Three Days and Nights Ago

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Matthew 26:66-68 … {The Rulers of Israel} answered and said, He is guilty of death. [67] Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, [68] Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?

Matthew 27:22-24 (KJV) Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. [23] And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. [24] When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. [25] Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

Romans 10:9 (KJV) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Romans 10:11-12 (KJV) For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. [12] For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

Who crucified Jesus? We did. We all did.

Who crucified Jesus? Some say it was the Jews, that the Jews crucified the Lord Jesus. Yes, that’s true. The Bible says that:

John 1:11 (KJV) {Jesus} came unto His own, and His own received him not.

Jesus was born to Israel according to the promise of Scripture. When God called Abraham out of ancient Babylon the Lord told him:

Genesis 12:1-3 (KJV) Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: [2] And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: [3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

In thee shall ALL the families of the earth be blessed.” This was not the first time that God promised a Messiah to come save us. God told the serpent in the Garden of Eden that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). God promised Messiah would come to save us all. Throughout the Old Testament again and again God promised a Savior. God the Father spoke in The Psalms:

Psalms 2:7 (KJV) … the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (compare to Hebrews 1:5)

and said of His Son:

Psalms 45:6-7 (KJV) Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter. [7] Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (compare to Hebrews 1:8)

God told His Israel:

Isaiah 7:14 (KJV) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (which means “God with us”. See Matthew 1:23)

God sent His Son to this world through Israel. Jesus came unto His own. He was born of Israel. Born in Bethlehem of a Virgin (Micah 5:1-3) Messiah grew up in Nazareth. He left His home town after being rejected by His own people.

Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” (Luke 4:22)

The prophets all spoke of this Jesus. He would be the Messiah Who would offer salvation to the world. If a scientist were to discover a cure for cancer or Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s the world would celebrate him and offer him the greatest adulation. Jesus Christ came to this earth to offer a cure for something greater than Cancer, greater than any disease you can think of. Jesus came to this earth to offer a cure for sin and death. He came to offer eternal life and supernatural cleansing to all who would believe. But how was Christ perceived? The prophets foresaw the Savior this way:

Isaiah 53:3 (KJV) He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

We esteemed Him not”. The Messiah came to bring salvation to us. Yet we all would reject Him. He would be rejected by the Jews, but He would also be rejected by the Gentiles. The Jews cried out for His crucifixion. But the Gentiles condemned Him and drove the nails.

Why Would We Reject The Cure For Sin?

Because sin, unlike Cancer, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s, blinds those it infects. The Bible warns us to “harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 3:8). The Bible tells us that:

John 3:19-20 (KJV) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. [20] For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

Sin seems to be fun while we are sinning. But sin brings with it DEATH. Sin killed Adam and Eve, and sin kills us today. The wages of sin is death we are told in Romans 6:23.

We think sin a joy.
God knows sin is a killjoy.
Sin is a murderer.
Sinners killed Jesus.

Jesus knew He was going to die when He rode into Jerusalem that Passover evening. He told His disciples:

Matthew 12:40 (KJV) For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Jesus knew He was going to die for our sins. Just as Jonah was in the belly of a great fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17) Jesus’ body would lie in a grave three days and three nights.

Three days and nights ago Jesus died on a Cross. It wasn’t a pretty Cross, but a bloody unfinished tree. Abandoned of all His disciples the Bible tells us that the Chief Priests and Elders of the people of Israel:

Matthew 27:2 (KJV) … bound Him, they led Him away, and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

Pilate did not want to kill Jesus – but he was a politician.

Should I release Jesus or Barabbas?”
The crowd cried out. Release Barabbas, crucify Jesus.
“What has He done?”
Crucify Him. His blood be on us and on our children.”

We All Killed Jesus – And YES, He Was Dead

Matthew 27:28-31 (KJV) {The soldiers} stripped Him, and put on Him a scarlet robe. [29] And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand: and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! [30] And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head. [31] And after that they had mocked Him, they took the robe off from Him, and put His own raiment on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.

The soldiers crucified Him. As Jesus hung bleeding between two thieves the crowd mocked Him. The crowd mocks Christ today. They use His name in curses. They misunderstand Him. When He cried out:

Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say,
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
(Matthew 27:46)

The crowd said “He cries out for Elijah. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save Him”. But none come to save Him. None help Him. Then Jesus dies.

Matthew 27:50 (KJV) Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

Three days and nights ago Jesus died. How do we know He died? Because the Centurion in charge of His crucifixion drove a spear in His side piercing both the lungs and His heart. Blood and water came from the wound. In medical terms Hypovolemic Shock caused fluid to gather in the sack around the heart and around the lungs. This gathering of fluid in the membrane around the heart is called Pericardial Effusion, and the fluid gathering around the lungs is called Pleural Effusion. The blood and water pouring out told the Centurion Jesus was dead.

Three days and nights ago Jesus was taken from the Cross. After inspection by the death crew, His body was released to Joseph and Nicodemus. A mixture of myrrh and aloe – about 75 pounds of it – was placed on His body, and He was wrapped in strips of cloth (John 19:39). Jesus was laid in a new tomb, and it was sealed. Guards were placed on the tomb. Three days and nights ago.

Early in the morning on the first day of the week came to the Tomb to finish preparing the Body of Christ (Matthew 28:1). As the two women came to the tomb the Bible says:

Matthew 28:2 (KJV) And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

Three days and nights ago Jesus died on the Cross. When He died the Bible says that:

Matthew 27:51-53 (KJV) And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; [52] And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, [53] And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

The dead rose from the Grave the last time there was an earthquake. Once more the earth quakes. An angel appears to these women, and tells them:

Matthew 28:5-7 (KJV) … Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. [6] He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. [7] And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

You Are Not Saved If He Did Not Resurrect

Do you believe what I just told you?
Do you believe that three days and nights ago He was crucified?
Do you believe that Jesus died, and was buried?
Do you believe that He rose again?

If you do not believe this then you cannot be saved. The “word of faith” is this:

Romans 10:9 (KJV) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

What does the Gospel teach?
How is a person saved from their sins?
How is a person promised Heaven?

Faith believes what God has said. Faith trusts God for the impossible. The Apostle said that two things must be true if you are to be saved.

  1. You shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus. And
  2. You shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead.

1 You are called on of God to “confess with your mouth”. To say in the presence of whoever asks “Jesus is Lord”. When Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost part of his message was:

Act 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Jesus is both Lord and Messiah. He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, and He is the Lion of Judah Who will rule over His people. Jesus is Lord. But you are also required to confess:

2 Jesus rose from the grave. He is Lord of His people, but He is also Lord over death and sin. The Bible says:

Act 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Jesus literally died and literally rose again from the dead. This is a supernatural occurrence. Jesus died on the Cross for our sins, and rose from the Grave to prove His Lordship. Because He lives we will live. The Bible says:

Romans 5:1-2 (KJV) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Because of Jesus death has no hold on the Christian. Why? Because Jesus promised us eternal life. Ands He proved that He has the keys to life by dying on that terrible Cross, and by rising from the grave three days and nights later. This is why the Apostle can say:

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jesus Christ has conquered both sin and death, along with satan and his evil forces. He is a living Savior to a living people. God bids you to come into His everlasting family through Christ. Receive Him as Lord and Christ. Believe that He died for your sins, and rose again to lead you both now and into eternity. Oh that God would make this Passover real to you. Oh that you would receive Him as He is:

2 Corinthians 4:10 (KJV) Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

2 Corinthians 4:14 (KJV) Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

Posted in Matthew, Resurrection, Sermons Preached | Tagged ,

Psalm 110:1 Riddle Answered In Jesus

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Psalms 110:1 (KJV) A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

I had a message prepared for tonight, but God turned me in a different direction. This Passion Week we will continue to examine the road to Calvary, and what our Jesus went through. It was during this week that Jesus resolved the riddle of Psalm 110:1. I’ll explain that in a moment.

Jesus Called On Scripture As His Witness

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday the multitude celebrated His coming, while the Scribes and Chief Priests despised it. To them Jesus was a renegade Rabbi. He made things even worse when He went into the Temple and chased away all that detracted from the glory of God. As the children cried out …

Matthew 21:15 ……. “Hosanna to the Son of David”

the rulers of the Temple commanded Jesus to tell them to hush up. Jesus called His first Witness Mister Psalm 8:2 saying:

Matthew 21:16 … Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

When Jesus was attacked, again and again He called on the Witness of God’s Scripture. The Scribes and Rulers prided themselves on their knowledge of the Scriptures. Just as Jesus did with the devil when He was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11)

With “it is written” and “have you never read?”
Jesus called on the Witness of Scripture

Jesus knew that He was going to be crucified in just a few days. From Palm Sunday the cries of the crowd would quickly go from “Hosanna” to “Crucify Him”. One of the Scriptures that Jesus quoted this week is Psalm 110:1.

The Riddle Of Psalm 110:1

Psalm 110:1 was a riddle to the ancient Jews, but it is the single most quoted or alluded to Old Testament text found in the New Testament.

Jesus never shied away from His attackers. When the rulers of the Temple asked Jesus ..

Matthew 21:23 (KJV) …. By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

Jesus refused to tell them the Source of His authority. We know His Source. He came of the Father to show us His glory. But Jesus would not argue with the hard hearted. After sharing several truths with these spiritually blinded people Jesus asked:

Matthew 22:42 (KJV) …. What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.

What Jesus was asking is “Who is the Messiah? From where will the Messiah come?” The word “Christ” is not Jesus’ last name. It means “Messiah”. When we call Him “Jesus Christ” we are saying “Jesus the Messiah”. So Jesus asked the Temple Leaders “Where does Messiah come from?” They replied:

The Son of David

Messiah was prophesied to come from the line of David. That is a correct answer. Then Jesus calls on Psalm 110:1 …

Matthew 22:43-44 (KJV) He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, [44] The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?

Read Psalms 110:1 again: The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Jesus then called on Psalm 110:1 as His Witness:
“If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?”
(Matthew 22:45)

If the Messiah is the son of David, then why would David call Him “My Lord”? The elders could not answer this riddle. The Jew without Christ today cannot answer this Psalm.

In Jewish society it is normal for the younger to serve the elder. If Messiah is out of David’s line, then it is odd in Jewish culture that David would call Messiah “Lord”. The riddle is solved in Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the Son of David, born of David’s lineage.
Jesus is God with us, Emmanuel, the Eternal Son of God.
In His humanity He comes from David’s lineage.
In His deity He is Eternal God the Son.

Jesus Was Well Known As A Son Of David

When our Lord cast out demons and healed the blind and the dumb …

Matthew 12:23 (KJV) … all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the SON OF DAVID?

When the blind men begged Jesus to heal them they cried out “Thou SON OF DAVID, have mercy on us (Matthew 9:27). The woman of Canaan begged Jesus to heal her daughter. “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou SON OF DAVID” (Matthew 15:22). When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday what did the multitude say?

Matthew 21:9 (KJV) And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to THE SON OF DAVID: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

If David called Him Lord, how is He then His Son?”

The leaders of the Temple could not answer this because they saw Jesus as a mere man. He is more than mere man. He is God in the flesh, God among His miracles testify to this. The Father testifies to this. The Holy Spirit upon Him testifies to this. The answer to the riddle of Psalm 110:1 is found only in Jesus Christ.

When Jesus was taken in the Garden of Gethsemane and led away to an unlawful trial by night the Bible says:

Matthew 26:59-61 (KJV) Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; [60] But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two FALSE WITNESSES, [61] And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.

The High Priest demanded that Jesus answer this charge. When Jesus said these words He was speaking of His death and resurrection – He spoke of the Temple of His Body. He is indeed the Temple of God. The High Priest asked Jesus to give account of Himself. When Jesus kept silent the Priest cried out:

Matthew 26:63 (KJV) … I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.

Jesus replied:

Matthew 26:64 (KJV) Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

The Chief Priests called on two FALSE WITNESSES to betray Christ.
Jesus called on two TRUE WITNESSES in His defense:
Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:17

Psalms 110:1 (KJV)… Sit thou at my right hand

Daniel 7:13 (KJV)… one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, …

Jesus’ “thou hast said” combined with the true Witness of the Scripture became that which sent Him to the Cross of Calvary. But that is as it should be. Jesus told us:

John 10:17-18 (KJV) … I lay down my life, that I might take it again. [18] No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

When Peter preached his first sermon on the Day of Pentecost and God added 3000 members to the Church, what Scripture did the Apostle use? It was Psalm 110:

Acts 2:34-36 (KJV) For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, [35] Until I make thy foes thy footstool. [36] Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Jesus is both Lord and Christ. He is Messiah. He is God Incarnate. When the Jews heard this they repented, and turned to Jesus as both Lord and Savior.

When Stephen was martyred for his faith in God he looked into Heaven and saw Psalm 110🕐:1 as fulfilled:

Acts 7:55-56 (KJV) But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, [56] And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

When the Apostle Paul spoke to the Church at Colosse he said:

Colossians 3:1 (KJV) If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

Again a reference to Psalm 110:1. Paul also alluded to Psalm 110:1 in

Romans 8:34 and Ephesians 1:20. Our Jesus sits on the right hand of God the Father. The writer of Hebrews said:

Hebrews 1:13 (KJV) But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?

Which is a direct quote of Psalm 110:1. Jesus died this week, but rose again from the Grave this coming Sunday. He is alive. He sits at the right hand of God the Father making intercession for us. God will make His enemies His footstool. Christ has triumphed, and will triumph.

Why Jesus Is On The Right Hand

Our Jesus sits on the right hand of God the Father. He sits on the right hand to intercede for us. The Scripture says:

Psalms 110:4 (KJV) The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

He intercedes for us. He is our High Priest. He represents us before the Father.

