Friday, December 31, 2010

A Whole New Thing

Ephesians 3:6 KJV
That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

Scofield's Notes says,
"That the Gentiles were to be saved was no mystery (Rom_9:24-33); (Rom_10:19-21). The mystery, "hid in God", was the divine purpose to make of Jew and Gentile a wholly new thing - "the church, ....[I removed this segment because of its universal church doctrine].... (1Co_12:12); (1Co_12:13), and in which the earthly distinction of Jew and Gentile disappears; (Eph_2:14); (Eph_2:15); (Col_3:10); (Col_3:11). The revelation of this mystery, which was foretold, but not explained, by Christ (Mat_16:18) was committed to Paul. In his writings alone, we find the doctrine, position, walk, and destiny of the church."

The first half of the book of Ephesians is taken up with this doctrine of unity among believers in a local church. The modern practice of having a church for every nationality is completely unbiblical and tends toward a universal church mentality; "Since we belong to the 'true church' we need not concern ourselves with working out the mystery of fellowship in a local congregation of diverse believers." We need to return our churches to a "melting pot" mentality where everyone is welcome because in the Lord we are "a whole new thing."

Thursday, December 30, 2010

He Is Our Peace

Ephesians 2:14 KJV
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

He is our peace. And how we need peace in our world today. The peace spoken of is between believers of different cultures; namely the Jews and the Gentiles, but the same peace ought to create peace among all believers, regardless of background, culture, class or race.

Jesus Christ brings peace among people groups,
By breaking down the wall between us
I see this wall as the prejudice that separates people groups. Through Jesus Christ those prejudices are broken down. We see people not as from different people groups but as believers in Christ, therefore brethren in Christ.

By abolishing the law of commandments contained in the ordinances
The Mosaic Law is no longer relevant either for the Jews or the Gentiles. Insisting on any practice of them only serves to continue the differences between peoples.

By making of two one new man
In this passage that "new man" is the church. We come together into the same church and become a new person. Together, members of the same church, though having varied backgrounds and tastes find common ground in the cause of their church.

By reconciling both unto God
The enmity slain is the difference in fellowship with God. The woman at the well brought up those differences. "We worship at this mountain" she told Jesus, "But ye say in this place God is to be worshiped." Jesus' response was that a time is coming when we worship at neither mountain but in Spirit and in truth.

By preaching the same peace to those far off and those nigh
This is illustrated in the book of Acts with the same ministry of the Holy Ghost in the Jews of Acts 2, Samaritans of Acts 10 and Gentiles in Acts 19. The message of salvation is the same to every race, culture and people group. The result of salvation is the same to every race culture and people group. Therefore there is no real difference between any race culture or people group.

God give us peace.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

When God Wraps It All Up

Ephesians 1:10 KJV
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

The word gather is always a reminder of the rapture of the saints. But this passage obviously carries with it more than that, though the rapture would certainly be included.

This gathering seems to be the conclusion of all things: we might use the phrase today, "When God wraps it all up."

• It will happen in the dispensation of the fulness of times.
• It will be the specific work of God and
• It will all come together in Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Doubly Crucified

Galatians 6:14 KJV
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

Matthew Poole paraphrases this verse
"I care no more for the world than it careth for me; the world despiseth and contemneth me, and the doctrine of the cross which I preach and publish in it, and I contemn it, with all its vain pomp and splendour."

And Gill says
"…so that he feared not the worst men, and things in it, any more than he would one that was fastened to a cross, or dead; since Christ, by his crucifixion and death, had overcome the world, the prince of it, the men and malice of it, the sin that was in it, and had made him more than a conqueror also; his faith in a crucified Christ overcame the world…"

The Christian has no need to be angry or bitter towards the people of this world, but neither should we be fascinated and allured by it. We have such better things to look forward to. The sooner we see ourselves as having crucified the world to us and us to the world, the sooner we will be ready to pitch our lot without reserve onto the things of Christ.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Faith and Love

Galatians 5:6 KJV
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

Circumcision in the passage is, as I understand it, representative of man's efforts toward earning righteousness by the Law. The Word of God says that when we are in Christ such efforts avail nothing. They are ineffective as a means of earning righteousness before the Lord.

What is effective is faith; and this text says faith works by love.
• The love of God in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
• Not that we loved God but that He first loved us and gave himself to be a propitiation for our sin.
• The love of God that constrains us to preach and urge sinners to trust Jesus Christ.
• Love that motivates our ministries.

