Atonement For Sin

And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: for on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.  It shall be a Sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.    Leviticus 16:29-31

This morning I read Leviticus 10 through 16 as my daily reading of the Scriptures. One thing I can say about the Old Testament, and especially the books of the Law – Genesis through Deuteronomy is this; the books make me especially thankful for the atoning work of Jesus Christ through His death, shedding of His blood on the cross for our sins.

We read in the New Testament that the blood of goats, lambs, and bullocks cannot take away sin (read Hebrews 9), it is seen in that they had to offer daily blood sacrifices; and the annual day of Atonement; a special Sabbath day; was to take place every year on a specified day of each year. Jesus offered His own life’s blood once and for all. The one sacrifice for our sin that is finished.

What does God require of us? That we come to Him by way of faith in His Son Jesus, and that we follow Him.

 

They Fell On Their Faces

And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.   And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.       Leviticus 9:23-24

Leviticus is probably not my favorite book of the Bible, and not of the five books of the Law. It does clearly show us the need of a blood sacrifice for the redemption of us all. It is also clear that the blood, of lambs, goats, rams, and bullocks are not adequate for the taking away of sin. These sacrifices are a foreshadowing of the coming of Jesus Christ to once and for all, and all time, put away our sin.

What Leviticus declares to us is the sinfulness of Adamkind, and our need for a Redeemer. We do know today, that the only redemption for sin is the blood of Jesus Christ poured out at Calvary’s cross where the wrath of the Almighty was put on His Son, and He was judged on our behalf; so that all who come to Him through faith would receive eternal life.

As the people in the days of Moses, and Aaron and his sons fell on their faces when they saw the glory of GOD; we have an even greater reason and privilege to fall on our faces before the Living Son of God, Jesus Christ who died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. Fall down before Him in repentance and faith; call on His name.

As the LORD Commanded

According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work.   And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.                    Exodus 39:42-43

Reading these chapters of Exodus dealing with the commandments of the LORD of the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness, and all its furniture, from the ark of the covenant to the brazen altar; and then all the skins that make up all the coverings is almost mind boggling. Then, to read that the men who did the weaving following the heavenly pattern, and Moses checking it and it was all done correctly; just as the LORD commanded. WOW!

The men who were the artist of these works received the commendation of Moses too.

We all enjoy words of appreciation. A question I think of and direct to myself first is this: How often do I speak words of appreciation, and/or show appreciation for those who are ever faithful in doing the Lord’s work? I know we need to express appreciation in all aspects of our lives; let us do that. Let us also show and express our appreciation to those who are faithful in serving the Lord, no matter who it may be. The elderly who can no longer attend church, but were faithful in the work of the church before, and are now continually praying for the church, the pastor and deacons, the secretary, the maintenance, sound people, children’s teachers, and on and on.

To all of you who are faithful to serve the Lord and are doing what the Lord commands in the Church you serve. Thank you and keep up the good and godly work you are doing. God is blessing you.

I also thank all of you who come here to read this blog. You are a blessing and encouragement to me. Thank you.

The Problem with Pluralism

And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, “To morrow is a feast to the LORD.”             Exodus 32:5

The above text is from hearing that Moses has been gone for a few days, and the people are desiring to have some semblance of spiritual leadership. They decide to set up a golden calf. It is probably so that Aaron feared for his life if he rejected their requests so he request their golden ear rings and such other that they have, and makes this object of rejection of holy GOD.

In an attempt to keep the people reminded of Jehovah/YHWH, Aaron builds an altar, it seems, to worship the true God. It falls short of what God calls for. He is a Jealous God. There can be no other that His people worship. His jealousness is named in the second commandment (Exodus 20:5), and it is mentioned once again in Exodus 34:14,”For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God…” That is exactly what Aaron had led them to do.

There is only One God and He is known by Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He can only be known through His Son Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world who died on the cross to redeem us from sin, He was buried not only to show that He died but to carry away our sin, guilt and condemnation; and He rose again and came out of the grave for our justification. Through Him alone can we know God, and worship Him as we ought.

The One Keeping Them In The Way

Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.   Beware of Him, and obey His voice, provoke Him not; for He will not pardon your transgressions: for My name is in Him.              Exodus 23:20-21

Who is this One, this One called “Angel” in these verses. In the verses which follow He would be like hornets to those who opposed Him and His people (v. 28).

