Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Crowd Jesus Does Not Seek

Mark 3:9-12 KJV
And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.
For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.
And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.
And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.

The crowd pressed upon Jesus to the point that He requested a boat for a little space and then charged that those pressing Him should not make Him known.

It seems contrary to everything else we know in the Bible that Christ would not want someone to make His name known. But the issue has to do with purpose. This was a crowd who only wanted from Christ.
• They had no discernment of the spiritual.
• All they cared for was the personal benefit of touching Christ.

The Lord has no interest in that sort of crowd and it is that sort that makes up the majority of the congregation in many if not most churches. It is the error of much of Christianity today that the goal is a large number of people. We promote men who have succeeded in it. We attend classes and read books on how to do it. It is the obsession of the average congregation to be bigger.

Jesus wanted the opposite. He was more interested in the faith of those following rather than the number. We should go make Jesus known; but we should not be telling the world all that Jesus will do for them.
• We should be telling them that God is holy and just
• We should be telling them that sin has offended God
• We should be telling them that despite all of that God loves them
• We should be telling them that Jesus Christ is God in flesh.
• We should be telling them that He suffered in the flesh for their sin
• We should be telling them that His promise is for forgiveness of sins and eternal life if they will trust Him

• It is not true that Jesus came to heal every disease; He removed Himself from them to prevent that from happening
• It is not true that He came to provide for them wealth and prosperity; many saints have lived meagerly
• It is not true that He came to make them completely happy n this planet. Countless believers have been captured and killed in the most horrible ways

But it is true that "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Friday, April 29, 2011

Whose Faith?

Mark 2:5 KJV
When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

I am reminded that Paul said in Romans that faith is passed "from faith to faith. " This man found both forgiveness of sins and healing (which I believe is representative of the two main aspects of salvation; justification and sanctification) not from his own faith but in that of the four. I note that,

There was more than one of them.
A man seldom comes to know the Lord through just one witness. Though we may not know about the others who have participated in bringing a soul to the Lord it is always the case that several are involved.

The process took time and more than one attempt.
They could not get him through the crowd so they dropped him through the roof. We do not know their names.
But I am confident that Jesus does.

The crippled man had to trust the four.
Mark does not say they were friends but it is very unlikely this was a cold call case of soul winning. More likely that they were well known to each other.

The best witnesses will be those who have gained the trust of the witnessee.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Unmoveable

Psalms 125:1 KJV
They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.

A person can make the argument that the movement spoken of in this Psalm is emotional. I see where that fits in with "the peace of God that passeth all understanding."

But the context must speak first to Israel and to their trust in God's care for their nation.
• That future nation of Israel, that one that will trust in the Lord, will have an enduring kingdom.
• One day those who trust in the Lord will remain to enter into the kingdom of God while those that do not will be carried away into the lake of fire.
• The one who trusts in the Lord today is immovable in the sense that he is trustworthy, dependable. He will be where he ought to be. He is not driven with the wind and tossed.
• Those who trust the Lord aren’t the ones who change churches when trouble comes or move to another town when a job offer comes
They recognize the value of stedfastness.

God's Word exhorts the Christian
1 Corinthians 15:58 KJV
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Eyes of Servants

Psalms 123:1-2 KJV
A Song of degrees. Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.
Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.

I have two bird dogs.

I am always amazed to watch them because they never stop watching me. It is true in both dogs but especially pronounced in my German Shorthair. She
• Sits up tall
• Ears perked and
• Eyes wide open
• Following my every move
When we are outside I am able to point and she will go where my hand sends her. She watches me
• In expectation of food
• In hopes of affection and
• In search of my directions

The Psalmist said in a manner similar he would keep his eyes on the Lord seeking mercy.

May we commit ourselves to the same.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why Seek the Good of Jerusalem?

Psalms 122:9 KJVBecause of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.

Why seek the good of Jerusalem? Because of the house of the Lord.

When the Psalm was written the house of the Lord was situated in Jerusalem. The Temple, though possibly not constructed, had been ordained to be in Jerusalem and King David had the Ark there. Because this was the place where God ordained His house to be it was right and good to seek her good.

The house of the Lord today is the local church. And we who make up those churches ought to seek the good of Jerusalem because we have an understanding of God's future plans for Jerusalem.
• This is the place where our Saviour gave Himself that we might be redeemed.
• This is the place where the local church had its beginning.
• This is the place where Jesus will set foot when He returns.