Faith working by love: that availeth much.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Too Many Servant Saints, Not Enough Son Saints

Galatians 4:1 KJV
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

This verse is reminiscent to 1 Corinthians 13 "putting away childish things." The believer is encouraged to reach past such childish things as sign gifts and, in Galatians, works of the Law and flesh for righteousness.

As sons of God we are to mature and grow into perfection through the work of the Holy Spirit in us. God has done that work in saving us but, if we continue to trust in
• Our own flesh
• Our own thinking
• Our own goodness
to establish our righteousness then we differ nothing from the servant.

There are far too many servant saints and not enough son saints these days.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

We Continue The Way We Began

Galatians 3:3 KJV
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

We continue the way we began; in the Spirit and through the hearing of faith.

The issue in Galatia was the Jewish law. They began their Christian life in the Spirit by the hearing of faith. But they had been beguiled and were attempting to reach Christian perfection and maturity by the works of that Law, in the power of their flesh. Paul proclaims, but in logic fashion that we are perfected the same way we began, in the Spirit and by the hearing of faith.

Our issue today is not so different. Well meaning (I suppose) people urge Christians to spiritual maturity by forcing upon them their own brand of Law.
• Dress a certain way
• Raise your family a certain way
• Behave a certain way
- the way we tell you, and you will be perfected.

The truth is they merely want people to conform to their standard. It is all of the flesh.

I believe in standards, I believe that Christians should grow into separation from this world. But we must not allow ourselves to make those standards the means of perfection; that only comes as the Spirit ministers to the hearers of faith.

• Standards
• Separation
• Conformity to Christ
are the by-products of perfection and not the other way around.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Rebuilding What Should Remain in Ruins

Galatians 2:18 KJV
For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

The apostle is speaking specifically about the Old Testament Law.

His concern is that if after destroying the Law for righteousness by coming to Christ, he would begin again to practice that same Law as a matter of righteousness he would be rebuilding what he had destroyed and would be in transgression in doing it.

He was especially concerned because such activity could lead to some other person believing that trusting Christ was vain and he should seek righteousness only through works of the Law.

Oh how many there have been who, having met Jesus Christ and turning to Him have, some time later, returned to build again those fleshly works which they once destroyed.
• Some in returning to their former sins
• Some in returning to former practices
though not sin in themselves, become sinful because they draw them away from that which is godly.

How often too their return has led to the downfall of those they love and who love them; children and grandchildren, who follow them in the sin but never have faith in Jesus Christ.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Grace of Christ

Galatians 1:6 KJV
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

Scofield's note are good.
"The test of the Gospel is grace. If the message excludes grace, or mingles law with grace as the means of either of justification or sanctification, (Gal_2:21); (Gal_3:1-3), or denies the fact or guilt of sin which alone gives grace its occasion and opportunity, it is "another" gospel, and the preacher of it is under the anathema of God."

Paul calls the gospel here, "the grace of Christ." Grace is the gospel. A gospel that is anything other is another gospel and accursed of God.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Not Just For Appearance

2 Corinthians 13:7 KJV
Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.

Paul makes two appeals:
First He prayed they would do no evil.
He says that this desire is not for appearance sake. He is not trying to paint a sepulcher. His desire is that they be truly honest in their walk with the Lord.

Second he wished for their perfection.
And just after instructs them in fact to be perfect. Christians can mature and grow and be, though not sinlessly perfect on this earth, practically perfect in their relationship with God and man.

We will still be thought of as "reprobates" by the lost world and by those whose lives come under conviction because of our light. But we must not allow ourselves to settle for anything less than our perfection.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In These Cases, Forbear

2 Corinthians 12:6 KJV
For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.

Paul said that there was a time that even saying the truth might would be unwise and therefore he would forebear. To tell the truth in this case would appear to puff himself up and make him appear the fool.

There are times when forbearance is called for. Times when speaking all the truth would not give the result of glorifying the Lord.
• When the person you speak with will not receive it as truth
• When your authority in the matter or on these circumstances might be in question
• When though you know the truth you are not able to support the truth with real evidence
• When speaking the truth would tend to puff you up in the sight of others
In those cases and others it would be best to forebear though you know the truth.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Robbery

2 Corinthians 11:8 KJV
I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.

Paul admits that when he worked among the Corinthians, though they were in a richer city, he did not take wages of them but "robbed other churches." This is not meant in the criminal sense but as a matter of illustration. Paul received gifts of support from those churches he had founded, and perhaps some others to.

