Expressing the Love of Christ

An Expression Of Love

Romans 16:1-27

Love is a very powerful and important quality. It shows character, concern and caring. Love is one of the characteristics of God. It is a characteristic that is modeled in God’s people. Love is much more than simple emotion. It is an act, a decision, an expression.

Paul demonstrated much love. His commendations toward his brothers and sisters in Christ – fellow workers and ministers of the gospel – expresses much love and appreciation. Many of these people – Priscilla and Aquila for example – risked their very lives for Paul (vv. 3-4). Anyone should recognize the sacrifice which must have been made by them. How can you keep from loving someone who has given so much. Some of these people had the church meeting in their homes. Some were prisoners with Paul. Some were servants in noblemen’s households. All were loved by Paul.

It is also noted that there was some room for confrontational correction. Love warns, instructs, encourages, and corrects. Those who cause division by false teaching, working against the leadership, and the mission of the Church, or cause strife with the church leaders are to be avoided.

Coming near the end of the letter Paul speaks of those who had worked along side of him doing and preaching the word of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then last, but not least, the apostle gives honor and glory to whom honor and glory is due and belongs. The One to whom honor and glory is due and belongs is, of course, God. We honor and glorify Him by hearing His Son Jesus and believing Him.

1. Love Is Expressed In The Family Of Faith (vv. 1-16).

*God is love (1 John 4:8b). That love is seen and expressed by the love of His people.
*Because there is so often conflict within the church does not mean we must be disagreeable with one another. Disagreements happen in the homes of Christians, but they stay together.
*Phebe was a sister, the one delivering the letter of Romans to the Christians of Rome, and most likely came to know Jesus through Paul’s ministry.
*Priscilla and Aquila – husband and wife – hazarded their own lives for Paul’s.
*Andronicus and Junia were fellow prisoners with Paul at one time or other. They too stood for Jesus Christ and the gospel. They too were messengers of the gospel.
*People who were servants of “Caesar’s household”, and the households of Aristobulus and Narcissus. These households were probably well-known, high society people. God has a way of placing His people in strategic locations. We are to serve God wherever He has placed us.
*We, as Christians, ought always greet one another with warm affection, the love of Christ.

2. Love Exposes Sources Of Division In The Family Of Faith (vv. 17-20).

*There are people in some churches, or even who seek out churches where they can cause division; by teaching false doctrines, by the error of Balaam, ie., causing others to fall, etc..
*The one who teaches the truth of God’s Word and the gospel, and who labors for God and the people of God, and the ministry is not the source of division. The ones who come in trying to bring in heresies, and division are truly the dividers
*Unwillingness to be taught, false teaching, hatred envy, going outside God’s guidelines causes division in the local Church. An unwillingness to cooperate with godly leadership; a malicious, slanderous spirit and tongue are sources of division. The loving leader will expose, and correct those who are trouble makers within the Church.
*Do that which is good in the local Church. Be wise toward evil, its way and its harm.
*Grace is the element that sets Christianity apart from world religions.

3. Love Honors The Faithful Servants Of The Lord (vv. 21-24).

*Paul now names those who have been faithful servants serving with him. Timothy for one, and we know from 1 Timothy 1:2 that Paul referred to him as, “My own son in the faith”. Timothy was discipled by the apostle to the Gentiles.
*The apostle desired the church of Rome to know about Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater who may have been brothers by physical birth, or at least brothers in the faith. They were admirers of the Roman Christians.
*Tertius was Paul’s secretary. He has penned down all the letters. He also sends a salute to Rome.
*Gaius is the homeowner where Paul is the guest. Gaius is a man of hospitality, and loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and His servants.
*Erastus was possibly the city treasurer of Corinth.
*Quartus was a brother in Christ who loved Paul, and was a devout supported of his ministry.

4. Love Honors And Lauds The God Of All Power, Glory, And Grace (vv. 25-27).

*Doxology are words of praise to the One and only who is worthy of worship and praise. He has revealed a great mystery. The mystery of the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit in Paul has given GOD’S PLAN OF SALVATION more clearly than we deserve.
*God alone is the One of power to set us firmly in the security of the gospel. He alone is worthy of our faith. Faith alone calls us to obedience to the commands of God, because faith believes and trusts that God is over all; He is sovereign.
*“To Him be glory through our Lord Jesus Christ for ever. A-men.”

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Requirements of the Christian Man

What God Requires Of His Men

Exodus 3:1-10

I. CHRISTIAN MEN ARE MEN OF OBSERVATION CONCERNING THINGS OF GOD (vv. 1-4).

A. God does things sometimes to get a man’s attention.

1. The fire of God is burning long before it is seen by man’s eyes.
2. It is God who opens our eyes that we might see His fire.

B. We should be drawen by the fire of God once it is observed.
C. When we get into the presence and fire of God we begin to reckon with our sin and our lives.

II. CHRISTIAN MEN ARE EXPECTED TO HUMBLE THEMSELVES IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD (vv. 5-6).

A. Humble before God we remove the manmade shoes of self-support.

1. Self reformation will not, nor cannot stand before the presence of holy God.
2. Taking off the shoes of “Self-Support” in God’s presence keeps us sensitive in our walk with God.

a. It also makes us cautous in our walk.
b. Being without shoes we watch where we step.

B. This is a form of removing the “Fig leaves” of self-righteousness.

III. CHRISTIAN MEN ENDEAVOR TO KNOW THE HEART OF GOD (vv. 7-8).

A. The heart of God is to deliver His people from their place of affliction.

1. It grieves the heart of God when His people are afflicted by the world.
2. It grieves His heart even more when we are afflicted spiritually, controlled by sin, and separated from fellowship with Him.

“Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear” Isaiah 59:1; “Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still” Isaiah 9:17, 21; 10:4 (KJV). “When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” Romans 5:6 (KJV).

B. Jesus came knowing the heart of God and His purpose for being.

1. ” The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19 (KJV).
2. God’s heart is for the delivering of enslaved people.

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Romans 6:16-18; Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV).

C. God’s heart is set against sin, and so ought the heart of the Christian man reflect the heart of God.

IV. CHRISTIAN MEN ARE CALLED TO A PLACE OF LEADERSHIP (vv. 9-10).

A. Although God is All Powerful [Omnipotent] He uses men to lead people out of slavery and into His blessing.

1. He desires to use those who are willing and He will make us able.
2. He desires to use those who know His heart.

B. What is godly leadership?

1. One who knows God’s call and is committed to be faithful to that call.
2. One who by careful study of God’s Word and diligence knows God’s heart for souls and teaches God’s Word and His way.
3. One who prays and calls his family, and God’s people to repent, and who himself is repentant.
4. One whose heart is to let the Lord be Lord of his life and the church body.

a. If he is a pastor he is not a dictator with his own rules, but trust the Lord’s Word to correct and do its work in individual Christians and in the hearts of the lost.
b. He does not see his position as a place of power, but of servanthood.

5. One who is yielded to God’s tasks at the risk of family, friendships, being misunderstood, and/or life.

a. He is more concerned with God’s commands than with man’s demands.
b. He is obedient to God – repentant when not.

6. One who is burdened for the people.

C. God uses yielded/surrendered men to accomplish great tasks; “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” Philippians 2:5 (KJV).

1. “God is not looking for extraordinary men to do an ordinary task; He is looking for ordinary men to do an extraordinary task.” UNKNOWN
2. Christian men are sent by God to deliver the people of God who are in bondage and lead them out of Egypt [the world] and slavery to sin and the world.

APPLICATION –

I. GOD CALLS CHRISTIAN MEN TO BE OBSERVANT OF HIS FIERY PRESENCE.
II. GOD CALLS CHRISTIAN MEN TO HUMBLE THEMSELVES BEFORE HIS PRESENCE.
III. GOD CALLS CHRISTIAN MEN TO KNOW THE HEART OF GOD.
IV. GOD CALLS CHRISTIAN MEN TO THE PLACE OF LEADERSHIP.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Right Attitude

Being The Right Attitude

Matthew 5:1-12

We are looking at the beginning verses of what is called The Sermon On The Mount preached by Jesus to His disciples. It does not seem that there was a multitude at this message. It seems clear that it was only His disciples, “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them,” (vv. 1-2).

Each of the “Beatitudes” are a principle for living in the kingdom of our King. They represent an attitude of the heart and the mind. Within the kingdom of Christ our King there would be peace among us with no pride – lording it over another; there would be more sorrow over sin – our own first of all; there would be a greater hunger for God and His righteousness – less worry about gaining the things of earth; there would be more mercy – thus obtaining mercy; there would be more purity – more visions of God; there would be more opportunities for being peaceable – as the children of God; there would be more persecution – we would all be living faithfully as we are in the kingdom of heaven.

Let’s first look at the definition of the word “attitude“. “The position of something in relation to something else” is one definition according to the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY. What is the position your mind, your heart, your life in relation to God? We will consider those things your attitude. If we line ourselves up with God, having the right attitude we are “Blessed”, and that means “Happy”. Christians should be the happiest people in the world. I am not talking about a happiness based on frivolous circumstances, and life situations, but more of a joy which cannot be taken away.

What is the basis for having the Right Attitude?

I. THE FIRST THING IS TO HAVE THE ATTITUDE OF BEING “Poor in spirit” (v. 3).

A. This possesses a disciple of Jesus Christ as King.

1. It is the opposite of being proud, haughty and arrogant; especially when considering the things of God.
2. There is absolutely no room in the kingdom for pride.
3. It is bad enough to be arrogant, prideful and haughty before our fellow man, but to do so before God has eternal consequences

B. To be poor in spirit is to have more concern for the things of God, and the lives of others than we have for our own lives

1. What is the position of our heart toward God and our fellow man?
2. Seeing ourselves as God sees us is the proper attitude, and we will be poor in spirit, and ours will be the ‘kingdom of heaven’.

II. SECONDLY, THERE WILL BE AN ATTITUDE OF “Mourning” – having grief because of sin (v. 4).

A. The attitude of mourning over some thing or things which are not morally or spiritually right.

1. First of all, seeing sin in ourselves should cause us to mourn grievously, and lead us to repentance.
2. Secondly, when we sin in a love one, and we know that it is dragging them further and further away for God; we should be mourning over sin, and for their repentance.
3. Thirdly, when we see what sin is doing to our church by those who are “talebearing”, gossiping, and “sowing seeds of discord”; all should be grieving, mourning the destruction it is doing to the lives of those participating in it and the harm it brings to us all.
4. Fourthly, when we see what sin does to our community, State, Nation and the world we should be mourning sorrowfully and be praying for repentance.

B. There is comfort for those who mourn now.

1. There are many in and of the world who can laugh when a commedian tells an indecent story or joke, but when the story time is over they are sad once again.
2. Those who mourn now will be rejoicing through out all eternity, and that does not mean we cannot be joyous and truly happy while we are here.
3. When we see a sinner repent that will by a happy occasion; those who mourn shall be comforted.

III. IN THE THIRD PLACE, THERE IS THE ATTITUDE OF “Meekness” (v.5).

A. Meekness has been defined as “Strength/Power under control”.

1. Jesus was a great example of this definition of meekness.
2. It is also said of Moses, “Now this man Moses was very meek, above all men which were upon the face of the earth.” Numbers 12:3 (KJV).
3. Gentleness is another term for meekness.

B. The meek are those who know and realize who they are in Christ, but do not seek to exploit their position, power or person above others.

1. The meek are quick to defend others, but often will not defend themselves, and all the time stand for what is righteous, holy and just before God.
2. Meekness is one sure sign of being secure with who you are.
3. The inheritance of the meek is the earth;

“For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Psalm 37:9-11 (KJV).

C. Jesus tells us that the “meek shall inherit the earth, and the Psalmist says that of “Those who wait upon the LORD…” as well.

IV. FOURTHLY, WE NEED THE ATTITUDE OF “Hungering and thirsting for righteousness” (v. 6).

A. The kingdom child is hungry for God, His Word, His righteousness, His holiness, and His justice.

1. Righteousness is the way of God, and the child of God desires the way of God.
2. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; their desire is for Jesus Christ and nothing else, because He is the fulfillment of the righteousness of God.

B. Those “hungering and thirsting for righteousness has a very specific hunger and that is for those things which are honoring and pleasing to God and glorify Him

1. To devour the truth – getting it into the system in order to be strengthened, encouraged, and motivated to live right with God.
2. O, that we as the people of God grew in that hunger; never completely filled; but satisfied with Jesus, wanting more of Him, and His righteousness.
3. The thrist never completely quenched; with longing to drink from the well of the Water of Heaven.
4. Drink from the ‘river of water’ that flows from out of the throne of God Himself (Rev. 22:1).

V. THE FIFTH BASIS FOR HAVING THE RIGHT ATTITUDE IS TO BE “Merciful” (v.7).

A. When you are in the right position with mercy it is most likely because you have obtained mercy (See Matthew 6:14-15 and Luke 7:41-42).
B. Living in a competitive world many feel and/or believe it is okay to exact revenge on one who has wronged you.
C. Get-Even-Ism is not the way of mercy.

“There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?” Luke 7:41-42

1. Mercy is what we all desire, especially when we are in trouble, in need, or just flat out busted.
2. We all need it, but when it comes to others, we are a little slow at granting it, if we do at all.
3. The question, “Who was forgiven the most?” is a pertinent question for us today – How much have you been forgiven? Much or little?

Mercy has been defined or illustrated in this manner – “It is not receiving what we justly deserve – that is JUDGMENT”. The next time you are about to release a verbiage of criticism on someone over something that has offended you; take a look at yourself. Someone has been merciful to you in the past, and probably over this same thing that has set you off. What is the position of your attitude in relation to mercy?

D. When we are merciful we shall obtain mercy.

VI. IN THE SIXTH PLACE IS THE NEED TO BE “Pure in heart” (v. 8).

A. Purity is such a sweet word. The definition of the word pure is:

“Unmixed with any other matter: free from taint’ also, ‘Free from moral fault: innocent”. From the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY.

