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

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.

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

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 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 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

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

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?

 

Provoked Jealousy

Provoked To Jealousy

Romans 11:7-14

Many Israeli people who live in the land, most of them calling themselves Jewish, have no convictions concerning God, or promises of the land. More of those who profess to be orthodox Jews are growing toward that.

National Israel is in a state of unbelief. They adhere to the old forms of ritualism and laws, but are unable to practice them, and they do not know God, The ones who do know God have been chosen by Him, and through their faith in Jesus Christ; the true Messiah of Israel. The old forms were relying upon their rituals, Sabbaths, and holy days to achieve righteousness.

THEY HAD NOT OBTAINED THAT FOR WHICH THEY HAD SOUGHT (vv. 7-8)

“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for:”

They, the orthodox Jew, was seeking the righteousness of God by their rituals. When their means of salvation presented Himself to them they crucified Him.

2. “…But the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” The one’s who were chosen and elected by God to faith in Jesus Christ were the one’s who truly obtained the righteousness of God. They met Jesus, believed Him, and followed Him; and through them established what we know as the Church.

3. “(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.” Romans 11:8 (KJV). The one’s who continued to reject did so because their eyes were blinded, but as we shall see later in this study of chapter 11 it was for the benefit of Gentiles blessing.

DAVID EVEN HAS SOMETHING TO SAY CONCERNING UNBELIEVING ISRAEL (v. 9- 10; Psalm 69:21-23).

“And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:  Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.” Romans 11:9-10 (KJV).

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?

IF THROUGH THE FALL OF THE JEW WE HAVE BEEN SAVED, HOW MUCH MORE RICHNESS SHALL THERE BE WHEN THEY REACH FULFILLMENT IN CHRIST (vv. 11-12)?

“ I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.  Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?” Romans 11:11-12 (KJV)

1. It seems implied that the question is “Have they fallen to never rise again?” And, Paul’s answer to that is “God forbid!” or “NO!”. Salvation came to the Gentiles through their fall, and to make them jealous. We have received what they have long sought for, the righteousness of God.

2. The kingdom of Christ will be full with the household of Israel coming into the kingdom fold. This will be a blessing to the whole Church.

PAUL’S CONTINUED DESIRE TO SEE HIS BRETHREN IN THE FLESH COME TO CHRIST (vv. 13-14)

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.” Romans 11:13-14 (KJV)

1. Though Paul, as a Jew, is an apostle to the Gentiles; he has not given up on the Hebrew people. When we have been called to faith in Jesus there are people that we will no longer have close associations with. That should not mean that we forget them, and never share the faith of Jesus Christ with them.

2. To have desire that others would be saved, and do what we can to see them saved, is more than admirable it is our commission.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Not Forsaken; Not Forgotten

Set Aside; But Not Forgotten

Romans 11:1-6

Paul has now pointed out clearly Israel’s rejection of Jesus as Messiah. Israel is a very religious people, but lost as a nation. Is this not enough evidence to prove to us that the rejection of Jesus is also rejecting God and His righteousness. It should be enough.

In this portion of this study of chapter eleven we learn that God has not forsaken, or cast away Israel. Paul, an Israelite, is evidence of that, along with Peter, James, John, Matthew… They are part of the remnant to which Paul is referring.

CAN GOD BE TRUSTED TO FULFILL HIS WORD TO HIS PEOPLE (v. 1)?

“I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.“ Romans 11:1 (KJV).

‘Cast away’ – the meaning is to be cast out to never be blessed with God’s presence again. The idea is presented by some that God is finished with Israel for all time. That the only hope for Israel is to come into the Church, and of course that would be ideal. That is the purpose of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection; however, the house of Israel rejected Jesus, but they will, one day look on Him whom they pierced.

‘I also am an Israelite’ – The fact of Paul’s presence in salvation through faith in Christ is promise to the Jewish people, that a remnant of them will be saved. Paul’s conversion is evidence that Israel is not forsaken. God still desires the whole Nation of Israel to trust His Son Jesus.

WHAT THE SCRIPTURES SAY OF ELIJAH (v. 2).

“ God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,…” Romans 11:2 (KJV).

