the Sight of the Lord” 11 "And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. 12 And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. 13 And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron. 14 But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the LORD all his days. 15 And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which himself had dedicated, into the house of the LORD, silver, and gold, and vessels." The heart of King Asa was perfect in the sight of the LORD. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 All of the issues of life; eternal salvation from hell, service to the Lord, and our relationship with others, are determined with the attitude of our hearts. Like Asa, we need to have a perfect heart in the sight of the Lord. God established King Asa For 41 years, King Asa reigned in Jerusalem. King Asa did the will of God as recorded in the scripture. God blessed him and established him. God is also willing to establish us in our homes, our jobs, in our spiritual life is we do His will. Colossians 2:6 & 7, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Salvation is by faith in the Lord Jesus as ones personal Saviour. As we obtained salvation by faith, after we get saved, we need to walk with Jesus by faith. The Lord Jesus is the root of the tree. A person cannot see the root of the tree. The root establishes the tree. The Apostle Paul is teaching that as we take deep root in the Lord Jesus, the Lord builds us up and establishes us in the faith. As we discover these wonderful truths, as Paul said, we need to have a thankful heart. God uses the scriptures to establish us and to teach us His will. This includes correct doctrine, holiness and righteousness in our lives. We need to listen to and study the scriptures in order to be established. King Asa Followed God Asa trusted in and loved God. As King, Asa determined to fear God and do what is right in the sight of God and not man, or society. Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” When we put our trust in God, and do those things that are right in His sight, than we are safe. We have a safe home in eternity and God will protect us on the earth. The fear of man brings a snare. When a person fears man, or society, he caught in the snare of the devil. False religion is the snare of the devil. When we fear God and trust in Jesus as our Savior then God will bless us. Deuteronomy 12:28, “Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou dost that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.” 1 John 3:22, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” When we obey the Lord Jesus then the Lord Jesus will answer our prayers. One of the reasons why the Lord Jesus does not answer our prayers is because we miss-use His name, we say, ‘Lord Jesus,’ but, we do not do what is pleasing in His sight. We need to do what is pleasing in His sight, not ours. “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4: 4 King Asa knew the history of King David and did as King David did. King David is a good example for all of us. King Asa removed the Sodomites and the idols King Asa was a very moral person and righteous in his authority. The physical act of sodomy is vile, unnatural, destroys society and the family. King Asa obeyed the commandment of God in removing the Sodomites and the idols from the land of Israel. “There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.” Deuteronomy 23:17 Exodus 20:3 & 4 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” In the New Testament, we read that an idolater will not enter into heaven. Revelation 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 of fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” King Asa removed the evil things in the kingdom of Israel. We need to get remove evil things, thoughts, beliefs, personal agendas, and desires, from our lives. Dedication God blessed King Asa with wealth. King Asa brought the dedicated things into the House of the Lord. Three items are mentioned: Silver, gold, and vessels. King Asa knew his wealth came from the blessings of God. In our age, the visible house of the Lord is the local church. We need to dedicate our lives to the Lord Jesus and to the furtherance of the gospel. 1 Timothy 3:15, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” Every Christian needs to learn how to behave themselves in the church. The church is not an entertainment center, or a social club. When a person loves the Lord Jesus, he will love the church. If a person loves the Lord Jesus, he will learn how to behave in the church. In a local New Testament, Bible believing, independent, fundamental, Baptist church you will find the doctrinal truth of the scriptures and practical behaviour that pleases the Lord. The Removal of the Queen The Queen of Jerusalem, Maachah, was King Asa’s mother. King Asa’s own mother was involved with idolatry. Because King Asa wanted to do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, instead of doing that which is right in the sight of man, King Asa removed his own mother from being Queen. So often, in churches, in politics, in the affairs of this world, people who know to do right do not do right because they fear man and want to please a person, or an organization, or a denomination, or the lay people of the church. This was the attitude of King Saul. “And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.” 1 Samuel 15:24 “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25 The Chief Shepherd of the local, New Testament Church, is the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 5:4, “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” The pastor of every church has only one person he must be accountable too; the Lord Jesus. The pastor obeys the Lord Jesus through the scriptures. Like King Asa, good pastors will remove any false teacher, false bibles, or individuals following the gods of this world (music, methods, a denominational hierarchy, or anything contrary to scripture), from any church office. The Apostle Paul gave us an example in 1 Timothy 1:19 & 20, “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they learn not to blaspheme.” The blasphemy of Hymenaeus and Alexander was a departure of the faith; they were heretics. Concluding Thoughts King Asa was a good king. He loved the Lord in heaven as David loved God. King Asa removed evil from the Israel as David removed evil. King Asa had a perfect heart with God. We need to have a perfect heart with God.
  21. 4 points
    Recently, I've been considering why it was that certain people simply refuse to submit to God on some of the simplest things. Why is it that the Bible can be so plain on something, and yet we just ignore it like it was never there, declaring either that there is some other meaning, or even more brazenly, "I'm just not convicted about that!" Let me give you an example. The other day, I was discussing the issue of music with someone when they said that God did not set a clear musical standard in the Bible. Now, when I saw that, I thought, "How could anyone be so ignorant?" But the answer came to me very quickly. It isn't that he is ignorant, it's that he doesn't want to know. The sad truth is, that the majority of "Christians" will do what they want to do, caring very little, if at all, about what God thinks. They will not submit themselves to God as commanded in James 4:7. They will not humble themselves under God's hand as directed in verse 10 of the same chapter. Instead they stubbornly hold onto their own wants and desires, and in doing so they fall captive of the Devil, and get caught up in his snare. So let's look at James 4:7-10 and see how to make our will pliable to the able hands of the Master Potter. Submit Submission is more of a decision than it is an action. If you will, it is an attitude of the heart. You have to come to a point where you decide, "Whatever God says, whatever God wants, that's what I want for my life. It's not about me, It's about God." The number one reason most Christians don't submit is that they can't see past their own wants and desires. We have spent so much time pleasing ourselves, that we don't know how to please anyone else.Resist Resisting the Devil in our life is the most active and most prominent part of a Christian's walk with God. The more you walk with God, the more you have to resist the Devil. It doesn't get easier, you simply learn priorities. You learn that pleasing God is more important than the "fun" you will have in submitting to the Devil. This is how you resist him, priorities.Draw nigh Getting close to God is the most important thing that a Christian can do. The Bible says in Galatians 5:16 "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." If you want to walk in the Spirit, you have to fill your life with things of the Spirit. How you begin your day will set the precedent for how your day will continue to go, so start it with things of the Spirit. How you continue your day will determine your successfulness for the day, so continue to fill your day with things of the Spirit. How you end your day will decide how well your next day will begin, so end it partaking of things of the Spirit. Read your Bible, pray, listen to Godly music, fellowship with other Christians, meditate on the things of God, for the Bible says, "...to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Romans 8:6)Humble yourself Day after day after day, humble yourself. It is a daily struggle to remember just how weak we are and just how much we need God. "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed, lest he fall." Remember from whence comes your strength. You don't stand in your own power, else you wouldn't be standing at all. I find that the greatest sin in any Christian's life is pride. Truly, it is pride that keeps us from submitting, it is pride that keeps us from resisting, it is pride that keeps us from drawing nigh. Somehow, we have gotten the idea that we are strong enough to handle our situation on our own. We need to look back and remember how weak we were when we got saved and then we need to realize that we are indeed, still that weak. If we would simply let go of our stubborn will and submit to God's will, we would have no need to worry about the future, for it is in His hands. If we would just submit ourselves to God, we wouldn't have to worry about the present because He promised that He would take care of us. If we would just yield to Him, we wouldn't have to fret over the past, it's under the blood. With this being the case, I ask you, why would we want it any other way?
  22. 4 points
    Jim_Alaska

    Spiritual Growth

    SPIRITUAL GROWTH, AS TAUGHT BY SCRIPTURE AND THE SCIENCE OF BOTANY By Jim Foley Text: “…Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow” Matthew 6:28. INTRO: In this scripture Jesus gives us an object lesson as to what constitutes spiritual growth, and how it happens. Jesus made the lilies and He made me, and now he describes to me how both biological and spiritual growth takes place. People often create for themselves a great deal of anxiety because they assume there must be some formula they must rigorously conform to in order to make themselves grow spiritually. Spiritual growth is not a secret formula process we must discover for ourselves. Jesus points to the lilies of the field as an illustration of how natural and spontaneous both natural and spiritual growth is. When Jesus points us to the lilies of the field it is not simply an appeal for us to see and enjoy nature and admire its beauty. Everything in nature, as well as in scripture, is given to teach us a spiritual truth. Natural life and spiritual life are governed, as is everything God has made, by natural law. Now let’s take a close look at the lilies of the field, and let them teach us about growth, both natural and spiritual. The point we must consider is not just that they are there for us to admire, but rather to consider “how they grow,” as Jesus puts it in our text. Many Christians live with anxiety because they are trying to make themselves grow spiritually. The lilies grow without anxiety. Without taking conscious care or effort the lilies grow naturally into full beauty. There is no conscious toiling to weave the tissues of their leaves. Their complex tissues have spun themselves naturally and automatically. Jesus follows up by implying that we care-worn and anxious people need not fret about causing ourselves to grow. He implores us to “take no thought” about what we will eat or drink, or how we should be clothed. We mortals create ghosts in our minds and then worry about them. We allow ourselves to be controlled by circumstances rather than allowing God to perfectly order our life. All men and women who have just a little faith have learned the secret of a composed life in many respects, but when it comes to spiritual growth we do not seem to make the connection. Early on in our Christian lives we settle down at times in calm trust in God, trusting Him to provide the necessities of our bodies. Then by and by we begin to become anxious about spiritual growth, especially when someone tells us we must follow this or that formula if we are to grow spiritually. But how do the lilies grow? They grow by grace, and take no thought, because the growth comes naturally. How does a child of God grow spiritually? He also grows by grace. Yet as we are told by others how to do this, we start fretting about it, and the anxiety comes back. We then have transferred our anxiety from our bodies to our souls. Then our efforts at Christian growth seem only a succession of failures. Why does this happen? It happens because we forget the lesson of the lilies of the field. Strenuous efforts to grow spiritually are right in earnestness, but are wholly wrong in principle. In both the natural and spiritual realm there is but one principle for growth. That principle is the same for plant and animal, and for body and soul. If we would know that principle, look again and “consider the lilies, how they grow.” There are two characteristics of all growth. They are: 1. Spontaneousness 2. Mysteriousness First let us consider the spontaneous nature of spiritual growth. There are three categories by which we may seek for evidence of the spontaneous nature of both bodily and spiritual growth. The first category is Science. We need not be a rocket scientist to understand that the lilies grow of themselves. It is one of the most natural things in the world. They grow automatically and spontaneously, and that without trying, without fretting about it, or without having to think about it. Take for example a new born baby boy. He begins growing shortly after birth without being aware of it, and is so uncontaminated by the advice of others that it is all automatic. As he grows he eats because he is hungry, and the growth goes on without giving it a thought. He does not fret about the condition of growth, but has a habit of eating and so the result is that growth goes on automatically and naturally. The boy’s parents have no need to tell the boy to grow, for it is a law of nature that he will grow without having to give thought to any process. Well-meaning people may tell us that the formula for spiritual growth is more prayer, more self-denial, more good works, etc. These are all well and good, but are not the cause of spiritual growth, but the results of it, just as many of our activities in life increase as we grow into a greater and grater capacity for various and greater ventures. The scientific fact is that the soul grows as the lily grows, without trying and fretting and thinking about it. Another thing that teaches us that growth, both bodily and spiritually, is spontaneous and automatic is experience. Getting back to the example of the boy in the above illustration that grows without taking thought, experience teaches us that he cannot make himself grow no matter how hard he tries. Doesn’t scripture also tell us this fact? No person can add to his stature by taking thought. “And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?” Mat 6:27 The Christian’s life unfolds itself like the lily of the field, from a divine germ planted centrally in his nature, and it grows as naturally as a flower from its seed. Though this flower can be imitated, one can always tell the artificial flower from the real one. This is the distinction between the natural growth of the Christian principles in the life of the Christian, and the moral copy of it. The first is natural and the second is mechanical. There are many artificial Christians marching about in society like little tin soldiers, but little tin soldiers only mimic the real thing. In the natural world in which we live there are crystals that GROW and organisms that GROW, but there is a real and fundamental distinction between them. The distinction is that the crystal is DEAD, while the organism is ALIVE. The crystal increases, but the organism grows. The organism is from within, while the crystal simply adds new particles from the outside. This is the difference between the true Christian and the mere moralist. The moralist’s works are all an external put-on. The moralist’s so-called meritorious works are all external while the true Christian’s meritorious works are from an internal divine growth. It is the distinction between the true Christian and the hypocrite. Now the crystal may be ever so beautiful, but it lacks the vital principle of a living germ of divine life within. Another fact that we need consider is that salvation in the first instant is never connected directly with morality. This principle is totally foreign to the thinking of the merely religious pretender since he thinks of his put-on show of morality as earning him salvation. It is true that salvation does demand morality, but the problem is that it demands so much morality that the moralist can never reach up to that level. True salvation results in the perfection of the inner man, i.e., a Christ-like mind. Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: There must first be a spiritual awakening that can only be accomplished by God, then comes the natural, internal morality. The moralist, with his external morality, may go a long distance towards perfection, at least in the eyes of his neighbors, but he can never reach true moral perfection, and so he is lost, for God demands perfection in the inner man. Only true spiritual life in the inner man can be perfect, and that life in the inner man of all true Christians is "Christ in you, the hope of glory. And that divine life, i.e., “Christ in you,” is the germ that sparks spiritual growth in the inner man that produces true good works. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. Divine life always produces good works and so spiritual growth results because God has ordained it, and those ordained good works will flow out of, and give true evidence of, that natural automatic and spontaneous spiritual growth. Life develops according to its type and so out of the Christian’s inner man will flow “rivers of living water,” and “springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. It will be the most natural thing in the world. Growth is synonymous with a living, automatic process. The Christian is a new creature in Christ Jesus, and he adds cubits to his stature just as the old man (flesh) does, naturally. To use another scriptural metaphor he abides in the vine (Jesus), and because he abides in the vine, and not because he is toiling, but rather because he is growing, he brings forth fruit. Fruit is always because of growth and not growth because of the fruit. The fruits of the Christian’s character are not manufactured things, but living things that have grown from the secret germ. In short they are the fruits of the living Spirit. Now let’s consider the second great characteristic of growth: mysteriousness. The lily Jesus spoke of grew mysteriously. It pushed up its weight of stem and leaf in the teeth of gravity. How the flower does that, we know not, but observation tells us it does. Along the edges of asphalt paving one often sees plants break the pavement to reach up their leafy heads towards heaven. What mysterious force causes that? It is God who causes it to grow. God has put within the lily the nature to grow. Likewise when the soul rises slowly above the world and pushes up its virtues into the very teeth of sin and depravity, and displays the very image of Christ, it is then as natural for the lily to grow mysteriously from the seed to the flower. New Christians are often misled into believing the secret of spiritual growth is a strong will, a high ideal, a strong resolve to live virtuously, and the influence of Christian fellowship. We allow that the growth of a lily is a miracle, but then assert that a Christian must resort to self-imposed formulas to grow spiritually. We say the lily may grow naturally and spontaneously, but the Christian must fret and toil to grow spiritually. A man or woman may, by hard work and self-denial attain to a very high character, but this is not spiritual growth. If such efforts at self-improvement cause spiritual growth then spiritual growth is not mysterious. Jesus Himself spoke of the mysteriousness of spiritual birth and growth when He said, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8. The fact that it is mysterious implies you cannot account for it on philosophical grounds such as a favorable Christian environment, charitable works, or efforts at self-improvement. The result of such thinking produces only artificial flowers. You can easily discern where that kind of religion comes from and where it goes. A lot of what passes for Christianity is formed by external influences, social opinions, and the voices of the world, which may be observed and explained. But the genuine thing comes only by the unseen power imparted by the mysterious thing we call the new birth. True Christians stand out from among the crowd, just as a real lily stands out from all the artificial ones, because of that unseen power that produces spiritual life in them, a life totally different from that lifeless counterfeit of the self-made that call themselves Christians. As long as anyone tries to manufacture his or her own spirituality, they can never be free from the pressure cooker of trying to measure up. They do not understand that the energies that produce spiritual growth, which results in spiritual improvement, are already there. That energy is the energy of the Omnipotent God Who fills their souls. If they are saved, growth moves them upward just as the lily grows upwards naturally by reason of the energy to grow that is inherent in their cells. When I was born of the Spirit of God I was hungry for the bread from heaven. That is also the natural result of being born again. It was a pleasure to “taste and see that the Lord was good.” I had “tasted the good word of God” and it made me want more. When one is born of the Spirit of God, growth is automatic. One need not even be thinking of that or even be aware of it. The only thing that can prevent growth in a Christian is not feeding on the word of God. But when one is born of the Spirit of God one has a craving for the bread from heaven, and so eating and growing will go on. When one is born again growing begins and continues. At first he is satisfied with the “sincere milk of the word.” I Peter 2:2. And as he grows spiritually he automatically develops a taste for the strong meat of the word. “Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age.” And so his spiritual growth continues until he becomes a mature Christian. The lily of the field grows spontaneously and mysteriously because that is naturally inherent in its nature. I believe the Lord was pointing out to us that those born of the Spirit of God will just as spontaneously and mysteriously do the same. Are you growing, or still working at it?
  23. 4 points
    Alan

    The LORD is good.