1. Without a pure heart no one can see the Lord, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness [purity], without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14 KJV).
2. No one can appear before the presence of the Lord without pure heart – “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his sould unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” Psalm 24:3-4 (KJV).

B. There is a pure heart only by looking to Jesus Christ, and looking to Jesus you will see God.

VII. SEVENTH, IS THE HEART OF “Peacemakers” (v. 9).

A. This does not have anything to do with “World peace” initiatives or movements.

THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY on Matthew, Vol. 1, p. 211 states,

“The essentil fact to comprehend is that the peace about which Jesus speaks is more than the absence of conflice and strife; it is the presence of righteousness”.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Rom. 5:1 (KJV).

B. As long as men and women are at war with God, not believing Him or in Him; there will never be peace with God.

1. “Men can stop fighting without righteousness, but they cannot live peaceably without righteousness” IBID.
2. Having peace with God makes one righteous and just by decree from God.
3. There will be peace on earth when Jesus Christ sets up His kingdom on earth.

C. Those who have peace are the only ones who can offer peace to those who do not have it.

1. It is those who are peacemakers who have the peace with God, and the peace of God.
2. It is those who alone who can be called ‘the children of God’.

D. When your position with God is right; you will have peace with God, the peace of God, and you also will be a peacemaker.

VIII. THE EIGHTH AND FINAL BE-ATTITUDE IS THAT OF THE “Persecuted” (vv.10-12).

A. As a follower of Jesus Christ we must consider ourselves dead to the flesh any way.

1. It was Paul who wrote,

“I am crucified with Christ…” (Gal. 2:20). “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:4).

2. Paul also wrote to Timothy,

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” 2 Timothy 3:12.

B. These two “Blessed(s)” are for only those who are in Christ Jesus and walking in His righteousness.

1. These persecuted do not moan and groan their persecution, they rejoice that they are counted worthy to suffer for the cause of Jesus Christ.
2. This was the attitude of the early church; we see them rejoicing in this in Acts 5:41 –

“And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

C. Do we go out seeking persecution? That is a definite NO!!!

1. When we live righteously in Christ it will come and then, we stand and we stand in His name.
2. Persecution is not for the believer to gain God’s grace, but because of grace.

D. Those who are persecuted will inherit the “kingdom of God”.

1. It too, will be a matter of rejoicing.
2. Great will be the reward in Heaven

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. James 1:12 (KJV).

IX. SUMMARY – WHAT IS THE POSITION OF YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARD GOD, HIS SON, AND HIS WORD, AND YOUR POSITION IN THE WORLD?

-Tim A. Blankenship

God of Our Hope

The God of Hope

Romans 15:1-33

The chapter begins with summing up of the previous teaching of considering others in our demeanor, actions, and deportment. We need to act in accordance with what will glorify our Lord, and keep our brother or sister in Christ from falling.

Paul even means that we go much further than tolerating a brother’s weakness, but rather do all possible to strengthen them in faith. Carry their load. Carry them when necessary.

We are to see to it that we with one mind and one mouth glorify God together, “even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Having the heart, mind, and mouth like unto that of Jesus Himself. Being likeminded together, with Him (vv. 1-7).

Paul was obviously a believer in God’s promises. He understood that Jesus was the fulfillment of the promises of God, and their confirmation.

1. The Confirmation of the Promises came by Jesus Christ (v. 8). The Old Testament is full of promises. Promises of the coming One. A Deliverer. The Messiah. A Savior who will save the people from their sins.

In Jesus’s birth He confirmed Scripture. Born a Jew. Born in Bethlehem. Called a Nazarene. He fulfilled the law.

He was a healer; healing the lame, and the blind. Lepers were freed from their sores, the dead were raised to life. He walked on the water, stilled storms, fed multitudes, and cast our demons

Only few followed Him, and still chose to go to the cross and die for our sins as the suffering servant (Isaiah 53).

2. Jesus Confirmed the Promises by Opening the Gate for all people. Paul reminds his readers that God’s plan has always been to include all people no matter what their race or nationality or culture (vv. 9-13).

“Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” Psalms 18:49 (KJV) v. 9.

(v. 10) “Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.” Deut 32:43 (KJV).

(v. 11) “O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.” Psalms 117:1 (KJV).

(v. 12) “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:” and “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:1, 10 (KJV)

All our hope and power is from the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

3. Something in which to Boast (vv. 14-21). When is it right to boast? We can boast of the faith, work, patience, boldness, and goodness that others do through Christ Jesus.

We can boast of the goodness of God, and what He has done in us, and through us.

To boast of anything concerning Jesus’s mighty deeds is a good boast.

4. Through Prayer for the Sovereign Leadership of the Lord in our lives and other’s lives we can grow in trusting The God of Hope (vv. 22-33). The following was the desire of Paul’s heart, and his requests from the Roman Christians.

To be delivered from the unbelieving Jews in Jerusalem;

That his work and ministry for Jerusalem would be accepted by the believers;

That he would be able to visit them – at Rome – in the will of God and be “refreshed” = renewing joy, peace and rest; with them.

God is the sovereign One. He directs the affairs of all people in all lands. His will will be done despite our arrogant, self-styled, self-willed disobedience.

The Light That Shines

The Light That Shines

Matthew 4:1-25

Jesus never declared Himself to be King. It is decreed by scripture that there would be a King to always sit upon the throne of David. Jesus is often called the Son of David, and that means He is the One to sit on the throne.

As the king He is the Light. As the Light He even calls us the Light. We will see in the fourteenth through the sixteenth verses that Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah concerning the Light that would break the darkness of Zabulon and Nephthalim. That Light shines still today around the world in the lives of His people.

I. THE LIGHT IS VICTORIOUS OVER THE DARKNESS IN HIS TEMPTATIONS (vv. 1-11)

A. Following His baptism Jesus was “led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (v. 1)

1. This was a testing of His being, and to strengthen Him in Spirit.
2. His faith must be tested in order to be obedient to the Father — “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;” Heb. 5:8 (KJV).

B. The first temptation was concerning His desire and, ours to Survive.

1. “If you are the Son of God”
2. “Turn these stones to bread”
3. Survival sometimes tempts us to take shortcuts around what is right, good, godly and best.
4. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”

C. The second temptation was concerning His desire, ours to be Secure.

1. The devil’s temptation was one that would require Jesus to prove arrogance and stupidity, not security.
2. When one has genuine security it does not have to be proven to anyone – if you must prove it you don’t have it.
3. To prove His Security at this point and this manner would be to tempt God. “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God”.
4. Jesus was so secure that He trusted that His Father would take Him all the way to fulfill His destiny, and that destiny as a Man was to die on the cross.

D. The final temptation was concerning His desire, and ours to be successful.

1. Worship me, and I will give you the kingdoms of the world (Ps. 2:8).
2. Jesus would one day have dominion of the kingdoms of the world, but not this way; Jesus knew there was a debt to pay, the sin debt which was owed to the Father.
3. Worshipping God, the Creator, is the only means of success.

II. THE LIGHT SHINES WHERE JESUS DWELLS (vv. 12-17)

A. Jesus as the Light continued the message of the Baptist – the message of repentance.
B. Notice that Jesus departed from Nazareth, and came to Capernaum to dwell.

1. This was His place of residence; his ministry headquarters now. (John 6:16-24).
2. One thing that always stands out in the Gospel of Matthew is that Jesus fulfilled Scripture.

C. Jesus wants His Light to shine in and through you.

III. THE LIGHT SHINES IN AND THROUGH HIS FOLLOWERS/DISCIPLES (vv. 18-22).

A. Jesus walks along the seashore seeking men to follow Him.

1. The sea often represents the realm of mankind, and their doomed, despairing, drowning, dying cries for help.
2. That sea of man is still here and we are all still needy, by when we have come to the light we can go with Jesus.

B. Jesus takes Simon and Andrew first, then He calls James and John.

1. These were all fisherman, and He finds them all about the task of their work.
2. They can understand the call “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”.

C. The call still rings through the word and the hearts of His disciples, “Come follow Me”.

IV. THE LIGHT SHINES AS EVIDENCE OF HIS HONOR, GLORY AND POWER, THROUGH HIS TEACHING, PREACHING AND HEALING (vv. 23-25).

A. These are the credentials of the Divine King – the Son of God.

1. In His teaching He taught with supreme authority (7:29).
2. In His preaching He announced the kingdom of heaven.
3. In His healing and miracles it was divine clarification of His identity and authority.

B. The greatest healing and miracle Jesus came to do was to give Light to the darkness of human hearts.

“The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart”

C. Why do we follow Him?

1. Is it solely because of what He can do for us?
2. Is it solely because of what He has done for us?
3. Is it because He loved us and made it possible that we love Him?
4. Is it because of who He is?

SUMMARY –

I. IN HIS LIGHT THERE IS VICTORY OVER EVERY TEMPTATION.
II. THE LIGHT OF JESUS SHINES WHERE HE DWELLS; LET HIM SHINE IN AND THROUGH YOU.
III. HAVE YOU HEARD THE CALL OF JESUS – “COME FOLLOW ME”?
IV. HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED HIS LOVE, THAT ENABLES YOU TO LOVE HIM, BY EXPERIENCE OF HIS GRACE AND SALVATION?
V. CONFESS YOUR SIN, REPENT OF SIN, BELIEVE THAT JESUS DIED, WAS BURIED, AND ROSE AGAIN.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Pastors and Preaching the Word

The Bible says, or ‘Thus saith the LORD’,

“Preach the Word; be instant in season, and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teaches, having itching ears.” 2 Timothy 4:2-3

Paul said,

“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:27

Having read these passages of Scripture, the ‘Thus saith the Lord’ how, in the name of God and His Son Jesus, can a pastor dare stand in the pulpit every Sunday, and preach nothing but words which comfort and encourage people.  We definitely are to preach Jesus, His death, His burial, and His resurrection.  There was a reason for His death, burial and resurrection, and that was that we are sinners, God in His love and grace desired to save us, in order that we might glorify His name.

A pastor/preacher who never confronts the sins of his people, or the sins of our society or culture is no man of God at all.  He is either a puppet of the people he professes to serve, or he is a man after the devil’s heart.  A few years ago I was told of a pastor, whom I  knew, who was asked about the stem cell issue by one of the members of his congregation, and his answer was, as it was told to me, “There are two sides to this issue…”  The all around implication was “I am not going take a stand on this issue”.  Is that the attitude of a pastor or a coward who is posing as a preacher?  I will say that he did later come to a change of mind.

There are other issues in 2018 we need to speak of, and the Biblical declaration for and against a thing.  God’s word never changes.  If it was declared sin by God; it is still sin.

Our churches, our people, the States we live in and serve, and our Country needs men of God who will without fear or favor to men, stand in the pulpit with God’s Word in their hand and on their heart, speak the Word as clearly, distinctly, with conviction, boldness and courage that the people will know they have heard the Word of God.

The man of God will preach the Word of God to get conviction in the hearts of the people.  There must be a conviction of sin in God’s people.  If God’s people will not be convicted of sin, how do we expect to ever see anyone be saved.  Why would we even pray for anyone to be saved since we have no conviction of sin, thus no need for salvation.

Wake up pastors, Preach the Word.  It is not a time for slacking in the Word.  It is time to preach for conviction.  It is time to preach holiness, righteousness, and judgment.  Let the people see the plight of sin, and the blight of sin.

Preachers and pastors – PREACH THE WORD, not comfort.  Now is the time to be uncomfortable.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Authentication

Authentication Of The King

Matthew 3:13-17

INTRODUCTORY OUTLINE –

I. THE KING ARRIVES ON THE SCENE FOR THE PURPOSE OF FULFILLING ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 13).
II. THE KING IDENTIFIES JOHN AS HIS LEGITIMATE HERALD AND PROPHET (vv. 14-15).
III. THE KING IS VISIBLY IDENTIFIED AND ANOINTED BY HEAVEN (v. 16).
IV. THE KING IS AUDIBLY CONFIRMED BY HIS HEAVENLY FATHER (v. 17).

No kingship is genuine lest it be given and approved by God, the king maker.

I. THE ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE MESSENGER (vv. 13-14).

A. John announces Him as –

“The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

B. By rejecting Jesus for baptism John was declaring His deity.
C. John rejected the baptism of hypocrites because they were unworthy, but rejects baptizing Jesus because He is without sin.

II. THE BAPTISM OF THE SON (v. 15).

A. John’s baptism was for the repentance of sin.

1. Jesus, the Son of God, had no sin.
2. In His baptism He is identifying Himself as being human, and the need of the human race, and that need was a sin bearer; which Jesus became on the cross.

B. Also, by being baptised Jesus is declaring John a prophet of God, and that his standard of righteousness is valid.

1. If Jesus accepted the teachings of John as valid, then, he was to be received by all.
2. They later rejected the messenger and the King.

C. By being baptised Jesus affirmed the message of baptism as the will of God to which all were to be subjected.

1. Remembering this was a baptism of repentance – a call to turn from sin, and follow the way of God.
2. Baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is the public profession of one’s faith in Jesus Christ and what He has done for you.

III. THE ANOINTING OF THE SPIRIT (v. 16).

A. Jesus, as a man, needed the empowering of the Holy Spirit for obedience –

“Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” Hebrews 5:7-9 (KJV).

1. He needed the Holy Spirit when He was teaching.
2. He needed the Holy Spirit when He healed, and brought the dead to life.
3. He needed the Holy Spirit when He confronted evil hypocrites and demons.
4. He needed the Holy Spirit especially when it came to His calling and purpose for coming; His passion, His agony and the death of the cross.
5. We must conclude that He was never apart from the Spirit of God; with one exception; and that was those three hours of darkness on the cross.