Elijah was praying against the nation of Israel. He was grieved by their rejection of God and how they had turned to Baal (Read 1 Kings 19:10-18). Elijah following the victory on Mount Carmel ran for his life from the queen [Jezebel], and believed himself to be the only true follower of Jehovah. Even prophets can allow the flesh to intervene and ruin their lives, but God will set them straight; just as He did Elijah.

‘God has not cast away His people’ – There is not much clearer statement in all Scripture that God will fulfill His Word and save His people.

THERE ARE MANY WHOM GOD HAS RESERVED, AND KEPT AS WORSHIPPERS OF MESSIAH (vv. 3-4).

“Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.  But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” Romans 11:3-4 (KJV).

‘Killed Thy prophets…’ – It had been the order of queen Jezebel to kill the prophets of Jehovah, God of Israel, thus many of the men of God had died. There were also many who were hiding out in some of the caves. Obadiah a servant to king Ahab was a God-fearing man, knew the treachery of Jezebel – that she had killed many prophets – thus, he hid a hundred in two different caves and fed them (See 1 Kings 18:1-4).

‘Digged down Thine Altars’ – It was Jezebel’s intent to destroy the worship of Jehovah. She loved her pleasure, power and pomp. She was the one who ruled the throne of Israel – the Northern Kingdom. Everywhere there was an altar to Jehovah it was torn down, but she could not control the hearts of Elijah, nor the other prophets being hid, nor the 7,000 who had bowed their knee to Baal – Jezebel.

ACCORDING TO THE ELECTION OF GRACE (vv. 5-6).

“Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” Romans 11:5-6 (KJV).

‘At this present time’ – During the days of Paul. Paul and the other Jews who had been saved are evidences of the grace of God.

‘There is a remnant’ – Just as God had a remnant who believed Him in Elijah’s day He had one for the days following the resurrection of Jesus, and He has a remnant for the return of Jesus. The remnant are “Children of the seed” or of ‘the Promise’(9:6-7). God’s children became God’s children by God’s promise. It was not by their own efforts. Is a baby born by his/her own choosing? NO! Is it born by God’s choice? YES! No one, who is physically born had a choice in the matter. It was determined by an act of the mother, the father and the sovereignty of God. The Scofield Study Bible defines “Remnant” as ‘A spiritual Israel within the national Israel” (p. 1205).

‘No more of works’ – We often say that we are saved by grace alone. Sometimes we say, or at least I do, that “We are saved by grace alone, plus nothing, minus nothing”. Since we are saved by “Grace alone” there can be no works which redeem us. If we are saved by grace, we are kept by grace, grow by grace, and appear before Jesus by grace.

‘No more grace’ – If we attribute any part of the saving work of Christ to our works, then, there is no more grace. Grace cancels out works, and/or works cancels out grace. The two are exclusive. You can be saved only by works alone, or by Grace alone. We are saved by grace alone. There is no other way of being right with God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Salvation Preaching, Hearing, and Unbelief

Salvation, Preaching, and Unbelief

Romans 10:9-21

The leaders of Israel had been so blinded by their religion that they missed the very one for whom their Scriptures had foretold. It seems they had been searching, searching, looking in the stars, over the seas, over lands, and in their own righteousness, but to no avail. Paul tell them and us that it is near, “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;“ v. 8 ; Deut. 30:12-13 (KJV). Jesus even told them, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John 5:39-40 (KJV). They had the truth of Jesus before their faces and missed it.

SO WHAT IS NEEDED FOR SALVATION?

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-11 (KJV).

Confession – this includes an admission of one’s sins; it also includes confession of God,

“…a deep personal conviction, without reservation, that Jesus is that person’s own master or sovereign. This phrase includes the repenting from sin, trusting in Jesus for salvation, and submitting to Him as Lord.” The MACARTHUR Study Bible pg. 1712 study notes.

Believe the resurrection as the validation of the ministry of Jesus Christ; it proves beyond doubt that Jesus is all and everything He claimed to be.

For those who will confess and believe there is no shame.

All who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

THE NEED FOR PREACHING.

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:14-17 (KJV)

If we are going to preach we must be sure of the message we proclaim.

Those who know the truth of the Gospel have a responsibility to proclaim it.

God has called every saved individual to live as a witness, and proclaim the Gospel to the people they know and come in contact with.

Those who hear the Word and believe have received faith by grace through hearing the Word of God.

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” v. 17.

