Monday, August 31, 2009

Unbelief

Hebrews 3:12 KJV
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

I saw this text as complimentary to the text that I focused upon yesterday. We must give the more earnest heed not to let the things we have learned from God to slip AND we must take heed not to depart from the living God.

What a tragic thing it is when one who has heard the Word of God and has responded to it turns out to have an "evil heart of unbelief." Some who appear to have walked with us and with our Saviour turn out to be, after all, unbelievers.

It is no little thing to be a believer. It is not something that happens without consequence and then we can just turn from as we please. The one who has been born again will demonstrate that new birth in a careful heeding of the things they have learned and an purposeful walk that will not, in the end, depart from the living God.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Too Many

Hebrews 2:1 KJV
Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

· Too many things have slipped spiritually over the years.
· Too many Christians have dropped their convictions.
· Too many doctrines have become compromised to convenience
· Too many churches have accommodated the world


There is no question that the things of God can slip if we do not give the more earnest heed. If in Paul's day that earnest heed was needful, how much more so in our day.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

HIS Power

Hebrews 1:3 KJV
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

My focus this morning is on "the word of His power." Christ upholds all things by His own power.
It is a power that belongs solely to Him
It is a power that holds the universe in place
It is a power that is manifested in His spoken Word


His power is what we need today:
His Word, spoken in this world,
His influence in the hearts of men and women,
His working in the course of man.

May we ever look for His power and, may we ever trust in His power.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Job's Faith

Job 19:25-27 KJV
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.


I love Job's confession of faith.

Despite the intense pain Job is experiencing, emotionally, physically and mentally, still his spirit and soul rests upon His God.

This body will die and decay. So what!
The believer will be resurrected to see the Lord

This life may experience terrible tragedy. So what!
The believer will stand eternally with Christ in the heavenlies.

This earthly path might include some times when the Lord is difficult to see. So what!
In our flesh we will see the Lord. We will one day be in His presence, never to be without Him again. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He is always here. And one day we will have the physical proof of it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Saved

Titus 3:5-7 KJV
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;
Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Praise God for salvation that is wrought not by the works of man (if they were wrought by man they could as easily be destroyed by man) but by our Almighty God. In this passage we learn that we are saved

Mercifully
God withholds from us that judgment we so rightfully deserve. His mercy is, as is all of salvation, founded upon the work of Christ. God does not merely overlook the judgment of our sin but places that judgment upon His own Son

Abundantly
God's salvation is no small thing. Just as Peter's wife's mother was so healed that she could immediately get up and minister to those in her home (as opposed to a supposed healing that still required she rest and recuperate) when God saves us it is immediate complete and eternal.

Graciously
Salvation is a gift. It is not merited by our deeds in any way. It is completely purchased by the work of Christ and freely given those who will but rest in Christ.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What Grace Teaches

Titus 2:11-13 KJV
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;


Grace, rather than giving us license, teaches us
To deny certain things
To live a certain way and
To look for a certain Saviour

Far from permitting our abandon of standards of righteousness, grace teaches us to press toward things that are different than this world and things that are more sure than this world.

A certain Saviour speaks both of the surety of His coming and the fact that He is a specific Saviour; not one of our own choosing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Job 4:1 KJV
Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered....

Scofield's Notes says
Eliphaz rests on mysterious experience, Bildad rests upon his tradition and Zophar rests upon his dogmatic knowledge of God. It occurred to me that

Eliphaz is the charismatic Christians
Bildad is the Protestant Christian and
Zophar is the fundamental Baptist Christian


Scofield says of the three, Zophar is the least open to reason. That sounds like a Baptist! :-)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thy Ministry

2 Timothy 4:5 KJV
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

"...make full proof of thy ministry."

The ministry is not something to be done lightly or as a hobby. The man in the ministry ought to fully immerse himself in it.

This is not to say he may not work a secular type job as needed in order to provide for his family. It is to say that even in that work he ought to do it as a function and part of his ministry.

The cause of the gospel ought to be his heart and passion.
The work of the ministry ought to occupy his very being.


Whatever else he may be engaged in
Wherever he might find himself to be

He is in the ministry.
He is called of God.
He has a charge and commission.


Let nothing distract him from that calling!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Continue Thou

2 Timothy 3:14 KJV
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

The major theme of 2 Timothy is the general apostasy of the last days and the afflictions that are a part of it. As Paul suffered for the gospel, so he encouraged Timothy to do likewise and urges him to urge those that will come after Timothy to continue in the things we have learned.

