Monday, May 31, 2010

Something To Declare

Hebrews 11:14 KJV
For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

They that say they are strangers and pilgrims on the earth and by that declare plainly that they seek a country not of this earth.

Matthew Poole says
"The reason of faith’s effect in their dying, is the bringing in view a better life, state, and place than any earthly one. For these believers, by word and life professing themselves to be strangers and pilgrims on this earth, and seeing God’s promises, and embracing them, declare and show plainly to all who see them, or converse with them, that they seek a country, and a place of rest, which they were not possessed of."

I wonder. Sometimes, if we are clear concerning our intentions. It could appear, and I believe it does appear to the lost world, that Christianity is but another world view. I believe they view Christianity as just another political party or ideological position; liberal, conservative or Christian.

And no wonder they see us so. So much of Christianity is but another attempt to influence the masses and build human wealth and power with followers. There isn't a lot of surrender among Christians today. There isn't much other worldliness. The is just another way of life in this world.

It has to become more than our words if we are ever to declare plainly that we seek another country. We are going to have to quit seeking this one if we would declare to those around us in no uncertain terms, that our citizenship is in heaven.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

It Is Christ or Judgment

Hebrews 10:26 KJV
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins

Scofield calls this a parenthetical passage warning the Jews that the sacrificial system had lost it's efficacy. "It is Christ or judgment."

• There is no other way.
• There is no other religion
• There is no other salvation


• It is Christ
• It is Christ alone
• It is Christ completely

Or it is judgment
• With the judgment of the world
• Along with the judgment of others and
• For the judgment of our own sins


Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God taketh away the sins of the world. But it is effective only in those who come to Him and trust in Him alone.

It is Christ or
It is judgment

Saturday, May 29, 2010

For Us

Hebrews 9:24 KJV
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:

The first thought that struck me is how much more there is to the Word of God than is found in the four gospels. Those three and one half years are first of all foretold in the pages of the Old Testament and then built upon in the New. What a powerful and wonderful gift is the Word of God.

Now the Bible says Christ appears in the presence of God. His service on earth through, His work being finished, He is now in the presence (the Bible says in other places at the right hand of the Father) and the Word says He appears there for us.

I can't imagine a more gracious message.
He left heaven for us
He died at Calvary for us
He appears in the presence of God for us and
He ever liveth to make intercession to God for us

Rejoice!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fault Finding

Hebrews 8:7-8 KJV
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:


God found fault in the old covenant. It was not able to make man perfect before Him.

Of this fault, Barnes says
"The meaning is not that that first covenant made under Moses had any real faults - or inculcated what was wrong, but that it did not contain the ample provision for the pardon of sin and the salvation of the soul which was desirable. It was merely “preparatory” to the gospel."

And Poole says
"…not because God made it,...... but accidentally, by reason of the priests’ faults, and people’s sinfulness, it became wholly ineffectual to them for saving them; therefore the blame and fault of it is charged on them..."

There is no fault in the truth of that old covenant. The fault is in man's use of the covenant and understanding of it.

I am thankful for a new covenant which is built upon the sure foundation of God's work in us through Jesus Christ.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Goal

Hebrews 7:19 KJV
For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

Perfection is my goal.

I look for nothing short of absolute perfection before the Lord. Christ has made that a possibility and, in fact, a reality. Not that I am perfect in the flesh. Even the apostle admitted that. But I am perfect in Christ. He is perfect and before the Lord I am hidden in His perfection.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Followers of Them

Hebrews 6:12 KJV
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

We are to be followers, but we are to be particular followers and choose wisely to only follow those who walk with "faith and patience." plenty walk in the flesh. Some do it obviously making an open show of it. Others walk in the flesh subtly making it appear that their very flesh is the Spirit. They manipulate and push and drive, all in the name of God and all in a false walk in the spirit.

We will know those who walk in the spirit because they will walk in faith and patience. They will be characterized by less of a desire to perform and more of a desire to please and glorify the Lord. Their's will be more of a patient trust in the Lord, allowing Him to do the ministry He chooses rather than a driving personality, attempting to get their will done.