    “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” Nahum 1:7 “The LORD is good.” In this short devotion I would like to consider Nahum 1:7 in the light of our Saviour Jesus Christ being LORD and a few thoughts brought out by the Lord Jesus when He preached the Sermon on the Mount. The LORD is good. The character of God, is good and perfect in every sense of the word. God is good in character, in holiness, in righteousness, and in every act, deed or word. God is perfect in all aspects. To question the work of God, the word of God, or the actions of God, is to put doubt on His character and His word. The character, the inward righteousness of the Jesus Christ, is good and perfect in all aspects. Jesus is Lord. God above has given to all of us good things: life, food, shelter, friendship, families, and many blessings too many to mention. God is good to the lost and to the saved. The Lord Jesus said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:44 and 45 We need to remember the goodness of God in our lives before we were saved and after we are saved. “…a strong hold in the day of trouble.” A strong hold is a place of safety and protection from evil and the enemies of the righteous. A strong hold is a place of protection from whatever will harm us. This is true in both the physical and spiritual realm. Heaven is a strong hold. The Lord God was a stronghold for the nation of Israel when they trusted and followed His words, leading, commandments, statutes, and precepts. God was a strong hold for Abraham, David in the wilderness, King Solomon on the throne and the beggar Lazarus sitting at the gate of the rich man. The Lord Jesus is our strong hold. The Lord Jesus is our Rock of Salvation. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” Matthew 7: 24 and 25 A wise man will hear and do what Jesus says. "and he knoweth them that trust in him.” In the Old Testament, beginning from the days of Adam, through Abraham, the Judges, the Kings of Israel, and the prophets, people have trusted in God. On the contrary side, in those times there were false saints, false prophets, false priests, and false teachers mentioned throughout the Old Testament. A close look at the work of Moses and the prophets reveal that they were hindered and resisted primarily by false, or backslidden, brethren. At times, these false, or backslidden, brethren used the very word of God the true saints used, used the very same prayers that the righteous saints used, and, as for as the outward appearance was concerned, was “religious.” The LORD said, “…and he knoweth them that trust in him.” The wisest man in the world once observed, “The thing that hath been, is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 In the New Testament nothing has changed. The Lord Jesus, “… knoweth them that trust in him.” After the discourse of the Lord Jesus concerning the false prophets in Matthew 7:15-20 the Lord Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name hath cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23 The Lord Jesus never knew these lost, religious, charlatans who used His name to build religious edifices, denominations, good work organizations, and falsely taught and preached His word. As with Moses and the prophets, the Lord Jesus, Paul the Apostle and the other true men of God were resisted by false, or backslidden, brethren or other religious individuals. The problem is a heart problem. Solomon said, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” We need to trust in the Lord above with all of our heart and do those things which are commanded of us in spite of the false ministers, false teachers, social problems, political unrest, economic unrest, and other problems in this short life. The Lord knows all and He is good. We need to trust in the Lord Jesus with all of our heart and follow Him. May God truly bless all of you. Alan
  24. 4 points
    Jim_Alaska

    The Blind Beggar

    The Blind Beggar James Foley Text Mark.10:46-52 Here is a man beset by two great evils, blindness and poverty. Being blind is sad enough all on its own. We pity one like this, but to be blind and poor is heart breaking. My application of this scripture is that this man’s condition is but a picture of the natural man’s condition when he is born into this world. We are all born spiritually blind and poor by nature. Rev. 3:17 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: In our blindness and pride we think we are able to see. After all, we are intelligent, educated, and able to make our way in this world. But the truth is that our blindness makes us think that our sight is perfect. 2Cor. 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. Once we are enlightened (saved) we discover that our previous sight was actually blindness. We were blind to our lost estate, the blackness of sin, the wrath to come, and most important, we were blind to the all encompassing beauty of Jesus Christ. In our lost condition we, like this blind man, were also poor. I’m not talking about being poor financially, but rather poor spiritually. Adam spent our birthright when he sinned. Paradise, which was our inheritance, was lost in Adam. The result of this is that we, through Adam have become beggars. This is the lot of everyone born into this sinful world until Jesus visits us in love. 1. The origin of his faith. We see in ver.52 that he had faith, where did he get it? Mark 10:52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way. Certainly not from what he saw! He had not been anywhere that Jesus performed his miracles, poor blind people did not travel. But the scripture speaks to this situation very well: Rom.10:17 “faith cometh by hearing”. Being blind, all he knew was what he could hear. He had heard of the miracles of Jesus from those who passed by. He had heard that Jesus raised the dead and healed lepers. It would be only reasonable that he would wonder if one who could perform these kinds of miracles might also be able to give sight to the blind. Then in John chapter 9 we read that Jesus restored the sight to one that was born blind. There are not many diversions given to the blind whose only purpose is to sit begging. But one diversion that a blind beggar would covet is any news that he would hear from those passing by. Undoubtedly this blind man had heard of the healing of the blind as the fame of Jesus spread throughout the land. It would be natural for him to think along the lines of, “What if this Jesus passed by, or, maybe he will pass by this way, if so I will cry out to him.” The story he had heard would be all encompassing to one who found himself in the same circumstances. Perhaps as he meditated on this information some Old Testament Scripture came to mind: Isa 42:6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; 7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. He had almost certainly heard that the coming Messiah would heal the blind. The only conclusion possible was that this was the promised Messiah. You might think that this is just too much conjecture, but consider Mk. 10:47 where, as Jesus passed by, the blind man called out, “thou Son of David.” This is the designation of Israel’s true Messiah and this fact would not be lost on this blind man. Now, at this point, he has the faith that Jesus spoke of in Ver.52. 2. My application of all of this today is simply to ask, “what of you?” At this point in life are you still spiritually blind? You may have heard of the deeds of Jesus, how sinners have been pardoned and forgiven. You may have heard the Gospel preached in church but never exercised the faith to be saved by it. You may have even listened to the testimony of people who have been saved and yet believed not. Have you never thought on Christ or contemplated how the message of salvation might apply to you? You have heard that Jesus saves; this is the message of God to lost men and women. Has the thought ever crossed your mind that he might also save you? Perhaps you have heard the call to salvation but never acted on it in faith. In our story the blind man had heard, but if the story had stopped at the point that he heard, there would have been no healing. Remember that this story has two main parts, 1. the blind man heard. 2. but then he acted on what he had heard, this is faith. There would have been no healing if this man had stopped short of the faith to be healed. We know this is true because Jesus said to him: “Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.” We can conclude then, as the scripture affirms, that there is no salvation without faith in Christ. Heb. 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. Just knowing he can save and knowing that he can forgive sin is simply head knowledge. To act on this knowledge requires faith. The origin of this blind mans faith came by hearing; your faith can come in the same way, for the scripture says that "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God". Rom. 10:17. Once we understand our lost condition and hear that there is a remedy for it, our faith must grasp the first opportunity. In the example of this blind man we can see this very plainly. He did not wait once he heard that Jesus passed by that way. Jesus was leaving Jericho and as the Bible records, he would never return again. As he was passing he heard the pleading cry of this blind man. Many in the crowd tried to silence him, but he only cried out the louder. Once Jesus heard the awful cry for mercy, ver.49 says that Jesus stood still. This is not without its significance; our cry for mercy will have the full attention of Jesus. He then calls on this blind man. We can almost read the thoughts of Bartimaeus: “Here he is, but he is passing by, this may be my last and only chance for healing. Unbelief says he passes by, no healing for you, no hope of mercy now. But faith grasps this opportunity. Jesus of Nazareth passes by today, perhaps he will never pass this way again. Will you let him go without calling his attention to your plight? How many times in the past has he passed by and even knocked on your hearts door and invited you? Bartimaeus responded immediately when Jesus called him and the result was his immediate healing. His cry was from the heart and the resulting prayer was the simplest that could express his need. Have Mercy on Me! Your prayer need not be theologically correct. Simply asking Jesus for mercy and exercising the faith to believe that he will save you is sufficient. After all, this is what Jesus came to accomplish. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” If you have never asked Jesus to heal your blind spiritual condition, would you consider doing that today? Jesus passes your way today, will you cry out to him in simple faith?
  25. 4 points
    Jim_Alaska

    Man’S Dilemma And Its Remedy

    Man’s Dilemma and Its Remedy By: James Foley Text: Luke 21: 5-38 In our text we find mans dilemma. The reading is lengthy, but necessary to show the severity of mans dilemma. The whole world is in turmoil today. In our text we can see the full scope of this world-wide turmoil. Religious turmoil: turmoil of nations: turmoil of nature: turmoil in personal lives and family relationships. Everywhere we look we see this turmoil and the resulting confusion and moral decay it generates. Peace seems to be an elusive dream, often spoken of, but always just beyond our grasp. Why is it that, of all the great minds and great nations of this world, there is not one that is able to bring peace? Not one that can turn back the moral decay and right the wrongs of a society seemingly bent on self destruction? The great minds of our time would shrug their shoulders in response to this question, but there is an answer; there is a remedy to man’s dilemma. But sadly it lies just beyond the grasp of natural man’s ability to comprehend. The short answer to this question is simply that mankind, outside of God, cannot see the root of the prOBlem. We look at people and nations as the source, never once realizing that there is a power behind people and nations and that this power is spiritual, not physical. This power is evil in its very nature and it has been with us from the beginning. It has a name and his name is The Devil, Satan, The Prince of Darkness, The god of this world. He has instituted a masterpiece of deception that dates back to the Garden of Eden. Actually his masterpiece is twofold. The first is the idea that he does not exist. Consider how he appeared to Eve on that fateful day. The whole world is deceived into thinking that he is a fictional character. You are seen as simple minded and gullible if you believe that there is a real Devil. 2Co 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. The second part of his masterpiece is false religion. He perverted Scripture when he approached Eve. Gen. 3:1. Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? This second part of his masterpiece is almost impossible for people to see unless they know what to look for. He puts this into play when someone, by God’s Holy Spirit, begins to see some little glimmer of truth and light. It is then that he inserts false religion. Luke 21:8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. This part of his masterpiece is very insidious, it can work in two ways. It can work to keep people from the truth when they hear it, but it can also draw people away from the truth once they have heard it. I have seen this principle at work many times. No sooner than someone says yes to God and becomes saved, then there is some false religion that comes knocking at their door. I have seen this in effect in both personal lives as well as churches in a community. 2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. So then, we have established that there is a very real evil, in the form of a spiritual being called Satan. Having done this it becomes paramount that we understand that both our dilemma and its remedy are on a spiritual plane. This simply means that the reason nations and our great thinkers are at a loss to find a remedy is because they are attempting the impossible; that is; they are using the wrong weapons. They use worldly, physical weapons where only spiritual weapons will prevail. James 4:1-7. From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot OBtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Evil cannot be fought against with evil. Mankind, outside of Christ is evil. So then, if we are to fight against evil, it must be with good. Herein lies a prOBlem; do we have any good? Rom. 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Mat. 12:26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? Man, in his natural state is subject to the power of Satan, he is the god of this world. They have no weapons! What are the weapons of spiritual warfare? First we note that the source of our weapons and any strength we might have to wield them is God. Eph.6:10 -11 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. In Eph. 6:12 we see the magnitude of our prOBlem. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. This is way beyond our ability to combat in our natural state. Ok, we have seen the enormity of man’s dilemma, now we will look at the remedy for this dilemma. Eph. 6:13 begins with the word “wherefore”, or because of what was said in Ver.12 we need the whole armor of God. Why is it that the Christian can withstand all that the world can throw at him? Rom. 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. It is because it is God that holds him up. When we have done all that we can in our own strength and can do no more, still we can stand with God’s help and weather the storm. Eph. 6:14 And now we get into the actual armor of the Christian. Each piece is indispensable; each has its specific purpose. Here in Ver.14 we have the Christians loins girt about with truth. To have our loins girt about with truth means to put on Christ as a garment, for he is truth. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. This is the only way to God. The breastplate of righteousness is the second piece of armor. It protects our vital parts, such as our heart. It is listed second because without truth, there can be no righteousness. Truth is first and begets righteousness, and this righteousness is not ours, it is the righteousness of Christ. It is interesting to note the order of these pieces of armor. To reverse this order is to reject all that God is. Paul said this about righteousness: Rom 10:3 for they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. Back in Ver.1 he prayed for Israel to be saved, which would bring about true righteousness. Putting righteousness before truth, or salvation only results in man’s righteousness, which is not acceptable to God. His order is reversed. At the moment of the acceptance of truth (Jesus) we are covered by righteousness, His righteousness. Phil. 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: Eph. 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Once we know the truth and have righteousness is the only time we can prepare to fight the spiritual battle. Notice I said “prepare”, because being newly saved, or born again, we must have preparation. No soldier goes to war without proper training. This is why we have the Bible, so that we might be able to fight the good fight of faith effectively. Paul speaks of this in this way: 1Cor. 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may OBtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to OBtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: Paul strove to fight effectively. Eph. 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Faith is the believer’s most important tool, as well as a vital piece of his armor. It is also the most difficult for him to master. Faith is not an intangible, as the world thinks it is. They speak of blind faith and they envision our faith as being blind simply because they can neither see it or our God, so to them our faith is blind. In reality our faith is solid and immovable if exercised properly. Heb. 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Here we see two things that the world cannot see and knows nothing of. But we who live by faith can see it and are the recipients of the rewards of living our lives by faith. Two things of note in this verse are that it says that faith is substance and evidence. Let’s read it again. Hebrews 11 is said to be the faith chapter, and so it is. Please take time to read this at home and you will see why it is called the faith chapter. Faith then is our shield, as this verse points out. Faith is what will pull us through when all else has failed. Once again it is needful to point out that the faith we speak of is not our own: Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Eph. 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: We cannot hope to help ourselves or others, spiritually speaking, or even begin to fight a fight of faith until we have the helmet of salvation. It is impossible to fight God’s enemies when we are on their side, when we are yet enemies ourselves. Col. 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled. And now we come to the only offensive weapon in our list of the armor of God. It is listed here as the sword of the Spirit. As such it is defined in our text as The Word of God. Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Ironically, it is by His word that His enemies become His friends. His word is able to cut through the smoke screen they put up. It is able to see through all the evil thoughts and intents of their heart. All excuses are put aside by it and the reality of their lost condition is brought out into the light of day.
  26. 3 points
    Alan

    Fruit in the Life of Joseph

    Genesis 41: 47-53, “Fruit in the Life of Joseph” “And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number. And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah the priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended.” Genesis 41:47-53 As God warned Pharaoh, in Genesis 41:1-8, in two frightening dreams, which the magicians and wise men could not correctly interpret, that a severe famine was coming, and how Joseph correctly interpreted the two dreams, the two dreams of Pharaoh start to happen. For seven years the earth brought plenty of food exactly how Joseph correctly interpreted the two dreams. As we read the Bible we must remember that every word, of every prophecy, will come to pass, whether or not the wise men of this world correctly understand it, and that the man of God, who correctly interprets the scripture, will be rewarded in the end. For seven years, exactly as Joseph had prophesied, the land of Egypt brought forth the fruit of the ground in so much abundance that Joseph stopped numbering the quantity that he had stored up. God is one who causes the land to bear fruit as He so decrees it. Like the ant, Joseph stored up food, as God led him, during the time of plenty, in preparation for the time of want. “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” Proverbs 30:25. Could it be that during the time of his confinement that Joseph studied, by observation, nature, and learned how to lead men? Joseph, a Jew, due to the envy of his brethren, was rejected, temporarily, by his own people, had a Gentile bride, and bore fruit. The Lord Jesus, a Jew, due to the envy of His brethren, was rejected, temporarily, by His own people, has a Gentile bride, and bears fruit. John 1:10-12, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” Romans 11:11, “I say then, Have they [the Jews] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them [the Jews] to jealousy.” Ephesians 5:23-25, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” God is using the life of Joseph, a type of Christ, to give us, Gentiles in the church, because of His love and promises towards the Jews, a clear picture of what He is going to do with His chosen people in the last days. Like Joseph, the Lord Jesus, loves His brethren and, like Joseph, will reconcile Himself to them in the last days The first son, Manasseh, means that God caused Joseph to forget his toil and His father's house. I think this meaning can help us. The Lord Jesus can help us in our troubles. The second son, Ephraim, means that God caused him to be fruitful. I think that this meaning can help us also. The Lord Jesus can help us be fruitful in our toils of life. It is obvious that Joseph believed that God caused the hardship and the blessings. We need to remember that. In this life God will give us hardship and blessings. Job 1:21, “And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return hither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” In Josephs era, and in our era, this world is full of temptations of the flesh, heartache, anxiety, distress, and times of unjust actions from others. We need to reminded of the words of Paul the apostle in order to encourage us in our time of toils, hardships, anxieties, and distress. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 With a wife, Asenath the daughter of Potipherah, God is starting the family of Joseph and eventually the tribe of Ephraim, and Manasseh. Proverbs 20:7 “The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” The integrity of Joseph, as with the integrity of Job, has wonderful fruit. God is starting to abundantly bless Joseph for his life of integrity and his close walk with God. Throughout the story of the life of Joseph we can see the results of the fruit of the Spirit. Joseph is an example for every believer who will decide to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Galatians 5:22-23 & 25, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law… If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” At this juncture we need to consider the part of the prophecy of Zechariah in Zechariah 10:5-10. Zechariah 10:6, “ And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them to place them; for I will have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.” And, Zechariah 10:10, “I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them.” This prophecy is literal, is very clear in interpretation, cannot be applied, or given, to the church, and has not been fulfilled yet in any sense of the word. Among many passages in the Old Testament prophets, the Lord Jesus prophesied that one day the house of Joseph would be gathered a second time out of Egypt, and bring them back to the land of Israel, “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:31 Exactly as Joseph prophesied that after seven years of plenty there would be a famine of seven years comes to past. I am reminded of the words of King Solomon when he said, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.” Ecclesiastes 7:14 God brings prosperity, and adversity, in everyone’s life for a particular reason. When adversity comes our way, and surely it shall, then at that time we need to consider what God is trying to tell us and to let us know that, in the end, all of this life apart from God, and His perfect will, is what we should do. And, in conclusion, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13
  27. 3 points
    Alan