What is the answer to the current troubles in our world today?
What should be the Christian response to worldliness in the churches?
How should the Christian react to a general disdain for the faith of Jesus Christ?


Here it is, "Continue thou in the thing which thou hast learned...."

Our responsibility as believers has always been and will always be, regardless of what changes the world makes is simply this, "Continue thou....."

Don't give up
Don't quit
Don't let some things slip
Don't drop our standards a little
Don't compromise with the world


"Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned..."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Sure Foundation

2 Timothy 2:19 KJV
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Even before the Apostles left this earth, Satan had begun his attacks upon the church of the Living God.
Apostasy, the willful denial of truth among false professors
Error, wrong assumptions based upon personal ignorance and
Heresy, the turning from truth or its practice by the brethren

Had already become a problem.
Some were saying that the resurrection had already past
Others were abusing the doctrines of spiritual gifts


In the midst of all of these attacks of the devil the Word of God gives us this wonderful assurance, "Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure...."

Satan may attack and oppress the believer all he wants; he cannot shake the foundation of God. So our safest place as believers is inside that foundation. The best place for us to be is securely in His church, living for its advancement, listening to the message preached through it and fellowshipping with the others who are also safely within it. The church is not a building but a fellowship and we are not to cloister ourselves inside the confines of whatever structure our assembly gathers. We are to go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature, but as we do so, we are wise to do it in the authority and protection of our church and among the fellowship of others whoa re doing the same.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Nothing to be Ashamed Of

2 Timothy 1:8 KJV
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

The word ashamed here means "to impose disgrace." It would not have been impossible but that the lost world thought of Christianity as a disgrace.
The believers were hated and hunted down
The majority of the wealthy, worldly wise, and powerful rejected the gospel, in fact
The believers themselves were only a mere handful of people in comparison to the populations of the world.
The world would have considered the Christian movement a disgrace by worldly standards.

So Paul encouraged Timothy not to be ashamed

Paul exhorted Timothy not to be ashamed of the Testimony of the Lord
Jesus Christ came, not as a world conqueror but as a lowly babe in the manger.
In His life He had no place to lay His head. and
He suffered a humiliating death at a young age.

But His gospel message is pure and powerful. It changes the eternal destiny of immortal souls. There is nothing in the testimony of Christ to be ashamed of.

Paul then urged Timothy not to be ashamed of the prison experiences of himself.
Paul had gone from an "up and coming" in the Jew's religion to an itinerant preacher who wasn't even very well received of other Christians and finally a prisoner sentenced to death for his message. On the human level Paul's experience would not appear to be one we would desire to follow. But Paul's life wasn't lived on the human level. His treasures were of a different sort. While Paul died an ignoble death in his day, his message is impacting lives 2000 years later. That is nothing to be ashamed of.

Finally Paul charged Timothy that he should partake in these same afflictions which were first seen in Christ and then in Paul.
It's not a message most will comprehend. Those who are not saved could never understand why a believer would choose a life of affliction. The majority of professing Christians would never consider partaking in the afflictions of the gospel. But those who will enter into these afflictions will find the power of God more than capable of sustaining them.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Trust

1 Timothy 6:20 KJV
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

The preacher has something that is committed to his trust; it is not his own.
In Timothy's case, it had been committed to him by Apostle Paul.
Paul's investment in time and training must not go to waste. Timothy was not free to do with what he had been taught as he would. Paul trusted Timothy to keep it, guard it, and grow it.

It had been committed to him through the "laying on of hands of the presbytery" [1]
This is the only reference in the Bible to Timothy's ordination. Gill suggests that this "presbytery" (literally, eldership) must have been the apostles since Philip did not lay hands on those in Samaria but waited for Peter and John. Timothy's calling and ministry were not of his own making. Others had invested in him. They had placed their trust in him to keep what was committed to him.

It had been committed to him by the Lord
This of course is the ultimate trust. That Jesus Christ would count us faithful and put us in the ministry is a fact too grand to grasp.

The preaching of the gospel is not ours to do with as we please. We are not to regard this as having come to us of our own, but as having been passed down to us. To change courses in methods, ministry or message is to break the trust of those who have handled the ministry before us. God help us to keep what has been committed to us.
[1] (1 Timothy 4:14)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Power of Words

Job 4:3-5 KJV
Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.
Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.
But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.


