Live Graciously, Not Grudgingly

Obadiah 8-16 Shall I not in that day, saith the Lord, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? 9 And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter. 10 For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever. 11 In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them. 12 But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. 13 Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; 14 Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress. 15 For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.

We last studied the Book of Obadiah Sunday, March 24, 2013 – some 8 years, 5 months, and 7 days ago. How many of you remember what we talked about that day? Just joking – I can’t remember what I had for breakfast on most days.

Obadiah is a great book, though it is the smallest book in the Old Testament. But it’s packed with great truths.

Obadiah’s name means “Slave of the Lord”.

Obadiah is a very interesting person. On the Jewish site we find out that Obadiah was an Edomite (a descendant of Esau) by birth. Obadiah found the God of Israel – or was found of the God of Israel – and gave his life to the Lord. Obadiah was the steward or chief butler of the household of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, the seventh King of Israel. Obadiah was also the disciple of the Prophet Elijah. We read in

1 Kings 18:3-4 … Obadiah, which was the governor of {Ahab’s} house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly: 4 For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)

The Book of Obadiah is written to the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, a mountain dwelling people. As Obadiah writes, he is writing at the direction of God the destruction of his own people, the Edomites.

God does not hate the Edomites, or else He would have never chosen Obadiah to be His Prophet.

But the Edomites, like their father Esau, harbored hatred in their heart for Israel, and always stood with the enemy when Israel was attacked.

God Blessed Esau And The Edomites

God told Israel:

Deuteronomy 23:7 Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land.

God does not want His children to carry grudges. He wants us to love Him, and love others.

When you carry a grudge, it doesn’t take long before the grudge is carry YOU. Believers in God are NEVER to harbor grudges. In the Lord’s Prayer – a prayer I say often, and I’m sure you all know, God tells us to pray:

Matthew 6:11-12 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

We who are blessed of God are to forgive. Recently in our country people have pulled down statues and monuments, attempting to get rid of our checkered past. God does not want us to do that. God wants us to forgive.

God wants the red man to forgive the taking of his homeland by conquering Europeans.

God wants the black man to forgive those who took his ancestors from their homeland, to use them as slaves in America.

God wants you to forgive those who have mistreated you, and hurt you, and belittled you, no matter who they are.

What has happened, has happened. The good, the bad, and the ugly. We cannot undo history, nor the evils that was done yesterday. We can, however, change today and tomorrow. God tells us all to forgive. We offend God daily, but He forgives. We are to forgive. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Edom came about because of what happened between Esau and Jacob. Esau was the firstborn child of Isaac. As the firstborn, Esau should have received the double portion of his father’s blessing. But Jacob got the double portion. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob (Genesis 25:31-33), and the Bible says that:

Genesis 25:34 … Esau despised his birthright.

Jacob would get the birthright. But here’s the interesting truth of that whole story. It was God’s desire that Jacob get the birthright – that the lineage of Christ go through Jacob and not Esau.

God Is Always Right, Whether We Understand Or Not

Though it was traditional for the firstborn to be the chief inheritor of the family, God told Rebekah:

Genesis 25:23 Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

There were Two NATIONS,גּוֹי gôwy, {pronounced go’-ee}, “peoples” or nations in Rebekah. Her womb carried a crossroad in the history of the coming of the Messiah. It was God’s will that Messiah come through the line of Jacob, not Esau. This was determined long before either child did good or evil. The Apostle Paul, in speaking of the omnipotence and omniscience of God, said:

Romans 9:10-16 And not only this; but when Rebekah also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

God chose to use Jacob to bring forth Israel – not Esau. And yet, God was good to Esau. Though Esau lost the birthright, he was still richly blessed. Esau was not Jacob, and would never be Jacob, but God loved Esau anyway. The Bible tells us that:

Genesis 36:6-8 Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons of his house, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance, which he had got in the land of Canaan; and went into the country from the face of his brother Jacob. 7 For their riches were more than that they might dwell together; and the land wherein they were strangers could not bear them because of their cattle. 8 Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom.

Esau was given a great family. He was given great riches. Though he lost the birthright, God still gave him greater grace. God gave mount Seir to Esau and his descendants, the Edomites. When God brought Israel out of the land of Egypt many years later, He told Israel:

Deuteronomy 2:4-5 … Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore: 5 Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession.

Those Who Receive Grace Should Always
Be Gracious,
Not Grudging & Avenging

God looked after Esau and his people. But Esau and his people harbored a grudge against Israel, the children of Jacob. Esau and his descendants began to believe that their success, their blessings, came to them because they were superior, a superior people to Israel. When Israel was led out of Egypt by God, they asked to pass through the land of Edom. They were told:

Numbers 20:18-21 {Edom said} … Thou shalt not pass by me, lest I come out against thee with the sword. 19 And the children of Israel said unto him, We will go by the high way: and if I and my cattle drink of thy water, then I will pay for it: I will only, without doing anything else, go through on my feet. 20 And he said, Thou shalt not go through. And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand. 21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him.

Edom had been richly blessed by God. Now they refuse to allow their brethren to pass through their land. God tells us in His Word:

Proverbs 25:21-22 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink: 22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee. …

Exodus 23:4-5 … If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.

Proverbs 24:17-18 … Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: 18 Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him…

Those who are God’s own – blessed by God – are to let love and compassion rule their lives. When the enemy does us harm, God tells us to “turn the other cheek”. Our Lord Jesus told us:

Matthew 5:44-45 … 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.

Leave vengeance and retribution in the hands of the Lord God. “Vengeance is Mine – I SHALL REPAY – saith the Lord (Romans 12:19)”.

Yet Edom held on to their animosity against Israel.

When Southern Israel is attacked by Nebuchadnezzar II, Edom helped in that attack. The Hebrew apocryphal book 1 Esdras notes:

the temple, which the Edomites burned when Judea was made desolate by the Chaldees {the Babylonians}. (1 Esdras 4:45; Bird 2012:182-187; Böhler 2015:97-107; McCarter 1976)”

Because of their pride and their grudge-carrying, God was going to destroy the Edomites.

What You Sow, You Will Reap

Obadiah the ex-Edomite now tells the Edomites what God has told him to say.

Obadiah 9-10 … thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter. 10 For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.

Teman was a major city in Edom. Job’s friend Eliphaz (Job 2:11) was from Teman. My commentary notes that Job himself was probably from Teman in Edom. Because of Edom’s grudge carrying and attacks on Israel, they would be cut off for ever. God says that He will cut them off by slaughter. The nation – once so prosperous – would be completely destroyed, and would never recover. Obadiah himself was in no danger, for he repented and became the servant of the Lord. But to those who stood against Israel, they also stood against God. And, as the Bible says:

Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

God specifies the sins that causes the total destruction of Edom:

Obadiah 12-14 But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. 13 Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; 14 Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.

We are all made in God’s image. In that sense, all are brothers. Brothers should not hurt one another.

When Israel fell to Babylon, it was because Israel had ceased honoring the Lord their God. God used Babylon to punish His people. But Edom should never have been a part of what happened. As Israel fell,

Edom gloated at Israel’s fall.
Edom rejoiced at Israel’s fall.
Edom boasted at Israel’s fall.
Edom invaded Israel with Babylon.
Edom looted Israel.
Edom prevented any Israeli from escaping.
Edom imprisoned their brother.

What they did to Israel, God was going to do to Edom. God says:

Obadiah 15 For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.

They would have been better off letting their grudge go, and trust in the Grace of God.

It Is Much Better To Trust In God ALWAYS!

What can we take away from the Book of Obadiah? First, God is in control. Always. We often have things happen to us that we do not like. We must not dwell on those things. We must dwell upon the Lord our God. Let us love Him Who has given us so much Grace. Let us love our enemies, those who do evil to us. Let us put all our trust in God.

In the end, those who love and follow the Lord Jesus will be left standing. We read:

Obadiah 17-18 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. 18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the Lord hath spoken it.

Mount Seir, the abode of the haters & avengers,
will fall, but Mount Zion shall stand.

When you stand with God, doing as He has commanded, you will be blessed. Praise Him for His faithfulness. Trust God, though you may be in a bad spot. And let love, and a loving response, be your guiding light. I will end with this poem by Gloria Mast called “I Have No Rights”:

I have no rights, no legal claim,
No boasts of wealth, or worldwide fame,
For I am not my own.
The blood of Jesus claims my soul,
He has redeemed and made me whole,
And I am His alone.

Why then is there a war within,
One side for right, the other sin?
I feel the front-line heat.
It is because the enemy,
Tries hard to claim a part of me,
But Christ will him defeat.

I dare not think I’m strong enough,
To win alone, nor Satan bluff,
For by my strength I’ll fall.
I must my Captain’s orders heed,
His victory Manual often read,
And hasten at His call.

Trust in the Lord. Do good. Love even your enemies. In the end, the Children of God will prevail. May God through His Spirit and His Word move us all to live for His glory, both now and forever more. Amen and Amen!

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Christ The Foundation Of All Salvation

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Please turn with me in your Bibles to 2 Peter chapter 1:

Introduction: I hate most of the commercials that come on television, but occasionally I see one that is creative, comical, and compelling. The AT&T and State Farm commercials are pathetic, but I really like the newest commercial for Zillow, a real estate internet site. In that commercial a woman named “Susan” walks into a conference room filled with “Susans” – and begins talking to her different “Susans”. She asks “Negative Me” her thoughts on buying a new home, and gets a frown and a reply “Nooooooo”. Susan said, “I shouldn’t have asked you first”. Then she calls on “Spontaneous Me”, who cheerfully says, “I’m already ordering new drapes”. When she calls on “Paranoid Me”, her reply is “Why are you asking me?” Calling on “Anti-Social Me”, she just turns away from the conversation. The funniest “Me” that Susan addresses is “Lazy Me”, who when asked about a new home says “We’re going to sell our place, sort out finances? Bluhhh.” She calls on several others, which gives several humorous, then calls on “Resourceful Me”, who suggests they go to I love it because it’s creative.

It is also a reflection of life. Each of us has a different “Me” inside, several “Me’s”. There are days when I get up and, like Susan’s “Lazy Me” did, I go “Bluhhh!”. As humans we are emotional creatures, up one day, down the next. But one thing is constant for the Christian. Jesus never leaves us nor forsakes us. He is there whether we are on the mountaintop, or in the valley.

With all the different “Me’s” inside, how do I KNOW that I am saved? There are times, quite frankly, when I don’t feel good, nor even feel saved. So how do I know? I know because Jesus is present.
He is with me.
And I want to please Him. I want to obey Him.

The Apostle Peter tells us:

2 Peter 1:10-11 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Word Study: We as professor of Christ are commanded to “give diligence to make your calling and election sure”. The word “diligence” is the Greek σπουδάζω spoudázō, {pronounced spoo-dad’-zo}, which means “to quickly move, to strive, to endeavor, to study or concentrate on, to do diligence”. The believer is commanded to examine their “calling and election”. Have you been saved? Are you genuinely saved? How do you know you are saved?

Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. Our Lord Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant. This New Covenant was prophesied in the Old Testament in passages like

Jeremiah 31:31-33 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a NEW COVENANT with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day [that] I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I WILL PUT MY LAW IN THEIR INWARD PARTS, AND WRITE IT IN THEIR HEARTS; AND WILL BE THEIR GOD, and they shall be my people.

Though the New Covenant is a free gift from God, it effects a change on those who are under it’s call.

Under the Old Covenant God was far away, but the Law was near, ever condemning, ever judging. Under the New Covenant God is near, ever aiding, ever loving and writing His Law in our hearts. His Law is near!

If you are under the New Covenant, saved by faith in Christ, then God says to you “I WILL PUT MY LAW IN YOUR INWARD PARTS, AND WRITE IT IN YOUR HEART; AND WILL BE YOUR GOD, and YOU shall be ONE OF my people”. Under the Old Covenant the Law of God was written on stone, and on scrolls. Under the New Covenant God’s Law is written in our hearts by the One Who saved us.

Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant. At the first Lord’s Table Jesus said:

Luke 22:20 (KJV) ….. This cup [is] the new testament (New Covenant) in my blood, which is shed for you.

How does one know that they are under the New Covenant? We know by the Presence of God in our daily lives. I am saved – not because some doctrine or denomination tells me so, but because I have the Divine Witness. Jesus is there. God is there. He is in my daily walk. I am not perfect by any means, but God is faithful. Jesus is with us.

The Saved Follow Jesus For The Saved Belong To Jesus

A saved person follows Jesus because saved people belong – not to themselves – but to Jesus. Our Lord said:

John 10:27-28 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

When Simon first met Jesus, he followed after fish. His brother Andrew, a follower of John the Baptist, was there the day Jesus was baptized by John. Andrew believed Jesus was the Messiah, and ran home to tell his brother Simon:

John 1:41-42 {Andrew} first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld {Simon}, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jonah: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone {a petros, or Peter}.

When God made Adam and put him in charge of the world, the Bible says that “God brought {the animals} unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” When Andrew brought Simon his brother to Jesus, Jesus named Simon “Peter” or “The Rock”. From that point onward Simon became Simon Peter, or just Peter. Peter belonged to Jesus! Peter writes:

2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ ..

Word Study: Before he was saved, Simon would have written, “Simon, a fisherman”. Now that he is saved, he writes “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ”. Simon is owned by Jesus. Simon is a “servant”, the Greek δοῦλος doûlos, {pronounced doo’-los}, “a slave, one who gives himself up to another person’s will, one devoted to another’s interests”. As Peter writes, he says he is writing “to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ”. He is not addressing the lost, but those who have the same saving faith that he has. The precious faith that saves us comes to us “through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ”.

When we received Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior, God imputed His righteousness to us. Because we love and revere Jesus, we too are children of God, made right by the shed blood of our Savior. We are not “righteous” because of animal sacrifices, nor because we adhere to clean and unclean standards set up in the Book of Leviticus. The Bible says:

Romans 3:20-22 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Receiving Christ, we receive His righteousness. But we are not ours. We belong to Jesus, to God and His Kingdom. The Holy Spirit indwells us because of Christ. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). We belong to God our Savior. We are servants of the Lord Jesus!