    Joseph and his Jewish Dreams

    Genesis 37:5-11, “Joseph and his Jewish Dreams” Joseph had faith and loved the Lord God. In the Old Testament, before the Bible was written, God spoke to men in dreams. God had given Joseph dreams. As we read the story of Joseph, we can see that Joseph was like the Lord Jesus. Joseph was a type of Christ. Joseph walked with God and had the characteristics of the Lord Jesus. Also, Joseph is a good example for the Christian. God gave the examples of the Old Testament men and women for us. 1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” The wise Christian will look at the examples of the saints of the Old Testament and use these examples to learn how to walk in the Spirit (not in the Flesh), and please the Lord Jesus. Romans 15;4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” The stories of the Old Testament saints can give the Christian hope and comfort our hearts. Joseph walked in the Holy Spirit and had the fruits of the Spirit.Galatians 5:22 and 23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Joseph and his brothers Genesis 37:1-4, “And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.” Joseph was hated by his eleven brothers for two reasons: Joseph told his father, Jacob, or Israel, the evil things that his brothers did. Amos 5;10, “They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.” Most people do not like it when you rebuke them. When the pastor rebukes a sin, and people do not want to repent, then some people get mad, criticize the pastor, the church. A wise person will repent when you rebuke him. Like Joseph, and the Lord Jesus, it is the responsibility of the man of God to rebuke people’s sins. 2 Timothy 4:1 and 2, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” A faithful pastor will rebuke the sins of the people. A false pastor will not rebuke the sins of the people. Proverbs 28:23, “He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.” A faithful pastor will find good results but a false pastor will flatter people. Proverbs 13:1 says, “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.” A wise Christian will hear the rebuke of the faithful pastor. A scorner will not listen to the rebuke of the pastor. Jacob, or Israel, his father loved him more than the other 11 brothers because Joseph was the son of his old age. The eleven brothers of Joseph were all walking in the flesh and had the fruits of the flesh. Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” The Dream of the Sheaves that did Obeisance Genesis 37:5-8, “And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.” Both dreams came from God and God will fulfill both dreams in the life of Joseph and in the life of Christ. In the first dream, the brothers were binding sheaves in the field and Joseph’s sheaf stood upright and the sheaves of the brothers stood up and did obeisance. The brothers hated this dream and the interpretation. The brothers of Joseph rejected the words of Joseph. The brothers did not like the dreams that God gave Joseph. They did not want Joseph to reign over them. The brothers did not want to make obeisance to Joseph. Therefore, the brothers hated the words of Joseph and questioned the dreams of Joseph. When a person does not agree with the pastor who faithfully preaches the scriptures, they will question the scriptures and the pastor. Joseph’s brothers are like the nation of Israel. When the Lord Jesus came and dwelt among the nation of Israel, His brethren, the Jews rejected Him. John 1:11, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”And, in the church Age, most of the Jews hate Jesus and his words. When the Lord Jesus came the first time, the Jews also did not want Jesus to be their king. John 19:14 & 15, “And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he [Pilate] saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.” This dream was fulfilled in the life of Joseph. Genesis 42:6, “And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.” And, this dream will be also fulfilled in the life of Christ when the 12 tribes of Israel recognize the Lord Jesus as Saviour and serve the Lord Jesus as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. tells us that 12,000 Jews from each tribe of Israel become the servants of the Lord Jesus in the 7 Year Tribulation Period. Joseph is like the Christian who walks in the Spirit. The Christian who walks in the spirit will be persecuted, talked against, scorned, maligned, and despised by those who walk in the flesh. & Galatians 4:28 & 29, “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.” The Dream of the Sun and the Moon Genesis 37: 9 & 10, “And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren,and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?” This dream is almost the same; but slightly different. In the first dream, only the other brothers did obeisance and in the second dream the Sun and the Moon, and eleven stars made obeisance. The sun represents Jacob, the Moon represents Rachel, and the eleven stars represent the eleven brothers. Rachel is already dead (Genesis 35:16-20). As with Job, and the other saints in the Old Testament, Jacob believed that one day that God would raise the saints from the dead. So, this represents all of the children of Israel, Jacob, and Rachel. This dream was fulfilled in Joseph's lifetime, among his own family (minus Rachel). The second time the brothers of Joseph came to Egypt they bowed before him the second time and said that their father (Jacob), was his servant. Genesis 43:28, “And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.” The second dream, along with the first dream, represents the whole nation of Israel bowing down to the Lord Jesus. Genesis 37:9 & 10 is the interpretation of . Revelation 12:1-17. Revelation 12:1, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” The fulfillment of the second dream is when the nation of Israel gets saved and bows down to the Lord Jesus. Romans 11:26, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Jacob observed Joseph’s sayings Genesis 37:11, “And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” Jacob did not question the dreams of Joseph. Jacob did not fully understand them; but, he did not question them. Jacob observed them. Joseph’s brothers did not care for the words of Joseph. The brothers walked in the flesh. Envy is a one of the fruits of the flesh as listed in Galatians 5:19-21The father, Jacob, loved the Lord. So, he observed these sayings. We need to observe the saying’s in the scriptures. Psalm 107:43, “Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.” A wise Christian will walk in the Spirit and will observe the life of Joseph.
  28. 3 points
    Alan

    Do Not Interpretations Belong to God?

    Genesis 40:1-23, “Do not interpretations belong to God?” Only God knows the future. In the Bible, God recorded all of the knowledge of the future that God wants us to have. The Bible is the word of God and can tell us what is important. The philosophy of man, the religions of man, the interpretations of man, and the idols made by men, cannot help a person when he dies. The interpretations of man, false religions and prophets, are erroneous. Joseph is an example to the every Christian who wants to have a close relationship with God and walk in the Holy Spirit. God gave us the story of Joseph to show us how to walk with God. In Genesis 40:1-23, in the confines of a prison, while suffering tremendous adversity, we can see several fruits of the Spirit in this passage in the life of Joseph: longsuffering, gentleness, goodness and faith. Galatians 5:22 and 23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Because Joseph walked in the Spirit of God; he could have the proper interpretations of the dreams. Verse 1-8 Interpretations belong unto God. Astrologers and false prophets cannot accurately foretell the future. The reason why we have so many different interpretations of the prophecies of the scriptures is due to the fact that false prophets, and false teachers, cannot accurately interpret the scriptures. The apostle Peter clearly stated that only holy men of God, using the scriptures as their standard, can properly interpret the scriptures. 2 Peter 1:20 and 21 says, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scriptures is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” “… but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Because Joseph was ‘holy,’or as Galatians 5:23 states, ‘temperance,’ God gave him the proper interpretation. The meaning of temperate is; (1) marked by moderation: as, keeping or held within limits: not extreme or excessive; and, marked by an absence or avoidance of extravagance, violence, or extreme partisanship. A saint cannot be ‘holy’ without having ‘temperance’ in his character. Daniel 2:27 & 28, “Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these.” The false prophets, and false teachers, in the churches, the false gods of the Taoists, the Confucian, and the Buddhists, cannot reveal the end times. Only the Bible can give us the events of the end time. The prophecies of the scriptures are true and will come to pass. Joseph was a true prophet. God gave him dreams and Joseph could interpret the dreams of others. In this story God gave us two examples. As with Daniel, God gave Joseph the proper interpretation and Joseph gave the honour and glory to God. “Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these.” Daniel 2:27 & 28 Even though Joseph was in prison unjustly, Joseph still had goodness in his life to help the Baker and the Butler in their trials of life in the prison. Please take note that Joseph saw the sadness of these men and had an inward desire, without the prospect of a reward, to help both of these men in their sorrows of life. Is not this act of goodness, this act of kindness, without any prospect of reward, like the goodness and kindness of the Lord Jesus? “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:38 Verse 9-13 The dream of the Butler. The butler told Joseph the dream and Joseph told the the butler the correct interpretation of the dream. Only God could have told Joseph the interpretation. Verse 14 and 15 Joseph's Request and Testimony. Joseph asked the butler to make mention of him to Pharaoh. Joseph then told the butler his story. Joseph reminded the butler that he did nothing wrong. The life of Joseph, as the life of the Lord Jesus, was above reproach. Verse 16-19 The dream of the Baker The chief baker told Joseph his dream and Joseph told the baker the correct interpretation of the dream. Verse 20-22 The Fulfillment of the Two Dreams The interpretations of Joseph were correct. God gave the interpretation to Joseph and Joseph told the interpretations of the two dreams to the butler and to the baker. The dreams were fulfilled in public. As with Daniel, God gave the correct interpretations of both of the dreams. The interpretation of a true prophet is always right. Deuteronomy 18:22, “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” Verse 23 the Butler forgot Joseph Man forgets, but God does not. In God's proper timing, and in His proper ways, He will fulfill His will. In the life of Joseph we know that he had a good relationship with God. Even though he is in prison, he did good, the butler forgot him and Joseph remained in prison. Even in intense adversity, Joseph was kind to those around him. In spite of the other peoples failure, Joseph still trusted in God. In spite of his still being in prison, Joseph still trusted in God and did good. Joseph, throughout his life, and in this instance, had longsuffering, gentleness in adversity, goodness and faith.
  29. 3 points
    Jim_Alaska

    The Cost of a Soul

    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
  30. 3 points
    Source: What Ever Happened To Christmas?
  31. 3 points
    Jim_Alaska