Now he speaks to the Corinthians and reminds them - though the laborer is worthy his hire, he did not require it of them. He said he would continue his practice, making evident that it was neither criminal nor unethical. But it does emphasize a point; those who live off of the gifts of others should not expect that those gifts are theirs to do with wantonly.
• Those who accept gifts for their ministries
• Those who ask for gifts for various purposes, even
• Those who receive gifts to meet personal needs ought to view those gifts as "robbery."
Some other need has gone unmet because the money was given to them.

It is an enormous sacrifice that others would give. That should never be taken for granted.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

When revenge is all right.

2 Corinthians 10:6 KJV
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

The word of God says that revenge belongs to the Lord. We never have a right to get even with our enemies but are told to bless them and pray for them.

It's a challenge for us because we are so often injured, and for so many things.
• Sometimes just because we are in the wrong place when an event happens
• Sometimes because we are vulnerable
• Sometimes because we are Christians

This world is filled with people who make offenses. And so often they appear to have gotten away with it. It would be easier maybe for us if we could see them hurt for hurting us. Sometimes we just can't. So faith must step in. We must recognize that God is in control.

But there is one time when revenge is all right. It is all right to revenge disobedience with obedience. That, we should be ready always to do.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Unprepared?

2 Corinthians 9:3-4 KJV
Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready:
Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.

The Apostle had used the Corinthians as an example to provoke others in giving. As many other things that needed correcting, they were this - willing and generous givers.

But "things" had happened since Paul last witnessed their generosity.
• He had written than stern letter.
• They had repented
But who knew what changes may have taken place in the church.

So Paul thought it wise to get them ready so they would not be caught unprepared when Paul arrived to take up their offering.

Being a prepared people is a wise thing.
• Prepared for our church services
• Prepared in our Sunday school classes
• Prepared so far as having the facility ready
• Prepared for missions conferences and revivals
• Prepared in our home life
• Prepared for the return of Jesus Christ.

Paul tells us what he did to make them ready. Those same things may be helpful in our own preparedness
Paul gave them some personal encouragement
He did not want them to be ashamed should Paul and his company arrive and they be found unprepared. He encouraged them to be ready

Paul sent them some previous recruitment
Sent ahead "the brethren" I suppose with this letter and also with some instructions to help them get prepared.

Paul showed them some spiritual enlightenment
Paul reminded them of the law of sowing and reaping and pointed out that giving was to be done cheerfully and as God had prospered each person.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Giving

2 Corinthians 8:1 KJV
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;

Sometimes remembering the most basic of principles is very helpful. Scofield's notes says the following concerning 2 Corinthians 8-9 and giving:
"In 2 Corinthians 8-9, the apostle sums up the Christian doctrine of giving. It may be thus summarized:
(1) It is a "grace," that is, a disposition created by the Spirit. (2 Cor 8:7).
(2) In contrast with the law, which imposed giving as a divine requirement, Christian giving is voluntary, and a test of sincerity and love. (2 Cor 8:8-12); (2Cor 9:1); (2 Cor 9:2); (2 Cor 9:5); (2 Cor 9:7).
(3) The privilege is universal, belonging, according to ability, to rich and poor. (2 Cor 8:1-3); (2 Cor 8:12-15); (1 Cor 16:1); (1 Cor 16:2).
(4) Giving is to be proportioned to income. (2 Cor 8:12-14); (1 Cor 16:2). The Old Testament proportion was the tithe, a proportion which antedates the law. (Gen 14:20).
(5) The rewards of Christian giving are:
(a) Joy. (2 Cor 8:2).
(b) Increased ability to give in proportion to that which has been already given. (2 Cor 9:7-11).
(c) Increased thankfulness to God. (2 Cor 9:12).
(d) God and the Gospel glorified. (2 Cor 9:13); (2 Cor 9:14)."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Comfort

2 Corinthians 7:6 KJV
Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

It is given almost as a name for God, certainly as a description. God comforts those that are cast down.
• It is His nature to do so.
• It is the consistent quality of the Lord.

Since we may all be cast down through different circumstances the type of comfort might be different for each of us. In this case Paul was comforted be the coming of a friend. Titus' presence brought comfort. But Titus also brought word of the testimony and response of the Corinthians to His first letter. Hearing of how well they received his rebuke that they had repented had brought great joy to him.