Hebrews 8:1 (KJV) … We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

Our High Priest Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father. Once more Psalm 110:1 is quoted:

Hebrews 10:12-13 (KJV) But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; [13] From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

Jesus came the first time to represent the Father, and to pay for our sins representing us to the Father. Jesus is at the right hand of the Father even today. But one day the Father will send Him to us again. He will say, “Son, go get My Church.” Oh that I wish today were that day. But until then we serve Him. We celebrate Him. We cherish Him. Cherish Him above all else!

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in Psalms, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

Who Is This Man?

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Matthew 21:10-11 (KJV)  And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?  [11]  And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

Jerusalem was filled with people. The time of the Passover Feast was once more upon Israel, and every faithful Jew was to go to the Temple to honor God their Savior. As families prepared to sacrifice a lamb without spot or blemish following the commandment of God another crowd descended on the city.

This new crowd of people are merely called “the multitude”
“a very great multitude”.

This crowd is going in front of a Man . This Man is sitting on a white donkey and being followed by a donkey’s foal. As the Man rides into Jerusalem the very great multitude is treating Him like He is a Conquering King. We read:

Matthew 21:8-9 (KJV) … a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and {scattered} them in the way.  [9]  And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

This is a lot like a ticker tape parade – something we rarely do anymore. People are pulling off their overcoats and laying them on the ground before this Man and His strange party. They are cutting branches off of trees and laying them before Him. The people are shouting:

Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord;

Hosanna in the highest

Hosanna”! Is from the Hebrew “HOSHI’A NA”, and is a prayer from…

Psalms 118:25-26 (KJV)  Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.  [26]  Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.

HOSHI’A NA” is a plea for salvation and prosperity. It is a cry out to God that His people be saved, that His people be freed from that which has bound them. As the multitude shouts “HOSHI’A NA” the city of Jerusalem asks a very important question. They ask:

Who is this (Man)?
Who is this Man?
Who is this Jesus?

This is the most important question you will ever answer.
Jerusalem asked the multitude “Who is this Man?”
They are asking the wrong person.
How do I know this?
The “multitude” tells Jerusalem

This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

The Multitude Does Not Know Jesus

That’s not Who Jesus is. Jesus grew up in Nazareth, but though He was daily in that small community Nazareth did not know Him. Right after His baptism by John our Lord Jesus went back to Nazareth to the Synagogue to teach. As Jesus taught them the Word of God the Nazarenes began to question Him.

Mark 6:2-6 (KJV) … many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? 3 IS NOT THIS THE CARPENTER, THE SON OF MARY, THE BROTHER OF JAMES, AND JOSES, AND OF JUDA, AND SIMON? AND ARE NOT HIS SISTERS HERE WITH US? AND THEY WERE OFFENDED AT HIM.4 But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief….

Jesus grew up in Nazareth, but those that grew up around Him did not know Him. When He returned to Nazareth to start ministering those who saw Him daily did not know Who He was. Even His closest friends – people He went to school with – did not know Him. The Bible says …

Mark 3:21 (KJV) … when his friends heard of {His ministry}, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.

Jesus is NOT the Prophet of Nazareth.
If you want to know Jesus, you need to ask God to reveal Him.
God the Father knows Jesus.
God the Spirit knows Jesus.
And Jesus is a Great Prophet – but not from Nazareth.

Jesus Is The Promised Prophet Who Replaced Moses

Last week we studied Deuteronomy 18.
I don’t have time to preach this again.
If you missed out, COME TO CHURCH!
Be regular. God is giving His Word to you as you come!

Moses is not going into the Promised Land with God’s Israel. But the Lord has told Moses that He would give His people ANOTHER PROPHET. Moses told the people:

Deuteronomy 18:15 (KJV) The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;

God Himself affirmed this, saying:

Deuteronomy 18:18-19 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

Who is this Prophet? He is JESUS!
He is the Replacement for Moses.
“The Law came by MOSES …
Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17)

This Man on a Donkey leading a foal is the Promised Messiah. He is the One Who would stand between God and His people as the Prophet, the Mediator. Moses stood before the people of God and spoke what God told him. Now Jesus comes before the people. Jesus is the Mediator. He is the Prophet. He is the Fulfillment of the Law, the Savior and Lord of those who come to Him. God told Israel “Believe and follow Moses”. God tells His Church “Believe and follow Jesus”!

Those Who are saved believe in Jesus. Jesus told those who listen:

John 6:36-40 (KJV)  But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.  [37]  ALL THAT THE FATHER GIVETH ME SHALL COME TO ME; AND HIM THAT COMETH TO ME I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT.  [38]  For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  [39]  And THIS IS THE FATHER’S WILL WHICH HATH SENT ME, THAT OF ALL WHICH HE HATH GIVEN ME I SHOULD LOSE NOTHING, but should raise it up again at the last day.  [40]  And this is the will of him that sent me, that EVERY ONE WHICH SEETH THE SON, AND BELIEVETH ON HIM, MAY HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE: AND I WILL RAISE HIM UP AT THE LAST DAY.

Jesus will take His people into that Promised Land called Heaven, and will bless His people with His Presence on this earth. But we must follow him. The Pharisees would not follow Him, because they were blinded by sin.

John 6:41-45 (KJV) The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.  [42]  And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?  [43]  Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.  [44]  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.  [45]  It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

The Father will tell you of Jesus.
The Spirit will tell you of Jesus.
Oh, that you would hear God’s Voice!

There is ample proof that our Jesus is the Messiah sent from God to replace Moses. Moses led an obstinate people, but Moses never raised the dead.

The Multitudes Saw Jesus’ Raise The Dead

This crowd called “a great Multitude” is following Jesus because they saw Him raise the dead. Just before the Passover Jesus’ friend Lazarus had died. We read:

John 12:1, 9 … Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, WHOM HE RAISED FROM THE DEAD. 9 Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.

Lazarus had been dead for four days when Jesus came to Bethany. Jesus knew that Lazarus was dead. Jesus told them plainly, Lazarus is dead (John 11:14). Everyone saw Lazarus was dead. His sister Martha wept, and told Jesus:

John 11:21 (KJV) …. Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died….

Jesus tells Martha – and us:

John 11:25-26 (KJV) … I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  [26]  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

Believest thou this?

Do you believe Jesus is “the Resurrection and the Life”?
Do you believe Jesus has defeated sin and death?
Look yonder at Lazarus’ opened grave.
Lord, he’s been dead 4 days – he stinks!
There is no hope, death has claimed him.
The Jesus says,

Lazarus, Come Forth!

and Lazarus comes forth! There is ample proof. And yet, the people do not believe. Why? They are asking the wrong Source. They are looking to the Pharisees for answers. There are no answers from the Pharisees. Why? Because the Pharisees are not looking to honor God.

Jesus The Messiah Is Rejected Of The Pharisees

As the multitude shouted “HOSHI’A NA”Lord, Save Us! Jesus goes into the Temple.

What does Jesus find in the Temple? Are people praying? Are people worshiping the Lord? NO! Jesus goes into the Temple and finds GREED, and POLITICIANS, and BLASPHEMY.

Matthew 21:12-13 (KJV) … Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,  [13]  And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

What does Jesus find in His Church today? If Jesus were to ride into Columbia and walk into any Church – perhaps our Church – what would He find? God let Israel get away with doubting Moses, but has said “Whoever will not hear MY PROPHET shall give account”. What would God find in our Church? What would He find in our hearts? Whatever is not honoring of God His Father the Messiah CASTS OUT!

He CASTS OUT those who make merchandise of His people.
He CASTS OUT the shepherds who will not feed His sheep.
He CASTS OUT traditions that are godless.
He CASTS OUT the wolves in sheep’s clothing.
He CASTS OUT sin, and those who would lightly regard sin.
He CASTS OUT Pharisees, whoever will not follow Him.

and CASTING OUT that which dishonors the Father our Lord Jesus sits down, opens wide His arms, and ministers to those in need.

Matthew 21:14-16 (KJV)  And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.  [15]  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,  [16]  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?

As the children and the multitudes cried out:

HOSHI’A NA” – Lord, Save Us!

Jesus gives them the witness of the Scripture. Jesus Christ is the FOUNDATION of the KINGDOM OF GOD. He is the only Way to Heaven. He is the Moses to his people –
and we WILL FOLLOW HIM!

Matthew 21:42 (KJV)  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?

This is a direct quote from Psalm 118, the same Psalm that “HOSHI’A NA” – Lord, Save Us! Is found.

Psalm 118:22-23 (KJV) The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. 23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

The Prophet Who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey leading a foal tells those who WILL NOT believe in Him:

Matthew 21:43-44 (KJV)  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.  [44]  And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

The Pharisees thought they were privileged because of their birth. The Chief Priests thought they were privileged because of birth. No Beloved, the birth that matters is the New Birth.

You must be BORN AGAIN. (John 3:3, 7)
You must come to Jesus.
You must let Him conquer your sin.
You must believe on Him.
You must hear what God tells us about Him.
He alone is Lord and Savior of His people.

Oh God, Open Our Eyes So We Can See

I do not want to myself try and convince you to give yourself to Christ. The multitudes that praised Jesus on Palm Sunday would – just a few days later – be led of the Pharisees to crucify Christ. We read:

Matthew 27:20-23 (KJV) … the CHIEF PRIESTS AND ELDERS PERSUADED THE MULTITUDE that they should ask {for the release of the murderer} Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. 22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, LET HIM BE CRUCIFIED. 23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, LET HIM BE CRUCIFIED.

The “multitude” celebrated and praised Jesus on Palm Sunday.
The “multitude” cursed Him and cried out for His Crucifixion.
From Matthew 21 to Matthew 27 everything changed.
Why? Because the “multitude” was not listening to God.
But to MAN.

Who are YOU listening to? Jesus asked His disciples one day:

Matthew 16:13 … Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

After hearing several answers as to what the “multitudes” thought of Jesus, our Lord then asked:

Matthew 16:15 (KJV) … But whom say ye that I am?

Who do YOU think Jesus is? How you answer this question determines how you live your life – and where you will live in the AFTER-life.

  • If you think that Jesus is just a ticket to Heaven then you will walk in the same darkness that the world walks in. There will be no difference between you and the average Joe on the street. You will live your life just like everybody else. Nothing will change.
  • If you think that faith in Jesus PLUS your good works will save you then you will not walk with confidence as a Christ follower. YES we do good works because we who are saved are Christ’s Children. But NO, I did not save myself. Jesus saved me. “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; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:5-7)
  • If you think that Jesus is just a Healer then you will come to Him only when you have a need. At all other times you will live your life as if He doesn’t matter. He is your safety net. Nothing more, nothing less. He will not benefit you beyond this life. He said in John 10:10 “ I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
  • If you think that Jesus is both Lord and Savior of all, the King of the Kingdom of God then you will live your life in a different way. If you see Him as God the Father and Spirit presented Him – as both Lord and Savior – then you will live so as to please Him. You will apply what He says not just while in Church, but outside of the Church. Jesus declared in John 10:27-28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

Here is where satisfying life is – the palm of Christ.
He is our Moses.
He rode into Jerusalem to give Himself to God for our sins.
He died on Calvary, but rose three days and three nights later.
He conquered death (Matthew 12:40).
He conquered sin.
He conquered satan.
And I for one will follow Him now, and until I get to the Promised Land!

Psalm 3:8 (KJV) Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.

Psalm 62:1 (KJV) Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.

As Jesus rode into Jerusalem the people saw a prophet,
but God sent a Prophet.
The people saw a teacher, but God sent a King.
The people saw a healer, but the Father sent His Son.
The people saw a revolutionary, but the Father sent a Redeemer.
He is the Lamb of God Who saves us from sin.
He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords that triumphs over sin.

Oh that you would come to Him! “HOSHI’A NA”Lord, Save Us!

Posted in Matthew, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

Faith Of Our Fathers #2: Tears In A Bottle

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Psalms 56:8 (KJV)  Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?

A riddle I heard many years ago asked the question, “What physical thing do we have that Adam did not have”? I had to think about that for a bit before I came up with the answer. My Aunt Dot worked at the North Carolina Museum of Art, and I’ve seen a lot of beautiful pictures of Adam and Eve … and all of them wrong! Look at this picture called The First Kiss of Adam and Eve by Salvador Viniegra. Do you see the error? Adam didn’t have a belly button. We all have a belly button because we had a mother. Adam had no mother, only a Father. He was made as a prototype man from the “dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7).

Adam had no belly button, but he did have tear ducts.

God doesn’t make useless things. The appendix has a purpose. Web MD notes that researchers think the appendix is designed to protect good bacteria in the gut. When the gut is affected by a bout of illness that empties the intestines, the appendix repopulates the digestive system keeping you healthy.

Tear ducts have a purpose as well. Every normal person has tear ducts. God made us with tear ducts. We were made to cry. The Bible tells us that we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). If we are made in His image I often wonder if God cries.

I Wonder If God Cries When We Don’t Trust Him?

Our God is so very faithful. The Psalmist said:

Psalms 36:5-6 (KJV)  Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.  [6]  Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.

David wrote in Psalm 56 of God’s faithfulness and his unfaithfulness.

Psalms 56:8 (KJV)  Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?

God sees us when we wander.
I wonder if that hurts Him?
He watches us when when run about in fear instead of faith.
He watches us when we cry.
He keeps our names in His Book, along with our works.

David said of God that when we cry God puts our tears in a bottle.

This was David’s poetic and beautiful way of saying that our God watches over us. Our tears do not go unnoticed by God. In the ancient world the unbelieving GENTILES would collect a mourner’s tears in a small bottle called a lacrymatory. That bottle would then be buried with the body of the loved one. In Psalm 51 David is crying – weeping before God – because he failed to believe in the Lord. David let fear consume him. He took his eyes off of the Lord.

