Friday, September 30, 2011

The Preacher's Conflict

Colossians 2:1 KJV
For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;

I note first that his conflict is not with the government.
Though the government was a challenge to him and would eventually execute him, he had no conflict with them

Secondly his conflict was not with Judaism.
Though he preached that Christ sets a man free from the works of the Law and the Jews had a conflict with Paul, this was not what occupied his concern.

Thirdly his conflict was not for the lost.
Though he said he could wish himself accursed for his brethren to be saved, this was not the focus of the struggle Paul fought.

The Apostle's conflict was for the believers.
He longed to see them, among other things, possess the "full assurance of understanding." His conflict was to bring them to the place spiritually that their understanding and acknowledgement of the mystery of God led them to comfort in their hearts, knit together in love and having assurance.

When we fully understand and confessed the incarnation of Christ and its effect of uniting us into the local church. When we grasp all that is what Christ did in saving us, the result is full, final and finished assurance.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Striving, According to His Working

Colossians 1:29 KJV
Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

The Apostle used the words "labor" and "striving" to describe his ministry. But then he added this qualifier; that is was God "working in me mightily." That is what we need today; not less labor among the preachers but less labor in man's strength and more the work of God in us mightily.
This seems to be one of those constant battles we face in the flesh:
On the one hand there is the guy who refuses to do anything.
• He sits in his house claiming to wait on the Lord.
• He does not witness
• He does not pray
• He does not write
• He does not plead with souls
He misses the point of Christian service.

On the other hand there is the guy who rushes into the work of God headlong. He is not well trained
• He has not prayed
• He has not properly studied
Like a bull in a china shop he enters into the work of the ministry in the power of the flesh. And he causes great harm.

Coming to that spiritual place where we labor, we step out, we engage the world for Christ, but it is not us doing it at all, but God working in us mightily; that is the target we all ought to aim at.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

With Privilege, Responsibility

Amos 3:2 KJV
You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.

There is nothing that could be better than being a child of God.
• Sins forgiven
• Peace with God
• Promise of eternity
• Escape from hell
• Joint heirs with Christ
• Access to the throne of God
• Purpose for living
• Answers to prayer

The list goes on with the privileges that belong to the Christian. It is wonderful! But Israel learned that with that privilege also came responsibility. The Heavenly Father loves his own and therefore chastens them and corrects them that they might be sanctified from this world.

A Christian is free from the chains of sin. But he is not free to live without restraint.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Which Righteousness?

Philippians 3:9 KJV
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

There are two sorts of righteousnesses presented and contrasted within this verse:
Mine own righteousness
Which is of the law
For the Jew this is the Old Testament law. There was a sort of righteousness that the Jew mistook for saving, which was obedience to the Old Testament. It is self righteousness based upon ones own ability to conform to a prescribed standard. And it come far short of the glory of God.

The righteousness of God
Which is by faith
This righteousness is not based in what we do, but in what we believe, more specifically in Whom we trust. The righteousness of God comes to us by trusting not in ourselves but in the glorious work of Christ.

Of course we are to obey the Word of God. But the difference is that we do not obey in order to be righteous but because we are righteous in Christ.

A child born to royalty is trained to live according to a fairly strict order. The Prince of Wales, for instance, served in the military because it was expected of him. His standing demanded he act a particular way, not in order to gain his royal position but because he already had it. Even so a Christian is disciplined to walk as becometh the sons of God exactly because he is a son of God and not in order to either earn that position or to keep it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

His Humility Discovered

Philippians 2:8 KJV
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Verses 5-8 provide us with the seven steps of Christ's humiliation.

  • No reputation
  • Form of a servant
  • Likeness of men
  • Fashion as a man
  • Humbled Himself
  • Obedient
  • Death of the Cross

Christ is all the glory of God. But Christ laid that glory aside to take the fashion as a man.