Depend upon this; God comforts the cast down. If you are now downcast, and you have trouble finding God's comfort, look for it in some small way, some way that your troubled heart might have a difficult time seeing. It is a promise, a sure thing: God has comfort for you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Will We?

2 Corinthians 6:11-12 KJV
O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.
Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.

The apostle expresses his love for the Corinthians by saying his mouth was opened unto them and his heart was enlarged.

He said they were not straitened (restricted, a narrowing) in the apostle but they were straitened in their own bowels. Any tension in their relationship was their own doing and the result of associations that were not right for believers to have.

Paul's appeal was that they become enlarged toward the things of God. And they could do that if they would make a break from
• Ungodliness
• Worldliness and
• Wickedness

Paul thought of them as dear children. But Paul was consistent with what and who he had always been; a man of God.

His arms were outstretched. His heart was willing; it was up to them then. Would they break the yolk with unbelievers and be received?

Will we?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nathan

1 Chronicles 17:2-4 KJV
Then Nathan said unto David, Do all that is in thine heart; for God is with thee.
And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying,
Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in:

Nathan's position before the king must have been a powerful one. Few people have the spiritual ear of a leader in the manner Nathan did of David; and the prophet's office was a unique one in that day anyway. The prophet's word was taken as truth. If a prophet ever said something that did not come to pass he was to be considered a false prophet and stoned.

So when David communed with him about the Ark of the Covenant and it's place under curtains, it could certainly not have been taken as one friend speaking to another when Nathan told him to do what was in his heart and that God was with him in it. But Nathan barely got the words out when God came to him (that same night) and said His plan was not the same at all.

Nathan must have been humbled to return to the king and tell him what God had really said. The first time Nathan spoke from his own heart. He spoke as a man whose concern was for the things of God and whose reason believed David's desire was sound.

God is so much greater than us that we cannot afford to operate on spiritual assumptions. God's Word must be searched and we must labor that our responses and actions would be pleasing to Him.

May God keep us humble and ever searching what is true and not just what seems right.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Letter and the Spirit

2 Corinthians 3:6 KJV
Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

The contrast between the letter and the spirit. The letter is obviously the Mosaic Law. The spirit:
Gives life
Vs 6

Is glorious
Vs 8

Is of righteousness
Vs 9

Exceeds in glory
Vs 9

Remains
Vs 11

Is the Lord
Vs 17

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Who Is Sufficient?

2 Corinthians 2:16 KJV
To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

Who is sufficient for these things?

The apostle is glorying in the triumph of the ministry. He says they are unto God a sweet savour in Christ to both the saved and the lost.
• To one they are a savour of death unto death.
• To the other they are a savour of life unto life.

He said they were not like the many that corrupt the Word of God but preach it with sincerity.

But then he also recognizes that none of this could be true in the power of self. No one would be sufficient for these things. We must necessarily seek the Lord because we are of ourselves insufficient.

May we always and forever remember that! God uses us, even amazingly.

But it is God and not ourselves.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day By Day

1 Chronicles 12:22 KJV
For at that time day by day there came to David to help him, until it was a great host, like the host of God.

Though King David did nothing to injure Saul, toward the end of Saul's life and then shortly after, the people of Israel began coming one after the other to follow him.

It was a long journey and a painful one no doubt. But David's faith in God and refusal to take the kingdom for himself, but to wait upon the Lord to give it to him proved to be the right move.

David did not refuse to take these men when they came to him, but I notice that he refused to allow them to do any damage to Saul. Though the accounts happened a little earlier in the history of David and Saul, twice David was in a position to kill Saul, his men wanted him to do it, but he refused to let it be done.

We never need to attack another person, even if they have gotten off course. We only need to follow the Lord for ourselves. He will bring to us those He chooses.

Trust God.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Anathema Maranatha

1 Corinthians 16:22 KJV
If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

The center column notes in my Bible says, "Christ is God's final test."

The term Anathema Maranatha means, "accursed, for the Lord cometh." when Jesus comes again those who do not love Him are accursed. I take it that so long as we have breath and Christ has not come, there is the hope of eternal life for there is still time to turn to Christ in love.

But
• When all is said and done
• When life is completely finished
• When either death takes us or Christ returns to claim His own
then all who do not love Him will be accursed.

• Accursed in the final judgment of the tribulation
• Accursed in the pit of hell and finally and forever
• Accursed in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

It's A Miserable Life

1 Corinthians 15:19 KJV
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

Why would Christians be miserable in this life if there were no life after?