Faith In God Defeats Fear

When David had faith in God nothing could stop him. Do you remember the time David stood in front of a giant called Goliath with no more than a sling and five smooth stones? Fear was not David’s master. God was his Master. The Bible says:

1 Samuel 17:40 (KJV) {David} took his staff in his hand, and chose him FIVE SMOOTH STONES out of the {nearby} brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

He trusted the Lord. The giant shouted, but David did not hear. He was looking up. He cried out. “I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee.”

David Was Not Moving Forward On Testosterone, But On Faith.

Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he that cometh to God must believe that He IS, and that He is a REWARDER of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). David refused the armor of King Saul. David refused to fear. Here he goes with five smooth stones.

Five is the number of GRACE!
With FIVE barley loaves Jesus fed FIVE thousand! (John 6:9)
What can we do with so few among so many?
We can trust God. We can believe in Him.

The Philistine cries out. “Am I a dog that you come to me with a STICK? Come on Boy, and I’ll feed you to the animals!” (1 Samuel 17:43-44). David doesn’t hesitate. Looking to God in faith he takes the little he has and in faith puts it in the sling. David ran TOWARD the giant and his army. Not away from the problem, but TOWARD it (1 Samuel 17:48). He let it fly. The one smooth stone hit Goliath in the forehead, and he fell to the ground. Taking the giant’s sword from him David cut off his head.

God is faithful.
God is faithful when we trust Him with our little.
God is there, guiding that stone.
God is faithful.

1 Samuel 17:51 (KJV) … David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 (KJV) … the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

The Lord does not care if we have little. If we have but little and give it to Him, He will supply. We must trust Him. When we trust God with our little then He blesses us with His much. God says:

Matthew 25:21 (KJV) …. Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a FEW things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

God does not give us MUCH then ask us to believe Him. He entrusts us with LITTLE then says “trust ME and I’ll make it MUCH”. He can take one of five smooth stones and kill a Goliath. He can take five little loaves and feed five thousand.

David Later Let Fear Be His Master

Why is David crying? The Psalm starts with:

Psalms 56:1 (KJV) … MICHTAM of David, when the Philistines took him in Gath. …

What is a “Michtam”? No one really knows what a “Michtam” is. This is why the translators just brought the word directly into English rather than translating it. The best suggestion I heard for Michtam (מִכְתָּם miktam) is:

Something Precious Enough To Be Engraved And Cherished

When David wrote Psalm 56 he looked back over a time when he let fear rule his life. When David killed Goliath the current King of Israel became jealous of him. Saul started trying to kill David … and David ran. David should not have ran. The Lord had told David that he would be King of Israel, and God is faithful. God keeps His Word. The Scripture says:

Deuteronomy 7:9 (KJV)  Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which KEEPETH COVENANT and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

God was not going to abandon David. But David let fear take control. In 1 Samuel 21 – just four chapters after defeating Goliath – David is running and hiding.

When David Defeated Goliath He Ran Toward The Problem.
When David Was Defeated By Fear He Ran Away From The Problem.

David ran away, and found himself at the Tabernacle of God.

1 Samuel 21:1 (KJV)  Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?

The Priest asked David why he was alone. David was not honest. He was frightened. He was driven by fear, not by faith … so HE LIED. He said:

I’m on a secret mission for the King and my men are elsewhere”

As David tells the lie he notices the Priest has the holy bread in his hands. In ancient times the Priests kept SHOWBREAD (Hebrew: לחם הפנים lechem haPānīm, literally: “Bread of the Presence of God” – see Exodus 25:30) on a specially dedicated table. The bread was there as an offering to God. These twelve loaves of bread (Leviticus 24:5-7) were dedicated to God and those who served Him.

The Showbread was an Old Testament Picture of Jesus Christ.
He is “The Bread of Life” That Feeds Us (John 6:35).

David is hungry, and so he tells the Priest:

1 Samuel 21:3 (KJV)  Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me FIVE loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present.

Notice what David asked for. Five loaves. Five smooth stones for Goliath. Five barley loaves for five thousand fed. Five loaves now to feed David. Five is the number of God’s Grace. David is not alone. God is with him. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). “Lo, I am with you, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). God is present with His people. He sees our tears. He sees as we cry. He would feed David of the Showbread, by His Presence. But fear gripped David. He was still not trusting God. “Do you have a sword I can take with me?” David asks the priest.

1 Samuel 21:9 (KJV)  And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.

Again David has a reminder of God’s Grace. God gave Goliath into his hands, will not he give Saul over as well? So once more David runs. He takes the sword of Goliath. How big was the sword? I don’t know, but I do know that Goliath was nine feet three inches tall. The commentaries suggest he wore a protective coat that weighed up to 156 pounds, and his spear was perhaps as long as 26 feet! He was a big man, a BIG MAN. So his sword was big. As David runs this sword was no blessing, but a curse. It was too big for David. It was also well known. The Philistines knew Goliath’s sword just like a war buff knows that General Patton carried pearl handled .45 revolvers. There goes little David dragging Goliath’s oversized sword behind him.

David runs to hide out with the Philistines.

1 Samuel 21:10-11 (KJV)  And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.  [11]  And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?

As they grab David and prepare to kill him David came to his greatest fear. David died that day. Not physically, but spiritually. He had previously kept his eyes on God, but now was doing all the wrong things. He was “sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath”. Fear was driving him.

1 Samuel 21:13 (KJV)  And he changed his behavior before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.

David’s faith crashes and burns. The unbelieving Philistines see David act as a mad man. The unbeliever sees the mighty man of God as a little baby. I wonder if God cried? I know David cried. He cried because later when he came to his senses and began to trust God again, he cried. He cried because of his failure.

But God Sees Our Tears And Hears Our Cries

I heard Country Music Hall of Fame Grandpa Jones sing:

No tears in heaven, no sorrows given
All will be glory in that land
There’ll be no sadness, all will be gladness
When we shall join that happy band
No tears (in heaven fair)
No tears, no tears up there
Sorrow and pain will all have flown
No tears (in heaven fair)
No tears, no tears up there
No tears in heaven will be known

God sees our tears, and cherishes our tears. There is coming a day when …

Isaiah 25:8 (KJV) {God} will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

God will wipe away our tears. There is coming a day when God will set all things straight. Those who love Him – who cherish Jesus –

Revelation 7:16-17 (KJV) … shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.  [17]  For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

There are tears in Heaven right now.

If God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes then it’s logical that tears are there. There are tears in Heaven. What are some of the things that will cause tears in Heaven?

  • We have all cried over the trials of this life. There is none without trials. The Christian way of life is a trial in itself. Jesus told us that if we love Him toMatthew 16:24-26 (KJV) … deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  [25]  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.  [26]  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

The very essence of our faith is a Cross. A Cross signifies suffering. We weep often weep when suffering, but we know that one day God will relieve all suffering. We are to keep on following the Lord even when it seems as if Saul is winning, knowing that God is still on His Throne. GOD IS STILL ON HIS THRONE. Mourn, dear one, but do not give up nor give in to fear. God is faithful.

Psalms 93:1-2 (KJV)  The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.  [2]  Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.

  • I believe there will be tears in Heaven when we see what our sins did to our Savior. It has been said that the only man made thing in Heaven is the scars on Jesus’ body.Isaiah 53:5 (KJV)  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

When we first see Jesus I believe our tears will flow downward like the rains of April or the mighty Niagara.

How could we not weep when we see the marks on His hands and feet, the tears above His brow where the thorny crown was forced? I believe we will weep, but then Jesus will wipe away the tears from our eyes with His nail scarred hands. I believe He will embrace us, and perhaps cry with us. I wonder if God cries?

  • I believe there will be tears in Heaven when we recognize the absence of those we failed to witness to, to share the Gospel with them. I believe we will weep over the missing children. I believe we will look around and not see our mate, or our best friend, or the person that sat next to us on the pew every week. The Bible tells us that the Christian shall be judged by Christ. The Scripture says:Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

    2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

I believe we will all weep over lost opportunities and lost rewards. That time when God called us to serve but instead we slept. That time God told us to do but instead we took our ease. I believe we will weep over what could have been and should have been had we only been more faithful. But God will create new Heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered nor come into mind (Isaiah 65:17). The Bible says:

Revelation 21:4-5 (KJV)  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  [5]  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

David grew from his failure. In the next Psalm he wrote:

Psalms 57:1-3 (KJV) … Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.  [2]  I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.  [3]  He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.

Psalms 57:7 (KJV)  My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.

Let us do as David did. Fix your hearts upon God, for God is faithful. Do not let fear rule you. Let faith rule you. Fear has nothing to do with us, dear Christ follower. Whoever is born of God OVERCOMETH the world. This is the victory that overcomes the world, EVEN OUR FAITH (1 John 5:4). Be driven of faith, not fear. Our God is faithful!

Posted in Faith Of Our Fathers, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , ,

Foundation Series #5: Walking With God

Hebrews 11:4-5 (KJV)  By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.  [5]  By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

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Photo by Jad Limcaco on Unsplash

In Hebrews chapter 11 God wants us to know the blessing of walking with Him. God gives us a lot of examples of people – plain, ordinary, just folks – who were blessed beyond measure through faith, through a daily walk with God. You would think that God would start out with the Father of faith Abraham (Galatians 3:6-9). God spends some time throughout this chapter talking about Abraham, but He actually starts with two men that we know little about. God starts with Abel and Enoch.

Abel has the Biblical distinction of doing two things for God. First, he offered the proper sacrifice to God. He was obedient to the Lord, even unto death. Second, Abel died serving the Lord. He is the very first martyr of our faith. He was murdered by his brother Cain, a man like many Americans today who thought he could worship God any way that he wanted to do it. The Church and religions institutions in the United States are filled with people who think they can tell God what He ought to do. They think that God is their exalted Servant, and they His commanders. Truthfully this is false. Abel died for honoring God. He was martyred for his faith and walk with God. I’d love to spend more time with Abel … but God is leading me to talk to you about Enoch.

We know little about Abel, but know even less about Enoch. Let’s dig deep and see if we can learn all we can about Enoch.

The False Enoch Was “Dedicated” To Self

Let’s look at the name “Enoch” first. Jewish names have meaning. The Israelites named their children based on their expectations. “You shall call His name JESUS for He shall save His people from their sins”. The name “Jesus” is the Greek Ἰησοῦς Iēsoûs, (pronounced ee-ay-sooce’) meaning “Jehovah is salvation”. What does “Enoch” mean?

The name “Enoch” is the Hebrew חֲנוֹךְ Chănôwk, (pronounced khan-oke’) which means “Dedicated”. Enoch is mentioned before Abraham in the Book of Hebrews and in the Old Testament itself. What you may not know is that as odd as the name “Enoch” sounds there are at least two Enochs mentioned in Scripture.

The first Enoch mentioned in Scripture is the son of Cain and his unnamed wife. Right after Cain killed his brother Abel, God punished him by banishing him and by cursing his life. The Bible says “the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him (Genesis 4:15). Though God cursed his life, the LORD is often gracious to even the most despicable of people. Cain left God’s presence and the Bible says:

Genesis 4:16-17 (KJV)  And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.  [17]  And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

How can we characterize Cain’s life? Just like the Bible said. He went OUT from the presence of the Lord. Cain lived his life without God. Every day he woke up and enjoyed the grace of God.

Cain should have died for killing his brother Abel.

God made man in His image and after His likeness (Genesis 1:27). God told Noah when he came off the Ark:

Genesis 9:6 (KJV)  Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

Life is sacred. Cain should have died, but he cried out to God and the Lord marked him with His grace, preventing Cain’s execution. God is like that. He often gives us what we DON’T deserve. That’s called GRACE. Did Cain appreciate it? No. He never repented. Cain left the presence of God, never to return. He died in his sin. Yet God let Cain live, and even prosper. The Bible tells us:

Genesis 4:17 (KJV)  And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

The Psalmist said:

Psalms 73:3, 11-13 (KJV)  For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. … [11] … they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?  [12]  Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.  [13]  Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. ….

He wondered just as we all have wondered at times why it is that the wicked prosper. Why is it that the Cains of this world seem to build cities, to be blessed above the righteous? Why do the Cains have all the money and blessing, while God’s Church seems to struggle? Then the Psalmist said:

Psalms 73:17-19 (KJV)  Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.  [18]  Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.  [19]  How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.

Cain prospered for a time walking apart from God. God in His Grace gives the wicked one more day to turn to Him and repent – but they will not. Their riches become a trap. Cain had a child he named “Enoch” – dedicated. This child, like Cain, was not dedicated to God. He was dedicated to riches, to himself, to selfishness. He perhaps was a Philanthropist who gave millions to charity so that people could put up pictures of Enoch, pictures to worship him.

Parents, whatever way you walk – whether you walk with God or walk without God – is the SAME WAY your child will walk. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). That is truth. But train up a child in the way HE SHOULD NOT GO and he’ll go that way too. The first Enoch was the false Enoch. He and his family did not walk with God.

After the murder of Abel by Cain we read: Genesis 4:25-26 (KJV) …. Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.  [26]  And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

The name “Seth” is the Hebrew שֵׁת Shêth, (pronounced shayth) which means “compensation”. The line of Cain was a murderous and self serving line, a dud. But the line of Seth was distinguished by people who “called upon the Name of the Lord”. They were people who wanted to know God. They wanted to walk with God. Those who “call upon the Name of the Lord” are the saved by faith:

Psalm 116:13 I will take the cup of salvation, and CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD shall be saved.

Those who “call upon the Name of the Lord” are thankful for His Grace:

Psalm 116:17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD.

Those who “call upon the name of the Lord” serve the Lord:

Zephaniah 3:9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD, to serve him with one consent.