THE PERIL OF UNBELIEF

“But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.  But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.  But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.  But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” Romans 10:18-21 (KJV)

Israel was a Nation who had been born under the message of their Messiah, yet when He came they would not believe Him. They had Moses telling them (Deut.32:21), and the prophets; Isaiah which is mentioned by Paul here (Isaiah 65:1).

God’s patience with Israel is not without notice.

Because of their blindness their hearts have been hardened

Unbelief is a peril that leads to darkness.

Page after page of the Old Testament is filled with His patient call to return. His promise of sustenance for them. His promises of returning them to their land. Yet, they harden their hearts. God has always had a remnant.

No Christian can or will abide in unbelief.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Apologetics: An Alternative for the Next Generation

Help Me Believe

It has been my observation that the next generation of Christians commonly finds themselves between a rock and a hard place. We’ll call the rock Nominal Christianity. We’ll allow the hard place to be Skepticism.

Nominal Christianity

Nominal means in name only. Nominal Christianity then is an inauthentic faith that is only associated with Christianity in name only. Nominal Christianity is in attendance most Sunday mornings if it wakes up on time, or wasn’t out too late the night before. Nominal Christianity never deals seriously with sin, hasn’t opened the Bible in years, hasn’t shared the gospel, well, probably ever, and almost certainly would never be a part of any intimate fellowship with other believers. Its faith is privatized and kept at arms length.

Unfortunately, this has been the model for many, if not most young Christians from what I can observe. It seems so common place that Nominal…

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The Righteousness of God

God’s Righteousness

Romans 10:1-8

Paul is still in his parenthetical statement, and now addresses the unbelief of the nation of Israel. Many of these things in reference to Israel are a means of warning, and also encouragement for Christians of all ages.

In chapter nine we see that this statement exposes the nation’s rejection of Jesus as their true Messiah. Jesus, as a matter of fact, became a stumbling stone to them, and opened the way for the whole world to be saved.

Israel rejected Jesus and the Gospel, but God is not through with His nation. He has a remnant being prepared to return to Him.

Much of the problem with Israel was and is their unbelief. It is a peril to anyone. Unbelief kept Israel from entering the Promised Land the first time they had the chance to enter (Numbers 14; Hebrews 3). Unbelief keeps people from trusting God’s Word. Unbelief keeps people from faith in Jesus. Unbelief will mean failure to enter into the promises of God through His Son.

Things we need to see in this study of chapter 10 –

Though Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles he is still burdened for the people of Israel, even though he knows of their hard, obstinate, and unbelieving hearts (vv. 1-3).

What everyone needs to know is that when one is trusting the Lord Jesus Christ; there is no longer any need to search any further for righteousness: He is “the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth” (v. 4).

The Jews in their zeal set out to obey the commandments, and have the righteousness of God, but failed to see the intent of the law – if one wants to live by the law then, he./she must obey it completely – righteousness is unobtainable through our own righteousness, because we have none (v. 5).

The righteousness of ‘Faith’ trust completely in the work of Jesus Christ and His shed blood on the cross – there is no need of looking in heaven above, or the earth below, because this message is very near us, even at the door (vv. 6-8);

“For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.  It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?  But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.” Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (KJV).

No one needs to look any further for righteousness, ie., being made right with God, than to the cross of Jesus. He has fulfilled all righteousness. Any other righteousness is self- righteousness, and that is a stench in the nostrils of holy God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

I Do Not Like the New Testament Either…

I Do Not Like the New Testament Either…

 

Just as with the Old Testament I do not like; there are elements of the New Testament I do not like as well. It tells us of the Sacrifice we needed to have. The very fact of Jesus dying for me repulses the humanity in me. It offends the flesh, the human pride, the helplessness of man for his salvation.

Yes, there are things about the Old and New Testaments that I do not like. However, just because I do not like them does not negate the evidence and fact of their being truth without any error, perfect, infallible, and inerrant. It does not take away from the basis of the word of God being “given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.”

I read the Scriptures, not because I like it, but because I need it.

This too is from 2013 while studying the New Testament; Loving the Scriptures is a grace God has given to me.

I Do Not Like the Old Testament…

I Do Not Like the Old Testament, Especially Leviticus

(Reading Exodus 38 – Leviticus 18) Exodus 39:30-32; 40:34-38; Leviticus 13:1-3

I just recently realized that I do not like Leviticus. It is painful to read. It is hard to understand. It is judgmental about human life and living. It condemns me.