We are not just servants of Jesus, though. We are works in progress. The Apostle says:

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

As you study God’s Word, and your “knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord” grows, “Grace and peace” grow in your lives. A Christian is a child of God, and children GROW. Children that stay the same either physically or mentally are abnormal children. Salvation is by grace – but true grace is always multiplied. The Bible says:

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Every believer in Christ, just like Peter, should be living a dynamic life. We should all be growing daily in both faith and works. Some might say, “But I don’t have all I need to grow as a Christian”. Peter says that you are wrong. Read on:

2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

If you are a Christian by faith in Christ, you have “all things that pertain unto life and godliness”. You are saved by faith in Jesus. The same Jesus that looked over and guided Peter, is the same Jesus Who looks over and guides you. The same Holy Spirit indwells both you and Peter.

The Saved Do Not Follow The Lust Of The World

2 Peter 1:4 …Whereby are given unto us EXCEEDING GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES: that by these YE MIGHT BE PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

The saved person does not follow the lusts of the world. The saved person follows Jesus. The saved person imitates Jesus. The saved person is a “PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE”. We are partners or sharers of the DIVINE nature. Jesus Christ saves us from sin, from the evil ways of this world. Is it possible to feel same sex attraction, and yet be a Christian? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible to feel illicit heterosexual feelings and be a Christian? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible to fall into habitual and repeated homosexual or heterosexual activities and be saved? No, it is not possible. When we received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, God the Holy Spirit came to indwell us. Our old man died. We are partakers, sharers or partners of God’s nature, not of the world. The Apostle Paul wrote:

Romans 6:11-14 reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 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.

Temptation is not sin. The drawings of the flesh are not sin. The Bible says of Jesus:

Hebrews 4:15 {Jesus was} in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

The Christian is destined to be like Jesus. Jesus Christ died to make you more like Himself. The writer of Hebrews wrote:

Hebrews 2:9-10 (KJV) But WE SEE JESUS, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. [10] For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in BRINGING MANY SONS UNTO GLORY, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

God wants to bring you to glory, to make you like His dear Son. The Apostle said:

Romans 8:29 (KJV) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

God the Father wants you to be just like Jesus. God the Son wants you to be just like Jesus. The indwelling God the Holy Spirit wants you to be just like Jesus. This is the target that you should shoot for, the goal that the Almighty wants to see you reach. We turn away from the world, but toward God.

2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

When you ask some professing Christians how they know they’re saved, they talk about what they don’t do rather than what they do. Christians are to be builders, partners with God. We are not to be one with the world. The Bible says:

Ephesians 5:1-8 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

We belong to God. We are “workers together with God” (2 Corinthians 6:1). The Apostle says:

vs 5 add to your faith virtue

Word Study: “Virtue” is the Greek ἀρέτη arétē, {pronounced ar-et’-ay}, which means “moral excellence”. Earlier we read that (2 Peter 1:3) “God hath called us to GLORY and VIRTUE {arétē}, moral excellence. The Holy Spirit Who indwells us empowers us to add moral excellence to our faith. The Bible says:

Galatians 5:22-23 the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

All of these characteristics are what the Spirit of God will produce in the genuine believer. If you have faith, ask God to develop these characteristics in your Christian walk. This is the Way of Christ.

A faith that does not work for Christ to make you more Christlike is a faith that will ultimately not work to get you to Heaven! Heaven is for the children of God.

The Christian is not to be swept up in the sinful fads of this world, no matter how “politically correct” they may be.
Jesus never “slept around”.
Jesus never broke God’s Law.
Jesus never excused those who broke God’s Law.
Jesus never lied or cursed.
Jesus was never mean spirited.
Jesus spoke the truth in love.
Jesus adhered to the Word of God.

The stepbrother of our Lord Jesus, James wrote:

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Reject sin, and seek moral excellence. This is what Jesus gave His life for. The Apostle goes on to say:

2 Peter 1:5 (KJV) And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue KNOWLEDGE;

• Add to virtue KNOWLEDGE. Learn of Christ. Study Him. Study His teachings. Do what Jesus says. 

Matthew 11:28-29 Come unto me, all [ye] that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

We usually read the comfort part of this text without reading that “and learn of Me”. Jesus said “come to Me and learn from Me. Do what I did. Follow My examples. Walk in My shoes.”

2 Peter 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

• Add to knowledge TEMPERANCE (ἐγκράτεια enkráteia, eng-krat'-i-ah), also known as SELF CONTROL.  The word “temperance” refers to how you control your body, your passions and your expression of passion. Christians are to be self controlled as temperance is within the Fruit of the Spirit. Jesus was self controlled. He controlled His anger, His tongue, and His appetites in a way that glorified God. 

• Add to temperance PATIENCE.  We are impatient people, but God is patient. He allows the world to make bad decisions day after day without dropping the hand of judgment on the earth. 

2 Peter 3:9 (KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is LONGSUFFERING to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

God waits because He wants as many saved as possible to enter into His family of faith. James saw patience as a worker in our lives when he wrote:

James 1:2-4 (KJV) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh PATIENCE. 4 But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

God uses trials to form us, to mold us. So we must be patient, trusting the Lord as we go through this life. Never give up, never give in, but always give God the glory! Learn the art of silence & waiting.

Psalms 27:14 (KJV) Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

• Add to patience GODLINESS.  To be godly is to seek to please God. 

We are saved Sons of God who should want to please our God. Godliness means to have a personal attitude toward God that asks before doing “will this make my Father happy?”

2 Peter 1:7 (KJV) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

• Add to godliness BROTHERLY KINDNESS.  Be kind to others. When they mess up, be kind. If you must correct someone, be kind. To be kind is to be gentle.

Ephesians 4:32 (KJV) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Jesus was always kind – though He could be harsh. If a kind word would do, this was His way. And finally, to our faith we are to add one more ingredient.

• Add to brotherly kindness CHARITY. Love all. Let love rule your lives.  

Hebrews 10:24 (KJV) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

Love one another. Lift one another up. Jesus said,

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

The faith that is “added to” is a growing faith. The Apostle says:

2 Peter 1:8-9 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

The Christian who seeks moral excellence, knowledge of Jesus, temperance, patience, godliness, kindness, and love is the growing Christian. The professing Christian who does NOT do these things in service to the King, is “blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins”. That person may not be saved! One of my commentaries notes:

“Believers’ ultimate hope is in the character of the Father, the work of the Son, and the wooing of the Spirit. However, these are confirmed in individual believers by their lives of faith, godliness, etc. (2 Peter 1:5-7; Philippians 2:12-13). God deals with humanity in a covenant relationship. He sets the agenda, He initiates the encounter, He draws us to Himself, but we must initially and continually respond in repentance, faith, service, obedience, and perseverance. The gospel is a person to be welcomed, a truth to be believed, and a life to be lived! If any one is left out, mature, biblical salvation is impossible.”

We as believers are desperately needed in America and around the world today to stand firm with Jesus Christ our Savior. If you are saved, ACT SAVED. Obey Jesus. Add to your faith moral excellence. Do not compromise with the world of darkness – for you are to be the Light of Christ. May God the Holy Spirit move you toward spiritual growth and maturity, for Christ’s sake and the glory of God our Father. Amen and amen!

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The Day Jesus Became Like A Brass Snake

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to John chapter 3. Last Sunday night we spoke on “We Must Be Born Again”. Jesus had a member of the Sanhedrim (the Ruling Elders of Israel) come to visit by night, a man by the name of Nicodemus. Nicodemus was, according to Jesus,

John 3:10 … a master of Israel …

The word Jesus used to describe Nicodemus was master, the Greek διδάσκαλος didaskalos, or a “Master Teacher”. When Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be “born again”, Nicodemus was confused. But Jesus clarified it. He said,

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Those who enter God’s Kingdom, whether on earth or in Heaven, must be spiritually born into it.

The Holy Spirit of God must work a work in your heart if you will be born into God’s Kingdom.

Only God Can Make A Child Of Adam A Son Of God

No one can make themselves “born again”. Those who are “born again” are born “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). New Birth is spiritual – it comes through the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus said:

John 6:63 It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.

Word Study: It is the Holy Spirit that quickeneth, the Greek ζωοποιέω zōopoiéō, {pronounced dzo-op-oy-eh’-o}, which means “to give life, to make your born again”. As Jesus spoke, He spoke through the power of God the Holy Spirit. As Jesus did the miraculous, He did this “by the finger of God” (Luke 11:20), “by the Spirit of God” (Matthew 12:28). Jesus is speaking Biblical truths through the power of God the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us that It is the Spirit that gives spiritual life. The flesh cannot do this. There is nothing that fallen man can do to bring the “new birth” or “being born again” into his or her life. “It is God Who quickeneth (gives life to, causes you to be born again) the dead” (Romans 4:17). The Apostle said in another text:

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

It is faith in Christ that saves the lost. It is the power of the Holy Spirit – moving based on that faith – that the believer is “born again” or quickened. It is “the Holy Spirit that giveth life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). The Law cannot give life. Our works cannot give life. The Law of God – the sacrifices and the feasts of Israel, the shadows of clean and unclean – this Law is good, but cannot save. The Law only points out our need of salvation. The Bible says:

Galatians 3:21-26 if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 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.

It is faith in Christ and His Word that brings salvation from death and damnation. Upon faith in Christ, the Spirit moves, and causes the believer to be born again. Only the born again go to Heaven!

God’s Son Is Giving A Divine Eye Witness Account

John 3:11-13 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

Please pay particular attention to the pronouns Jesus uses in this section. Jesus starts out speaking in first person singular, I say unto thee”. But then He switches to plural pronouns, saying We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen. Some believe that Jesus was speaking of Himself and John the Baptist, but I don’t think so. In verse 13 Jesus notes that He and He alone has both ascended up to heaven and has come down from heaven. Jesus is telling us that He alone is an eyewitness of that which He is saying. So who is the We Jesus is speaking of? He is speaking of the Godhead – Father, Son, and Spirit. Dr Thomas Constable notes:

Jesus here claimed to be the “Son of Man” (of Daniel 7:13-14) who had come “from heaven” to reveal God to humankind (see John 1:51).”

It is Jesus Who – as the Word of God – “was in the beginning with God, and was God {the Son}” (John 1:1). The source of Jesus knowledge is not what another Rabbi has said, but what is true, directly from the Throne of God. When Jesus uses the pronoun “We”, He is equating Himself to God. Jesus Christ is God, God in the flesh. Jesus is eternal, preexistent God, co-equal and co-eternal to both Father and Spirit.

Nicodemus thinks he is speaking to another Rabbi, another Didaskalos. Jesus is so much more.
Jesus is GOD, Manifest for us.

J. Oswald Sanders wrote, “If Jesus is not God, then there is no Christianity, and we who worship Him are nothing more than idolaters. Conversely, if He is God, those who say He was merely a good man, or even the best of men, are blasphemers. More serious still, if He is not God, then He is a blasphemer in the fullest sense of the word. If He is not God, He is not even good.”

Billy Graham said, “Jesus Christ is God in human flesh, and the story of His life, death, and resurrection is the only Good News the world will ever hear.”

Jesus is God become Man, Perfect Man, Sinless Man. God the Father says to God the Son:

Hebrews 1:8 … Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.

Jesus Christ is God the Son. As He speaks to Nicodemus – and us – He is relaying the plan of Heaven to this fallen earth. But Nicodemus still doesn’t understand. So Jesus tells Nicodemus the true Bible Story of ..

The Day A Snake Saved Israel

Very few people like snakes. I like them dead. But Jesus now tells the story – a familiar story to a Bible Teacher like Nicodemus – of the day a snake saved Israel. Jesus told Nicodemus:

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

To understand this story you have to go to the Book of Numbers. God had led Israel out of Egypt by a mighty hand. Israel walked through the Red Sea as if on dry land (Exodus 14:29), and God, in love with His people, was going to given them the land of Canaan. As Israel got to the borders of Canaan, they decided to send spies into the land. The spies returned, and the majority brought back a faithless report to the people. “There we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers” (Numbers 13:33).

Though saved, unbelieving Israel would not enter the blessed Promised Land. Unbelief and failure to obey God brings a loss of blessing.

God told that generation of Israel in Numbers 14:23, “Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; 23 Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it”.

Israel like a backslidden child wandered aimlessly. Their wanderings are recorded in Numbers chapters 13-36.Rather than learn from their wandering, Israel continued to rebel against God’s leadership. The Bible says that

1 Samuel 15:23 Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

The idea that a believer saved by grace can freely walk on God is ludicrous! Once saved, we become God’s possession (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and God’s children (Galatians 3:26). God punishes His children. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:6).

In Numbers 20 God led Israel to Kadesh, where Miriam (Moses’ sister) died. Moses mourned the death of his sister. But Israel continued in unbelief. They murmured against Moses because there was no water there. God told Moses to:

Numbers 20: 8 … 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.

This is a picture of the resurrected Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote, “{our fathers, Israel} drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4). The Rock that Moses was to speak to represented the risen Jesus, the One Who promised whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life”. (John 4:14). Moses was to SPEAK to the Rock that was Christ. Instead, Moses STRUCK the Rock. Though water came out (for God is gracious, and God is good), God told BOTH Moses and Aaron:

Numbers 20:12 … Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.

Disobedience and faithlessness, even in Moses and Aaron, causes a loss of blessing. At Mount Hor Aaron died, and Eleazar his son became High Priest. As we come to Numbers chapter 21, the Canaanites attacked Israel. The Bible says:

Numbers 21:2-3 Israel vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities. 3 And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites…

Israel should have been pleased, and should have been full of praise for the Lord. But once more, the way became hard. The Bible says:

Numbers 21:5 … the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

The Wages Of Sin Is Death. Here Come The Serpents!