From this place He will rule in His Kingdom and it is the New Jerusalem that will be the central feature of eternity.
We who are now in the house of God should seek the good of Jerusalem because she once was and will one day again be the place of the house of God.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our Merit

Psalms 119:176 KJV
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

The entirety of this Psalm is a description of the wrestling match the believer deals with on earth.
• He has confidence in the Lord, but he faces struggles emotionally as well as externally.
• He has enemies against his faith but worse he struggles with his own failures.
The Psalmist makes it clear that without the Word of God he would certainly fail. But he insists, as much to himself as any, that the Word is sufficient to sustain him.

The Psalm ends in a surprising way: with a confession of straying. He asks for God's grace not because he had successfully honored all of God's Word but precisely because he had not.

Our merit must never be in ourselves but always only in the grace of God through Jesus Christ.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Still More Tests

Matthew 25:1 KJV
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

From Scofield's Notes out of verse one I find this threefold outline;
Three types of tests are administered when Jesus returns,

The test of profession
In the Ten Virgins

The test of service
In the three stewards

The test of the nations
In the final parable

Jesus' coming to establish his kingdom will be after the Rapture so this doesn't speak to present day Christians except in a general sense. Those who have endured through the trials of the Great Tribulation still must stand before the Lord.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Strength, Song and Salvation

Psalms 118:14 KJV
The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.


The Psalm is a Messianic one and everything in it should be attested to the Lord first.
Our Lord found strength in His heavenly Father.
Through prayer and communion with Him Christ rose each day to do His Father's will. From the human side, imagine the pain our Saviour endured in reaching out to sinners and being rejected of His own. Only His fellowship with His Father could have sustained him.
His song
Just before going to the Mountain where He was betrayed Jesus led His disciples to sing a hymn. The motivation for His song was His relationship with God.
Then came His salvation
As God raised Him up from the grave.

So to as we find our strength and our song in the Lord, we then find our salvation. We tend to put salvation first. And the event of salvation does take place first. But the experience of salvation only comes after finding in Him strength to carry forth and song to worship Him before the salvation is become reality.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I Love the Lord Because

Psalms 116:1-2 KJV
I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.

The Psalmist's only reason for loving the Lord was because He had heard and inclined His ear toward him.

• There were bonds
• There were afflictions
• There was trouble and sorrow
• There was the pain of death
Still God had heard his supplications and he loved the Lord for it.

Life is going to have sorrow and trouble. It is the consequence of living in this broken world. But there is hope in the future and there is reason to live on today. The Psalmist's response in love was to
• Accept salvation
• Enter into God's service and
• Offer sacrificial thanksgiving

Good counsel for us all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

There is Still a Standard

Matthew 22:11-12 KJV
And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

The parable begins with the rejection of God's invitation to Israel.
It is difficult to understand why Israel would have rejected Christ except that people do it every day even in our time. The blindness and insensitivity to that which matters most is beyond comprehension.

Christ goes on to describe the Father's invitation then to those in the highways and hedges.
These would be the Gentiles and speaks of this very day. Anyone is invited. Praise the Lord all may come and find grace in the Lord.

But then there is this.
One comes poorly dressed. He has not prepared for the event. Let's not get hung up on why a poor man would have to wear what he could not afford. That is not the case pointed out in the parable. The point is that God's kingdom has standards.

In this day when churches seem to be telling the world that God is so desperate for followers that He will take us just as we are, the Bible tells us a completely different story. Sure, God invites us just as we are. But He does not leave us there. The reason we need not fuss about how unfair to require the man to wear the right dress is because God provides the apparel. This man had the right attire. He just refused to put it on.

God has standards.
He expects us to put on the provisions He has made for us. He expects us to put off our old man and put on the new man which is Jesus Christ. Justification is a free gift pronounced upon all who will trust Christ alone. But with salvation comes sanctification. God never gives the one without the other. And sanctification means separation from sin and worldliness and to God. It too is a gift from God but it means we "dress appropriately" for the event.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hearest Thou What These Say?

Matthew 21:15-16 KJV
And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

This is ironic to me and demonstrates the blindness of the priests and scribes.

Jesus had just cleansed the temple and overturned the tables of the moneychangers. He had healed the lame and given sight to the blind.

But when the priests and scribes saw it, their only concern was that people were worshipping Him.

They were not displeased, as far as the text tells us, with His works, though they saw them; they were displeased that Jesus received praise.

If only they had considered the works they had seen, they would have worshipped Him too.