But verse eight gives what I think may be an easily overlooked thought; He was found in this humbled state. He humbled Himself and allowed that His humility be discovered. I hesitate to say He placed it on display because that sounds proud but keep in mind the degree of humility evidenced in the Gospel; from heavenly glory to death on the Cross. There is no level of sinful human pride in that. It is an example of humility that is itself divine.

The humility of Christ is that aspect of His incarnation that must be discovered among men. We must lift it up. We must make that known.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Current Events in Biblical Preaching

Joel 1:4 KJV
That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.

Scofield remarks that Joel's prophecy is occasioned by the real time event of a destroying swarm of locusts. Joel used what was on everyone's mind to cast their thoughts forward into the day of the Lord. This legitimizes using current events in preaching to illustrate the truths of God's word. A preacher may properly use great events such as earthquakes, hurricanes and fires as a reminder to his listeners that God has foretold great destruction in the final days.

Whether those natural disasters of our day are a part of the actual destruction is, I think, questionable. We, who are saved today, will be removed from the earth when they begin in earnest and any disasters today, while reminders of those, could as easily be cyclical and we could be a thousand years from the end. It is premature and dangerous to our credibility to call them end time judgments when we are not given the same authority in preaching as Old Testament prophets.

The preacher is wise to cite the events of his day as illustrative of spiritual things. But he has taken his authority too far to proclaim them as fulfillment.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Idolatry is Pride

Hosea 13:1 KJV
When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.

Here is a classic example of the spiritual truth that when we are humble God exalts us but when we are lifted up in pride we must be cast down.

Early on Ephraim participated in God's plan for the people of God.
• They would have cried unto the Lord in Egypt
• They would have followed the Lord through the Red Sea
• They would have crossed the Jordan and conquered the Promised Land with the rest of the people of God.
So long as Ephraim spake trembling; so long as she, along with the rest of the tribes, sought the Lord, God's hand blessed and kept them.

But then Ephraim joined in with the rebellion of Jeroboam. She agreed with the worship of idols and eventually entered into the worship of Baal. Why not? They had already accepted a false god, what's another. When once we accept a sin as agreeable, other sins will quickly follow.

And here lies another truth; "offending in Baal" is equal to lifting up self in pride. It is choosing our own course rather than obedience to the Lord.

Ephraim is said to have died when they offended in Baal. The destruction of the northern kingdom, of which Ephraim was a part, did not happen immediately. But their spiritual death did. And so it is with many who, though walking upon this earth, they are dead in spirit. There is no relationship with God. They do not hear from Him, nor do they care to. Life comes from God but they have been separated from that life.

Verse nine begins a portion of pleading with them to turn and repent. So long as those spiritually dead walk on this earth the invitation is open to them: repent turn God will always and forever accept you if you will but humble yourself.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Do Not Be Deceived

Ephesians 5:6 KJV
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

There are those who would say that license has an inheritance in heaven. In some cases they would say those with standards of separation do not. The Word of God gives exactly the opposite testimony. The Apostle's warning is that those who attempt to deceive are speaking vain, empty, useless words.

I am reminded of the false prophets of the Old Testament. They would bring messages, most often of good, but they were not messages from the Lord. They were powerless messages. They had no authority. They were not even as meaningful as a speech delivered by an expert. They were just empty and vain. They may have been the most accepted of the prophets. They may have been the ones with the king's ear. But they were still vain.

And so is the message of the young restless and reformed. Though they attempt to give their message weight by expository and Christ centered preaching, their lack of any system of standards, their almost angry vitriol against separation, their "in your face" defiance of those who caution against sin betrays them. They speak meaningless words.

And the Word of God says not to be deceived by them.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

God Gave Some Churches...

Ephesians 4:11 KJV
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

How important is interpretation. I have always taken this passage to mean that God has given
• Some men the gift of apostleship
• Some men the gift of the prophet
• Some men the gift of the evangelist
etc.