Our God is gracious and long suffering. But to turn away from honoring God, to mock Him and His leadership, is to play with fire. God heard the words of Israel. The Bible says:

Numbers 21:6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

The Lord sent fiery serpents”. Why did God send “fiery serpents”? God does nothing by accident. God sent punishment and trials in many different ways.

  • When David numbered the army of Israel, God sent a pestilence that killed 70,000 people (2 Samuel 24).
  • When Miriam, Moses’ sister, mocked Moses’ wife, God caused leprosy to fall on her (Numbers 12:10).
  • God caused the earth to open up and swallow those who tried to overthrow Moses (Numbers 16:32)
  • God brought ten plagues on Egypt (Exodus 7-12), from turning the Nile to blood to the death of the firstborn.

God could have sent any punishment to Israel He wanted. Why send poisonous snakes?

The Bible tells us that:

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

The one man that brought sin into the world was Adam. And Adam’s fall was prompted by the temptation of Satan in the guise of a snake. Satan had fallen from Heaven, leading a revolt against God. Satan is defined in

Revelation 12:9 … And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world

It was Satan in the form of a serpent who tempted Adam and Eve to sin. Adam was supposed to obey God and lead his family. Instead, he disobeyed God and obeyed that Old Serpent Satan. The Israel that God saved from Egypt was supposed to be following their Savior, and honoring Him with their lives. Instead of this, they were murmuring, complaining, and blaspheming God. They said, our soul loatheth this light bread, speaking disparagingly of the manna that God in grace gave them. The Bible tells us that:

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

Unconfessed sin and rebellious living brings with it a just wage, and that wage is separation from God and death. Man in the Garden of Eden listened to the serpent, and brought sickness, sweat, suffering, and sadness into the world. What better way to focus Israel and the truth than to use serpents – poisonouns snakes – the wage for their disobedience. The Bible says,much people of Israel died. God told Israel, and us,

Deuteronomy 8:5-6 … as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee. 6 Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.

Suffering woke Israel up. The Bible says:

Numbers 21:7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

God sent the serpents to get Israel’s attention. He could have sent anything as a plague, but sent the serpents. Moses prayed, “Lord, we repent! Take away the serpents”. God could have taken away the serpent with just a wish.

The Brass Serpent Represents Jesus Christ

Numbers 21:8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

Moses was not to take a dead serpent and put it on a pole. This would do nothing. Moses was to make a serpent of brass, and set it on a pole. Those who were bitten by the poisonous snakes (symbolic of sin) were to looketh upon the brass serpent and they would live. There was no power in the brass serpent. The power was in their faith in God. God told them to “look, and live”, and if they did that, they were healed.

As Jesus speaks to Nicodemus, He uses this brass serpent to describe what He will do on the Cross of Calvary. Jesus said:

John 3:14-15 … And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

How are we saved from Satan, that Old Serpent, and the snake of sin that he brings to the world? We look upon Jesus and believe. We look at Jesus, Who died for our sins. Moses made a serpent of brass and put it on a pole. The serpent of brass looked like but really wasn’t a serpent. But to look on it was to live. When Jesus went to the Cross, He looked just like any man would look. Jesus didn’t look special. Yet Jesus was like that brass serpent. The Bible says that Jesus Christ was “in the beginning with God, and was God” (John 1:1-3). The Bible says that Jesus Christ came into this world through a virgin birth, a miraculous birth. The angel told the virgin Mary that:

Luke 1:35 … 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.

The Apostle Matthew wrote,

Matthew 1:23 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.

Jesus Christ walked this earth as God with us. He was perfect in every way. Jesus is the “Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus Christ was,

Hebrews 4:15 in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus had to be sinless in order to make payment for our sins. Jesus, like the brass serpent, was nailed to a tree.

Hebrews 9:28 Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many …

The Lord Jesus, like the brass serpent of Moses, would be “lifted up” on the Cross of Calvary. As the brass was made to look like a serpent, Jesus Christ – eternal God in human form – was made to look like us who are sinners. He was made a curse so that we could be blessed.

Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Jesus was made a curse for us when He was lifted up on Calvary on that cruel cross. The Bible says:

2 Corinthians 5:21 {God the Father} hath made {Jesus} to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Israel was saved by looking at the brass serpent, faithfully doing as God said so as to be blessed. We today are saved by looking at Jesus Christ on Calvary. We look to Jesus Christ for salvation, believing that He and He alone is God’s method to save. There is no possible salvation to anyone outside of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 3:14 …. even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

Jesus knew that He had to die for our sins. He would say later in His ministry:

John 12:32-33 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.

Salvation comes when we recognize that we have been “bitten” by sin, and that we need the Savior. When we look up at our Brass Serpent, Jesus Christ the Lord, obediently looking at Him in faith, we are saved. We are saved by looking at Jesus on the Cross, by believing that He died for our sins.

It is Grace that saves, not our works. We look up to be saved. Just as Israel was poisoned by their sin, apart from Christ we are poisoned creatures. Sin poisons us. Self poisons us. We have no life within. We violate God’s Law without guilt, for we are bit by the snake of sin. Baptismal water will not save us. Water did not save Israel that day they were punished by God. What saved Israel is the same thing that saves us. We must have faith in our God. We must receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We have God’s promise:

John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Jesus Christ did not come to this earth to give us more of earth’s riches, He came to this earth to give us eternal life. I pray that you know Him as both Lord and Savior! May God through His Spirit and His Word move your hearts to love Jesus this very day. Amen and amen!

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You Must Be Born Again!

Turn with me in your Bibles to John chapter 2.

Last Sunday we saw Jesus chasing the buyers and the sellers out of the Temple on the Day of Passover. Jesus literally whipped them out with a scourge. I won’t re-preach what I said last week, other than to note the Scripture of:

Hebrews 12:5-8 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

God disciplines His children. He allows trials to come our way to make us more like Jesus. The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire” (1 Peter 1:7). Trials teach us to lean more on Jesus. Trials drive us into the arms of the Master. Trials stop us from thinking WE are GOD, and turn to Him Who is indeed God.

God also disciplines His children for disobedience. Just as God the Son used the scourge in the Temple, God uses the scourge on His children when they disobey Him. If you are never disciplined of God, then are ye bastards {illegitimate}, and not sons. Praise God that He loves me enough to chastise me when I err!

Jesus Came To Fix What Was In Man

John 2:23-25 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

You need to carefully read ALL the Scripture, for then you find out great truths. Having read about Jesus chasing the buyers and the sellers out of the Temple – do you remember that song Anne Murray sang back in 1970?

Every Time I look into the Holy Book I wanna tremble
When I read about the part where the carpenter cleared the temple
For the buyers and the sellers were no different fellers,
than what I profess to be
It causes me shame to know I’m not the person that I should be!
Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water;
Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea;
Take a look at yourself and you can look at others differently;
By putting your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee.

Word Study: While Jesus was at the Passover on the Feast day, He did miracles. This is the Greek σημεῖον sēmeîon, {pronounced say-mi’-on}, which means “miracle, sign, token, wonder. Something by which Jesus was marked as distinguished from all other Rabbis.” The Pharisees were always looking for a sēmeîon from Jesus (Matthew 12:38; 16:1). When Jesus identified Judas Iscariot at the one who would betray Him, He kissed Judas (Matthew 26:48), and this was called a sēmeîon. Jesus did things that no other person could do, things that the Bible calls sēmeîon. We don’t know specifically what He did – John does not tell us – but whatever Jesus was did was so significant and repeated that the Bible says:

vs 23 many believed in his name

Do you see that? They believed that Jesus was Who He said He was. They believed that He was the Messiah. But something was amiss. Even though they believed in his name the Bible says:

John 2:24-25 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man

Word Study: The word translated commit is the Greek πιστεύω pisteúō, {pronounced pist-yoo’-o}, which is commonly translated as “to have faith in, to trust, to believe in” {to “believe” is found 239x in the KJV). They believed Jesus was Who He said He was, but Jesus did not believe their profession. Why? The text tells us that:

vs 24 because {Jesus} knew all men,
25 … for he knew what was in man

Jesus knows the hearts of every person. Our Lord Jesus came to this earth to fix what ails us, and that is, to change our hearts. Under the Old Covenant people followed God, and made sacrifices to God, even keeping His Law. But they had a HEART problem. Every son of Adam has the same problem – they are physically alive, but spiritually dead. The theological term for this is total depravity. The doctrine of total depravity teaches that – because of Adam’s fall (Genesis 3:6) – every person is born into this world with a sin corrupted nature.

The mind, the will, the emotions, and even the flesh of the person without Christ is spiritually dead.

Those who were under the Law of Moses – who faithfully and repeatedly made animal sacrifices like those of the Passover – had a heart problem from birth. The Prophet Isaiah, a disciple of God under the Old Covenant, wrote:

Isaiah 64:6-8 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. 8 But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

Isaiah looked forward to the day when God the Potter would take us, and remake us, so that our heart would be devoted to God and not to religion. Religion cannot save. The sacrifices of Moses cannot save. The writer of Hebrews said:

Hebrews 10:4 … it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

The animal sacrifices made did not take away sin. Salvation from sin has always come about by faith in God. “The just shall live by his faith {in God} has been the teaching of God’s Word, from the Old Testament Habakkuk 2:4 to the New Testament Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11 & Hebrews 10:38. Abraham our father in the faith:

Romans 4:3 Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Abraham’s heart was turned to God. He trusted – not in the animal sacrifice – but in God. God did a work in Abraham – and Abraham believed.

Salvation is not a work of man, but a work of God in man. The Bible teaches that everyone was once:

Ephesians 2:1-3 … dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the {ways} of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

People are born – as David wrote in Psalm 51:5, “shapen in iniquity”. Only God can change the heart.

Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged {from God} from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

The people who saw Jesus didn’t entrust their lives to Jesus. They “believed in His name”. They believed that He was a special Person, greater than any Rabbi they had seen. These people are like so many today. They do not want Jesus, nor do they want to serve the living God through Him.

They want more of the goods of this world.
They want miracles, the healings.
They want more of the free wine that was made at Cana.
They want a god who will make them comfortable,
Not THE God Who would make them sons of God.

Jesus knew what was in their hearts. Though they said they believed in Jesus, Jesus didn’t believe in them. We have same problem today in America. People say they believe in Jesus, but Beloved, Jesus sees the heart.

Jesus sees that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked … who can know it? Well, Jesus can. Jesus does. Jesus knows the heart. But that’s why He came. Jesus came to fix the heart. Jesus did not come to bring about a new religion, but a new relationship with God. The Prophets looked forward to God the Messiah’s bringing in of the New Covenant. Moses prophesied in:

Deuteronomy 30:6 … the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Jeremiah who preached among a hardened Israel, prophesied in:

Jeremiah 31:31-33 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

The Messiah – God the Son – would bring in a NEW COVENANT that would change the heart. It would fix the person from the inside outward. God promised:

Ezekiel 36:26-27 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

God promised to change the heart. He promised to put my spirit within you, to radically change those who would hear Him. Let me say this with all the love I can muster:

You can be religious, and yet go to hell when you die.
You don’t need religion. You need a relationship.
You need to be reborn, to leave the way of Adam.
Only Jesus can do this.

You Must Be Born Again!

Right after these wonderful texts we have expounded, we come to chapter 3. There is a man called Nicodemus who comes to Jesus by night.

John 3:1-2 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Word Study: Nicodemus is a ruler of the Jews. He is ἄρχων árchōn, {pronounced ar’-khone}, which means “a ruler, commander, chief, leader, someone preeminent”. Several commentaries note that Nicodemus was possibly a key member of the Sanhedrim, the 70 rulers over Israel. In verse 10 Jesus calls Nicodemus a MASTER of Israel, wherein the word MASTER is the Greek διδάσκαλος didáskalos, {pronounced did-as’-kal-os}, which means “a Master Teacher, one with a Doctorate or great skills in interpreting the Talmud”. Here is a great man, a man well known to all, even Jesus. He didn’t come in and stick out his hand and say, “Hi Jesus, I’m Nicodemus”. This man was well known. This well known man said two things about Jesus:

  • (vvs 2) We know that thou art a teacher {didáskalos} come from God. Nicodemus tells Jesus We know. The Sanhedrim affirmed that Jesus was a MASTER of Israel, a didáskalos. This is powerful endorsement at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. If Jesus responds favorably He can expect the support of the most powerful men in Israel – something any of us would love to have if we were in a similar situation. A Master Teacher affirms Jesus as a Master Teacher, someone that God sent.
  • Nicodemus also told Jesus no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus did not just come FROM God, but God is with him. Again, this is a fantastic endorsement! How would Jesus respond?

Jesus ignored what Nicodemus said, flattering as it was. I love this quote:

Some teachers use flattery as a means to increase personal followings. Leaders desiring to attract a crowd sometimes water down their message until the gospel is reduced to little more than a God-tainted self-improvement program. They pepper their talks with cheerful verses and illustrations designed to make their hearers feel better about themselves (and about the teachers). There is much talk about discovering one’s potential and developing personal greatness. This is nothing more than flattery intended to create popularity for the speaker and his or her message. It sells books and media time, but it often bears little resemblance to the message Jesus proclaimed.”

Jesus didn’t take the bait! Jesus came to this earth not to be flattered, nor to develop a new religion, but to bring people into the Family of God. You must be supernaturally born into the Family of God. Jesus said:

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

We have shown earlier that, according to the Scripture, those without Christ are dead in trespasses and in sins. Those without Jesus are blind to the truths of God. Like Nicodemus, they might be religious, faithfully religious. They might be a big name in the religious circuit. But their hearts are far from God – they are but children of Adam. You must have another birth.

I suspect there are many professing Christians in the world today who may be seminary trained. They may study their Bibles religiously. They may be faithful members of a local Church. But they are missing something most integral. You must be born again. Jesus said:

John 6:44 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.