God does use the words and actions of others to point us to Christ. But the best way to see Christ for who He is; is to watch and consider Him.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

For My Love

Psalms 109:4 KJV
For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer.

The passage seems like a reference to Christ and the fate of those who do not accept Him as Saviour. I see this as a description of some of the trials of hell.
• It would hardly have been be appropriate praying for the child of the Lord but
• It is completely right for the Lord.

It was for love that they became His adversaries.
John 3:16 KJV
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
• Out of pure love God sent Christ to this earth.
• Out of pure love Christ sought the lost
• Out of Pure love Christ showed them the true God and not the one they had imagined

And out of pure love Christ died for their sins
Romans 5:8 KJV
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fixed

Psalms 108:11 KJV
Wilt not thou, O God, who hast cast us off? and wilt not thou, O God, go forth with our hosts?

The Psalm begins with a man and a fixed heart.
• He is fixed to give praise
• He is fixed concerning God's glory
• He is fixed concerning God's salvation
• He is fixed by that time God will be help him in trouble

But with the all of that he acknowledged that God had cast them off.
The struggles of life had made that seem obvious. The sin of the people had left them to chastening hand of God.
• Still the Lord was merciful
• Still the Lord was to be exalted
• Still the Lord was their deliverer
We may realize the chastening of the Lord and still know He is good.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A thousand generations

Psalms 105:8 KJV
He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.

A group known as, I believe, Radio Bible Class has been posting billboards all over the world saying that Jesus is coming May 21, 2011. I do not know what their motivation is but God's Word commands us that we must not set times for the Lord's return. Still, the Bible does give us indications that we are nearing the end of this age.

• Assuming that the earth is 6000 years old, approximately, the Bible indicates much about that seventh millennium.
• One day is as 1000 years for the Lord
• The Lord created the earth in six days and rested the seventh.
• When we go to heaven His calls that rest
• The seventh period of human history in the Bible is the 1000 year reign of the Lord.


I don't know when Christ is coming back but I do believe it will be soon.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Lord Shall Rejoice In His Works

Psalms 104:31 KJV
The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works.
Two predominant views are held as to God's relationship with the earth;

  • The position that God is sovereign and dictating all that goes on in this world and
  • The position that God has created it but turned it over to the free will of man.
Of course there are varying degrees of each of those opinions and varying responses toward God based upon those opinions.

Psalms 104 makes it clear that God is involved in every function of the earth even to the point of sending His own spirit to create each new life in the sea and to feed those creatures as He will.

This presents some problems for those who have difficulty with God's sovereignty.
They then argue that God is evil because He must have created evil and allows evil in this world. They are wrong.

It is a matter rather of trust.
God's Word says He is good. What He does and what He allows is always and only for good. Not everything that happens of course is good. But when it happens,

  • It is the result of Satan and of man's fall into sin
  • It will be used of the Lord for the best of purposes.
There is no contradiction.
God is sovereign. God rejoices in His work. God's plan is ultimately good.

I can then trust Him and rejoice with Him in all that He does.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Separation

Psalms 101:3 KJV

I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

As unpopular as the subject is today, the Bible is clear that Christians are to be a separated people. Separation involves three clear realms

Personal, as I repent and put off former sins, activities and even persons (they think it strange) that are harmful to my relationship with the Lord.

Ecclesiastical, as I seek out a church that is unique from this world. It is obvious historically and Biblically that not all that claims to be a church is of God. A true church will be separate from what is not.

Governmental, while Christians are to be good citizens and participation in things that influence government is certainly within the scope of Christian endeavor (though I would be careful not to call in Christian service or ministry) there is and should always be a distinction between church and state.

Choosing friendships and relationships that can help us in our walk with the Lord and then restricting those relationships that would hinder that walk; that is separation and that is Biblical.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

People Skills

Matthew 15:14 KJV
Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

I was drawn today to think about the Lord's responses to varying peoples throughout this chapter.

One could make the case that Jesus Himself is not an example of people skill because He is God and as God there are certain things He has privilege to that we would not.
• God, for instance, can be jealous righteously. That is not true of any human.
• God can seek vengeance righteously. Again, no man can do that without trespassing into God's property.

On the other hand Jesus is also man and perfect man at that. And who better than from The Perfect Man to learn how to relate to people of different types and approaches?