Even if I do not like Leviticus there are some things I can learn from it. Then I need to apply that to my life.

1. We are continually reminded that God is Holy, and that He is the LORD.
2. We are reminded again and again that we are unholy and unclean.
3. We are reminded again and again that there must be a sacrifice, or there is no approaching God.
4. We are reminded that that the most basic sacrifice is the blood of a Lamb.

I wrote this in 2013 while I was studying Leviticus.

So that you may know; I do love the whole of the word of God from Genesis – Revelation, and that has been given me as God’s gift of grace.

No People Group Left Out

NO PEOPLE LEFT OUT
Romans 9:25-33

There may have been accusations against Paul’s teaching, claiming that He was preaching an unjust and unrighteous God. That is not what Paul preached, nor is it the teaching of Scripture.

Because God is holy, righteous, and just He has every right to be “Merciful to whom He will be merciful” and to “Have compassion on whom He will have compassion”. He has did everything that His glory, holiness, righteousness, and justness allowed Him to do in order that the lost might be saved.
Hosea’s wife Gomer is brought into this picture of God’s salvation. She had become a harlot, yet God commanded Hosea to love her, and redeem her from her slavery (Hosea 2:1-22; 3:1-5). Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah saying, “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: for He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth”. (vv. 27-28; Isaiah 10:22-23). These quotations make it quite plain that God’s intentions has always been to save people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. He has blessed the nation of Israel with the blessing of giving the world His Word and the Living Word [His Son Jesus], and is blessing them again, by bringing them back to Himself, though they have strayed, and not believed Him. (See Isaiah 1:9 and 13:9).

Hosea 2:23 Paul has given as the Word of God for calling people for Himself from the Gentile nations.

Vv. 25-26 — The quotation from Hosea concerning those not “My people” and called “Children of the living God”;

Vv. 27-29 — The numerous number of Israel shows God’s fulfillment to make of them a “Great Nation”, however, due to their unfaithfulness, there will only be a small number (a remnant) from that number who will be delivered; thus, He will finish the things which He has said concerning Israel, and He will fulfill His word in short order. Except the Lord saved a remnant the Nation would have been like Sodom and Gomorrha, in destruction;

Vv. 30-32 — You can almost begin to see that there have been questions concerning the Jews about what Paul is teaching, and he is answering them; “What about these Gentiles who never pursued righteousness, and now are righteous?” It is theirs because of faith, ie., trusting God implicitly, and no other – no works – just a simple faith that realizes that it is solely by grace through faith we are saved. Israel, on the other hand, had the law, pursuing it by their works, and deeds and failed to attain righteousness by the law. The reason Israel failed is they were seeking to obtain it by the keeping of the law, rather than trusting the Lord and His grace; they had not the faith; and when it came to Jesus, their Messiah/Christ, He was a “Stumbling stone”;

v. 33 — In Isaiah 8:14 and 28:16 the prophet tells us basically what Paul is quoting; Jesus, the One who died on the cross to may a way for “His own”, and the nations, was rejected, because the cross was and still is an “Offense”. It is not only an offense to the Jew it is an offense to many who are Gentiles.

In 1993 the Barna Research Group conducted a poll on beliefs among those who professed being born again, as compared to the total population. The statement, “All good people, whether they consider Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior or not, will live in Heaven after they die on earth” was read to those who participated. Of those who professed to be “Born again” thirty two percent [32%] agreed with the statement. Forty eight [48%] of those churched agreed, along with forty four percent [44%] of the total population.
“All good people, whether they consider Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior or not will live in Heaven after they die on earth.”

Professing Born again …. 32 percent agreed;

Those who attend church …. 48 percent agreed;

Total population …. 44 percent agreed.

It is evident even today [2007] that this has not improved. It has most likely worsened. How terrible it would be to stand before Jesus one day and have our only answer being, “I thought I could make it on my own. I was a good man/woman.” Then, to hear Jesus say, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you worker of iniquity”.

There will be no shame for those who take God at His Word and believe in Jesus. We will be able to stand before Him with confidence in His finished work and all the glory will belong solely to Him, and that will be our glorification.