God must draw the dead to God. When the Gospel of Jesus Christ is shared, I believe that God gives us a knowledge of our dead spiritual state. Jesus said:

John 14:26 … the Comforter, {Who} is the Holy {Spirit}, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Nicodemus needs to be born again. He needs to be “regenerated” by the Spirit of God. Nicodemus cannot see the Kingdom of God unless he personally and individually is “born again”. What Jesus says to Nicodemus confuses him. He asks Jesus:

John 3:4 … How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

Being “born again” is not to go through the birthing process you already have gone through. Being “born again” is being born a second and distinctly different time. Jesus said:

John 3:5-7 … Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Jesus started out by saying that you must be “born again to SEE the Kingdom of God”. Now Jesus says you must be “born again to ENTER the Kingdom of God”. This is a second, supernatural birth. Jesus said you must beborn of water AND of the Spirit. You are born of water when you enter this life through your mother. Unborn babies float in a sack of amniotic fluid – water – until they are born. When the sack busts, the baby is born, and enters the world a new creature. Jesus said, That which is born of the flesh is flesh. The newborn baby did nothing to assist in this “water birth” but rest in it’s mother.

The child of Adam is born of the flesh.
The child of God is born of the Spirit.

Regeneration or being Born Again is referred to as a “washing” in the New Testament, a “washing” by the Holy Spirit:

Titus 3:5-6 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; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior;

The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 6:11 … ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

The Christian is a person who is – because of the Spirit of God – a “new creature in Christ”. We are no longer sons of Adam – we are sons of God. The Apostle said:

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

A Christian is not a Christian because of their denomination. A Christian is a Christian because God the Holy Spirit has made them so. I believe that a Child of God,

Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Is a person that heard the call of Christ. Responding to that call, that person repents of following their own definition of good and evil, and begins to willingly follow Jesus as both Lord and Savior. Upon calling upon Christ, the Holy Spirit of God – the same Spirit that opens our eyes to our need for Jesus – performs spiritual surgery on us. He changes our hearts, and makes us children of God. We no longer blend with the world. We are His, and He is ours.

Jesus Christ is our Elder Brother, and our King.
We belong to God!
We are possessed of God.
We are indwelt of God.
We are to walk as sons of God.
We will one day be in glory with God!

Jesus tells Nicodemus,

John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Jesus gives a beautiful illustration of the Holy Spirit here. The Holy Spirit – just like a wind in the trees – you do not see His coming nor His movement, but you see the effect on the trees. I did not see the Holy Spirit walk into the Church the day I was saved. But I felt Him blow through my soul. I felt my heart change. What I loved before, the sins I cherished, I now hate. The light I once shunned so that I could dance in the darkness, now I despise it. The lonely life I once lived, now I live in Christ. The Apostle put it this way:

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

I live by the faith of the Son of God”. I have faith in Him, and He has faith in me. He knows who I am, and I cherish Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior every day.

The Children Of God Have Eternal Security

The Apostle told the Hebrews:

Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

To leave this life a child of Adam – oh, how terrible that will be! To know Him only as the living God. Jesus will not commit Himself to you, if you will not receive Him as He is. Jesus is both Lamb of God and King of Kings. Jesus is the sacrifice for our sins, the Savior of our souls, but the Sovereign of our lives. If you know Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior – if you have called on Him with a heart awakened to Him by the Spirit – then you are secure in His arms.

On the day that Jesus hung on that terrible Cross for you and I, two thieves hung next to Him, one on the left and the other on the right. We are all born thieves. We steal God’s glory, and apply it to ourselves. We refuse to thank Him for the gift of life, nor even to acknowledge Him as the Giver of all that we have. We refuse to worship Him, but worship ourselves, and worship idols on television or on streaming services. We rob God of His due.

But He loves us anyway.

The thief on the left mocked Jesus. “If you be the son of God, save US and Yourself” (Luke 23:39). He was a thief still. But the thief on the right, he repented. “We receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss” (Luke 23:41). Repentance acknowledges that we should never have eaten the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Repentance doesn’t make excuses, or blame someone else. Repentance opens the eyes, and looks in the mirror, and looking, sees a sinner. The thief on the right, dying, looked at Jesus, and said:

Luke 23:42 … Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

Lord”! Dying, that man was born again into God’s Kingdom. “Today you shall be with Me in Paradise”. Beloved, you must be born again! Receive Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior! Receive Him as Lamb of God, slain for your sins. Receive Him as Lord of glory, the ruler of your life. Of His fullness receive eternal security in His family. May God move on your hearts this very day. Amen and Amen!

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It Is Right To Fear The Lord

Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

Do you “Fear The Lord”?

Turn with me in your Bibles to Psalm 34

I think we live in a day where people fear lots of things. They fear:

Spiders & Snakes
Peer Pressure
Social Media banning
Coronavirus & The Delta VariantDiseases like Cancer
Getting OldPainBeing called a name, like “Bigot”,


But I don’t think people today have a “fear of the Lord”. Too many have heard verses over-preached like,

1 John 4:16 … we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

God does love us. But we also need to fear the Lord. Did you know that

  • The phrase “God is love” is found 2 times in the Scripture,
  • But the phrase “fear the Lord” is found 30 times? And,
  • The phrase “fear God” is found 10 times.
  • The phrase “fear of God” is found 8 times in the Scripture.

That’s – if you’re counting – 48 to 2. Solomon, the wisest leader the world ever knew, wrote:

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools (those who do not fear God) despise wisdom and instruction.

The humanist and the atheist believes that all people are basically good at heart. God’s Word tells us of the lost that:

Romans 3:10-18 … There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

The mark of the lost person is that they have no fear of God before their eyes. So, so you fear God? Do you have fear of the Lord? If you are saved, you should. You really should.

What Does It Mean To Fear The Lord? The word translated fear is in the Greek φόβος phóbos, {pronounced fob’-os}, and in the Hebrew רְאָה yirʼâh, {pronounced yir-aw’}. The words are defined as having “fear, dread, terror”.

When applied to God, “fear” refers to “an awe of, a reverence for, a deep and abiding respect, and yes, an understanding that God CAN and WILL punish.

Illustrate: Some unknown individual crawled underneath our Church van, and cut the catalytic converter out of the engine. They had no fear of God. God, to them, was imaginary, or a little old wizened man up in the sky. People commit crimes every day. They have no fear of God. People fall into sexual sin daily, contrary to God’s Biblical standard. They have no fear of God. People hate, carry grudges, seek vengeance. They have no fear of God.

It is the act of a fool to have no fear of God. It is God Who made all things that you see and that you do not see. It is God Who, despising sin, engineered the destruction of the entire world by water in Noah’s day. It is God Who causes nations to form, and to fall. When Adam sinned, it is God Who allowed the fall of all creation in accordance with His Word. It is God Who hates sin so much that the only way we could be brought back into union with Him is through the horrible crucifixion and death of the Son of God!

Fear Of The Lord Is The Beginning Of Blessing

In Psalm 34, we read the words of a man that was very blessed of God. This man was called David. The Bible tells us that David was a man after God’s own heart. The first King of Israel was Saul, a man who had no fear of God. Saul treated his call from God as if he deserved it. God called Saul to be King, to follow the leading of the Lord. Saul didn’t, so he lost his kingdom. The Prophet Samuel told King Saul,

1 Samuel 13:14 … now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.

Saul did not love God. Saul did not fear God. Saul did not do that which the Lord commanded. So God sent Samuel to the House of Jesse to find a replacement for Saul. God said (Acts 13:22) I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will. David feared the Lord. David loved God, but feared displeasing Him. But fearing the Lord, David was blessed. David writes:

Psalm 34:1-2 I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

When we make ourselves bigger than we are, we do so because we do not fear God. We are and have what we have because GOD HAS GIVEN IT. The life you have, you have it by God’s grace. If you have a nice home, you have it because God allowed it. If you have beautiful children, you have it because God has allowed it.

Oh, that we would squash down that pride inside of ourselves, and fear the Lord. Oh, that we would HEAR the words we sing:

I am weak but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

THAT is fearing God. Realizing that HE IS GOD and I AM NOT. David feared the Lord. He stood in awe of Who God is. David did not want just what God could do – David wanted GOD. David realized what ever circumstance that God brought to his life, that it came according to the will of God. David said:

vs 1 I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

You fear the Lord when you PRAISE Him, even in the bad times. God allows ALL TIMES to come to us. Yes, God loves us. But God controls all things. If something happens in our lives, it is because GOD ALLOWED IT or GOD CAUSED IT. To fear the Lord is to PRAISE HIM even when you’re in a valley. The Apostle Paul said it this way:

Philippians 4:11-13 I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

When you have fear of the Lord, you seek His glory at all times – even when you are in the valley. There are no accidents, no coincidences. God controls all.

Pastor Marshall Segal of Desiring God Ministries notes:

The fear of God is a heart level embrace of the intensity of His holy and solemn authority over all. It is an admission that God is worthy of our admiration, devotion, reverence, and awe. It is a face-to-the-ground, trembling-in-the-soul, all-of-life-submission unto God – a heart that senses how small, sinful, and undeserving we are next to Him, and yet still dares, in Christ, to draw near to Him.”

Those who know the fear of the Lord acknowledge that God is big – but we are small. Though David was King of Israel – a choice assignment to be in – David knew that he was not there because he was better than others – but was King because God made him King. David writes:

Psalm 34:2 My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

David controlled his emotions – his “little man”. Do you all know what I’m talking about when I speak of the “little man”? I have one. He pops up whenever someone says, “That was a good sermon, preacher”. That “little man” pops up, that fellow we call PRIDE. You cannot have fear of the Lord and have PRIDE. I have to constantly remind myself, “David, what you have, whatever you do, if it is good, it comes of the Lord!” It is fear of the Lord that says:

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Illustrate Do you remember Peter the Apostle, when he was shamed by a rooster? “Not me, Lord! Though everyone denies You, I will never deny You!” Jesus told Peter, “this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice”. Jesus knew. God always knows. That very night, Peter denied Jesus. When Peter heard the rooster crow, “he went out, and wept bitterly”. A changed Peter would later write:

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

What we have – what we hope to be – is all in the hands of our God. God is in control! We will praise Him, though all fall apart.

Fear Of The Lord Causes Burdens To Lift

Psalm 34:3, 5 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. 5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.

Do you have fear of the Lord – or fear of people? David had fear of the Lord. He cared more for what God thought than He did what others thought.

Who are YOU trying to impress? God or man?
Who do you FEAR more?

Word Study David magnified the Lord. This is the word גָּדַלgâdal, {pronounced gaw-dal’} which means “to boast on, to enlarge, to make great or powerful, to make primary”. God is GREAT, He is MAGNIFICENT. David magnified by making himself small in God’s presence. When the Ark of the Covenant was returned to Jerusalem, the city of David, the Bible says that King David was …

2 Samuel 6:16 … leaping and dancing before the Lord

so much so that his wife, Michal, despised David in her heart. She chewed David out when he got home, sarcastically saying:

2 Samuel 6:20 … How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!

David responded simply to his wife:

2 Samuel 6:21-22 … It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord. 22 And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honor.

David put God before his own pride. He magnified the Lord, and was blessed because of it. As a Leader who loved God more than he loved himself, Israel followed his example and looked unto Him {unto God}, and were lightened. When you fear God, when you make much of God and little of all else, then you are lightened. Your burdens fall away. Read with me:

Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

What do we often do when bad stuff happens?

We WORRY about it.
We WORRY about it though God tells us not to worry.

Instead of worry, fear the Lord. Do what He says. Seek His face. What did Jesus say? Take NO THOUGHT for your life”. Minimize yourself. Maximize God. Fear the Lord, not the need. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:25-27 … Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

Worry changes nothing. Do as David did. Seek the Lord. Humble yourself, and fear God. Pursue Him, and praise Him even in the midst of the trial. God has a purpose for what you are going through. Worry will not fix one thing. When we worry, we make a god of the trial. Instead, let God be God. David said:

Psalm 34:6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

We are NOT gods. We are in God’s image, but we are NOT Him. We are but poor. We are limited creatures. But God is not. He is limitless. God owns all things. God is over everything. God – not us but God – controls this Coronavirus. God allowed that person to cut out our catalytic converter. God allows the wicked to prosper. The Scripture says:

Proverbs 16:4 The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

The God we worship is “one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:6). When we make much of God and little of all else, then God hears, and like David, saved him out of all his troubles.

  • When Adam failed to fear the Lord, he brought misery on humanity.
  • When Lucifer failed to fear the Lord, he lost his job as General over all the angels of Heaven.
  • When Samson failed to fear the Lord, he ended up blind, weak, and strapped to a Philistine prison.
  • When Judas Iscariot failed to fear the Lord, he hung himself miserably, and his bowels gushed out.

Your troubles do not get less when you fail to fear the Lord. They get GREATER. They get worse. But when you fear the Lord, and make much of Him Who made us, and loves us, then David promises:

Psalm 34:7 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

Word Study: Let’s break this verse down. The word translated “encampeth” is the Hebrew חָנָה chânâh, {pronounced khaw-naw’}, which means “to come down from a high place to where you are, to bend down so as to surround with an encampment or series of tents”.

When we humble ourselves and magnify God, God humbles Himself and comes to us.

Word Study: God puts a shield around those who fear him, and delivers that person from their enemies. We are to fear God more than we fear our earthly enemies. God is greater than anything or anyone who comes against us. He deliverethus from our enemies. The word translateddelivereth is the Hebrewחָלַץ châlats, {pronounced khaw-lats’}, which meansto rescue, or draw out of trouble.

Illustrate: Here is the picture God put in my mind. You are swimming in the ocean, and get a cramp. You start to go down. You struggle to the surface, grab a breath. You don’t worry about what others might think. You are no longer posturing for the crowd, or trying to impress some girl or boy. You yell out, “HELLLLP!” before you go under once more. Struggling to the top, the Lifeguard comes. He reaches down and grabs your arm. He draws you to the surface where you can breath. You don’t tell Him what to do, nor how to do it. You REST IN HIS ARMS. You rest in His arms.

The Church Needs To Return To Fearing The Lord

Psalm 34:8-9 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. 9 O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.