This One was named by Stephen in Acts 7:30 as an angel who spoke in the burning bush (Exodus 3) and He calls Himself “I Am”.

It has been said, by more intelligent, and Biblical scholars; that you can see Jesus on every page of the Old Testament; and I believe that is true. Jesus Christ the Son of God is also God the Son.

Jesus in His pre-incarnate Person was with the children of Israel as they journeyed through the wilderness.

Since He came as Man and died on the cross for the sins of the world, and was buried, and He rose again for our justification, then we can know God, with the forgiveness of our sin, being born again becoming His sons, and inherit all that is His.

He is called Immanuel [God with us], may we who name that holiest of all names, live like Him.

They Stood Far Off

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.   And they said unto Moses, “Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”   And Moses said unto the people, “Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.”   And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.                 Exodus 20:18-21

God had given a boundary to which the people could approach near Him, and at first they pushed the edge of the border, but when they saw the smoking mountain, thundering and lightening, and the sound of the trumpet, they were fearful and backed away; they “Stood afar off.”

I find it amazing in reading the book of Exodus, how the people are so like people of this day and time. There are many who want to draw near to God; but in their own way, in their way they view God. However, when they get a glimpse of His power and glory, even in a veil of darkness, they back away and stand far off. “That’s not the God I want to know, love and serve,” they might say in their hearts and minds; therefore, keeping their distance from true God and worship of Him.

The people above wanted Moses to be the veil between them and God; there spokesman; when they could have been themselves it they would have seen the Divine and His glory rather than the thunder, lightening, trumpet and smoking mountain.

We are told by the half brother of Jesus, who is James to “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded”  (James 4:8).  God’s desire and will is for His people to come near to Him. The only way to do that is not through obedience to the Law; but through the faith of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, His burial, and resurrection.

 

They Shall Know…

Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”     Exodus 6:6-7

But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay My hand upon Egypt, and bring forth Mine armies, and My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.   And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth Mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.     Exodus 7:4-5

I use two different text from my reading this morning for the purpose of this message…

The people of God need to know and believe that the LORD is their God before we can expect the world around us to know and believe it. So let’s start believing with our heart, our mind and our lives through our obedience to Him; not to gain His favor, but because we have His favor.

It is quite apparent to me that the LORD God wants all the world to know.

Repent people of God. Turn to Him and know Him. The world will one day know who He is, but do you know Him today. GOD has made it possible through the death of His Son Jesus on the cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection. Call on Him in repentant faith.

A Coffin and a Promise

And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.   And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees.   And Joseph said unto his brethren, “I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”   And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, “God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.”
So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.         Genesis 50:22-26

After the creation of Adam and Eve, and their placement in the Garden of Eden we find out about sin and death coming through them due to their disobedience to God who made them. We hear of a global flood, where all air breathing animals, except for those God brought to the ark, drowned in the flood, along with every man, woman, and child, except for Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives.

God is gracious and full of mercy. Because of our disobedience sin, trouble, sickness and sorrow plagues this world. He has given us a way of deliverance.

This book, “Genesis” the book of beginnings, begins in a garden, and ends at a grave. The grave is that of Joseph. He had served as an Egyptian ruler for about 80 years.

Joseph was hated and sold by his brothers at about the age of seventeen, sold to Potiphar in Egypt and served him for about 13 years including the time he spent imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. At the age of thirty he was brought out of the prison to interpret the dream of Pharaoh, which he did and doing so was appointed as a ruler, just under Pharaoh himself, and delivered his people who had sold him, and Egypt and the world. At the age of one hundred ten years Joseph died.

God does not leave us at the grave alone though. There is a promise given by Joseph from God. “God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.” It was a promise that originally given to Abraham, “And He said unto 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; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”  Genesis 15:13-14.

God’s promises written in His word, not some that are contrived by human imagination, are always fulfilled. When we read Exodus which takes place about four hundred years later that is what we see; God keeping His promise to His people.

God’s great promise to people today is believe My Son, and you believe me. His Son, Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again. If you do not know Him, call on His name today and be delivered from the condemnation of sin.