Those are the sorts of believers we need to follow.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Being Made Perfect

Hebrews 5:9 KJV
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Christ was made perfect through those things he suffered and through death. Christ is perfect God and perfect man and always was all of that. But in death Christ became free of the bonds of this world. No longer could the body hold him to the needs of food, drink and shelter. No longer was he restricted from his omnipresence. No longer did the flesh endure pain and physical weakness. Through death Christ was resurrected with a glorified body.

God is today concerned with our perfection. Both in the church and in the individual believer our perfection is His work. That perfection is wrought in our suffering and will ultimately be completed in our death and resurrection.

Oh for that day!

Monday, May 24, 2010

We Have To Do

Hebrews 4:13 KJV
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.

...with whom we have to do....


The One with whom we have to do is the Lord. It is not other people, it is not family, friends, political or celebrity figures. It is not even our enemies.

We have to do with the Lord. We are responsible to the Lord. We will give our account to the Lord. We surrender our lives to the Lord.

Other influences come upon us but of no other influence will we ultimately stand.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Not All

Hebrews 3:16 KJV
For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

Some, when they had heard did provoke: howbeit not all....

I want to be among the "not all" crowd. The majority seem to always pick a path of unbelief.

Like Gideon's men, when once a pruning is complete we may want to say among ourselves, "We have arrived. We are not like them. We have made the cut. We are the believers." but among those that made the cut; among the remnant there was still a majority whose services God could not use and again a remnant was cut out.

I want to always be in that remnant who follow Christ and not the majority. I want to always be in that smallest number who are the believers. For that to happen I have to keep my eyes wide open. There will certainly be temptations to be a part of a crowd. It is the way of the flesh, popularity anonymity, ease. These are the tendencies that we are most prone to go after. But the people of God, though a small number, always follow the Lord. It makes them different, unique and it makes them often stand out even among those they would have considered peers. But they are the ones we want to imitate, not those who grieved the Lord through unbelief.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Self Chosen Way

Genesis 29:1 KJV
Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.

Scofield's Notes says,
"Jacob at Haran becomes a sterling illustration, if not type, of the nation descended from him in its present long dispersion. Like Israel, he was:
Out of the place of blessing (Gen_26:3).
without an altar (Hos_3:4); (Hos_3:5).
gained an evil name (Gen_31:1); (Rom_2:17-24).
but was under the covenant care of Jehovah (Gen_28:13); (Gen_28:14); (Rom_11:1); (Rom_11:25-30).
and was ultimately brought back (Gen_31:3); (Gen_35:1-4); (Eze_37:21-23).

The personal lesson is obvious: while Jacob is not forsaken, he is permitted to reap the shame and sorrow of his self-chosen way. "

I can see two applications of this to our day as well:
First there is an application to every Christian.
While we have not chosen to live in the world the way it is, because we to are from the loins of Adam and responsible for the sin of Adam, though now saved and never forsaken of God, we are permitted to reap the troubles of this way. Life on this planet will never be easy for any human being. We have the protrction of God in many respects. But we also have the problems of the sin of the world.

Secondly there is an application for the believer who travels a "self chosen" way.
Some Christians face more difficulties than they might otherwise simply because they choose to go a way other than that way God has for them. Like Jacob, they may seem to be prosperous in this self chosen way. Like Jacob they may (and probably will) experience times of blessing in this self chosen way. But also like Jacob they will find themselves facing snares of the world because they are on this self chosen way and, like Jacob they will find that it is a long and difficult path off of the self chosen way.

Friday, May 21, 2010

God Changes the World But Never Changes Himself

Hebrews 1:10-12 KJV
And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.


God never changes.
But the Bible says He will fold this world like He would a change of cloths and put on new.

While God never changes He has changed how and with whom He has worked. The Jews were the apple of His eye. He blessed them in unique and marvelous ways. But then, because of sin, He set them aside in favor of a new work among the Gentiles nations of the world. The Bible reveals that one day He will return His focus on the Jews to finalize the promises He made to their Fathers. None of these changes change the character, plan or person of God. He is the same yesterday and today and forever.

And we can trust Him through a world of changes.