B. The visible empowering of the Holy Spirit was a sign to all who were present, that this One is the Anointed One.

1. This is not to say that this is where He receives the Spirit; it is only for the purpose of notifying the populace of God’s approval.
2. The heavens were opened –

“And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:56;

“Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.” Ezekiel 1:1 (KJV).

a. When God chooses to open the heavens it is a spectacular event.

3. The visible sign was in the form of a dove –

“And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22 (KJV).

a. The dove was, to the Jew, a sacrifice of the poor.
b. This dove is signifying, that God has lowered Himself to become man, and as man in need of God’s Spirit.

IV. THE CONFIRMATION OF THE FATHER (v. 17).

A. The only sacrifice pleasing to God.

1. Without spot or blemish.

a. No lamb, bullock or goat could take away sin –

“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:11-14 (KJV).

“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure” Hebrews 10:4-6

B. Even before the sacrifice is done God decrees His approval upon His Son as though it is finished.
C. Jesus the only sacrifice for sin in which God is “Well pleased”

“While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” Matthew 17:5 (KJV).

“Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again” John 12:28 (KJV).

D. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross as the only accepted sacrifice for sin made the way for lost sinners to come to faith, relationship and fellowship with the Father.

SUMMARY –

I. Every time a preacher is preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ he is announcing Jesus as King and Lord and Savior of the world.
II. If Jesus, the Son of God saw the need for baptism for the fulfilling of righteousness, then, certainly we can subject ourselves to Him and testify of our faith through baptism by emersion.
III. Just as Jesus had the need for the work and power of the Spirit in His life, so do you and I; without the Spirit in us we do not belong to Him.
IV. The Father authenticated or approved the Son by His voice from Heaven; the only way for our approval from Him is through His Son.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Mother’s Day Sermon

The Faith Of God Gloried

Exodus 2:1-10

Motherhood has almost been cheapened by immoral practices such as pre-marital sex, sodomite practices, and by some cases of invitro-fertilization. How has it been cheapened by these things? In that anybody can have a baby.

No matter what goes on in our world true motherhood is still God’s blessed event, and action. Mothers who know and trust their Creator are a special blessing to the world, whether the world wants to recognize that or not. In this message I want us to look at a mother who saw something special in her son that had been born in troublous times. Times where the boys were thrown into the river and drowned. This mother hid her son, and would not give him up.

I. MOTHERS SEE SPECIAL AND UNIQUE QUALITIES IN THEIR CHILDREN (v. 2).

A. God had a special plan for Moses, and He does for all of us.

1. Moses was born shortly after Pharoah’s decree of death for new born males – ” And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live” Exodus 1:16.
2. Upon his birth his life was in jeopardy of death.

B. Jochebed believed God and followed God’s plan for her own life.

1. She hid Moses and kept him from death at the hand of the evil law of Pharoah.
2. She heard God and obeyed.

a. Of course Amram, Moses’ father had a part, but it seems from the Exodus account that mother instigated the plan and carried it through.
b. The family was all a part – we can tell later, because of Miriam’s part.

II. MOTHERS WHO TRUST THEIR CHILDREN TO GOD’S CARE ARE BLESSED (vv. 3-8).

A. Making plans – laying out a course of action for things to work out right.

1. Preparing an “ark” of safety;
2. On the edge, not in the current where he would have been carried down stream to only God knows where.

a. The reeds or “flags” would have slowed the movement – providing a braking action for the ‘ark’.
b. Miriam standing by keeping watch over her brother.

3. Trusting that God would use the Pharoah’s daughter to save the life of her son.

a. She must have been praying for Pharoah’s daughter to have a loving mother’s heart.
b. Trusting that God had a plan for her child.

B. Can man’s plans and God’s plans work in accord?

1. If man’s heart is aligned with God’s Word, God’s Spirit, His heart and mind, God’s way, then, YES!
2. That is God’s way of working in His people.

III. BY GOD’S GRACE AND PROVISION A CHILD IS BROUGHT BACK (v. 9).

A. Children are being slaughtered every day.

1. Not all children have a godly mother.
2. Many many unborn children lose their lives everyday because of choices of unthinking, uncaring, troubled, women, doctors and slaughterhouses.

a. We ought to be praying for them to have a change of heart and attitude, and close the doors of these houses of murder.
b. They too are people in need of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ.

B. There are some used by God who are used by God to be mothers.

1. Nursing, and feeding the child;
2. Caring;
3. Teaching and training.

C. Often, when we give our children to God and his providential care He gives them back.

1. Mothers are blessed;
2. Families are blessed;
3. Nations are blessed;
4. Churches are blessed.

D. The preschood years are the most influential and important years in the child’s life.

1. They are growing through their mother’s care.
2. They are learning through their mother’s teaching example.

IV. GOD IS GLORIED THROUGH THE DEDICATED MOTHER’S FAITH (v. 10).

A. YaHWeH Gloried is the meaning of the name Jochebed.

1. Moses delivered Israel from Egypt by God’s power.
2. Israel brought Jesus into the world through Mary, for the salvation/deliverance of mankind.

B. Jesus is the Savior of the world.

1. Is it any wonder “YaHWeH Gloried”
2. God is gloried by faith.

SUMMARY –

I. WE ALL SHOULD SEE EVERY PERSON AS UNIQUE AND SPECIAL – EVERY PERSON IS MADE IN THE PATTERN OF ADAM AND EVE – IN GOD’S IMAGE.
II. TRUSTING OTHERS – ESPECIALLY OUR OWN CHILDREN – TO GOD’S CARE HAS MANY BLESSINGS.
III. BY GOD’S GRACE AND PROVIDENCE ANYONE CAN BE BROUGHT TO GOD.
IV. WITHOUT FAITH NO ONE CAN PLEASE GOD (Heb. 11:6).

-Tim A. Blankenship

One Table

The LORD’s One Table

1 Corinthians 10:14-22

We hear the word today that Christians should be more tolerant of other “Faiths” which are other religions; “After all”, they say, “We are all going to the same place”. Is this a true or a false statement? If we believe God’s Word to be true the statement must be seen as being false. All ‘faiths’ and religions do not lead to the same place.

Any religion that is man-made, man enabled and man edifying is not of God. It will lead to Hell and eternal destruction, not eternal life. All man-made religion is idolatry, and idolatry is what we are looking at when we see many ways to God and heaven. Paul tells us, “…the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God.” (v. 20).

OUTLINE –

I. FLEE FROM IDOLATRY – WHICH IS ANYTHING THAT IS WORSHIPPED OTHER THAN GOD (v. 14).
II. WE ARE ONE IN CHRIST THROUGH HIS SHED BLOOD, AND BROKEN BODY (vv. 15-18).
III. THERE IS NO POWER IN AN IDOL – EXCEPT THAT IMAGINED BY ITS WORSHIPPER (vv. 19-20).
IV. THE LORD’S ONE TABLE – THERE IS NO OTHER (vv. 21-22).

I. FLEE FROM IDOLATRY – WHICH IS ANYTHING THAT IS IN THE PLACE OF GOD – BEFORE OR AFTER (v. 14)

A. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (EX. 20:3).

1. And He does not mean you can have some after Him; “After you have worshipped Him on the Lord’s day, then you are free to worship whomever or whatever you please”.
2. All praise, all glory is to be ascribed to the One who created all things.

B. No angel, no human being, no thing of any kind is to ever, at any time to be held in place of honor, worship and praise over God, or under Him.
C. The previous verses show us the peril of idolatry in the heart of believers.

1. Twenty three thousand died as a result of the corporate worship with the Moabites (v. 7; NUM. 25).
2. The “…eat and drink, and rose up to play…” comes from verse seven of our text’s chapter and Exodus 32:6 .

D. We all are to FLEE FROM IDOLATRY, and hang onto Christ.

II. THROUGH THE SHED BLOOD OF JESUS AND HIS BROKEN BODY WE ARE ONE (vv. 15-18).

A. The shedding of the blood is the taking of life – unlike a little bleeding this means all the blood was shed for the remission/forgiveness of our sins.

1. We are united to Christ and with Christ by His blood shed on the cross.

a. “Communion” is much more than just united it is also – it is from the Greek, G2842

“κοινωνία

koinōnia

koy-nohn-ee’-ah

From G2844; partnership, that is, (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction: – (to) communicate (-ation), communion, (contri-), distribution, fellowship.”

b. It is the word used for ‘Fellowship’ as well.

2. Fellowship was something we never had with God until the blood shed of Jesus on the cross.

B. The broken body was broken by pain and suffering, though no bone in His body was broken, just as the Scriptures had said.

1. We are in the ‘Body of Christ’; the unbroken body of Christ.
2. We are all partakers of the “one Bread”

C. Just as the people of were partakers of the sacrificial altar, so too, are we the “One bread” of Jesus’s body.

III. THE IMAGINARY POWER OF THE WORSHIPPED IMAGE (vv. 19-20).

A. The idol is nothing except that that is given by the people who hold it dear.

1. Some people hold numbers in their lives to be dear and powerful, thinking by using them they could obtain great wealth or fame.
2. Some pray to images of “saint”, and angels, and this is nothing, but mere superstition, and idol worshipping.

B. These worshippers are thoroughly deceived, will not have peace, and are actually worshipping demons.

1. To which Paul says, “That the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice ot devils [demons], and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.” (v. 20).
2. Having just shared with us of having fellowship with God through the blood and body of Christ, he gives warning of fellowshiping with demons.

IV. THERE IS ONE TABLE – THE LORD’S ONE TABLE (vv. 21-22).

A. There are two things very noticable here; 1) You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils; 2) You cannot be a partaker of the Lord’s table and the table of the devils.

1. You must be either all for the Lord, or all against Him.

a. The challenge has been given endlessly; from Joshua we hear, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve…” Joshua 24:15; Elijah cried, “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21; and Jesus said many times even till the end of Scriptures and time; “Come, follow Me”.

2. Jesus said, “He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.” Matthew 12:30; also Luke 11:23.

B. The One Table of the Lord is the table where all the true saints of God will be gathered and we will behold the broken, scarred hands of our Savior break the bread, and we shall know Him by the breaking of that bread.
C. To partake of another table will be to provoke our Lord to jealousy – that is rebellion – that is what we cannot do.

SUMMARY –

I. WE LIVE IN AN IDOLATROUS LAND WITH PEOPLE GOING TO TEMPLES AND ALTARS AT THEIR WHIM AND PLEASURE FOR THE SAKE OF THE KIDS – WE MUST FLEE FROM IT.
II. THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST MAKES US ONE BODY IN HIM AND IT IS UNBROKEN, JUST AS THE SCRIPTURES HAVE SAID.
III. WE SHOULD NOT CORPORATELY WORSHIP WITH THOSE WHO DO NOT WORSHIP JESUS CHRIST THE ONLY SACRIFICE AND THE ONLY TABLE OFFERED TO US.
IV. THE LORD’S ONE TABLE IS ONLY FOR THOSE WHO KNOW JESUS – AT THIS ONE TABLE WE DO NOT PROVOKE THE LORD TO JEALOUSY, BUT WE INVOKE PRAISE.

-Tim A. Blankenship

God’s Providence

God’s Faithful Providence
Matthew 1:1-17

The Gospel of Matthew begins with a genealogy of the King of the Hebrews. Matthew’s Gospel was written to the Hebrew. It is written so they might know that Jesus is their King. At the time they were blinded by their own religious practices, and ceremonies, and self-righteousness as a nation, but Jesus was at that time their Messiah and King and to this day is their King.

The following is the outline Warren W. Wiersbe gives for the Gospel according to Matthew in THE BIBLE EXPOSITION COMMENTARY –

I. The Revelation Of The King – chapters 1-10;
II. The Rebellion Against The King – chapters 11-13;
III. The Retirement Of The King – chapters 14-20;
IV. The Rejection Of The King – chapters 21-27;
V. The Resurrection Of The King – chapter 28

The Gospel begins with Jesus, and His genealogy beginning with Abraham; not Adam. Abraham the father of the Hebrews and their relationship to God the Father. In the Gospel of Luke the genealogy is given backwards and ends with Adam, showing Jesus to be the Son of Man. The Gospel of Mark has no genealogy, nor does the Gospel of John. Servants have no genealogy as in Mark’s account, nor does God have genealogy as in the Gospel of John.

By way of introduction let me give some information concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The human penman for this Gospel is Matthew. He was called by Jesus while sitting at his place collecting taxes: “And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him” (Matthew 9:9). As a tax collector he would have been a reject to those who were religious rulers, they would have counted him a traitor, because he was collecting taxes from his people for the Roman government.

This Gospel was written to the Jews to declare and give evidence of Jesus’s royal lineage.

I. A LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCES IN THE FOUR GOSPELS.

A. First of all in Matthew; Jesus is seen as the King, and is also the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

1. John wrote in the Revelation chapter four verses six and seven, “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle”.
2. “As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle” (Ezekiel 1:10).

B. In Mark’s Gospel; Jesus is seen as a Servant, and is the ox/calf – Jesus Himself said in the Gospel of Mark, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
C. Then in the Gospel of Luke we see Jesus as the Son of Man, and represented, of course by the “face of a man”.
D. Finally in the Gospel of John we see Him as the Son of God, and represented by the symbol of the eagle. The eagle above all, soaring in majesty, representing the All-Knowing power of God.
E. The Royal Lineage of Jesus is given by Matthew in verses 2 – 16, and with all its blemishes.
F. In this Gospel we see a gracious King. We also see the wondrous providence of our great God and King.

II. MATTHEW’S GOD-BREATHED DECLARATION OF JESUS’S JEWISH ROYALTY (vv. 1-2).

A. David is considered, by the Jews, and by many others, to be the greatest of Israel’s kings.
B. Abraham was the patriarch of Israel, and this identifies this gospel to the Jews, and to Jesus as being Jewish.
C. Jesus, of course, is who this Gospel is really about.
D. Jesus came and showed the people, and told the people who He was, but was despised by the Jewish religious establishment, and many of the people.