The Longevity of Guilt

And Joseph said unto them the third day, “This do, and live; for I fear God: ‘If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: but bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die.” And they did so.   And they said one to another, “We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.”
And Reuben answered them, saying, “Spake I not unto you, saying, ‘Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? Therefore, behold, also his blood is required.”   And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.   And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.        Genesis 42:18-24

Joseph, betrayed by his brothers many years before this event, and sold into slavery was now a ruler in the land to which he had been sold for twenty pieces of silver. It was to Joseph the brothers had to see in order to get the food and grain they needed in Canaan, which was suffering from the famine which was affecting all the world.

I deal with personal guilt at times. I have guilt in my thoughts and my heart due to some deed I have done to someone in the past, recent, and sometimes over a thing, or thought that just comes to my mind. It seems that we have been told over the past few years that guilt is a bad thing, and I totally disagree. Guilt is a good thing if it leads us to repentance and renewing.

It is Reuben who speaks of the deed the brothers did to Joseph years before; and keep in mind they do not recognize the brother they had betrayed and sold. Do you see the guilt they are feeling. As well that they should, and suffered from it, probably for all those years keeping the secret from their father Jacob.

Guilt is bad only if you allow it to fester, and make you cold and hard as steel, and never make right the wrong you have done. Sometimes, just confessing it to God, and repenting of the thing or deed is all you can do and that will release you from the debt you owe. I say “debt” because it is a debt or a trespass against God or someone else that needs to be paid.

Joseph was in the process of testing his brothers to see if they were genuinely sorrowful for the wrong they had did. I am certain that when he saw them that he desired to run up to them, revealing who he was, and to show them the fulfilling of his dreams he had shared with them years before as a boy in Canaan. But he was wiser than that.

Guilt is a helper or it can be a crippler. A helper to show us our wrong and lead us to repentance. A crippler that causes the heart to grow stone, steel hard, and cold if we do not cry for forgiveness.

We have sinned against God. In His love He gave us His Son who was despised and rejected by His brethren, by the world even, and was sold for 30 pieces of silver, a guiltless, sinless man, condemned to die on the cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and He came out being raised to life He forever lives. Bring all you guilt and condemnation to Him, praying, confessing your sins, believing Him for full redemption and forgiveness. He will hear you and He will save.

Faith In Praying

And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, ‘Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:’   I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast shewed unto Thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.   Deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.   And Thou saidst, ‘I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’ ”             Genesis 32:9-12

Jacob was about to come in contact with Esau, his brother who had threatened to kill him twenty plus years before when Jacob had deceived their father Isaac out of the family blessing. Rebekah had urged Jacob to flee to her homeland of Haran to her brother Laban which he did.

After these years of working with Laban, raising cattle, sheep, and goats, the LORD tells Jacob to return to Canaan the land promised to Abraham and Isaac, and now promised to Jacob as well. He is still fearful of his brother, and after some time planning Jacob, Rachel, Leah, their handmaids, all of Jacob’s children, other servants, and all the livestock head for Canaan.

God has called Jacob to return, yet there is distress, fear of meeting Esau. “How will he receive me?”, must have been in his thinking, “Will he forgive me or kill me, and all that is mine?” He prays the prayer above and expresses his faith by reminding God of what He has said.

When the Christian is facing distress, fear or any other problem of anxiety, doubt, or trouble of any kind it is good for us to go to God with the fear and anxiety the trouble and express it to Him. If God has called us to do something that has caused this fear and distress, we must keep heading toward what He has called us to do while reminding Him of His calling, which most times on my part is a reminder to me that God has said, and God has promised, and He will do and accomplish all that He says.

When God told Jacob, “I will surely do you good, and make your seed as the sand of the sea,” then Jacob, and all who have came to Him can trust that He will do as He says.

Only through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the grace through faith that saves us, and answers prayer.

On The Third Day

Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.  Genesis 22:4

Abraham, the father, had been directed by God to sacrifice his only son.  Father and son were going to a certain place, to carry out the command of the Most High God.  Remember Abraham had been promised that through “Isaac his seed would be called”, and that God would make of him a great nation.

Keep the word of faith spoken by Abraham in mind which he spoke in verse 5, and Hebrews 11:17-19. Abraham was certain of God’s delivering power.

Remember now the third day following the sacrifice of God’s only Son Jesus, if you will; now consider this.  When Abraham and Isaac went on together; in the mind of Abraham Isaac was already sacrificed, that is what he was doing, where he was going.  On this third day Isaac was delivered by a ram caught by his horns in the bush; now consider this Isaac’s resurrection .

