Monday, February 28, 2011

Know This First

2 Peter 3:3-4 KJV
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Knowing this first. Of all that the prophets and apostles (note that Peter places the written words of the apostles on the same plane as the prophets. Later in this chapter he will especially acknowledge Paul) we should know first about the coming of the Lord.

It will be mocked in the world.

It will happen in the good time of the Lord.
His perspective on time is different and I might add, much higher than ours.

It should lead to our holy conversation.

Its delay is the opportunity for the salvation of others.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rest Easy

2 Peter 2:2 KJV
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

The Bible is not surprised by the world of today. God knew very well that there would be
• False Christs
• False teachers and
• False Christians

God also knew that the way of truth would become evil spoken of as a result of them all.

This should in no way cause us consternation and turmoil of heart. God's sovereignty, His leadership in this world has in no way been hindered through this evil speaking. If anything it should be considered a part of His work of separating the sheep from the goats. If the false professors follow after the false teachers then there is safer plowing in the harvest fields of the Lord.

Rest easy in the faith.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tucked Away

2 Peter 1:16-21 KJV
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

I think this verse might get tucked away and forgotten in the context in which it is found. It seems to me to be the central theme and the reason we have the passages about the sure word of prophecy and no private interpretation. Peter is motivating us to give heed to this message.

I see a definite appeal to the lost to take heed
The progression here is powerful for the lost; take heed to this message, knowing its truthfulness and veracity, until it takes root in you. We pretty much give people a shallow sales pitch of salvation today and if that doesn't do it to give them peace of soul then we give them the same pitch again or else give them the pitch of assurance. Preachers like Spurgeon didn't do it that same way. They urged sinners to hear the Word of God again and again until the light shone through into them.

There is also an application for the Christian who struggles spiritually
Peter had just spoken about diligent addition of virtues and urged the reader to "give diligence to make [their] calling and election sure." That surety comes through taking heed to this sure Word of prophecy. We must read, meditate and sit under the preaching of it until it comes to life in our hearts. This is no mere reformation religion. We are not in the business of rehabilitation. A new creature is what we seek. That can only happen through the working of the Spirit of God. Take heed to the message of the Bible. It is sure. It is pure and it is powerful. Come under its authority and stay there until the "day star arise in your hearts."

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Delight

Psalms 1:1-2 KJV
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

I want to be known for that which is my delight.

There is a blessing that is owned by those who separate themselves
• From sinners
• From scorners and
• From the ungodly
Surely the man who would be blessed of God will remove himself from these.

But too frequently the battle of separation becomes the mark of the believer. The Psalmist tells us that the blessed man is more than a militant separatist, he has a delight; and that delight is in the law of the Lord.

David was a man of war. Well into his later life he was still ready and willing to take up the sword against the enemies of God. But David's heart was that of the sweet Psalmist of Israel. His heart was after God, not after blood.

As I move into my senior years I want to focus on that in which I delight. I need to be a man of battle and separation but I must be known for those things which bring me delight.

And that which must be the most delightful must be the Lord and His Word.

PS, this post is a little late today because I was visiting my newest "granddaughter" Isabella Faith Harper

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Scarcey Saved

1 Peter 4:18 KJV
And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

What a thought. Those who are saved are "scarcely saved."

Scarcely saved is not barely saved. Gill says, "...not as if they were but in part saved, for they are completely saved; Christ has wrought out and finished a complete salvation for them; and they are saved from all enemies, and everything that might hurt them; from sin, Satan, the law, the world, hell, and death; and they are completely justified, and have all their sins pardoned, and shall be perfectly saved: nor as if their salvation was doubtful; for though they are scarcely, yet certainly saved."

• It is a salvation that is so strait and so narrow that no man could ever earn it of his own.
• It is a salvation that is provided not by our merits or else we would never attain to it but by the gift of God.
• It is a salvation accompanied by trials and afflictions in this life as Satan and the world oppose it.
But it is a salvation so wonderfully worth the difficulties that are today associated with it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

He's Gone On

1 Peter 3:22 KJV
Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

He is gone into heaven..

There is huge joy and assurance that having placed my faith in Christ I am saved.
• I am not saved by my good works even though I want to be known for performing them.
• I am not saved by my baptism even though the ordinance is referenced in the passage.
I am saved by Jesus Christ and His death burial and resurrection.

The assurance rests in that Jesus Christ, though having tasted death, was raised again and has gone into heaven.
• That place I look for.
• That hope I have for the eternal future
• That blessedness that God created man to experience
Jesus knows it now.