    The Light of the World

    The Light of the World James Foley John 1:1-13 A. Our text begins at the very beginning of time as mankind knows it. Since God has no beginning and no end, this reference supports the fact that God is from eternity past. Because we are creatures of time, we cannot possibly comprehend the infinite nature of God. I would like to speak to you today regarding the contrast between a Holy, Just and Righteous God and mankind in his natural state, meaning without God. There are very few churches today that preach about the total depravity of man. This doctrine is very offensive to most, simply because it teaches that mankind, outside of Christ, does not have any good. He is incapable of generating any righteousness at all. Isa 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Definition of depravity: A state of corruption due to original sin that infects every part of man’s nature. Depravity makes the natural man unable to know or obey God. This then is what the bible has to say about the natural man, or those who have not been born again: 1Co 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.” 1. Our scripture speaks of Jesus as the personification of light and life. Thinking in these terms, anything outside of Jesus is then darkness and death. John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” We have the light of the world in yet another form, a form other than the person of Jesus. The bible we hold in our hands is the written Word of God. The Scripture speaks of His Word as light also. Ps. 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. To the saved His word guides us through this life. It lights our way so that we know good from evil. It convicts us of our sin, but it also points out His will for our life. This light reveals the otherwise unfathomable love that he has for you and me. B. In the scriptures we see a sharp contrast between God and man. “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” By contrast, man is in darkness and this darkness is so black that man does not even know he is in darkness. Scripture speaks of this condition in: John 1:5 “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Illustration: The man huddled on the cabin floor was slowly freezing to death. It was high in the Rockies in southwestern Alberta, and outside a blizzard raged. John Elliott had logged miles that day through the deep snows of the mountain passes. As he checked for avalanches and as dusk and exhaustion overcame him he had decided to "hole-up." He made it wearily to his cabin, but somewhat dazed with cold and fatigue, he did not light a fire or remove his wet clothing. As the blizzard blasted through the cracks in the old cabin walls, the sleeping forest ranger sank into oblivion, paralyzed by the pleasure of the storm's icy caress. Suddenly, however, his dog sprang into action, and with unrelenting whines, finally managed to rouse his near-comatose friend. The dog was John's constant companion, a St. Bernard, one of a long line of dogs famous for their heroics in times of crisis. "If that dog hadn't been with me, I'd be dead today," John Elliott says. "When you're freezing to death you actually feel warm all over, and don't wake up because it feels too good." This moving story illustrates the spiritual condition of many people today. They are cold spiritually, and sadly are oblivious of their true condition. Thank God for all the ways in which He arouses such sleepers. He sends His messengers to nudge them awake. Sometimes the methods used to awaken them are drastic, but always for their good. Let’s not imagine that because He shakes us, He therefore hates us. He awakens us from lethargy because He loves us, and wants to save us from an eternal death. How about you friend, are you asleep today in the icy grip of sin’s darkness? How long has God been trying to wake you? When you come to church do you not feel the gentle nudging of God’s love? We can thank God that He does not leave us in a perpetual condition of darkness. His great love for lost and dying mankind compels Him to try to wake us from our sleep. John 12:46. “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” 1. In speaking of this particular darkness and light, we are not referring to something that can be seen with the eye. Instead we point to a very real spiritual darkness and light. Although the title of this message is “The Light of the World” it is needful to also speak of the darkness that envelopes the people around us. This darkness is spiritual, as we have already pointed out. But what needs to be shown is that this darkness can take many forms, even the form of light…."WHAT? How can this be? It sounds like you’re talking in circles. How can darkness be light, this must be a contradiction." No friends, it is no contradiction for the Bible speaks of this subject in this manner: 2Cor. 11:14 and no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. So then, in speaking of spiritual darkness it is needful that we point out that one of the most important things that keep people in darkness is not only Satan, but also his ministers. For lack of better words we will call them and it, false religion. Today people by the thousands will sit in so called churches and be fed the poison that assures that they will remain in darkness. They can’t see the poison, nor can they taste it. It is very much like the cold that encompassed that ranger, after a sufficient time of exposure to it, it becomes pleasurable, it actually feels good. And so, Satan has his churches and his ministers, but his followers think all is well; after all, they go to church every Sunday. They listen to a sermon, never once thinking that it contains the very poison that will ensure that their minds are blinded to the real light. The Apostle Paul said this: 2Cor. 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. In this world of political correctness we are told that we should not talk in a negative way about other churches. Paul addressed this in this manner: 2Cor.11:12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. Do we bow to the god of political correctness, or do we call false religion what it is? If your neighbor’s house was on fire with his family inside would you wake him to warn him or would you sit back and watch, safe and secure in your house? Spiritually speaking there are hundreds in your town today whose spiritual house is on fire, unless someone wakes them to warn of imminent danger they will surely die. Ok this last part was important simply because it shows that spiritual darkness can appear as light in some cases. But what about other examples of things that can hold people prisoner in the darkness that envelopes this world we live in? Many of these things come in the form of diversions. It doesn’t take much looking to see how the things of this world work against God and against spiritual light breaking through the darkness that seems to hold people in an iron grip. I’ll list just a few for your consideration. Sex is probably at the top of the list. It sells everything from food to housing. Never in the history of this nation has sex held such a captive audience. Books, TV, movies, computers, store advertising, or any advertising, how we look, how we dress; sex is “in our face” every waking moment. What better tool for Satan to use than one that can become all encompassing, diverting millions from every thought of God and narrowly focusing the mind on a life of fleshly pleasure? And speaking of pleasure or in some cases fun, we can see without too much effort, a world obsessed with pleasure. There was a time in this country that people worked for a paycheck to be able to feed their family, put a roof over their head, save for a rainy day and generally assure that their family would be taken care of. When we compare this long gone time to the day we live in we can see something quite different. We have become a nation of pleasure seekers. Sure we work, but there is no work ethic. Today’s worker is only interested in two things; how much can I make and how much time off will I have to play? In and of themselves these two things are not bad, but when these become the whole direction of our work experience they set the scene for “pleasure first” and everything else second. We have a whole generation of people where both husband and wife work, sometimes two jobs, and still they will spend above their means and even indebt themselves for years to come for pleasure and toys. Even more insidious is that they teach their children the same lifestyle. Look around you; it is hard to find a kid that doesn’t have a cell phone that will do everything for him except tuck him into bed. And think about all the other electronic devises to keep his young mind occupied. I can’t even list them all. Video games, smart phones, tablets and computers take the place of family interaction and family relationships. This is not meant to be a rant against having possessions; it is meant to simply show that there are things in our world that work toward keeping people in darkness regarding spiritual things and especially the things of God. There are thousands, if not millions today for whom the thought of God or their own spiritual condition never even enters their mind. This is where the work of Satan comes in. He has many tools at his disposal; I have just listed a few. He keeps people in darkness in regard to the things of God. The light of Jesus has gone throughout the world through His Gospel, but for many millions it has no effect; why is this? 2Cor 4:3 but if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. Now that we have looked at how darkness and the forces of evil try to block out the light, we need to look at the light itself. For it is only in the light of Jesus Christ that this world has any hope. John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” This scripture and especially the word “condemnation” speak directly to the subject at hand. It addresses both the fact that God sent Jesus to be the spiritual light that dispels this world’s spiritual darkness and the fact that this world is in darkness due to the depravity of the human race. This word, “condemnation”, is a judicial word that shows that something has already happened that has resulted in my being condemned. Because Adam was the first man, when he sinned he passed his sinful nature on to all who followed. Rom 5:12 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 must judge sin. As the righteous judge He must pronounce a righteous sentence on those who have sinned. The scripture tells us that the wages of sin is death, and so, all are condemned to death simply because all have sinned. But thank God, there is a remedy, for God is not willing that any should perish. 2Pet 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. Rom 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. If you have not taken advantage of God’s Grace and the free pardon of sin that He has offered you, would you consider accepting the forgiveness He holds out to you this hour? This very day the light of God’s love has shined in the darkness that encompasses your soul. Knowing all of this, can you go on in the way you have all of your life? Can you continue to ignore the light that has been revealed and continue in the darkness of unrepented of sin? God sent His own Son that you might have the light of life. Listen to that still, small voice inside you; for that voice is the none other than God’s Holy Spirit showing you the truth of His love.
  32. 3 points
    Every year my wife and I are in a Campmeeting in West Memphis, AR. She teaches the ladies and girls 2-3 mornings of that meeting. This is ONE of the lessons she has for this year. I know it's long but think it can be a blessing. We’re Going to Do the Best We Can with What We’ve Got I sat across the table from my mother, many ….MANY… years ago, as a young bride, and poured out my complaints about how difficult it was to fix up and decorate the tiny apartment where I had recently moved. She sat there, with her blue eyes sparkling in amusement, and took in every word. Finally, she started smiling….and the smile turned into laughter. I was insulted. I don’t like being laughed at when I whine, I want sympathy. (My mother was never very good in the sympathy department.) When I got past the peak of my indignation, she began to explain to me the reason for her amusement. “I was remembering a funny experience from my own life,” she said. “I was a young military bride; it was right after the end of WWII. We reached our new duty station, and I was so excited to be starting my new life with my new husband! But we had a huge problem. Housing was very hard to find. All the men coming back from the war and families relocating made housing around the military bases scarce. Finally, we took the only thing that was available. A man had renovated a poultry house and made it into apartments. The ceiling was so low, that your dad had to stoop over to walk around the room. The floors were concrete and the walls were so thin you could just about sneeze through them. But you know what? It is amazing how cute you can make a chicken coop with a little love and ingenuity.” Her lesson rang loud and clear. You take what you have, and you do the best you can with it. Whining doesn’t change what we have. The only thing it does is add a sour note of impossibility to our circumstances that doesn’t necessarily have to be there. That was the beginning lesson…a lesson I have had to learn over and over again throughout my Christian life. It is amazing how many ways God has taught me this same lesson. It has stood me through every trial and hardship in my life and I feel like the Lord would have me share what I have learned with you. This devotional is probably going to be more personal than any I’ve ever given. I don’t usually like to talk about myself, and I really struggled with this lesson because it is so personal. I never want anyone to get the idea that I am talking about myself to lift myself up in any way. But I learned a valuable lesson from Sister Tanya Blankenship. If you don’t know who she is, she is the wife of Steven Blankenship, who is a minister to juvenile delinquents. He preaches in juvenile prisons across the country and operates the Marvelous Grace Girls Academy for troubled teenage girls in Pace, Florida. Sis Tanya was referring to Alisha, and not myself with what she said, but the Lord really spoke to my heart through it. I don’t remember the exact words she used, but it was something to this effect: “God allows us to go through some things in our life, and gives us the strength for the battle, and the grace to forgive, to grow and to be stronger. But those lessons are only of real benefit when we use them to help others who are needing growth, help and healing.” God allows us to go through some things, sometimes, so that others may learn. 2Co 1:3-4 - Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. I’m going to be sharing a lot of small stories from my life, not so that you might look at me – but at the God that I serve. Everything that the Lord has seen me through, He can also see you through, and much more. There is no way that I could cover it all. I probably could double the stories I will tell here, but I think these are the ones God would have me use. The little lesson that my mother taught me finally became a theme in my life, and my children, and a lot of my students over the years, have heard it so many times that they could quote it to you in their sleep. I summed it up this way: “We are going to do the best we can, with what we’ve got.” The dear lady from our church meant well. She really did. She insisted that she go with me to see the remains of my home. She told me that even though I told her I was fine, it would all hit me when I saw it, and I would need her emotional support. I thought maybe she might be right. I was a new bride. All my wedding gifts and the sweet, newly purchased things for our home were gone. We’d only been married 5 months when the explosion of a gas tanker next to our house took it all. I walked toward the burned-out rubble, and I honestly, for a moment, felt guilty that I was disappointing the dear, helpful lady, but I wasn’t devastated. I wasn’t particularly happy to see the blackened mess with the 3 huge holes burned all the way through the exterior wall – but God’s peace had flooded my heart, and I walked up to it without a tear, and began to search through the ashes for anything that might still be usable…. How do you react when God takes something away? Now some people might tell you, oh, honey, God never takes things away. Ohhhh…yes’m He does! Sometimes He takes things away because they are a hindrance in your life. Sometimes He takes them away because He intends to give you something better. Sometimes He takes them away because you need to grow in faith and grace. But He does, sometimes, take things away that we have pretty much set our hearts upon. What do you do? You do the best you can with what you’ve got. You take the situation in hand, for what it is with all the good and bad that it contains, and you deal with it. Do you get mad at God, because you had your little basket all fixed up the way you wanted it, and He messed it up? 1Co 6:19-20 - What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. Rom 12:1-2 - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. When the Lord Jesus Christ saved our unworthy souls, He purchased us unto Himself. Lock, stock and barrel. We belong to Him. He has the right to do with us as He pleases. Now, our modern, independent American mindset doesn’t like that idea very much. We might repeat it like a parrot in rhetoric, but when it comes down to where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, we don’t like the idea of turning our whole lives over to God. We seem to get the idea that He’s going to mistreat us. He won’t. He loves you more than you can possibly imagine, and He only plans for your good. You can trust Him. You can trust Him with your possessions, with your future, with your marriage, with your children, with your church, with your finances. You can trust Him. Never, ever will you be more fulfilled and content than when you turn yourself over, completely, to the Lord as a living sacrifice. Notice in the Scripture that this is something that we must do..it is not something that God will make us do. The sacrifice here is like all sacrifices - willingly offered. He said, “I beseech you” (I’m asking you, earnestly, almost begging you, because this is for your good – for the best that God has to offer you.) “present yourselves” (you give the sacrifice, willingly, without being compelled. It is a conscious choice that you make to give yourself over to God with all that you have and all that you are.) 2Sa_22:31 - As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. Psa_9:10 - And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. When you give yourself to God, the peace that floods your soul in times of troubles and heartaches is not describable to anyone. It is a special touch that comes from the Holy Spirit of God. I have tried, many times, to describe it this way: “There is a place in the lowest of valleys, where the hand of God is more real, and the touch of God more sweet than at any other time and place…but you must walk through the valley to feel that touch – it doesn’t come on the mountain top.” We can choose to walk through the valley, kicking and struggling the whole way – fighting against the path that God has chosen for our lives. Or we can bow our heads, reach for His hand and allow the comfort that He gives to flood our souls. The choice is ours, and it is a choice between struggle and surrender. You will still go through the heartaches and troubles. But it is your choice as to whether you go through them with the peace of God or without it. As I headed down the road, in my old clunker car, it decided, once again, that it was tired and needed a rest. I managed to get it to the side of the road. I sighed as I looked at my children. All 5 of them. My oldest daughter – then about 9 years old – looked at me with a worried expression and said, “Mama, what are we going to do?” My response was immediately, “We’re going to do the best we can with what we’ve got.” She looked confused for a moment and said, “Mama, what have we got?” I said, “Feet. Let’s walk.” How do you treat life’s irritating moments? Do you blow up in anger at things that can’t be avoided? Or worse yet, do you take those things, those little irritations, out on your husband and children, or even your brothers and sisters in Christ? We have such a tendency to be creatures of the moment, don’t we? We make snap judgments. We let our tempers flare and our bad attitudes show. Even the smallest of life’s irritations have the possibility of teaching our children, and those around us the grace of God. Or the opposite, if we allow our flesh to control us. Php 2:14-15 - Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; If I had fumed and fussed and cried and belly-ached at that car, it still wouldn’t have gone down the road. I would have still been in the same situation, except that now I would have displayed a lack of trust in the Lord and a poor testimony in front of my children. They, more than likely, would have started crying as well, and then I would have reaped the due reward of inflicting my bad attitude on them, as they returned in kind. If we would learn to take life’s small irritations as an opportunity to shine as lights in the world, how different would our attitude be toward those unexpected moments? Let’s strive to learn to laugh, and say, “Well, praise the Lord! What’s the best way to handle this one?” Gal 5:16 - This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. It’s so easy, isn’t it, to let the flesh control our response to the situations that arise in our lives? If instead we will do the best we can with what we’ve got, it will mean using every situation as an opportunity to be a good testimony for the Lord. Sometimes that means controlling our anger when it wants to flare. Sometimes that means consciously putting down our fears. Sometimes it means shutting our mouths when we want so badly to put in our two cents worth. (Hang on to your two cents, sometimes we can’t afford what it purchases.) How do we walk in the Spirit? #1 It is IMPOSSIBLE to walk in the Spirit if you do not have a regular time of personal devotion. Pray. Read and study your Bible. Meditate on and memorize the Word of God. There is no getting around the truth that if you do not walk close to God in your personal life, your public life will be a mess. #2 Pay attention in church. So many people sit in church and have no idea what the preaching was about, because their minds are a million miles away. Go to church with a bucket instead of a pitchfork. My pastor of many years used to say that some people come to church with a bucket and some come with a pitchfork. Those with a bucket are hungry for the word of God and want what God has for them in the service. Those with a pitchfork are grabbing the preaching and pitching it over their shoulder because they figure that it’s not for them, it’s for the guy sitting behind them. #3 Use every opportunity that you have in your life to be a witness for the Lord. Lost people are all around us. Our testimony – at all times – is vitally important. Saved people need to grow in grace and knowledge. When you have that knowledge, it is given to you to share, not to sit on. When we walk in the flesh, even in the minor situations of our life, we are not walking in the Spirit. And when we walk in the flesh, we have no idea how much damage we might do. We walked into the little country church, happy for the opportunity to minister, and heard, to our delight, that they planned a dinner on the grounds for the anniversary Sunday where my husband had been invited to preach. We had been struggling financially for quite a while, and the prospect of a church dinner sounded wonderful after months of beans and cornbread. As the guest preacher’s family, we were ushered to the head of the line. My little daughter looked up at me with a happy smile as she surveyed the table in front of her, and said, “Look, Mama! Meat!!” What do you do in life’s embarrassing moments? Do you lash out at the one who embarrassed you? Do you get angry and let your temper, and your tongue take over? Or do you do the best you can with what you’ve got? Nothing riles up our tempers faster than being embarrassed, does it? That’s pride. Pride makes fools out of us very quickly. Not only that, God hates pride. It is never the best way to handle a situation to bow up in pride. Pro_13:10 - Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom. Let your pride flare, and you will almost always find yourself in an argument of some sort. And you will almost always be in the wrong. Pro_29:23 - A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. Let your pride flare and you will almost always find yourself landing flat of your back, wondering how you got there. Pro_16:5 - Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. An abomination! A promise of punishment! We should be frightened of pride! If you ever want to look like a complete fool, let your heart swell up with pride. What are we really? Nothing but what the Lord has done. If we have any abilities, if we have any worth – it is because of what the Lord has given and what He has blessed us to be able to do. Give all the glory and praise to God for who He is, and what He has done in your life. Then when those embarrassing moments catch us off guard, we won’t be so quick to respond in pride. When someone ridicules you, or accuses you falsely – that hurts, doesn’t it? When someone seriously tries to do you harm for their own gain, it’s sometimes devastating. When you try to minister to people and they turn on you, not at all understanding that you are striving for their good to the best of your ability – how do we respond? Pride has no place in those situations, but a lot of times, that is our reaction. I could give you story after story of those situations in my life….but, why be depressing?! What do we do when it happens? It will! People will be people, and as people we don’t always act right, do we? Yet, we expect other people to always treat US with love and kindness, because after all – we are…us! That’s pride. During a particularly trying situation in my life, where I felt like I was always coming out at the bottom, looking like a stray dog, God gave me this quote by C.H. Spurgeon. When I first saw it, it was like a pressure valve suddenly released, I laughed and laughed. Then I wrote it in the front of my Bible. I refer to it often. “If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him, for you are worse than he thinks you to be.” That kind of kicks pride in the head, doesn’t it? Doing the best you can with what you have means leaving pride behind and approaching each embarrassing or demeaning situation with the idea that God always treats us better than we deserve. Psa 118:6 - The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? I stood at the side of the little steel crib, looking at my beautiful blonde-haired baby boy, only 5 months old, gasping for every breath under the oxygen tent, the heart monitor going crazy every time they tried to give him medication for his breathing. The love, and peace of God flooded every part of my being. I felt so blessed. I had so much more than the poor little mom on the other side of the room. My Lord to comfort and guide, and the constant love and support of my husband. That poor lady didn’t understand. She approached me and asked, “How long have you been married?” 10 years, I replied. “That’s crazy, she said, you and your husband seem like newlyweds.” “We really need each other right now,” I said. “Yeah, I could use some support, too.” Was her reply. Her husband was very seldom in the room. When he was, they fought constantly. They blamed each other for everything they could think of, and it usually ended with him storming out of the room to “get a cigarette,” from which he didn’t come back. How do you react when life doesn’t go your way? Do you lash out at those that are closest to you, and look for someone or something to blame? Or do you turn to the One who can give peace and comfort? Doing the best you can with what you’ve got sometimes means approaching the hardest times of life with the best attitude that you can muster. Sometimes life really hurts. Sometimes the hurt is nearly unbearable. Resorting to blaming others when you are hurting is not doing the best you can with what you’ve got. The blame game won’t make you feel better. In fact, it will only make you feel worse. Turn instead to the Lord and allow Him to pour the balm of Gilead into your soul. You will find that you really can do the BEST you can with what you’ve got. Col_3:15 - And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Again, ladies, the peace of God is your choice. You make the decision as to whether you will let God minister to your soul, or whether you will arm yourself with the flesh – and your mouth – and try to go it alone. Someone always gets hurt when we do that. I have seen families split up and spend the rest of their lives hating each other because of something that was said or done during a crisis in their lives. Why? No one accepted God’s peace, and instead they lashed out at one another in their hurt or sorrow, not considering the hurt and sorrow of the ones around them. I have stood beside those little steel cribs in hospital rooms more times than I can count. I have nearly lost all 5 of my children at various times of their lives. My Daniel more than a few times. The love and peace of God has been my sustaining power. I don’t know how other people go through such things without God to grant them peace. I wouldn’t even want to try. Luk_6:31 - And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. We recognize this as what the world calls, “the golden rule.” Much quoted, almost never practiced. But if we would! If we would consider before we speak or act, “Is this the way I would want them to treat me, if I were them, and they were me?” Then we would begin to do the best we can with what we’ve got. And everyone’s life, our own especially, would be better for it. Because, ladies, although you cannot control how other people act, if you will control how you REact to their behavior, you will find that you will have a lot more peace in every situation. There just wasn’t enough money. We weren’t going to make it. It was fine when we had purchased our little dream. We had a beautiful place out in the country with our very own mobile home….well, at least we were paying for it. Lots of space for the kids to run, not too many neighbors, a place for a garden. We had plans to build a deck….Then the kids started to get sick. Really sick. The list of specialists kept growing. Hospitalization after hospitalization after E.R. visit after E.R. visit. It was okay, we were holding our heads above water, until my husband was layed off from his job. Oh, he found work right away, but the insurance was gone. The new insurance company refused to cover the kids. Pre-existing conditions. (We had no idea, back then, that such a thing as Medicaid even existed.) The medical bills mounted up..and up…and up. We finally conceded defeat. We turned our little dream back over to the mortgage company and packed up what we could in our car. We lived in a garage apartment attached to my mother’s home for 6 months…until our 5th little one was born. What happens when your dream crumbles? What do you do when finances are hard…not a little bit hard, but really hard? There are more divorces because of financial difficulty than any other reason. Families split up. Attitudes flare up. The blame game begins. “If he would work harder.” “If she would slow down on all the spending.” “If he wouldn’t buy unnecessary junk.” “If she would get out and get a job.” Marriage is a team effort, ladies. It takes a lot of work on both parts to make the everyday, in and out, of a marriage work. You can’t work against one another and expect your marriage to last. You need to do the best you can with what you’ve got. Now, I’m not saying that when a marriage is bad, that it is automatically the woman’s fault. No, not at all. But I am saying that no amount of nagging on your part is going to change your husband. You need to do the best you can with what you’ve got. I don’t envy you that task if your husband is lost, but there is a biblical method for you to follow. Not an easy road, by any means, but it is the road that God says you are to follow in the hopes that your husband will be saved. (Remember that he has a free will – you can’t force him to turn to the Lord any more than anyone could have forced you to be saved.) That plan is mapped out in 1 Peter 3:1-5 There’s a lot in that verse. If we were to stop and cover it, it would take a whole lesson to give it the time it deserves. But if you have questions about it, I’d be happy to sit down with you and go through it together. For those of us whose husband is saved, we have the open opportunity for the most blessed relationship in the world. Our marriages are a picture of Christ and the church! What are we doing with the opportunity? Are we doing the best we can with what we’ve got? Do we seek to make our marriage a testimony to the world of the grace and power of God? Or do we deal with our marriage selfishly, as though the sole purpose that our husband has on earth is to meet our needs and satisfy our whims? Do we whine, coax, threaten or manipulate when things don’t go our way? Do we consider our marriage a team unit? Or an opportunity to be queen supreme? 1Pe_3:8 - Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: This passage of Scripture is referring to the marriage relationship…look it up and check the context. There’s a lot to work on in our lives just following this one simple verse in our marriage relationships. Have compassion on your husband. Love your husband, not just as a marriage partner, but as a brother in Christ. Be pitiful to your husband (understand his shortcomings, don’t blame, seek to be there when he needs you – when he’s weak, lift him up, don’t tear him down.) Be courteous (He’s not an old shoe. He’s to be reverenced and honored by you more than any man on earth.) No amount of dreaming and wishing on your part is going to fix your finances when they’re hard. No amount of pride and temper is going to fix rebellion in your children or pressure from extended family. Doing the best you can with what you’ve got in your marriage is understanding that you are a family unit, a team - not adversaries. Work together at making it work. Put God first. Always first. If God is first in your marriage then no matter how hard the rest of life becomes, you will make it. Pro_14:1 - Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. First, she had COPD. We sat and talked it over. It was incurable, but possible to live with. Then they found the cancer. What had been a shadow on the first scan showed up the size of a walnut on the second, the size of an orange on the third – within a year. When they could get her stabilized, they would consider surgery. They never got her stabilized. 6 months after they found the cancer, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. She gave up. 3 days after that diagnosis she died. My mother was as dear to me, her only daughter, as a mother can be to a child. She’s been gone now for 13 years, and I still miss her every day. You will ask me, was she saved? My answer will be – I don’t know. All I can do is hope so. I witnessed to her, left her tracts to read, I prayed and prayed. I know that she had, some “experience” in the hospital just before her death, that she tried to explain to me, but didn’t know the terminology to describe. What happens when grief knocks at your door? I grieved for my mom. I remember going to the doctor, just a couple of days after the funeral. I walked down the hospital halls, where I had almost lived in the months prior to her death. All the memories were already flooding over my very unstable emotions. And then my doctor – who was also her doctor – greeted me with, “I’m so sorry about your mom.” I broke down and cried, right in the doctor’s office. And then I was angry with myself for crying and cried because I was crying. He sat there sympathetically and wrote me a prescription for an antidepressant. On the way home, I kept staring at the prescription and praying. “Lord, am I depressed?” “Do I need that?” “Is this even right for me to take?” I stopped at the pharmacy and filled the prescription and then I stared at the bottle. “Isn’t grief a part of life?” “Didn’t you promise that if I turn my grief over to you, you would be my comfort?” The determination struck my heart to give it to God, and the peace of God began to creep into my soul. The pills went down the drain, and I began to heal…little by little, the way real healing happens. That lesson was well learned. It has taken me through many, many periods of grief that have followed. Joh_14:27 - Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Php_4:7 - And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. The peace of God will keep your heart. It will keep your mind. But there is a condition to that peace. It is in the verses before Php 4:4-6 - Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. To do the best you can when life hands you grief, first you must rejoice in the Lord – alway. Not when you feel like it or when things are going good, but alway. To do that we have to stop and consider the Lord in every situation of our lives. He’s good all the time, even when our circumstances are bad. Then we must let our moderation be outwardly seen by everyone around us. What is moderation? It is not running to excess in anything. It is having control over our tempers, our emotions, our desires and our passions – in other words, not being controlled by the flesh. Then, lastly, we need to pray about everything. Not just the big things, but the little things as well. When we do these things we have the promise that follows – that God will keep our hearts and minds. Doing the best you can with what you’ve got in the matter of grief, means that instead of being ruled by the grief, we allow the peace of God to rule in our hearts. One month after my mother died, my husband headed out from where we had taken shelter at the church, with 2 of the boys, to see what kind of damage there might have been. When he returned I turned a questioning look his way, really expecting an “all is well.” It had always been well in the previous hurricanes. He shook his head. “We’ve been here before. I think this left more useable stuff than the fire, though.” Weeks later, still without power, tired from the work of tossing out destroyed furniture and carpeting and scraping sodden sheet-rock out of the shell of our home, our family sat on the steps in the evening, ate another MRE and sang together, rejoicing in the goodness of God. Why? We were safe. We were together. We had our love, our family, our God. I remember laying in the bed that the red cross had purchased for us, (We had forsaken the crowded, damp little fema camper and moved back into our roof-less house, it was more comfortable.) I watched the blue tarp over my head pop up and down in the wind and felt such an incredible sense of peace and well-being. Then I laughed at myself for feeling so comfortable.. A member of the church came by during the next tropical storm. We greeted him at the door with a smile, chided him a little for running around in storms, and invited him in. He sat in the livingroom with us and watched the tarp blow up and down and looked around at the bare plywood floor and the wall studs and rafters that made up what was left of our home, and said, “This is nice, do you always decorate in 3rd world?” My husband owned an electrical business. He worked from before sun-up to after sun-down five days a week, after the storm, trying to rebuild electrical services for people. While he worked, he listened. “I’m so devastated!” “I just can’t understand why this has happened to me!” “I don’t know how I’m ever going to make it through this!” “This is horrible!” He would always ask them, “Is your family ok?” “Oh, yes, they’re fine, but we lost….” And they would go into a list of cars, boats, house, furniture, etc.” One lady became infuriated with him because he wasn’t sympathetic enough to suit her and snarled, “Well, easy enough for you to have no worries, when you haven’t lost everything!” … and he smiled, and spent his Saturdays trying to rebuild our own home … What made the difference? We’re going to do the best we can with what we’ve got. What do you do when you lose your material possessions? Understand that we had worked for and loved and purchased that little home with all the intention in the world of staying in it for the rest of our lives. (We had actually built the deck on this one!) We were content. We had our home, our church, our ministry, our business venture. Everything was fine. We didn’t necessarily need for God to come in and upset our apple-cart! Within a year’s time, the only thing we had left of that list was the shell of our destroyed home and the business. We could have gotten angry with him. And what good would that have done? I have never understood why people get angry with God when things happen in their lives. “Why me?” “Why is God doing this to me?” And then they walk away from the Lord, like they expected life to be a bed of roses because they honored God with the privilege of saving their souls. Like God owes them something. My question is, “Why not you?” What makes you so special that you should be exempt from hard times? Joh_16:33 - These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. He didn’t say, in the world you will have it easy-peasy and life will be just great. He said you will have tribulation. That’s when you look to Him for comfort and guidance, it’s not when you decide to blame him and throw a temper tantrum like an undisciplined child. How are we supposed to respond to the troubles in our lives? How do we do the best we can, when what we’ve got is tribulation? Rom 5:3-5 - And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Realize 3 things about tribulation. #1 – it’s working in your life to make you a stronger Christian. #2 – It’s building patience and experience so that you might be a help, encouragement and an example to others, #3 – it’s an opportunity to see God work, bless and give you the peace that only He can give. Tribulation is not a curse. It’s a blessed working of God in your life that will make you stronger, give you assurance of the love of God, and make you able to be a blessing to others around you. Daddy was alone. Mama had been his caretaker, ever since he had the stroke, 17 years before. She was gone now, and I spent my time divided between caring for him and my own home. Oh, he had my brother – but my brother was an addict, and very unreliable. Now I had a huge difficulty. God had called my husband away…1,500 miles away to be exact. I was ready, willing, and eager to go…but what about Daddy? I sat beside him, and begged him to come with me. “NO! Kansas is cold.” He would not be convinced. I began to pray, “Lord, I’m willing to go, and I will go, as you have called. Please, Lord, take care of my Daddy.” And God answered my prayer in the person of a family friend who willingly took him in. That answer to prayer opened the door to my daddy’s salvation at 82 years of age. What do you do when duties conflict? You do the best you can with what you’ve got. I had a responsibility to my daddy. The command to honor our parents doesn’t end when we are grown. But my greater responsibility lay in obeying the call of God that had been placed on my husband’s heart. As I obeyed the Lord, He took care of the rest. Sometimes doing the best you can with what you’ve got means making hard, really hard decisions. Sometimes those decisions will tear your heart out. But choosing to follow and honor God with your life is always the right decision. The Word of God has to be our constant guide. DO NOT follow your heart. That’s the worst advice you can ever give a person. Your heart will deceive you. It will convince you that wrong is right and right is wrong. Jer_17:9 - The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Pro_28:26 - He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. We can’t trust that heart. What do we trust instead? When life gives you difficult, heart wrenching decisions, what do you do with it? Trust the Word of God. If you trust your emotions, you will almost always fall prey to the devil. He loves it when we become hyper-emotional. We’ve played right into his hands when we do. Let the word of God be your guide, always, and you will find that it’s much easier to do the best you can with what you’ve got, when life’s decisions are hard to make. As I said, there’s more…..but this is enough. Ladies, do the best you can….by the power of God, by the grace of God with the help of God, the peace of God and the word of God, do the best you can with what you’ve got.
  33. 3 points
    Analyzing the Chinese word Righteousness 「義的分析」 by Alan Introduction The Chinese written language is very unique. The Chinese words are called, “Characters,” and use a visual, or pictograph, series of lines, called, “strokes,” that represent a word, or a thought, or an action. In written Chinese, we have an example of the righteousness of God through His Son, the Lord Jesus, in the word, “righteousness.” In Chinese, the word righteousness is written as, 「義」 The Chinese word righteousness is composed of two major words; the word Lamb「羊」 on the top and the word Me 「我」or Us 「我們」on the bottom. The word Me 「我」or Us 「我們」is composed of two words: the hand 「手」 and a spear「戈」 Righteousness is very important. God is holy and will not allow sin into heaven. A person needs to be reconciled to God, or to become righteous, in the sight of God, in order to escape the punishment of hell and enter into everlasting life in heaven. Before a person is a Christian in the sight of God he is unrighteous. The Apostle Paul said, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:10 Therefore, in order for a person to have eternal life in heaven, in the presence of God, he must be righteous. He must have his sins forgiven. We will analyze the Chinese word for righteousness and look at an example of how we can become righteous by God’s principles. In order to understand righteousness in the sight of God, we must turn to the word of God; the Bible. The Bible is God’s word and we can trust it. First 「羊」 A Lamb A sinless sacrifice must be made to forgive sins. And, it must be according to what God says. The Bible says that the blood of animals cannot take away the sins of mankind. Hebrews 10:4 says, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.” The animal sacrifices of the world cannot take away a persons sins. This includes the Muslims in the Middle East, and the sacrifices of the Buddhist, Confucianists and Taoists of the East. Hebrews 10:4, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” The sacrificial lambs that God required by the Jews under the Law of Moses in the Old Testament did not take away sins; they were an object lesson of the sacrificial sacrifice for sins by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. They were a guide, or a teacher, for the sacrifice of Christ. Galatians 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” The Lord Jesus was sinless and perfect. In contrasting the sacrifices of the Jews under the Levitical law, the Old Testament, and the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus as our priest and sacrifice for sins, the author of the book of Hebrews makes this statement. “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. … For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,and made higher than the heavens. Who needed not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for his he did once, when he offered up himself.” Hebrews 7:22, 26 & 27 The Lord Jesus was sinless and totally righteous. A Chinese proverb says,「義刑於色」Translated, that means, “Righteousness manifested in one's appearance.” Wang Ming-Tao says, “Yes, our Lord is completely holy. You can not find anything that He did without any blemish or unrighteousness. When He was on the earth no matter if it was a disciple, or if it was an enemy, including anybody else that had anything to do with Him, they all gave a clear testimony that He did not have even a little bit of sin or unrighteousness. 王明道:「是、我們的主就是那樣完全聖潔。你不能在他的身上找出一點污穢不義來。他在世上行走的時候、無論是他的門徒、他的仇敵、以及與他毫無關係的人、都證明他沒有少許的罪惡不義。」i A free translation by the author. The Lord Jesus was like a lamb sacrificed for us. John the Baptist said, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 The Lord Jesus died on the cross, like a harmless lamb, and shed His blood as a sacrifice. As with the Jews in the Old Testament the eternal salvation of the soul is by the imputation of righteousness the moment a person, by faith, trusts in God. When a person realizes that he has sinned against God, and deserves to spend eternity in hell, and believes by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as his payment for sins, than God imputes, or gives, His righteousness to that individual. “For what saith the scriptures? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3 Second 「我」 Me, 「我們」or Us Why did Jesus become a sacrifice? In order to redeem us. So we can obtain eternal salvation. To reconcile us to God. Before a person is saved he is a sinner and His relationship with God is severed . The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus is the only way we can be reconciled with God. The Lord Jesus was sinless. He became sin for us while on the cross in order for us to become righteous.2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Third 「手」The Hand God made us. He made our hands. We can use our hands for good or for evil. God gave us the ability, the will, to either serve Him or the Devil. The decision is ours. Matthew 27:1&2, “When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontus Pilate the governor.” Because of our sins, the hand of man apprehended the Lord Jesus Christ. The hand of man hit Jesus. The hand of man took a whip and whipped Jesus. The hand of man took a nail in one hand and a hammer in the other hand and nailed Jesus on the cross. The hand of man caused the blood of Jesus to be shed. The Lord Jesus allowed men to crucify Him so His blood could be shed for our sins. The apostle Peter testified, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Acts 2:23 We can either use our hands for good or for wickedness. Fourth「戈」 A Spear The hand of man took a spear and pierced the side of Jesus and more blood flowed from the body of Jesus. John 19:34 says, “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.” Jesus died for us! The Lord Jesus became a sacrificial lamb to die for the penalty of our sins on the cross of Calvary. John 3:16 says, “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.” We need to have a repentant heart and believe on the Lord Jesus as our Saviour! Conclusion The Lord Jesus was righteous in every aspect. When a person repents and trust in Jesus as their Saviour then God imputes the righteousness of Jesus to that person. The Lord Jesus becomes our righteousness. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary we can have forgiveness of our sins, escape the punishment of hell, and obtain eternal life in heaven. The Lord Jesus left the glory of heaven, became a man, to die on the cross as a sacrificial lamb, to shed His blood, so we could be saved and the righteousness of God imputed to us. So we can be reconciled with God. i Wang Ming Tao, Treasuries of Wang Ming Tao, Volume II The Hard Road, (Touliu, Taiwan: Conservative Baptist Press, 1996), Page 93. 王明道,王明道文庫,第二冊,小徑(臺灣斗六:浸宣出版社,1996),93頁。
  34. 3 points
    Alan