Seth and his family loved the Lord.
Seth had a child named Enos (
אֱנוֹשׁ ʼĔnôwsh, “en-ohsh’” = “a man”).
Enos had a child named Cainan (“possession”).
Cainan had a child named Mahalaleel (“praise of God”).
Mahalaleel had a child named Jared (“descent”).
Jared had a child named Enoch (“dedicated”).
The second Enoch was not dedicated to the world, but to God.

The True Enoch Was “Dedicated” To God

Enoch loved God much more than anything or anyone else! The Bible tells us that the second Enoch, the true Enoch was a preacher of righteousness:

Jude 14-15 (KJV)  And ENOCH ALSO, THE SEVENTH FROM ADAM, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,  [15]  To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

Enoch knew that Jesus was coming again. He knew that when God came the second time that He would judge those who walked in the self serving ways of Cain (Jude 11-13) and not after God. Enoch was a flaming, fiery preacher of righteousness. He was NOT politically correct, but was Godly. He imitated God. Enoch was the seventh from Adam, of the Godly line of Seth. Seven is a holy number, the number of God, the number of the Sabbath, the number of rest. Enoch rested in his relationship with God.

The false Enochs follow the ways of the serpent. “Hath God really said that? Hath God really said that you shall not eat of every tree in the Garden?” (Genesis 3:1). Really? Of course you know that God knows the day you eat of it you shall not die, but become just like Him, a god yourself” (Genesis 3:4-5).

The false Enoch makes life about himself.
The true Enoch knows that life is about God.
True life is only found in God.

Hebrews 11:5 (KJV) By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him …

To walk with God is to hear what God says, to “walk by faith and not by sight”. “By faith” means to trust what God has said, to have your confidence in God and not in your own abilities or the abilities of another. To walk with God is to walk WANTING HIM and HIS BLESSING.

2 Corinthians 5:4-7 (KJV)  For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.  [5]  Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.  [6]  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:  [7]  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

This life makes us groan at times, but we trust what God has said. Walking with God is to trust Him, to do as He says. The first Enoch was a child born of the flesh, and raised by a father who trusted only in the flesh. The Scripture declares:

Romans 8:7-8 (KJV)  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  [8]  So then THEY THAT ARE IN THE FLESH CANNOT PLEASE GOD.

What does the Scripture say of Enoch?

Hebrews 11:5 (KJV)  By faith Enoch was translated … before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

The testimony of his life was that “Enoch pleased God”. He kept on having faith in God. He did what God said to do. He listened to and obeyed His Word. He “called upon the Name of the Lord”. Did Enoch ever fail? Probably. We are all sinners saved by Grace. We are all fallible. Yet when Enoch failed God HE REPENTED.

To walk with God you must practice DAILY repentance.

Pastor Jordan Standridge wrote at the site The CripplegateEvery sin against the God of the universe is an act of treason. Every time we sin we are choosing a thing God created over God Himself. We are worshipping the creation rather than the Creator. We are perverting a wonderful gift God gave and telling Him that we aren’t thankful. There is no such thing as an innocent or small sin.”

Enoch practiced a daily habitual walk with God. He understood that his relationship with God was the most important possession he owned. When he sinned he confessed his sin knowing God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-10). Enoch loved and trusted God even when things did not go his way.

Genesis 5:21 (KJV)  And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:

In Biblical times children were considered a blessing from God. In our horrible world today so many look at children as an inconvenience or a thing to be aborted. Yet the Scripture says:

Psalms 127:3 (KJV)  Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Children are no inconvenience, but a blessing, a continuation of a person’s name on the earth. Enoch walked with God, and day after day he was without children. The blessing of God was delayed. Yet there is no indication that Enoch fretted or wondered about the blessing of God.

When we worry, we doubt God. Enoch just trusted God!

When Enoch was 65 years old (or should I say “young”) Enoch had a child that he named “Methuselah” (the Dart). Did the second Enoch run out after having Methuselah and build a city to name after his son? No. What did he do?

Genesis 5:22-24 (KJV)  And ENOCH WALKED WITH GOD after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: [23]  And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:  [24]  And ENOCH WALKED WITH GOD: AND HE WAS NOT; FOR GOD TOOK HIM.

No one had to beg Enoch to walk with God.
No preacher had to chase Enoch to get him in Church.
No one had to send cards and letters to try and reach him.
Enoch built a godly habit of walking with God.
Enoch agreed with God! Enoch loved God!

Amos 3:3 (KJV)  Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

Two will not walk together long if they are not in agreement. Enoch agreed with God. Enoch pleased God. Enoch walked in union with God, as Adam did before the fall of man. He did not give God HIS opinion on what he thought was best. Enoch pleased God daily. Enoch kept up and maintained a holy and habitual communion and fellowship with God.

To Walk WITH God Is To Move Forward

Hebrews 11:5-6 (KJV)  By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.  [6]  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Walking is a progressive action.
You move forward when you walk.

Enoch “diligently sought after God”. He did not walk apart from God and expect God to follow him. No, he sought God and his ways. He was ACTIVE in pursuing God. You cannot “walk” in place. To walk means not to quit, but to keep on going regardless as to where God takes you.

Psalms 84:5-7 (KJV)  Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.  [6]  Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.  [7]  They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.

The “valley of Baca” is literally “the valley of weeping”. There are times when life will take you into a valley of weeping. Enoch didn’t waste time feeling sorry for himself. When God led him through the Valley of Baca, Enoch wept AND WALKED. He trusted God’s love. He kept on walking.

We have all experienced loss in our lives. It saddens us. What do we do? Do we throw our hands up and give up? NO. We keep on walking with God. We keep on living for Him. God loves us, and will see us through. God will turn the tears in our eyes into wells of blessing if we keep following Him.

2 Peter 3:18 (KJV) ….. grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Let the Word of God drive you, not fear nor the word of the world. Enoch did not have the holy Scripture that we have today, but nonetheless walked with God. We are blessed with the Scripture. Peter was blessed to stand and see Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration. He said:

2 Peter 1:19-20 (KJV) …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:  [20]  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

Peter saw Christ transfigured, but said “we have a more sure word of Prophecy”. We have a blessing available to us that neither Enoch nor Peter had. We have God’s Holy Word, His Scripture, this precious Bible. The old time Preacher George Whitefield (who along with John Wesley founded the Methodists) said:

If we once get above our Bibles, and cease making the written Word of God our sole rule both as to faith and practice, we shall soon lie open to all manner of delusion, and be in great danger of making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. Our blessed Lord … was governed by and fought the devil with ‘it is written’…”

When we like Enoch diligently seek the Lord then God rewards us. We must not neglect our prayer life nor leave off the reading and study of God’s Word. The Bible says:

1 Thessalonians 5:15-23 (KJV)  See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.  [16]  Rejoice evermore.  [17]  Pray without ceasing.  [18]  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  [19]  Quench not the Spirit.  [20]  Despise not prophesyings. [21]  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  [22]  Abstain from all appearance of evil.  [23]  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

To Walk With God Is To Wait On The Lord

I heard the story once of a traveler who saw a young boy standing at the intersection of a road. The traveler stopped, and as the sun was going down asked the child if he wanted a ride. The boy said “No thank you. My father has gone into town for some business, and told me to wait here until he returns.” The traveler said “But young man, the sun is setting. You don’t want to be here in the dark.” The boy replied, “My father will be here shortly. He has never left me alone in the dark, and never will”.

Enoch walked with God on a daily basis for 365 years because he looked for God, and deliberately chose to stay with God. On the days when God seemed far away Enoch stopped his journey and waited on the Lord. The Bible commands us:

Psalms 27:14 WAIT ON THE LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Psalms 37:34 WAIT ON THE LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

Proverbs 20:22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but WAIT ON THE LORD, and he shall save thee.

To wait on the Lord does not mean to do nothing. It means to SERVE GOD. To do the right thing.
To do what He says.

If you are the Enoch of faith, then do as he did. He was not lazy in his faith.

Romans 13:11-14 (KJV)  And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  [12]  The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.  [13]  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  [14]  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.

Walk with God. Walk apart from the world and sin. Oh beloved Church, do not follow Jesus from afar off. Live actively with Him. Let Him be in your thoughts, and in your lives. Do not be as Cain was, for he would not hear the Lord. He would not repent. God told Cain:

Genesis 4:7 (KJV)  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

We can follow sin, or we can follow the Savior. Let us be as Enoch was. Let us walk with the Lord. Let us be actively engaged in living with Him. Reject any other life. Let Christ live in you. Let Christ live through you. Let’s walk with God until we walk into Heaven!

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in Foundation Series, Sermons Preached | Tagged

Eternal Sinless Mediator

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Photo by Henry Be on Unsplash

Deuteronomy 18:15-19 (KJV) The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; [16] According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. [17] And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. [18] I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. [19] And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

Moses is getting ready to leave his beloved Israel. Moses was raised up by God to lead Israel from Egypt. I find it interesting that most of the great leaders in the Bible were not young, but older. Certainly there are exceptions. Samuel was a great prophet who came to the Lord as a child. David was a shepherd boy when God called him to be king of Israel. There are exceptions. But most of the great leaders were older people. Abraham received the promised son Isaac at the age of 100 years old. And Moses was called to shepherd Israel when he was 80 years old.

Now Moses is 120 years old. He had the opportunity to enter the Promised Land with Israel, but disobeyed God. In Numbers 20 we read that Israel was gathered together at Kadesh-Barnea, just an eleven (11) day march from Canaan. Moses had lead Israel, and had faithfully stood between a hard hearted people and God. But now things come to a head. Moses loses his beloved sister Miriam. The Bible simply says “Miriam died there, and was buried there” (Numbers 20:1). No explanation. No extended disease. Just “Miriam died there”. It is often this way with death. The Bible says:

Hebrews 9:27 … it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment …

Miriam dies, and goes to the judgment of God. She is face to face with the Great I AM. So shall we all be. But Moses is left grieving his sister, and left leading a bunch of sinners called with the singular name “Israel”. Any time there is a group of people gathered together you can be certain that those people are imperfect sinners. I am a sinner. You are sinners. You say, “Oh no, I’m not a sinner”. The Bible says:

1 John 1:10 (KJV) If we say that we have not sinned, we make {God} a liar, and his word is not in us.

Romans 3:23 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Israel has sinned numerous times, and Moses has interceded for them. He has prayed for Israel, and pleaded their case before God. At one time God told Moses:

Deuteronomy 9:14 (KJV) Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.

but Moses stood in the gap. He prayed for the people:

Deuteronomy 9:26-29 (KJV) I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand. [27] Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin: [28] Lest the land whence thou broughtest us out say, Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land which he promised them, and because he hated them, he hath brought them out to slay them in the wilderness. [29] Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm.

Moses was a great Mediator. Because of his prayers and his patience he stood between God and Israel, lifting the sinner up to that Holy God we serve. God is holy, holy, holy. We sing:

Holy, holy, holy
Lord, God Almighty
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee
Holy, holy, holy
Merciful and mighty
God in three persons blessed Trinity
Holy, holy, holy
Though the darkness hide Thee
Though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee
Perfect in power, in love, and purity

Time after time Moses has prayed for God’s Israel. But on the day that Miriam his sister died it was just too much. Israel began to complain again, to sin against God, and began to once more attack the mediator Moses. God tells Moses:

Numbers 20:8 (KJV) Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and SPEAK YE UNTO THE ROCK BEFORE THEIR EYES; AND IT SHALL GIVE FORTH HIS WATER, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.

Moses was to once more intervene, to mediate between sinful Israel and sinless God. Speak to the Rock, Moses, and water will flow from the Rock. What does the Bible tell us? Who brings water to us? Is it Moses? No, it is God.

Psalms 114:7-8 (KJV) Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; [8] Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters.

God is the Rock. God is solid. He is faithful. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 10:4 (KJV) {Israel} drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and THAT ROCK WAS CHRIST.

Moses was to speak to the Rock, and water would come out. But then the unthinkable happened. Moses failed God. You see, Moses is fallible, a sinner as we all are. His soul is tender from the loss of his sister. Now Israel attacks him. “You lead us into the wilderness to kill us”. Not true, but the words hurt. So Moses stands in front of the Rock. This Rock is Christ. It is symbolic of the Christ Who is to come, the Jesus Who will save whosoever believeth in Him (John 3:15-16; 11:26; 12:46; Romans 9:33). Jesus is the Living Water of God. Jesus said:

Revelation 21:6 (KJV) … I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

Christ is the Rock of God, the wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God in human form. He will give water. But Moses is upset. He is angry. He was to speak to the Rock, and let the people see the Grace of God. But Moses failed. The Great Mediator Moses – the one who had saved Israel time and time again – failed. He gathered Israel in front of the Rock (that was Christ) and became part of the problem rather than the solution.

Numbers 20:10 … Hear now, you rebels; must WE fetch you water out of this Rock?

With this sinful statement Moses puts himself in the place of God. We have all done this at times. We put ourselves in the place of God. We pretend we are not sinners, and that we are better than those that are around us. We are not better. No, we are all sinners. But we make ourselves out to be better.

God and I talked about you today.
WE decided that you are out of line.
YOU are sinners, rebels against God.
But ME, I’m fine.”

Moses broke. He placed himself in the category of the sinless person. Moses was no more than “a turtle on a post”. If you see a turtle on a fencepost you know he didn’t get up there by himself. Someone had to put him there. God in His Grace had elevated Moses, and blessed him. But Moses forgot – as we all forget – that any blessing or exaltation we have we have because of God’s Grace. I am nothing. You are nothing. We are but dust and water, and about a hand full of chemicals. What we have, we have because God has been good to us.

With these prideful words Moses lost the Promised Land.