Praise God!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Prepare For Answer

Philemon 1:22 KJV
But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.

I ought to prepare to receive the answers to my prayers.
Whether Paul was released to lodge again with Philemon or not is up to speculation. Some have asserted that since Paul expected to have this prayer answered that is grounds for us to preach he was released. They go on from there to preach that after his release he traveled to Spain and even to the regions beyond that in England. If this is the case it is not confirmed in the bible. I am more inclined to agree with Gill,
"....whether this hope and expectation of his were answered, is a matter of doubt and question: some think he was released, and went into several parts, and preached the Gospel, and then was taken up again, and committed to prison, and suffered under Nero, some years after; and others think not."

Be that as it may, there is a lesson I can learn about prayer:
• I ought to pray believing.
• I ought to pray believing enough to make provision for the answer.

So what do I do if the answer does not come? Simply thank the Lord for having some better thing. It does not diminish the power if God but only reveals the infirmity of my flesh.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Guy Just Has To Pay

Genesis 23:10-16 KJV
And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying,
Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead.
And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land.
And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.
And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him,
My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead.
And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant.

Sometimes a guy just has to pay. Abraham's beloved was gone. The years of their lives had been many and the experiences extraordinary. It was a gracious and generous thing that Ephron offered, but Abraham had to take this on.

• It had to do with the promise of God. This land was his.
• It also had to do with caring for his wife. He had to make that provision.


I am impressed with Ephron. He did not get offended but let Abraham express his grief in the way that was necessary for him.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

All Authority

Titus 2:15 KJV
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

The office of the pastor is one that requires he speak both to exhort (comfort and lift up) and rebuke (tell a fault). The work is a difficult one but it is one that must be done with confidence and passion as well as humility and meekness. We will be despised if either of two things happens:

We fail to fulfill our work in speaking the exhortation and rebuke.
No one respects a man who will not speak when He needs to speak. If it is a rebuke, let it be so. If a man needs a friend, let us be there. But to fail to be that friend when it is called for or to fail to give that word of rebuke when it is necessary; that is a grievous error.

We do our work with either a lack of humility before the Lord or else a lack of confidence that the Lord is with us.
Those who follow the preacher want to know he is following the Lord. They want to know that his walk with Christ is solid and real and life giving. They can bear up to his rebuke if they know him to be a man of God. But to be rebuked by a mealy mouthed man who does not walk with Christ or by an arrogant man who acts as if he is Christ; that they will not forgive.

Monday, May 17, 2010

When Morning Arose

Genesis 19:15-16 KJV
And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.
And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

There are two statements in these verses that speak to me;
• When the morning arose
• the LORD being merciful unto him

God struck the men that were at the door with blindness to protect Lot and those in his home, but not every man in the city was blinded. After the incident the Lord gave Lot leave to go speak with his kids and their husbands. The Bible does not say what the daughters' reactions to Lot's warnings were, but we know the sons in law thought Lot was mocking. They did not take his message seriously and, at the very least, their lack of regard for his message also cost Lot's daughters their lives.

• The Lord was merciful in not blinding the whole city
• The Lord was merciful in allowing Lot time to speak with his sons in law
• The Lord was merciful in waiting until the morning arose to judge and
• The Lord was merciful in removing Lot, his wife and his daughters from the city before the judgment


May we never come to mock the judgment of God and may we always prize the mercy of God!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Full Proof

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.

The center reference notes in my Scofield Bible bring our attention to the following verses.

1 Timothy 4:12 KJV
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

1 Timothy 4:15 KJV
Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

Making full proof of our ministry, if we are going to keep our context in our verse is to
• Watch in all things and
• Do the work of an evangelist

Knowing that the days of preaching sound doctrine will become increasingly difficult the preacher is charged to watch and be aware:
• Be aware of those who turn unto fables
• Be aware of those who offer the fable they turn to and
• Be aware of his own tendency to tickle the ears of his hearers


The work of the evangelist has been conceived to be any number of things that may or may not be Biblical. One thing is for sure, Timothy was told to stay in Ephesus while he did it so it is not likely the work of a traveling preacher.