    Psalm 19:1 Integrity

    “Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool” Proverbs 19:1 The meaning of integrity is moral soundness or purity; incorruptness, uprightness; honesty. Job is an excellent man of integrity. Job 2:3, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth [ hate ] evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” Job eschewed, or hated, evil. Job was upright, morally pure, incorrupt in business, and honest in his dealings. A person who hates sin, and stays away from sin, is a person of integrity. Psalms 97:10, “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.” Job, a man of God, was a man of integrity. “... than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool” The meaning of perverse is: to be obstinate; in the wrong; disposed to be contrary; or stubborn. Balaam, a false prophet, because his way of life was contrary to God, was perverse. Numbers 22:31 & 32, “Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me.” Balaam, and other false teachers, are obstinate, contrary, and stubborn against the ways and doctrines of God as written in the scriptures. They are fools and perverse in the sight of God. Jude 11, “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” See also 2 Peter 2:1-22 Conclusion Job is a fine example of a man of integrity. Job maintained his integrity in spite of intense physical, mental, social (his three friends), and spiritual testing. In these last days of spiritual unrest, false teachers, political uncertainty, wars and rumors of war, legal persecution, verbal animosity, and other trials of these perilous last days, we need to maintain our integrity. May God bless you all.
  35. 3 points
    Twoedged Sword