Jesus and the Father were at the cross, the sacrifice for our sins.  What Jesus did He did alone for you and me.  He bled, He died, He was buried, and three days later He came out of that grave bodily; and He forever lives.

Believe Him and be saved.

The LORD’S Visit

And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as He had spoken.      Genesis 21:1

The LORD had promised Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son. God had promised them that Abraham would be a father of nations, and through him all the world would be blessed (Genesis 12:3). Much time had passed when this promise is fulfilled.

At the age of 86 Abraham had gone along with the scheme of Sarah to have a son with Hagar. This was not what God had promised. Maybe in concocting this plan Sarah thought they would be fulfilling the will of God. God’s promise to Abraham for a son was for Sarah too.

When Abraham was 100 years of age, and Sarah was 99 the promise of God was fulfilled. Sarah gave birth to Isaac which means “Laughter”, because she had been laughing. Just as nothing was too hard for God to do for Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 18:14), so it is for the Christian today. Also for the lost soul to receive forgiveness and peace and rest.

When God the LORD shows up He will do all that He has said.

He has told us that He loved us so much that He gave us His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). That Son is Jesus Christ who died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again. That is the LORD’S visit today. Call on His name repent and believe.

Staying Where God Leads

And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.  And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.  And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.                 Genesis 13:1-4

God had led Abram to the land of Canaan, but when a famine had come he set his eye on Egypt for the provision of his family. We have all done it. We know we are where God wants us to be, but suddenly we find things going opposed to what we think they ought to be and we think there are “greener pastures” over there somewhere.

Abram had set up an altar of worship at Bethel; a place of worship; and then he goes down to Egypt.

Abram comes back to that place when he returns from Egypt, and he calls on the name of the LORD once again.

Have you strayed from where God wants you to be? Return to the place where you left Him. No! He has never left you, and He never will. That is why we, the child of God, always come back to the place where we left Him.

If you have no clue as to what I am writing about, then maybe you do not even know GOD. He loves you. He gave His Son Jesus to die for your sins on the cross, He was buried, and He rose again. He says to you, “Come to Me and I will give you rest and peace.” Do so today.

The Pleasant Name

Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.       Genesis 4:22

I began reading through the Bible this year, and my schedule is to read it through in six months. I did not read it through in 2021, but I read the Gospels through every month with the exception of combining them with the book of Acts in January and February.

It does a Christian good to his heart, soul and mind to read the Bible on a regular basis. Some think one through reading should be enough. I disagree with that sort of thinking due to the fact that there is no way the mind or heart can grasp all of what you read. Another thing is it is God’s love letter to His people. Why not read again and again and again.

I tell you all of that to say that the above verse caught my attention while I was reading this morning and I do not think I had noticed it before. The statement, “The sister of Tubalcain was Naamah” is what caught my eye. Tubalcain was a son of Zillah the second wife of Lamech in the lineage of Cain, the man who killed his brother Abel, and was marked by God. Lamech was the first mentioned to marry two wives, and they were blessed with children.

What is so special about this and particularly Naamah? First of all there is nothing known of her Scripturally. There is much conjecture from legends and such that she was Noah’s wife, and others that she was Ham’s wife (Ham the son of Noah). It is quite likely that Moses knew who she was and what she did and whose wife she was, but there is no Biblical record, so evidentiary proof.

Her name means “Pleasantness” so she may have been a beautiful woman. Let us be assured that there is no hope in beauty, or even in pleasantness, or being pleasant.

I hear the names of children today given to them by their parents and I think, “What?” A name has meaning. Naamah’s name should reflect one who is a pleasure to be with, enjoyable, and one giving pleasure to others. Those all depend on the heart.

Was there salvation available for the line of Cain? How about Naamah and the others in the line of Cain? Only by turning to the One who would die on the cross for their sins, and His name is Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. Our only was of salvation today is through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. Now there is a pleasant name. Jesus.

Discern What You Hear

Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, “He shall not die;” but, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”  John 21:23

On this eve of a brand new year may we who are Bible reading, Bible believing, blood bought, redeemed believers in Jesus Christ be sure we hear Jesus, and all of Scripture rightly. Let us ask God to enable us to let the Bible say what the Bible means, and not what we think or feel that it means.

