Sunday, November 30, 2014

Only God Knows

Ezekiel 37:3
And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.

The bones in the valley were so dead and so dry Ezekiel couldn't see how they could live. God can do anything, but it would be God if these bones ever arose. The Bible does not say that God told Ezekiel they would live, only that God told Ezekiel to preach to the dry bones that they would live. Behold, they did live!

It is not our work to pick who may or may not be saved. It is not our task to determine who might and might not be called of God to salvation. Debates over what is and isn't election and who is and who isn't the elect are fruitless. These are realms that belong only to God. Our task is to preach to people the way of salvation. Some we may never have imagined will get saved. Some, we will be surprised to find, were not saved.

The result of the preaching of the Word of God is up to God. Our job is to see that the preaching gets done.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Come Out

Revelation 18:4
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

Though the church is not mentioned again in the Revelation after chapter 4:1 there is some type of religious system during the Tribulation identified in the Revelation as Babylon and the great whore.  As the Tribulation period progresses, toward the end of it, God prepares for the destruction of this religious system, styled here as a city. It an act reminiscent of Sodom and Gomorrah God withholds the destruction until there is made a final call for His own to come out of her. 

·       There are people who can be won to Christ in any religion and economic system
·       There are people who will hear and listen if someone calls for them to come out
·       There are people who ought to be saved involved in every kind of worldly evil. They can still be saved despite it
·       There are people who could have been saved but are not because they do not come out of the religious or worldly system they are in

This is of course true in the Tribulation. It is equally true today.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Speaking with Angels

Revelation 17:1
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:

There is a notable interaction between the angel and The apostle. The Bible says
·       The angel talked with him
·       The angel showed him a thing
·       The angel carried him
John, I believe, is representative of the believer in heaven. It causes me to think that in heaven there will be free and active communication with the Angels. There are things that they only know by observing mankind's relationship with God but there are things in the realm of the spirit that we cannot know until we are in the world of the spirit.

Imagine a conversation with an angel about, for instance, the Garden of Eden. It is impossible to know exactly where it was. For all we know, it could have been on the land we call America. Noah floated above that world-wide flood for a year before the ark came to rest on Mt.  Ararat. He could have begun his voyage from anywhere on the planet! Today the best we can do is speculate and explore.

So now imagine we are in conversation with an angel about this very topic. Imagine then he simply says, "Come with me. I will show you."

I think one of the most amazing things about heaven will be the (nearly) unlimited capacity to learn. It is not, as I see it, that we will know everything immediately when we get to heaven but that we have all of eternity to learn everything.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Appropriate Response to God's Goodness

Ezekiel 36:22-32
Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.
And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.
And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.
Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.
Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.

See in this passage God practicing what he teaches us to do when we have an enemy; we are to do them good, this heaping coals of fire upon their heads. We will best be able to do this when we do it, not because of the enemy or for our own satisfaction but for the name of the Lord.

God tells the Jews that, not for their sakes but for His own name's sake He would pour out good upon them.
·       He would give them a new spirit and new heart
·       He would return them back to the promised land
·       He would sprinkle clean water upon them and cleanse them
·       He would save them from their un cleanness
·       He would multiply the fruit of their trees
·       He would give them cities
·       He would build the ruined places
·       He would till the desolate land
·       He would give them flocks of men
And they would be ashamed.

The appropriate response to God's goodness poured upon us is (along with thanksgiving) shame. There is no room for pride or boasting. There is no place for self-exalting; all these things did the Jews and it cost them. The appropriate response is humility and shame. God is marvelously good to us and we do not deserve it.