The Apostle could not be speaking about the disappointment of finding out after we have died that there is no life after death. What was it about being a Christian that made it so it is a miserable existence except for the promise of eternal life?

Gill comments
the apostles, …. being continually exposed to hardships and persecution for the sake of Christ; were set forth as a spectacle to angels and men; were accounted the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things; and suffered many indignities, and great reproach and affliction, and that for asserting the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead; ….. all others that hope in Christ …. not only deny themselves the pleasures, honours, and profits of this world, but are exposed continually to the hatred, reproach, and persecution of it; they are chastised by God as other men are, that they may not be condemned with the world, and yet they must be condemned, if Christ is not risen; they are harassed and distressed by Satan, who follows them with his temptations and suggestions, which are so many fiery darts, which give them great pain and uneasiness, when others are unmolested by him; they groan under a body of sin they carry about with them, and desire and long to be unclothed, that they might be clothed upon with glory and immortality; and yet these very desires and earnest longings after a blessed eternity do but add to their misery …."

Some argue for salvation with this logic, "If I surrender my life to Christ and give all to him and then find out when I die there is no life after death, I have not lost anything. But if you continue to live unsaved and then find out I am right and there is an eternal hell you have lost everything." Paul did not use that line. He said that the Christian life was miserable, even most miserable, except for the hope of eternal life.

The day has changed and I understand that. The world is more tolerant of faiths of all sorts. But it could be that our modern Christianity is so far from the sort Paul preached that we are friends with the world and have no real friendship with God. The modern preacher who shuns discouragement and depression and refuses that they would be part of the true character of the Christian misses the import of passages like this.
• Perhaps we ought to be less happy with our life today.
• Perhaps we ought to yearn for something not just better, but so much better, that this life is miserable in comparison.
• Perhaps we ought to believe that life with Christ is so much better that we will gladly die to this life so Christ may live in us.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Purpose of Preaching

1 Corinthians 14:25 KJV
And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

Prophecy had taken on a new role by this time in the Bible. The preacher, though still foretelling for a time until the Bible was completed, was generally a "forth teller." In this early church those with the gift of prophecy - and I take it that churches had more than one with that gift, would be given orderly opportunities to preach. The Bibles supposes that the lost and unlearned would find their way into those services and, through the preaching; the secrets of their heart would be revealed.

Over the years it has been frequent that someone has approached me after my message and said that it was like I was looking into the windows of their home. I did not do that, but God sure did. And He used the preaching to reveal it to them.

That it the purpose of preaching.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Charity

1 Corinthians 13:13 KJV
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

I doubt that we spend enough time in this chapter.

It is a key both to ministry and to unity. The characteristics of charity, which is love, are given in such detail that any person who is aware of them and pleases to do so may learn how to love.
• What love is
• What love is not
• What love does not do and
• What love does
are all there for us to see and test ourselves by.

That this description is given in the context of the spiritual gifts is evidence that ministry must be done in love - and the very same is declared in the chapter.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The difference Between the Flesh and the Spirit in the Ministry

1 Corinthians 12:29 KJV
Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

The verse expresses a truth that becomes hard to swallow. The Spirit of God does not use us equally.
• We cannot go to school to learn how to do miracles or to be an apostle.
• We can not take a seminar to have the gift of the one conducting the seminar.

It is possible to learn in the flesh how to do the works of the flesh, but that is not the gift of the spirit and it has been the blight of Christianity for a very long time.

• Jealousy
• Division
• Power struggles
and such are the cause of ministry performed in the flesh and the continuation and even promotion of it.

It is good and right to seek to know our own spiritual gift. It is good and right to earnestly covet the use of that gift. But the truth is, if we seek most to grow in charity and hospitality for one another; that would accomplish far more and, I think, be the natural expression of our spiritual gift.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Heresies Among You

1 Corinthians 11:18-19 KJV
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.

The Word of God sets out two sorts of people who will be "among you" that is, within the church.
The first are "heresies"
The word means "choice or disunion." There are those whose choices in the their personal and spiritual lives create disunion in the church. They, because of their choices, never become fully followers of Jesus Christ. They might be believers but their choices make them to be separated from those Christians whose desire of to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The heresies may not be such as to be evidence of false profession in Christ - although that is certainly possible, but they are such as to create division in the local church.