Though I do not believe that is an inaccurate view of the text, today it occurs to me that there is another way to view this. God gave
• Some churches an apostle
• Some churches a prophet
• Some churches an evangelist
• Some churches a pastor and
• Some churches a teacher

The focus of the New Testament is God's work through the local church so viewing this text as having to do with the church is important. Each ministry is different and unique and each one meets the need the Lord sees in each church as He pleases. Each ministry together combines to bring about the Lord's finished work in the earth. Where would we be without an evangelist to win souls and encourage others to do the same? But where would we be as well without the teacher to sharpen our doctrine and urge sound theology?

Thank God for each gift and, if they are not each in every church, they are still an influence to all churches.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

He Is Able

Ephesians 3:20 KJV
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

It's always a good reminder that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.

Remember Paul's circumstances.
He is a prisoner for the Lord. Writing to the believers in Ephesus, he declares that it is a grace to have been charged to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ among the Gentiles, even though it was that very charge that has him in prison.

His circumstances are such that he even encourages them not to faint at his tribulations.

But though a prisoner; and though in deep trial, he still speaks of the Lord as "able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think."

That is a message we need to hold on to.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Christian Fellowship

Ephesians 2:18 KJV
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

The basis of fellowship between the Jews and the Gentiles is that, through Jesus Christ both of us have the same access to the Father by the Holy Spirit.

All three persons of the Godhead are here;
• It is through Jesus we have access
• It is by the Spirit we have access
• It is access unto the Father

Christian fellowship is fellowship in the presence of the Lord or it isn't really fellowship; it becomes a partnership or a business relationship. It might be an agreed upon companionship but it is not true Christian fellowship unless it is fellowship with the Father.

Monday, September 19, 2011

God Gathers

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:

God's grand plan is the gathering together of all things in heaven and in earth.
• He is not a divider but a gatherer.
• His will is not the scattering of His creation but the gathering of it.
• His ultimate plan is not the separation of heavenly and earthly but the congregation of them.

It is Satan who is the divider. It is the corrupt nature of sinful man that scatters.

And there is only one way for the heavenly and earthly to come together; that is in Him.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Grace More Gracious

Hosea 2:23 KJV
And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.

I am forever impressed with the grace that is demonstrated in the Old Testament. Nearly every book, especially of the prophets, is a book of grace. True, there is judgment. But the judgment serves to make the grace sweeter.

I read somewhere recently that the horror that is hell only serves to make the glory of the Gospel that much more glorious.

In that very same way the judgment of the Old Testament only makes the grace offered so much more gracious.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Offense of the Cross

Galatians 5:11 KJV
And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

The offense of the cross was the liberty it gave over the law of the Jews. Had the Apostle compromised the cross with the law there would have been no dispute between himself and the religious. They truly could have been another sect of Judaism.

But the Apostle's mandate was not his own but of the Lord. Through the cross Jews and Gentiles are free from the law for righteousness.

However there is this caution; this liberty is not to be used as an occasion for the flesh. Christians have a new law of love and in that love, of serving one another.

Friday, September 16, 2011

God's Mercy Can Shine

Daniel 9:16 KJV
O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.

There is great hope in this record of Daniel's prayer. Daniel, after studying the thing, confessed the terrible and great wickedness of Jerusalem.
• He knew they deserved the judgment they had faced.
• He knew Jerusalem was a shambles.
The city was in ruins, the people in captivity. And yet he prayed for God's face to shine upon it once again.

Regardless how badly a man may have ruined his life. No matter how deep he has taken himself into sin there is always hope and reason for a praying man to intercede for them. No darkness may ever fall upon a man that God's mercy cannot shine the light of grace upon them.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Keeping the Matter

Daniel 7:28 KJV
Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.

• Daniel's cogitations troubled him so that
• Daniel's countenance changed even though
• Daniel kept the matter in his heart

There are some things, especially as we think of the weight of what will be the end times, that should change the countenance of a person.

• Christians ought to have the joy of the Lord.
• Christians need never live in fear of the future and doubt of their fate.
• Christians do not need to express every concern they have, do not need to be negative; have no cause to be hard hearted and mean spirited.