And Jesus said in John 14:3 KJV
..... where I am, there ye may be also.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Another Witness

1 Peter 2:18-23 KJV
Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

This passage reinforces a lesson that the Apostle Paul emphasizes in 1 Corinthians 6 and again in Romans chapters 12-15

1 Corinthians 6:7 KJV
Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

Romans 12:18-19 KJV
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Romans 13:10 KJV
Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Romans 14:19 KJV
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

Romans 15:2-3 KJV
Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

Paul preaches over and again. The concept of the local church is so miraculous that we ought to do all to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace within that church. But now we find Peter lending his voice to the same message. Most often we view 1 Peter 2 as referring to enduring grief and suffering wrongfully from those who are not believers. And in the context I think that is best as the primary application. Nevertheless the fact is the passage supports Paul's insistence that Christians suffer wrong for the sake of the Gospel and the glory of God.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Incorruptible Seed

1 Peter 1:23 KJV
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

• I believe that the KJV Bible is without error and incorruptible. I do not believe there are any errors in it in any place.
• I believe that the God that gave us his Word is completely capable of protecting and preserving His Word and
• I believe the evidence says that preserved Word is to be found in the King James version of the Bible.

That being said there are multitudes of people who are professors of faith who have not used the KJV in any of their studies of the Bible and whose faith doesn't rest what they have learned in the KJV. Some have said they aren't saved because they were not brought to faith under preaching, teaching and conviction of the KJV. They will cite this passage as their proof text.

But the incorruptible seed of the verse is not the Word, but the Lord.
• It is Jesus who is the promised seed
• It is Jesus upon whom our faith rests
• It is Jesus who saves
And it is the Word of God by which we come to know Jesus.

I would never want to minimize the importance of the Word of God or the importance of an infallible Word. But we are not born again by the Word but "of" Jesus. He is the incorruptible seed.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Before the Door

James 5:7-9 KJV
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

The coming of the Lord is given in three levels.

It is announced
Be patient… unto the coming of the Lord. The result of the doctrine of Christ's coming should inspire patience in the believer.

It is hastened
The Word says it draws nigh. We are to be patient but our patience will be soon rewarded.

It is before the door.
I don't know when the Lord will call us to Himself. I do believe that it is drawing closer every day and that it is even now at the door.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Job 30:1-2 KJV
But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock.
Yea, whereto might the strength of their hands profit me, in whom old age was perished?

Job's description of the difficulty he faces continues as he describes the sort of young men that have surrounded him. There is a hint that maybe they were brought up poorly because Job mentions that he would not have wanted their fathers working for him.

Job's character has been such that I suspect the issue is not Job but that they were men of lesser character. They raised children who did not respect the years or experience and testimony of good men.

• Parents who raise children well will raise them to respect and learn from their elders.
• Parents who do not will see their children grow to be a curse both to society and to themselves.

Raise children to respect authority or they will grow to have no respect for their own parents.

Friday, February 18, 2011

That Path

Job 28:7-8 KJV
There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen:
The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.

Job's parable here is beautiful. That path
• No fowl knows
• No vulture has seen and
• No lion has trodden
That path that is of more value than the gold and rubies in the ground.

It is the path of wisdom and it cannot be
• Dug out of the dirt
• Discovered in the study of nature or
• Purchased with the wealth of man
It can only be gotten through the fear of the Lord.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Sin of Respecting of Persons

James 2:1 KJV
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

The faith in Christ can so easily be corrupted into something God never intended and thus cloud the glory of Christ.

Whenever we respect persons we appear to see more glory in them than in Christ.
• His glory is the only glory we should be able to see.
• His brilliance should so dim the glory of the wealthiest of men.

By respecting persons, by preferring one above another we betray the fact that we don't see the glory of Christ in them and imply to the world that there is no real glory in Christ. So the sin of respecting persons is greater than one might at first see. It is the sin of denigrating the glory that is Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Statement of Faith

Job 23:8-10 KJV
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:
On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:
But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Job continues to give these wonderful statements of faith in the midst of great adversity.

He says he can't see God before him or behind him.
On the left hand and on the right God has hidden Himself and he could not see Him.

But despite all of this Job emphatically claims,
• "He knoweth the way that I take" and
• "when He hath tried me I shall come forth as gold."

What a challenge it is to get this from the head to the heart. To acknowledge this is true is one thing. To live it as truth, an entirely different thing.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Suffer This

Hebrews 13:22 KJV
And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.

Paul had finished this letter which he calls "few words." It isn't that long comparing to the volume of a book.

Its message is an exhortation.
It is not meant to be strictly doctrinal, though it certainly contains doctrine.

Its message is an exhortation.
It is meant to inspire and stir to action and faith.