Many years ago Churches in America and around the world began to fear man more than they feared God. They began to compromise on the teachings of the Word of God in order to reach “bigger crowds”. The Way of Christ was never the way of the crowd. Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14:

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (English Standard Version used for clarity).

David encourages us to Taste and see. You need to personally experience the fear of the Lord. You need to humble yourselves to Him, and make much of Jesus. Blessed is the man that trusteth in him. David speaks from experience. By trust in God, and making much of Him, David was allowed to defeat Goliath. It is by fear of the Lord that we are saved. It is by fear of the Lord that we are blessed. He said:

9 O fear the Lord, ye his saints:
for there is no want to them that fear him.

Do not fear man. Do not fear your circumstances that you are in. Fear the Lord. Trust in Him. Humble yourselves, as we are entering a cultural nightmare in America. Trust in Him. The early Church, with no more than 120 members, gathered in an upper room and prayed, making much of God. Because they feared the Lord more than they feared Rome or Israel, the Church was formed. The Bible says:

Acts 2:42-43 And {the Church} continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear {phobos} came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

Those who were saved had fear of the Lord. They did not fear the Romans nor the Jews, but God. As the Gospel went out, and God caused Saul to become Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, the Bible says:

Acts 9:29-31 And {Paul} spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. 30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. 31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear {Phobos} of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

As believers in Christ we are not to FEAR that which is going on around us – but we are to FEAR the Lord. It is the FEAR of the Lord that drives our efforts to tell others of Christ. The Apostle Paul said:

2 Corinthians 5:11 Knowing therefore the terror {phobos, fear} of the Lord, we persuade men…

It is the FEAR OF THE LORD that drives believers to work together in harmony. The Apostle said:

Ephesians 5:18-21 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Let us rightly fear the Lord Who gave Himself for us, It is He Who says,

Isaiah 49:16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands…

God has marked us on the palms of my hands. Jesus Christ was crucified for my salvation. He died to make payment for my sins. He is reminded daily in Heaven that I am His, and He is mine. I need not fear His abandoning of me – He will not leave the children He purchased at such a great price. Yet nonetheless I fear God, just as I feared my daddy when I was a child. Because daddy had power to punish. Our Heavenly Father, our Eternal God, watches us. He has the power to punish. He has the power to afflict, to paddle, to dissemble, to break us down. He has power to bless. Seek His face this very day.

May God the Holy Spirit and the Master’s Scripture touch every heart and mind this day. For His glory we ask this. Amen and Amen!

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Eternal Security or Eternal Loss

Photo by Krissia Cruz on Unsplash

Hebrews 10:26-27 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

When I first came to the Lord, it was at a wonderful assembly of believers called The Church of God of Prophecy. These were sweet believers in Christ, and I loved them – and still love them – dearly. The Lord led me to salvation through the preaching of Pastor White. I was saved about 30 days before I went into military service.

The Church of God of Prophecy is but one of a group of Churches that believe in Arminian theology. Arminianism is a branch of the Protestant faith based on the theological teachings of Dutch Reformed pastor Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609). He led a group of followers known as Remonstrants to split from the Dutch Reformed Church. One of the signature beliefs of the followers of Jacobus Arminius (or the Arminians) was “The Conditional Preservation Of The Saints”.

The followers of Arminianism believe that salvation is conditional upon the believer remaining in Christ.

Churches that believe in the conditional salvation of the believer (Arminianism) are Methodists, Free Will Baptists, Christian Churches, Churches of Christ, General Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Church of the Nazarene, the Wesleyan Church, the Salvation Army, Conservative Mennonites, Old Order Mennonites, Amish Churches, the various Churches of God, and the Pentecostal Churches. These Churches believe that a person, once saved, can willingly walk away from Jesus, and willingly relinquish their salvation. Southern Baptists, along with Particular Baptists, Reformed Baptists, Presbyterians, and Congregationalists believe in the Eternal Security of the Believer. We believe that once a person enters a relationship with Jesus Christ by faith, that that believer is adopted into the Family of God by the Holy Spirit of God (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5-7). The Southern Baptist Faith & Message (2000) states:

IV. Salvation: Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

V. God’s Purpose of Grace: All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Southern Baptist Churches believe that the Child of God – who is truly a Child of God – can never be lost. The Churches that follow Arminianism believe a Christian can, by his or her will, be lost once saved. To prove this, they refer to texts like the one we read tonight. Let’s read it again:

Hebrews 10:26-27 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

Saved in the Church of God of Prophecy, I was taught that every Christian had to guard their salvation, lest we be lost. What I was taught was:

Salvation = Jesus’ Work + My Work

You Must Read Scripture In The Spirit, And In Context

As I studied my Bible, reading things in context, I began to believe differently than the followers of Arminius. The greatest things you can do as a student of Scripture is:

  1. Learn to PRAY and SEEK GOD the Holy Spirit’s guidance when reading Scripture. If you are a Christian then you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (John 14:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Colossians 1:27). Jesus said of the Spirit that “when He is come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).
  2. Learn to READ SCRIPTURE in CONTEXT. Context is so very important. Never take a Bible verse and try to build a doctrine around it based on itself. Read what is written before and after.

I was told that the Scripture …

Hebrews 10:26-27 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

is telling us that a saved person who willfully sins can become lost. But that’s not what the verse is saying. If this verse is to be applied this way, then the phrase there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins is telling us that once lost, that person CANNOT be saved. This is a hopeless teaching! Isn’t it true that every sin we commit is a willful sin? And if you commit a willful sin then there remaineth NO MORE sacrifice for sins, but a certain FEARFUL LOOKING FOR of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. So salvation is by faith in Christ – but if you ever misstep – you’re going to hell. And there is NO REMEDY because the text clearly says, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. But that can’t be true because of the CONTEXT of Scripture. The Apostle John tells us in:

1 John 1:5-7 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. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

The Christian is NOT to walk in sin. We are to walk in the light of God with Jesus. But we have this promise, the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. Christians are not perfect. John knew this as he wrote:

1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

We are – as Christians and Children of God – still imperfect creatures that live in an imperfect world. We sin. We sin willfully. We sin grievously. Now this is not what God wants of us. God wants us to avoid sin, for sin hurts us, and separates us from God. The Prophet wrote:

Isaiah 59:2 … your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Sin in the Christian grieves the Spirit of God and quenches His power (Ephesians 4:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:19). As Christians, we are to forsake sin, because we are dead to sin but alive to Christ. The Apostle said:

Romans 6:1-2 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? … 12 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. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

There are times that we as Christians willfully sin. We all do – yet this does not make it right. The standard is to avoid sin and, when you do sin, confess that sin to God. Put the sin under the blood of Christ.

So What Does Hebrews 10:26-27 Refer To
If Not The Loss Of Salvation?

What is the SIN that the Apostle is referring to in verse 26:

Hebrews 10:26 … For if we sin willfully

The “sin” the text is referring to is the sin of unbelief in Christ. The Book of Hebrews was written primarily to ….. (drum roll please) … the Hebrews. The Hebrews believed that their sins were covered by the animal sacrifices that they had done, year after year, prior to the coming of Christ. But the Scripture told them:

Hebrews 10:1-4 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 worshipers 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 animal sacrifices were but shadows of the Cross of Christ. They pointed toward the day when Jesus Christ would come and make payment for sins. The writer of Hebrews is telling his fellow Hebrew citizens that the animal sacrifices are no more. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, entered this world to take away the imperfect sacrifices of the Temple.

Hebrews 10:5-10 Wherefore when he {Jesus Christ, the Messiah} cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

The First Covenant – the Covenant of the Works of the Law (the animal sacrifices) were taken away by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. We who believe in Him are sanctified or set apart for God’s Kingdom once for all by Jesus’ death on Calvary. The Priests of Israel,

Hebrews 10:11-12 … standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man (Jesus Christ, the Messiah), after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

The priests offered animals over and over again. But Jesus on the Cross offered one sacrifice for sins for ever. There are no more sacrifices. Jesus paid it all!

Hebrews 10:18-20 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;

Because of what Jesus did for us on Calvary, we can enter into the holy place where God is. Our sins are covered! Our faith is in Christ alone! The text:

Hebrews 10:26-27 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

Is a warning to the adversaries who reject salvation by faith in Christ. He tells the Hebrews, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. There is no need to go to the Temple anymore, to make sacrifice for sins. When Jesus died on Calvary He declared, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Salvation is vested entirely in Jesus. To drive this point home, the Apostle writes:

Hebrews 10:28-29 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

To reject the Law of Moses under the first Covenant was to court death. To reject faith in Jesus Christ – the blood of the covenant – an unholy thing, is to reject the Spirit of grace. God will punish all who do this. You must receive Jesus Christ by faith,

Receive Him as the Lamb of God,
Receive Him as the Great High Priest,
Receive Him as the Son of God,
Receive Him as Lord of Lords

Salvation is not What I do + what Jesus did. Jesus alone paid for my salvation. Jesus alone represents me to the Father. Jesus alone is my Lord and Leader. I put all my trust in Him, and do not draw back from faith in Jesus. The Apostle ends the text with:

Hebrews 10:38-39 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Faith alone in Christ alone saves us. May God move your hearts to receive Him and Him alone as both Lord and Savior this very day. Amen and Amen.

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Jesus Will Whip You

Photo by Emmanuel Phaeton on Unsplash

John 2:13 And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem …

Pastor Tony Evans told this story:

A man once robbed a bank in Ottawa, Canada, stealing $6,000. But the interesting part of the story is this: When they arrested him and took him to jail, they discovered he’d used a 1918 Colt revolver to commit that crime. Now, anyone who knows anything about guns already understands the point of this story. This gun was valued at more than $100,000, yet this man robbed a bank for only $6,000. He could have simply sold the gun and walked away with more than ten times what he got in the robbery. But he didn’t sell the gun because he didn’t know the worth of what he held in his hand.”

When Jesus came to this earth on Our Father’s mission, He came to open our eyes to what is most important.
We are to love God our Savior, and love one another.

We often forget this great truth and, when we do …. Jesus will get your attention. In fact, if you are his, Jesus will whip you!

Jesus Went Up … To The Passover

John 2:13 And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem …

When we read these words, they really don’t mean much to us. But these words are very significant, for they speak of the grace of God. Our Lord Jesus spent a few days in Capernaum, “Jesus, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. (John 2:12)”. Jesus spent time with His earthly family because He loved them. Though the Bible says in …

John 7:5 … {Jesus’} brethren {did not} believe in Him …

Though His own family did not believe He was the Messiah, the Promised Savior of Israel (“for He shall save His people from their sins”), Jesus nonetheless loved them. Jesus loved and honored His earthly parents, and spent time with them. But then, Jesus went up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.

We’ve read about the Passover in our Bibles, but we who are Gentiles have a hard time understanding what it was all about. I believe it’s because we never really experienced what the Jews went through. Though I hear of the trials that many go through, I have not walked in their shoes, so it’s hard for me to fully comprehend it.

The Jews came to Egypt through the grace of God in the life of Joseph. At first, Israel had it good in Egypt. But then it went sour. The fickle love of man turned on them. The Jews became enslaved in Egypt. Their lives were miserable. They suffered under the whip, because, though Egypt was initially a place where Israel could rest, over time,

Exodus 1:8 … there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.

The Jews became like cattle to the Egyptians. They were beaten. Their sons were killed. Their daughters were made to prostitute themselves to the Egyptians. Israel was horribly treated. The Bible says:

Exodus 1:14 {the Egyptians} made their lives bitter with hard bondage …

Genesis 15:13 records God’s words to Abram, “ Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years”. Israel grew complacent in their love for God while in Egypt, but the whip of the taskmasters awakened their need for the Lord.

The whip of evil often wakes us up to the desperate need we have for the Lord. The whip is a blessing when it awakens us, and turns us to the God Who loves us so!

The Bible says that God told Moses:

Exodus 3:9-10 … the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

God, in His Grace, reaches out to love us every single day. But when we drift away from Him, when we get entangled in our own Egypt, when God becomes less to us than He should be, our life goes through storms. Our joy is robbed from us. There is no quality of life apart from the Lord Who loves you so!

God loved Israel. God told Israel:

Jeremiah 31:3 … I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.

Deuteronomy 7:7-8 The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: 8 But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

God loved Israel, so He saved the nation by a “Pass Over”. The “Pass Over” is the event that caused Egypt to release Israel from slavery. In the original Passover, God told Israel in Exodus 12:5-11 to take a “lamb without blemish, a male of the first year, and kill it in the evening. Take it’s blood, and strike it on the two side posts and the upper door post of the house”. God said, “I will pass through the land of Egypt this night … when I see the blood of the lamb, I will pass over you and not destroy you”.

God did exactly as He said He would do. He “passed over” Egypt that first night, so long ago, and where the blood of the Lamb was not found, death came to that home. It didn’t matter whether you were Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female (Galatians 3:28), if the blood of the Lamb was not there on the home and in the life, then death came.

That night, God used a whip on Egypt and on Israel. He did not use that whip because He hated anyone. God used the whip out of love. The Blood of the Lamb saves!

Once Israel was freed from Egypt, God instituted the Feast of the Passover to be done annually on that same day.

The Passover Feast celebrates the salvation of God.
The Passover Feast celebrates the love of God.
The Passover Feast is a time to show God love!
The Passover Feast is a time to show love to others!
The Passover Feast is also a shadow, a teaching of the Coming Messiah!

Israel was to take – each family – a lamb or, if poor, two doves to the Temple to sacrifice, and celebrate the Grace and love of God. They did this year after year. But this ritual looked forward to the coming on the GENUINE Lamb of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. John the Baptist identified Jesus as:

John 1:29 the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (see also John 1:36)

The Apostle Peter – writing long after this day we are now studying – said:

1 Peter 1:18-21 … ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain {way of life – the sacrifices, the works of the Law} received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 {Jesus} verily was foreordained {to be the Lamb of God} before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

Jesus Used The Whip In Love, Not Anger

John 2:13 And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the Temple …

Jesus went to Jerusalem, and went to the Temple to lovingly worship our God. But when Jesus went to the Temple, He did not see the people loving and worshiping God. Jesus did not see the people loving one another.