But neither should Christians be ignorant of the times and naive about the consequences man's sin has generated. The countenance of the Christians, while confident and joyful, ought also bear upon it a mark of seriousness, earnestness and brokenness in the light of God's Word.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Belshazzar Knew

Daniel 5:22 KJV
And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;

Daniel's service in Babylon falls, so far as the Biblical record gives, under four pagan kings.

In the case of Nebuchadnezzar
God worked powerfully through Daniel to bring this man to know Him as the true and living God. It is as if Nebuchadnezzar is really the subject and Daniel the leader. Daniel serves the king, but only after Daniel serves the king of kings.

In the case of Darius and Cyrus
A new people have overtaken Babylon and it is completely expected that Daniel would "start over" pointing this king to the living God. (His method of witness would be a tough one to sell on the program circuit though. Spending the night with the lions.)

But the case with Belshazzar is different
Belshazzar knew about God's dealing with Nebuchadnezzar. He did not have to meet God through brand new revelation. He could have received the witness not only of Daniel, but of Nebuchadnezzar himself. And because he knew and rejected God's grace was much less longsuffering. His judgment was
• Swift
• Dramatic and
• Final

Acts 17:30 KJV
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Merit

Daniel 3:30 KJV
Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

In chapter two, after the promotion of Daniel, Daniel requested his friends be promoted too. There was reason for their promotion other than Daniel's favoritism; they had united with Daniel in prayer and were partners in his answer for the king and therefore rightly partners in the promotion. But in this chapter we find out that they were men of high godly character all of their own.

Daniel must certainly have been out of the province during the episode seeing his name is not mentioned. These three show such faith we would be astonished with the account if it were not that we have heard it before. Under threat of death, they refused to dishonor God by worshipping an idol. When singled out and given the option of bowing to an idol or burning in the furnace, there was no hesitation on their part: God could spare their lives but even if he didn't, they would not bow.
• Into the furnace they went
• God's presence was seen and
• The king promoted them because of their own character and not of Daniel's

As believers we belong to the family of God and find we experience many wonderful blessings because of our family. We enjoy the fruit of the labor of others in the services.
• Because someone else studied, prayed, cleaned, practiced and all else that goes into the service, everyone there benefits
• Because someone gave money, someone helped in the nursery, someone spent years learning to play a musical instrument, everyone in the service benefits
But there comes a time when every Christian ought to stand up and demonstrate that they have a place in the benefit. Every Christian ought to experience the benefits of being a Christian because they contribute to the benefit the church is to others.

We have all been promoted because of Christ. Let's now prove there was merit in the promotion.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Gift that Perfects

2 Corinthians 13:10 KJV
Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.

The Apostle admitted being sharp in his communication to the Corinthian church but he said:
His was a power given him of the Lord.
The preacher serves with a power that is not his own. If he seems pointed and brusque; if his manner of confidence and persuasiveness takes a person aback, it must be remembered that his is a power that is of the Lord.

He did not use sharpness to destroy them.
The most aggressive of preachers, the ones who seem the most hardened. Those preachers whose personalities are the most sharp, never have as their intention to destroy a person or a church. It would be counter productive to the very reason they are in the ministry in the first place. The intent is never to destroy.

His desire was their perfection and edification.
Those two words are different sides of the same truth. I don't think perfection and edification are synonyms, but they are compliments of the other. God wants to see the work of God perfecting and growing and maturing into that church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. And he accomplishes this perfection through edification. That edification requires that the preacher give the truth with candor and sharpness.

We ought to thank God for candor, sharpness and the aggressive ability of the preacher to "get to the point." Rather than seeing it as a mean spirit, view it as what it is, God's gift upon him for the edification and perfecting of the saints.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Any of These

2 Corinthians 12:10 KJV
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Scofield remarks that the Apostle's thorn is not revealed to us that "his consolations may avail for all to whom any thorn us given." Still he says his was a thorn in the flesh. But does that mean the only sort of thorn that benefits this consolation is in the flesh, a physical ailment? No. Verse ten lists other sorts of infirmities that Apostle thanked God for:
• Reproaches
• Necessities
• Persecutions
• Distresses for Christ's sake
In any of these weaknesses, the power and strength of God may be manifest in and through us.