Eliphaz reveals himself to be a self righteous and proud man. The basis of his entire speech before Job was based upon a religious experience and vision that he saw. Since the Bible was not yet written and God did speak to mankind through visions in those days, we have no reason to insist that this wasn't from God. However, its effect upon Eliphaz is not. It is not uncommon for men to be blessed of God and to become lifted in pride because of the blessing. So happens to Eliphaz.

However, his earliest words are not his thoughts, but merely observation which appears to be true. That observation is that Job had instructed many and strengthened the weak hands. Eliphaz makes the observation that Job's words had upholden the falling and strengthened feeble knees.

The power of the Word is not only effective in damaging, but in building up and encouraging. The child of God ought to make it his lifelong practice to use his words in just such a way!

Now there comes a day when Job is cast down. God's Word has made it quite clear that this was through no sin on Job's account but that God might be glorified. We can be assured that, with the one who has "thrown himself under the Lord" we will have our times similar to Job's. By God's grace we too will glorify God through those times.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord

Job 2:12 KJV
And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.

The testimony of Job is so incredible. God declares in 2:3 that Satan had "moved [God] against [Job]."

He has lost his possessions
He has lost his livestock and
He has lost his children.


That Job loved his children mightily is evidenced in 1:5 and his continual prayers and offerings for them.

Finally Job lost his physical health. The Bible says that he was so deformed and defeated by all that had gone on that his friends "knew him not." The pressures had been so intense that not only had he experienced physical deformity but, I am sure, emotional deformity as well.

And yet despite it all Job said
Job 1:21 KJV
And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

And
Job 2:10 KJV
But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Job was content (though suffering) to be in the hands of God and to glorify the Lord in whatever way He deemed best for the present time. Job had glorified God in times of prosperity, power and success. Now he would glorify God in times of humility, poverty and want.

May God be glorified in whatever His pleasure is for His people!

Monday, August 17, 2009

How To Behave

1 Timothy 3:15 KJV
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.

I am reminded today of the importance of the local church and of our behaviour in that church.
In some denominations, the building itself becomes an idol of worship. The building becomes ornate, rich, and ostentatious. People come to admire and adore the building more than the creator.
In some denominations (and, for that matter, independent churches) the service itself becomes an idol. The people are expected to reverence the experience of church. Hushed tones and carefully scripted programs are carried out with no on allowed to interfere with the flow of said program.


We would do well to remember that we are to have no gods before the Lord. That includes those god we might make up in the Lord's house.

On the other hand, the church of the Living God is an awesome place and the believer would also do well to remember to behave as becoming his profession of faith while there. We gather together, in whatever place we assemble, for the purpose of worshiping the Lord and that is exactly what we ought to do while we are there.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Human Responsibilty and Divine Sovereignty

Proverbs 16:33 KJV
The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

The lot was a means used in ancient times to determine the will of the Lord and to make decisions. Some people says it would have been something like rolling dice. A person would cast the lot into the fabric of their garment and make choices based upon the casting of that lot. The point of the passage then is this... men make decisions, but the Lord is the one who carries out his will.

I find in this verse a hunt toward the balance between human responsibility and divine sovereignty. Some people lean way too heavily on human responsibility. They plan, scheme, delegate and execute. In the end, some of them will give God credit, but then, if their plans have been successful enough, they will advertise their successes and in some cases offer to teach others (for a price of course) how to be successful as they have been. While they say they give God glory, it is really all about them. One preacher said publicly "God didn't do much in this town, until I got here."

On the other hand some people don't do anything. They refuse to see that it is commanded of the Lord that we "Go." God has called us into His fields and commissioned us to preach the Gospel. We are too "cast the lot into the lap" as it were.

The reality is that the Word of God teaches us a balance. We are to "cast the lot" We are to be actively involved. We are to labor abundantly in the cause of Christ. But we are to also always keep before us that, the disposing of our labor is "of the Lord." He makes the final choices and accomplishes His will for our lives as He chooses.

Keeping that in mind will ensure that He truly gets the glory.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Lord IS Faithful

2 Thessalonians 3:3 KJV
But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

In the backdrop of of the Apostle's own confrontations with unreasonable and wicked men, Paul says, "Pray for us." Preachers need the prayers and encouragement and support of those the Lord has led to follow them because there are plenty of others who will not follow.