He handled the question of the Pharisees and scribes with a question.
The subject of His question appears unrelated with the exception that it addresses the tradition issue. But His illustration of their tradition was far from the subject of washing hands. Still Jesus concluded by coming back to hand washing so he had never left topic, just didn't let them control how he would handle the topic.
When they were offended at His answer, he walked away from it instructing his disciples to "Let them alone." It is not, I am sure, that he did not care, but that He did not linger on it. He did not allow their rejection to dominate Him.

In the case of the woman, Jesus appeared to ignore her at first, even implying she was what the Jews said she was, a dog.
Scofield's Notes suggest that when she attempted to approach Him as Jew, He ignored but when she addressed Him as Lord his response was immediate.
The church believer is not to try to cling to Jewish tradition but to confess Him as Lord of this new thing, the church.

With the multitude, Jesus had compassion and would not send them away fasting.
Thus crowd would have certainly consisted of believers, seekers and unbelievers but He fed them all just the same.
The Christian ought to have compassion for everyone, believer, seeker and even the confrontationalist alike.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Near Greatness

Matthew 14:28-31 KJV
And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

The story of Peter's walk on the water could be the story of every Christian.
We come to know the Lord as our Saviour and spiritually we know that all things are possible to him that believeth. At one point or another we ask the Lord for the faith to do what we cannot do.

• Perhaps it is a ministry
• Perhaps it is an offering
• Perhaps it is to witness to a particular person

Seeing the almighty Christ we step out to serve the Lord in some way that seems great to us.

But invariably, once we begin, we also see the challenges in ways we could not see before we stepped out in faith.
We knew there were difficulties before, but seeing them when we are secure from them in the boat and seeing them when we are next to perishing because of them are two different things. Sooner or later the nature of the man comes out and we feel the violence of the waves. It stops us in our spiritual tracks.

Exactly how great things we accomplish depends on how soon the waves become more visible to us than the Lord. Every Christian I know eventually has either climbed back in the boat, giving up on the venture, or cried out to the Lord that they had gone far enough in faith. Some just choose to go swimming, still out of the boat but doing what they do in the power of the flesh and not of God.

None of us walk on water our whole lives. Some of us at least make a step or two.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Offended In Him

Matthew 13:57 KJV
And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.

Jesus went home and taught in the synagogue. The Bible says they were astonished and they wondered where He could have learned such things. But rather than coming to trust His message the Bible says they were offended.

It had something to do with familiarity but surely it went deeper than that. Jesus, being the Son of God, was obviously different than any other person in their town.
• His mannerisms
• His character
• His testimony
would be so different that only a supernatural blindness could have prevented them from seeing it.

They were offended because they were opposed to His message.
And that is always why a person gets offended at the Word of God. They may claim to be saved, they may find some place to pretend to worship. But the reason they get offended is because they are opposed to the message.

Opposition appears to be increasing today.
Not that classical Baptist doctrine has ever been popular, but the internet, media, and just plain wickedness have caused the offense of the Gospel to become more pronounced in this day.

There is no reason for the one with the Word of God to back down. They were offended in Christ too.

The truth will win out in the end. Be true to the Word.

Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee?

Psalms 94:20 KJV
Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?

Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee?
I am remind of 2 Corinthians chapter six and the standard of separation; "be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers," More and more often we see a sort of Christianity that has no problem with this sort of worldly fellowship. The Psalmist's question is meant to be derogatory. "No! Of course the throne of iniquity will have no fellowship with you!"

But today the throne of iniquity has frequent fellowship with proclaiming believers. So much so that it seems to me that it is more than fellowship, it is cohabitation.
• Where and how did this concord take place?
• Where in the Bible is such agreement with sin Sanctioned?

The call to come out from among them must once again be shouted out so that the righteous understand; there can be no fellowship with the throne of iniquity.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Different Kind of Peace

Matthew 10:34 KJVThink not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Scofield's Notes say,
"Peace is spoken of in Scripture in three ways:

"Peace with God"; (Rom_5:1); this is the work of Christ into which the individual enters by faith; (Eph_2:14-17); (Rom_5:1).

"The peace of God"; (Phi_4:7); inward peace, the state of soul of that believer who, having entered into peace with God through faith in Christ, has also committed to God through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving all his anxieties; (Luk_7:50); (Phi_4:6).

Peace "on earth"; (Luk_2:14); (Psa_72:7); (Psa_85:10); (Isa_9:6-7); (Isa_11:1-12); the universal prevalency of peace in the earth under the kingdom. (Mat_10:34) was Christ's warning that the truth which He was proclaiming would not bring in the kingdom age of peace, but conflict rather. (Joh_14:27). "

The message Christ's disciples were called to preach was not one that would bring in the kingdom of Christ on this earth. Jesus prepared those apostles so they would know the message He called them to deliver would not give Israel their promised kingdom and the peace that will accompany it.