And so in any of these I may thank God.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ministry Has Meaning

Ezekiel 46:24 KJV
Then said he unto me, These are the places of them that boil, where the ministers of the house shall boil the sacrifice of the people.

The work of the ministry in Israel was divided into many small and, on the surface, insignificant parts
• Making sure oil was in the candle
• Making sure bread was on the table
• Making sure incense was burning

• Some (during the wilderness wanderings) had the responsibility of packing the tent.
• Some of carrying the furniture whenever they moved.
These designations continued for decades after Israel had entered the Promised Land until David reassigned them.

And here God says there was a ministry of boiling the sacrifice of the people. Even cooking the offering was considered a ministry to the Lord.

There is nothing insignificant in the Lord's house.
• No function
• No duty
• No responsibility
is trivial or minor or of no consequence.

It is true in all of life but it is especially true in the church; whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of the Lord.

Friday, September 09, 2011

The Fight Is On

2 Corinthians 10:3 KJV
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

The war the preacher is engaged in is:
To cast down imaginations
People imagine some high and exalted things about their idols. The preacher battles to cast the idols down so that people come to know the truth about God.

To bring into captivity every thought
The minds of people think things that were either dreamed up in self or passed down from other dreamers.
• Some people think too highly of nature
• Some of humanity
• Some of governments
• Some of education
• Some of wealth
The preacher battles to bring the thoughts of men into obedience of Christ.

To fulfill obedience
Having obedient thoughts must lead a person to living and obedient life. Obedience is not fulfilled until what is preached about and thought about is born out in daily living.

That this is a war implies that the battle endures on. It isn't going to be over in a moment. The preacher, by accepting his calling, has enlisted in a lifelong conflict.

May God grant him grace to keep at it until he is finally called home.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Ultimate Example of Giving

2 Corinthians 8:9 KJV
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

In stressing the measures in which the Christian should go in giving Paul reminds us of Christ, who was rich but became poor so we might be rich. The obvious application, as is born out in the following verses, is that this is the example we should follow in our own giving; one who is rich giving our wealth to the point of becoming poor so that another might be made rich.

The Apostle means to employ it as an example and not as a command. We are not commanded to give to the point of poverty. But, given that example, we are urged to give abundantly and beyond what we likely would have given otherwise.

We could never give too much so long as we are giving out of the motivation of the Spirit and for the sake of the Lord.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Faces of God

Ezekiel 38:18 KJV
And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face.

Scofield remarks, and I am unaware of any major change in the thinking of today's preachers, that all agree this passage speaks of Russia and those people of the north coming against Israel and God then destroying them for it.

But as I read the passage today I saw faces in Gog;
• Christian people I know from Belarus, pictures and
• Names of people in Romania and Moscow and other lands like them I have come to know through missionaries to those lands

And, as I see their faces I am reminded that the prophecies apply to nations of people. It is true of Israel as it is true of the Gentile nations; in each case the prophecies go out to nations. Individuals may experience a relationship with God that is far different than that relationship God has already determined with the nations. Jews and Gentiles alike are free in all ages to come to God through the Savior and be joint heirs with Christ. No one is trapped in a fate belonging to their native people.
• And so we pray
• And so the missionary pleads with them
God give us souls rescued from the fate of whole people groups. God let us see destinies transformed as people, one by one, come out from among the people of the world to be saved.

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Influence of Righteousness

2 Corinthians 6:13 KJV
Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.

The appeal of separation begins in the very first verse where he says "receive not the grace of God in vain." The concept of separation goes two ways;
• From evil and worldliness and
• To the apostle and godliness
He asked them to enlarge their hearts toward him (and those in the ministry) and separate from unbelievers, unrighteousness and etc.