The second are "approved."
This word means "tried and accepted." This group in the church rise to the top as Christian servants and leaders in the work of the Lord. They have been through the fires of trial and continue to grow for the Lord. They are faithful and can be counted upon in the ministries of the church. Their testimonies stand true to God even though they suffer difficulties.

The heresies that arise serve as a backdrop to illuminate and contrast those whose choices prove to be constantly for God.

I am reminded of the parable of the wheat and the tares. They both grow up together. They are both in the same field. For some time it is difficult to tell them apart. But there comes a time when those that are approved become manifest and apparent. It is obvious. We will never remove all heresy and division and people who make poor spiritual choices from our church. But we will always look for those who stand out as tried and approved before the Lord because of their very clear godly choices.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Israel's Ensample

1 Corinthians 10:12-13 KJV
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
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.

These are two of the more well known passages in the New Testament. It is important to see them in the context of the Jews in the wilderness.

First they had huge spiritual experiences.
• The plagues of Egypt
• The Passover meal
• The deaths of all the firstborn of Egypt
• The parting of the Red Sea
• The manna in the wilderness
• The pillar of God's presence as well as
• Moses' Sinai experiences
These were a spiritually privileged people to say the least

Secondly, even after all of that with many of them God was not well pleased.
Four sins are submitted
• Idolatry
• Fornication
• Tempting Christ (provoking His anger)and
• Murmuring
The Word says all of this is for our ensamples.

And then it says, based upon this ensample, "let him that thinking he standeth take heed lest he fall" and "there hath no temptation taken but such as is common to man..."

Israel serves as an example that
• We all face the same spiritual battles, that
• Any of us could fall in those battles, that
• God has given us a way to escape and
• When in those temptations we should flee

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Difference in Response

2 Kings 22:18 KJV
But to the king of Judah which sent you to enquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard;

One has to wonder where Josiah got the leadership to serve the Lord at eight years old. His father was a wicked man so he did not learn it from him. But his Grandfather, though wicked most of his life, repented and served the Lord in his final years.(2 Chronicles 33:11-13) Those are the years that he may have had a chance to influence Josiah because he died when Josiah was six.

Josiah's story reads similar to Hezekiah's except he did not invite Babylon to see the kingdom. The difference is in their response to God's judgment.

When Josiah read the word of God he sent to hear what God's judgment was. Josiah heard the same thing as Hezekiah; there would be peace in his lifetime but those who followed would suffer judgment. Upon hearing that Hezekiah responded, "It is good there will be peace in my lifetime." Josiah, who heard the same judgment, set about to bring revival to his country. His desire was that others too would express a tender heart and humility toward God and would then share the same promise of blessing he knew.

I am grateful for God's mercy upon me and my family. I praise Him for His goodness to us. I now long to lead others to experience the same mercy by having the same relationship with the Lord we have.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Love God

1 Corinthians 8:3 KJV
But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

If a believer were to live with this one goal; to love God, the rest of the issues of life would care for themselves.

The chapter speaks of the one who think he knows but doesn't.
Vs 2
If he lived only to love God what he thought he knew would be trivial.

The chapter speaks of our liberty being another's stumbling block.
Vs 9
If he lived only to love God, that would be known of him and he would not as likely be a stumbling block.

The chapter speaks of sinning against the brethren (I know this sin is being a stumbling block but allow me to expand just a bit).
Vs 12
If he lived only to love God we would not so sin.

I do not mean that we live so people will know we love God. The flesh is so given to sin that that would quickly become its own evil goal; to have men know we love God even if we don't. The thing is to grow in love for God and let people see what they will.

If we really do love God, it will be known.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Men On The Wall

2 Kings 18:27 KJV
But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?

The men that sit on the wall...
What loyalty these men demonstrated when Rabshakeh terrorized them with his words.

And they had reason to fear.
• Already the Assyrians had carried the larger northern kingdom away and
• Already they had taken the fenced cities of Judah, leaving Jerusalem practically alone.

The men that sat on the wall were charged to obey the king's orders regardless. They are the ones whose duty it is to defend the people within from this powerful enemy without. Hezekiah had rebelled against Assyria and refused to serve them. But then he had tried to buy them off with the silver and gold from the house of the Lord. Now the men who sat on the wall listened as the enemy taunted them, speaking directly to them and not to their leadership.

But following their king's command they held their peace and spoke not a word.

What a blessing it is to have people who will obey the leaders God places over them and who will not engage in gossip and idol arguments with others for any reason but will stand regardless of the cost.