The above verse is the conclusion of Jesus’s conversation with the apostle Peter in verses fifteen through twenty two; which began with Jesus asking Peter “Do you love Me” and finishing up by telling Peter “Follow Me.”

O how we often miss what Jesus is saying. I am praying that I am a better listener to the words of all of Scripture, Genesis through Malachi, and Matthew through the Revelation. That I might rightly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ with the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

The high priest then asked Jesus of His disciples, and of His doctrine. Jesus answered him,
“I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou Me? Ask them which heard Me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.”
And when He had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, “Answerest Thou the high priest so?” Jesus answered him,
“If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou Me?”
Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.                        John 18:19-24

Just because the officers did not know whom they were striking does not mean they are without charges themselves. They had just struck the face of the Creator of all that is (Genesis 1; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-17). They thought they were doing God service by protecting the honor of a high priest who knew who He is (John 11:49-52).

Jesus, of course, spoke no evil. He simply gave an answer that should have been known. It was the blindness, and the darkness of evil that was working in the heart of the high priest Caiaphas that was the real issue. Willful ignorance, especially, is not bliss when it comes to knowing who Jesus is.

If you have came to this site, and have taken the time to read any of the information posted here on Jesus Christ I pray that you will hear the Holy Spirit of the Lord speaking to your heart and mind, and that you will have your eyes opened to the truth of who Jesus is – the Christ, Son of the Living God. He died for our sins, was buried and He rose again; and He is coming again. Repent, believe and receive Him.

They said That He was Making Himself God

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them,
“Many good works have I shewed you from My Father; for which of those works do ye stone Me?”
The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God.”       John 10:31-33

There are religious cults who say that Jesus Christ was not God. One even goes so far as to change what they call their version of the scriptures to read that He was “a god,” they would be saying that He was making a false claim about Himself.

One way to properly interpret what the Bible says, and what Jesus says is to study the culture of the time we are studying and the teaching, in this case of the religious leaders.

The Jewish leaders of Jesus’s day knew what Jesus was saying when He said, “I and My Father are One” (John 10:30); and there are many other references in John 8 through 10; as well as other verses in other chapters of the gospels; where Jesus clearly calls Himself Deity.

Jesus tells us in John 8:24 “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.”  The words Jesus spoke in this verse are clearly of deity. For Him to say that they would die in their sins if the did not believe that He is who He says He is will be their death in their sins; their damnation eternally.

Dear friends, will You receive Jesus Christ for who He says He is? He is the Christ – the Messiah – the Son of God, and the Incarnation of God, God the Son who came to die on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He came out of the grave with a flesh and bone body (Luke 24:39), and is eternal.

Division Over Who Jesus Is

Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, “Of a truth this is the Prophet.”  Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Shall Christ come out of Galilee?” Hath not the Scripture said, “That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?”
So there was a division among the people because of Him.  And some of them would have taken Him; but no man laid hands on Him.  John 7:40-44

In 2021 there is probably more division over the identity of who Jesus is than in any time in history. The evidence of who Jesus is is best found in the Scriptures of the Bible of the Old and the New Testaments. The Law of Genesis through Deuteronomy. The Historical books of Judges through Esther. The books of Poetry of Job through the Song of Solomon, and you could include the Lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah. There is proof in reading the Prophets Isaiah through Malachi. Then, of course the Gospels which are about the coming, life, death, burial, resurrection and second coming of Jesus. The book of Acts which shows the work of the Holy Spirit’s coming of His Church – the body of Christ. The writings of the apostle Paul, the apostle Peter, and the brothers of Jesus James and Jude, and the last book The Revelation of Jesus Christ as given to John by Jesus Himself.

Get to know Jesus. Not by what you hear from others, but from what the Book of books says about Him. Read it for yourself with the guidance of the Holy Spirit you will come to the conclusion of the Scripture. Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God; and He is God the Living Son.

You Must Be Born Again

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 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.  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.”
Nicodemus saith unto Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”  Jesus answered,
“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.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, ‘Ye must be born again.’  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.”
Nicodemus answered and said unto Him, “How can these things be?”  Jesus answered and said unto him,
“Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that We do know, and testify that We have seen; and ye receive not Our witness.  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?”                     John 3:1-12

The Baby who was born in a stable, and laid in a manger for a crib, grew up and met Nicodemus and had the above conversation and taught him what one needed to see God and be with Him for eternity. You must be born again.