There is a peace that comes from the Gospel but it is a peace having to do with man's relationship with God. It is a peace in the heart, not on the earth.

• When we focus on the world we see conflict.
• When we focus on the heart we see God bringing about peace.

• May God help me to preach for the heart and not for the earth.
• May God bring me to seek Christ's working in the soul of people instead of what Christ might do in this earth.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

New Wine New Bottles

Matthew 9:17 KJVNeither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

It is Jesus Christ speaking to the disciples of John concerning the Jewish traditions highlighted mostly by the Pharisees who are beyond a doubt "old bottles."
The religion of the Jews had so declined that when their own promised Messiah walked among them they could not recognize Him. Something had to change. A new bottle had to be made for the wine that is the Lord and the wine that is the Holy Spirit to inhabit them.

That new bottle was the church.
But even that bottle appears to be growing old in our day. The Word of God makes it clear that even the church will become unfit to hold this wine and will be removed into heaven while God does His final work in our world.

And with persons as individuals we may find an application.
Christ does not live in one who is merely the old man changed. Jesus said, "Ye must be born again." We must become new creatures. In no other one may the Spirit of God abide.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Lordship Salvation

Matthew 8:2 KJVAnd, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

I will confess to using the title of this visit as more of an eye catcher than something relevant to my thoughts.

We have here the first New Testament time Christ is addressed as Lord. He is addressed this way four times in chapter eight and, I understand 663 times with this title in the New Testament.

• The term is used commonly in the Bible to speak not only of Christ but any master, human or divine.
• It is a fitting title for Christ who is at once both human and divine.

The thought occurred to me that, for many professing Christians Jesus is lord but not LORD. That is why men like our current President can boldly claim to be a Christian but so completely disobey the Bible in principle and philosophy.

Jesus is lord to him, but not LORD to him.
He makes a shallow claim, but he senses no real obligation to honor or obey Him.

And that is the case of the most of people who claim to be believers
They feel comfortable claiming faith in Christ because they see Him on about the same level as a human boss, they do what he says when they have to but have no worries about going against his will when he is not there to force them.

God help us to confess Christ as LORD and not merely Lord.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Must We Teach As Do The Scribes?

Matthew 7:28-29 KJV
And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

The distinctive quality of Jesus' teaching; the thing that made it astonishing, and the thing that made it different than the scribes, is that He taught as one having authority. This distinctive has been an attractive one to Bible preachers wanting to be set apart from the scribes and wanting to follow the example of the Lord.

The problem is, we are not the Lord
Therefore much of what is preaching and teaching authoritatively has little and sometimes nothing to do with the Bible. We authoritatively teach and preach our own opinions and sometimes we do so knowing those opinions are not found in the Scriptures, but we deceive ourselves, believing "we also have the mind of Christ." By applying that passage to our opinions we give them equal authority to the Scriptures and force them upon our congregations as the Word of God.

For shame
We are not the Lord. We do not have His authority. Our opinions, no matter how sincerely held and no matter from whom we first learned them, are not on equal authority with God's Word. We cannot speak "ex cathedra."

Does that then mean we must speak as the scribes?
Is our message then merely opinion and repetition of what some other scribe said some other scribe said?

There is a way to teach with authority and that is to assume no authority at all except to declare what God has already declared. There is power in the Word of God. That which will distinguish the preacher from the world and will give his message authority is when it is consistently and completely the Word of God.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A Higher Calling to Forgiveness

Matthew 6:12 KJV
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Scofield's Notes suggests that this motive to forgive has been supplanted today by a much higher motivation. Here we are motivated with a loss; if we don't forgive God won't forgive us. However, this is a part of Christ's offer of the kingdom to the nation of Israel. It is legal in nature; forgiveness is merited through an act of man's will.

Ephesians 4:32 provides a higher motivation through grace; we have already been forgiven through Jesus Christ. Our being forgiven is not conditioned upon whether we forgive but upon the finished work of Jesus. We are completely forgiven of our sin. Now our motivation for forgiving is based not on a loss but on a gain. It is because we have been so freely so graciously so wonderfully forgiven that we are to forgive.

There are no penalties for being unforgiving. However there are some personal difficulties that develop. When we do not forgive a root of bitterness may grow up in us and trouble and defile us. This is not God's withholding of anything; it is the fruit of our own deed.