God Must Raise Up Another Mediator

Moses was not going into the Promised Land with Israel. For forty years Moses had been the mediator that stood between Israel and God. But Moses forgot His place. He failed God as we all do. So God decided that Moses would be replaced with Joshua, a man who love the Lord. But God also told Moses to tell Israel something.

Deuteronomy 18:15 (KJV) The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken

God was going to raise up another Prophet – Someone Who stood between God’s people and God Himself. The LORD thy God would do this. Who would this mysterious Prophet be? He would come from the midst of Israel. The Prophet would be a Jew. The Prophet would be like Moses, a Mediator Who stood between God’s people and God.

A Mediator is necessary because of the immensity of God. We are told:

Habakkuk 3:3-6 (KJV) God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. [4] And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. [5] Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. [6] He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting.

God is immense in His power. When Israel dwelt at the base of Mount Sinai and God came to the Mountain to give the Commandments we read:

Exodus 20:18-19 (KJV) And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. [19] And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

God is immense! When God hid His power to come to the mountain, He just showed Israel a small portion of His might. Several years ago I heard a fool scientist say “When I get to Heaven – if there is a Heaven – God is going to have to explain to me why we had so much trouble on this earth”. These are the words of a fool! When God came to the mountain of Sinai the sounds and power that shined forth from that place brought terror into the hearts of Israel.

We are broken, mortal things … but God is immortal and immense.
We are fallible … but God never errs.
We are at times faithless …. but God is ever faithful.
We lie, and smirk about it … But God never lies.
What He has said, He will do!
What He has purposed will come to pass!

Oh, how desperately we need a Mediator to stand between us and God. Moses said to God “Lord, show me Your glory!”. The Lord told Moses:

Exodus 33:19-23 (KJV) … I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. [20] And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. [21] And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: [22] And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: [23] And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

Moses the Mediator was unable to see the face of God. Were we to have God Himself visit us this day, and show us His face, the power of His Glory would kill us all. No one can see Him and live. But God put Moses on a Rock, and covered Moses’ face with His hand.

That Rock was Christ!
That perfect Mediator is Jesus Christ!

The Bible tells us:

John 1:18 (KJV) No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.

The word translated “declared” is the greek ἐξηγέομαι exēgéomai, (pronounced ex-ayg-eh’-om-ahee) which means “to fully reveal or explain”. Jesus Christ is the Mediator Who God promised would replace Moses. One day one of our Lord’s Apostles named Philip asked Jesus “Lord, show us the Father and we’ll be content”. Jesus replied:

John 14:9-11 (KJV) Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? [10] Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. [11] Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

Jesus Christ is the Mediator that God sent to replace Moses. Moses had an old sin nature just like we all have. But Jesus Christ has NO old sin nature. Christ was not born of fallen man, but of infinite God. The Scripture prophesied:

Isaiah 7:14 (KJV) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

The Angel Gabriel told Joseph that Mary his bride …

Matthew 1:21-23 (KJV) shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. [22] Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, [23] Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

No one could look on the face of God and live. Sin indwelt us all, even faithful Moses. So how can God speak with sinful man? By becoming Sinless Man Himself. The virgin bore a Child, a Holy Thing created of God the Holy Spirit:

Luke 1:35 (KJV) And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also THAT HOLY THING which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

God is Holy, so He sent His Son to be the HOLY THING which would be our Mediator. Moses was born of natural human parents, and was saved from drowning by an Egyptian Princess. But Christ was born of God. He was brought forth without sin and without evil. He is the Perfect Mediator. As our High Priest He represents us to the Father, and the Father to us. He promises us that He will faithfully intervene for us.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (KJV) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. [15] For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, YET WITHOUT SIN. [16] Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Among humanity we all – even Moses – have sin. It sneaks up on us. It makes merchandise of us. The devil whispers it. Though we may strive against it, then in the end there it is. It is where ever man is. BUT for Christ. Jesus Christ is the Perfect Mediator. He is God, God with us as the Prophet said, but He is also man, Perfect and Immortal Man. He has suffered as we suffer. He was afflicted as we are afflicted. Yet Christ was without sin. He is the Perfect Mediator for us all.

And – praise God – we all need a Mediator.
We all need Jesus.

Moses the Mediator did the best he could do – yet in the end sin caused him to lose his job. A mediator must represent both parties. The mediator between God and man must represent God as well as man. Moses could not do this. Moses had the same problem that we all have. He had a sin nature. But Jesus does not. The Scripture says of Christ:

1 Peter 2:22-25 (KJV) WHO DID NO SIN, neither was guile found in his mouth: [23] Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: [24] Who HIS OWN SELF BARE OUR SINS IN HIS OWN BODY ON THE TREE, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. [25] For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

When Moses was reviled at Kadesh-Barnea he reviled again. It is naturally human (for again, we are all sinners) to give back as you have been given. Jesus told us that the Father does not want us to do this. Jesus told us that we who are His are to …

Matthew 5:39-41 (KJV) …. resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. [40] And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. [41] And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

Moses failed to do this, and lost the Promised Land. We as humans often fall into that trap. When sin rears its ugly head in those around us we justify our own bad behavior in response to it. But flesh begets flesh, sin begets sin, evil adds to evil. Moses failed, we all fail. Yet Jesus did not fail. Beaten by His enemies, He did not curse. He kept His eyes on the Father at all times. The Father said of His Son:

Deuteronomy 18:18 … I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

Jesus spoke only that which the Father bid Him speak. Jesus the Rock never struck the Rock. He spoke the words of God. Impaled on a Tree in a landfill called Calvary, betrayed of all, forsaken and bleeding, Jesus still looked Godward. He bore our sins. Oh Beloved, He bore OUR SINS in His body ON THE TREE (1 Peter 2:24). As our Great and Sinless Mediator

the Bible says that …

Hebrews 9:24-26 (KJV) For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: [25] Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; [26] For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Jesus stood in our place. He stood between us and God. He bore our sins. He is the One True Mediator, the Savior of the world.

1 Timothy 2:3-6 (KJV) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Jesus Christ is the One Mediator between God and Man. The Lord God Almighty said that He would send Him from among Israel to represent us all. There are some who say:

I am good enough on my own.
I can follow the Law of Moses.
I can be moral, and right before God in my power.

But Moses failed. As great a man as Moses was, he failed. Moses could not enter the Promised Land on his own. He died outside that Promised Land. Until he met Christ.

One day Jesus took Peter, James and John on a field trip to a high mountain which several suggest was Mount Hermon (Matthew 17:1). Moses met God on a Mountain called Sinai. Now Jesus goes to a high mountain. As the three Apostles watch, the Bible says Jesus was transfigured. His face shined as the sun, and his clothing became bright white. Who came to Him on that Mountain?

Moses and Elijah

I wish I could speak more on this, but my time is running out. I just want you to notice Moses got into the Promised Land by way of Christ. Beloved, you will never be where you need to go with God apart from Christ. Jesus is the Prophet that the Father raised up to replace Moses. Jesus is the Mediator that stands between God and Man. The Bible declares without apology:

Acts 4:11-12 (KJV) This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. [12] Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

John 3:35-36 (KJV) The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. [36] He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

If you wish to see God, you must see Him through Christ.
If you wish to be saved of God, you must be saved through Christ.
There is no other way to God but by Christ.
He is the Mediator, the Savior, our High Priest.

Deuteronomy 18:19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

If you fail to hear Him, it will not go well with you. Receive Him. Believe Christ. In Him and Him alone you will find access to God. May God touch your hearts with His Word.

 

Posted in Deuteronomy, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , ,

Praying Like Jesus #10: Jesus Prayed Through The Darkness

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Photo by KTMD Photography on Unsplash

The Word of God is alive and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword! I am continually amazed by what God shows me in His Word. The other day I was in prayer and reading the Scripture and the Lord opened my eyes to a text I have looked at but never really perceived. Jesus had risen from the grave, and was with His disciples in a closed room. After eating a piece of broiled fish and a honeycomb He told the disciples:

Luke 24:44 (KJV) … These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and IN THE PSALMS, concerning me.

The part that I had never seen was “IN THE PSALMS”. I had seen the text where Jesus said “Moses wrote of Me” in John 5:46. As the resurrected Jesus walked the Road to Emmaus with Cleopas and his wife Jesus told them where Moses and all the prophets wrote of Him (Luke 24:27). But here is another verse in Luke 24 that says that not only does the Law and the Prophets speak of Christ, but also the Hebrew Hymnbook called Psalms tells of Jesus. That should be no surprise to any of us. We sing about Jesus, and I know the ancient Hebrews sang of Jesus.

I have a point to this, so bear with me.

In nine other studies we have talked about Jesus and how He prayed. In this study tonight I want to see how Jesus prayed when darkness came. Jesus prayed in the dark twice that I know of. He prayed in Gethsemane just prior to His trial and execution. He took Peter, James and John with Him to the Garden and told them:

Matthew 26:38 (KJV) … My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

This was a dark moment for our Lord. The Cross was just hours away, and Jesus knew what it would cost Him. Jesus wanted His closest friends to pray with Him, but they would not. They slept. Jesus would have to walk this dark road alone.

We have all walked dark roads alone. No companion to help us, no friend to lift up our weary souls. Jesus walked the darkest of roads. He prayed:

Matthew 26:39 (KJV) … O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Jesus was not alone. The Father was with Him, the Spirit at His side. When we feel we are all alone we are not. Our God is with us. He loves us, and has promised to never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We are never without God. God hears.

But what if God were to walk away?
What if we were genuinely alone?
Though it is not possible, this happened to Jesus.
Not in Gethsemane, but on Golgotha.
Not in the Garden, but atop of Calvary.
Not while kneeling and pleading for strength,
But while hanging helpless upon the Tree.

Let’s read this responsively:

Matthew 27:45-46 (KJV) Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. [46] And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken Me?

Mark 15:33-34 (KJV) And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. [34] And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Luke 23:44-45 (KJV) And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. [45] And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

There was an unnatural darkness on the land from “the sixth hour to the ninth hour”. The commentaries tell me that time was measured from sunrise, so the sixth hour was six hours from sunrise. Most commentaries note that this would be equivalent to our time from noon till 3 in the afternoon. You do not expect absolute darkness from noon till three. It is unnatural. The reason why there was absolute darkness at this odd time is because both Father and Spirit turned away from the Son. He was bearing our sins in His Body on the Tree (1 Peter 2:24). The Lamb of God was paying a debt we could not pay (John 1:29). His Blood was being shed to atone or cover our sins (Hebrews 9:22) “without the shedding of Blood there is no forgiveness of sins”.

As Jesus hung there – abandoned by man and forsaken of God – He began to pray. We only hear the first part of His prayer. Hear it again:

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted,
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

We only hear the first part of this prayer … but the whole prayer is recorded. It is found in Psalm 22. As Jesus died on that Cross He prayed the words of Psalm 22. Jesus said that the Psalms speak of Me.

Jesus Prayed Though Utterly Forsaken

Though Psalm 22 is called a “Psalm of David” it is a prophetic Psalm, a prayer recorded and spoken from the Cross. Despised and rejected of men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3) Jesus did not curse our God. He prayed. I have heard people say “You should never question God”. Beloved, Jesus questioned His Father. In His agony He cried out:

Psalms 22:1-2 (KJV) … My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? [2] O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

Jesus knew the reason that He was on that Cross. The writer of Hebrews declares that we should keep our eyes on Jesus …

Hebrews 12:2 (KJV) … Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus knew why He was suffering and dying. He knew that by His death He was “bringing many sons unto glory” (Hebrews 2:10). Jesus never lost hope nor faith in His God. But like all humans when we suffer often we cry out in that suffering. We agonize and ask, “Why Me, Lord?” We ask “Why are You so far away from helping Me? Why don’t You hear My cries?” There are times when the darkness comes and we all made of flesh and blood cry. There are times when it seems as if God is a million miles away. He is not, for He is faithful.

1 Corinthians 1:9 (KJV) God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (KJV) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Our God is faithful. We all suffer, but none will ever suffer as our Lord Jesus suffered. He suffered. He suffered alone in the Garden of Gethsemane to pay for Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden. He suffered alone on the Tree, bearing it’s thorns, to pay for Adam’s bringing of thorns into the world (Genesis 3:18). Jesus shouted the first part of this prayer, and it is only because of His shout that we know of it. But as He cried out, Jesus did not blame the Godhead for His suffering. Jesus prayed:

Psalms 22:3-5 (KJV) But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. [4] Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. [5] They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.

Jesus trusted in the faithfulness of God. He trusted in the Witness of Scripture. He said “You O God are HOLY”. He did not assign evil nor faithlessness to what He was going through. Our God is holy – He is righteous and just. Though all about us may seem dark there is no darkness in God.

1 John 1:5 (KJV) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

If there is darkness in our lives that darkness is not there because God has forsaken us. The darkness comes sometimes because we have made poor choices. But Jesus was not making a poor choice. He was not on the Cross because of any sin He committed. Judas Iscariot, wicked as he was, said:

Matthew 27:4 (KJV) … I have sinned in that I have betrayed the INNOCENT BLOOD. …

And Pilate His executioner said to the crowd: “Why, what evil has He done?” (Matthew 27:23). Jesus did no evil. He did the right thing, the Godly thing, the beautiful thing, the amazing thing. He died for US. He did not diminish God in His suffering. He remembered the witness of Scripture. He prayed “Our fathers trusted YOU, dear Father, and You delivered them”. Jesus was not delivered because it was necessary. To suffer is sometimes necessary.

Sometimes we suffer for OUR sakes.
Other times we suffer for the SAKE OF OTHERS.
But God is in control.