Jesus died on the cross, not a baby, but the Man Christ Jesus, and He died for our sins. When the Spirit of God turns the spirit within us to Himself, then we are born again. That is when we believe and trust Him with all our hearts. Hear Him. Believe Him.

Have a very Merry Christmas. It is all about Jesus Christ, crucified, buried, and rose again. He is coming again.

He Was, He Is, and Forever Shall Be

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.  John 1:1-5

It is the week of Christmas. The day set aside for the remembrance of the birth of our Lord and Savior. How many of us really realize and know who He is. He is often spoken of in the past tense in ways like, “He was a good man” or “He was a good teacher”, and even some who profess Jesus and faith in Him say, “He was the Christ of God.” He was all those things, and He is all those things, and He forever shall be those things.

That Incarnation of God; God becoming Man; throws some people into a hissy theological fit, because they cannot grasp God becoming Man. That is exactly who Jesus is. When Jesus came as the God-Man it was as a Babe in the stable, laid in a manger for a crib. He cried like all babies, yet this baby grew and never sinned. At the age of 12 He was found in the temple teaching the Bible scholars, and growing in the wisdom and knowledge of God.

It is that same Boy who grew to be a Man, called disciples to follow Him and He taught them, and many others for three years. He performed many miracles, including raising dead people to life, touching and healing lepers and giving sight to a man born blind.

He came from His position in Glory with the Father to go to the cross to die, and in His death take all the sins of the world upon Himself, taking the wrath of God Himself for our sins. He died, was buried, and He rose from the grave and to never die again. He was our Lord and Savior, and He is our Lord and Savior, and He will forever be our God, Lord and Savior.

Do you know this One who was, who is, and forever shall be? You can make this Christmas a very Merry Christmas by calling on the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God who is God the Son.

God of the Living

Then came to Him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked Him, saying, “Master, Moses wrote unto us, ‘If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.’ There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children.  And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.  And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died.  Last of all the woman died also.  Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? For seven had her to wife.”
And Jesus answering said unto them,
“The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.  Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto Him.”
Then certain of the scribes answering said, “Master, Thou hast well said.”                     Luke 20:27-39

Those who do not believe in the resurrection asking a question of how marriage works for those who are in the resurrection. It may have been a sincere question, but not likely. Most likely they; the Sadducees; were trying to trick Jesus into error of His thoughts.

Something we can learn form Jesus’s words is that first of all one must be accounted worthy to obtain the world of those who will receive the resurrection of life. Secondly, Jesus says  that those in the resurrection will be similar to the angels, and like the angels will never die, but are the children of God.

We are assured by the words of Jesus that there is a resurrection of the Just when He says that “He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is not a God of the dead, but of the living…”

Now, who are those who are counted worthy of this eternal life?  Only those who believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, that He was buried, and that He rose from the dead, and is alive forevermore. Believe what He says, repent of your sins and be saved.

The Self Righteous and the Sinner

And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood 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. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 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.’ 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.”                                         Luke 18:9-14

The Bible tells us in Romans 3:10 that “There is none who are righteous, no not one,” and in verse 23 “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” I write this because there are far too many people who think, “Well, Jesus died for sinners, and I am a righteous person. I love God, and I love my neighbor, so I need no savior.” That thought puts them at odds with God. Actually making God and the Scriptures their enemy.

One man, a Pharisee, a greatly religious man considered himself better than the other. Being full of himself he prayed “with himself”. Did you notice how Jesus said that. God did not hear that man’s prayer. Full of himself separated from God.

The other man, a publican, to us a tax collector, despised by the Jewish people, because these men were Jews themselves taking their people’s money for the Roman government. He came to the temple to pray, and prayed simply, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” He knew his need of forgiveness and cleansing, and he left the temple “Justified,” but not the Pharisee.

The way to forgiveness and cleansing of sin is by way of the cross of Jesus Christ. The only way of forgiveness of sin is because Jesus died for us, was buried and He rose again.

The Psalmist wrote, “A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).

The Father Runs to His Returning Child

And He said,
“A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.’ And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.  And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.  And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.  And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
And when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.’  And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.  And the son said unto him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.’
But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.  And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.  And he said unto him, ‘Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.’  And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.  And he answering said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: but as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.’  And he said unto him, ‘Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.  It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.’ “
                                  Luke 15:11-32

There are three main characters in this story:

The first is the Father; the second is the younger son; and the third is the elder son.