Unreasonable men
There are some who will not see the faith of Christ as reasonable. Even though no real Christian forces his views upon another; even though we simply want to faithfully follow the Lord and let others know that they may have the same peace with God we have discovered, some are just unreasonable.

Wicked men
While the unreasonable can be considered wicked in their own right, there are others who just take wickedness further. Their persecutions and oppressions of Christians are targeted, intentional and purposefully mean.

But despite all of the trials they bring into the life of the believer, Paul says, "The Lord is faithful..."There is a comfort and assurance that is fond in that truth that makes all of the difficulties a Christian endures worth it.

Life is not easy for anyone. The wealthiest, to the poorest face struggles and victories. Some choose for themselves lives that others of us would not dream of, but they find in their choices both trials and joys. Some have lives we can only dream of, but even they find in their lives trials and joys. In the end we are all on an even playing field in this life. Only eternity makes our choices have value. Make your choices one that provide heaven as you home and treasures awaiting you there.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Told You

2 Thessalonians 2:5 KJV
Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

I have met some Christians over the years who believe that the doctrines of future things are not that important. Though they personally hold views that are contrary to the pre-tribulational rapture, they usually say things like, "Whether you are right about the rapture or I am right, it doesn't matter, we will both make it when it happens." One preacher friend of mine, when confronted with that statement, told the person, "That's a cop out. Decide what you believe and hold it."

But the doctrines of the future things, and especially concerning those things surrounding the rapture and the Tribulation, were of great urgency to the Apostle Paul. Though Paul was only in the city of Thessalonica a short time, yet in his stay he did tell those new Christians about the Tribulation, the rapture and the events that were involved in it.

Paul did not avoid these doctrines as controversial. Neither did he view them as insignificant and not necessary for young believers. It was among the first things he told them about.

The Bible doctrines of the Tribulation, rapture, antichrist, and the falling away of the faith prior to it all are key doctrines. They give the Christian
Insight into the world in which he lives
Motivation to aggressively serve the Lord and
Hope that, though this world is tough, we will escape the judgment that it faces.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Something We Just Don't Need to Study

1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 KJV
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

I am reminded that the Bible says
1 Timothy 1:4 KJV
Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

2 Timothy 2:23 KJV
But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

Titus 3:9 KJV
But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

The Apostle Paul says that he has no need to write to the believers in Thessalonica concerning the times and seasons of the Lord's return because they knew perfectly that the coming of the Lord would be "as a thief in the night." No man can no the day or the hour. We can't know if Jesus will come in the spring or the fall.
Mark 13:35 KJV
Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:

The Christians at Thessalonica did not have time to learn a great deal of the Word of God before the Apostle was forced to leave their town, but they had learned this one truth perfectly, when Jesus comes, it will be "as a thief in the night" and we therefore ought to be on watch always.

Why, if they could learn that in such a short time, do so many Christians have trouble with it after so long a time?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

An Evidence of Sanctification

1 Thessalonians 4:6 KJV
That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

John Gill's notes
"This is commonly understood of transgressing the bounds of justice and equity between men and men; and of cheating and defrauding in trade and business, by increasing or lessening the value and prices of goods by the buyer and seller, by not keeping to the bargain, contract, covenant, or sample, by false weights and measures, and by taking the advantage of the weakness and ignorance of men; all which is aggravated by dealing thus with a brother…"

Albert Barnes commentary
"That no man go beyond ……... This word means, “to make to go over,” as, e. g., a wall or mountain; then, to overpass, to wit, certain limits, to transgress; and then to go too far, i. e., to go beyond right - hence to cheat or defraud. It is not used elsewhere in the New Testament. The idea of overreaching is that which is implied in its use here.
And defraud - ….., “oppress,” or “overreach.” This word properly means, to have more than another; then to have an advantage; and then to take advantage of any one, to circumvent, defraud, cheat. It is rendered “got an advantage,” …; “defraud,” …; “make a gain,” 2Co_12:17-18. Compare for the use of the adjective, 1Co_5:10-11; 1Co_6:10; Eph_5:5; and the noun, Mar_7:22; Luk_12:15; Rom_1:29; 2Co_9:5; Eph_5:3; Col_3:5; 1Th_2:5; 2Pe_2:3, 2Pe_2:14. It is the word commonly used to denote covetousness. Taking advantage of, is the idea which it conveys here."