    Biblical Repentance

    Biblical Repentance Before I dive into the doctrine of repentance let me just say that I am very aware of the importance of judging myself before judging anyone else and I try to walk in the light. In case you are wondering “who are you to reprove others?” I am only a sinner saved by God’s amazing grace. In fact, I am less than nothing apart from the Lord. BUT, Like Jeremiah, God’s Word burns in me and I cannot keep quiet. If there is a doctrine that is seriously lacking in today’s churches it is repentance. It typically won’t build a big church so it is no wonder the majority of pastors today don’t preach it in an illustrated plain manner. I believe another reason why some earnest Gospel preachers are almost afraid of, and generally ignore, the terms “repent” and “repentance” in their evangelizing is that they fear that their hearers might misunderstand these terms and think of them as implying something meritorious on the part of the sinner. But nothing could be further from the mark. There is no saving merit in owning my true condition. There is no healing in acknowledging the nature of my illness. And repentance, as I will clearly show, is just this very thing. And it is not enough to just tell your people to repent (though that is a lot more than a lot of people today). Lost people (which fill many churches today and I am not talking about the visitors) need some detailed illustrations about what real repentance is along with some hellfire preaching. I am afraid that most people could not give a Biblical definition of repentance. Dear reader, my goal here is to bring some clarity on what real repentance is and that you will start to preach and teach repentance boldly and in a way so that your hearer truly understands that “except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3. The problem today is the easy believism… 123 repeat after me sinners prayer type of evangelism, then giving them assurance they are saved without ever seeing their changed life. Giving people assurance of salvation without seeing the evidence of salvation is of the Devil as far as I am concerned. Preaching repentance and telling those who are lost to turn from their sin in a plain manner will drop your “saved” numbers dramatically. But who cares about an inflated report anyways! I want someone that I can disciple and you cannot truly disciple a professor who does not have a change in attitude toward God and their sin. I understand that there will always be some false converts, it is inevitable, but my based on my experience and diligent research on the topic, not preaching repentance is the reason for the majority of false converts. Like myself in the past, the majority want God to give them salvation but they keep doing their own thing. That is not Biblical salvation. If what you believe doesn’t change the way you live, I wouldn’t give ten cents for your faith. In plainer words, the Lord Jesus Christ did not die on the cross so that you can live any ole way you want. Dear reader, you don’t believe that (or you’re fooling yourself) and I don’t believe that because scripture says the opposite. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. So then why is the preaching of repentance so neglected? I think it is because there are a bunch of cowardly compromisers behind the pulpit who fear the people more than they fear Almighty God and who care more about their individual bottom line than about the truth. For example, Dr. Robert Morris at Gateway Church in Southlake, TX has a three part series called “The Blessed Life.” I was forced to watch it on two occasions while at the Faith Based Dorm at Hutchins State Jail. Not ONE time does Morris ever mention the word repentance. Not once did he ever tell his people in order to live a blessed life they would need to continue to confess and forsake sin! See 1 John 1:9 and Proverbs 28:13. He did say that if you tithe you will get material gain and if you don’t that God would curse you and you would have demons unleashed on you. Don’t get me wrong, I believe we are commanded to tithe and I myself do. BUT, we tithe not because we think it is a way to gain wealth in this world. It is simply because we are commanded to do so and it puts God first in your life. But this is a whole other topic for another time. Some preachers rarely rebuke sin and preach repentance because they just don’t want to “beat anybody up.” I find that to be quite a revealing thing that literally flies in the face of hundreds of verses in the Bible… Was the Lord Jesus Christ “beating people up” when he told the Pharisees “except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish?” Was the Apostle Paul being too rough on the crowd when he said “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”? Acts 17:30 Fact is rebuking sin and urging people to turn from their sin is not beating them up but is the most loving and compassionate thing you can do. This self esteem mad generation we live in today confuses Biblical correction with persecution. Scripture commands us to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” 2 Tim 4:2 Then there is this business of giving people assurance of salvation without seeing the evidence of true repentance. We cannot give people assurance period. You can’t see that person’s heart only God can. We can have a pretty good idea later on based on their fruit and testimony (changed life) and we will do well to pray that God will give us discernment so that we can have a good idea whether someone is still lost or not and how God wants us to deal with that person etc. They can have assurance through the scriptures and the Holy Spirit alone. Before I was saved out of a drug addiction and wretched lifestyle in 2013, I thought I was saved (or hoped I was) simply because I “believed.” I used to hang onto John 3:16 because after all, it said whosoever believeth shall not perish. How convenient, I could just believe and keep on living any ole way I want. There is a verse that plainly describes that person and its Titus 1:16 “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” Repentance and Faith Author and Missionary David Cloud says: “Some men point to John 3:16 and Acts 16:31, claiming that it is not necessary to preach repentance since we don’t see it in these passages. ‘It seems to me, though, that this is a strange way to use the Bible, since it is so obvious from other passages that repentance is necessary. Jesus said it is necessary (Luke 13:1-5); Paul said it is necessary (Acts 17:30, etc.); Peter said it is necessary (2 Pet. 3:9). If preaching repentance is not necessary and we only need to preach faith, why did Christ Himself preach repentance? ‘I would say to the issue of why verses such as John 3:16 and Acts 16:31 don’t mention repentance is that proper saving faith includes repentance and proper repentance includes faith. I say this because repentance and faith are sometimes spoken of in Scripture as both being necessary for salvation (i.e., Acts 20:21; Heb. 6:1), while at other times only one or the other is said to be necessary. ‘Salvation is referred to as coming to repentance with no mention of faith in Matthew 9:13; 11:20-21; 21:32; Mark 1:4; 2:17; 6:12; Luke 15:7; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 11:18; 26:20; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:25; and 2 Peter 3:9. ‘Then in other passages, such as John 3:16 and Acts 16:31, salvation is referred to as believing and repentance is not mentioned. ‘By comparing Scripture with Scripture (rather than isolating Scripture, which is the method used by false teachers), I conclude that saving faith includes repentance.” Examples of Repentance in the Bible “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham” (Lk. 19:8,9). Zacchaeus repented and it resulted in a hatred of evil and a love of righteousness. Also we see here that he who truly repents will surely seek to make right any wrong he has done to his fellows, though he knows that he never can make up for the wrong done to God. “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” (Lk. 15:17-20) Here we see the Prodigal Son confessing his sin towards God and making a 180 u-turn forsaking his sin. “For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9). Notice they turned to God from idols not from idols to God. There is a difference. In plainer words, you cannot straddle the fence. Turning to God is a 180 and the old life of sin is now behind you, the cross before you. “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. 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. 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 anything: let them not feed, nor drink water: 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.” The word repentance isn’t in the Jonah passage, but they did turn, and that is what repentance is. In Matthew 12:31 Jesus confirmed that they indeed repented. It was obvious that the people of Nineveh had repented based on their actions. “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.” (Ezekiel 14:6) No thinking person would come to the conclusion that God would be pleased with the people just changing their minds without changing their actions! What Repentance is Not Repentance is not a work, works are the fruit of repentance. Repentance is not reformation either. There have been several people by their own free will that quit drinking, stop using drugs, stop stealing etc. but never got saved. They never confessed their sin to Almighty God and trusted in the shed blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin. Reformation is merely an outward change. Repentance is a work of God in the soul. The Apostle Paul explains exactly what true repentance is in 2 Corinthians 7:10. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” Dear reader listen to me carefully, it is very important that you get this. The difference between sorrow of the world and Godly sorrow is this… WORLDLY SORROW ENDS AS SOON AS THE AFFLICTION IS REMOVED. AS SOON AS THE AFFLICTION IS OVER, AS SOON AS YOUR MARRIAGE IS HEALED, AS SOON AS YOUR BODY IS HEALED, AS SOON AS YOUR PROBLEMS ARE GONE, AS SOON AS YOU GET OUT OF PRISON/JAIL AND YOU DRIFT RIGHT BACK INTO THE WORLD THAT YOU CAME OUT OF. THAT’S WORLDLY SORROW THAT LEADS TO DEATH. Godly sorrow of repentance to salvation grows and develops into conviction and perseverance and a relationship with the Lord and joy and fruitfulness in your life to where a change takes place, a real change that lasts past an altar prayer or a day or two in church or some revival meeting that you went to and felt good for a little while. If you have real godly sorrow it will work the effect where God becomes God in your life. Your attitude towards sin has changed. Once you get right with God you begin to see yourself as you really are. The Holy Spirit begins to open you up like a tin of beans. Once you right with God you’ll be shocked at the stuff you will be confessing and repenting of. Once you ever really get serious with God, stuff is going start coming out of your heart that you didn’t even know was in there because we have a way of covering stuff over, everybody’s got tunnel vision when it comes to their own sinfulness. You can see anothers sin real good but you have a difficult time seeing your own. What Great Preachers of the Past and Present Have to Say About Repentance “Biblical repentance as preached by John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the apostles, is A CHANGE OF MIND TOWARD GOD AND SIN THAT RESULTS IN A CHANGE OF LIFE. IT IS A SPIRIT-WROUGHT CHANGE OF MIND THAT LEADS TO A CHANGE OF LIFE. It is not a change of life. That would be a works salvation. It is a radical, Spirit-wrought change of mind toward sin and God, such a dramatic change of mind that it changes one’s actions.” (David Cloud “Biblical Repentance” wayoflife.org) “But God’s holy eye discerns the sinfulness of every heart and calls upon all to take sides with Him against themselves. Until this is done, saving faith is an impossibility. This is not to limit grace. It is to make way for it. And be it remembered, repentance is not a state automatically produced. It is the inwrought work of the Holy Spirit effected by faithful preaching of the Word. But how seldom today do we hear the cry, “Except ye repent.”” (Harry Ironside page 17 “Repent Ye”) “…repentance … is a turning from sin, a loathing of it; and if thou hast that, thou hast sure repentance; but not else. Repentance is also a sense of shame for having lived in it, and a longing to avoid it. It is a change of the mind with regard to sin–a turning of the man right round. That is what it is; and it is wrought in us by the grace of God. Let none therefore mistake what true repentance is” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Mistaken Notions about Repentance,” Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England, April 20, 1879). “What then is repentance? So far as possible I desire to avoid the use of all abstruse or pedantic terms, for I am writing not simply for scholars, but for those Lincoln had in mind when he said, “God must have thought a lot of the common people, for He made so many of them.” Therefore I wish, so far as possible, to avoid citing Greek or Hebrew words. But here it seems almost necessary to say that it is the Greek word metanoia, which is translated “repentance” in our English Bibles, and literally means a change of mind. This is not simply the acceptance of new ideas in place of old notions. But it actually implies a complete reversal of one’s inward attitude. How luminously clear this makes the whole question before us! To repent is to change one’s attitude toward self, toward sin, toward God, toward Christ. And this is what God commands. John came preaching to publicans and sinners, hopelessly vile and depraved, “Change your attitude, for the kingdom is at hand.” To haughty scribes and legalistic Pharisees came the same command, “Change your attitude,” and thus they would be ready to receive Him who came in grace to save. To sinners everywhere the Saviour cried, “Except ye change your attitude, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Harry Ironside “Repent Ye”) “Repentance is a godly sorrow for sin. Repentance is a forsaking of sin. Real repentance is putting your trust in Jesus Christ so you will not live like that anymore. Repentance is permanent. It is a lifelong and an eternity-long experience. You will never love the devil again once you repent. You will never flirt with the devil as the habit of your life again once you get saved. You will never be happy living in sin; it will never satisfy; and the husks of the world will never fill your longing and hungering in your soul. Repentance is something a lot bigger than a lot of people think. It is absolutely essential if you go to heaven” (Lester Roloff, Repent or Perish, 1950s). “Saving faith includes repentance. Repentance is not doing anything. It is not a deed, act, work, or rite. Rather, it is a change of the direction of one’s heart. It basically means an attitude of the heart in turning from sin and self and turning to God. That’s what Paul was referring to in Acts 20:21 when he referred to ‘repentance toward God and faith in [toward] our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Saving faith is the human heart turning to God and then trusting in Jesus Christ. … Even as there is the part of trusting Christ, there is also the part of turning to Him. That may seem inconsequential, but I believe that here is a spiritual reason that some go through the motions of believing in Christ but are not really born again. They seemingly want the fire escape but there is no interest in turning to God. There is no interest in repentance. They have the attitude, ‘God, gimme salvation, but I’m gonna keep on doing my own thing.’ … However, if there is no real turning to God from the heart, they have missed the prerequisite for actually trusting Christ” (Sorenson, Training Your Children to Turn out Right, 1995). “The hand that clutches the assassin’s knife must open ‘ere it can grasp the gift its intended victim proffers; and opening that hand, though a single act, has a double aspect and purpose. Accepting the gift implies a turning from the crime the heart was bent on, and it was the gift itself that worked the change. Faith is the open hand, relatively to the gift; repentance is the same hand, relatively, not only to the gift but more especially to the dagger that is flung from it” (James Stewart, Evangelism, pp. 48,49). Not once do we find in scripture someone repeating a sinners prayer. I am not saying there isn’t a time for that if one is under deep conviction of sin. Salvation is a personal thing and I treat everyone individually. For example when my brother got saved I spent the first two days talking about repentance, the overcomer, and hell. He came under deep conviction and I told him that he needed to call out to God in prayer confessing himself a sinner and to ask God through Jesus Christ to change him and to trust the finished work of the cross for forgiveness of sins. He did and was radically changed. Salvation is a supernatural miracle and there will be a testimony and you will change and other people will notice. If you don’t then you have never repented. This is NOT lordship salvation either. God will do the changing but the sinner must surrender and be willing to allow that to happen. In short, it’s turn or burn. To preach repentance in a bold and illustrated way won’t likely build a big church but “except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3
  36. 3 points
    Grace: It’s Meaning and Source By Jim Foley Country Baptist Church Text: Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: If you are a Christian there are words that you have been familiar with all of your Christian life. Many of them are more or less taken for granted; we just don’t dwell on their meaning. As Baptists this word, “grace” is a fundamental of the faith and often used in sermons and lessons. You seldom go to church without hearing this word mentioned, but how many of us really know what it means? There is probably no other word in Scripture that is so poorly understood. There are a great many people who have received the grace of God into their hearts, but who, if they were asked what the word means, might be troubled and confused and unable to define it. The plain meaning of the word “grace” is unmerited mercy. Though this is the plain meaning there is so much more that goes into not only the meaning in its positive nature, but also in its negative nature. Let’s examine this term unmerited mercy. The word, mercy, speaks volumes about its nature. For mercy to even exist there must be an entity higher than the recipient of this mercy. In our case this entity is the Almighty God that spoke all things into existence. He is all powerful and able to accomplish any thing he desires. Ro 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. The source of Grace: 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. Joh 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. The highest manifestation of this grace was when God gave his son to save this lost world. The very fact that God chose to save an undeserving world speaks volumes. He certainly didn’t have to do it and there is no force that could make him do it. He did it out of love. He did it because he is a benevolent, righteous and loving God. In this respect his benevolence, righteousness and love can only result in grace. An illustration could be made in this way; H2O is water, it consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. H2O always produces water; it is chemically impossible for it to produce anything else. Grace is this way, it is impossible for the actions of God to result in anything but grace; it is an integral part of His nature. The positive nature of grace is that it is a gift. The last clause in Eph.2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: as such Scripture declares plainly that grace is a gift. A gift is freely given, it cannot be earned, nor can it be given as a reward for good deeds. Rom 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. God deals with man in grace, he has from the very beginning. Adam is a case in point; there was no sign that Adam recognized his lost condition, no cry for mercy and pardon, and certainly no confession of sin. Yet God sought him out specifically that he might bestow his grace upon him. He met Adam, as he does all mankind, in his lost and ruined condition. He bestowed upon Adam the promise of a coming redeemer, Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Notice that he did this without Adam asking for it, or even recognizing that he needed it. This is grace. Grace then is unconditional; God bestowed his grace on Adam in his ruined condition. For six thousand years God has been trying to show mankind this great and glorious truth; that he wants to deal with man in love and grace. He expects no payment in kind, he requires no attempt to clean up our life, as a matter of fact to even make an attempt to clean up our life in an attempt to merit God’s favor is an insult. God said his grace is a free gift. To even think that there is anything we can do, or can take the place of what God accomplished in Christ is the same as saying to God that His sacrifice was not sufficient. By grace God devised a scheme of redemption for fallen man, justice never would and reason never could. No sinner would ever have sought out God; just like Adam, he sees no need simply because he doesn’t even recognize his lost condition. It is always God that seeks out fallen man, never the other way around. Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. Nowhere do we read that he came to save those that were looking for truth and pardon. This is what the Scripture means when it says that we are blind. There is a special aspect of grace that is both sobering and enlightening. First, God has provided his grace to all mankind, even to those who do not know of it and even those who will never accept it. This special aspect of grace is faith. It is only by faith that we can apprehend grace for ourselves. This faith is unique in itself, for it is not our faith. The scripture affirms that the faith to believe is the faith that Christ bestows on every believer. It is his faith, not our own, for in the first place we have no faith other than that which a holy, just and righteous God has provided. Notice the grammar in the last clause of our text in Eph. 2:8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Grace is the object, but faith is the vehicle that allows us to arrive at the object. The scripture affirms that this vehicle, faith, is the gift of God. We think of the Apostle Paul in respect to unmerited mercy. Paul had never done anything that could rise to the place where he could merit God’s mercy. He had kept the law as best he could as a Pharisee. He had done everything he possibly could against Christ and the church. But when Jesus met him on the road to Damascus, he met him in pure grace. This concept is brought home all the more clearly in Jesus’ question to Paul where he asked, “why persecutest thou me”? Paul was in active opposition to God and his grace when he set out to kill or imprison all who professed faith in Jesus. God’s grace shines through even more clearly when we understand that God dealt with Paul in the condition he found him in. He was, at this point in his life, a God hater, even though he thought that what he did, he did in the name of God. God was using the witness and lives of the Christians that Paul persecuted as a preparation against Paul’s day of mercy and pardon. This is what God meant when he said to Paul: “it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” This is a reference to the practice of ox drovers who would use a long pole with a sharp end to “goad” the ox in the direction the drover wanted it to go. God had been “goading” Paul in the direction he wanted him to go. The witness of those that Paul persecuted was what God used as a goad. Though Paul had done nothing to merit God’s grace, still God provided it and brought Paul to the realization of the truth of his word. What can we say about works before justification, or works for justification? Simply this; what we would call good works before justification are not pleasant to God. This is because they do not spring from faith in Jesus Christ; neither do they make men able to receive grace. Think with me, good works conducted to merit the favor of God have not been done according to the way God has designed his grace to be given; therefore they have the nature of sin, because “whatsoever is not of faith is sin”. The thought of the God of all heaven and earth freely providing grace to those who do not deserve it is almost beyond our comprehension, it runs counter to everything we are conditioned by our fallen nature to believe. How sad it is to come to the understanding that there are multitudes that will never avail themselves of the grace that God has willingly and loving provided for every person who has ever lived on this earth. This is what is meant by God when he says in his word that “And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” The free gift has already been provided; the only requirement to laying hold of eternal life is simply to take the grace that God has already provided.
  37. 3 points
    Jim_Alaska

    The New Birth

    THE NEW BIRTH Text: John 3 :1-21. Introduction: The text at hand shows that there is something that is extremely important to every individual that comes into this world. It also shows that there are some that are aware of it but for the most part, mankind is ignorant of its necessity. This subject is so important that it is the reason that the Bible was written, it is also the reason that the Son of God came to this earth, leaving the glory of heaven, to suffer at the hands of men. It is the reason that you are here in this world now, and as such it is the answer to the age-old question; Why am I here? It is also the reason that the existence of people and nations are recorded as they are in both the Old and New Testament. Nations rise and fall and the history of this world is ordered in such a way that the purpose of it all might result in the redemption of each and every lost sinner, even though they do not know that they are lost. The subject at hand is the new birth. What is it? Jesus said it this way; ye must be born again. It is salvation, redemption. And as such it points to the fact that there is something deathly wrong with man in his natural state. . For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; There are many things in this life that while you may need them, it is not a matter of life or death---THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM. We are all given a certain amount of time here on this earth for the express purpose of finding Jesus and appropriating his righteousness to our account, the result of our failure to accomplish this is spiritual death and a separation from God and his heaven forever. Ver.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. Once the time that we have been allotted runs out there is no recourse, death forever locks us into the condition that we were in when he visited---and it is irreversible. Our text mentions two subjects; Jesus and Nicodemus. He had heard Jesus teach and now, in the darkness of night, he comes to Jesus. He recognized in Jesus something extraordinary, his spiritual eyes had begun to open and he realized that this man was from God. Ver.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. The fact that he came at night also shows that he came secretly and alone. This points to a very important aspect of the new birth; it is personal and the sinner must come to Jesus on a one to one basis concerning salvation. Notice again the command in Ver.7. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. It is directed at Nicodemus alone, though the entire world may be in need of this salvation, this is his time, and Jesus speaks to him in a very personal way. You may have seen people coming foreword and claiming to be saved, but Salvation is not in coming foreword, it is not in talking to the preacher, it is not in joining the church; it is not in repeating a prayer. Salvation is a personal experience with Jesus Christ, it is in trusting him with your eternal destiny, coming to him in simple faith with the assurance that he can and will save your eternal soul. This lesson then will convey to us the idea that this new birth is a must. The word, “must”, is an imperative, and Jesus meant it to be, for he said, “ye must be born again”. If the new birth is so important why doesn’t everyone know about it? It is simply because they are spiritually dead, . And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; This is why Jesus had to come; this is the only way that man can become aware of his condition. And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. Salvation then, becomes mandatory equipment for entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, it is not optional as some believe, and it is the only way to get to heaven. Jn.14: 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. This new birth is to be understood as spiritual in nature, Ver.4-5. Show not only the mistake that Nicodemus made, but answer of the Lord showing the spiritual nature of the new birth. Here he speaks of two births, the first is the natural birth, born of water, and any doctor will tell you that when a baby is born it is a water birth. The second birth Jesus terms, “born of the Spirit”, this is the Spirit of God. This is why we call it a spiritual birth, Ver.6. Says, “That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit”. Jesus then compares the spiritual birth to the wind, meaning that it is a mystery, we can see the effects of it, but it cannot be seen with the eye.Ver.8. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Ver.9. Shows that Nicodemus still did not understand these things. He is still lost. What a paradox; he is standing in the presence of eternal life and yet he does not recognize it. It must be remembered that this man was a master, or teacher in Israel, a spiritual leader, yet he could not comprehend spiritual things. Ver.10. Ver.13-17. Shows the plan of salvation as well as the purpose and need of a savior. By speaking to Nicodemus concerning the new birth, he showed him that there was something that he was lacking spiritually, something that he desperately needed. Now he shows him God’s plan to remedy the situation. Notice that God’s remedy is rooted in love, Ver.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. And it is also predicated on the sacrifice of Jesus, the Son of God as payment for my sin. Jesus ends his discourse with Nicodemus by showing why the need of the new birth is so great. Ver.18-19. Man thinks that when he dies God weighs the good and bad that he has done, and if the good outweighs the bad, he goes to heaven. But these verses should show the foolishness of this line of reasoning. When these verses speak of the word “condemned”, it is in the sense of the trial already being over, sentence has been passed and now man only waits the carrying out of that sentence. There is only one thing that can change a judicial condemnation and that is a pardon; this is what Jesus offers. By accepting him as your Savior you can change your status from an enemy of God, doomed to an eternity in hell, to a child of the King. The scripture does not record what Nicodemus did with this information in regard to his spiritual welfare, and history has yet to record what you will do with this information. What will you do with Jesus? The answer to this question will determine what he will do with you in regard to your spiritual state.
  38. 3 points
    Exodus 20:2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You think that there is no captivity in sin? Are you unequal/unjust/unrighteous with people? Engaged in premarital sexual relations or married and having relations with others or lusting after men or women other than your spouse? Do you corrupt God's law as explained in the King James Bible in your actions? Do you have a strong desire for things that you don't posess? Do you do things that hurt others physically or emotionally? Does the success of others bother you? Are you an angry person? Do you have a habit of arguing? Do you mislead other people? Are you spiteful or mean? Do you reveal the secrets of others? Do you speak bad about people when they are not present? Are you an enemy of God (if you are not for God's program as explained in the King James Bible then you are God's enemy, see James 4:4)? Are you mean or hateful without being provoked? You think alot of yourself (are you the big man/woman in your universe)? Like to tell people how wonderful you are? Spend your time thinking of bad things to do (things that may hurt others)? Ignore what your mom or dad says (disOBedient)? Can't comprehend this list or your King James Bible? Make commitments and break them? No desire to do the right things? You can't be satisfied or come to resolutions in a conflict? Are you cruel or unforgiving? Well, the Bible says about me, you, and anyone else who does this (Romans 1:32) "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death." and (Romans 2:5,6) "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; Who will render to every man according to his deeds:" If you want to know where that list above came from then look at Romans 1:29-31 at http://av1611.com/KJBp/KJV-bible-text/Ro-1.html and compare the words to their definitions in Websters 1828 dictionary at http://webstersdictionary1828.com/ if you have a prOBlem with the above then may I invite you to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has the power to set the captive free. John 8: 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. The book of Romans has a lot about this. When you accept the Lord Jesus Christ who was made (2 Corinthians 5:21) "to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." The spotless Lamb of God who shed his blood on the cross, the crucifixion, and John the Baptist said of Jesus (John 1:29) "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." is the same Jesus Christ that had victory over sin and death and rose from the dead and (Ephesians 4:8) "he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive". The Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ , can make you free indeed. Once you trust Jesus Christ you must ask (Romans 6:1,2) "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?...How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" When you trust in Jesus Christ you are (Romans 6:4) "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" So you should (Romans 6:11) "reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." being freed from sin you should CHOOSE to (Romans 6:12) "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should OBey it in the lusts thereof." Thus don't (Romans 6:13) "yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." Paul clearly indicates that on whomever has put their faith in Jesus Christ is no longer captive to sin but (Romans 6:14) "sin shall not have dominion over you." and you are now (Romans 6:18) "Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" Thus it is now a CHOICE where in the past (Romans 6:19) "ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness." REJOICE! For (Romans 8:1-2) "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8: 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 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. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Ephesians 4: 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Psalm 68: 18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. Now make your choice. through the Lord Jesus Christ you are set free and should Romans 12: 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. We are out of time and (Romans 13:12-14) "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." Yep, MAKE THAT CHOICE!
  39. 3 points
    Alan