The younger son asks for his inheritance early, receives it, then finds himself starving, and basically living with swine. He realizes his situation, is reminded of his father’s home, and that he is a blessed man. He decides to return to his father if only as a servant, and seeks forgiveness.

The father is anxiously awaiting his younger sons return. Maybe he was out in the field working, and looks up the road in the direction he believes his son will be returning, he sees and image coming, getting closer, and closer, then he can make out the features of the face of the man coming toward him. The father drops his tools and all that he is doing and runs; that is right, he runs; because he has recognized that person as being his younger son. He runs until he reaches him, and gives him a hug, and a kiss, and another hug and kiss, and he takes him to his house and clothes him in raiment fit for a king. He then calls for a feast, having the fatted calf killed for that feast, and the celebration begins.

The elder son comes in from the field where he has been working hard all day, and he hears a racket of rejoicing and celebration, dancing, singing, joyous rejoicing. He becomes angry with envy. He complains to the father, “This rebellious son has taken all his inheritance and spent it up on foolish and debaucherous living. I, on the other hand have been faithful to stay, and work and wait until the inheritance is mine.” The elder son is not rejoicing. He is rejecting his brothers return.

We need to keep in mind that this story as well as the “Lost Sheep”, and “Lost Coin” stories are addressed to the Pharisees as they had just accused Jesus of eating with publicans and sinners.

Now in this story we see an elder son who believes he has been good to maintain his inheritance, but he is angry with the father for receiving the wayward son – this is the Pharisees.

The younger son represents the child of God that has gone astray, going his own way, rejecting the word and will of the Father finding himself bankrupt, full of sin, unclean, hungry and cold; comes to himself realizing he has sinned against God repenting returns to the father if only to be a servant.

The father is a picture of our Heavenly Father who with great love awaits all who have departed from His word, will and way. When He sees the repentant returning child returning, He runs to Him and clothes him with the best, puts a ring on his fingers, and has a glorious celebration.

Do you find yourself outside the will of God? Have you reached a point of despair, pain, hunger, loneliness? Are you ready to come back home to the Father? He is waiting, watching, and when He sees you coming, He will run to greet you.

Best Investment

And one of the company said unto Him, “Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.” And He said unto him,
“Man, who made Me a judge or a divider over you?”
And He said unto them,
“Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”
And He spake a parable unto them, saying,
“The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?’ And he said, ‘This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.’ But God said unto him, ‘Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?’ So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”                                                            Luke 12:13-21

Division in a family is not a good thing, especially when it comes to financial or material things. A man has come to Jesus seeking aid from Him in dividing an inheritance for this family. Jesus uses the opportunity to teach of the dangers of covetousness. A person’s life is not measured by the things we possess; but rather by our relationship with God.

Jesus tells a story of a man who was so well off that he decided to tear down his old barns and build new ones; probably better and bigger to hold his possessions. It is not that what he did was wrong, but what was wrong is that he never gave any accounting to God.

Do you measure your life by the money or things you possess? Now, I am not a financial adviser, I am however a follower of Jesus Christ, and I know that my life cannot be measured by what I possess, but rather by the fellowship I have with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

The best investment we can ever make does not cost a dime, but realizing that He invested His life for us when He died on the cross, was buried and rose again.

Jesus Taught in a Friend’s Home

Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.” And Jesus answered and said unto her,
“Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”                                                       Luke 10:38-42

Jesus and his disciples  were invited to the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Lazarus is the one raised from the dead in John 11; and he had been in the grave for for four days.

To sit at Jesus’s feet is to sit in learning by hearing him, and growing in him to know Him and the Father better and more intimately.

Martha was one who was concerned about feeding and taking care of her guests, and no one can find fault in that. Serving others is truly a trait, and calling of all who will follow Jesus. Evidently Martha had asked Mary to help her serve their guests, but Mary was pleased to remain at Jesus’ feet hearing Him and learning.

It is important for us to serve others. It is of the utmost importance, that before we can rightly serve others we must learn from the  words of Jesus; hearing Him, growing in the knowledge and grace and growing deeper in our love for Him.

Our time should be mostly spent growing in Christ Jesus, learning at His feet by way of the reading of Scripture (His word), and in prayer. When we do that we will be more able servants, as well as better witnesses for His name.