This chapter gives us a description of the sanctified believer and asserts that one of the evidences of such sanctification is that this believer will not defraud his brother; he will not take advantage of a brother's weakness in order to gain an advantage over him.

How far it appears to me that we have moved from such a mark today. Christians bite and devour one another for their own gain and often call it the evidence of God's power upon them that they are able to do it.

But God gives this warning (or encouragement depending upon whether you are the one defrauding or being defrauded) "...the Lord is the avenger of all such..." Our purpose must be to reach toward this high ideal, realizing that there will be many who defraud and take advantage of us because we choose to follow Christ rather than build our own universe. Our comfort in our afflictions will be this - we do not need to avenge ourselves. The Lord will right the records in glory, where it will count eternally.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How We Live

1 Thessalonians 3:7-8 KJV
Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:
For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.


Albert Barnes Commentary says of this, "This is equivalent to saying, “My life and comfort depend on your stability in the faith, and your correct Christian walk...”

Notice how closely the preacher's joy and encouragement is connected with the testimony and spiritual relationship of the congregation.

The Apostle Paul suffered greatly in his ministry. He was constantly under threat of persecution and attack from the unbelievers and he also found himself maligned, mistreated and falsely accused by certain of the believers. Paul will face shipwrecks, beatings and other dangers before he is finally imprisoned and eventually beheaded. And yet through all of those afflictions he says he is comforted, his life has meaning and purpose when he knows that he ministers to stand fast in the Lord.

I wished I had a way to communicate to those I minister to and have ministered to, how important their walk with Christ is to my own state of well being. I, as a preacher, can endure some pretty difficult things so long as I know those I had had ministry with are continuing on and growing in the Lord. When I hear of those who have turned from Christ, or others who have compromised the faith I delivered to them, it crushes me. When Christians I have been blessed to preach the Word of God to rebel and continue on in their rebellion, it breaks my heart. But when I learn of those who stand fast in the Lord; when I witness believers
Whose faith in the Lord,
Whose testimony is bright for Christ and
Whose walk is zealous and active in the church,

It breathes life into my afflicted soul.

The preacher lives for Christ. He must preach "not as pleasing men, but God which trieth out hearts." But he knows his ministry is toward people. And he longs to see them truly "grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ." He is in a strait. He must follow Christ and preach Christ knowing that it will make him lonely and separated from those who refuse to walk that way with him. But at the same time his ministry is so inextricably tied men that he must always long to see them come alongside him in his walk with Christ. With Paul he calls out constantly, "follow me as I also follow Christ." And then he must continue on following Christ knowing that people he loves will be left behind.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Entering Into a Curse

Nehemiah 10:29 KJV
They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;

Nehemiah 10:39 KJV
For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.

Chapters 9 and 10 of Nehemiah speak of a type of covenant that the people of Israel entered into under Nehemiah's leadership.
It is called a "curse" in verse 29.
The idea is that they agreed that, should they break their covenant and oath, they would be bound under judgment; they would submit to the discipline of the whole.

It is styled as a separation in verse 28.
God's people are to be separated from this world. We are to be different and unique. Those of the world should be able to tell we are not the same. And on of the most unique things about us ought to be our covenant one with another.
The fact that we, as a people of God in a local church setting, are committed to each other.
That we will hear both the encouragements and rebukes of one another and
That we will agree to the discipline that our brothers and sisters impose upon us for breeching our covenant,

Certainly separates us from the world.

It ends with a commitment to the house of God in verse 39.
I do not see this commitment as being last because it was the least important, nor do I see it as simply one of the commitments they made in their covenant. I see this as the sum of their covenant. Everything else leads to and is involved in this one commitment, not to forsake the house of our God. And I see this as placed last in the list as a point of emphasis. If we remember nothing else, let's remember this; we will not forsake the house of our God!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Three Things

1 Thessalonians 1:10 KJV
And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

Three keys in this verse:

There is a future wrath
Any man or woman is a fool to ignore the warnings of this wrath. It is inescapable and unavoidable. Nothing will prevent the wrath of God from being poured out in His time.

There is a deliverance offered.
The term is past tense. What Jesus did on the cross and in His resurrection is complete once and for all. There is no need of a new and improved Saviour. There is no need of a Saviour more modern and appealing to today's mankind. Because it is a past tense deliverance those of us who have received it know it. We do not concern ourselves with whether we have been delivered or not. It is done, finished.