Psalms 22:6-8 (KJV) But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. [7] All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, [8] He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon – one of my favorite old time Preachers – said of this text:

This verse is a miracle in language. How could the Lord of glory be brought to such abasement as to be not only lower than the angels, but even lower than men. What a contrast between “I AM” and “I am a worm”! yet such a double nature was found in the person of our Lord Jesus when bleeding upon the tree. He felt himself to be comparable to a helpless, powerless, down trodden worm, passive while crushed, and unnoticed and despised by those who trod upon him. He selects the weakest of creatures, which is all flesh; and becomes, when trodden upon, writhing, quivering flesh, utterly devoid of any might except strength to suffer. This was a true likeness of himself when his body and soul had become a mass of misery — the very essence of agony — in the dying pangs of crucifixion. Man by nature is but a worm; but our Lord puts himself even beneath man, on account of the scorn that was heaped upon him and the weakness which he felt, and therefore he adds, “and no man.” (Treasury of David)

I love to go fishing, and often use two things – worms or crickets – to catch the fish. Jesus called Himself a “Worm”. The devil – that old Lucifer – was just like a dumb fish. Throughout His ministry the devil attacked our Lord through the Scribes, the Sadducees, the Pharisees. Eventually the devil caused the crowd to find Jesus guilty of treason. A devil inspired crowd cried out “Release Barabbas that murderer, but crucify Christ”. Ah, foul devil, you took the Bait. Christ was the worm, the Cross the fishing pole, and you the dumb fish. You thought to destroy the Lord of Glory (James 2:1), but instead destroyed yourself and your followers. You did God’s will old slewfoot! God fooled you!

1 Corinthians 2:7-8 (KJV) But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

The crowd mocked Christ.

Matthew 27:42-43 (KJV) He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. 43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

Rather than respond to their heckling Jesus prayed their words back to the Father.

Psalms 22:8 (KJV) He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

Then Jesus trusted the Father. He reminded Himself in this prayer that the Father had been with Him His entire earthly ministry. Jesus prayed:

Psalms 22:9-11 (KJV) But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. [10] I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. [11] Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.

When we are tested and tried and darkness is all about, let us do as Christ did. Hanging on Calvary, beaten and bleeding, He remembered all the times the Father blessed Him. He remembered His purpose was not to despair, nor to be consumed of the darkness. He was born into this world with a purpose. Even though this seemed darker than the darkest of times, for this was He created.

Dear One, God made you on purpose. He created you for a purpose. An often quoted text is:

Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

God has a purpose for your life. That purpose is not hopelessness, but something greater than you can imagine. Let us look up when tried. If abandoned of all, let us look up and know that God is near. God is always near. God is always in control. This is why we can confidently say:

Romans 8:28 (KJV) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God did not cause you to be born for no reason. God did not give you life this very day for no reason. God has a reason. The darkness has a reason. Look to Him!

In His Helplessness Jesus Looked Upward

Psalms 22:12-15 (KJV) Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. [13] They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. [14] I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. [15] My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

The “Bulls of Bashan” is a reference to the warring forces of Og, the King of Bashan. His forces looked formidable, and it looked like he would win the day. Instead the Bible tells us in Numbers 21:33-35 and Deuteronomy 3:1-7 that God told Israel:

Numbers 21:34 (KJV) … Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land;…

Though it looked as if evil would win, God said “rely on Me and know that I have defeated them”. Jesus was in a totally helpless place while hanging on that Cross. It looked as if the bulls of Bashan would win. But they cannot. God is in control. God is overseeing the process. Though the enemy is doing it’s best Jesus recognized that what was happening was from God, not from man. He prayed:

THOU (O Lord) hast brought me into the dust of death.

God is the first Cause. We wrestle not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). God is in control. Outwardly what Jesus saw was:

Psalms 22:16-18 (KJV) For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. [17] I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. [18] They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

As the crowd mocked and the soldiers gambled for Christ clothes – as He hung naked and bleeding –

Luke 23:34 (KJV) Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (see also Matthew 27:35).

Though Christ’s body was pinned to a tree, His heart was forcused upward. He did not curse the Father, but prayed for His enemies. He knew that in the end God would win the day. Not the devil, but God. In His darkest moment Jesus keeps on looking upward. He casts Himself upon the Father.

Psalms 22:19-22 (KJV) But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. [20] Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. [21] Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns1. [22] I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

Jesus looks upward. He cries out for God’s deliverance, and then looks upward fully convinced in the faithfulness of God. He then closes His prayer with:

I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

As Jesus ends His prayer He praises God His Father, magnifying His Name.

The Savior’s Advice To The Suffering

Psalms 22:23-24 (KJV) Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. [24] For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

If we are God’s children by faith in Christ, Praise the Lord when we are in the darkness, the valleys of life. Praise Him because He hears the afflicted. God does not hide His face from those He loves. No, He hears our cries. He hears. He heard Jesus on the Cross, and He hears you when you are bearing your Cross. When afflicted, we are to do as Jesus did. Pour your hearts out to Him. Surrender to Him in your suffering.

But PRAISE God and FAITHFULLY DO What He Says

Psalms 22:25-26 (KJV) My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. [26] The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.

The Bible promises that if we …

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and HE SHALL LIFT YOU UP.

1Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that HE MAY EXALT YOU IN DUE TIME:

God will not leave us in the Valley. He did not leave Jesus in the Valley, and will not leave us in the Valley. Our God is always in control.

Psalms 22:27-28 (KJV) All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. [28] For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations.

God’s Kingdom shall in time prevail. Our God is faithful.

Psalms 22:29-31 (KJV) All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. [30] A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. [31] They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.

My strength is not in me, but in my Lord. In Him will I trust, both now and into eternity. May God touch your hearts with His Word.

1The King James was first translated in 1611, and revised in 1769. The definition for a “unicorn” is not the fantasy creature of today. The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defined “Unicorn” as “An animal with one horn; the monoceros. this name is often applied to the rhinoceros.” When you look up “rhinoceros” in this same dictionary you read: “A genus of quadrupeds of two species, one of which, the unicorn, has a single horn growing almost erect from the nose. This animal when full grown, is said to be 12 feet in length. There is another species with two horns, the bicornis. They are natives of Asia and Africa.” The term “unicorn” does not refer to mythical horselike creature, but to the single horned rhinoceros. Today there are five species of the rhinoceros, three of which have two horns, and two of which have one horn or are “unicorn”. See also Numbers 23:22; 24:8; Job 39:9-10; Psalms 29:6; 92:10; Deuteronomy 33:17; Isaiah 34:7.

Posted in Praying Like Jesus Series, Sermons Preached | Tagged

Foundation Series #3: Relationship Of Law And Grace

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John 1:16-18 (KJV) And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. [17] For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. [18] No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Many people are confused about the relationship of the Law and of Grace. In fact, most Christians are confused over the Law and Grace.

Some believers think you are saved by keeping the Law.
Some believers think you are saved by faith in Christ alone,
and because of this are no longer under any law.
Some even go farther and teach that you are saved by Christ,
so you can freely sin. Yet the Bible forbids this.

The Saved By Grace Do Not Freely Sin

Jude 1:3-4 (KJV) Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. [4] For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, TURNING THE GRACE OF OUR GOD INTO LASCIVIOUSNESS, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:1-2 (KJV) What shall we say then? SHALL WE CONTINUE IN SIN, THAT GRACE MAY ABOUND? [2] GOD FORBID. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Romans 6:12-14 (KJV) LET NOT SIN THEREFORE REIGN IN YOUR MORTAL BODY, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. [13] Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. [14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

The Child of God is saved by faith in the finished work of Christ. When you were saved God entered your life and you entered the Family of God. Those in the Family of God do not lightly sin.

So what is this thing we call “SIN”? The Bible defines SIN as:

1 John 3:4-6 (KJV) Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. [5] And ye know that {Jesus} was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. [6] Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

John tells us three things.

  1. Sin is the transgression or violation or breaking of the Law.
  2. Jesus came to this earth to take away our sins – to keep us from transgressing the Law.
  3. While you abide in Christ you will not sin. It is when we depart from Him that sin comes.

Is The Law And Grace At Odds With One Another?

If you’ve been paying attention it would seem that John and Paul are at odds with one another. Paul said “you are not under the Law but under Grace”. But John said “sin is the transgression of the Law”. It seems as if Paul says “you’re not under LAW” but John says “you ARE under the LAW”. So which is true? Paul wrote:

Romans 7:12 (KJV) Wherefore the LAW IS HOLY, and the commandment HOLY, AND JUST, AND GOOD.)

The Law is not at odds with the Grace of God. We will see that the Law of God has three elements:

  1. The Torah has CIVIL LAWS. The civil laws given by God in Torah applied only to Israel. Let me give you a modern day example. When I was stationed in England with the Air Force I was able to drive a car on British highways. On a British highway you drive on the left side of the road. I went through an approved driving school, and was given a British License good for any place under British Rule. When I came back to the United States and began to drive (after several years of driving in England and Wales) I got in the wrong lane. I quickly corrected myself when I saw an 18 wheeler headed my way. In the United States I hope you know the laws of the road are different. In England I drove on the left side. In the U.S. on the right side. God gave Israel certain civil laws that they were to obey, laws which do not apply to the Church.
  2. The Torah has CEREMONIAL OR PROPHETIC LAWS. These were Laws contained in feasts or celebrations and Laws that related to animal sacrifices and the Temple. The Israelite was expected to – at least once a year – take a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and sacrifice an approved animal that was without spot or blemish. The blood of that animal was collected and sprinkled on the people, making a temporary atonement or covering for the sins of the people. This part of the Law was prophetic, speaking to a time when the Messiah – our Lord Jesus Christ – would come. We are told in:

Hebrews 10:1-4 (KJV) For the LAW HAVING A SHADOW OF GOOD THINGS TO COME, AND NOT THE VERY IMAGE OF THE THINGS, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. [2] For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. [3] But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. [4] For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

The Law was a shadow of something greater that was coming. As the Apostle Paul told us, The Law was good and is good (Romans 7:12). Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees that stood against Him:

John 5:46-47 (KJV) For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for HE WROTE OF ME. [47] But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

Moses wrote of Jesus. When did Moses write of Jesus? He wrote of Jesus in Exodus 12 when the LORD gave the Festival of the Passover. The Lord told Moses to tell all Israel:

Exodus 12:3-7 (KJV) Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: [4] And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. [5] Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: [6] And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. [7] And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.

God was going to send death to every home that did not do as He said. The Israelite who believed in God was to take the Passover Lamb and following God’s instructions to kill this lamb without spot or blemish, putting its blood on the doorway of the home. What was this prophetically symbolic of? When John the Baptist first saw Christ he cried out:

Joh 1:29 … Behold THE LAMB OF GOD, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Joh 1:36 … Behold THE LAMB OF GOD!

When Moses wrote of the Passover the lamb without blemish killed and it’s blood shed was prophetic of the first coming of Christ. The Apostle Peter declared:

1 Peter 1:18-19 (KJV) Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; [19] But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

The animal sacrifices, the Temple in Jerusalem, the Tabernacle in the wilderness, the Feasts, the ceremonies, the Priests … all these things were symbolic and prophetic of the first Coming of Christ. When Jesus came to this earth being manifest as the Son of God and Perfect Man He came to “fulfill the Law”. Jesus plainly told us:

Matthew 5:17-18 (KJV) Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to FULFIL. [18] For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till ALL BE FULFILLED.

The word rendered “fulfill” in our text is the Greek πληρόω plēróō, (pronounced play-ro’-o) which means “to complete that which is lacking”. The ceremonial or prophetic portions of the Law were never given as a means of salvation. The “law was a shadow or foretelling of good things that were to come” (Hebrews 10:1). The animal sacrifices and rituals such as circumcision have no power to permanently save anyone. We are told in Hebrews 10 “would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. The ritual sacrifices were not a once and for all covering for sin. The Apostle Paul tells us that this part of the Law:

Galatians 3:23-26 (KJV) But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed [24] Wherefore the LAW WAS OUR SCHOOLMASTER TO BRING US UNTO CHRIST, that we might be justified by faith. [25] But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. [26] For YE ARE ALL THE CHILDREN OF GOD BY FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.

The ceremonial or prophetic portion of the Law looked forward to a time when God would send forth His Son as the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.

1 Peter 3:18 (KJV) For Christ also hath ONCE suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

Hebrews 10:10-12 (KJV) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL. [11] And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: [12] But this man, after he had offered ONE SACRIFICE FOR SINS FOR EVER, sat down on the right hand of God; … [14] For by ONE OFFERING HE HATH PERFECTED FOR EVER THEM THAT ARE SANCTIFIED.

Jesus “fulfilled” the ceremonial or prophetic portions of the Law. Because Christ fulfilled these temporary provisions of the Law God was able to do a greater thing for the believer in Christ: God NOW puts His Laws in the hearts and minds of His people. This is according to prophecy. Once Christ came and made the once and for all sacrifice of Himself for sin this covered us so that God could come to us.

The Christ Follower Is Under A New Covenant

Hebrews 10:15-24 (KJV) Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, [16] This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; [17] And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. [18] Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. [19] Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, [20] By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; [21] And having an high priest over the house of God; [22] 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. [23] Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) [24] And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

The “New Covenant” was prophesied by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 31:33-34. It was fulfilled by Christ when at the Lord’s Table He said “this is My blood of the new testament (literally, διαθήκη diathḗkē, [pronounced dee-ath-ay’-kay] covenant or contract) see also Mark 14:24 and Luke 22:20. Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophetic portion of the Law by dying on the Cross of Calvary. Our Lord Jesus …

Hebrews 8:6 … is the Mediator of a better COVENANT (διαθήκη diathḗkē, [pronounced dee-ath-ay’-kay)

Because of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection we have permanent and intimate relationship with God. Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 12:24). Our Messiah the Lord Jesus is the Great Shepherd of the sheep (that is, we who have received Him as Lord and Savior) through the blood of the EVERLASTING COVENANT. No longer do we or anyone have to go to a Temple to make sacrifice for sins. Jesus has paid it all. We sin:

Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain.
He washed it white as snow.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!