    And God gave Solomon wisdom

    1 Kings 4:29-34, “And God gave Solomon wisdom.” 1 Kings 4:29-34, “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon's wisdom excelled of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” Wisdom and understanding is very important. We need wisdom is our lives. We need wisdom to learn how to raise our family, working on our job, dealing with our neighbors, and those in the church congregation. As God gave King Solomon wisdom; so can the Lord give us wisdom. “If any of you ask wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5 James does add one thought concerning asking God wisdom that we need to consider in our hearts. “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” James 1:6 & 7 “And God gave Solomon wisdom” Why did God give King Solomon wisdom? In 1 Kings 3:5-15 God appeared to King Solomon in a dream and said, “… Ask what I shall give thee.” 1 Kings 3:5 I am going to ask the reader of this devotion to read, and consider, every word that occurs in the dream of King Solomon. God is looking at the heart of King Solomon and Solomon is speaking from his heart. In his heart, King Solomon knew that God wanted His people to walk in righteous and in truth. “..according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness...” 1 Kings 3:6 King Solomon was very humble and of a sincere heart. At this time, Solomon was 20 years old. In 1 Kings 3:7 Solomon said that he was a servant of God and was like a little child. “… and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.”1 Kings 3:7 Most people are very proud and will not follow the ways of God. Most people are unwilling to be a servant of God. Even though Solomon was king he felt that God was his king. King Solomon willingly called himself a servant. Solomon believed that he was a servant of God in order to do the will of God. 1 peter 5:5-7, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” King Solomon humbled himself. God made us. He is the King in Heaven. God is not our servant. We are His servants. God resists a proud person. One of the reasons why God does not answer a Christian’s prayer is because they are not humble nor sincere. If we want God to give us wisdom, we need to walk in unrighteousness, truth, be humble, and sincere . 1 Kings 3:9 “Discernment” ! Kings 3:9, “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” God gave King Solomon wisdom because he asked for wisdom in order to discern between good and evil and to judge the nation of Israel. Solomon did not ask wisdom for his own fleshly desires or experience. He asked God for wisdom to lead the nation of Israel according to the will of God. King Solomon was unselfish. He did not ask for wisdom to help his own desires. He did not ask for money. He did not ask for health. King Solomon loved God and loved the nation of Israel. King Solomon wanted wisdom to help him to discern between good and evil. Long before God gave Solomon wisdom, Job wrote the definition of wisdom; “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28 Most people are selfish and they do not care to help others. A Chinese proverb says, “To care nothing outside one’s window – one does not care what is going on beyond one’s own surroundings.” 俗語說「兩耳不聞窗外事」 It is the will of God for Christians to discern between good and evil. The Lord Jesus wants all Christians to discern between good and evil. The Lord Jesus wants us to discern between evil and good, right and wrong, and good and bad doctrine. Ephesians 4;14 , “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” A Christian who is not concerned about good doctrine, or is unwilling to forsake bad doctrine, is like a child who is unconcerned about the parents guidance, is deceived, and is like the waves of he sea driven hither and yonder by every wind of the heretics of this world. A lost person, or an immature Christian, cannot discern between good and evil. But a mature Christian can discern between good and evil: or judgment. “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.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 God blessed King Solomon “And Solomon's wisdom excelled of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.” 1 Kings 4:30The East country would include Iran, India, China and Japan. “And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” 1 Kings 4:34 Even today, in the Western world, when a person thinks of wisdom, he thinks of King Solomon and the book of Proverbs. King Solomon was humble, righteous, and sincere in the sight of God. He asked for wisdom to judge the nation of Israel and to learn how to discern between right and wrong. We need to have the same attitude. God can give us wisdom if it is His will. says, Proverbs 2:6, “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”
  40. 3 points
    Alan

    Encouragement 1 Samuel 30:6

    1 Samuel 30:6, “Encouragement.” “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6 Enemies on Every Side In addition to the world, his own flesh, and Satan, David had many other enemies. In this passage, 1 Samuel 30:1-20, we will consider three of them: the Philistines, the Amalekites, and King Saul. David had so many enemies that desired to kill him that he was living in the wilderness like a hunted animal. On some occasions, such as his relationship with Achish, he was able to live in a city. In spite of his enemies, David maintained a personal relationship with God. David, in his close relationship with God, wrote, “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.” Psalm 27:11 David based his daily path through life, his every day decisions, on the leading of the Lord in his life. David knew the will of God in his life and followed it, except with notable exceptions that are not related to this passage, to the day of his death. Physical Background - Ziklag 1 Samuel 27:1-7 For his service to Achish, Achish gave the city of Ziklag to David. While David was preparing to battle with Achish (1 Samuel 29), against King Saul the lords of the Philistines demanded that David and his men refrain from entering the battle. As David and his men of war returned to Ziklag they discovered that the Amalekites had burned the city, carried away all of the women and children captive, and took away the spoils of the city. Because David made the decision to leave Ziklag to help Achish, the men of war blamed David. Furthermore, due to the great distress and anxiety in their heart for the loved ones, the men of war were going to put David to death. Great Distress In times of one of the most stressful times in his life, David discovered that his own men turned against him and was preparing to stone him to death. David was greatly distressed. Unless God intervened, David was going to die a very painful and agonizing death. In David’s time of extreme distress, he encouraged himself in the LORD. To further understand David and how he could encourage himself in the Lord we need to look deeper in his soul before this horrific incident occured. Spiritual Background - David’s Relationship with God From a child, David fell in love with God, the Law of God, the work of God, and the will of God in his life. As a child, then a teen-ager, and then a young man, David created and sang Psalms, had faith, walked close with God, and continually encouraged himself in the knowledge of eternal salvation in heaven, judgment to come and the wonderful promises of God as revealed in the scriptures. From his younger years until this time of extreme crises, David desired to have a close relationship with God. David wrote, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD for all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4 In the heart of David, the house of the LORD, the LORD Himself, the holiness of God, was beautiful. In his close relationship with the LORD God in heaven, David discovered the beauty of holiness. “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” Psalm 29:2 David, from a child, with noted exceptions, walked in the Spirit. Contrast the relationship of King Saul with God The relationship of King Saul with God was not good, or, it was non-existent. In eternity, we will discover whether he was truly a saint. We do know that King Saul walked in the flesh after two years in the King’s office. The power as the King of Israel went to his head. Actually, the phrase “went to his head,” while it is a good phrase, it is not entirely correct to describe a person who lets pride run his life. The phrase, “went to his heart,” is more precise. Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” King Saul had a heart problem. To King Saul, the sacrifices of God were just a religious ceremony, and, he listened to the voice of the people instead of obeying the voice of God. “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15: 22 If a person was honest with himself, like King Saul, a lot of our problems are the result of our own sinful pleasures, worldliness, fleshly desires, wrong decisions, and pride. Please study James 4:1-10. In other words, we are walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit, Romans 8:5-8, and the fruit in our lives are the fruits of the flesh Galatians 5:15-21 David obeyed God with a loving heart and walked with God. David put his trust in the work of God in his life. David walked in the Spirit and enjoyed the fruits of the Spirit. Please read Galatians 5:22-25 As we walk in the Spirit, we also can enjoy the fruits of the Spirit. “... but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” In spite of all of the distress David experienced, he believed that God was the solution to the problem. David placed his faith completely in the hands of God. In times of distress in our lives we need to be like David and encourage ourselves in God. God in on His Throne in Heaven and He will accomplish His will in our lives. David knew that God had anointed him King over Israel and that God would help him in his time of extreme distress. David inquired of the Lord and plainly asked what should he do. “And David inquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt overtake them, and without fail recover all.” 1 Samuel 30:8 The Victory David inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him, and David did what God told him to do. David did not question God, David did not walk in his own will, and David simply did what God told him to do. “And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, either sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all.” 1 Samuel 30:18 & 19 The military success of David in recovering all of the captured people and spoils from the Amalekites is one of the most successful military campaigns in the history of mankind. This story is also written to encourage all of us in our walk with the Lord Jesus. In times of distress in our lives, we need to inquire diligently of the Lord that His will is and wait patiently for Him. We need to encourage ourselves in the Lord and in the wonderful promises in the scriptures. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
  41. 3 points
    Jim_Alaska

    The Stone Removed

    Fear Not - The Stone Removed By: James Foley Text: Matthew 28:1-8 Introduction: I’m going to preach a sermon which was first preached by an angel. And then, it’s been preached by almost every preacher who has ever preached since that time, including the great Charles Spurgeon. Matthew 28: 2 will be our key verse, let’s read this key verse first. “And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.” Now, let’s go back and read the first eight verses Let’s read also in I Corinthians 15:19-21 “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” That early morning, as Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went toward the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus with sweet smelling scents and oils and ointments, as was customary in that day, there was a big problem they worried about. And that’s the theme of our message — the stone rolled away. They knew there was a big stone in the way. And these two women knew they would be unable to move the stone. And they were worried about it. In Mark 16:3 it tells us about their worries relative to this problem where they said, “And they said among themselves, who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” For it was a very great stone. Before they even got there, they were thinking and wondering about the stone. Who would roll it away? And they said among themselves on the way to the tomb, “Who shall roll us away the stone?” But when you get right down to it, this is the question of all mankind. This very same question that they asked is the great question of all mankind through the ages, “Who shall roll us away the stone?” In man’s path to eternal life there lies a huge stone. This stone is one which completely blocks the road and there’s no way man himself can remove the stone. But who can remove the barrier? That’s the question. Philosophy tried, and still tries, but has never succeeded in removing the stone from the door. This stone of doubt, uncertainty and unbelief has stopped all progress for man on the path towards eternal life. The question still remained, “Who could remove the awful stone and bring life and immortality to light?” Philosophy can’t do it. Man can’t do it by any means. And yet, there is a terrible and urgent need for the stone to be removed. Generation after generation, millions were swallowed up by the grave. And yet, who could give any hope beyond the grave? There’s the stone; it’s in the way. Who could give any hope beyond the grave? Resurrection was whispered of, but men could not believe it. But to these women, there were three difficulties: (1)The stone was huge. They spoke of this as we saw in Mark 16:3 (2) Another great difficulty was that it was stamped with Caesar’s seal. It could not be moved under penalty of the law. (3) And it was guarded to prevent it from being moved. Mankind has always had these same three problems. Three serious difficulties in the way to life and immortality. First, death was a stone not to be moved by man’s power, as we’ve already said. Second, death was a penalty for offenses against God’s law. And third, the red seal of God’s vengeance was upon it. So, we can see that this is an almost exact parallel to the reality at the time of the sealing of the tomb. But still the question remains, “Who could roll the stone away?” And they found the answer! They found the answer when they saw that the tomb was empty. There is another life! Bodies will live again, because Jesus lives! Isn’t it wonderful to think about it and to know that because He lives, we shall live forever? The believer’s grave is the doorway to immortality. Let’s think of the resurrection of Christ in two main divisions. First, think about it as the stone rolled away preaching to us. And then, in the second instance, let us hear the angel’s message from his pulpit of stone. Remember, I told you in the beginning that this message was first preached by an angel. But first, let the stone preach to us. Let’s think about it and let the stone speak. First, the stone was the door of the sepulchre. In other words, the door of death’s house was removed. We will enter death; no doubt about it. All of us, some day, will enter or pass through death. But though we know death comes, we can rejoice because we shall not be shut in — the door has been removed, the stone rolled away. Christ was committed to the grave as a hostage. The Scripture says He died for our sins. But, thank God, it also says He rose for our justification. Because of the resurrection, we have absolute proof of His full payment of the sin debt. In the empty tomb, we see sin put away. We see death destroyed. Just as these women came and saw the stone had been removed and the tomb was empty. Death has become the doorway to heaven. Now, let us continue to let the stone preach to us. Consider the stone as a trophy of Christ’s victory. And this certainly is a fabulous trophy of victory. Evil men thought they had destroyed Jesus. They cackled in glee when He was sealed in the tomb. They thought they had eliminated this troublemaker. But the grave could not hold Him. His heel was bruised by the serpent. But on the resurrection morning, He crushed the old serpent’s head as scripture recorded he would in Gen. 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” First Corinthians 15, beginning with verse 54, says: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Now, as we continue to look at the stone, let’s think of the stone as a foundation laid. This comes after we have thought, as we just did, about the stone as a trophy of Christ’s victory. Let us set this stone up in faith’s eye as a memorial to conquering man’s last enemy, death. That is the trophy Christ won! Remember the stone as a foundation laid. This is the stone on which our faith is built. The key stone of the Christian faith is the resurrection of Jesus, proven by the stone rolled away and the empty tomb. Without it, there would be no Christian faith. Without the resurrection, our faith is just a false and deceitful thing, like man’s religions all around us. But with the resurrection, ours is the true and living faith. 1 Corinthians 15:17 says this, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” So, without the resurrection, there is no salvation. Our faith is vain. But we know Christ lives, as the angel proclaimed in this message. The resurrection of Christ is better established than perhaps any other fact in history. Some things in history we have been told bear no resemblance to truth. Men often revise “history.” And yet the resurrection of Christ is completely established in history. His resurrection absolutely proved the sufficiency of His atonement for sin. We can build our lives on the sure foundation of the risen Christ, the living stone. There’s no other foundation that matters. There is no other satisfactory basis for Christians. No foundation will stand the test except that of the living stone. Death is swallowed up in victory, as we read in I Corinthians 15:54-55. “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.” O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Now, in Matthew 28: 6 what did the angel say? “He is not here: for he is risen.” Let the stone preach more. The stone was a boundary. Stones are often used as boundary markers. This stone was a boundary. There it lies with the angel sitting upon it. You say, “How are you getting a boundary out of that?” On one side, we see the guards frightened and like dead men. But on the other side, what do we see? We see trembling women to whom the angel speaks and says, “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus.” The stone became the boundary between the living and the dead, between seekers and haters, between friends and foes of Christ. To His enemies, it became a stone of stumbling, a rock of offense. But to God’s people it’s the head stone of the corner. It has become our victory in Christ, and our greatest delight. We could use this illustration from the Old Testament. Remember the pillar of smoke and the pillar of fire between Israel and Egypt? And this pillar dividing between Israel and the pursuing Egyptians, how did it work? On the side of the Egyptians, it was darkness and a hindrance. But on the side of the Israelites, it was the brightness of God and a light which helped them on their way to the Promised Land. In the same way this stone becomes a boundary. The resurrection is a doctrine of fear and horror to unbelievers. You say, “Why?” Well, what would they like to believe? The wicked who refuse Christ would prefer to believe this life is all there is. Therefore, the resurrection is a doctrine of terror to them. If they continually reject Christ, they don’t want any resurrection. They’d rather it just be ended when this life ends. But to those on the right side of the stone, the doctrine of the resurrection is a doctrine of joy and victory. We know that no matter what happens here, we shall achieve final and complete victory in Christ, when we have that perfect body, in that perfect land, on the other side of the stone. The question is, “Do you trust fully in Christ today?” God’s angel speaks to you, “Fear not ye,” if you fully trust in Christ. But if you believe not, the message is, “Tremble with fear, for the resurrection is true and judgment comes to all men.” Hebrews 9:27 says,“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” We’ve listened to the stone preach. Now let’s hear what the angel has to say, let’s listen to his message. “Fear not ye.” The heart of the risen Savior’s gospel is in that little short message, isn’t it? “Fear not ye: for he is risen.” You who would be saved, seek Jesus. “Fear not ye.” That’s the message. That’s the spoken message of the angel. Though the earth quake, the earth be burned with fire, as it will be some day, though you see the angel come down, though you go to a tomb, yet, fear not, you cannot die. Believers have eternal life in Christ. Nothing on Earth, in heaven or in hell can make the one who comes to Jesus in faith, trusting Him, to fear. The angel plainly said, “Fear not ye.” But what was the rest of his message? He said some more, didn’t he? “Fear not ye: for I know.” Our Father knows about our fears! Yes, our Father knows, as did the angel, our fears and problems. And the rest of his message — let’s read all of it together. “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.” That’s the heart of the message of the angel. The world had crucified Jesus. But the believers were still clinging to Him in loving loyalty! They had come to anoint His body. He is not here, for He is risen. Sinner, right now, today, Jesus is living. Today He’s ready, willing and able to save all who come to Him in repentance and faith. Men need to go and look at the empty tomb through the eyes of faith. It is proof that He is living and can still save today and keep us saved when we receive Him.
  42. 3 points
    Jeremiah 2:13 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. In Christ, PreacherE
  43. 3 points
    Throughout the Biblical accounts in Luke 2:1-38 and Matthew 2:1-11 concerning the events that surrounded our Lord’s birth, our attention is focused upon two important responsibilities. Indeed, these two important responsibilities ought to dominate our celebration of our Lord’s birth as God in flesh. They are the responsibility to WORSHIP and to WITNESS. Consider the Biblical accounts: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.” The angel of the Lord WITNESSED. “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” The multitude of the heavenly host WORSHIPPED. “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger." The shepherds WITNESSED. “And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” The shepherds WORSHIPPED. “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” Simeon WORSHIPPED. “And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” Simeon WITNESSED. “And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” “And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” Anna WORSHIPPED. “And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord.” Anna WITNESSED. “And spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” The wise men from the east WITNESSED. “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” “And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.” The wise men from the east WORSHIPPED. “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”
  44. 3 points
    In the last half century, an increasing number of professing Christians have been teaching and embracing a doctrine that is not supported by the Word of God. That doctrine is the teaching that one does not have to repent of one’s sins in order to receive Salvation. The fact is, the Word of God does teach repentance of sin. In the book of Ezekiel, we read: Ezekiel 18:21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. Ezekiel 33:14-16 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had rOBbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. Ezekiel 18:30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. The Hebrew word “shuwb”, is used for both the word “repent” and the word “turn” in the above verses. In other words, the two words are interchangeable. Repentance from sin is taught and encouraged by the prophet Ezekiel. One must repent of (turn away from) one’s sin. Jesus told the Jews in Luke 13:3,5 “…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Jesus Christ Himself taught a turning away from sin. One might argue, “But Ezekiel was before the cross, Jesus told the Jews to repent prior to His crucifixion; now we need only believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to receive Salvation; repentance is not necessary.” Again, that one would be wrong. The Apostle Paul taught the Church at Corinth: 2 Corinthians 12:21 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed. The fact is, one must repent of one’s iniquities. Paul told the Church at Galatia that the works of the flesh would cause man to miss out on being in the kingdom of God. And the Apostle John wrote in the book of Revelation that those who do not repent of their abominations will have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone. The doctrine that tells one they do not have to turn away from one’s sin is a doctrine of devils. Repentance from sin is necessary if one hopes to live eternally in Christ Jesus. Those who teach and preach that repentance from sin is not necessary are deceiving those who believe their false doctrine. Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. In Revelation 2, we see how Jesus (God) gave Jezebel time to repent of her sins, but she would not. And because she would not repent, God’s wrath was upon her… and still is to this day. Now, some would say, “O, but God repented many times in the Old Testament. Are you trying to tell me that God sinned and had to repent? You are accusing God of being a sinner!” No, that is not what I am saying at all. The Hebrew word used for when God repents is an entirely different word. When God repents of something, He is not repenting of sin. The Hebrew word used for when God repents is the word “nacham”. While “nacham” does mean to “turn”, it is not used in conjunction with “from sin” when relating to God. 1 Corinthians 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. Paul admonished the Church at Corinth, telling them to turn from their sins. He reminds them that they cannot serve both God and the flesh. Like Paul, I encourage all to turn from their sins and turn to God. Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
  45. 2 points
    Alan