There is a purpose for today
And that is that we wait for Jesus to come. Sure, there is more involved in it than sitting around; but there is that is the main thing but this thing. We wait for Jesus! We look for Him, we long for Him and we tell others about Him.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Wisdom is Out To Get Us

Proverbs 8:1-4 KJV
Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.
She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.
Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.

Wisdom can be a reference to one of several things:
It is a quality a man ought to aspire to. We gain this wisdom by knowledge coupled with experience
It is treasure that is passed down from a father to a son. Proverbs is written under this analogy (though it is not necessary to hold that this is the only application in the Proverbs)
It is a unique characteristic of God who is the only all wise One.
A.W. Pink suggests that the wisdom of Proverbs refers to the righteous and the fool of Proverbs to the wicked
It is also obviously a reference to the Person of Jesus Christ, of whom the description of wisdom in Proverbs 8 can only apply

Now here is the thing that grabs my attention today; this wisdom is so ACTIVE. This wisdom is not a passive thing that lies on a table waiting someone to pick it up and make it their own. This wisdom, like God after Adam in the Garden of Eden pursues us. This is not a wisdom that can only belong to those who mental capacities are capable of attaining it. This is something that attains to us.

So the one who lacks it does so of His own volition. Wisdom cries and searches us out. She is in the top of the high places and it is by the places of the paths. She is like the steeples on the churches that stretch heaven-ward pointing men to Christ. She is like the Spiritual billboards that ring out a message as we drive by them. If there is anything that may make one miss it, it is when we do not frequent those places where men and women ought to be.

How foolish is the one who stops his ears at her voice!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Affections

Colossians 3:1-2 KJV
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

It isn't impossible to see these two verses as conditional to being risen with Christ. If it is true that you are risen with Christ, then you affections will be on things above.

Jonathan Edwards wrote a huge piece in his day on the subject of "Religious Affections." It is difficult to think that the one who is born again, redeemed out of the sin of this world and is now seated together with Christ in heavenly places, would have much interest in the paltry and petty attractions that are of this world.

The one who has risen with Christ has been made a live to see new things; things in the heavenlies. This that are invisible and unimaginable to worldlings . As the sun arises to illuminate the new morning, so the child of God has arisen and Christ has illuminated beauties that yet lie in darkness to those who have not Christ.

That which attracts a man defines that man. The sow must eventually go to her wallow. The dog will, of his nature return to his vomit. The worldling cannot help but be attracted to the things on the earth. And those who are risen with Christ will find they are drawn away from the pleasures of the world and into heavenly delights.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Led, Kept, and Spoken To

Proverbs 6:22 KJV
When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.

That these commandments are more than an earthly father's instructions to his son can be seen in the similarity this verse has with
Deuteronomy 6:7 KJV
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

The father who desires to bring his children up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord do more than teach them how to earn a living in the world. That father teaches the Bible to his children all day long.

And the child who hears and obeys such instruction will find that these commands will lead them, keep them and speak to them in the best ways of life.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A Noisy Iambus

Colossians 2:15 KJV
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

I enjoy the thought of this passage. When Jesus rose from the grave He did not do it in a quite uneventful way. The soldiers that guarded His tomb fell down as dead. The earth shook and, the Bible says, Jesus spoiled principalities and powers (the fallen angels) and made "a shew of them openly" that is, He made an exhibit of His resurrection. He shewed Himself alive forty days after His passion.
He appeared and disappeared.
He ate with the believers
He taught them and encouraged them
He called them and instructed them and
He ascended to heaven before their very eyes.


The words "triumphing over" refer to "a noisy iambus" (poem or song, which is thought to be the origin of comedy). It also has roots in the word "clamor."

Jesus did not merely defeat the devil. Jesus "rubbed his face in his defeat."

Jesus did not just barely gain victory over Satan; He so sounded routed him that noise of the victory rattles in the ears of his defeated foes.

Praise God for such an astounding victory!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Made Us Meet

Colossians 1:12 KJV
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

We have much to thank the Father for when we realize that we are meet (qualified and fit) to be partakers of the heavenly inheritance only because the Father has made us meet. We did not deserve it. We could have done nothing to earn it. It is a gift, bequeathed upon us completely at the will of the Father.