We need no longer be circumcised. Praise Him, for Christ fulfilled that ceremony for us. What does the Bible teach?

Colossians 2:10-11 (KJV) And YE ARE COMPLETE IN {JESUS}, which is the head of all principality and power: [11] In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

At salvation every Christian becomes a Temple unto God. Do you not know that you are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you (1 Corinthians 3:16). Do you not know that you are bought with a price? Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:20). You are bought with a price. Serve God, not man (1 Corinthians 7:23). Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial or prophetic parts of the Law.

What Of The Moral Code Of The Law?

  1. To summarize, (1) the Torah has civil laws given by God to the nation of Israel alone. (2) The Torah has ceremonial or prophetic laws that were fulfilled in the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we turn our attention to the moral codes contained in the Law that apply to everyone. The Law was built on ten pillars or ten commandments first found in Exodus 20. When Jesus came He did not annul the ten commandments nor any of the moral teachings of the Law. In fact, Jesus deepened the commandments. He “put a fence” around the commandments. For instance:

Matthew 5:21-22 (KJV) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: [22] But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

The self righteous can point to the 6th Commandment “thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13) and say “I’ve never murdered anybody, so I’m right with God”. But Jesus extended the commandment to attacking or defaming a brother, to murdering his or her character. To unjustly condemn a brother or a sister is a fence that was erected around the 6th commandment. We also read:

Matthew 5:27-28 (KJV) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: [28] But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Jesus took the 7th Commandment “thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14) and expanded it out to cover the very thought of sexual sin. Thoughts lead to actions. The fence around violating the 7th commandment is to not even think of another person as a piece of equipment used to satisfy your appetite. Jesus NEVER eradicated the commandments – He EXTENDED them.

A man asked Jesus one day “What is the great Commandment”? Jesus told him: Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV) … Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. [38] This is the first and great commandment. [39] And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [40] On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

The spiritual intent of the moral portion of the Law is LOVE. The first FOUR commandments tell us to love God with all you have. The last SIX of the commandments tell us to love your neighbor the way you want to be loved. In fact, Jesus told one young seeker:

Matthew 19:17-19 (KJV) … IF THOU WILT ENTER INTO LIFE, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS. [18] He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, [19] Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Jesus listed five of the ten commandments, then summarized them as “love your neighbor as yourself”. Jesus did not cast away the moral code of the Law!

When Israel was given the moral code of the Law it was not written on their hearts, but on tablets of stone. But Christ gave us of His Spirit. He promised that if we would believe on Him that He would send:

John 16:13 (KJV) … the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: …

As we are loved of God in our salvation, God plants that love in our hearts. The Law said “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Matthew 5:38; Exodus 21:22-27). But Jesus put a fence around this:

Matthew 5:39-45 (KJV) But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. [40] And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. [41] And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. [42] Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. [43] Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. [44] But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; [45] That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

God is love (1 John 4:8), and God the Holy Spirit indwells the Church Age believer, guiding us to love as we are loved. The moral codes of the Law are NOT erased, but are ENHANCED.

What Of Our Focal Text?

the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth
came by Jesus Christ

When people read this they see the word BUT. The word BUT used as a conjunction is according to the dictionary

used to introduce a phrase or clause CONTRASTING with what has already been mentioned

The King James translators put a “but” between the Law and Grace and Truth. What most people don’t notice is that the word but in the King James text is italicized. This word was supplied by the translators but was italicized because the Greek word for “but” (conjunction ἀλλά or alla or the connective or adversative particle δέ or de) is NOT in the original text. The translators assumed that adding the “but” here would make the text more readable. It doesn’t. In fact, but” introduces a contrast that is NOT there is the original text. The original text simply states:

the law was given by Moses. (period)
grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (period)

The Law has never had the power to save anyone. The Law told Israel how God wanted them to live. The Law told Israel that Christ was coming. The Law also told everyone what was morally right. The Law TELLS …. but GRACE is what saves. The Law and Grace have never been opposites to one another. Some people think that the opposite of Grace is the Law, and the opposite of Law is Grace. That’s untrue, and cannot be supported Biblically.

The opposite of Law is lawlessness.
The opposite of Grace is disgrace.

Did you know that Moses was saved not by Law, but by GRACE?

Exodus 33:12-13 (KJV) And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also FOUND GRACE in my sight. [13] Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have FOUND GRACE in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may FIND GRACE IN THY SIGHT: and consider that this nation is thy people.

Exodus 33:17 (KJV) And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast FOUND GRACE IN MY SIGHT, and I know thee by name.

God gave Torah through Moses – but Moses was saved by GRACE.
Everyone is saved by Grace.
NOAH was saved by Grace. (Genesis 6:8)
ABRAHAM was saved by Grace (Romans 4)
LOT was saved by Grace (Genesis 19:19)
MOSES was saved by Grace. (Exodus 33:12-13)

The Bible declares from Old Covenant to New Covenant:

Habakkuk 2:4 (KJV) … the just shall live by his faith.

Romans 1:17 (KJV) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Galatians 3:11 (KJV) But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

Hebrews 10:38 (KJV) Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

If you have been saved then you will live within the moral code that God has given. You will live, loving God and loving others. You will affirm what God has affirmed, and reject what God has rejected. You have received a full salvation in Him …

John 1:16 (KJV) And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

Not walking in darkness, but walking in His light and His love. Be imitators of God as dear children (Ephesians 5:1). Walk in love. Walk in holiness. Walk in obedience to the moral code that the Torah and our High Priest Jesus Christ has given us. May God touch your hearts with His Word!

Posted in Foundation Series, Sermons Preached | Tagged ,

Foundation Series #4: Love Is The Answer

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1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (KJV) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

What Is “Love”? Why Is “Love” So Important?

I grew up hearing songs about “love” – and I’m sure you did as well. Whether you like Rock Music, Pop Music, Country Music, or (yuk) Rap Music you’ve all heard bands, groups, and famous singers speak about “love”. Love was advertised on the Soap Operas like General Hospital or The Young and the Restless. It didn’t take me long to figure out the reason they were young and restless is because of their weird ideas about love. Love was on the radio.

George Jones sang about “The Love In Your Eyes”
Another group sang about that “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
My Momma’s favorite singer Elvis sang
“Can’t Help Falling In Love”
Not having a clue as to what they were saying, a British Band sang
”All You Need Is Love”

Our impression as to what love is has been shaped by what we’ve heard on Radio or seen on Television or in the Movies. They almost got it right when they sang:

Light of the world, shine on me
Love is the answer
Shine on us all, set us free
Love is the answer

Jesus Christ is “The Light Of The World”.

John 8:12 (KJV) … I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Jesus Christ is God in the Flesh. When the Bible says “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16) it bids you to look to Jesus. What did Jesus say to those who would heed Him?

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (also John 15:12, 17)

Love GIVES More Than it TAKES

To find the Biblical definition of love you need to turn to Paul’s letter to Corinth. These were saved people. They were born again by the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever (1 Peter 1:23). The Apostle addressed Corinth as:

1 Corinthians 1:2 (KJV) … the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, …

Inwardly they were saved, but outwardly they were a mess! The Apostle told them:

1 Corinthians 3:1 (KJV)  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

What Is A BABY? What Characterizes A Baby?

The baby is first of all PRECIOUS. Normal people love babies.
They are so cute!

BUT the “baby” is HEARD. It cries incessantly.
The “baby” wants to be the CENTER of attention.
It screeches “Hey, look at ME!”
The “baby” crawls away from the parents and grabs things.
Mine!” it shouts!
The “baby” hurts itself by disobeying its parents,
then blames the parent.
Oh, did I mention the “baby” SMELLS.

My children were very generous.
If it smelled, they gave it to me!

Every one of my children peed or pooped on me when they were babies. They threw up on me. I fed them, burped them, then I had to change my shirt. But I tolerated it because they were MY kids, and I loved them. But I expected them to grow up! Every parent wants to see their child grow into mature, functioning citizens that act like they have good sense. The Corinthians were still babes in Christ.

The difference between the “Mature Christian” and the “babe in Christ” is based on whether you TAKE love or GIVE love. The mature believer GIVES. You were created to GIVE Love.

Love Matters So Very Much!

1 Corinthians 13:1 (KJV) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

You can be highly educated, with many college degrees. You can have the ability to speak numerous languages. But if love is not evident in your life you are only so much noise. Love is to give unselfishly to others. Love is to be concerned for others, and to seek the highest good for them.

The Bible tells us …

John 3:16 (KJV) For God so loved the world, that _______

What did God DO to prove His love? Did He just SAY “I love you” or did He DO something. God loved us, so He did the highest good for us.

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.

God laid everything down on the table for us. He didn’t just have an emotion, but He DID.

1 Corinthians 13:2 (KJV)  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

The gift of Prophecy is a God given gift. The gift of Discernment is a God given gift. In fact, faith itself is a gift from God. But if love for others is not in your life then Beloved you are not what God wants you to be.

Several years ago I met a great man who knew a lot about Bible prophecy. It fascinated me to hear Him talk about coming events and the return of our Lord Jesus. I asked the man several times to teach a Wednesday night class to the Church I pastored, but he refused. I asked him to assist me by reaching out to the local Nursing Home, to minister to the elderly saints there, but he refused. He had no time to reach out to others in love. He was less than God wanted him to be because he would not GIVE LOVE.

1 Corinthians 13:3 (KJV) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Love is more than emotion – it is proper motivation. It is to give as Christ would have us give. It is to be obedient to Him Who gave all for us. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:43-48 (KJV)  Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.  [44]  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  [45]  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  [46]  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?  [47]  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?  [48]  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

To love the unlovable is the mark of perfection.
See Love on Heaven’s Throne!
How Do We Know This Is Love?
See The Nail Scars, The Torn Brow.
The whip lines in His flesh.
It is love to do good when bad is done to you.
See Jesus!

The group Crowder illustrates what love is in one of my favorite songs Forgiven:

I’m the one who held the nail
It was cold between my fingertips
I’ve hidden in the garden
I’ve denied You with my very lips
God, I fall down to my knees
With a hammer in my hand
You look at me, arms open
Forgiven, I’m Forgiven!

Jesus had every right to be worshiped. He is Eternal God in perfect Human form. The Scripture declares:

John 1:1-3 (KJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 1:14 (KJV) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, …

Christ lowered Himself voluntarily to pay for our sins. He did not love us from afar, but loved us near, where it was harshest. Christ lowered Himself to raise us up. As a Shepherd would lay down His life for His sheep,

John 10:15 (KJV) … I lay down my life for the sheep.

Jesus lay His life down for us all, not in a quick death, but a long torturous one. Oh how He suffered for you and for me. But this is the proof of love – and as He loved we are called to love.

Love’s Portrait

1 Corinthians 13:4 (KJV)  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Love is patient with others. See Love hanging on the Cross. “If you are the Son of God come down from that Cross” (Matthew 27:40). Jesus could have come down. “Don’t you realize I could ask My Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and He would send them instantly?” (Matthew 26:53). Oh how patient Christ was with us.

Love is kind to others. Jesus always thought of others before Himself. He did the highest good He could to others. Lepers run after Jesus. “Jesus You could heal me if you would”. The unkind thing would be to say “Get away from me, you leper. You are unclean!” But Jesus said “I am willing” and touched that diseased person – just like He touched that filthy you on the day of your salvation. “I am willing – be cleansed!” (Matthew 8:3)

Love is confident in itself, and does not envy others. God loves you as you are. God has given you what you need. Do not covet another person’s stuff, but be loved of God and be satisfied that He loves you!

Love does not brag on itself. Jesus showed us love over and over again, but particularly just before He was crucified. We read in …

John 13:1-5 (KJV) Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. 2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him; 3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; 4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Jesus took off all His clothing but His underwear and washed the disciples feet. I have read this passage over and over again for years, but it did not strike me until this day:

Jesus humbled Himself and
SERVED His greatest enemy.

Jesus washed the feet of Judas Iscariot! Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray Him, and yet knelt and washed his feet anyway. Why would He do that? Because that’s what love does.

Love loves regardless as to whether love is loved back.
Love loves regardless as to whether love is loved back.
Love loves regardless as to whether love is loved back.

This is the Love that God calls you to do, dear Christian. John said:

1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. (8) He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

We Are To Radically LOVE
Through God’s Empowering

Romans 8:1, 13-14 (KJV)  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  …  [13]  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  [14]  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

God is love. If God is in you, you will love like God. See that woman taken in adultery cast before Him. Will He condemn her? No, but Jesus comes along side of her.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
Woman, where are your accusers?
Go and sin no more.

Love doesn’t see the prostitute, the drug addict, the lesser than, the failure. Love sees each person as being made in the image of God. Love sees the person COULD be. Love carries His Cross down the dusty street while others lovelessly mock and scorn Him. Love bears the nails tearing into His flesh, as an undeserving creation spits and laughs. Love hangs patiently while bearing the sins of the world at a place called Calvary. Love cries “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Love is of God. Unless you are born of God you cannot know true love. But if you are born of God you are capable of great Love as He is Love.

1 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV)  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Love does not walk with the ways of the world, nor does it seeks it’s own good first. Love does not think evil of others, but seeks to uplift, to encourage, to do the highest good. Love does what God would do, just as Jesus did. Jesus surrendered everything in order to love. One day a young Scribe came to Jesus and said:

Matthew 8:19-20 (KJV) …. Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.  [20]  And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Jesus gave up everything in order to reach as many as He could. The King of glory lived as a pauper on this earth. He lowered Himself, and showed us what love is to be. Love doesn’t put self first, but puts God and others first. It does not behave itself unseemly but clothes itself in Godly robes. Love does not think evil of others.

seeketh not her own”

“Seeketh not her own” in verse 5 is another way of saying Divine Love is not about me – it’s about God and others”

Divine love always stands in the gap for others, interceding for man before Almighty God.