1. He is defended by Matthew, as their King.

III. EVIDENCE OF JEWISH ROYALTY IN AN ANCESTRY OF SINNERS (vv. 3-6).

A. This genealogy is evidence of divine lineage of Jesus, and succession of God’s establishment of a people.

1. It is given so that man may have proof of Jesus’s true identity.
2. You could call this Gospel ‘The Identity Papers of Jesus the King’.
3. It is proof positive that Jesus is the King of kings.

B. There are five people who are included in the genealogy of Jesus that most noble people would not want to claim, but here they are in the lineage of our Lord Jesus who is King of all kings, Lord of all lords, and He rules the Universe, and all that is within it.

1. Tamar who deceived her father in law and committed an act of harlotry (Matthew 1:3; Gen. 38:13-30).

a. Tamar is a representation of sin.

2. Rahab, and she was a prostitute in the city of Jericho who was delivered from Jericho’s destruction because of her faith in the God of Israel (Matthew 1:5; Joshua 2:1-21; 6:23);

a. Rahab is the representation of faith; she later married a Jew by the name of Salmon, and these were the proud parents of Boaz.

3. Ruth – a Moabitish woman who was forbidden by law to enter the congregation.

a. Ruth represents the principle of grace (Matthew 1:5; Deut. 23:3-6; Ruth 1:16; 3:19; 4:18-22).
b. These three women were Gentile women, and Tamar was a Canaanite (Gen 38:2) one of the peoples who were to be driven from the land of Promise and killed.

4. The next woman on the list is not even named; she is instead called, “of her that had been the wife of Uriah” (v.6).

a. We know her as Bathsheba – the partner in David’s great sin of adultery and murder, and she represents the principle of forgiveness.
b. It is possible that Bathsheba was also a Gentile woman.

5. The fifth and final woman mentioned in this kingly genealogy is Mary.

a. A woman loved, respected, and admired by many.
b. Jesus alone is worthy of our worship and we need no mediator to get to Jesus.

1) He is the Mediator for us to the Father.

c. Luke recorded, by the breath of God, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” O, that we had a heart like Mary.

IV. THE SON OF GOD; BORN OF A VIRGIN (vv. 7-16).

A. God protects His purity.
B. Matthew spares nothing to proclaim the virgin birth of Jesus.
C. Mary does have something in common with the other four women of this genealogy.

1. They are all guilty of , or accused of sexual immorality.
2. “Betrothed” in that culture was much more than engagement for our culture.

a. It would have taken Joseph to write a legal letter of divorcement for the marriage to cease, but he did not do that.
b. There must have been suspicious, gossiping tongues.

3. Mary, also was a sinner, in need of a Savior, and she gave birth to her own Savior and ours. Luke 1:47 states from Mary’s Song of Praise, “My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior”.

D. There is a man named Jechoniah and called “Coniah” in Jeremiah 22:24-30.

1. There was a curse placed on “Coniah”, thus this line was cursed by God.
2. Because Jesus’s Father is God and not Joseph, and Jesus has the lineage through Mary He is not acquainted with the curse.
3. By legal authority, because Joseph is the adoptive father, the curse does not apply to Jesus.

E. God’s grace is so amazing; so divine; when there seems to be no way of hope; no way of salvation; God provides; that is GOD’S FAITHFUL PROVIDENCE.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Darkness of the Crucifixion

The Darkness Of The Crucifixion

Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44

When Jesus went to the cross there was a period of three hours which is not given much notice in sermons that are preached. Of course, there is actually no way we can know all that went on in that three hours, unless it is by reading the twenty second Psalm, and hear the heart cry of our Savior as He was rejected by His Father, forsaken by His Father.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. Matt 27:45 (KJV)And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. Mark 15:33 (KJV)And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Luke 23:44 (KJV)

A few years ago I read a sermon by G. Campbell Morgan titled “THE DARKNESS OF GOLGOTHA” which really impressed me. Because of that message I developed this one using Brother Morgan’s main points, and quoting him often.

I. THE MEANING OF THE DARKNESS.

A. It was the hour of evil.
B. No matter how deep or dark the darkness the Light is always shining.
C. Satan wanted to extinguish the Light.

“From the very beginning of the shining of that Light, focused in history by the Incarnation, the one supreme purpose of the enemy was to….put it out. And in these three hours of darkness we are brought face to face with the time when all the force of evil was brouth to bear on the soul of the Son of God, and all the unutterable intent and purpose of evil wrapped Him about in darkness that is beyond our comprehension.” G. Campbell Morgan.

D. Darkness is a symbol of spiritual evil.

“The people which sat in darkness saw a great light:” (Matthew 4:16).

“But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.” (6:23). ASLO SEE Matthew 8:12 & 25:30.

E. Death and darkness express the ultimate in evil.

II. THE PASSING OF THE DARKNESS.

A. The four sayings after the passing of the darkness;

1. The cry of forsakenness (27:46);
2. The cry of human limitation and experience (John 19:28). [I thirst].
3. The cry of spiritual accomplishment (John 19:30) [It is finished]
4. The cry of confidence (Luke 23:46).

“…He died, not of a broken heart, not of human brutality, not of murder by human hands; but by His own volition He yielded up the Ghost, and His spirit, commended to God passed to God. The death that saves was not that physical dissolution, but the infinite spiritual mystery of the three hours and the darkness, which being passed, He Himself did say, ‘It is finished’”. IBID

B. It seems that during the three hours of darkness the crowds were silent.

“Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Ps.46:10).

1. Not a word is spoken until His cry of forsakenness.
2. Not a word of mockery, insolence, or hate is heard.

C. After the darkness, it was people who loved Him who took Him down, prepared His body and laid Him in the garden tomb.
D. The foes of Jesus seemed to have withdrawn.

1. Satan seems to be nowhere around.
2. Christ triumphed over him on the cross.

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Col 2:13-15 (KJV)

III. THE TRANSACTION WITHIN THE DARKNESS.

A. We cannot begin to understand all that took place during the darkness.

1. Much of what has been said by men is mere theory.
2. Only what the Scriptures reveal can be received and concluded to be fact.

B. God cannot be expressed in finite or human terms.

“God must pity any man who thinks he understands the cross completely.” IBID.

C. Every sort of darkness that has been mentioned in Scripture as a symbol of evil was experienced by Jesus.

“That does not answer the inquiry as to what happened. I have no answer for that. Only this I know, that in that hour of darkness He passed into the place of the ultimate wrestling of evil in actual experience. There is light as I hear the final word, ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit’ (Luke 23:46), for the word is a word which declares that whatever the transaction was, it was accomplished; that whatever the dying indicated, it was done.” IBID.

D. “He saved others; Himself He cannot save” (Matthew 27:42).

1. Because He saves others; He cannot/could not save Himself.
2. Because He chose to go up to the cross; He could not come down. His heart was set on saving others.

E. WHY COULDN’T HE SAVE HIMSELF?

“Because He is God, and because God is love, and love is never satisfied with the destruction of a sinner, but with the saving of a sinner.” IBID.

“Someone may say to me, ‘Cannot God forgive out of pure love?’ I shall answer, ‘If He can, I cannot.’ If He could forgive me for the wrongs of which I am conscious, and that have left behind them their stain and pollution – If He could forgive my sins by simply saying, ‘Never mind them’, then I cannot so forgive myself. My conscience cries for a cleansing that is more than a sentiment of pity. Somehow, somewhere, in order that I may have forgiveness, there must be tragedy, something mightier than devilish sin.” IBID.

F. In the darkness He determined not to deliver Himself, rather He chose to deliver me.

1. Out of darkness has come a Light.
2. From the darkness had come the treasures of pardon, peace, power, and purity.

“I do not know what happened in the darkness, but this I know, that as I have come to the cross and received the suggestions of the material unveiling, I have found my heart, my spirit, my life brought into a realm of healing spices, to the consciousness of the forgiveness of sins. And there is no other gospel of forgiveness.” IBID.

G. In the darkness He chose not to save Himself; He chose to save the world.

NO MATTER WHAT MEN MAY SAY, SATAN WAS DEFEATED BY JESUS ON THE CROSS: THE RESURRECTION WAS CONFIRMATION OF THE VICTORY OF THE CROSS.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Christian Love and Liberty

Christian Love and Liberty

Romans 14:1-23

In question are things to which there are not clear Biblical answers. These are problems which Scripture gives little to no guidance, or to which the rituals or ceremonies no longer have meaning.

In the church of Rome there were people from diverse backgrounds, similar to our nation of the USA today. It was pluralistic, and divided by many cultures. Some of the Christians were Jewish and had been subjected to many ceremonial laws and rituals. Just how was a Jewish Christian to view these matters now? These laws included certain meats which were not lawful to eat. Another culture was pagan and they worshipped idols and could eat the meats.

Becoming Christian, and not realizing the new freedom they had in Christ; they might feel guilt for not participating in the Jewish ceremonies, holy days, and no longer rejecting certain meats. They were still weak, and of an immature faith. They would also judge others for their lack of participation as well.

The pagan/Gentiles becoming Christians would forsake their idols they had worshipped, refuse to eat any meat that had been offered to those idols. Because of their immaturity they would pass judgment upon the other Christians who had the liberty to purchase the meat and eat it.

Paul addresses these issues in this chapter. For the immature Christian to participate in something they believe to be sin it is sin. For the mature Christian to participate in something they know will offend the immature Christian; it is sin. The mature Christian is at liberty to live for Christ, and will not be offended by the acts of others.

1.  The Christian in Love Receives the Weak (vv. 1-3).

Not for the purpose of argument. To love, strengthen, encourage, and teaching the doctrines and truths of God’s Word. If the one who does not eat does not judge the one who does eat, but the one who does eat judges the one who does not; which of the two is the mature one? It is the one who has not judged.

2. The Christian in Love Refrains from Judging the One Who is Bound (4-14).

We are all accountable to God. He is our judge. If I judge a fellow Christian a sinner because they have no conviction against drinking beverage alcohol, and they drink it in my presence or not, then, am I judging rightly? Only if they are drunk. My conviction is that Christians should refrain from imbibing in beverage alcohol, but it does not offend me, or cause me to stumble if others do.

3. The Christian in Love Restrains the Freedom Which May Offend the Weak (vv. 15-23).

One of the greatest acts of love is freedom which will not offend or harm others. New Christians may not understand some of the freedoms we have in Christ. We never have the freedom to offend weaker brothers and sisters in Christ. There is no law that can empower us to live a righteous life (Gal. 5:22-23). “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Christian Responsibilities

Christian Responsibilities

Romans 13:8-14

In the last study and in verses 1 – 7 we looked at “The Christian and Government” and could have called it the “Christian’s Responsibility to Government”. We also have responsibilities to others. Those we know and to those we do not know. To those we love, and to those we should love.

The words of verse eight, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” are not against owing money as in a debt for a legitimate financial transaction. It has to do with keeping our debts paid, and especially the debt of love. It is what we owe to all. In loving one another we fulfill the law, and it is a debt that is never paid in full.

God’s love paid in full the debt which we owed Him. That debt of sin was paid by Jesus’s death on the cross, and the evidence of that paid debt was the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and God’s declaring by Him, our justification.

In verse nine Paul gives us five of the Ten Commandments; all having to do with human relationships. Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments into two. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…”, and “Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself “ (Mark 12:30-31).

Paul sums these five laws up in much the same way; “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

One motivation for not committing these sins would be to think about how we would feel if someone committed these sins against us. Asking ourselves the question before we sin against a neighbor: “How would I feel if this was done against me?”

Love does not seek to do harm to neighbors. It rather seeks to do good. To love one’s neighbor seeks better for them than for one’s self. This is the fulness of the law.

Not only do we as Christians have responsibilities with our neighbors, but

WE ALSO HAVE RESPONSIBILITY WITH THE TIMES IN WHICH WE LIVE.

The time which we live requires and urgency due to the nearness of the return of Jesus Christ. We are nearer to the completion of our salvation than we were at the beginning.

It is time to cast off the works and deeds of the flesh, and be clothed in the “armor of His light”

Walking honestly, that all things may be seen, as in the light;

With lives of purity, holiness, and not debauchery, rebellion and sin;

Loving one another as we have been given commandment; approving the good of brothers and sisters in Christ; and promoting them;

Putting on Christ Jesus requires and act of the heart and soul and mind; Walking in the Holy Spirit – “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Christian and Government

The Christian And Government

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.  Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.  For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” Romans 13:1-7 (KJV)

In this study of Romans Paul is continuing to apply the basics of the gospel to all of the Christian life. He is teaching us that human government is of divine origin, and that we are subjects of human government.

Some may think that there are some forms of government which we do not have to obey. If so that is in error. Paul lived under an oppressive form of government which was persecuting Christians, and part of that was due to some of the people who were of Israel; Paul’s own flesh and blood.

In this study I pray we can come to an understanding of what being “subject” to government actually means. What are the Christian’s duties to government? What are the Government’s duties to its subjects? Hopefully these questions will be answered by this study.

Since Paul begins with the Christian’s duties, that is where we begin:

Christian’s are subjects to the “higher powers” – in this case that is government. The government under which we live is our “higher power” and under God’s rule ultimately. As a Christian we are first subject to our God, and must obey Him, as does the government in which we live.

What forms of governments are in our world?

A. Democracy.
B. Republics.
C. Communism.
D. Theocracy.
E. Anarchy.

2. God’s Government is the Supreme Government over all governments, and they are subject unto Him.
3. Resisting the government is in itself resisting God, when that government is only performing its God-given duties.

Any time a Christian gets to the place of resisting a government it should be done with extreme caution, and only resist when the government is violating the law of God.

We are still subject to the government, though resisting a policy, or an act of ungodliness on the part of our government. Subject when they come to arrest us; we go without resisting or protest.