The point is to do the work of the ministry with honest and holy zeal. This is not the sort of thing you do as a sideline. My son used the term "hobby preacher." While a pastor may need to do other things to support his family, yet his first and highest obligation is to pour himself into his ministry.

May God grant us that type of preacher in these days when so many have turned away from sound doctrine.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

He Believed In The LORD

Genesis 15:6 KJV
And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

This passage, quoted twice in the New Testament (Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6), is foundational to the definition of saving faith.

Several things may be noted:

In whom Abraham believed
It was in the Lord. This passage does not say that Abraham merely believed God but that He believed in the Lord. I do not mean to disregard the New Testament quotations (but of which say he "believed God") but point out that we should interpret both of those texts by this one. Abraham believed in the LORD, that is Jehovah, and Old Testament reference to the Saviour. He was not counted righteous because He believed he would have a child. He was counted righteous because he believed that one day the Saviour would come from His seed.

He believed
Abraham's righteousness was not built upon any sort of work or religious deed. Abraham simply believed, relied upon, and trusted God's promise.
May we learn to do the same.

Righteousness
I view this almost as a synonym for Christ. When we believe in and place our faith in Christ God imputes to us not only that we are not sinners, but the very righteousness of Christ. We are hidden in Christ in such a way that God views us in Christ and having His very righteousness.

Friday, May 14, 2010

If We

2 Timothy 2:11-13 KJV
It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

I take the "we" this passage to not so much be a reflection of Paul and Timothy but of mankind in general.

• Those who have trusted Christ as Saviour and are therefore dead with Him are those who shall also live with Him.
• Those believers who particularly suffer in their walk with Christ are those Christians who will reign the most gloriously with Christ in eternity (so that to be fair well here as a Christian is not so much a sign of God's favor, but perhaps a sign of just the opposite.)
• Those who deny the Lord are those who have not been born again.


But the thrust of the lesson is not about mankind at all but about the Lord. The lesson is; whether we die with Him, suffer with Him or deny Him, regardless of how men respond to the Lord, He is still faithful and He is still Christ.

• We take too much upon ourselves.
• We think too highly of ourselves.


He is the unchangeable, immutable One. We do not in any way make the character of God. He makes us!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tears

2 Timothy 1:4 KJV
Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;

We must never forget that the Bible, though a book of great victory, is also filled with tears. This world has rebelled against its Creator and that rebellion has led to much over which to cry. And so this verse, as is true of the Word of God as a whole, contains boths tears and joy.

The sources of Timothy's tears are varied:
• He may have shed a tear when he and Paul parted that last time, prior to Paul's capture.
• He may have shed a tear at the news of the afflictions Paul suffered as a prisoner and awaiting his execution.
• He certainly had shed tears over the souls for which he assumed care as the pastor of the church in Ephesus


Like the four seasons, the Christian who is fully involved in the things of Christ will have times to weep when others weep and times to rejoice when others rejoice. We will experience the fullest range of the emotions as we follow the path Christ has laid out for us. Ours is not to flee those circumstances that bring about the tears but to enter into them, fully expecting that our Lord will use them to conform us into the image of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

And God Blessed

Genesis 9:1 KJV
And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

Noah and his sons were unmistakably blessed of the Lord, though John Gill points out that the blessing is a temporal one and not a spiritual one, as can be seen from the incident with Ham.

There are some blessings that belong to mankind in general. But I have to see this text as having more specific application than that. God did, in faxt bless both Noah and his sons. Yet, despite this blessing:
• Noah becomes drunk
• Ham mocks his father's nakedness and
• The races of people they fathered would once again be chastened of the Lord


I see two things in all of this
First, there is the grace of God that He blesses those He knows will not live up to holy expectations. Neither Noah nor his sons performed righteously even after seeing the power of God in the Flood. Still God blessed them. What grace God bestows upon us that He blesses us knowing that we are so given to sin and dishonoring to His name!

Secondly, blessing does not mean that men will not sin. This is not to excuse sin nor give men an occasion to sin. It is merely to point out that God's work in a man is not finished even when God Himself has pronounced a blessing upon him. We will not attain unto perfect righteousness until we are in glory.