The process towards real fellowship with the Father is more than a separation from, it is a separation to. We must avoid the influence of unrighteousness but we must also delve deeply into the influence of righteousness.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Mark of God's Flock

Ezekiel 34:22 KJV
Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.

The Lord describes His flock as
• Diseased
• Lean
• Oppressed and
• Scattered
In a manner reminiscent of the Beatitudes, this passage says the Lord will choose out, not those who have trampled down and made a way for themselves, but those who have been abused by the fat and powerful of the world.

Christianity must be careful that we don't pick up the practices of the world. (We sometimes excuse our worldly practices by saying the world is doing the Scriptural thing and just don't know it) It is funny in some respects because all of Christianity combined, including that majority of Christianity that is false profession, is only a pebble of the world's population.
• We are a remnant and no real number.
• We are little fish in a big pond but
We can imagine ourselves to be something
• To be powerful
• To be influential
Truth is much of the time we are just blow hards.

The Scriptural position of the Christian is just humble. Not trying to make a splash at all but just living in obedience to the Lord.
• Those he will feed
• Those he will lead
• Those he will give peace
It is among those I long to live.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

The Spirit of Faith

2 Corinthians 4:13 KJV
We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Even the most acclaimed scholars of our day do nothing more than speak what they believe. After years of study in their disciplines of
• Anthropology
• Archaeology and
• Ancient history
the best that any of them can do is present what it is they believe about the origins and history of man. They know nothing. Even those things that are most certainly believed among them are only beliefs. They have no proof of their beliefs. They are never certain that the next piece of evidence uncovered will not disprove all that they believe.

Paul's "spirit of faith" is quite different, though I am confident that the world of scholarship would deny it to be so, and it is this difference that sets the faith of the believer apart from that of worldly wisdom and so infuriates them against our faith; we believe because we have proof. We have the Word of God delivered to us from the One Who died and rose again.

Some in Christianity have not yet seen the difference. They believe the Bible but hold their breath unless some new discovery proves the Bible wrong. No such concern need exist. The Bible is truth. This world will constantly turn up new finds to cause new theories. But they will always only be theories; just what they believe based upon their best guesses about what the new evidence means. The Bible, however, will always be what it has always been; the infallible Word of Almighty God.

Friday, September 02, 2011

The Glory of Today

2 Corinthians 3:5 KJV
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

Even the Apostle claimed no sufficiency in himself but only in God.

This chapter is interesting given the times. The Apostle will himself be executed, as were all but one of the Apostles, for the very faith that Paul proclaims here is more glorious than that of Moses and the Old Testament. Its glory rests in something different than outward miracles. Though they existed early on in the New Testament, even before the Apostles were off the scene already those miracles had diminished. Really they had little to do with Christianity even as Paul wrote this epistle. He does not cite his miracles as evidence of his authority.

The glory that exists in the New Testament
• Is a glory of hope
• It is a glory delivered in a promise of eternal life
Nothing this world has ever or could ever offer compares to that.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Apostle's Tears


2 Corinthians 2:4 KJV
For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.

The Apostle's humanity is impressive and enlightening. Though he was confident in his ministry still his heart was broken for the kind of work that he had been forced to do. He did not take it lightly to write a letter of such rebuke.

I can see the Apostle as he labored over the letter.
  • Were the words necessary?
  • Would it be better to pass over the issue?
  • Others were already offended in him, should he risk these too?
Still, the Spirit of God had led him. His ministry responsibility was first to God before it was to any of them.

  • What relief
  • What joy
  • What rejoicing of the Spirit
it must have been when news returned of their positive reception of his letter.

And so it must be today. Would to God His people see the heart of the preacher who only wishes to minister to God as their minister. If only they would see his heart and pray for Him as he does for them. If only they would appreciate a pastor who puts God above them. Only then do they have a pastor who is truly capable of performing real ministry.

And would to God that the eyes of those ministers who have put people above the Lord be opened.