Jesus saw a business. He saw buying and selling, profiteering. He saw selfishness, and greed. Jesus did not see love for God, nor love for others.

It is good to read all four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – and compare what each eyewitness (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46; John 2:14-22) to Jesus saw. Though John tells us that Jesus took action immediately, the Evangelist Mark tells us:

Mark 11:11 … And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve. … 15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple…

Jesus went to Jerusalem, looked around, then went to Bethany for the night. Jesus perhaps was angered by what He saw. But the next day He came back to Jerusalem, and we read:

John 2:14 {Jesus} found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:

Word Study: The changers of money, the Greek κερματιστής kermatistḗs, (pronounced ker-mat-is-tace’) “Money Brokers”, would take Roman coins, and exchange them for acceptable Jewish coins. The Romans believed that when a Caesar died that he became a god. Thus the Jews were told not to donate Roman money in the Temple offerings. The kermatistḗs would exchange Roman coins for acceptable Hebrew currency – and make a fat profit on the exchange. They did not do what they were doing out of love for God nor out of love for their fellow Israelis, but out of “the love of money, the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).

The kermatistḗs robbed God. The sellers of oxen, and sheep, and doves, they robbed God. The Passover was a wonderful act of undeserved Grace and Love from God. They should have been loving God. They should have been loving their fellow believers.

John 2:15 And when {Jesus} had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;

Word Study: Jesus made a scourge of small cords, a φραγέλλιον phragéllion, {pronounced frag-el’-le-on}. This particular word is used only here in the Scripture. Jesus created this phragéllion or whip out of the bits of rope that had been used to bring the animals into the Temple. Mark tells us,

Mark 11:15… Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple…

Matthew Henry says: “… Jesus made a scourge of small cords, which probably they had led their sheep and oxen with, and thrown them away upon the ground, whence Christ gathered them. ..”

Jesus used His quickly made whip to scourge not just the animals, but the people as well. Jesus ran both the BUYERS and the SELLERS out of the Temple. He didn’t run everyone out – just those who were there for the wrong reason. What Jesus did was not an act of anger. Jesus stayed overnight in Bethany, probably at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and the next day chased the buyers and sellers out. What our Lord did was carefully conceived, a response that God the Son gave to the people of God for failing to love God and love others. After Jesus did what He did, the Bible says:

John 2:17 … {Jesus’ disciples} remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

Word Study: Which is a quotation from Psalm 69:9. The word zeal is the Greek ζῆλος zēlos, {pronounced dzay’-los} which means “passion, indignation, jealousy for”. Jesus was INDIGNANT against these people. God had saved Israel, a wondrous act of Grace, and established Israel as His Beloved. Israel should be praising God, worshiping God, especially on this, the Day of Pentecost.

  • Jesus chased out the SELLERS with a whip. Instead of making a profit, they should have been assisting their fellow believers to worship God in spirit and in truth. Did not God tell the Priests of Israel in the Law:

Leviticus 19:18 … thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the Lord.

The Priests of God should not have allowed this to go on in the Temple. This is a place of worship. If a brother or sister in the Lord had no sacrifice to give God on the Passover, shouldn’t that brother have assisted instead of profiting?

  • Jesus chased out the BUYERS with a whip. They were not showing love to God in the offering of their sacrifice. God the Son said,

John 14:15, 21 If ye love me, keep my commandments. … [21] He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

The Apostle also said,

1 John 5:2-3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

God did not tell His people to sacrifice the Lamb on the Passover just after purchasing it in the Temple.

In Exodus 12:1-11 God told His people that the Lamb was set aside on the tenth day of the Passover month. It was then brought into your home until the fourteenth day of the month (Exodus 12:3, 6). What was the point of this?

The Bible tells us that the Law was a tool that God used to teach us about Jesus Christ and our need for the Savior. The Apostle said:

Galatians 3:24 … the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

The Law cannot save – but it teaches the need of salvation. The Law points to Christ. The Apostle said:

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

The Lamb that was sacrificed by each family on the Passover was symbolic of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God Who would come to take our sins away. When Jesus began ministering on the earth, God Incarnate, He walked among mankind for 3.5 years or so. When the Passover Lamb was to be chosen, it was to be taken into your very home, and cherished, for over 3.5 days. That Lamb was symbolic of Christ.

By coming to the Passover empty handed, then purchasing a lamb quickly, just before killing it, you violated the Law, the lesson that God was trying to teach. This shows a lack of love for God. If we love God, we do what He says.

God loves us so very much. Jesus addresses those who sell DOVES:

John 2:16 … unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.

God made salvation – His Passover – available to all. Though the Passover Lamb was to be slain, there were some families in Israel that were poor, and could not afford a Lamb. To these God our Savior said in:

Leviticus 5:7 …. if he be not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring for his trespass, which he hath committed, two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, unto the Lord; one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering”.

Salvation is for all. Jesus Christ came for all. Jesus did not come just for a certain people, but for the very least and the very less. Oh, how God loves you and me!

Bless The Whip The Brings Us To Christ

The Scribes, Pharisees, and Priests were not pleased with Jesus. They came to Jesus, and said …

John 2:18 … the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?

Word Study: The word translated sign is the Greek σημεῖον sēmeîon, {pronounced say-mi’-on} which means “an indication, a miracle, a wonder, a token by which a person is distinguished above another”. The Pharisees and Sadducees often sought Jesus for a “sign from Heaven” (Matthew 16:1). They wanted to know “By what authority do You – a mere carpenter’s son – do this?” But Jesus is much more than a carpenter’s Son. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is the Son of God Who came to fulfill the Passover. He is what the Passover looked forward to.

Jesus didn’t ask them what I would have asked. I would have asked, “How can you do these things, and say you love God?” But Jesus knew that their hearts had no love for God. So Jesus said simply this:

John 2:19-21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

They didn’t understand what Paul would later say:

1 Timothy 1:15 … Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

Jesus came into this world on a mission. Jesus did not come to erase the Law, but to fulfill the Law.

Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

No one can be saved by the animal sacrifices. The sacrifices – like the Passover Lamb – were all foreshadows of what Jesus Christ would do on the Cross of Calvary. This Jesus, Who lovingly whipped those in the Temple back to righteousness, would soon be whipped Himself. Jesus knew this was coming. He prophesied of Himself:

Matthew 20:19 {the Pharisees and Chief Priests} shall deliver him {Jesus} to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge mastigóō, and to crucify him {Jesus}: and the third day he shall rise again.

Jesus Christ, the Real Passover Lamb, would die for the sins of the world. He would be scourged. He would be beaten. Not because of anything He did, but because of the sins that we do and did. The Prophet said of Jesus:

Isaiah 55:3-6 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.

Jesus’ Temple – His Body – would be broken, destroyed, buried. He would die so that we who believe in Him could be inhabited by God, Children of God forever. If you receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, believing He died for your sins and rose again for your salvation, then God inhabits your life. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

The Temple today is every believer in Jesus Christ. The Church building is not a Temple. The Temple is the believer, united with Christ by faith. The Temple is where a relationship with God is.

Do you know Jesus? If so, you are to love God with ALL your heart. You are to love your neighbors as you love yourself. You are to keep His commandments. The Bible says:

Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

God bless the whip that brings us to Jesus. God bless the whip that causes us to cry out to the Lord, seeking salvation in Him. God bless the whip that reminds us that we desperately need Jesus – not just for Heaven, but for every day we draw breath on this earth. If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, today would be a wonderful day to give yourself to Him!

Oh how He loves you, oh how He loves me, oh how He loves you and me.

May God the Holy Spirit and His blessed Scripture draw you into the family of God this very day. Amen and amen.

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Our Business Is God’s Kingdom

God is light
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John 1:10-14 He {Jesus} was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. {11} He came unto his own, and his own received him not. {12} But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: {13} Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. {14} And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Why Are We Here Today? Why Am I A Christian?

When Sherry and I were stationed in England for the United States Air Force we had the wonderful opportunity of riding these big red double decker buses in London. We’d taker our boys to the top floor of the bus – an upper “uncovered” floor – and enjoy a wonderful view as we rode around town. It was wonderful to ride those buses – that is, when you could get on them.

There were several times when our family was waiting at a bus stop, excited to ride the bus … and the bus driver passed us by without stopping! It wasn’t just us, but this happened frequently throughout London. Someone finally complained about this to the London Transit Authority, the organization that maintains the city buses. The London Transit Authority issued a public paper that stated the following:

It is impossible for us to maintain our schedule if we are always having to stop and pick up passengers”

The Transit Authority forgot what its purpose is. Without passengers, the bus is useless. Without passengers, the Transit Authority makes no money. The business of the London Transit Authority is to take people around town in buses.

What Is The Business Of The Church?

The Business of the Church is to introduce the Lord Jesus and His Kingdom to a world that neither knows Him, nor wants to know Him. We are Light bearers & Seed sowers.

In our text today we see a tension between Jesus and the world He made. Jesus made the world. Jesus made every person who has ever been made. The Bible says:

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word {that’s Jesus}, and the Word {that’s Jesus} was with God, and the Word {that’s Jesus} was God. 2 The same {that’s Jesus} was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

The Bible says All things were made by him. That’s Jesus. The Apostle Paul said of Jesus:

Colossians 1:15-18 Who {that’s Jesus} is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature {Jesus is the Source of all life}: 16 For by him {that’s Jesus} 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 {that’s Jesus}, and for him {that’s Jesus}: 17 And he {that’s Jesus} is before all things, and by him {that’s Jesus} all things consist {are held together}. 18 And he {that’s Jesus} is the head of the body, the church…

The Business of the Church is to tell others about Jesus, and as they believe on Him this will bring the Kingdom of God more and more to this present world.

We share what Jesus did for us to the lost. Our intent is not to make the world more religious. Our intent is not to bring more Baptists into the Church. Our intent is to share Jesus with others through prayer, through sharing, through growing more aware of Biblical truth.

Jesus sent His disciples into the world to offer people a relationship with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. You cannot offer what you do not have. You must first have a daily relationship with Jesus, following Him and loving Him. It is the lovers of Jesus Christ that inhabit the Kingdom of God.

But it’s a battle. It’s always been a battle. Our text tells us that when Jesus Christ HIMSELF was in the world, that …

John 1:10 He {Jesus} was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew him not.

When Jesus Christ began His earthly ministry, He was spurned by the world He was in. When Philip of Bethsaida met Jesus, he ran to his friend Nathaniel, and told him:

John 1:45 We have found him {that’s Jesus}, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Oh, how EXCITED Philip was! “We have found the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Come on! Let’s go see Him.” Nathaniel’s response is like most of those in the world. Nathaniel said:

John 1:46 … Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?

Oh Beloved, Jesus came to an Israel that He loved FIRST, because … and hear me – God always keeps His promises. God promised Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David that Messiah would come through Israel. Time passed, and Israel drew far away from God. But “God is faithful!” (1 Corinthians 1:9).

John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

His own (people) received him not. When Jesus came to the synagogue at Nazareth and began to teach, His own (people)refused to hear Him. They said:

John 1:54-57 Whence hath this man {Jesus} this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 57 And they were offended in him.

Jesus created this world. When Jesus Christ came into the world, born of a Virgin (Luke 2:7), He did not suddenly “come into being”, nor was He “born” as a baby is born. Jesus came into the world a baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, with a feed pen for His bed – but this was merely the outward package that God chose to wear. Jesus entered the world the way He did because of a promise God made, found in:

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

Immanuel (or Emmanuel) means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). God, through His Scripture and His prophets, foretold that the Messiah would come into this world through a virgin. This was a supernatural birth. “That holy thing which shall be born of thee {Mary} shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35).

God came into the world through a virgin,
Just as God said He would.
The God Who came into the world made the world.
This God-Man, Jesus, is the Creator of all things.
He came to rescue sinners, and to establish His Kingdom.
But the world, the cosmos, does not know Him.

There Is A Kingdom Of Light (of Christ)
And A Kingdom of Darkness (of Adam)

There is a kingdom of darkness – the fallen world and satan – and a Kingdom of Light – the saved believer and Jesus Christ. These two kingdoms are always in opposition to one another. The Kingdom of Light is driven by love for Jesus. Our Lord said:

Matthew 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

There is a battle for men & women’s souls going on. The world and those who embrace it are comfortable in their darkness. We are told in our context that Jesus Christ came into the world to bring LIGHT. And yet,

John 1:5 … the light (that’s Jesus) shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

When Jesus Christ walked on this earth, He gave a perfect expression of the love of God. Everywhere Jesus walked the Glory of God shined round about Him. He touched, caressed, loved, healed, replaced, raised – Jesus Christ walked this earth as a perfect expression of God in the flesh. In love, God the Son reached out and lovingly healed people time and time again. And yet, Jesus was largely rejected. Why? Our Lord Jesus told us in:

John 3:19-21 … this is the condemnation, that light (that’s Jesus) is come into the world, and men loved darkness (that’s sin & self) rather than light (that’s Jesus), because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light (that’s Jesus), neither cometh to the light (that’s Jesus), lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light (that’s Jesus), that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

What is happening in the world today is the same thing that has happened since the beginning of humanity in Eden. There are two Kingdoms – the kingdom of Adam, and the Kingdom of God (that’s Jesus). These two kingdoms are at war with one another. The first shot was fire in Eden when Adam followed the created rather than the Creator.

The Creator said “Don’t eat of that tree”, but the created said “Do”. Adam, the created, followed the created rather than the Creator.