And it is that day for which I long.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Object of God's Love

Genesis 7:11 KJV
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

Genesis 8:13 KJV
And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.

We know of course that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. So much so that when the Lord had determined to destroy all flesh which He had created, still Noah, wife and children and even their wives were saved through the Ark.

It is another mark of the grace of God, however, that God counts time, not by the historic event of the Flood but counts the time of the historic event by the life of Noah.

The highest of all God's creation is man, and the focus of that creation is man. It is not that man should think of himself as a god, but that he should see himself for what he is in the mind of God; the object of His love.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

The Mystery

1 Timothy 3:9 KJV
Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

There are two mysteries spoken of in this chapter
• The mystery of the faith and
• The mystery of godliness


A Biblical mystery is something that was hidden in the Old Testament but has been revealed in the New Testament through the Gospel.

Briefly summed all of those mysteries are:
• That God became man in Jesus Christ and being man, he became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
• That all those who receive Christ receive this righteousness, regardless of race or nationality
• That those who have received this righteousness are then bound together through the relationship we receive with each other in the local church.

A deacon is to hold this faith in a pure conscience. He is to not merely believe it, but to practice it both in mind, word and in heart.

And if a deacon is to hold this mystery in a pure conscience it is to be an example that the rest of the body of the church do the same.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

God's Garden

Genesis 2:9 KJV
And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Four trees the Bible says could be found in the Garden God planted. In each and every one I find evidences of God's care for us. It is caring that God would planted the garden. He took personal care to make the place He would place man. Within that garden there was

Every tree that is pleasant to the sight
God gave us things that were pleasing to us. Christians have the most incentive of all men to seek the discover the wonders our God has created. Creatures that are beyond our ability to imagine, yet God has made them and they are in our world for us to discover.

Trees that are good for food
God provided what is necessary to sustain physical life. He has provided it with variety and He has provided it in plenty.

The tree of life
I see in this tree not merely that which sustains physical life, but that which gives abundant life. This tree is said to exist in the future new Jerusalem. Heaven will be graced with the fruit of the tree of life. It symbolizes to me not just physical life, but spiritual life in the presence of and in fellowship with God.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil
I see this tree as a test or as existing to prove mankind. GK Chesterton said "the weakest camp is the strongest school." We don't grow through ease and comfort, we grow through testing and difficulty. God expressed care even in the earliest days of the creation to provide for us a proving place.

Our God is eternally and infinitely gracious.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Our Saiour, Our Hope

1 Timothy 1:1 KJV
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;

The Bible says here that
God is our Saviour
The term belongs to Him as well as Jesus Christ because He is the author of our salvation. It was God the Father that sent His Son into the world and it was God the Father that so loved the world as to give His only begotten son.

Jesus Christ is our hope
Barnes says of this hope,
"....that Christ is revealed among you as the source of the hope of glory in a better world. This was the great truth which so animated the heart and fired the zeal of the apostle Paul...."

Without Christ there would be no hope of eternal life with God. Christ is the mediator between God and man. He is the One Who has gone before the Father to plead our case. It is through Him we have access to the holiest, and in Him we rest our expectation of eternity.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Peace Himself

2 Thessalonians 3:16 KJV
Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.

What a prayer for these afflicted saints of God. Paul prays not nly that they have peace, but that they receive that peace from the God of peace.

He wants them to have peace always
• In whatever the circumstance
• In whatever the timing
• In whatever the surroundings

Peace always means peace whenever the rest of the world has no peace and whenever peace is not possible by human means

He wants them to have peace by all means
• God may give that peace through fellowship with others
• God may give that peace through a time of rest among peoples
• God may grant that peace through physical rest
• God may grant that peace through the Word of God
• God may grant that peace by some supernatural means
• God may grant that peace through prayer

Whatever the means God chooses to use and whatever the situation the believer finds himself in God, through the Apostle, expresses His desire that His people have peace.