The following is a Biblical example of being subject to the government:

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon;  Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them;  Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.  And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.” Jeremiah 29:4-7 (KJV).

In that illustration we see God’s command to Jeremiah for the people in captivity to go on with life, subjected to the government that they were living under, which would have been Chaldean, and was their enemy.

We are also to be faithful in supporting our defenders with our taxes.

The government’s responsibilities/duties to its people:

A. A defender of good, and a terror to what is evil.
B. A minister of God for good.
C. An avenger of what is evil.

2. There are times when governments of men become unjust, cruel, and unlawful toward God’s laws.

A. Around the time of the birth of Moses (Exodus 1-2).
B. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were commanded to bow to an image of the king (Daniel 3).
C. Daniel, and others forbidden to pray to anyone but the king (Daniel 6)
D. Peter and John commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:17-18).

3. When the government gets to perpetuating its own agenda instead of God’s agenda, and starts persecuting the people of God, then they have violated the Supreme Government. Yet, we are still subjected to them.

Governments are to be a hindrance to evil. With the exception of anarchy – no law or rule – crimes are restrained in any form of government. Those who obey laws have no fear of the policeman or the courts. There are times however, when men make laws that legalize perverse acts, and legitimize persecution of believers, and the killing of unborn babies. Believers should never disobey with a flippant attitude. “Civil disobedience” when needed would certainly call unjust laws to the attention of good government rulers, and if it is an unjust rule/law, cause them to reconsider, or at least think about overturning that rule/law.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Treatment of Others

Believer’s Treatment of Others

Romans 12:9-21

Jesus told us, “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another.” John 13:35. There is no question about it God/Christ has established one Church – His Body. Those who are in His body love one another. It cannot be otherwise. No believer can love God and hate another. To say one loves God, and to hate another is hypocrisy.

To love God is to hate evil. Paul uses the word “Abhor”. The true believer will hate evil just as our holy and righteous God hates it. We will hate evil because we see evil as the hyenas. They are mortal enemies, and so should the Christian and sin be also.

1. Christian love is to be without hypocrisy. To say you love and do not show love is hypocrisy, and does nothing to aid or help the brethren in need. Christian love does not speak ill of another. Does not speak one way to one, and different way to the one spoken of. Christian love prefers others over self. (vv. 9 – 10).

2. Christian diligence. When a Christian sees the need of a brother/sister they will react to with haste to see that need is filled. They will act to the point of taking care of that need themselves when they are able to do so. Hospitality is caring for the needs of others (vv. 11 – 13).

3. Christian grace. Show grace to those who will persecute you (v. 14).

4. Christian rejoicing. We ought to rejoice when our brother/sister is rejoicing. We may not be able to always understand our brother’s grief, but we can still be sympathetic and weep with them when they are weeping. Never thinking of ourselves more highly, because we are not the one who is suffering; you will (vv. 15 – 16).

5. Christian treatment of the ungodly. There is no doubt Christians will have those who could be our enemies. However, our real enemy is Satan. He uses others to spew forth his venomous hatred of all that is godly.

* Therefore, it is good for us to remember not to do evil deeds against evil. Our first reaction is to strike out, but the nature of Christ in us enables and empowers us to love.
* The believer is to seek peace with all people. We know however, that is not always possible.
* We are to seek forgiveness for any wrong we have done; not hold a grudge, nor seek to avenge wrongs done to us. If we are bitter it is a sign of a lack of peace with the one we are bitter toward.
* If we seek to avenge a wrong done to us; eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life, then we enter the realm that belongs only to God and government. We must realize that God’s justice is far greater than our own. We need to keep in mind that in this passage of Scripture he is writing of the individual not society or government. God has given authority to human government to avenge (Romans 13:4). Vengeance belongs to God alone.

6. Do good things to and for those who mistreat you. If he/she is hungry give them something to eat and drink. If you see a bad neighbor’s cow in the road, open the gate and put it back in his pasture. Bake a cake and take it to them. These kind acts may just gain you a brother or sister and maybe both, in Christ.

7. Contrary to what some and many may think there is much more power in love than in hate. Trying to overcome evil with evil only adds fuel to an already blazing fire. Love has a calming affect. “Overcome evil with good.”

The Steward of God’s Stuff (3)

Stewardship Of Repentance

Malachi 3:1:18

OUTLINE –

I. LOOKING FOR HIS COMING WITH UNREPENTANT SIN (vv. 1-2).
II. THE COMING OF THE LORD IS LIKE A DEVOURING FIRE, PURGING THE DROSS OF SIN FROM THE HEARTS OF HIS PEOPLE (vv. 3-4).
III. A LETHARGIC PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW THEY HAVE DEPARTED FROM THE LIVING GOD (vv. 5-12).
IV. IN THE WRONG ATTITUDES OF THEIR HEARTS, THEY ARE ANGRY TOWARD GOD (vv. 13-15).
V. GOD WILL SANCTIFY HIS PEOPLE, AS PRECIOUS JEWELS (vv. 16-18).

Thus far we have saw the STEWARDSHIP which Malachi teaches in chapter 1 we saw THE STEWARDSHIP OF WORSHIP; in chapter 2 THE STEWARDSHIP OF RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP; and now in chapter 3 we will see THE STEWARDSHIP OF REPENTANCE.

Are these things really a matter of personal stewardship? This may be a whole new way of looking at the book of Malachi, and I do believe that God’s people are to be responsible stewards of what God has entrusted to our care. This message is as much, or more to me, as it is to others, and is much needed by all God’s people.

The stewardship of the people of Israel was not in good order. It is sad to say that the stewardship of the church today, is not in good order either. There are people who have their names on church rolls as members of that church, but rarely if ever attend services. If they do it might be on Easter Sunday, for a special program, or for the Christmas program. There are over 16,000,000 (sixteen million) names on the rolls of more than 40,000 Southern Baptist Convention churches, yet, we would be extremely blessed to have half of them in attendance on Sunday. There is certainly a need for repentance for the neglect of the worship of Jesus Christ. There is also a need for repentance for lacking in fellowship with fellow believers. How can you encourage your brother or sister in Christ when you are absent from worship? How can you be encouraged when you are absent?

I. ABIDING IN SIN AND LOOKING FOR THE COMING OF JESUS.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.  But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:“ Malachi 3:1-2 (KJV).

A. God’s messenger has come to prepare the way for the coming of Christ.

1. That messenger was sent to every believer following the ascension of Christ to the Father.
2. That messenger is God’s Spirit who will convict of sin, righteousness and judgment.

B. There are many Christians who will say they long for the coming of the Lord, yet abide in sin.

1. The coming of Jesus would not be the longing of their hearts – it would be more like that of Lot’s wife whose heart was still in Sodom, and she turned into a pillar of salt, due to her lack of faith and obedience, “Remember Lot’s wife” JESUS (Luke 17:32).
2. The Lord will come to His temple – how will He find His vessel?

C. “He is like a refiners fire, and like fullers soap…” When you are in the faith of the Lord Jesus you will stand, endure, and be cleansed in His sight.

II. THE COMING OF THE LORD IS LIKE A DEVOURING FIRE, PURGING AWAY THE FILTH, AND WASTEFULNESS OF SIN FROM THE HEARTS OF GOD’S PEOPLE.

“And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.“ Malachi 3:3-4 (KJV)

A. There must be a cleansing of Christian leadership, then, it will pass to rest of God’s people.

1. When the leadership is living as the world, it is no wonder the Church is worship less, weak, and weary.
2. When the leadership is clean, then, there will be a worthy offering unto the LORD in righteousness.

B. There will be pleasant offering unto the LORD, just as it was in the beginning.

III. A LETHARGIC PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW THEY HAVE DEPARTED FROM THE LIVING GOD.

“And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.’

‘Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?  Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.  Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:5-12 (KJV).

A. It is almost as though these religious leaders copied their behavior from the church of Sardis in Revelation 3:1, Jesus said, “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” (NKJV).
B. The people had gone to trusting the word of sorcerers, adulterers, and had gone to oppressing the poor, the widow, the orphan, and turning strangers away.

1. This was all being done due to a lack of fear of the LORD.
2. They had changed, and forgotten that God is IMMUTABLE, ie., Unchanging.

C. God in His grace still calls for His wayward people to return to Him, and at His call to return, they wonder how, or why they need to return (v. 7).
D. His people have deserted the tithe, thus robbing God, and again wondering, “How have we robbed Thee?”

1. “In tithes and offerings” was God’s answer.

Now some are going to say, “That was law. The law has been done away. We are not under law any longer, but under grace”. My answer to that is this; The law has not been “done away”, rather it has been fulfilled in Christ. If Christ fulfilled the law, then, we are to let it shine forth from our lives. That means that the tithe is only the place that the Christian is to begin. If the ‘tithe’ is of the law, should the ones who are the fulfillment of the law in Jesus Christ give less than the requirement of that law. The Christian should begin with the tithe which is ten percent (10%) of one’s income.

If we look into the lives of the patriarchs of the Old Testament, like Abraham, w see that he paid tithes unto Melchizedek, and Jacob vowed to give God a tithe of all his possessions. These were before the law.

2. God’s people have been cursed by over indebtedness, and that due, at least in part, to lack of faith in God, and putting trust in perishable, material goods, and gain.
3. God says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse…” and that for God’s people today, is His local church.

a. The tithe does not go for missions offering, building fund, a television ministry, or the Red Cross, or any other charitable organization – it belongs to God and goes into the local congregations general fund, and to be distributed as God directs that congregation.
b. When someone “Gives” with stipulations, [as long as you have it where you can control it] it has not been given to God.

4. God will bless those who give to God as He directs, and as He says, “…That there shall not be room enough to receive it”.

E. When God’s people begin recognizing God’s ownership of all things, then, God will bless us in the eyes of others (vv. 11-12).

IV. WITH THE WRONG ATTITUDES IN THEIR HEARTS, THEY ARE ANGRY TOWARD GOD.

“Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?  Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?  And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.“ Malachi 3:13-15 (KJV)

A. The people of God have the attitude that it does no good to serve the Lord – “What profit is it…” accusing God of being unjust.
B. By declaring God unjust, they have the wrong attitude about holiness, righteousness, justice, peace, joy, and God.

1. How can the people of God get to the place where they question His faithfulness, His sustenance, His providence, His power, His presence, or His knowledge?
2. We can get in that way by becoming bored in our “Worship”, faithless in our work of ministry – losing our love for Jesus – and lacking repentance for our sins.

V. GOD WILL SANCTIFY – SET APART – HIS PEOPLE AS PRECIOUS JEWELLS.

“Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.  And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.“ Malachi 3:16-18 (KJV).

A. A book of remembrance is written for those that feared the LORD, and thought on His name.
B. God says, “They shall be Mine”.
C. There is coming a day when God will make Israel His precious jewels; His people are a treasured possession, and He will have all those who are His as such.
D. There is coming a day when He will spare His people and give discernment of the righteous and the wicked, and of those who serve the LORD, and those who do not.
E. You are called to be separate, apart from the world of sin and wickedness; you have the power of the Spirit of Christ to discern good from evil, godliness from wickedness.
F. God has set you apart as a precious Jewel

SUMMARY –

I. THE STEWARDSHIP OF REPENTANCE IS TO AWAKE FROM SINS WHICH HAVE NOT BEEN REPENTED OF, AND REPENT.
II. THE STEWARDSHIP OF REPENTANCE IS TO BE PREPARED FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD, AND TO KNOW HE IS COMING LIKE A THEIF.
III. REMEMBER TO WORSHIP THE LORD IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH, AND TRUST THE LORD, LEAN ON HIM, AND LETHARGY WILL FLEE.
IV. TRUST YOUR FAITH; NOT YOUR FEELINGS, AND WRONG ATTITUDES, AND YOU WILL HAVE NO ANGER TOWARD GOD.
V. LET GOD SANCTIFY HIMSELF IN YOUR LIFE, AND BE HIS PRECIOUS JEWEL.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Steward of God’s Stuff (2)

The Stewardship Of The Priesthood

Malachi 2:1-17

When we began these messages on Stewardship back in January we looked at chapter one of Malachi – THE STEWARDSHIP OF WORSHIP. Worship is our stewardship of the way we lift up, magnify, and praise Him. We saw that we are to REMEMBER WHO WE ARE; THAT WE WERE CHOSEN BY GOD, that SINCE WE HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY HIM AND PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO GIVE ANYTHING, EXCEPT THE VERY BEST – would the government be happy if we sent less than expected of us? We went on and saw, and should see that BOREDOM IS THE BANE [poison] OF THE CHRISTIAN SOUL AND WORSHIP. If we desire to fight boredom in our worship we must be always REMEMBERING THE GREATNESS OF OUR GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD WILL KEEP US FROM BOREDOM. Worship is not in any specific type of music it will be found in the individual’s heart.

Today we look at THE STEWARDSHIP OF THE PRIESTHOOD, which could be seen as the Stewardship of Leadership as well. Seeing how the Old Testament passage is speaking of the heirs of Levi as the priests, we can also see this as being to the Priesthood of each believer.

In looking at this Old Testament priesthood things do not look too well. They are mostly responsible for the deadness of the worship of the people. They, themselves have devalued the meaning of worship. They have been bored by their worship practices. They have counted it all contemptible.

The Bible teaches us that every believer since Christ is a Priest of Christ. First Peter 2:9 states, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV). Let’s look not at the overall outline of the chapter.

Since the Priesthood is a responsibility these will be presented as that:

I. The Priests will have RESPONSIBILITY WITH GOD’S WORD (vv. 1-9; 2 Timothy 2:15).

II. The Priests will have RESPONSIBILITY OF A GENUINE AND A DEDICATED HEART (vv. 10-13) with no hypocrisy.

III. RESPONSIBILITY OF FAMILY RELATIONS (vv. 14-16; 1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22-25; 8:1-5).

IV. RESPONSIBILITY OF ACCURATE EVALUATIONS (v. 17; John 7:24; 1 Cor. 11:31).

I. THE STEWARDSHIP OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 1-9).

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV).