God’s Will of Mercy

God’s Will Of Mercy

Romans 9:14-24

Is God unrighteous because He chooses some and not others? NO! NO! NO! NEVER! He is God. He is the Creator of all things. He is not limited in any way. If He cannot choose whom He will, then, He is not sovereign and is not God.

God told Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (v. 15; Exodus 33:19). Pharoah was even chosen by God to be an instrument of God’s glory by his hardened heart (v. 17; Exodus 9:16).

Anyone rejecting God’s way will be an instrument of His glory and a vessel of His wrath. Pharoah had rejected the word of God through His servant Moses, therefore He was used in His rebellion to fulfill God’s will and glory.

God is the potter, we are the clay. If God chooses to save some, then, we ought to rejoice rather than question His character. Honest questions due to lack of understanding and knowledge are acceptable, but bringing charges by frivolous questioning; against our Maker; of unrighteous conduct is blasphemous.

God is patient and waits for “Vessels of wrath” to repent. He does this to show the “Riches of His glory”. From every tribe, tongue, and Nation He does this.

v. 14 — There is no unrighteousness in God because He chooses one rather than another. His grace and His mercy is far beyond our understanding. The only thing we should say is, “Thank You Father”;

v. 15 — Paul here quotes Moses from Exodus 33:19 establishing the Old Testament link of God’s mercy and compassion on whom He chooses;

v. 16 — Paul is reasserting the fact of God’s grace fully given in salvation. No one wills on their own to be saved. No one can pick the day they choose for salvation; that is of God alone – If you aren’t saved the day He calls, then, you could be condemned forever;

v. 17 — God chose Pharoah for His own glory to be a vessel of wrath; God had given Pharoah ample opportunity to do the right thing and let the people go, but he would not;

v. 18 — Mercy had been extended to Pharoah in God’s offer, through the word spoken by Moses, “Let My people go, that they may serve me”. God did not have to go to Pharoah in this manner, but he did in order to show mercy; after Pharoah hardened his heart to God and His Word, God hardens his heart;

v. 19 — If God does this, why are we charged with sin? If this be so does that, then, mean that God is the author of sin? NO!!! It means that sin has no authority over God; it can also mean that our own sin will be our judge (SEE Jeremiah 2:19); We are all guilty of sin. We all stand accountable to God;

vv. 20-21 — Making charges of such foolishness against God is unrighteous in itself; If you built a house and that house could question you and ask you, “Why did you make me a quarter inch off square?” It would not have a right to do so. Maybe a better question would be, “Why did you spend so much time in building me, and then, decided to live elsewhere?” God is as our potter, and we are the clay; He has power to appoint us as He wills and chooses. One can be chosen for honor, and another to dishonor;

vv. 22-24 — Within Paul’s question is much to think on. It is a lengthy question. The answer is within the question, and the previous remarks. By His mercy, He has extended the opportunity to others to come to faith in Jesus Christ. God has extended long periods of patience in mercy toward the evil ones, and given them ample opportunity to repent and believe, but they have not.

Mercy has been extended to all the world. Many seem to believe that God is not merciful, but if you could see through the eyes of mercy you could see that mercy is everywhere. When you have experienced mercy, there is mercy for others from you. God has called and chosen not only from the Jews, but also from the Gentiles.

God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and upon whom He wills He will have compassion. Mercy = God’s not giving to us what we truly deserve; and that is His wrath.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Word of Promise

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The Word Of Promise

Romans 9:6-13

Remembering that we are looking at a parenthetical statement, which gives a clearer understanding of what Paul is writing about in chapter 8 and assuring the Roman Christians that the promises of God are good, and that He will not break or void any of them; we come to a passage which causes some difficulty among Christians.

Part of the problem Jesus had when He walked the city of Jerusalem, and along the shores of the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee were the scribes, Pharisees, a Sadducees not recognizing Him for who He is. They were supposed to be men of the Word of God, yet they denied Him and even worse, tried to kill Him, and eventually had Him crucified; and that only because He gave Himself for that purpose. These religious rulers claimed to be ‘Children of Abraham’, but did not know the One whom Abraham knew (See John 8:37–41a).

Paul’s heart yearns for his brethren ‘according to the flesh’ to be saved. In verse six he then proceeds to write that just because one is born into a Hebrew family does not necessarily make one Hebrew – “They are not all Israel, which are of Israel“. It is not because they are the ‘seed of Abraham’ but it is in that they are born according to the promise – “Children of the promise are counted for the seed”. If you were born in a garage, that would not mean you are a car. Just because you were born into a Christian family – meaning with a saved Mom and Dad – does not mean you are a Christian. You must be born according to the promise.