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

All humanity fell into spiritual death. All humanity became blinded to the Light of God. All humanity turned away from the Kingdom of God and turned toward the kingdom of many gods. If you are a part of Jesus’ Kingdom, you follow the King of Light, not the darkness of the created. Jesus said:

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

Those who are Christ’s walk together, following Jesus, walking in the light. The lost do not do this. The lost, comfortable in the darkness, feel that they do not need Jesus. The devil, his demons, and the fallen themselves conspire to hide the glorious Gospel of salvation from the world. The Apostle saw this, and said:

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: {4} In whom the god of this world (that’s the devil) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God (that’s Jesus), should shine unto them.

Though salvation is free to all who will accept it, you must be led by God to repent or turn away from sin and – with arms wide open – receive Jesus Christ as Savior & Lord. We plant the seed. God shines the light.

Once saved, Jesus said that you enter His Kingdom of Light. Jesus said:

John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

As believers in Christ, we continually try and share Christ – the Light of God – with a blind world. We share – we do not coerce or force. There was a Christian barber, who, after prayer, thought that he should share his faith with his customers. The next morning when the barber got up out of bed, he prayed, “Lord, give me an opportunity to share my faith today”. Opening his shop up, an elderly gentleman came in and said, “I need a shave”. Of course, sir, hop up in the chair. I’ll be with you in a moment. The Christian barber went in the back room and prayed: “Lord, You’ve sent someone for me to witness to. Give me the wisdom to know just what to say. Amen!”. The barber approached the customer with a razor glinting in one hand, and a Bible, saying “Good morning! Are you ready to die?”.

What we are offering in Christ to people is not just death insurance – but life insurance. Eternal life insurance. Jesus died to make payment for our sins, but Jesus rose from the grave to show us that sin itself is to die.

If you profess to be a Christian, and think that you are saved so you can freely sin & walk in darkness, then the devil has deceived you You quite probably aren’t a Christian!

Children of the Kingdom are not bound to sin. The Scripture says:

Romans 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Matthew 1:21 … Jesus will save His people FROM their sins

Jesus came to “take away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Christ cannot be seen by those dead in their sins – but we who are Christians, alive unto God, born again by the Blood of the Lamb, are children of the Kingdom of Light. We are to be Light.

When A Nation Rejects Jesus, It Is Imperiled

John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

When Messiah came, Israel as a nation rejected Jesus. Why? 1. Israel blended with the world, and 2. Israel moved from a relationship with God to religion. And yet, God is faithful. God promised in:

Psalms 89:3-4 I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.

God made this promise – the promise that the Messiah would come through the line of David – because David loved God. If Israel had continued to walk in a relationship with God as David did, then perhaps the nation would have celebrated and recognized the coming of Jesus. But Israel forgot their calling, and began to worship religion rather than a relationship with God. Jesus warned Israel when He said:

Luke 13:5-9 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. {6} He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree {the fig tree is a picture of Israel} planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. {7} Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? {8} And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: {9} And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

If God Cut Down The Fig Tree Israel,
He Can Cut Down The Stars & Stripes

The hope of our nation is Jesus Christ. We must remember Jesus’ command, a command given just before He ascended unto Heaven. He said:

Acts 1:8 … ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Jesus suffered and died to save sinners like you and I. Jesus suffered on Calvary to “save a wretch like me”. Jesus was:

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

Jesus did that for you and I. Jesus did that for every sinner who walks this earth. Jesus died for the straight, the gay, the transsexual, the queer. Jesus died for the murderer, the liar, the slanderer, the gossip. Jesus died for the self righteous, and the pure evil. Jesus died for all, that whosoever will can come to Him and be saved both from and out of their sin.

We who are Christ’s by faith are walking billboards for His Kingdom. We represent our Jesus!

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

As Christians in this evil world we must be careful to keep our Church centered on glorifying Jesus, our Blessed Savior. We must encourage one another to walk as the Scripture commands the children of God to walk, in Love to both God and Man. Many churches have become entertainment factories, as divorced from Christ as the Israel that rejected Him. Many who claim Christ as Savior no longer support God’s Church with either attendance or tithe. Yet the Church, as was Israel in the Old Testament, is God’s means for evangelizing the Lost while glorifying the Savior Jesus Christ.

During World War II every building, every Church house in Ireland was kept in “blackout” conditions after a certain time every night. Preachers spoke to congregations in darkened buildings. Lights were extinguished, lest the Germans see the light and drop bombs on the church buildings in town. One preacher, Donald Grey Barnhouse, was speaking when someone accidentally turned the lights ON in the church. The congregation gasped, and Barnhouse stopped speaking. One man cried out “What happened! Why did he stop preaching?” Someone had to explain to that man what happened, because, you see, that man was blind. The blind cannot see the light. The Church has to tell the blind about the Light that is Jesus!

The Saved Are Supernatural Sons Of God

John 1:12-13 But as many as received him (that’s Jesus), to them gave he (that’s Jesus) power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (that’s Jesus): {13} Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

  • A son of God is born not of blood. Your mother or father’s salvation does not apply to your account. Your grandmother or grandfather’s salvation does not pass down to you. It is “not of blood”. Friend, Jesus said “… YOU must be born again.” (John 3:7)
  • A son of God is born not of the will of the flesh. There is no good work that you can do in the flesh that will bring you into Christ’s Kingdom. Jesus said, “the work of God is this: believe in the One the Father has sent” (John 6:29).

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

  • A son of God is born not of the will of man. I cannot make you be saved. I cannot do as that barber did with his razor. As much as I’d love to see every soul on this earth in Heaven, you must make the choice. I pray you choose to believe in Jesus.

Only in Jesus will you find the life God wants you to live. Oh Beloved, come. Hear the Spirit’s cry. Call out to Jesus. Repent, and be saved. May God the Holy Spirit and His Word move you this very day. Amen and amen!

Oswald Chambers wrote, “The greatest characteristic a Christian can exhibit is this completely unveiled openness before God, which allows that person’s life to become a mirror for others. When the Spirit fills us, we are transformed, and by beholding God we become mirrors. You can always tell when someone has been beholding the glory of the Lord, because your inner spirit senses that he mirrors the Lord’s own character. Beware of anything that would spot or tarnish that mirror in you.” (My Utmost for His Highest)

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Christians Are The Church

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Please turn with me in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians chapter 12:

1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

I enjoyed Ronnie Burn’s teaching last Wednesday night. He covered a lot of good doctrinal teachings. One thing that Ronnie brought up was the often heard statement,
“I Don’t Have To Go To Church To Be A Christian”

Ronnie’s response to this was “you don’t have to go home to your wife to be married”. That’s a good response. A husband who never goes home to his wife is indeed a poor husband. A Christian who never assembles with other Christians is indeed a poor Christian. You enter the Christian way of life by faith alone in Christ alone. The early Protestant Reformed Church called this Sola Christus, “Through Christ Alone”. Salvation comes to a person who, repenting of their sins, receives the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. As an old time Evangelist Vance Havner once said,

“Going to Church doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than
going to the garage makes you a car!”

Going TO a PLACE never makes a POSITIVE spiritual difference! You can faithfully go TO a place – like the Temple or the Church house – and be far away from God. Jesus illustrated this in Luke Chapter 18. A Pharisee went TO the Temple, but the Publican stood OUTSIDE the Temple. Listen to this:

Luke 18:11-14 The Pharisee stood {in the Temple} and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

The Pharisee went TO the TEMPLE, but was FAR from God. The Publican stayed OUTSIDE the TEMPLE, and yet God “justified” him. Going TO a PLACE does not save you! Never has, and never will.

Biblically, The Church Is Not
A Building That You Go To

I want to re-examine that question, “Must I go TO Church to be saved?” I submit to you that this, in itself, is a bad question. In the Old Testament the TEMPLE was a shadow of what God would one day do in Christ. People went TO the TEMPLE to make sacrifice for sins. These were shadows of the Cross. No one was ever actually SAVED by animal sacrifices. It was but a temporary thing. Under Christ, we no longer go TO the TEMPLE. Listen, Beloved,


This is clearly taught in the Scriptures. We read:

1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

And again, 1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Preach This!: If the TEMPLE is the Christian, then WHAT IS “THE CHURCH”? The Church is a GATHERING of TEMPLES, of believers in Christ. Temples are commanded to gather together. Temples are forced to be together. Scripturally,

If you are SAVED, you are COMMANDED and MADE to connect together with other believers as a “Church”!

The word “Church” is first found in the New Testament from the lips of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in:

Matthew 16:18 … upon this rock I will build MY CHURCH

The Church belongs to Jesus. The Christian belongs to Jesus. You read that earlier in 1 Corinthians 6:19: your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Word Study: You do not belong to you anymore. You belong to Jesus. The word “Church” is the Greek is the Greek ἐκκλησία ekklēsia which means “those who are CALLED OUT of this world”. You no longer belong to this world. You belong to Jesus if you are saved. You are created to walk in union with others who are saved.

The second time the word “Church” occurs in Scripture is when Jesus discusses CONFLICT RESOLUTION in the gathering of believers. I don’t have time to go into this (it is another sermon), but it is found in Matthew 18:15-20.

The third time the word “Church” occurs in Scripture is in the Book of Acts. The Apostle Peter has been preaching faith in Christ to a crowd on the Day of Pentecost. The Bible says:

Acts 2:40-41 … with many other words did {Peter} testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Those who “gladly received his word were baptized”. These who were baptized were “added unto them about three thousand souls”. The 120 Christians in the upper room grew by 3000 – now there are 3120 believers in Jesus. These believers did not scatter, but assembled together to worship the Lord. THEY HAD NO CHURCH BUILDING, BUT MET IN THE TEMPLE ON SOLOMON’S PORCH. We read:

Acts 2:42-47 And they {the disciples} continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favor with all the people.

The Church – a group of Temples – gathered for four reasons: “the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers”. Now here’s the clincher. The Bible says:

Acts 2:47 …. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

The saved are part of the Church. The two go hand in hand. The saved belong to Jesus. The Church belongs to Jesus. The saved gather together.

It is popular today among Generation X (those born after the Baby Boomers) and Millennials to disregard and minimize the Church. I come across articles all the time like “12 Reasons Millenials (sic) Are Over The Church”, or “Why millennials are leaving the church (sic)” where well meaning young people bash the Church for not addressing their needs. One writer said,

“We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers.”

In other words, the Bible is not cherished as the final source of truth. The writer went on to say, “We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities”. A Bible affirming Church will love the LGBT community, but they will be quite uncomfortable under the preaching of Bible truths. So will those engaged in heterosexual sex outside of marriage, which is sin. Here’s the bottom line:

The Church – the gathering of Temples that belong to Jesus – is Christ’s property. Jesus Christ is the Head of His Church.

Ephesians 1:22 And {God the Father} put all things in subjection under {Jesus Christ’s} feet, and gave {Jesus} as head over all things to the church …

Ephesians 5:23 … the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. (this verse has many of the lost hopping mad!)

Jesus also is Head of the Body, the Church (Colossians 1:18). Why should we gather as the Church? Why MUST we gather as the Church? Because:

Spiritual Power Is Found Only In The Gathered Church

1 Corinthians 12:1-2 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

The “APOSTLE’S DOCTRINE” we are talking about in this gathering of the Church is “SPIRITUAL GIFTS”. Spiritual gifts are so very important. Why? The Apostle tells us that “ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led”. When we were unsaved, without Christ, we were LED ABOUT by DUMB IDOLS. What is a DUMB IDOL? Well, an IDOL is a false god or goddess, something that is not the True God, but an imitator that is not God but pretends to be God. The IDOL is “DUMB”. The word translated “DUMB” is the Greek ἄφωνος aphōnos, which means “without a voice, without significance, unmeaning, destitute of the power of language”. An idol has no authority, no voice, no sense. When we were lost we followed the senseless foolishness that the world itself follows. We see these things in our world today:

Gender Disphoria (A male desiring to be female, etc)
Redefinition of Marriage (same sex)
Normalization of Abortion
Critical Race Theory as new racism

These things were just as prevalent in the ancient Roman and Grecian worlds as they are in our current America. Why? Because the farther a person draws away from God, the more empty and “dumb” their LOGOS becomes. When King Solomon drew away from a daily relationship with Christ, he wrote:

Ecclesiastes 1:2-3 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. 3 What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?

Life becomes empty – just mere existence – when we draw away from Christ. The Apostles did not want the Christian to go down this path. If you do not stand together, Christians, then satan will tear you apart. Thus the Church. The Church is where the power of God is vested. When the Church comes together, loving God and loving one another, it has spiritual power. When the Church comes together and works together in love – both vertical and horizontal – then Jesus is in our midst. It does not matter how small the gathering is. Jesus said:

Matthew 18:20 where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

A mega-Church is not more effective than a mini-Church is. As long as the Temples are “gathered together in MY NAME”, under the authority of Jesus, seeking to please Him and Him alone.

The Church is Christ centered.

1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

When someone says that Jesus is “accursed” (Greek ἀνάθεμα anáthema) – when Christ and His teachings are minimized or disregarded, when Christ is outside of the assembly or excommunicated – then it is certain that the Spirit of God is not in the assembly. There are many gatherings of professing Christians today that fall into this category. When the local Church gathers, the main subject will always be Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you ALL THINGS, and bring ALL THINGS TO YOUR REMEMBRANCE, (listen now), whatsoever I HAVE SAID UNTO YOU” (John 14:26). If someone denigrates or ignores what Jesus has taught, this is idolatrous or dumb teachings. However, if what has been said emphasizes “Jesus is the Lord”, then this is Holy Spirit driven guidance.

It is in the gathering of believers that the Holy Spirit operates. Bible teacher A.W. Tozer some 50 years ago said:

“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church (in Acts), 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”

The Evangelist Vance Havner wrote:

“We are seeing much today of service without the Spirit. There is an appalling ignorance of the Person and work of the Holy Spirit in our great church bodies. It is not what is done for God that counts, but rather what is done by Him, the work of His Spirit through our yielded wills. Programs, propaganda, pep, personnel, these are not enough. There must be power. God’s work must be done by God’s people God’s way. The Quakers got their name from the fact that they trembled under the power of the Spirit. At least their faith shook them! Too many of us today are shaky about what we believe but not shaken by what we believe!”