A. The priesthood of the OT was dealing with spiritual leadership.
B. The priests to whom Malachi wrote were neglecting the Word of God
C. These priests also were not even hearing the Word themselves.

1. They were bringing a curse on themselves as well as the people they were supposed to be serving.
2. They had also caused ‘many to stumble’, they had corrupted the covenant of Levi.

D. As the priests of God today (All Christians) “ But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV); we all are to show forth the power of God’s Word.

1. We must make it an integral part of our lives – it must not be neglected, but read, studied, heard, and applied.
2. We must not be partial in presenting the word of God, but point out the “Whole counsel of God” no matter whom it applies to.
3. Our walk with God is based upon our treatment of God’s Word in life, and it is essential to our walk with Him.
4. As priests we are the messengers of the Word of the Lord.

II. THE STEWARDSHIP OF A GENUINE AND DEDICATED HEART (vv. 10-13).

A. With a genuine, dedicated heart there is no room for hypocrisy.

1. It is hypocrisy to deal with a person more favorably because she/he may have more worldly possessions, or have political power, or the position they may have in some organization or even a church.
2. Whether we like it or not the world takes notice of the hypocrisy within those who name the name of Christ.

B. When we tolerate the joining together of our children with the godless we give the world a hypocritical statement.
C. Feigned, sanctimonious, weeping for sin will not bring back God’s blessing.
D. God’s priests today must show forth the image of Jesus Christ in our lives.

1. Living with a dedicated heart and life to the Lord
2. Hating all forms of hypocrisy – especially when it is in ourselves – because the Lord hates hypocrisy.
3. Teaching our children and grandchildren the ways of God, His Word, and holiness.
4. Having genuine, sorrowful, repentance over our sin – remembering that God truly knows our hearts.

III. THE STEWARDSHIP OF FAMILY RELATIONS (vv. 14-16).

“Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.  And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand;  And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither.  Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw.  And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force.  Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD” 1 Samuel 2:12-17 (KJV).

“Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.  And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.  Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD’S people to transgress.  If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them” 1 Samuel 2:22-25 (KJV).

“And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.  Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment” 1 Samuel 8:1-3 (KJV).

A. The family relationship is often hurting in Christian circles today – speaking mainly of the husband and wife.

1. Men are to be the chief priest of their home, and lead the wife in spiritual matters of holiness and godliness.
2. When we look at the marriage stats of our day we find that the divorce rate is equal among Christians as with those who do not know Christ.
3. That is a definite black mark against the truth and power of Christ in our lives.

B. The priests of the OT, to whom Malachi wrote were divorcing their wives and thinking nothing of it, yet wondering what’s happened to the blessing of God.

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).

1. This was for the bringing for of godly children.
2. The Messiah would come from these children.

C. As priests of God today, we bring children into the presence of God by our faith, and by always being faithful to God and His Word.

IV. THE STEWARDSHIP OF ACCURATE EVALUATIONS (v. 17).

“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” 1 Cor. 11”31 (KJV).

A. The OT priests of Malachi’s day were accusing God of delighting in wickedness.

1. They would even accuse God of favoring the wicked, and being unconcerned with the righteous.

B. Let’s be certain that we see God as being the benevolent Caretaker and Creator that He really is.
C. We must see ourselves as God sees us, and then we can see others as God sees them.

SUMMARY –

I. WE MUST BE FAITHFUL STEWARDS OF GOD’S WORD.
II. WE MUST BE GENUINE AND DEDICATED TO THE LORD’S TASK AT HAND.
III. WE MUST MAINTAIN GOOD AND GODLY FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS.
IV. WE MUST ALWAYS MAKE ACCURATE EVALUATIONS.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Steward of God’s Stuff

The Stewardship Of Worship

Malachi 1:1-14

PURPOSE – Learning to avoid boredom in the worship of our Lord.

Some time back a “Baptist” paper ran an article asking the question of boring churches. Something along the line of, “Are your church services boring?” If we look at the condition of the people of God – called Israel – at the time of Malachi we can find conditions of their heart which we can learn, that we do not want, nor need in our hearts or churches.

INTRODUCTORY OUTLINE –

I. GOD CHOSE JACOB, RATHER THAN ESAU, TO BE IN THE LINEAGE OF JESUS CHRIST (vv. 1-5).

They Had Questioned God’s Love.

II. THE PEOPLE OF GOD ARE CHOSEN AND CALLED UPON TO GIVE GOD THE BEST IN OFFERING AND SACRIFICE (vv. 6-11).

They Had Questioned God’s Character and Word.

III. DISRESPECT, BOREDOM, CONTEMPT IS NOT BECOMING FOR THE CHILD OF GOD (vv. 12-14).

They Had Questioned The Value of Worship.

I. REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE; THAT YOU WERE CHOSEN BY GOD (vv. 1-4).

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9.

A. There are many who are troubled by this phrase, “I loved Jacob and hated Esau”.

1. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” Luke 14:26.
2. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.  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.  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Romans 9:13-16.

B. We should not be so amazed that He ‘hated’ Esau, but that He loved Jacob.

1. Jacob was chosen by God and Esau rejected before either one was born; “And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.  And the LORD said unto her, 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” Gen. 25:21-23.

“ And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;  (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;)   It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Rom. 9:10-13.
2. This in itself is a picture of grace – God’s unmerited favor.

“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 Spirit…” Titus 3:5ff.

II. SINCE WE HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY HIM AND PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO GIVE ANYTHING, EXCEPT THE BEST (vv. 6-11).

A. If we are to avoid boredom in worship then we must give Him our full attention in our worship – personal and corporate.
B. If God is our Father we ought to honor Him as Father.

1. If Jesus is our Master we are His servant.
2. You fear and obey your father, and master, or you are disciplined. “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons” Heb. 12:7-8.

C. When we cease to give our best, that is when we begin losing the fire [excitement, enthusiasm] of worship for God.

1. Worship begins to be ‘Contemptible’ to us.

a. It starts becoming something of lesser importance – other things become more important.

2. We begin looking for places to place blame for ‘Dull and boring’ worship services.
3. We attend ‘Worship services’ more out of habit or duty, rather than desire and love for Jesus.
4. If the spiritual leader(s) shows contempt toward these things; it will trickle down into the congregation.

a. These were calling the ‘Table of the Lord contemptible’ – basically referring to the total ministry.
b. These were also offering blemished, unholy offerings compromising the Word of God.
c. The spiritual leaders are to commit sound teachings to ‘Faithful men’ – that includes right worship.

“ And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2.

D. God will not, does not accept half-hearted worship (v. 10); “Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.”
E. God’s name will one day be great among the nations of the world.

III. BOREDOM IS THE POISON OF THE CHRISTIAN SOUL (vv. 12-14a).

A. To overcome ‘Boredom’ in your worship you must come giving yourself first of all.

1. If you come to worship corporately with brothers and sisters in Christ and offer nothing, then you will be bored and receive nothing.
2. No one ought to ever come to worship without giving, and expecting God’s presence, power and glory.
3. When you see the cross of Jesus, His death, burial, and resurrection you can give yourself and all you possess.

B. One of the biggest parts of worshipping our Lord is loving the Lord Jesus.

1. When you love Him nothing you commit to Him will be a waste of time nor will it be boring.
2. There is nothing more exciting than serving and worshipping our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

C. Overcoming boredom will come when we treat the Name of God and His Word with great awe and respect.

IV. REMEMBERING THE GREATNESS OF OUR GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD WILL KEEP US FROM BOREDOM (v. 14b).

A. We will learn to show the utmost awe and respect for God and His Word by daily hearing it and applying it, by the power of the Spirit of God to our lives.
B. By God, His Word, and His creation we are constantly reminded of His greatness.
C. By calling on His name daily for fellowship, and directions for the day we can avoid becoming stale and bored.
D. If you experience boredom; get into God’s Word, get involved in someone else’s life for their good; develop an active sense of mission.
E. Be sure Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior.

SUMMARY –

I. REMEMBER YOU WERE CHOSEN BY GOD.
II. ALWAYS GIVE GOD THE VERY BEST OF YOU.
III. AVOID BOREDOM BY CARING, AND BEING INVOLVED IN GOD’S WORK – OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES FOR THEIR GOOD.
IV. REMEMBER THE GREATNESS OF GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD.
V. IF YOU HAVE BACKSLIDEN; COME BACK TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU LEFT GOD: IF LOST – BE SAVED TODAY.

THE CURE FOR BOREDOM: 1.) Know the Lord Jesus Christ; 2) Study His Word and pray; 3) Have an active sense of mission; 4) Read regularly from Christian materials that are in keeping with Scripture, and glorifies Jesus, and builds your faith; 5) Be a part of other’s lives.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Gifted Believer

Every Believer Gifted

Romans 12:3-8

God has placed each believer in the church to serve Him and other believers. He has not done so, and left us without desires and gifts which enable us to serve.

These gifts are not given for any to boast superiority over another, as has so often been the case with the mystical gifts; such as healing, tongues, miracles; which were reserved for the apostles, as an evidence of their call and appointment by God. These gifts of the Spirit to which we are speaking of in this study are given for the Church to have balanced ministry. No one spiritual gift is of any greater importance than the other.

Since God is the Giver of these “Grace gifts”, there is really no way any one believer has the right to think more “Highly [of himself], than he ought to thing” (v. 3). We are each responsible for the use of the gift(s) God has given us. They are, however, to be used in conjunction with other’s gifts; not separate from them. When believers use their gifts without the balance of the other gifts you have unbalanced churches.

Churches cannot operate properly if everyone is a “Lone Ranger”. Where there is unity of purpose, yet understanding of diversity; with the proper use of spiritual gifts God gives a balanced healthy, growing church.

The gifts Paul mentions in Romans and the ones which are practical for everyday Christian living for today –

1.  Prophecy – This is the “Speaking forth” of the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is its greatest meaning. In the Old Testament even, the prophet was a “Forth-teller” more than a forteller of the future. This gift is abused by taking on oneself more than God has spoken.

2.  Ministry or Serving – This is a ministry given most of the time for deacons, for the deacons of the early church were servants and serving the widows of the church; but it includes being a servant where ever the servant sees the need. One with the servants heart is usually always looking for an opportunity to serve others. Often can become selfish and not letting others help out.

3.  Teaching – This is teaching which goes beyond just a Sunday School teacher, but does include it. The one with this gift enjoys the study of God’s Word just as much or even more than presenting it to others, and is able to present it clearly and understandably to others. Can become full of his/her own knowledge, and become distant from others.

4.  Exhortation – This gift is the gift that is able to show others in a step by step approach ways of correcting wrongs done, or encouragement in right things done, and to do right things. If not cautious can become a “Know it all” even correcting when others don’t want to hear it, nor need to hear it.

5.  Giving – Most of the time people with this gift are usually gifted in making money too, and strongly desires to use their wealth for the glory of the Lord, and the growth of His kingdom. They are also concerned greatly with how God’s money is used or spent. If the heart is not right can become selfish with the wealth, begin to hoard it and not share it with others or give it to the Lord’s work.

6.  Ruler or Leader – The ones with this gift is able to give direction for a group of people and set an example for others to follow. If not controlled by the Spirit of the Lord can become like a dictator rather than a leader pushing.

7.  Mercy – The people with this gift are very kind, non-judgmental, always willing to accept others on their word and testimony, and they can be very gullible, and weak in the discipline department concerning sin.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Prophecy of Our Lord’s Birth

THE BIRTH FORETOLD

Isaiah 7:1-14

OUTLINE –

I. JUDAH/JERUSALEM WAS UNDER SEIGE, AND GREAT THREAT FROM THE SYRIANS WITH SUPPORT FROM EPHRAIM/ISRAEL (vv. 1-2)

II. GOD SENT ISAIAH TO AHAZ, THE GRANDSON OF UZZIAH TO COMFORT AND ENCOURAGE HIM CONCERNING THE TERRORISM AT THEIR GATES (vv. 3-7).

III. GOD’S WORDS CONCERNING THOSE WHO RISE UP AGAINST THE RIGHTEOUS REMNANT (vv. 8-9).

IV. GOD GIVES A SIGN, DESPITE THE ARROGANCE AND UNWILLINGNESS TO OBEY FROM AHAZ; OF THE GOD-MAN WHO WOULD COME BY WAY OF A VIRGIN (vv. 10-16),

INTRODUCTION –

I. Living In An Affluent Society As We Do; We Often Do Not Realize The Fears and Battles Which Others In the World Are Going Through; Yet, There Are Many In Our Own Country Which Suffer Due To Hideous Things, Threats, Sickness, and Other Things.

II. Some People Are Asking “Why Doesn’t God Intervene?”, and The Answer To That Is; He Has and Presently Is.

III. The Word Of God Gives Us The Way Of Life and the Way Of Faith, Comfort, Encouragement, and We All Need It In Our Lives.

IV. God Came Down and Dwelt Among Us, and He Is Still With Us.

Even though this is the Christmas season; the season, the time of the year when we remember our Lord’s birth. Those who are not suffering from delusion will readily admit that these are not pleasant times, but let’s not be disheartened, discouraged or downheartedd. Remember, Jesus, the one whose birth we celebrate is Lord over all.

Christmas is about God. It is about God sending His Son, born of a virgin, born to die for the sins of the world.

I. THESE MAY BE DAYS OF SEIGE FROM THE ENEMY AND DARK FORCES FROM EVERY SIDE, AND THESE CAN CAUSE GREAT FEAR (vv. 1-2).

A. Ahaz was surrounded by the trouble of his Sister Nation, and the Syrians, so we may be as well, surrounded by an enemy who is set to destroy us and our testimony for Christ.

B. When we are not right with God we will be fearful; if we are right with God, having our sins confessed and obeying His call and direction for our lives, then, we need not fear, nor will we be fearful.