This is the prayer of the man of God.
We long to see our congregation not merely hear a sermon but to receive an exhortation. We believe our work hasn't ended until those who hear have been changed through the message. I beseech my congregation weekly, "suffer the word of exhortation."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Worthy of Writing

Job 19:23-27 KJV
Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

Job certainly got this prayer answered. Before there was a shred of preserved Word of God Job pleaded that these words be recorded never to be lost. This he was so confident of that regardless of the trial of his body he wanted this to be ever known.

His redeemer liveth.
It was not up to Job's righteousness. He knew he needed a redeemer. Further he knew he had a redeemer. His redeemer, though not visible will stand on this very soil in the later day.

He would see God
His flesh was at that moment being consumed but should he die of his afflictions it would only mean he would see God sooner.

He would see Him personally
He wanted to remove the possibility of his readers saying that he would spiritually see Him through some representative. Job believed in eternal life.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Read Job And...

Job 17:8-9 KJV
Upright men shall be astonied at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite.
The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.

Job describes his affliction and then says
• The upright will be astonished
• The innocent will be stirred and
• The righteous shall be stronger and stronger

That will be the reaction and results of Job's account for those who are upright, innocent and righteous. That is the value of the book and of its study; to astonish, to stir and to strengthen. There will be those who do not so benefit. They are the self righteous, proud and unwise.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Hebrews 10:22 KJV
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

The chapter begins with the people of the law still possessing the conscience of sin. But that was the law. The believer today possesses not the shadow but the very image, Jesus.
• We have a once for all offering.
• We have been sanctified.
• We have been made perfect.
• We may therefore draw nigh with full assurance and a pure heart and a clear conscience before the Lord.

But we still are aware of the sin of the flesh. What about that? Jesus sat down at the right hand of the God, from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool.

We do the same. We come to God and wait in expectation for that day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The way in

Hebrews 9:8 KJV
The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

The way into the holiest of all...

Whenever the high priest entered into the holiest of all he did so with blood and just once a year. Each visit into the holiest of all was a symbolic visit with God. He represented each of us as we seek a way into God's presence. By the fact that he never entered without blood the Bible says the Holy Ghost signified that the way into the holiest of all had still not been made clear. Each yearly visit was a reminder that they had no access to God.

But then came Jesus.

Christ entered into the holiest of all with his own blood once.
  • He appears even right now in the presence of God for us
  • He is our way into the holiest of all
  • He is our access to God and
  • He holds the way ever open for all who come to God through Him

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ancient of Days

Job 12:12 KJV
With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.

While the text speaks of varying sorts of worldly wisdom, the ultimate truth in this verse is that God Himself is "the ancient" and "length of days."

In a term that could be viewed as the combination of these two, the "Ancient of Days" is a title of God. He says with the ancient is wisdom and with length of days is understanding.

With HIS length of days comes understanding. It is evident that God understands. That there is no beginning or ending of His days means his understanding of the circumstances of our lives is infinite. He knows the trials Job faced. He understood it better than did Job.

Not all men of age have understanding and wisdom. In the case of the Lord, they are synonymous with understanding and wisdom. We may trust Him.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

If I Justify Myself

Job 9:20-21 KJV
If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.
Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.

God's own Word says Job is a perfect man. But Job makes no such claim for himself.

• He sees himself as he is in the flesh
• God sees him as he is in Christ.

Realizing our need of righteousness is the main step in being righteous. The most righteous men are those who are most aware of their unrighteousness. It is not the person who speaks of his accomplishments we are the most drawn to but those whose honesty about themselves tends to their care of character.

In God's sight Job was perfect just and upright. Before men and in the flesh Job, like every man, must be perfected.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

We've Heard These All Before

Job 7:7 KJV
O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good.

Job 7:15-16 KJV
So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life.
I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity.

We've heard Job's complaints before. They are the same ones we use whenever we go through trying times in our own lives.

In verse seven he says he's sure he will never see good again. Of course we have read the end and know it not to be true. Our only problem in our own life is that we haven't read the end yet. It is true that many people never do see good return, at least not to the degree Job did. But we can't always see the reasons for the differences and we don't know what God is doing in the heart of anyone.

Ours is to trust our God. I doubt it is ever a good idea to express the same complaints as Job except to see that our complaints are not original and our end doesn't have to be either.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Why Powerless Preaching

Hebrews 5:11 KJV
Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.

The Apostle laid the fault of difficulty in preaching upon those to whom he preached. He said some things are hard to be uttered because they were dull of hearing and not because he was ill prepared.

I can attest that there are times when it is much easier to preach than at other times. Sometimes surely the problem is my own. Perhaps I have become distracted by something other than the preaching or I may not feel well.