A Christian is compelled to love, ordered to love, and designed to love.
(1 Corinthians 13:5)

Love is filled with JOY over the RIGHT THINGS.

1 Corinthians 13:6 (KJV)  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

The ancient preacher Jerome said: “The church of Christ has been founded by shedding its own blood, not that of others; by enduring outrage, not by inflicting it.

The Philosopher and Engineer Archimedes once said “Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world.” That was wishful thinking. But Beloved, if we stand on the promises of God and love as He commands WE WILL move THE WORLD!

1 Corinthians 13:7 (KJV) {Love} Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Love encourages. Most of all, love will not cut and run. Love endures all things. It overcomes. This is why John in the Book of Revelation spoke of overcoming in reference to salvation. Do you remember?

Revelation 2:7 (KJV) … To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Revelation 2:11 (KJV) … He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

Revelation 2:17 (KJV) To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

You can’t be in love with Jesus one day and at odds with Jesus the next and be saved. The saved love the Lord. The saved stay with the Lord. Whoever is born of God overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).

It Is Time To Be Adults

The Apostle started this Book by telling the Corinthians they were babes in Christ. Now he says:

1 Corinthians 13:11 (KJV)  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

It’s fine to be a Child when you are born. It’s fine to lay about crying, waiting for momma or daddy to feed you. It’s all right to wet yourself, to be spoon fed. If you are a baby you don’t choose your own wardrobe or your own bed time. But when you grow up you are to put away childish things.

You must all choose to follow Christ, doing as He has commanded. You must get up from your beds and find a place of worship every day. You must read and do His Word. You must get past the diaper stage. You must stop expecting others to do everything. The mega-Churches are filled with babies that paid staff cater to. Beloved, the christian way of life is a Christ centered way of life. The only time someone changed Christ’s diapers was when He was a baby. It’s time to put away childish behavior and childish things. It’s time to quit being spoon fed. It’s time to get up and walk, Beloved, to be the light that Christ has called us to be.

Hebrews 10:23-24 Let us hold fast {not waffle, but HOLD FAST} the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) (24) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

Let’s let God love through us. Let’s quit being babies, sitting around all day playing on a game console while life passes us by. Let’s love. Let’s love like Christ loved. Let’s move forward into adulthood. Now. This moment.

May God lead you to trust in and be like Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Foundation Series #2: God Is In Control

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Photo by Max LaRochelle on Unsplash

Romans 11:25-29 (KJV) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. [26] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: [27] For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. [28] As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. [29] For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

The Errors Of Man Do Not Stop God’s Sovereign Power

There are Christians in certain denominations today who believe that the Jews were permanently cut off from God when Christ raised up His Church. They teach that Israel has been replaced with a spiritual Israel, and that every Christian is now a spiritual Jew. It is true that the Church of Christ and the Gentiles were “grafted into” the promises of Israel. The Apostle teaches this in this very chapter. We read:

Romans 11:17-21 (KJV) And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; [18] Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. [19] Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. [20] Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high minded, but fear: [21] For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

Israel is in the Scripture “The Olive Tree” and the Church is known as “The Wild Olive Tree”. Because Israel as a nation rejected Christ as Lord and Savior, because Christ:

John 1:11 (KJV) … came unto his own, and his own received him not.

…because His nation cried out against Him – and led by the Pharisees and Sadducees cried out:

Mark 15:13-14 (KJV) …. Crucify him. [14] Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.

because His nation, the nation He cherished, crucified Him though He was an innocent Man, and even said:

Matthew 27:25 (KJV) … His blood be on us, and on our children.

Christ raised up His Church. This was something that the Old Testament Prophets did not fully understand, though several times God alluded to it. When Christ was born of Mary and brought to the Temple on the eighth day to be circumcised according to the Law (Luke 2:21; Genesis 17:12; Leviticus 12:3) an old Prophet named Simeon saw the Christ. The Bible says that Simeon, upon holding the Christ in his arms, praised God:

Luke 2:29-32 (KJV) Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: [30] For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, [31] Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; [32] A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Simeon was quoting the Old Testament Scriptures of Isaiah 42:6-7; 49:6; 60:1-2. Jesus came not just to save Israel, but to save the Gentiles as well. The first preachers of the Church declared and quoted Isaiah when reaching out with the Gospel to redeem the Gentiles. The Apostles Paul and Barnabas preached to the unbelieving Jews:

Acts 13:46-48 (KJV … It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. [47] For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. [48] And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

God wanted to reach all with His glorious Gospel, that wonderful Word of salvation found in Christ. Christ was to be a Savior and Lord both the Israel, as well as to the Gentiles. But the nation Israel rejected the Light of God, so Christ raised up His Church. The Nation of Israel is “cut off” from God because of unbelief. Yet the Apostle wants the Church to know that the Church has NOT replaced Israel. God made certain promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and God always keeps His promises.

I say again – God ALWAYS keeps His Promises!

God is able, and God is Sovereign. So God tells us in our focal text today:

Romans 11:25-29 (KJV) … blindness in part is happened to Israel, UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. [26] And so ALL Israel shall be saved…

God shall save ALL ISRAEL. Does this mean that God will save every Jew? Absolutely not! Our Lord Jesus told the Pharisees who WERE JEWS that:

John 8:44-47 (KJV) Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. [45] And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. [46] Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? [47] He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

These unbelieving Jews were not of God, for they rejected Christ. Every Jew who dies rejecting Christ are rejected of God in the afterlife. The unbelieving Jew … just like the unbelieving Gentile – will suffer the eternal wrath of God.

Romans 2:9-11 (KJV) Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; [10] But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: [11] For there is no respect of persons with God.

But God shall save “all Israel”. That nation belongs to Him. He has made promises that He will keep. The Apostle says:

Romans 11:29 (KJV) …For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

What God has said will stand.
What God decrees will come to pass.

God chose the nation Israel as His own. God is sovereign in His choice. Though Israel rejected Christ as a nation, even this rejection worked out to the purpose of God. Because Israel rejected Christ the preaching of the Gospel went beyond Israel’s territories and into the whole world. The Gentiles who received Christ by faith were grafted into God’s promises to Israel. Because we believed in Jesus were were brought into the Family of God:

Galatians 3:26 (KJV) For ye are ALL the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

What does God mean by “all”? He meant whosoever believes on the name of Jesus shall be saved:

Galatians 3:28-29 (KJV) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. [29] And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

You who have received Christ are spiritually circumcised. You are grafted into the Family of Abraham.

Romans 2:28-29 (KJV) For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: [29] But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Colossians 2:9-11 (KJV) For in {Christ} dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. [10] And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: [11] In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

God grafted us who are Gentiles into His Family. He gave us His Spirit, and made us a part of His New Covenant. But God has not forgotten Israel, and God will one day save ALL ISRAEL. For God is Sovereign. God has promised!

Defining God’s Sovereignty

God is above all things and before all things. He made all things for Himself – including YOU. The Bible says:

Colossians 1:16-17 (KJV) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Nothing evolved that God did not make evolve. Nothing is created that god did not make. God is the First Cause of all things. God knows all thing. There is nothing that He cannot know. The Scripture says:

Romans 11:33-36 (KJV) O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! [34] For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? [35] Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? [36] For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

God can do all things that He wants to do. The Bible says:

Jeremiah 32:17-19 (KJV) Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: [18] Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name, [19] Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:

God is in control of all things. God knew that Israel would reject Christ when He came to this earth. You may ask, “If God knew that Christ would be rejected by Israel then why send Him in the first place?” The answer is simple. God made promises to the forefathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. In these promises God told these saints – believers in Christ – that He would bless the whole world through them. This is why Jesus was born a JEW and not a GENTILE. God told Abraham:

Genesis 12:3 (KJV) … in THEE shall ALL families of the earth be blessed.

Christ in His lineage can be traced all the way back to Abraham (see Matthew 1:2-16; Luke 3:23-38) and through the line of David. In fact, Christ’s lineage can be traced all the way to Adam. God made promises to fallen man through these people that He will keep. But God also prophesied of the Christ who would come that:

Isaiah 53:3-7 (KJV) He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. [4] Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. [5] But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. [6] All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. [7] He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

The entirety of the life of Christ was published in the Old Testament prophesies hundreds of years before He ever came. Yet Christ was sent of the Father anyway. Why? Because God promised. Everything worked out to the glory of God, showing forth His majesty and power. Even Jesus’ betrayal by Judas Iscariot was prophesied:

Zechariah 11:12-13 (KJV) And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. [13] And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.

Matthew 27:3-4, 7-8 (KJV) Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, [4] Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that…. [7] And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. [8] Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.

Matthew 27:9-10 (KJV) Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by {Jeremiah}1 the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; [10] And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.

God knows what is going to happen. God controls what is going to happen, making all things come out as He desires and plans. Dr. Adrian Rogers said:

The name Jehovah is used some 6,800 times in the Bible. It is the personal covenant name of Israel’s God. In the King James Version of the Bible, it’s translated Lord God. Not only does it speak of God’s strength, but also it speaks of the sovereignty of God and the goodness of God. The root of this name means “self-existing,” one who never came into being, and one who always will be.”

Our God never changes. What He has purposed, that will He do. He told Israel:

Malachi 3:6 (KJV) For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

The reason that Israel and every Jew on the face of this earth is not wiped out and obliterated from history is because God never changes. His Word endures – and He has the power, the infinite power, to keep His promises. Theologian Sam Storms stated:

“… God is dependable! Our trust in him is therefore a confident trust, for we know that He will not, indeed cannot, change. His purposes are unfailing, His promises unassailable. It is because the God who promised us eternal life is immutable that we may rest assured that nothing, not trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword shall separate us from the love of Christ. It is because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever that neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not even powers, height, depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:35-39)!”

Limitations Of God’s Sovereignty

Our God is in control. He can do anything He pleases – but He does have limits in His power.God cannot do anything that is foreign to His character. God does not abide in untruth or lies. The Bible says:

Numbers 23:19 (KJV) God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

God keeps His Word – period! God also does no evil. The Lord may allow evil to persist or allow the devil for a time to seem to be in control. But God never does nor condones evil. The Bible says:

James 1:13-15 (KJV) Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: [14] But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. [15] Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

The devil does evil. The lost do evil. Even Christians may at times do evil. When God made us in His image He gave us a certain freedom of will. We can make bad choices. God cannot. Evil is foreign to God’s nature. God also cannot contradict Himself. What was sinful in the Old Testament is sinful today. What was wrong then is wrong now. God is moral, absolutely moral, and He establishes what is intrinsically right or wrong. When God told Adam:

Genesis 2:16-17 (KJV) And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: [17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

this was an absolute. By man the fall of man came. God promised death to Adam for disobedience, and on the day he disobeyed God he died. This put man into a terrible position. God cannot forgive man without a payment being made. The wages of sin is death. How can God bring man back from death if man – being dead – can bring nothing to the Living God to redeem himself? There is only one way.

God had to become Man.
God had to become Sinless Man.
God cannot wipe the slate clean,
Nor change His promise.

Because of Adam’s failure and the immutability of the nature of God the supernatural birth of Christ was necessary. The Scripture declares:

Romans 5:12 (KJV) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5:15-19 (KJV) But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. [16] And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. [17] For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) [18] Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. [19] For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Jesus Christ entered humanity to pay for our sins, for ALL of our sins. Christ had to come because of the Sovereignty of God. God made a way for salvation through Him and only Him. When Christ presented Himself to Israel, He presented Himself as the Son of God Who came to take away the sins of the world. The Father said of the Son:

This is My Beloved Son, In Whom I am WELL PLEASED (Matthew 3:17)

The demons said of Christ: “Thou art the Son of God” (Mark 3:11)

Peter said of Jesus: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16)

The Centurion who crucified our Lord said:

Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54)

Many Jews as well as Gentiles have received Christ as Lord and Savior. But Israel as a nation has not yet received Him. But Israel will. Israel will go through tribulation, but in the end Christ will rule that nation. I look forward to the day when our Savior and Lord returns with His people to rule from Jerusalem (Revelation 20:2-7). God is able. God has promised. God will do what He has said. Praise God forever more! The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. What He has said, what He has promised, He will do. God is not done with His Israel – not by a long shot. When Christ returns to the earth He will establish Himself as King from Jerusalem (Luke 1:32–33). The Covenant promises that God made demand a literal and physical return of Jesus to establish His kingdom. The Abrahamic Covenant promised Israel a place, a people, and a Potentate (Genesis 12:1–3). The Palestinian Covenant promised Israel the land of Canaan (Deuteronomy 30:1–10). The Davidic Covenant promised King David a Son who would rule forever (2 Samuel 7:10–13). Israel will be regathered when Christ returns (Matthew 24:31), and that nation will believe in our Jesus. The Prophet Zechariah declared:

Zechariah 12:8-10 (KJV) In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. [9] And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. [10] And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and THEY SHALL LOOK UPON ME WHOM THEY HAVE PIERCED, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Jesus is coming again. Israel will be saved. And – precious believer in Christ – you shall see it with your eyes one day. What an awesome God we serve!

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

1From the site gotquestions.org: A seeming difficulty is the fact that Matthew attributes the prophecy to Jeremiah, not Zechariah. The explanation is two-fold. First, Jeremiah also bought a field at the Lord’s command (Jeremiah 32:6-9). Second, the Hebrew Bible was divided into three sections: the Law, the Writings, and the Prophets. The Prophets began with Jeremiah, and it was common for people to refer to the whole section (which included Zechariah) as “the book of Jeremiah.”

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