Someone once said, “If we fear God; we need fear nothing else”.

II. GOD HAS SENT HIS MESSENGER TO GIVE US COMFORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT FOR FACING THE ENEMY WHICH TRIES SO HARD TO DETRACT US AND GET US AWAY FROM GOD AND HIS PLAN FOR OUR LIVES (vv. 3-7).

A. Every time we are afraid God sends a messenger by way of the Holy Spirit; the message is found in God’s Word.

B. God’s messenger will speak a relevant message for the time and place.

1. Notice, that God sent ‘Shearjashub’ with Isaiah as a message of comfort – his name means, “A remnant shall return”.

2. The land of Judah would not be forgotten by God – that promise is true of all those who are in the faith of the Lord Jesus.

C. The greatest messenger of all is God’s Son Jesus Christ.

The Psalmist has written, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” (Ps. 56:3). And, in verse eleven he wrote, “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.”

D. Be assured; the enemy of our peace shall not prevail – Jesus Christ won the victory.

1. These “Smoking firebrands” may be hot, but they are going to burn out and burn up, and be nothing but ash.

III. GOD’S WORD IS HERE FOR OUR INSTRUCTION, REBUKE, CORRECTION, INSPIRATION, AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH TO MATURITY IN JESUS CHRIST (vv. 8-9).

A. God is in control of the matters of our lives; so let’s not let our troubles detract us from the will of God.

B. God’s Word is the means by which we can resist the lies, snares, pits, and deceit of the enemy.

1. The Word of God, with the Spirit of God gets us to the place God wants us when we hear and obey.

2. By the Word of God we know the afflictions are often, if not always, for our benefit.

“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy Word” (Ps. 119:67).

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes” (Ps. 119:71).

C. Those who will not take heed to God and His Word will certainly be without help (v. 9b).

IV. FOR US GOD HAS GIVEN US THE SIGN OF THE GOD-MAN WHO WAS BORN OF A VIRGIN IN THE STABLE OF BETHLEHEM (vv. 10 – 16).

A. Like Ahaz, some do not want a sign from God, because it would humble them, and cause them to realize their weaknesses, and God’s strength.

B. Despite the unwillingness of some to request a sign, God has given us one anyway.

1. That sign is the birth of the God-man Jesus Christ to the virgin mother who was willing to risk her reputation, and future marriage, and possibly her own life, to bring the Son of God to earth to pay the price for the sins of mankind, and redeem us unto God.

2. That sign, even now, causes controversy in the hearts of many who profess Christ as their Savior.

C. The unwillingness does not negate the fact, though, it strengthens it.

1. He was born of the woman – a virgin – who had no seed.

2. He could not have had a human father, the sinful seed comes from the man.

3. He was born of the seed of God, thus, having no sin, and fully qualified to die for mankind’s sin and bring reconciliation between God and mankind.

D. This prophecy was fulfilled in the following verses,

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 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. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS” Matthew 1:18-25

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:1-7.

SUMMARY –

I. LOOK TO THE MESSENGER OF GOD’S WORD – AS JEREMIAH SAID, ‘THERE IS A WORD FROM THE LORD”.

II. LOOK TO THE SIGN WHICH HAS BEEN GIVEN US – THE SIGN OF HIS VIRGIN BIRTH AND THE SIGN OF HIS CROSS.

III. TRUST GOD’S WORD WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD TO GUIDE YOU, SECURE YOU, GIVE YOU PEACE IN THE MIDST OF ATTACKS AND AFFLICTION.

IV. THERE ARE ACTUALLY THREE SIGNS GOD HAS GIVEN US FOR ASSURANCE AND PEACE – 1) THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF CHRIST; 2) CHRIST’S DEATH ON THE CROSS; 3) AND THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD.

V. CAN YOU TRUST SUCH A ONE AS THIS JESUS? DEFFINITELY.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Living Sacrifice

The Committed Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1-2

In chapters 1-3 Paul writes his opening greeting, and from the greeting to verse 20 of chapter three he writes of the sinfulness of mankind, and our condemnation. From chapter 3 and verse 21 to chapter 8 verse 39 he has written of the righteousness of God, and that there is justification for all who will come through faith in Jesus Christ. In chapters 9 – 11 we have Paul’s theology and eschatology on the Nation of Israel, and their place in “God’s Plan of Salvation”. In the remainder of the book of Romans we will be looking at the practicality of the theology which Paul has written.

It would seem to me that Paul; using the background of the previous three chapters; is reminding us to be unlike Israel. Those chapters have an inherent warning of turning away from the Lord. It too, does have promise for the Nation of Israel, that God has not forsaken them. The warning and the promise should be especially meaningful to Christians.

There are a few words and phrases in these two verses that will be necessary for clearer understanding of what Paul is teaching us.

1.  “Beseech” – is a word which is from the same word family where the word “Comforter” is taken for the Holy Spirit = “Paraklete” “parakaleō par-ak-al-eh’-o From G3844 and G2564; to call near, that is, invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation): – beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation), intreat, pray.” See John 14:26. Paul strongly urges the believer.

2.  “Mercies of God” – We receive mercy from God every day. It is not something we often thank Him for. These mercies include His love, and all that Paul has reminded us of through chapter eleven, than again here. “His mercy is everlasting”; “His mercy endureth forever”.

3.  “Present your bodies a living sacrifice” – There are some who believe and teach that God is only interested in our soul or spirit. That is not true, however. Here we see Paul strongly urging the believer to “come along side” with God’s mercies, and give our “bodies” as “Living sacrifices”. Giving the body as a living sacrifice means sacrificing the fleshly appetites which would take us away from holiness, and away from being “holy and acceptable unto God”. The body, after all will be redeemed from the grave, a brand new body. This present body must be presented fully unto God, that He might do a work in us for cleansing, purging, and making it holy unto Him.

4.  “Reasonable service” – The MacArthur Study Bible note on this verse, “reasonable service. ‘Reasonable’ is from the Gr. For ‘logic.’ In light of all the spiritual riches believers enjoy solely as the fruit of God’s mercies (Rom. 11:33,36), it logically follows that they owe God their highest form of service. Understood here is the idea of priestly, spiritual service, which was such an integral part of OT worship.” p.1716. The LORD God, our Lord and Savior deserves the highest form of worship and service.

5.  “Be not conformed to this world” – Conforming is taking on an identity that is not the genuine reflection of the heart or the inner being. A sheep putting on a wolf’s clothing [skins] in order to dwell among the wolves for example. Why do we have Christians who may have the greatest motives wanting to put on the array of the harlot, the gambler, the drunk? It is not the array of God. The prince and princess should dress and act accordingly, so as not to bring shame to the King.

6.  “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” – a metamorphosis refers to an outward change that has transpired which is a result of the inward change. It represents a change for the whole person. Not just for a short period of time, but day by day, and for every moment of each day. This kind of “transformation occurs only by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the life of the believer, and the power of the Word of God working in our lives. The renewed mind is saturated with the Word of God. “Order my steps in Thy Word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV). “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word” (Psalm 119:9 KJV).

7.  “That you may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God” – Basically the only way to be good, acceptable and in the perfect will of God is by being the living sacrifice to God that Paul has admonished us to be. The individual who does not know God’s will for their life is in disobedience in their life.

The practical message here is that our bodies are to be presented as living sacrifices. Yielded to the Lord for His service, His will and His glory. We are strongly urged to do so, that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God. It is proved by living such lives before the eyes of a watching world whom we do not think is watching.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Resurrection/Easter Sunday Sermon

THE CALL OF THE RESURRECTION
Matthew 28:10

I do not know if anyone has ever thought of the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a call or not, but I definitely see a call here following the resurrection of Jesus. The angels have simply said, “He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (v. 6). The angel had said, “Go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you” (v. 7).

As the women were going to tell the disciples what the angels had said they met Jesus Himself. They probably would have about forgotten what the angel had said when they see Jesus. They bow at His feet and even held on to His feet, and worshipped Him (v. 9).

“Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me” Matthew 28:10

There are about four things I want us to notice from this verse of Scripture;

I. THERE IS A CALL TO HAVE ‘NO FEAR’;

II. THERE IS A CALL TO GO AND TELL THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS THAT HE IS RISEN;

III. THERE IS A CALL TO TELL THEM WHERE HE CAN BE SEEN – AS HE HAS SAID;

IV. THERE IS A CALL TO TELL THEM THAT HE IS TO BE SEEN.

THERE IS A CALL TO HAVE ‘NO FEAR’.

Many times as Jesus walked on the earth He spoke the words, “Be not afraid”, “Fear not”, etc. As the women see Him this is His opening statement to them. It just seems that the intent of Jesus is for those who know and love Him to walk with Him and be free of all fear.

There are many things in this world we could and do fear. Jesus tells us before He is crucified to “Be not afraid”, and He tells us following the crucifixion, all of this after He has faced the greatest challenge of His human existence. The darkness of the crucifixion was that time when the Father had turned His back on His Son, and judged Him with every pound, every sword of judgment He could meet out. He faced it without fear and with full confidence that the Father’s will was being done and the Father and Himself would be glorified forever.

THERE IS A CALL TO GO AND TELL THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS THAT HE IS RISEN.

The disciples were cringing in fear after the crucifixion of Jesus. They were most likely trembling, and wondering what are we going to do next. Whar are we going to do now? The hope of Jerusalem and of Israel is now dead. We thought Him to be the deliverer of Israel and Jerusalem, but He is dead. They had forgotten His promise to meet them in Galilee –

“Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee” Matthew 26:31-32 (KJV).

Jesus spelled it out clearly. “After I am risen again” please note that, “I will go before you into Galilee”. Did they not pay attention? Did they just not hear? Maybe not according to Jesus’s words He uses to the churches of the Revelation – “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith…” Their minds were full of expectation for the deliverance of the kingdom of Israel from Rome, and the setting up of His earthly kingdom.

This part of the call is to all who will follow Jesus. If there is to be trust, obedience, and true following of Jesus there must also be an abiding trust and faith that Jesus not only died for our sins, but that He rose again; bodily from the grave. The grace where they laid Jesus is empty, like the angel gave invitation to “Come, see the place where the Lord lay,” That means He had lain there previously to this, but was GONE. His body not stolen. It never fell into a crack in the ground at the earthquake. He rose up from that place where His body lay; laid the burial cloths in a place by themselves, and came OUT; just as He said He would.

If we are going to proclaim the resurrection Gospel of Jesus Christ we better believe it ourselves. Believe it ourselves before we go trying to tell the lost world about it.

THERE IS A CALL TO TELL THEM WHERE HE CAN BE SEEN – JUST AS HE SAID.

One disciple [Thomas] had said,

“Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe” John 20:25 (KJV).

Thomas has a nick name that has been given him because of his doubting, and it is “Doubting Thomas”. We know that Jesus was seen by the disciples before they ever went to Galilee. At Galilee was where the most significant number of people witnessed Him alive some days later, and by “Over five hundred brethren at once”.

Jesus had told them that He would go before them unto Galilee. There was the place where they disciples would and could receive their public authenticity. It was not only proof of the resurrection of Jesus, but it would be the public endorsement by Jesus of the disciples/apostles.

The place Jesus can be seen today is by revelation of God’s Spirit through the Holy Word of God. Thomas would not believe except he saw for himself the resurrected Christ, and it was at the point when Thomas saw Him that Jesus said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” John 20:29. It took the physical appearance of Jesus to Thomas for him to believe Jesus was alive. You and I do not have that privilege. We have God’s written Word and the Gospels. They tell us Jesus is alive. Paul the apostle tells us Jesus is alive. Peter, James, and John tell us that Jesus is alive. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is alive. Luke the physician tells us that Jesus is alive. The Holy Spirit of God reveals to you and I today that Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God is alive TODAY.

THE PLACE TO FIND THE LIVING CHRIST IS IN THE WORD AND REVELATION BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD.

THERE IS A CALL TO TELL THEM THAT JESUS IS TO BE SEEN.

When we start talking about seeing Jesus maybe the news of Oral Roberts vision or dream of a 600 foot tall Jesus comes to our mind. I want to tell you He was not nearly that tall; so that is not who Roberts seen.

John saw Jesus as He was penning down the Revelation of Jesus Christ. He saw Him on the isle of Patmos as he was a prisoner there for preaching the resurrected Christ, even though he was told to be silent. Paul saw Jesus as he travelled on the road to Damascus to capture Christian men, women, boys and girls to drag them back to Jerusalem for trial and prison and/or death. Paul was knocked out of his saddle by the presence of the Lord Jesus.

It is the call from God that gives us the right and privilege to see our resurrected Jesus. Have you seen Jesus?

We must see Him as having lived a life without sin; being perfect and without spot or blemish. We must see Him as the healer as He healed the lame, raised the dead, made the blind to see, and gave the leper back their right to be among others. We must see Jesus as He is lifted up between heaven and hell upon the earth, while hanging on the cross as our sin. We must see Him as sin being judged by the righteous Father. We must see Him as finishing the tasl; the work; that the Father gave Him to do. That work being finished; we must see Him as coming forth out of that grave showing the victory He gained by His death on the cross.

Sin could not hold Him, cannot hold Him, and never will hold Him. The victory is won, and the resurrection is the evidentiary proof of that victory on the cross. He is alive.

Christ the Lord is risen today. INDEED, HE IS RISEN.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Taking Away Sin

Take Away Their Sins

Romans 11:25-36

In the last study vv. 15-24 we saw a warning from Paul to what could be called the apostate church. The apostate church would be those who deny the truths of the Word of God; who believe they are Israel, claiming for themselves things which are not theirs; who do not believe the prophecies of the Word of God; those who have a form of godliness, but deny the power of God.