Albert Barnes' Notes says that in making us meet God has given us, "... a state of feeling that is adapted to that. There is a congruity between his feelings and heaven - a state of mind that can be satisfied with nothing but heaven. He has in his heart substantially the same principles which reign in heaven; and he is suited to find happiness only in the same objects in which the inhabitants of heaven do, He loves the same God and Saviour; has pleasure in the same truths; prefers, as they do, holiness to sin; and, like the inhabitants of heaven, he would choose to seek his pleasure in holy living, rather than in the ways of vanity. His preferences are all on the side of holiness and virtue; and, with such preferences, he is fitted for the enjoyments of heaven."

May God grant us that we can be satisfied with nothing but heaven.
That heaven is the only thing that is able to satisfy us and we will not be satisfied until we are there and
That we can be satisfied with heaven even when we have nothing else in this world.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Lord Is At Hand

Philippians 4:5 KJV
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

When this passage says "the Lord is at hand" it is speaking of a near presence rather than that His coming is soon. Gill says, "... the Lord is nigh unto them, as he is to all that call upon him in truth, Psa_145:18; He
Is a present help in time of trouble, Psa_46:1; he is in the midst of them, and
Will help, and that right early, Psa_46:5; and
Will avenge his elect, and vindicate their cause, and right all their wrongs in His due time..."


This truth ties those truths that go both before and after together.

What goes before....
Because the Lord is at hand
We can rejoice in the Lord alway
We ought to be moderate and that publicly

And what comes after
Because the Lord is at hand
We do not have to be filled with care
We can let out requests be made known to God through him and
We can have a peace that passes all understanding

The Lord is at hand. He is present and with us and He is eager that we would find in Him our contentment and satisfaction.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Our Vile Body

Philippians 3:20-21 KJV
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.


I wonder how often we think of our bodies as vile? Gill says of this body that it is
defiled with sin,
attended with frailty, and is
mortal; and
being dead, is sown and laid in the grave in corruption, weakness, and dishonour...

The worse thing about the born again person is his body.
It is not redeemed as yet.
It is chained to this world.
It continues to lust things the believer's spirit would not have and
It can so easily refuse (through illness and disease) to allow us physical ability to serve the Lord as we would


Our body is vile. It is one of three major enemies of the Christian,
The world
The flesh and
The devil


And it must be brought into submission lest it leads to the Christian being cast away.

And we look for Jesus to, among other things, change this vile body.

Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

That The Word of the Lord ...Might Be Fulfilled

Ezra 1:1 KJV
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,

Jeremiah's ministry was a good 70 years previous to Cyrus' reign and it is not impossible that Cyrus had heard of Jeremiah's preaching. Certainly Daniel and the three other Hebrews would have been familiar with his preaching. No doubt many of the Jews who had gone into captivity, though disagreeing with Jeremiah while he preached, realized he was right once they had been captured. Surely they spoke about his message one with another and passed it down to their children. Obviously also Jeremiah's message had been written down and could conceivably been in written form in Babylon during their captivity there.

There are many of the prophecies of the Word of God that were fulfilled without the persons fulfilling them being aware or even willing that they fulfill God's Word. Alexander the Great and the other world empires did not purposely choose to fulfill God's Word either in their rise to power or their eventual fall. Nebuchadnezzar did not choose to become insane and live as an animal. On the other hand there are some prophesies that could have been fulfilled as a man saw God's Word, realized it pertained to them and chose to obey it.
It was prophesied years before Josiah came on the throne in Jerusalem that he would burn the bones of Jeroboam. It is not impossible to believe that Josiah, knowing that the Word of God said that and then finding the body of Jeroboam, realized the Scriptures referred to himself and then submitted to obeying the Word of God.
Cyrus was prophesied seventy years before his ascension to the throne that he would allow the Jews to return and build the Temple. Could it not have been that he, having heard that Jeremiah had prophesied a king named Cyrus would decree the return of the Jews, humbly realized that the Word of God spoke of himself so he elected to obey that Word?


True enough, there are some things in the Word of God that are fulfilled with or without our cognizant involvement. Some portions of the will of God will run their course even if we do not pay them attention.

But there are some things that the Lord expects we will submit to and obey. We cannot change the will of God. He will accomplish His plan. But we can see ourselves in that will and choose to fulfill it.