Three of the worlds main religions can espouse that they are descendents of Abraham, either by physical birth or by faith. Islam claims to be descendants through Hagar; the Egyptian maiden whom Abraham took to himself to have a son, and named him Ishmael. The Jews/Hebrews claim Abraham as their “father” through Sarah, but at the present time only see a physical relationship more than a spiritual, and put more value in their being born of Abraham than in the faith of Abraham. Christianity sees faith as the link to Abraham, Isaac as the son of promise, and Jesus Christ being the actual Son of Promise fulfilling the type which Isaac was.

*v. 6 – It would almost seem that because Israel had not trusted Jesus as their Messiah that the Word of God had failed – it had not; it was only that many of those who had been into Israel were not of the heart and faith of Abraham;
*v. 7 – Isaac was the promised son – in shadow or type he was the coming Son of Promise through whom all the world could be saved;
*v. 8 – The children of the promise are the true seed of Abraham and the promise is the regenerating power of the Spirit of God;
*v. 9 – Sarah was barren and without any child, yet God’s promise would not be void; she would bear a son, and at the set time that the Lord prescribed;
*v. 10 – The commentary of Paul turns to Rebecca and her conception of Jacob and Esau;
*v. 11 – A parenthesis within a parenthesis concerning God’s promise to Rebecca, and God’s ordained plan for Jacob – before Jacob or Esau either one had ‘done any good or evil’, that God might show that His salvation is all by grace, not of works, “But of Him that calleth”;
*v. 12 – The promise of God was that the ‘Elder shall serve the younger’, and this was against the way things were supposed to be;
*v. 13 – Probably one of the most controversial verses in all of scripture – “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”.

We should not let the above passage trouble us, but rather rejoice in it. Remember, we are all born into this world in sin, condemned and on a path set for Hell. We should marvel and rejoice that God would be so gracious as to redeem any of us who are condemned. God is perfectly just to “hate” any of us, but He chooses to love us instead, and offered us all the Way to Himself, and His presence and glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Burden

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A Great Heaviness

Romans 9:1-5

In chapters 9 – 11 Paul adds a parenthetical statement concerning the Nation of Israel – the chosen Nation of God. Chapter nine shows us God’s past work with Israel, chapter ten, shows us God’s work with Israel during what is called the Church Age – our day included; and chapter eleven deals with God restoring Israel – His future work in fulfilling all those yet to be fulfilled promises.

In this “Parenthesis” there is promise for all who are trusting Jesus now. It assures us that since God is going to fulfill His promises to Israel, even though, they were a rebellious, and stubborn people; so too God will carry out those promises He has made concerning our salvation.

In chapter nine we will see that Jesus is an offense to the Jew, and that this is not outside the will of God. It is for the purpose that many more could be saved – particularly the Gentiles. In chapter nine we will also see God’s will concerning matters concerning Israel:

*God’s will for a rebellious people who have received many blessings (vv. 1-5);
*God’s will in His compassion and mercy toward this people (vv. 6-13);
*God will have mercy on those whom He chooses (vv. 14-24);
*God’s will in redemption becomes a stumbling block to the self-righteous (vv. 25-33a);
*Jesus is that Rock of Offense – But those who believe will not be ashamed (v. 33b).

It is not God’s will that any should perish. He has provided a way for all mankind to be saved, if they would only hear the message of the Gospel of Jesus, believe and be saved. It is not God’s fault that any are lost. It is not His fault that all were condemned. Even if God had chosen to do nothing for our salvation He would have been perfectly just, holy, and righteous in doing nothing. However, God had done something really big in sending His Son Jesus to die in our place.

Paul has A HEAVINESS OF HEART for his people; 1) he mentions this heaviness in vv. 1-2; 2) he even goes so far as to say that if it would redeem them, he himself would be willing to be accursed for them in v. 3. Let’s see some things which Paul mentions of how they [Israel] have been blessed:

1.  They are adopted (v. 4);
2.  They have received glory (v. 4);
3.  They received the covenants (v. 4);
4.  They received the law (v. 4);
5.  They received the service of God (v. 4);
6.  They were recipients of the promises (v. 4);
7.  They are the Nation from which Christ came (v. 5);
8.  They are blessed of God forever (v. 5).