It is the mere grace and a blessing of God that the Church has been grafted into the tree. Just as there was/is an apostate Israel, there is also an apostate church. This “church” rejects the Word of God, God’s messengers, and seeks to indulge in the world’s ways to “build the church”. God promised to restore Israel, but there are no promises of restoring an apostate church. The apostate church will be destroyed (1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; Rev. 3:14-22; 17:1-7; 18:1-8). The apostate church is any “church” or denomination which spiritualizes the Scriptures, denies the power of God to change lives, denies the authority of God’s Word, and denies the physical body and blood of Jesus and physical resurrection. Any one, or all of these are refused and/or denied by the apostate churches.

THE BLINDNESS OF ISRAEL IS ONLY TEMPORARY (v. 25).

1.  This blindness of Israel will begin ending when Gentile rule of the world is brought to the full.
2.  Their blindness will only last until the final soul is brought into the Church, and then, judgment will come on the earth; also known as the “Time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7).

GOD WILL NOT FORSAKE HIS PROMISES, NOR HIS PEOPLE (vv. 26-29).

1.  “All Israel shall be saved” does not mean that everyone ever born a Jew will be saved. It does mean that all those Jews who came through the ‘time of Jacob’s trouble’, believing in Jesus as their Messiah, Lord and Savior will be saved.
2.  It is God’s covenant promise that He will send “The Deliverer’ and ‘turn away ungodliness from Jacob” (Jeremiah 31:33-40).
3.  Are we to assume that Paul in writing, “Turn away ungodliness from Jacob” is only speaking spiritually? This includes the full promises of God.
4.  If we assume Paul is spiritualizing this promise then, we surely must assume the same thing concerning his own heritage in verse one of this chapter.
5.  The promises God made to Israel are for Israel and do not go to the Church. These promises are of their having and ongoing future kingdom on earth.
6.  When God makes promises, gives gifts, and calls; those things are irrevocable (v. 29).

THE CHURCH A SOURCE OF MERCY TO NATIONAL ISRAEL (vv. 30-32).

1.  We have received mercy because of Israel’s unbelief.
2.  Through the mercy of saved Gentiles, who make up the majority of the Church, Israel will receive mercy.
3.  Unbelief is and was perilous for Israel, and is perilous for all. It is especially perilous for those who profess Jesus Christ, yet, only give Him “Lip service”, but their “Hearts are far from Him.

THINGS TOO HARD TO UNDERSTAND CAN BE ACCEPTED BY FAITH (vv. 33-36).

1.  Following his writing of the irrevocable promises of God Paul breaks out into praise
2.  Paul, having called this a “Mystery” (v. 25), still sees this as being beyond understanding, We can know that the promises of God never fail. If they do; we could all be in a whole lot of trouble.
3.  “…His ways past finding out” (v. 33), but he believes God, and so should we. Faith is expressed in living a life of commitment and praise even when we do not understand.
4.  We have this assurance – “Believing God; He declares us righteous.”
5.  All this is about God, and for His glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Examples of Christian Living (2)

Examples Of Christian Living (2)

This being part two of this message I thought you might like a link to go to the first part, so here it is.

I do want to point out that these are just study notes.  They are not a manuscript of my sermon.  I do not do manuscript sermons.

These notes are from March of 2007 while I was pastor of Carr Lane Baptist Church.

Colossians 4:11-18
OUTLINE –

I. TYCHICUS WAS A MAN WITH THE HEART OF A SERVANT (vv. 7-8).
II. ONESIMUS, WAS A MAN WITH A PAST THAT WAS SINFUL (v. 9).
III. ARISTARCHUS, WAS MAN WITH A SYMPATHETIC HEART (v. 10a).
IV. MARK WAS A MAN WITH A SURPRISING FUTURE (v. 10b).
V. JESUS JUSTICE WAS A MAN WITH A STRONG COMMITMENT (v. 11).
VI. EPAPHRAS WAS A MAN WITH A SINGLE PASSION (vv. 12-13).
VII. LUKE WAS A MAN WITH A SPECIALIZED TALENT (v. 14a).
VIII. DEMAS WAS A MAN WITH A SAD FUTURE (v. 14b, 2 Timothy 4:10).
IX. THE APOSTLE WHO HAS THE MINISTRY OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 15-18).

On news programs and so called documentaries we have recently heard of a casket being found with the name Jesus on it. Supposedly bones were found that belonged to a man named Jesus. Could it have been this one; Jesus Justice? Or could it have been another Jesus? I do know one thing for absolutely certain, the bones in that casket are not the bones of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.

We have looked at the first four of these men who were EXAMPLES OF CHRISTIAN LIVING. The following three are good examples of Christian living while the last of the eight is very questionable to say the least.

EVERY CHILD OF GOD NEEDS A STRONG COMMITMENT TO THE LORD (v. 11).

Jesus Justice was a man of commitment. We know that because he left his family, friends, and religion to follow Jesus the Christ, and stand alongside Paul for all those years. It is said of the three, ie., Aristarchus, Mark, and Jesus Justice that Paul writes, are of the circumcision [of course meaning they are Jewish].

There are professing Christians living today who have no strong commitment to anything. I say that because if something goes different from how they desire it they are quick to become angry, be offended, offend others, and sometimes even decide to leave the church they are attending.

In the MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY is written these words,

“Nothing is known of Jesus who is called Justus apart from this verse. It is possible that he was one of the Roman Jews who believed Paul’s message (Acts 28:24). Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, which means ‘savior.’ That certainly was a difficult name to live up to, but his Latin surname, Justus (‘righteous’), indicates that he in some measure did.” pg. 196.

A thing we can learn from Justus; is that commitment means staying power even when there is no recognition, no appreciation, and that it just seems as though no one cares. Commitment will keep you in place even when the storms blow hard.

There must first be a real commitment to Jesus as personal Lord and Savior. When you are saved you need to find a local church where Jesus is loved, worshiped, served and proclaimed.

THERE IS MUCH NEED FOR CHRISTIANS TO HAVE A SINGLE PASSION (vv. 12-13).

What was the “Single passion” of Epaphras? First of all let’s remind ourselves of who Epaprhas is. He is most likely the current pastor of the church of Collosae. He is the one that saw the lurking dangers of heresy threatening the church, and had gone to Paul for support. He was also most likely the founding pastor of the Colossians church.

Epaphras carried this passion with him on the way to Rome, while he was in Rome, on the return to the Colossian people, and while he was among them. Notice his passion – “…always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (v. 12). There is a Greek word from which the word “laboring” is taken; that is the word ‘agonizomai’ from which our word ‘agonize’ comes. It is the same word that speaks of our Lord’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. This pastor was a man devoted to prayer, and agonized in prayer, because he knew he could not meet their needs, but God could.

The things for which he prayed are practical for our church today. He prayed that they would be complete in Christ [‘stand perfect’], growing in Christ, and mental and moral character. In the phrase, ‘Complete in all the will of God’ is the meaning of fully knowing the will of God. It is his prayer. It was his passion. It ought to be the passion of every pastor, of every Christian to be praying to that end for our brothers and sisters.

If we should begin praying this way it would certainly have a very positive effect on the church we worship in. There is one thing we must all realize and that is when God is moving seen or unseen, then the devil, the enemy of God and His people, will come in and attempt to divide, and cause harm to the local body of believers. That is where the heart of commitment and this single passion can so mightily work together.

THOSE WITH A SPECIALIZED TALENT SERVING IN THE CHURCH (v. 14a).

Luke was a physician. We know by that that he, like Paul was a very educated man. They both were intelligent men, and probably had very interesting conversations on their travels together. Luke wrote two of the New Testament books. The first was the Gospel of Luke, of course not Luke’s title, but given at a later date; and he wrote the Acts as well. In much of the book of Acts you can tell that Luke was present with Paul during much of these journeys. He probably served Paul as his physician. Bandaging him up after the times he was stoned for his faith, and the beatings he endured; as well as any other health need he may of had

Just as Luke had no theological training; so too are those who have no theology training needed in today’s church. There are medical missionaries who go to other places and minister by offering free health care to those who are without means. There is also need for people who are builders, diggers, witnesses, chainsaw handlers, and just cleanup work. There is a need for people of all kinds and sorts in local churches. There is no one who is not needed or wanted. Each of us have our place. All cannot be pastors, preachers, teachers, but all have a place to serve. Just because you have no college degree, does not mean you have no specialized talent or work that you do.

THERE IS ALSO SOME IN THE CHURCH WHO HAVE A SAD FUTURE (v. 14b)

Paul does not say much about Demas, just that he is sending greeting to the people of Colossae. Demas is the one we do know had a sad future. Demas was a deserter of the faith. Paul writes later to Timothy these sad words,

“Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica…” 2 Timothy 4:9-10 (KJV).

It is sad to note, but it is true that all those who enter the Gospel ministry will not remain in the ministry. Demas was one such man. Jesus had Judas who betrayed Him, and Paul had Demas who deserted him.

Demas had gone to Thessalonica, evidently seeking the worlds goods. He had grown discontent with being with a man who was constantly being beaten, imprisoned, and betrayed. His eyes strayed to the material things. The gold and silver sparkles blinded his eyes, and hardened his heart. Rather than seeking those things which are above he turned to seeking the temporary things of the material world.

What do our hearts long for today? The material things that glitter in the bright sunlight, or for Christ Jesus who is the beaming Son Light.

WITHIN THE CHURCH ARE THOSE, ALSO, WHO WILL PROMOTE THE SPREADING OF THE LETTERS OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 15-18).

The apostle Paul was certainly such a man. The letters Paul is speaking of is, of course, this one, and most likely the one we know as Ephesians. It is pretty commonly accepted that the book of Ephesians was a circular letter, written by Paul, to many different churches. It could be that it received the title Ephesus due to it being the final congregation receiving the letter.

This letter to Colossae, was sent specifically to the Colossian church, but then was to be passed on to the other churches. In a sense you could say that Galations, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians were circular because they were all received, and read by the others. They are, in fact, still being read by other churches.

People are not saved by promotion of circuses, shows, or any type of entertainment. People are saved by the preaching of the Word of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit moving into the hearts and lives of the hearers.

Pass this letter along Paul says. Read the one from Laodicea as well. If you want to know what Paul wrote to the Laodicean church you need to just turn back a few pages to Ephesians. That is the most likely candidate for that letter.

There is concern also for a young man who may have been entering into ministry of the Gospel. His name was Archippus. Paul’s words to him and any other for the ministry is, “Take heed to the ministry… that thou fulfill it”. Do not neglect the ministry of God’s Word. They are the words of life; eternal life.

The apostle signs this letter with his own hand. It is signed; not with a signature, but the closing greeting.

This study in Colossians has been of the Superiority of Christ, His Sufficiency, He being First Place. The letter confronts those who would deny the deity of Jesus, and ascribe to Him as being only spirit; but not flesh and blood. Christ Jesus is the Creator, Sustainer of all that is. He is the One who showed us how to live, and how to die, and how to live again. In the epistle of Colossians we learn how to pray for one another. Let’s be sure we are doing that. People you pray for are really hard to hate or despise.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Broken Branches; Grafted In

Broken Branches – Grafted In

Romans 11:15-24

Paul begins using the allegory of an olive tree. The breaking off of some of the branches represents reprobate national Israel. Note verse 20; they were broken off, because of their unbelief and the Church –Gentile believers–were grafted in. Unnaturally grafted in– “A wild olive tree” (v. 17) into a domesticated tree.

THEIR CASTING AWAY THE RECONCILING OF THE WORLD (v. 15).

Is there to be a receiving of them back?

When they return it will be “Life from the dead”.

THE FIRSTFRUIT, THE LUMP, THE ROOT, AND THE BRANCHES (v.16)

The “firstfruit” was the first part that was to be given to the Lord; is the holy kingdom of Israel. It is this “firstfruit” which has been declared “holy” by God. It is from this “Firstfruit” which came the Branch, and from this Branch is given life to all who will believe.

The “Lump” is counted as the whole of the “Firstfruits”. Because the firstfruits is holy the “Lump” is holy.

The “Root” is then, those who were the Patriarchs of Israel, ie., Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It was upon these that the hypocritical Pharisees, based their “righteousness”. The “Root” is grounded in the eternal promises, and covenants of the Person and Word of God.

The “branches” are the descendants of the root. Those who were born through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Of the greatest importance was to be born of the same faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All that have this faith have it through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had this relationship looking forward by grace through faith to the cross of Christ. Those born again today have it by looking back by grace through faith.

BROKEN BRANCHES, FROM THE ROOT AND FATNESS OF THE TREE (vv. 17-18).

Wild olive branches grafted in. Grafting is the art of joining one plant to another. The MERRIAM/WEBSTER Dictionary defines “Graft”, “To insert a shoot from one plant into another so that they join and grow.” It is also done with skin for burn victims. The olive tree is Israel, and the wild olive tree.

There should be no boasting on the Gentile’s part concerning the faith we have through Jesus Christ. The root after all is our reason for believing.

BROKEN OFF TO ALLOW OTHERS TO BE GRAFTED IN (vv. 19-24).

Unbelief was the reason for them being broken off. This alone should cause us to realize that it is solely by grace that any is saved. If any forsake the Lord there is no redemption, no faith, and no hope.

Remember the goodness of God without forgetting the severity of the Lord as well. Goodness came to the Gentile due to the severity of God upon the Jew.

Should Israel come out of their unbelief they will be grafted back into the tree. The God of all creation is able to graft them in again.

Paul seems to leave no doubt as to the end result of the faith of Israel (v. 24). Will they be grafted in again? The Word of the Lord and their faith will tell. Look to the Word of the Lord.

1. The very things in which these trusted would become a snare unto them. The table usually thought to be a place of safety, because of their rejection of Messiah would become a snare, a trap, and a stumbling block. The very things they believed in were the source of their blinding.

2. In the source of Paul’s quotation even David says this of those who would give our Savior gall to drink.

3. Can we as Christians become so knowledgeable or stringent on ordinances or law that we miss our Lord and Savior?