But many times it isn't me at all but that the congregation that is dull of hearing.
• They are not prepared
• They are distracted
They are not spiritually well and it reveals itself in a difficult spirit to preach to.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Perfection Perfected

Job 3:1 KJV
After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.

We often think that Job's friends would have done a better job comforting if they had not said anything. That is true but it needs to be pointed out that the first one to speak was Job. He too would have been better off had he not spoken. His complaint opens the doors of the rest of this book, including God's rebuke of him toward the end of the book.

The story of Job is the account of the perfect being perfected.

It is impossible to deny the testimony of the scriptures concerning him in the first two chapters.
• Job is perfect and upright
• He fears God and eschews evil

But Job is still a man. And in that humanity his perfection could still be perfected.

God counts the saved as perfect in Christ. But our perfection sure needs perfecting.

Thank God He has not stopped perfecting us.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

A Distant Second

Job 1:12 KJV
And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

It has always been intriguing to me that God was as free with Job's possessions and even his children as He was.

God obviously loves His people. I don't mean to imply otherwise.

But, while He did not allow Satan to touch Job's life, many others including Job's own children died in this test and demonstration of faith. Not only was Job's wealth taken but multitudes of servants died. Families were hurt and it is as if that is of no consequence. No mention is made of the suffering and loss of all these who died.

I wonder if we don't place too much value on such things.

The lesson is obvious to me, seek first the kingdom of God and let Him care for the daily needs. Biblically things like
• Wealth
• Position
• Friends and even
• Family
come a distant second to things of the Spirit. We tend to think the reverse. We do spiritual things to improve our standing in those things that really matter to us.

God help us see life His way.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Not Yet

Hebrews 2:8 KJV
Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

We don't see yet what God has done and is still doing.

The Scripture says God has put all things under Christ. But we do not yet see all things under Christ.

Our World appears to be anything but in subjection to Him.
• The leaders of our governments are far from knowing the authority of the Lord.
• The average person has no regard for Christ in his life and
• That is in the so called Christian countries of our world. By far the majority of people in the world have no knowledge of the Lord at all.
It does not yet appear that this world is under Christ. But that doesn't change the promise of the Bible. It does not change what is the fact of Scripture.

This world has been put under Him and under Him it is.

In God's own time what is under Christ will be brought into subjection to Him. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father.

O, that souls would come bow today rather than then,

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Pacifying Wrath

Esther 7:10 KJV
So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified.

Years ago I was asked to teach a program on anger management to a young man attending our church who was in trouble with the law. I developed my own lessons for him and based much of it out of this text. To be honest I don't know if I still have those lessons. But as I read these words today I saw three things that pacified the king's wrath

First, he removed himself for a moment
We should never react but always deliberately act. That often requires that we step away from a situation long enough to compose ourselves.

Second, he dealt with the problem
Haman's face was covered and he was taken into custody. We must get a handle on whatever is causing the wrath. I note that the king had help here. He did not handle this alone. Many of those things that cause us the most grief will require we enlist some help. It may be someone who helps us with the burden. It may be someone who comes along as a witness. It might be someone who holds us accountable. The key is we are not alone.

Finally, the king mortified the evil
If that is personal sin that makes us angry it has to be slain. If it is something in our lives that causes anxiety it must be done away with. Some stressors can't be easily slain. In those cases we must kill the stress they cause, perhaps through a good workout routine.

We don't have to live in anger. Reconciliation with Christ brings with it peace with God, peace with our neighbors and a peace that passeth all understanding.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The absolute avoidance of man worship.

Esther 5:9 KJV
Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai.

Mordecai had every reason in the world to stand before Haman.
• Everyone else was doing it
• Haman was a high government official
• It is obvious that the king respected Haman a huge amount
• He was in a strange country and subject to him
Yet Haman recognized how important it is to keep worship where it belongs which is to God. It is no joking matter to bow before a man.
The three Hebrews risked their lives rather than worshiping that which is false.
Mordecai risked not only his own life but that of God's own people. And that after his refusal to bow had already led to judgment pronounced against them.

Don't let yourself be moved to man worship. Whatever the cost, refuse to participate in such idolatry.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Kindness, Love, and Mercy... Abundantly

Titus 3:4-6 KJV
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

I see three key words and concepts in the passages I read today.
I see first kindness and love
The work of the Lord in us is firstly a work of love. The kindness of God in loving us cannot be over stated. We have every reason to rejoice in such kindness and love.

And then comes the word mercy
We are saved not by our good works or by our own personal righteousness but by the mercy of the Lord upon us.

Finally comes the word abundantly
What God has done is no small and petty thing but is gracious and large and abundant.