When the Church comes together in love toward God and toward one another, the Holy Spirit moves through the meeting. The Apostle notes:

1 Corinthians 12:4-7 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

The Apostle Paul was trained by the Rabbi Gamaliel, and you can see his education in this text. What Paul is telling us quite simply is this:

The Holy Spirit is in each believer gathered together as Church. The Holy Spirit will manifest different gifts through each believer in the Church gathering. These gifts all benefit the whole of the gathering of believers, the Church. These gifts are not given so they can be used selfishly, but generously, to the glory of Jesus.

In verse 7 we read “the MANIFESTATION (outward evidence) of the (Holy) Spirit is given to every person to profit (bless) withal (with all).” The Apostle then begins to number some of the gifts that are given by the Spirit to the Church:

1 Corinthians 12:8-10 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

These “gifts” are not talents that a person has. These are Holy Spirit driven manifestations that were evident in the early Church. What gifts are given by the Holy Spirit are based upon the spiritual needs of that gathering, of that Church. Who determines the gifts given? We read:

1 Corinthians 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

It is the Holy Spirit Who determines the giftings given to each gathering of believers. The intent of the Holy Spirit is to UNIFY the body of believers – the Church – into a cohesive body, with Jesus Christ as the Head of that gathering.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many.

It is the Holy Spirit Who unites the members together into One Body, One Gathering, One Church. A disharmonious Church is NOT Spirit driven. When there is division and confusion in the assembly, this is because the members are not honoring Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is not empowered.

It Is Pride & Selfishness That Destroys Churches

1 Corinthians 12:15-20 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

Every member in the gathering of believers is important – but not every believer has the same giftings. The Church only works when every believer:

1.  Loves God with their all, and loves their neighbor as Jesus has commanded (Matthew 22:37-39). 
2.  Loves their fellow believer just as Jesus sacrificially loved us (John 13:34; 15:12, 17).
3.  Loves God enough to be open to His leading, to discovering and utilizing your spiritual gift in the gathering.
4.  Suppresses their own pride, but is willing to lovingly serve rather than to be served.

The Apostle Paul said, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8). You cannot love as Jesus loved over the Internet. You cannot love as Jesus loved through a phone text. The Kingdom of God grows as our love for one another and for God grows. We are to have – “through the Spirit of God a unfeigned or pure love toward our brothers and sisters in Christ” (1 Peter 1:22). God calls us as believers to gather with other believers in assemblies called “Churches” for the glory of Christ and the furtherance of God’s Kingdom. I want to end with these Apostolic words:

1 Corinthians 12:23-27 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. (think about your feet. I have ugly feet – but oh, how I love them!) 24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked. 25 That there should be no schism (no division) in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

The Christian is God’s Temple.
The Temples gather together as the Church.
The Church operates by the Holy Spirit,
To love God, and love one another.

May God the Holy Spirit touch your hearts by this teaching, for Christ’s glory in this present age. Amen and amen!

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The Heart Of The Child Of God

Control your heart!
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

The message for today is “The Heart Of The Child of God”. How can you tell a Christian from a non-Christian? It is based on the heart. Listen Beloved:

The only way you can enter the
Family of God is by repentance

Repentance is the bowing down of the human will to the will of God. Without repentance, there can be absolutely NO salvation.

Repentance is the heart willingly bowing to Jesus Christ as Savior.
Repentance is the hand of faith reaching out, and grasping God’s hand.
Repentance is in the broken spirit and in the crushed and bleeding heart.
Repentance is when one cries out to God, “Uncle! I give up!”
Without repentance, the Holy Spirit will not come to you,
to cause your new birth.

Word Study Repent is the Greek μετανοέω metanoéō, {pronounced met-an-o-eh’-o}, which means “to change the mind, to reconsider”, and is a key word in soteriology, the Doctrine of Salvation. Repentance is the first part of every ancient sermon. If you have never repented, then you are never saved by grace. The Herald of Christ, John the Baptist preached,

Matthew 3:2 … Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The Incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ clearly preached,

Matthew 4:17 … Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The Apostles went out preaching,

Acts 3:19 … Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord

Repentance is the first requirement of salvation. Repentance recognizes that neither I nor you are God nor gods, but there is but One God, and Jesus Christ his Messiah. The men of Ninevah repented at the preaching of Jonah (Matthew 12:51), and God spared that city destruction. Jesus told us all:

Luke 13:3 except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

To repent is to say that God is right, and I am wrong. To repent is to not just internally change your mind, but to externally change your direction. A person is saved when genuine repentance comes. Jesus said,

Luke 15:10 … there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

God offers salvation to every person through Christ. There was a time in human history where God “winked at” the foolishness of man, “but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30).

Repentance is in the very heart of the Christ follower.

Greg Morse from Desiring God ministries noted:

If someone’s conversion to God is true,
lifelong repentance will follow. …

… The mouth of one not born again can say true things for a time. Unchanged eyes can cry. A dead tongue can sincerely sing worship songs for a season. And turning away from Christ, repenting of him, can prove it all was false.”

When Augustinian Monk Martin Luther rejected the false teachings of the Catholic Church of his day, he nailed 95 Theses or statements of faith on the exterior of the Church door. The very first of these statements was:

When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Matthew 4:17), He willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

I was ordained to ministry August 22, 1999. Since preaching the Gospel these past 21 years and 11 months, God has blessed me to see the seed sown come forth into new eternal life. I have baptized very many people, and many continue this day in service to Jesus. Yet there are some who, as Jesus said:

Received the {gospel} seed in stony places. They heard the Word of God, and with joy received it, but had no root in themselves. Tribulation or persecution came because of God’s Word, and they fell away”. (my paraphrase of Matthew 13:20-21)

They just didn’t last. I remember one young lady that I baptized four times at her request. The problem was, she – and the others who fell away – had no genuine salvation. Genuine salvation – Holy Spirit created, and Christ purchased – endures or overcomes. The Apostle said:

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Word Study “They went out”. This is the Greek ἐξέρχομαι exérchomai, {pronounced ex-er’-khom-ahee}, which means “to leave an assembly, forsake a people, to flow away from the body”. The same word is used in Matthew 10:14 when our Lord said:

whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out (exérchomai) of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.”

At the first Lord’s Table, it was Judas Iscariot who went out before the Table was served. He went out to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

John 13:30 {Judas} then having received the sop went immediately out (exérchomai eutheōs): and it was night.

Now certainly exérchomai is not always used in a negative sense – it can refer to leaving on a more positive note. But in our context of 1 John 2:19 it is clearly used in a negative sense.

Christian, You May Sin Grievously,
But God Forgives Generously

Pastor Greg Morse wrote, “Christians sin, and at times sin grievously. But they do not make a LIFESTYLE of sinning. It is impossible to do so. “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:9). Those with the {Holy Spirit} repent of sin and turn away from it, encouraged by the disciple of a loving Father.

David is the writer of Psalm 51. Let’s think about David for a moment. God made a covenant with King David in 2 Samuel 7. This was an unconditional covenant that was reiterated in 1 Chronicles 17:11-14.

2 Samuel 7:12-15 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: 15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.

God made this unconditional covenant with David (called the Davidic Covenant). It was not long after this that King David betrayed God, committed adultery with a woman named Bathsheba, and had Uriah the Hittite, one of his mighty men of valor, murdered (see 2 Samuel 11). The Bible says “the thing that David had done displeased the Lord” (2 Samuel 11:27).

David committed sexual sin.
David lied.
David conspired, drawing others into his sin.
David betrayed a friend, an honorable man.
David murdered this man to cover up his sin.

When the Pastor steps on your toes in the sermon, don’t get mad and quit the Church. Do like David did when Nathan challenged him. REPENT!

David not only repented, but he wrote Psalm 51, confessing his sin, and encouraging others to walk in the light with Christ. The Hebrew introduction to Psalm 51 reads:

[[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba]]

David vs Saul vs Judas: David did not lose the covenant God made with him, nor is there any evidence that David lost his salvation. But David repented. What was the difference between David and his predecessor Saul? Saul had no root in himself. What was the difference between the eleven Apostles and Judas Iscariot? Judas had no root in himself. Both Saul and Judas lived and worked in proximity to the Lord, but there hearts were not given to the Lord. They were not born again. The Apostle Paul preached:

Acts 13:22 … when {God} had removed {Saul}, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.

God looks at the heart. God knows who loves him, and who doesn’t. The Christian loves Christ. Jesus said:

John 8:42 … If God were your Father, ye would love me …

Judas Iscariot The Christian loves God. The Christian loves the Kingdom of God more than his or herself. The Christian is the One Who repents to be saved, and lives daily in a state of pliable repentance. Once more, consider Judas Iscariot. Judas was in proximity to Jesus for 3 ½ years. Yet he betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

When Judas Iscariot was confronted with his sin, he did not go to Jesus nor to God the Father to repent. Judas repented HIMSELF (Matthew 27:3). He did not go to God. He went to the chief priests and Pharisees, saying “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4). What did Judas do then? He thought he would make it all better by his own hand! The Bible says:

Matthew 27:5 … {Judas} cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

Judas did not repent to God. Judas repented to man,
but David repented to God.

What did DAVID do when confronted with his sin? David cried out to God. Hear his words of repentance:

Psalm 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Godly repentance – the repentance that a Child of God makes – leans into the MERCY of God.

David cried out, Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness. David is fascinated with the mercy and lovingkindness of God. The word lovingkindness is the Hebrew חֶסֶד cheçed, {pronounced kheh’-sed}, which means a loving kindness or goodness faithfully given to those in need. David’s heart was tender toward God, and he believed that – though he was imperfect – that the perfect God Who we love will always faithfully love His children. David knew himself to be frail and faulty, but believed God to always be faithful.

Godly repentance does not seek to “make it better”, but calls solely on God.

Psalm 51:2-3 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

The Child of God in sin will seek God’s grace by acknowledging their sin. The Child of God asks God to Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. The Child of God does not rename sin, nor justify sin, but acknowledges transgressions. We must confess – not justify but confess – our sins before God.

Sin is a horrible affront to God. David wrote:

Psalm 51:4 Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

I find this statement very intriguing. Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned. C.H. Spurgeon wrote in Treasury of David:

The virus of sin lies in its opposition to God: the psalmist’s sense of sin towards others rather tended to increase the force of this feeling of sin against God. All his wrong doing centered, culminated, and came to a climax, at the foot of the divine throne. To injure our fellow men is sin, mainly because in so doing we violate the law of God. The penitent’s heart was so filled with a sense of the wrong done to the Lord himself, that all other confession was swallowed up in a broken hearted acknowledgment of offense against him.”

David sinned against Uriah and his wife, Bathsheba, but his primary sin was against the Lord Who saved him. When we sin, our sins are always exposed to God. The Apostle said in Hebrews 4:13,

all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of
Him with whom we have to do”

The Lord Jesus Christ paid for our sins on Calvary. We are bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20), the Blood of Calvary. Let us “glorify God in our body and our spirit, for we belong to God”. We are “bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 7:23). Let us not live to please ourselves, or our neighbor. Let us live to please Him Who purchased us from damnation.

Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Word Study hyssop was a plant that the priests used to ceremonially cleanse a person from sin. In Leviticus 14:4-7 a blood dipped hyssop was sprinkled on a person seven times to cleanse them. David did not go to a priest or another fallen person for cleansing from sin. He went to God. Only God can forgive sin. Only Jesus can cleanse us of sin. Jesus said of Himself:

Luke 5:24 … ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins …

Man cannot forgive sins, but God can. The Incarnate God, Jesus Christ, can forgive sins.

Beware, Christian, For Sin Always Has Consequences

Psalm 51:8-9 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

If God seems far away, it is probably
because He is not your Lord!

The devil wants the Christian to hang on to his or her sin. If we hide the sin, if we ignore or rename the sin, we court not only the loss of our joy and gladness, but we open ourselves up to the discipline of God. David speaks as if he has been deafened. He said, Make me to hear joy and gladness. The Christian has the joy of the presence of God. God comes to His people, and SPEAKS to His people. There is nothing more joyous and gladdening to hear the sweet comfort of Jesus. Jesus said:

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Active and unconfessed sin removes from us the word of the Lord. We cannot hear our great Shepherd when we are bound to worldliness and sin. There is nothing more blessed than, when the trials of life come, I can hear my Jesus. He whispers to my heart by His Spirit and His Word. What a JOY it is to be in Him.

Sin cannot reign in the Christian life. Either Christ is on the throne of your life, or darkness is. There is no joy in darkness. David cried out to God:

Psalm 51:10-11 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.

Word Study The word translated Create is the Hebrew בָּרָא bârâʼ, {baw-raw’}, which means “to shape, or create something out of nothing”. This word is used in the very first verse of our Bible:

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God CREATED {bârâʼ} …

Sin damages our souls, and brings with it death. Sin is like poison, or cancer. Where it resides, it brings death. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). David cried out that God would restore to him a heart eaten up by sin, that God would “reset” his life from the evil he had done. David wanted to feel the presence of God once more. He said, take not thy Holy Spirit from me. God will not walk with us when we walk in darkness. We cannot lead God into the darkness. Like Prodigal Sons, sin takes us far from God’s presence … but God cherishes us, and wants us home. He wants us to be led of Him. The Scripture says:

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God,
they are the sons of God.

Psalm 51:12-13 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Closeness to God comes only by a repentant lifestyle!

We cannot be used of God while in sin. Christian, confess your sins unto God. Trust in Him. Please, never forget that though God will forgive sin, there are consequences to our sins. God told King David:

2 Samuel 12:10-12 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. 11 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

There are consequences with sin. Let us avoid sin. When we step into sin, let us immediately seek our God, and cry out for forgiveness. Let us repent daily of our missteps. David’s son Solomon, the child of Bathsheba, would one day write in Proverbs 6:32-33,

But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound and dishonor shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.”

May God draw us ever closer to Him. May we all learn the repentant lifestyle that God calls us to. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen and Amen.

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