The reason to forgive is gracious, not legal.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Perfection

Matthew 5:48 KJVBe ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

2 Corinthians 13:9 KJV
… and this also we wish, even your perfection.

Christ's comparison of perfection with the Father removes so many of our interpretations and compromising applications of perfection. To compare ourselves to the mark set by God the Father is forever a game changer.

No wonder Paul said he had not attained (perfection) already.

But the fact that he had not attained had not discouraged him from pressing toward that mark.

• The challenge of Christ is to be perfect
• The work of the church is our perfection
• The result of the word is perfection and
• The aim of every believer ought to be perfection

Monday, April 04, 2011

Already Answered

Psalms 79:8 KJVO remember not against us former iniquities: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low.

This is a prayer we know has been answered. The Psalmist asks that former iniquities not be remembered and God has said your sins and iniquities He will remember no more.

  • What a blessing that sins would be forgotten in the everlasting mind of God.
  • What joy to know that God, whose mind and will is perfect, has said that He will not remember.

Men may hold on. But not so God. He has, because of Christ, freed us from the hold of sin upon us.

To God be glory. Amen!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

My Best In Not What I Desire

Psalms 78:29 KJV
So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire;

Our own desire is not for our best. When man did not like to retain God in their hearts He gave them up to a reprobate mind. The worst that could happen to mankind was for them to get their own desires.

And so it is with us. We would do best then to seek not our own desire but seek rather the desires God has for us. The best we can ever have is not that which may be consumed upon our own lusts but that which God has planned for His glory.

To glorify God in our bodies. That will be the very best for us.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

God's Remedy for My Infirmity

Psalms 77:10-12 KJVAnd I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.
I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.
I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.

The Psalmist takes the first half of the Psalm to pour out his complaint. Things are tough and I do not believe our response should be to dismiss this as if he were a cry baby. God has placed this in the word on purpose. This world is a difficult place and it is often that we may wonder if God has cast us off forever. We are given a remedy to our infirmity and we had better take knowledge of it.

I will remember
Three times the Psalmist says remember. It is the beginning point and perhaps the most difficult to do. This is in the throes of the infirmity. This is when are least likely to accept the help we need. And that help is to remember years of God's right hand, the works of the Lord and his wonders of old. I note that he self administers. He says to himself to remember.

I will meditate
He doesn't end with remembering but takes it to the next level and meditate upon all the work of the Lord. Like an anti biotic that only works if we take the full dosage so remembering without meditating is not going to bring about the cure. It may give temporary relief but it will not heal the infirmity. Meditation implies time, study and some effort. Just remembering can be a difficult thing to do when we are informed. But meditating means that we go beyond perhaps what we have in our own resources and look elsewhere. We remember what God has done then we study to find out the why and how and where and who and when. The meditation is more than academic; it is internalized and applied. Through this process the informed overcome. But there is one more step to the recovery.

I will talk
Of God's doings. There are two ways to see this and all have merit. Talking in the sense if speaking to others to learn what they have learned. Secondly, talking in the sense of telling others what we have learned. There is no such thing as a healing that does not involve helping others be healed in this infirmity. Imagine a world where everyone who has found recovery from the depths of world sickness dedicated their lives to telling others what they learned on their journey to recovery. I wonder if we would ever again feel as if God had cast us off if we were all busy talking about what we had learned about the Lord when we did wonder if God had cast us off. So the missionary message of the text is the final stage to real recovery.

Friday, April 01, 2011

He Has His Own Cause

Psalms 74:22 KJVArise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily.

The 73rd Psalm ends on the note, "It is good for me to draw near unto God."
But the 74th again has the Psalmist grieving over the condition of his world ("the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.")

It is the struggle that is part and parcel with believing in Christ and belonging to (not as being of it but in it) this world.
• On the one hand we have great joy and peace in knowing we are saved
• But on the other we are oppressed by the wickedness of the lost
• On the one hand we are glad for those circumstances that draw us to the Lord
• But on the other we get so burdened with the weight of those same circumstances
• On the one hand we have faith and Assurance that God will reign in eternity
• But on the other we wrestle with the fact that the devil has such victory today

The Psalmist's answer, and a lesson that would make wise practice in our prayer life today, was to plead that God Himself would plead His own cause. It is reminiscent of the Lord's model prayer, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." The most powerful prayers we could bring to God are those that his will be done.

Lord, we are in need of thy hand. Plead your own cause for people today.