SEE also Deut.7:6-10; 10:12-15;

-Tim A. Blankenship

Since God Be For Us

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Since God Is For Us

Romans 8:31-39

When you get to thinking about the goodness, grace and mercy of God, and you see things taught us in Scripture as, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (5:8); and, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…” (5:10); would it not be perfectly fitting of God to do even more wondrous things for those who are no longer His enemies.

Things we can see which God has done for us, and gives us, and continues to do in and through us:

1.  Christ was given as our Substitute for sin; to freely give us all things; that is basically forgiveness. That is the most wondrous thing, along with the fellowship which we can have with the Father. We no longer have guilt, excusing us to flee from God’s presence, and we now have the presence of God within us who calls us to the throne of grace to receive forgiveness (vv. 31-32);
2.  There is no charge that can be brought against us. The only Ones who can bring any legitimate charge against us will not, because we have been cleansed and forgiven by them. When you forgive someone a debt owed to you by them; you are the one who paid the debt. That is actually what forgiveness is. Until a debt is paid; it is owed. God could charge us with sin, but instead He has justified us; Jesus could also, but He died for us, rising again, is seated at the right hand of God and intercedes for us (vv. 33-34);
3.  There is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ. Sin has been the source of all our separation from God; now sin has been dealt with in a death blow that is for all eternity; It is the love of Jesus Christ which is being spoke of in verse thirty five – in all these things mentioned they are rather sources of strength building rather than sources of separation and they are building blocks of our faith. We are at our Lord’s mercy, and for His glory (vv. 35-36);
4.  The term, “More than conquerors” is one that is sometimes heard in other places other than church and Christian atmosphere. It is heard on school campuses. It is heard in youth discussions; Come what may, let the devil beware we will stand. We must understand that we cannot overcome, we cannot be “Conquerors” in our strength – it is in the power, Spirit and glory of Jesus Christ that we conquer (v. 37);
5.  There are many things which Paul uses here to show us that there is nothing that can separate us from the “love of God…in Christ Jesus”; Notice if you will the first two – “Death nor life”; now death is separation of life from the body; but what is this doing here – especially ‘Life’? There are times we can let life get between us and God; however, if we are God’s that is not the end; “…angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing (even yourself), shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

O, what a wonder and glory it is; this thing called grace, this privilege called grace; this merciful eternal act of God. None deserve it. Few receive it. All who receive it will glorify Jesus. “Since God be for us, who can be against us”? No not one.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Glory

GLORY: Our Destination
Romans 8:26-30

So many times as we have our struggles with life and living; facing the sicknesses, diseases we wonder, “Is it worth all this to believe? Is it worth the suffering to continue to trust the Lord? Is it worth the doing without, just to remain honest and/or moral?” There are many questions asked in this life. Some we cannot answer. Some we must answer; at least for the peace of our own hearts.

My prayer is that all who will ever read this message, or hear it, will know their eternal destination. It is by knowing the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, that we know our eternal destiny.

There are some things we must know and realize about this destiny we have in Jesus:

1.  We do not always know how to pray concerning our path in life, but the Holy Spirit – the person of Christ in you – knows our hearts, sorrows, and infirmities, and intercedes for us; and with “Groanings which cannot be uttered” (v. 26);
2.  It is God who searches the heart and knows the mind of the Spirit, and because of this He prays according to God’s will (v. 27);
3.  If we believe that the Spirit of God is praying through us, then we should realize that then “All things work together for good…”, and God is glorified (v. 28);
4.  We can know that God is sovereign over all things, even His people – in God’s foreknowledge He predestinated those who follow Christ to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, and because of this He is placed as ‘firstborn among many brethren’ (v. 29) placing Him as the Heir apparent (this is one who cannot be legally kept from the throne), fulfilling the will and the glory of God;
5.  Those who have been predestined ‘to be conformed to the image of his Son’, “them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (v. 30).

Those who have been called to Jesus’s salvation – the saved, are justified, and the justified, have the promise of God of being glorified. We can rest assured that God will get us to that destination, because His own glory is at stake; and it would not be possible for the glory of God to dim, die, or be disposed of.

-Tim A. Blankenship