May the Lord make it so even in our day.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Our Gospel

2 Thessalonians 2:14 KJV
Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There were two things in this passage that stuck out to me;

First the Apostle calls it "our Gospel."
That does not mean that he created it. Nor does it mean that it was not the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, but that he took ownership of it. He claimed it, possessed it. Cared for it as his own and preached it with the conviction of knowing it was the truth. It was his gospel in the first place because he had embraced that gospel and had been born again. It was his gospel again in that he had been charged with it, to give it to the world.

Secondly I was blessed with the results of the gospel;
The Bible says that through the gospel we obtain "the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." Salvation is so much more than being free from the guilt of sin. Some people claim salvation as if it just means they can go about sinning without havng to worry about the consequences. Not so! The Gospel brings us into a saving relationship with Christ and that relationship leads us into glory.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A Proof of HIS Righteousness

2 Thessalonians 1:5 KJV
Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

Gill
the meaning of the words is this, that whereas good men are afflicted and persecuted in this life, they have now their evil things, and bad men prosper and flourish, and have their good things, so that justice does not seem to take place; which seeming inequality in Providence has been sometimes the hardening of wicked men, and the staggering of the righteous, which should not be; this is now a manifest token, and a clear case, that there will be a righteous judgment, in which things will be set aright, and justice will take place

Barnes
The general sense seems to be, that the fact that they were thus persecuted was an evidence that there would be a future judgment, when the righteous who were persecuted would be rewarded, and the wicked who persecuted them would be punished. The manner in which they bore their trials was an indication also of what the result would be in regard to them. Their patience and faith under persecutions were constantly showing that they would “be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which they were called to suffer.”.... the sense is, that the endurance of affliction in a proper manner by the righteous is a proof that there will be a righteous judgment of God in the last day"

The Word of God here says that one of those manifestations that God's judgment (on this world) is righteous is that Christians are persecuted and they have demonstrated faith and patience while they have been persecuted.

Our reaction to persecution, oppression and trials on this planet are more important than what we might believe. They go to the glory of God and serve as an enduring testimony to the unbeliever that indeed our faith is genuine.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Faithful

1 Thessalonians 5:24 KJV
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

I see three things to address in this short text today;

Who is He that is faithful?
That answer to the question must be our God. This context gives us no other choice.

There are two things then concerning our God
He calleth you
God is in the business of calling men and women. He calls us to salvation. He calls us to greater sanctification and He calls us into areas of service.

He is faithful
This is the reassurance for the one who answers his call. We who are Christians are called. When we answer that call we realize quickly that our call cannot be performed in our own power. We learn that there are challenges to serving the Lord in this world that are overwhelming and supernatural. Tjo the one who senses the challenge and steps forward regardless, there is this promise. God is faithful. He will do what we cannot do.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

More and More

1 Thessalonians 4:1 KJV
Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 KJV
But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;

I am focusing this morning on those words, "more and more." They are found twice in the passage and therefore ought to be taken note of. God's Word does not afford the Christian a place to plateau in spiritual growth.

Have we gained a degree of spiritual maturity in the local church? Praise God for that. But we cannot be satisfied. We cannot sit down now and say, "I have come this far! It is much farther than I would have imagined I would go. It is much farther than many others have gone. It is as far as I need then to go."

He we learned to love one another in the church? That is wonderful news! But this in no place to rest either. We are not allowed to say, "I love those I love more deeply than I did before. I love those I would never have loved before. I have learned to even love those who have not loved me. I have now arrived. I need not grow any further." God's Word says we must still increase more and more.

There is no such thing as perfect mastery, no such thing as having attained in this life. In heaven we will rest from our labors. Here we are called upon to abound more and more.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Love

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 KJV
And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.


The importance of our love; first for the brethren and then for all men, cannot be overestimated. We begin (in the Christian walk) by learning to love the Lord. we progress, and I do not say it happens secondarily, but simultaneously in loving the brethren. Love of God and our neighbor: these are the greatest commandments. But the love of neighbor must not stop at the church doors. Christians are commanded to love all men and to even increase in that love.

Now for the results of that sort of love; The word of God says such love will, "....stablish [our] hearts unblameable in holines before God...."

We cannot love enough. We must not allow ourselves to become passive in our love but to be proactive in building and increasing and strengthening our ability to love.

May God grant it to be so.