    "But the LORD was with Joseph"

    Genesis 39:21-23, “But the LORD was with Joseph.” Genesis 39:21-23, “But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.” Throughout the hardships and sufferings in the life of Joseph, the LORD was with Joseph. Psalm 105:16-19, “Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread. He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.” Because of the evil of the 11 brothers, Joseph was made a slave. Because of the evil of one evil woman, Joseph was put in prison. While in prison, among other hardships and sufferings, the Egyptians put fetters of iron and hurt Joseph's feet. God allowed evil people to cause Joseph to be put in prison to test Joseph. God is preparing Joseph to rule the land of Egypt. In order for God to use Joseph for His glory, God is going to test him in the prison. Psalm 105:19, “Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.” God tests those people whom He wants to use with hardships and sufferings. Joseph, like Christ, loved God, and God is using hardship and suffering to prepare Joseph as the ruler of Egypt and for the physical salvation of Jacob and his family. Genesis 45:4-6, “And Joseph said unto his brethren, come near to me,I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry, with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a prosperity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” Furthermore, God, through the salvation of Jacob and his sons, will use Joseph to provide the protection for the lineage of the Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus. Romans 9:4 & 5, “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises. Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” God tested the Lord Jesus with hardships and sufferings for the salvation of the soul and for the eventual salvation, both physical and spiritual, of the sons of Israel. Hebrews 5:8 & 9, “Though he were a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” And, Romans 11:26 & 27, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” In His timing, God will turn away the ungodliness, and unbelief, of the sons of Jacob. Verse 21 Let us consider three things. 1. “But the LORD was with Joseph” God was with Joseph. Joseph had a close relationship with God. Joseph did not allow the conspiracy of his brothers, the lies of Potiphar's wife, destroy the relationship he had with God. Joseph believed that God would fulfill the two dreams that God gave him. 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” While in prison Joseph had comfort in his relationship with God. 2. “... and shewed him mercy..” In the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, God is merciful. If a person has a humble heart, repents of his sins, and has faith and trusts in the mercy of God, than God will shew him mercy. 2 Samuel 22:26 & 27, “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the forward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.”A proud person will not find the mercy of God. If a person wants God to show him mercy than he needs to be merciful. From Genesis to Revelation we see that God is merciful to the humble person. 1 Peter 5:5, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” Psalm 33:18, “Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.” 3. “… and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.” God caused the the keeper of the prison to find favor in Joseph. God can cause the people of this world to help the person who trusts in God. Romans 8:28 says, “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.” God is now going to promote Joseph. Eventually, Joseph will become, in modern terminology, the vice-president of Egypt. First, Joseph became a slave, and then a prisoner in a jail, in order for God to prepare him to rule over the country of Egypt and save Jacob and his brethren. Before God can use us in a high position He wants us to see if He can use us in a low position. God found out that Joseph really loved Him, really trusted in Him, and God found out that Joseph was faithful in the small things of daily living. The Lord Jesus said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” Luke 16:10 Because in the time of his testing Joseph was faithful, God will promote him to be the second ruler in Egypt. Verse 22 & 23 The Lord made everything that Joseph did to prosper God blessed the efforts of Joseph. Joseph trusted God, had faith, and was a man of integrity and high character. So, God prospered his work. Joseph was a very faithful and trustworthy person and is a good example of the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Joseph is a good example for the Christian. 3 John 2, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest proper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. As Joseph loved God, and God worked all things out for his good, so should we love God and watch Him work out all things for our good. Romans 8:28 says, “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.”
  46. 2 points
    Alan

    The LORD was with Joseph

    “The LORD was with Joseph” Genesis 39:1-6 Genesis 39:1-6, “And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, brought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down hither. And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptians house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not aught he had, save the the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.” Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” Joseph had faith and loved God. Joseph was a “good man” and righteous in his heart and in his relationship with God. God allowed the evil actions of his brothers in order to test Joseph and to prepare him for the responsibility to rule Egypt. Therefore, the steps of the good (in the sight of God) man, in any generation, in any country, in either the Old or New Testament dispensation, are ordered by the LORD. Psalm 17:3, “Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.” When Joseph was a slave, God tested Joseph to see if Joseph loved, and trusted in God, with his heart. Joseph, like Job, had integrity... Joseph was determined not to transgress God and His ways. Like Job, Joseph was upright, feared God, and hated evil. Job 1:1, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” One of the highest respected men in the Chinese church in China, Wang Ming-Tao says, “Those whom God uses, who can be used by God, must be of noble morality and conduct, and a good reputation among men. God is a holy and righteous God, He will only use those men who are also holy and righteous men.” 王明道說「神所要使用,能使用的,也是高尚的德行和好名聲的人。神是聖潔公義的神,他所要使用的人也是聖潔的人。」1 Free translation by the author. If we are to walk with God then we must be in agreement with God and His ways. The ways of the world are not in agreement with God and we must be separate with the ways of the world. 2 Corinthians 6:14 & 15, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness: and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” The false gods, idols, and beliefs of the false religions of this world, have no place in the life of the individual who wants to walk with God. 2 Corinthians 6:16 & 17, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” The world is an harsh environment for every saint. Like Joseph, we need to keep ourselves separate from the evil things of this world and walk with God. Joseph is an example to the Christian who desires to serve the Lord in a harsh environment. Joseph felt that he was serving God whether in his father's house, among his deceitful brothers, in the hands of an Egyptian master and under the authority of the king of Egypt. The Lord Jesus said, Luke 19:17, “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.” Every Christian can examine the example of Joseph and Job and serve the Lord Jesus as a servant in any occupation and the Lord can be with you. The LORD was with Joseph Joseph had a good relationship with God. Every day, Joseph walked with God. Even in the times of his distress Joseph walked with God. Like Job, Joseph separated himself from the sinful habits and ways of this world and walked with God. Joseph is an good example to the Christian. If we want to have a good relationship with God, and have God with us, we need to hate evil and not transgress the ways of God. As the LORD was with Joseph, the apostle Peter states, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:38 Joseph was an example of the Lord Jesus Christ. God prospered Joseph and his work Joseph walked with God. Because Joseph walked in the ways of the Lord, separated himself from the evil ways of this world, God blessed him, his work and his relationship with other people. God wants to prosper the Christian. 3 John 2 and 3, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest proper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.” Please notice, we need to walk in truth. We need to walk in truth in our talk, our character, and in the doctrines of the scriptures. God is willing to help us spiritually, mentally, in our family life and in our work. God wants every Christian to be stable. Colossians 2: 6 & 7, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Joseph was separated from the evil things in this world, walked with God, and was established in his conduct, and in the truth. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand Joseph was completely trustworthy with the physical possessions of his master. Joseph did not steal, did not pilfer, did not miss-use, and did not cause any harm to the physical goods in the house of his master, or under this direct control. Joseph was faithful in all that was under his authority. Joseph is an excellent example for the saint who works for other people in any occupation. Every Christian in any endeavor of work; whether in a factory, a business, a store, an office, a government bureau, the military, and in other occupation, should be the most trustworthy individual the boss has. Joseph was a goodly person and well favoured. Remember Psalm 37:23? “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” We need to learn how to be good in our conduct. In the eyes of the world, in the eyes of his Egyptian master, Joseph had a strong testimony. The character of Joseph was like the character of the Lord Jesus. “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Luke 2:52 Lastly, Paul the apostle stated that the man who is the bishop, or elder, or pastor, of the church, should be of likewise character and conduct. “Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the the snare of the devil.” 1 Timothy 3:7 1Wang Ming Tao, Treasuries of Wang Ming Tao, Volume II The Hard Road, (Touliu, Taiwan: Conservative Baptist Press, 1996), Page 314. 王明道,王明道文庫,第二冊,小徑(臺灣台中:浸宣出版社,1996),314頁。
  47. 2 points
    ScottM84

    All Things Work Together for Good

    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 Romans 8:28 is one of the the most familiar verses in the Bible and one of the verses people most like to "claim." It also seems to be one of the most misunderstood and misapplied. All too often, the misunderstanding arises when someone refuses to simply allow the scripture to say what it says. The most obvious misunderstanding is the fact that the verse does not apply to everyone -- it applies to "them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." This is not a promise that a lost world is in any position to claim, as they do not fit that description. Rather, this promise is one given to true believers who know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Sadly, even among Christians, there often seems to be major misunderstandings in relation to this verse. Some mistakenly take it to mean that nothing bad can come their way, and they then find themselves completely bewildered when something comes along that rocks their world. In a case like that, it is the first half of the verse that has been misinterpreted and misapplied. There are most certainly bad things that come into the lives of believers. Death is not good. Sickness is not good. Pain is not good. When God created the universe and found His creation to be "very good," those things were not a part of it. They were brought about because of the sin of mankind. The wonderful truth of the matter is, however, that an almighty, sovereign God can take bad things that were not a part of His original creation and use them to work for our good. If you will allow me, I would like to give you a personal account in which I found that to be true. I will not go into the specific details of my experience because there were other people involved and I do not wish to say anything that would violate their privacy. Suffice it to say, I faced one of those situations that I spoke of earlier that rocked my world. I thank God that I was grounded in His word, because if I had not been, the situation that I lived through could have easily washed me out and severely damaged my faith. It was something that forced me to rely on God far more than I ever had before. It was also something that pushed me to action in something that I had said for years that I wanted to do "one day." I stated in my introductory post that I have recently published a book. While I did not explicitly state this, if you read between the lines, you might have also deduced that I have a soft spot for kids. Children's ministry is, in fact, one of my greatest passions. I have taught kids' classes at my church since I was 19. I've been one of the sponsors that took my church's elementary school aged kids to camp four times. Vacation Bible School week is one of my favorite weeks of the year. I could continue, but you get the point: I love kids. That thing that I said for so long that I wanted to do but never completed was writing a children's novel. Ultimately, I truly believe that God held me back from doing in until the time was right. There were a few abortive attempts, but none of them ever went very far, and I never came anywhere near writing a full book. Then, my foundations were shaken. At that time, I decided to try once again to write a book, this time, in large part to keep my sanity. However, I did not want to write just any book. I wanted to write something that would be a help to young people who read it. I wanted it to be an entertaining story, but a story that would teach Biblical values. I wanted it to feature characters that were not ashamed of their Christianity. I wanted it to be something that might be edifying to its readers. Lo, and behold, this time it happened. I would be lying if I said that there are no longer times that I struggle with what happened in my life two years ago. It was something that completely reordered large parts of my life, and in some very negative ways. I very much wish that what happened would not have happened. If I told you what it was, you would no doubt say the same thing. Even so, I would not undo what it changed in me. As I said, it helped me to learn to trust in the Lord much more than I ever had. It is my natural tendency to worry, but my experiences in these last two years has greatly cut that down. It also strengthened the passion that I already had for young people, and gave me an even greater desire to minister to them. When I think about my own troubles and how difficult they were for me as an adult, if makes me think about how much tougher they are for a child, thus increasing my level of compassion. Since then, I've found that new opportunities to do that, such as the book, have presented themselves, and I see other possibilities on the horizon, no doubt because God has used the trials of my life to give me a fuller understanding of the needs that exist. It is truly amazing to see how He moves. All things are not good, but we serve a God that is more than capable of using even the bad for our good. He can use those things to strengthen us personally and to make us a better witness to others. Nothing catches Him by surprise, and nothing can thwart His will. I have learned not to say that something can never happen to me. I have been affected by things that I would never have believed could happen. But more than that, I have found that my God can use them all to shape me into someone whom He can more easily use. Yes, for the believer, all things work together for good.
  48. 2 points
    Confusion on who and what the Church is in this day and time abounds. We believe the Church is not an Israel of any type and that Church and Nations have always had separate functions in both Old and New Testaments. In the last sermon (on Acts 15:1-11) we showed how we are not Israel. In previous sermons we showed how the New Testament Church is an extension of the Old Testament Melchizedek Priesthood, now with Christ as it's High Priest, in Heaven, before God's throne. In this sermon we also show how James uses Amos 9 to show that today the Church is like David's Tabernacle. In the Old Testament, Israel and Church were in fellowship but when the New Testament came and Christ was anointed king, the Nation rejected Him but the Church received Him. This same picture is found with King David. After God, rejected King Saul and had David anointed King, King Saul and the Nation sought David's death. In seeking David's death, King Saul turns against the Tabernacle (Israel's church) by having the Priests of Nob and their families killed (1 Samuel 22). The surviving priest, Abiathar, fled to David for protection and remained separated from the nation until David was received by the nation. James makes it clear that today the Church is with Christ and the Nation is separated from Christ and His Church. We understand from scripture that Israel is separated from Christ, with the world, into the Spirit of Anti-Christ. We also show how the Church in Jerusalem, predominately Jewish in faith and nationally Israelite, reconciled their doctrine with these understandings of separation of Church and State and how in order to be a peace with other churches, particularly those churches of the Gentiles and other nations, wrote letters clearing up and resolving the errors and the unsettling doctrines their members had started to spread. Lastly we are shown the divisions of ministry between Paul and Barnabas because of personal differences. In all this we are given a template for resolving issues between Churches and Ministries, either how to resolve them or how to continue on with ministry without resolving our differences. We show how the resolutions are not based on "forcing" our will upon each other other but rather on mutual cooperation and in the template of Matthew 18, where Christ teaches us how to deal as equals with our brothers. Showing If a resolution cannot be made then we are to separate in peace until it one day it can be made. All the while the primary goal is not to harm and keep pure the gospel ministry, in spite of any unresolved personal differences. Preached: August 5, 2018 Sunday Night. By Pastor John Young, at Edgecliff Baptist Church, Spokane Valley, WA. https://www.facebook.com/EdgecliffCBC/ (Please like, share, and subscribe to the channel for more Bible Sermons!)
  49. 2 points
    Alan

    Pleasing God & Peace

    Proverbs 16:7, “Pleasing God & Peace.” Proverbs 16:7, “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” God can give peace to a person, or a nation, or He can take away peace from a person, or a nation. Isaiah 45:6 & 7, “That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Most people seek peace through worldly and physical pleasures. Most people love pleasure more than God and sometimes the saints love pleasure more than God. 2 Timothy 3:4, “Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” When a person pleases God than God can give that person peace. God wants us to give us peace in our hearts. The Lord Jesus said, John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” In the early church, the disciples were persecuted severely for their faith in Christ and in the ages since that time, more persecution arose from various false religions and leaders. In the midst of these persecutions, the Lord Jesus gave these people peace. Even though we sometimes have problems and difficulties, the Lord Jesus can give us peace in our hearts. We need to learn how to please God. Colossians 1: 9 & 10, “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” God can give us peace in our hearts and peace among our enemies if we please him.
  50. 2 points
    irishman

    The Blood of Christ

    How tragic that we hear little preaching about the precious blood of Christ nowadays. This doctrine seems to have been shoved aside by the church for...who knows what? The Blood “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (Col. 1:14) As we can easily see, our redemption is OBtained through the blood of Christ. We make much of the death of Christ, and the resurrection, but it seems little is said these days about the blood. So, let us look at some scripture that depicts the true value of the blood to us, and begin here: There is nothing more valuable than our redemption. Were it not for the blood, but merely the death of Christ, we would all still be lost in our sin, and spend an eternity in hell. Some proclaim that the death alone was enough, but without the shedding of blood is no remission. Look with me at Hebrew 9:22; “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” I suppose that some have made much of the word “almost”, but what concern is that to us? Whatever isn’t purged need not worry us, it is something that doesn’t need purging. The fact remains that the last part of the verse clarifies our standing--And without shedding of blood is no remission” So, the blood redeems. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” (Eph. 2:13) The blood will draw us toward our God! We live afar off, away from Him and His grace, but it is the blood that brings us near Him. How wonderful to be near the Almighty. We can walk with Him, and bask in His glory because of the precious blood of Christ. The blood is a uniting blood; once applied, it gives us peace in Christ; it unites us with Him, as one body. “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Col. 1:20) The blood is a reconciling blood, Eph. 2:14, “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;” Thus we are reconciled to Him who we were once at enmity against; this too is through the blood of Christ. What value! What joy we receive in Him because of the blood. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14) By the blood of Christ, our conscience is clear--we have no more sorrow for sins past. We have no worry over our dead works, but have been re-born to present good works unto the Lord. (Eph. 2:10). Our conscience’s are clean because of the blood of Christ; it purges us through and through. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,” (Heb 10:19) His blood emboldens us! By the blood of Christ, we have access to the Father, and are allowed to approach the throne of grace without fear “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may OBtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:16) It is important to us that we OBtain an interview with the Father, and it is made available to us through the blood. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) Finally, the blood cleanses us from ALL sin, past, present, and future. Such power in this blood! What a precious commodity it is for us. To think, we now go through life without sin! Glory Be! As far as God is concerned, our sin is gone, and we are sinless before Him because of Christ’s blood, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:9) but wait! Christ will sit on the Bema seat and we will be judged for our works, even those which promoted sin. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Lev. 17:11) Atonement: All of these blessings are wrapped in one word “At-one-ment” wherein we become one with Christ. Some say that there was not much blood shed at Calvary, but what they fail to see is that it is not the quantity, but the quality of the blood that counts! One drop of pure, untainted blood from the veins of our Savior is sufficient to wipe away all sin--forever! What glorious power there is in the blood of Christ! All blood, whether oriental, Caucasian, Arabian, or Latino, looks the same, and all is the life of the flesh, (Lev. 17:11, 14). So it is with the blood of Christ, it is the same for all men, and provides eternal life for all flesh.
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